Demonic virus lore: Is there anything close to the Croatoan virus in real lore?

Photo credit: Supernatural/The CW by Sergei Bachlakov, Acquired via CW PR
Photo credit: Supernatural/The CW by Sergei Bachlakov, Acquired via CW PR /

When Supernatural introduced the Croatoan virus, there were elements that felt like they’d been seen before. Was this in real lore or fiction?

Supernatural Season 2, Episode 9 introduced the Croatoan virus. It is described as a demonic virus, but could also be viewed as a zombie virus. Those infected would become like rabid versions of their former selves.

When first watching it, it was easy to feel like this was something you’d seen before. The idea of a demonic virus plaguing the world has certainly been used in fiction over the years, but what about the real lore? Is there anything that links to the idea of the demonic or zombie virus?

More from Supernatural

The Croatoan virus in Supernatural

Supernatural’s virus was one transmitted by blood. It’s unclear how Patient Zero was infected in that episode, but likely through a demon. In later episodes, the virus was added to vaccines to help spread the infection around the world quickly. This is something that’s also been used in iZombie recently to help spread the zombie virus and create a zombie army.

The Croatoan virus infected almost everyone. Sam Winchester proved immunity and it’s possible that all Special Children had this immunity. It’s likely to do with the demon blood inside them.

Demonic viruses in real lore

There’s little about demonic viruses in real lore. Zombies in Hoodoo lore are shells of their former selves; soulless beings controlled by a master. We’ve already looked at zombie lore, and while there was a mention of zombie viruses, this was mainly due to fiction.

Photo credit: Supernatural/The CW bySergei Bachlakov, Aquired via CW PR
Photo credit: Supernatural/The CW bySergei Bachlakov, Aquired via CW PR /

Viruses is linked more to science than lore. Researchers have looked into whether the idea of a demonic or zombie virus is possible, with some noting that if a virus could cause the breakdown of proteins in the brain then the idea of a zombie virus is possible.

However, the majority of virus lore comes from fiction. Whether it’s World War Z, 28 Days Later, iZombie and other movies and TV shows, the ideas of a virus sweeping the nation and turning people into zombies is more of a fictional tale. It’s somewhat adapted from the real viruses that have swept the nation over the years. Think of it as a zombie version of the Black Death or the Spanish Influenza epidemic.

Some people are naturally immune, while others can be cured. Then there are others that will continue to become rabid shells of their former selves. Everyone is infected in a different way, depending on their immune system and their blood. That’s the route Supernatural seemed to take with the Croatoan virus.

Out of all the Supernatural mythology, this is one of those that is mostly from fiction. But that’s okay! Sometimes we need something that isn’t lore heavy, because that demonic virus was still scary!

Next: The real history of Roanoke Colony and Croatoan

What did you think about the Croatoan virus? Did you feel like it was a link to all other zombie films and literature? Share in the comments below.

Follow SPN Hunters on Twitter for more lore and fictional looks into Supernatural mythology.