|Powers and Abilities||Can take on another person's physical appearance and access the thoughts of any living person they mimic.|
|Vulnerabilities||Silver bullet or blade through the heart, decapitation.|
|Appearance||Humanoid; can appear as any person they see or come into contact with.|
|Episode(s)|| 1.06 Skin|
4.05 Monster Movie
6.02 Two and a Half Men
6.10 Caged Heat
6.19 Mommy Dearest (as a hybrid)
9.16 Blade Runners
Shapeshifting, also known as transformation or transmogrification, is a change in the form or shape of a person, especially a change from human form to animal form or a change in appearance form one person to another.
- 1 History
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Shapeshifters in Lore
- 5 Shapeshifters in Fandom
- 6 References
Shapeshifters can change their form so as to appear as any person living, dead, or fictional. Unlike most monsters, shifters have appeared to have purely human drives that have ranged from jealously, greed and loneliness. It appears that not all the shapeshifters have the exact same abilities: Dean says that the one they encounter in Milwaukee shifts faster than the one they saw in St. Louis. Some must shed their skin, teeth, and nails to change from one form to another. Others such as the Alpha Shapeshifter - the progenitor of all shapeshifters - can shift almost instantaneously without shedding his skin or changing his clothes. More recently Sam and Dean have encountered shapeshifters that do not require themselves to shed their skin when they change.
Powers and Abilities
- Take on a living person’s physical appearance and access the thoughts of the person they are mimicking.
- Take on a deceased or fictional person's physical appearance, from pictures or from film.
- Have children by impregnating human women.
- Silver through the heart from either a bullet or a blade.
- Can be identified by the retinal flares they give off on videos.
- Vamptonite - According to Edgar, the Leviathan additive has been engineered to kill shifters.
A shapeshifter takes on people’s forms to get close to and kill their loved ones. The shapeshifter hints at his own origins: “Maybe this thing was born human but was different. Hideous and hated. Until he learned to become someone else.”
- Shapeshifter!Dean: See, deep down, I’m just jealous. You got friends. You could have a life. Me? I know I’m a freak. And sooner or later, everybody’s gonna leave me.
Dean is blamed by the police for the killings committed by the shapeshifter, and even though he is “killed,” this eventually brings him to the attention of Special Agent Victor Henriksen and the FBI.
A shapeshifter is killing people and taking on their appearances in order to commit robberies. Bank employee Ronald Resnick works out that something not human is behind the crimes. He incorrectly identifies it as a Mandroid, a part-man, part-machine creature that can take on people’s forms.
At a bank it intends to rob, the shapeshifter is identified by Sam and Dean based on retinal flare in security footage. They are unable to kill it because Ronald takes the people in the bank hostage, searching for the Mandroid. Sam and Dean take control of the hostage situation, and the creature shifts more than once in an attempt to escape them. It is in the form of Sherri when Dean finally stabs it with a silver letter opener. The real Sherri survives.
The shapeshifter in 4.05 Monster Movie finds comfort and inspiration in the great Hollywood classic monsters. He attacks several victims during the 2008 Oktoberfest celebrations in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, first as a Dracula-style vampire (his preferred form), then as a Wolf Man and again as a mummy. He is in love with Jamie, who ends up shooting him with silver bullets after he lures her, Dean, and Sam into his basement lair, completely furnished with props and set dressings.
A shapeshifter is imitating men, impregnating their partners, and then returning when the child is six months old to kidnap it. Sam and Dean manage to rescue one baby, which they call Bobby John. While in a market getting supplies, the baby is crying and a woman approaches and offers help. Dean spots retinal flare in her eyes on the security cameras and, while the shifter tries to steal the baby, they manage to get away, only to find out that the baby itself is a shapeshifter when it changes from a Caucasian baby to an African American one based on an image it sees on a pack of diapers. The shifter from the store, now in the guise of a police officer, catches up to them in a motel room, and Sam shoots it through the heart, killing it.
They take the baby to the Campbells' compound, where Samuel decides they should raise it themselves. According to Samuel, Christian Campbell and his wife, Arlene, have been trying for a baby. Christian agrees to take in and raise the baby Shapeshifter, but they are then attacked by the Alpha Shapeshifter, who is immune to gunshots, a silver knife in the heart, and elephant tranquilizers. The Alpha kills Mark Campbell, overpowers the others, and takes the child. This shapeshifter seemingly is able to transform just by looking at somebody and can transform in just a few seconds without shedding its skin.
Crowley has chained the Alpha Shapeshifter to a chair in his monster prison. It has assumed the form of Crowley's meatsuit, and is not cooperating. The demon keeps demanding that the shapeshifter reveal the location of Purgatory, but the Alpha claims that it doesn't know where to find it. Crowley comments that through experiments conducted on "lesser" shapeshifters, he has found something that will harm the Alpha: iridium. He holds up an iridium knife and threatens to start removing "the parts that stick out" if the shifter does not start talking. The Alpha still denies knowledge of Purgatory, so Crowley stabs it. He then leans in close, and the Alpha spits blood at him. Infuriated, Crowley activates a baby monitor, over which crying can be heard, and reminds the Alpha that he holds several of its children hostage. He threatens to kill them in front of the shapeshifter, but the Alpha replies "Kill 'em all. We'll make more." Crowley turns away, grabs a machete, and beheads the Alpha.
In Grants Pass, Oregon, Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Castiel find Eve experimenting with creating monsters. Her first victim in the town is a young man cvalled Ed Bright. he becomes unwell and reports to a doctor when he has a fever and his skin becomes "gooey". Ed becomes a shapeshifter, and passes this on like an infection to the people he lives with, however they all die. There is no evidence that they shed their skin before shifting.
On examination of a number of corpses in a bar, Dean finds they have strange hybrid attributes - one creature has vampiric teeth in addition to the spike of a wraith protruding from its wrist. Others seem to have shapeshifting abilities on top of these other attributes and display a retinal flare when filmed. Dean dubs these hybrids Jefferson Starships.
While looking for Magnus, Sam captures what appears to be him but turns out to be a shapeshifter from his "collection." Sam kills the shapeshifter with a silver knife. This shifter changes shape without shedding its skin.
Ennis: Who are you?
David: My name is David Lassiter. I'm a shapeshifter.David: We shift... our shape. It's kind of all there in the name.
Ennis: You're a what?
The Lassisters are a family of shapeshifters, one of five monster families that control Chicago. the youngest son David Lassiter left three years previously, desiring to live like a human and not be involved in the family business. The patriarch of the family is dying and Sal Lassiter, the eldest son is killed by a human Irv Sokolowski, seeking revenge for the death of his daughter. The family comes under the control of daughter Margo, who is keen to take control of the city, even if it means war with the other families. David gets involved with Ennis Ross and the Winchesters in hunting down Irv, who has kidnapped David's ex-girlfriend, werewolf Violet Duval. After Ennis kills Irv, David decides to return to the family. Both David and Sal are seen to be able to shift almost instantaneously, and without shedding skin.
Shapeshifters in Lore
In its broadest sense, a shapeshifter is a being with the ability to alter its physical appearance. The transformation may be purposeful or not, depending on whether it has been the subject of a curse or spell. Shapeshifters appear in lore from all corners of the world, in Greco-Roman, British, Irish, Norse, Slavic, Asian, and Far Eastern mythology and folklore. They also appear in many horror, fantasy, and science fiction stories today.
Shapeshifters in Fandom
- A list of SPN and SPN RPF stories featuring shapeshifters