Woden's Hunt, also known as the Wild Ride or Wild Hunt. A myth of devilish riders in the sky, accompanied by black dogs, spectral beasts whose eyes glowed with fire... A Bearer of Death and Guardian of the Supernatural, the Black Dog is also known by its more common name, the Hellhound.
The Hellhound, also known as the Black Dog or the Bearer of Death, is an amortal supernatural spirit with pyrokinetic and thermokinetic abilities who possesses the bodies of humans upon being reborn on Earth in order to complete their destined missions. It is said to be the guardian of the supernatural world, and it is their duty to make sure this world remains a secret to the human world no matter what. They are neither good nor evil, being utterly neutral and focused only on their "natural" duty. Jordan Parrish is the only known Hellhound vessel so far in the Teen Wolf series.
According to folklore and legend, the vessel of the Hellhound often has no idea who they are; for example, Parrish had no idea that he had been possessed by the Hellhound for over a year until he was finally informed of his supernatural identity by Chris and Gerard Argent in The Sword and the Spirit Because the Hellhound is a creature of the night, the transformation into their Hellhound form usually happens after nightfall, during which point it completely takes over its human host, repressing the host's spirit until their job is done for the evening. The transformation has thus far been shown to be a sort of blackout, where the person has no memories of what they did while the Hellhound was in control, though over time, Parrish has begun to recall bits and pieces of what he witnessed.
The Hellhound's eyes glow reddish-orange like flames, and they are immune to fire, though exposure to it will often trigger a transformation as a survival mechanism. For example, Parrish was burned alive in a car, but moments later, he walked into a police station with no burns or permanent damage, save for the melted and burned remnants of his uniform. The Hellhound has also been shown to possess the ability to generate flames and heat around their body, which they can use as an offensive weapon in battle, such as when Parrish burned the chameleon-esque Chimera, Corey, after the latter grabbed him by the arm while Parrish was in Hellhound-mode.
It is unknown how many Hellhounds exist in the Teen Wolf universe, but at present, the only one known is currently residing within Jordan Parrish. This Hellhound has gone by many names throughout its immensely long life, including Cerberus, Garmr, the Black Shuck, and the Black Dog, presumably gaining the names from various different cultures' version of the Hellhound legend in mythology. However, it appears that these are all simply different names for the same eternal Hellhound spirit. From the short amount of time the Hellhound has been seen in control of Parrish's body, he has given the impression of being aloof and focused solely on fulfilling his mission, barely seeming to notice anything else around him due to his view that it is small and unimportant. However, he is perfectly willing to eliminate any obstacle in his path if they seem to get in his way, such as the violence he has committed in his pursuit to take the bodies of the dead Chimeras to the Nemeton.
That said, he worked with Scott McCall, Stiles Stilinski, and Liam Dunbar, allowing them to follow him in his pursuit of the Banshee, Lydia Martin, at Eichen house; he even moved Stiles out of the way with only minimal force so he could shield them from the force of the Banshee's scream. This contrasts strongly with his reaction to the members of the Chimera Pack, who he forcefully attacked after Theo Raeken ordered them to take him down. The Hellhound even warned Scott and his pack about the Beast's trap, suggesting that he at the very least views them as innocent lives who are not worth killing.
Personality wise, the Hellhound is seemingly completely neutral and thus neither good nor evil. He views Parrish as nothing more than a vessel in his mission to defeat the Beast, but he was willing to listen to Lydia when she told him that he could only defeat his foe by accepting Parrish's spirit and allowing them to work together. While his duty is to cover up the supernatural, he hasn't attempted to kill witnesses of his behavior, nor those who know about the supernatural, suggesting that he has some sort of moral code regarding loss of life.
Amortality: According to Cerberus, he is beyond life and death and are one of the few (if not the only) infinite beings in the Teen Wolf universe. He implied that his spirit is extremely old, and judging by the comment he made about being known as Cerberus, a Hellhound figure from Ancient Greek mythology, he has possibly existed for millennia. While the human vessels of the Hellhound may perish in time, the Hellhound spirit itself exists forever by being reborn into new human bodies when he has a supernatural duty to fulfill on Earth.
Possession: The Hellhound can take a human vessel by imbuing it with its spirit and power. By doing so, the human gains all of the powers and the abilities of the Hellhound, a process the Hellhound has performed countless times throughout its long life.
Super Strength: The Hellhound is incredibly strong. This was demonstrated when Parrish knocked Theo Raeken out with one punch and flipped over Stiles' Jeep with ease while Stiles was still inside of it. It even had enough strength to possibly rival The Beast by blocking its strong strikes, though he had to this with two hands due to the immense size difference between them.
Super Speed, Agility, and Reflexes: Like most supernatural creatures, the Hellhound is very fast, easily faster than any normal human. The Hellhound appears to be one of Teen Wolf's most swift creatures, as it was running so fast that it easily kept up with the pace of The Beast of Gevaudan, and was able to completely clear up the blood and body left after Donovan Donati's death within moments so that it appeared as though no one had ever been there.
Super Senses: The Hellhound's heightened senses allow them to sense, smell or hear things that normal humans cannot, though the exact range of this power has yet to be defined.
Shapeshifting: The Hellhound has the ability to transform the bodies of their human hosts into Hellhound form, which involves glowing reddish-orange eyes, retractable claws and fangs that are deadly sharp, and skin that has the appearance of black volcanic rock with veins of molten lava running through it. The Hellhound can also create flames that cover their entire body, which it can selectively use to protect or ignite; for example, the flames caused a Chimera named Corey to burst into flames and sustain third-degree burns over his entire body, while a Banshee, Lydia Martin, was protected by the flames when Cerberus wrapped his flaming body around her to protect her and the bystanders from her overpowered Banshee wail.
Accelerated Healing: The Hellhound has been shown to heal from mild to moderate wounds extremely quickly. Parrish has had his abdomen clawed open and his chest impaled with a pipe, both of which healed completely within an hour. It appears that the Hellhound's healing ability is related to its fire, as the wounds are shown to literally smoke until the tissue is regenerated. This healing happens much quicker when the Hellhound is in control; when their human vessel is in control, their healing is remarkably decreased in speed.
Pyrokinesis/Thermokinesis: The Hellhound possesses the ability to produce extremely hot flames from within their body, which they can use for many different effects. The Hellhound, while in Parrish's body, has been seen using the flames his body creates to set fire to the bodies of the dead Chimeras whose supernatural secret he was protecting; to enhance his fighting by using flaming fists to hit opponents; and using it as a defensive mechanism, such as when Corey grabbed him and was subsequently set ablaze. The Hellhound can also generate extreme heat without the use of its flames in order to increase the temperature of a room, or to heat up objects; for example, Parrish/Cerberus used this ability to melt through the bars to his jail cell.
Fire Immunity: Due to their pyrokinetic and thermokinetic abilities, the Hellhound is completely immune to the effects of heat and fire. Jordan Parrish was once doused in gasoline and set on fire, and the only negative side effect that occurred was that his clothing melted; otherwise, he suffered no burns or injuries of any kind. Fire is even able to bring the Hellhound into control.
Harbinger Connection: The Hellhound has a mysterious connection to other Harbingers of Death, specifically Banshees. The Hellhound possessing Jordan Parrish has a particularly strong connection to Lydia Martin, an exceptionally powerful Banshee with whom Jordan is close friends. Through this connection, Lydia's Banshee spirit is able to inform the Hellhound when there's a body he needs to deal with or to give him other warnings if necessary. Likewise, the Hellhound can also locate Lydia when she is in trouble.
Precognitive Dreaming: As part of the Harbinger Connection, the Hellhound can experience dreams of the future in which they are retrieving the bodies of the dead Chimeras (or dead supernaturals) and bringing them to the Nemeton to be burned in their ritual. However, since the future is ever-changing, those who are dead in the Hellhounds' dream may not end up that way if the event that caused their death can be stopped.
Supernatural Immunity: Like Banshees, the Hellhound is immune to several types of supernatural phenomenon. Electricity, including that produced by Kitsune and Chimeras with electrokinetic abilities (like Josh Diaz), have no effect on the Hellhound, nor will Kanima venom paralyze them like it does other humans and supernatural creatures. They also are immune to Mountain Ash, due in part because their pyrokinesis can literally burn the mystical barrier out of it.
The Hellhound is implied to be reborn on Earth in the body of a human when it has a duty to fulfill, such as the Hellhound's current mission is to defeat The Beast of Gevaudan and possibly protect the Nemeton. When the Hellhound is possessing a human, they are only partially active, as they spend most of the daytime hours in human form where their control is suppressed, and therefore their vessel is usually ignorant to their true nature. Additionally, they are more vulnerable during the daylight hours, as it usually isn't until after nightfall that they take their Hellhound form. Fire is currently the only known thing that can reliably force the transformation from Human to Hellhound so as to counter this weakness. Additionally, because of their dual nature, their actions while in Hellhound form can be unpredictable. The dual nature is implied to be the reason why the Hellhound is losing his battle against the Beast, as it is fighting against Parrish's spirit for control.
Parrish was first possessed by the Hellhound when he was in Afghanistan in the autumn of 2011 (which took place during the Season 3 episode Alpha Pact. He was attempting to defuse a bomb, but when he cut the wrong wire, it blew up in his face at the exact same moment that the Nemeton in Beacon Hills was being reawakened by a surrogate sacrifice ritual performed by Scott McCall, Allison Argent, and Stiles Stilinski. The reawakened Nemeton somehow caused the Hellhound to be reborn into Parrish's body, which Parrish himself had no recollection of happening until the Argents helped him remember in The Sword and the Spirit. When the Chimeras created by the Dread Doctors in hopes of resurrecting The Beast of Gevaudan began to fail and risked the exposure of the supernatural world, the Hellhound within Parrish was activated, and he began unknowingly taking the dead Chimera bodies and leaving them at the Nemeton, thus protecting the secret. Parrish began dreaming about the sacrifices, but he didn't learn until recently that they weren't dreams, but are actually true visions.
Parrish finally "met" the Hellhound within him after Lydia Martin, Chris Argent, and Gerard Argent used a machine to lower his temperature so Parrish could access the Hellhound's consciousness so they could learn more about what they were dealing with. During this conversation, the Hellhound stated that Jordan Parrish's body was a means to an end, and implied that he was dead due to the losing battle they were currently fighting against the Beast, which the Hellhound seems to be destined to battle. However, Lydia, as the Banshee, stated that the Hellhound wouldn't survive without Parrish and vice-versa before telling them to remember the exact moment Parrish died, which gave Parrish back control over his body once again.
Afterward, it seemed that the Hellhound and Parrish finally began to coexist peacefully with each other, with Cerberus giving Parrish the ability to access his powers at his will rather than Cerberus' own.
In the "real world," versions of the Hellhound exist in numerous cultures spanning Europe and the Americas, including many of the names the Hellhound possessing Jordan Parrish referred to in A Credible Threat.
The Greek myth of Cerberus is arguably the most well-known Hellhound legend. Cerberus is also known as the "hound of Hades" and is a monstrous multi-headed dog who is tasked with guarding the gates of the underworld in order to prevent the dead from leaving. He was the final labour in the twelve labours of Heracles, which resulted in Cerberus being captured by the demi-god to fulfill his mission. He was also the spawn of Echidna, a half-woman, half-snake monster, and her mate, Typhon, who, as the son of Gaia and Tartarus, is known as the most fearsome monster of Greek mythology and the father of many monsters himself.
Garmr, also known as Garm, is a hound from Norse legends who is described as a blood-stained watchdog who guards the gate to Hel, the Norse realm of the dead which is ruled by the goddess of the same name. He is mentioned several times (though not always by name) in the Poetic Edda; in the Baldrs draumar, Odin journeys to Hel and meets a dog who is implied to be Garmr. Additionally, the Prose Edda describes him as "the greatest monster" who guarded the cave of Gnipahellir and who would do battle with the god Týr during Ragnarök, with each slaying the other before the world starts anew.
The Black Dog is a being found in the folklore of the British Isles that is best known as a ghostly apparition of a black hound that is larger than an average dog. It is described as being larger than an average dog with large glowing eyes and is often associated with lightning and thunderstorms, crossroads, ancient pathways, and places where executions take place. It is also associated with Hellhounds and the Devil in general. The origins of this legendary creature of the night remain a mystery, as it could be derived from either the Celtic or the Germanic influences on British culture. The Black Dog is also frequently compared to the Cŵn Annwn, Garmr, Cerberus, and other Hellhound myths such as the Barghest.
The Black Shuck is another variation of the myth of the Black Dog, only it is specific to the fens of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. It is suggested that the name "shuck" came from the Old English word for "demon," "scucca," and the dog is described as a large, shaggy and/or hairy hound the size of a calf or a horse with large, flaming eyes. The Black Shuck is often times referred to as an omen of death (similar to the legend of the Grim, which was often referenced in the Harry Potter series), but other stories describe the dog as a companion to humans. Those who claim to have seen the Black Shuck say he was spotted on the coastline, graveyards, side roads, bodies of water, and dark forests of East Anglia.
The Bearer of Death is the phrase used to describe the Hellhound, both in the book Lydia Martin was reading in Status Asthmaticus and in real-life mythology. The Bearer of Death version of the Hellhound is claimed to be "black as coal and smell of burning brimstone," causing wherever he walks to be burned in a trail behind him. His eyes are described as being deep, bright red, and he possesses razor-sharp teeth, super speed and strength, which is likely where Jeff Davis came up with the in-series mythology of the Hellhound. In this myth, Hellhounds are known as the "Bearers of Death" because they were said to be created by ancient demons for the sole purpose of being heralds of death. Some legends say that seeing a Bearer of Death will lead to the person's death, where others say they must see the Hellhound three times before this occurs, which is what has made the Hellhound such a feared creature.
Banshees, particularly Lydia Martin, have a unique connection with the Hellhound due to the fact that they're both harbingers of death.
So far, the Hellhound has been shown to be nearly unstoppable; though they are vulnerable in their human form, any life-threatening injury will cause them to revert to Hellhound form, at least until they are fully healed.
The Hellhound seems destined to face the resurrected The Beast of Gevaudan. Parrish is the only being known to survive an encounter with it thus far, though Parrish admitted he knew he was losing in their last fights.
It has been suggested that Parrish will need to evolve to be able to beat the Beast as the Hellhound, possibly implying that there may be a way for Parrish and the Hellhound to coexist in one body rather than fighting back and forth for control.
It is unknown where the Hellhound resides when it isn't possessing a human vessel on Earth.
When Jordan Parrish and Lydia Martin touched the Nemeton together, the rings of the stump began to glow bright gold, indicating the connection between the two harbingers of death and the once-powerful tree.