Croatoan lore: The demon behind the name

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

Sam Winchester explained in Supernatural Season 2, Episode 9 that John believed Croatoan wasn’t a disease but an actual demon. Here’s a look at the lore this is based on.

Croatoan is known as the word that was left behind at the Roanoke Colony when John White returned in 1590. Supernatural touched on the Lost Colony briefly in the episode “Croatoan,” when the demonic virus spread. However, Sam later points out that John Winchester believed Croatoan was the name of a demon.

John linked Croatoan to a demon sometimes referred to as Deva or Resheph. Both of these demons are found in lore, so let’s look at the connections.

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Supernatural Croatoan

Very little is mentioned about Croatoan and the theories in Supernatural. Sam explains that John believes Croatoan is a demon of disease, sometimes called either Deva or Resheph. This is all just a working theory, though. At no point does the actual demon show up.

In fact, later it’s Pestilence (one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) that looks to spread the demonic virus. Croatoan continues to be the name of the demonic virus, with the victims referred to as Croats after infection.

It is possible that Croatoan was the one to start the virus. Sam may have been suggesting that this was where the name of the virus came from and the reason for “Croatoan” to be left behind at both the Roanoke Colony and in Oregon.

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

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Deva and Resheph in real lore

When it comes to lore and legends, Resheph is a name that crops up frequently. He’s mentioned in the Canaanite religion, as a God of Plague. The lore dates back to as far as 1850BC. The name led to “Reshef” becoming the word for plague and is used in some versions of the Bible. In the Hebrew bible, the name also meant “flame” or “burning,” which could link to the fever when ill.

Resheph may have used arrows to spread the plague. Infecting one may have led to the infection of others.

It’s also worth pointing out that Resheph is also considered a god of healing. He is able to stop the spread of the disease and plague, just like he can start it.

Deva is actually a Sanskrit word for “heavenly” or “shining ones.” It’s the name usually given to a demigod or deity, and was usually used as an adjective to describe someone or something as “shining” or “celestial.”

However, Devas do have some control over life and creation. It is possible that they could create plagues and diseases. However, it’s more likely that the Croatoan demon is linked more to Resheph than Deva.

This is a difficult lore to fully connect to Supernatural. After all, Sam was just sharing one of John’s theories. The demon was never fully seen on the screen.

Next: Demonic virus lore: Is there anything close to the Croatoan virus from Supernatural?

Did you know the connections between Supernatural lore and real lore for Croatoan? Do you think John’s theory was right or just a theory to help explain something potentially natural? Share what you know in the comments below.

Supernatural returns Mar. 1 at 8/7c on The CW.