What is a banshee? How can you make a deal with the Devil like Robert Johnson? Hellhounds (black dogs), Roanoke, goofer dust and death omens all get covered in this roundup.
S2E7: “The Usual Suspects”
Monster: Death omen
Where it’s from: All over the world
Description: This particular figure is pale, with dark red eyes and a slit throat. In his typically eloquent fashion, Dean describes the death omen as “Casper the Bloodthirsty Ghost.”
In Irish folklore, a banshee is a female spirit, and when people hear her horrific wail (one tradition holds that it can actually break glass), they know someone will soon die.
What it does: Like the banshee, death omens foretell that someone will perish in the near future.
In this episode, the printer keeps repeating the name Dana Schulps. That’s creepy, but here’s a shortened list of some famous death omens, according to Superstition Dictionary:
- A black cat meowing at midnight
- Bees swarming a rotten tree (there will be a death in the family owning or living on the property within a year)
- A bird entering the bedroom of a sick person and landing on the bedpost
- A pigeon flying against the window
- A sparrow attacking another swallow and throwing it from its nest near a home (a son will be born and a daughter will die)
- An owl hooting in a tree right above your head (a relative or friend of yours will die within a year)
- A dog persistently howling under your window
- A mouse running over your foot
- A white rabbit crossing your path
- A cow giving birth to twin calves
- A cedar tree you have planted dying in your yard
- A peach tree blooming early
- A clock striking 13
- A portrait falling off the wall
- A rainbow over a house (sounds more gay than scary, to be honest)
- Seeing your shadow without a head on New Year’s Eve
How to defeat it: At first the boys think this is a vengeful spirit. In true Winchester Brothers fashion, Sam says, “We have to salt and burn her bones. It’s the only way to put her spirit to rest.” To which guest star Linda Blair, famous for her head-turning performance in The Exorcist, replies, “Of course it is.”
Thing is, why would a vengeful spirit lead Blair to her remains? Turns out it’s not a vengeful spirit after all. As a death omen, she wants to warn people, and she’s finally at rest once the murderer is killed.
S2E8: “Crossroad Blues”
Monster: Black dog or hellhound
Where it’s from: England and Scotland
Description: They’re larger than your average pooch and are covered in shaggy black fur, though some reports say they can have white, spotted or brown fur as well. Glowing red eyes, long fangs and saliva reeking of sulfur complete the look.
Sam describes them as “demonic pitbulls.”
“I bet they could hump the crap out of your leg,” Dean adds
What it does: Hellhounds collect souls that are due in payment for deals made with the Devil. One man wanted to be an overnight musical success. This calls to mind Robert Johnson, who is said to have made just such a deal. He supposedly came across Satan at a crossroads and offered to sell his soul in return for becoming an amazing bluesman. He went on to write and perform some popular songs, including “Cross Roads Blues,” “Me and the Devil Blues” and “Hellhound on My Trail.” But he died mysteriously, choking on his own blood, at age 27 (like Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin and others) in 1938.
With another person they’re investigating, Dean wants to know why the man made a pact with a demon: “What’d you ask for anyway, Evan? Never need Viagra? Bowl a perfect game?”
“My wife,’ Evan says.
“Gettin’ the girl,” Dean nods. “Well, that’s worth a trip to Hell for."
How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil
If you’d like to make a deal with the Devil (and we really can’t recommend doing so), here’s how to do so.
Plant yarrow flowers in the corners of a crossroads to summon the Big Guy.
Get a tin box and fill with the bones of a black cat, graveyard dirt and a picture of yourself.
“That’s Deep South hoodoo stuff,” Dean says.
How to defeat it: Sam and Dean think one of the people they visit has grabbed the wrong shaker (those boys are completely obsessed with salt). But the man made no mistake. He’s keeping away demons with another hoodoo trick: goofer dust.
Goofer Dust Recipe
This recipe comes from Raven Conspiracy:
- Skin or head of a venomous snake, dried and ground
- Black pepper
- Graveyard dirt
- Red pepper
- Ground bones
- Ground insects
- Anvil dust
Here’s another version, this one from SpellsOfMagic.com:
- Graveyard dirt
- Black salt
- Ground sulfur
- Snake skin
- Magnetic sand
- Dried pigeon feces
- Ground insects
- Powdered bones
- Black pepper
Sounds like there’s some leeway with the recipe. Mix what ingredients you can find together. But be sure not to touch the powder after you’ve made it.
Sprinkle it in a place where you know your target will definitely walk onto it. Be warned that the goofer dust will affect anyone who steps onto it. Victims will develop a chronic illness that may result in death.
If you regret having made a satanic pact, use a Devil’s Trap to ensnare the demon or devil and strike a deal by threatening to exorcise it.
Monster: Demonic virus
Where it’s from: the United States
Description: There’s a telltale sulfuric residue in the virus.
What it does: Those infected turn murderous. They’re also fond of spreading the love: The virus is passed by by blood to blood contact. The infected like to cut themselves and then slice open their victim so they can drip blood into the wound.
The boys find a reference to the Lost Colony of Roanoke (it was also a theme in American Horror Story: Roanoke). The colony was founded by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585 in what is now North Carolina. Five years later, all 115 or so settlers had vanished mysteriously — the only clue being the word “Croatoan” carved into a fencepost. The Croatoan were an Indian tribe, though Daddy Winchester had a theory that it’s the name of a demon also known as Deva, or Resheph, associated with pestilence.
How to defeat it: You’ve got to kill those infected. Guns work. And Molotov cocktails would do the trick, too, one imagines, as the Winchester boys were planning.
It also helps to be immune, like Sam. –Wally