Supernatural urban legends: Devil’s trap lore explained


Photo Credit: Supernatural/The CW by Jack Rowand Acquired from CW PR

The devil’s trap was introduced in Supernatural season 1 and has been used ever since.

Ever wanted to figure out how to trap a demon? Before Supernatural season 1, the Winchesters had barely come across the creatures. They didn’t know how to kill one, let alone how to trap one. It was only when fans were introduced to Bobby that the Winchesters learned the beauty of devil’s traps.

Just where did the lore for the devil’s trap come from? Is there anything in real life that could connect to one of the longest Supernatural urban legends and mythologies?

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Supernatural devil’s traps

There are two types of devil’s traps used in Supernatural. The pentagram version has recently become the most popular (likely because it’s the easiest) but the Heptagram version is the one that was originally used. The Heptagram devil’s trap uses the Lesser Key of Solomon (a grimoire) pentacles to form the heptagram.

The devil’s traps work in a similar way to salt circles but are predominately for demons. Once a demon steps into the circles of the trap, they can’t leave or use their powers. However, they can be exorcised to Hell. Since devil’s traps are usually painted or carved into flooring, woodwork, and even walls, they can’t be removed easily. Once part of the trap is removed, the demons are free to walk around and use their powers again.

At one point, a devil’s trap was used on a bag that went over a demon’s head. One was also carved into a bullet shot into Abaddon’s head. Both times the devil’s trapped prevented the demons from using their powers while being transported or stored.

Real lore of devil’s traps

There is real life lore and mythology that could have been used for the development of devil’s traps in the show. One of the eldest is likely originated from Babylon, and used devil bowls or incantation bowls. The idea was that the demon would be lured and bound to the bottom of the bowl. They would have inscriptions in Arabic to trap the demons. Many would also have images of bound demons to represent their needs.

These bowls would be placed in cemeteries next to graves or next to the houses of the people possessed or attacked by demons. The aim was to trap specific ones causing havoc.

However, the most likely source for inspiration on devil’s traps is the Key of Solomon, a grimoire attributed to King Solomon. It dates back to the Italian Renaissance period and may have inspired the real Lesser Key of Solomon from the 17th century. The trap is very simmilato the Heptagram devil’s trap in the show and the way it works is the same, although it may be possible for demons to use their powers to break the seal while in this trap.

Next: Supernatural urban legends: Colt lore explained

Did you know the truth about the devil’s trap? Are you aware of lore that we’ve missed? Share in the comments below.

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