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Promising young witches have been inhabited against their will.
Josephine about the use of possession in They All Asked For You

Passenger, a specialised form of Spirit Possession.

Possession is the ability of witches, Traveler witches and passengers, and the Spirits to place one's spirit into another being's form and take control of their body and mind. This is typically done by magical means, through the use of spells. A few other supernatural species, such as the oni and banshee can naturally possess other beings, similar in action to a witch's spell.

Possession is different from Mind Compulsion and mind control, in that the being's spirit or life essence has to metaphysically enter the body of another being in order to control the body from within. Dahlia's Kenning is similar in manner to possession as she can "possess" and control a large number of people at once without the need to move her spirit from her body. Malivore and his vessel, Landon Kirby share similarities to possession, though this is more physical as Malivore's body enters and controls Landon as opposed to a spirit and a host.

Types of Possession

There appears to be several different forms of possession:

  1. Spirit possession, the more common form which involves a witch casting a spell to allow a spirit to "jump" into another's body, which gives them full control of their new host body.
  2. Passenger spells, which are performed exclusively by the Travelers using Traveler Magic, and which, on its own, only gives the Passenger temporary control over their host body; in this case, the Passenger is called into control of their vessel by another person who says a set of "code words" to summon them. However, a spell does exist that gives Passengers permanent control of their host bodies, but it involves a Traveler casting a spell over the Passenger's own body, destroying it in the process and making it impossible to return to it. If this spell is cast, the only way to expel the Passenger from the vessel is to stab them with a Traveler Knife.
  3. Kenning, which has only been used so far by the ancient and powerful witch Dahlia. Kenning is a type of spell that allows a witch to temporarily possess the mind of one or multiple people, even from a distance, which allows the witch to see through their eyes to gain information and even control them to pass on messages.
  4. Metaphysical possession, natural abilities of onis and banshees that allow them to possess people and the supernatural without the need of a witch.
  5. Physical possession, seemingly specific to Malivore, are beings created with his mud or through him biologically are vessels that he can physically incorporate himself into and control unobstructed.

Methodology

Depending on the spell, possession varies from one entity or witch to the next. Possession spells usually require at least some degree of preparation beforehand on the host body.

  • When a vampire possesses someone, they retain their powers of compulsion, as evidenced by Klaus' ability to compel students and Katherine while he was in Alaric's human body. If their host is human, it allows them to bypass invitation barriers, as Klaus possessing Alaric, was able to enter the Salvatore house without an invitation from Elena.
  • When a vampire is possessed, the witch possessing them can enter through magical vampire-proof barriers, as seen with Esther, when she was able to enter through the Lockwood Cave, despite being in an Original vampire's body.
  • When a vampire possesses a witch, they are able to perform magic.
  • When a witch possesses a vampire or hybrid, depending on the spell they may gain their abilities but may also lose their magic. The Hollow however possessed Sofya had full control over Sofya's vampiric abilities and could still perform spells unobstructed.
  • Turning the host body into a vampire does not turn the spirit of the possessor. Though Esther completed Lenore's transition into a vampire, Esther remained a witch but was trapped in her body, unable to use magic.
  • Magic follows a witch into their host body as evidenced by Céleste. This is inclusive of Travelers who passenger themselves into humans and retain their ability to perform magic.
  • Possessed people are immune to mental intrusions such as Telepathy and Compulsion even from the likes of Silas due to having two minds in one body.
  • Spirits can be stored in inanimate objects like talismans as evidenced by Finn; however, her talisman was specifically created to house Mikaelson souls.
  • The spirits of host bodies can sometimes reawaken and take back control though if powerful enough, some can not simply do so if not powerful enough.
  • Supernatural Hunters, having mental invulnerability, are naturally immune to possession as stated by Olivia Parker.
  • Possession has a mental aspect to it. Evidenced with the Oni, they have a harder time possessing people with a "broken mind," such as Kurutta and Lizzie Saltzman, and the hosts could remember what happened while possessed and had some partial control of their faculties.

Victims of Possession

Victim Description Status
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Bonnie Bennett
Bonnie Bennett, an untrained witch, was subject to possession by her ancestor, Emily Bennett. Alive (Resurrected)
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Alaric Saltzman
Alaric Saltzman, as a human for forcefully kidnapped and possessed by Niklaus Mikaelson by Greta Martin. Later, the possession would be reversed by Greta and Maddox. Alive (Resurrected)
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Rebekah Mikaelson
Rebekah Mikaelson, an Original vampire, was subtly possessed by her mother, Esther Mikaelson. The possession was reversed by her magic and help from Alaric. Undead
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Tyler Lockwood
Tyler Lockwood, a werewolf-vampire hybrid was possessed by Niklaus Mikaelson with Bonnie's help after the three of them made a deal to save Klaus' sireline. Later, he was possessed by the Traveler witch, Julian. The possession ended with his death due to the Traveler's anti-magic spell. Deceased (Killed by Damon Salvatore)
Philomena
Isabella Joffrey
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Clara Summerlin
Brynne Deveraux
Annie La Fleur
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Sabine Laurent
Over the course of 200 years, the witch Céleste Dubois possessed a number of witches in her attempt to exact revenge on the Mikaelson family. Many of the witches she possessed, she would kill after a few years of inhabiting their bodies. All Deceased (Killed by Céleste Dubois)
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Matt Donovan
Matt, as a human, was possessed by the Traveler witch, Gregor through the Passenger spell. Gregor was killed by use of the Traveler Knife and Matt was freed. Alive (Resurrected)
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Elena Gilbert
Elena, as a vampire, was possessed by the Traveler witch, Katerina Petrova, after she was taught the Passenger spell by her daughter, Nadia. Alive (Resurrected)
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Elizabeth Forbes
Elizabeth Forbes, a human, was possessed by an unnamed Traveler witch. The witch was killed by use of the Traveler Knife and Liz was freed. Deceased (Died of cancer)
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Countless Others
Dozens of humans were possessed by Travelers over time by use of the Passenger spell. Deceased (Died as sacrifices with the Travelers)
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Cassie
Cassie, a Harvest witch, was possessed by Esther Mikaelson upon Cassie's resurrection through the Harvest. Esther willingly left Cassie's body to possess the witch Lenore. Deceased (Killed by Freya Mikaelson)
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Lenore
Lenore, a witch-turned-vampire, was possessed by Esther Mikaelson. During her attempt to force Rebekah to possess Cami, she was killed with Rebekah's blood and woke up in transition. Esther completed Lenore's transition into a vampire to avoid dying, but became trapped in her vampiric body until Freya killed her. Deceased (Killed by Freya Mikaelson)
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Kaleb Westphall
Kaleb Westphall, a witch, was taken by Esther Mikaelson and prepared his body to be possessed by Kol. After a confrontation with Finn, his body was cursed to prevent him from jumping into another body and to die a slow, painful death. Deceased (Killed by Finn Mikaelson)
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Vincent Griffith
Vincent Griffith, a witch, was taken by Esther Mikaelson and his body was prepared to be possessed by her son, Finn. Finn's spirit was removed by Freya and briefly stored in her pendent. Alive (Resurrected)
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Eva Sinclair
Eva, a witch, was taken by Kol Mikaelson and her body was prepared to be possessed by Rebekah. During Esther's attempt to force Rebekah to possess Cami, Kol and Davina intervened and altered the spell so that Rebekah's spirit would possess Eva. However, Eva took back control of her body until Eva was killed by Rebekah while inside her mind. Eva's body was healed by Freya and performed a spell that allowed Rebekah to possess her corpse. The possession continued until she was killed by Aya and her spirit returned to her Original vampire body. Deceased (Killed by Rebekah Mikaelson. Body destroyed by Aya.)




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Josette Laughlin
Josette, a powerless witch, was possessed post-mortem by Florence by Bonnie's ill-guided attempt at necromancy at Alaric's request. Following her death at the hands of her brother, Kai, Alaric kept her body preserved in the morgue in the hopes that she could be resurrected by the Phoenix Stone. With a vampire soul possessing her witch body, it began to fail without proper preparation, until ultimately Florence died. Deceased (Killed by Malachai Parker. Body started failing upon possession)
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Oscar
Oscar, a siphoner witch-vampire hybrid, was possessed post-mortem by an unnamed Phoenix Stone vampire. Oscar was killed by Valerie and learning that the Phoenix Stone doesn't resurrect people, Oscar's body and the vampire inside was killed by Enzo. Deceased (Killed by Valerie Tulle. Body destroyed by Lorenzo.)
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Marty Hammond
Marty, a human, died in a car crash and his body was the first random corpse Stefan's soul found and latched on to. Marty's body was saved by paramedics that arrived on scene. Valerie performed a soul-swap spell to return Stefan to his body and transfer Ambrose into Marty's. Eventually, he and all the other Phoenix stone vampires are killed by the Armory. Deceased (Fatal drunk driving car crash)
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Stefan Salvatore
Stefan, as a vampire, was possessed by Ambrose as his body was the first corpse that Ambrose latched on to after the destruction of the Phoenix stone. He was later swapped into Marty Hammond's body by Valerie. Deceased (Burned by Hellfire)
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Lewis
Lewis, a vampire, was the first random corpse that Beau latched on to and possessed after the Phoenix Stone was destroyed. Lewis' spirit seemed suppressed with the invasion of Beau's spirit, but they were both killed by Damon. Deceased (Killed by Damon Salvatore.)
Various Corpses A number of vampires, such as Wyatt and Ashlynn, were released from the Phoenix Stone and latched on to and possessed the first corpse they found; vampire, human, it didn't matter. Wyatt and Ashlynn were two vampires that Deceased (Killed by Rayna Cruz. Bodies destroyed by the Mystic Falls Gang and the Armory.)
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Sofya Voronova
Sofya, a vampire, was taken possession of by the Hollow. She was forced from Sofya's body with a stainless steel blade laced with Hayley's blood. Undead
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Hope Mikaelson
Hope, a tribrid was forcefully possessed by the Hollow. After combining Hope's blood with her own with a spell, her resurrected body was killed and slowly overwhelmed Hope until her spirit was taken out and divided into four Mikaelsons by Vincent. Alive

Other Forms

Victim Description Status
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Countless Humans
Several dozen humans were "possessed" by Dahlia through her Kenning spell. Alive/Deceased (Some were released from Dahlia's control, while other were killed by Niklaus and Mikael)
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Jackson Kenner
Jackson, an Evolved werewolf was "possessed" by Dahlia through her Kenning spell to spy on and scare Freya. She voluntarily released him from her control. Deceased (Killed by Tristan de Martel)
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Josephine LaRue
Josephine, a witch, was killed by Dahlia and her corpse was reanimed and "possessed" by her Kenning spell. Using Josephine's body, she visited the Mikaelsons to send a message to them that she was coming to take what was owed to her. Deceased (Killed by Dahlia. Body destroyed by Niklaus Mikaelson.)
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Japanese Woman
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Japanese Child
Presumably a human, the unnamed Japanese women was possessed by an Oni. The woman was freed from its control by the Oni itself, as if could take possession of other victims naturally through physical contact, opting to take a child to prevent its destruction. The child was spared as Kurutta decided to take the Oni within himself. Deceased (Circa 1300s)
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Kurutta
Kurutta, a human, was possessed of by the 'Oni, however, he could fight for control given his "broken mind". After he was freed from Malivore, he was inadvertently touched and the Oni found a new body. Deceased (Killed by the oni while possessing Landon)
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Good Samaritan
The Good Samaritan was a human who was possessed by the Oni. The Oni left his body and found a new host within Dennis Alive
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Dennis
Dennis, a human, was briefly possessed by the Oni, until he left his body in lieu of taking Rafael as a host. Alive
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Rafael Waithe
Rafael, a werewolf, was briefly possessed by the Oni, until he left his body in lieu of taking Landon as a host. Alive (Resurrected)
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Landon Kirby
Landon, a phoenix, was briefly possessed by the Oni, until Lizzie killed Landon, inadvertently touching him in the process, becoming the Oni's new host. Landon is also Malivore's perfect vessel and, as such, can be "possessed", per se, by Malivore. Unlike most forms of possession, Malivore, in physical form, physically takes control of Landon as opposed of a spirit being subjected to a host body. Alive (Resurrected)
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Lizzie Saltzman
Lizzie, a siphoner witch, was was briefly possessed by the Oni, until Josie forced the Oni from her body with a purge spell and send back to Malivore. Given Lizzie's "broken mind", she could resist the Oni like Kurutta. Alive (Resurrected)
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Kaelan
Kaelan, a human, died of a broken heart. Upon her death, a banshee, a demon drawn to inconsolable grief, possessed her. She was eventually consumed by Malivore and later released to do his bidding with the promise of freedom. However, Kaelan's spirit persisted and had some limited control against the banshee, particularly when she learned her family's legacy continued with her son. At peace, the banshee was forced from her body and Kaelan died. Deceased (Inconsolable grief, Circa 1014 / Found Peace, 2029)

Appearances

The Vampire Diaries

Season One

Season Two

Season Three

Season Four

Season Five

Season Seven

The Originals

Season One

Season Two

Season Three

Season Four

Legacies

Season Two

Season Three

Trivia

  • In They All Asked For You, according to Josephine LaRue, witches despise possession when it is used against other witches, specifically in the regards to promising young witches being inhabited against their will.

See also