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Protect us! Kill the bad girls!
―"Hans and Gretta"[src]

Hans and Gretta Strauss were the names a demon used when disguised as a pair of dead siblings. It manifested every 50 years to create strife and tear communities apart in a witch-hunt.[1]



Hans and Gretta from the 17th century.

Rupert Giles speculated that he demon's disguise was the basis of the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. The earliest record of their appearance was in 1649, in a village near the Black Forest in Germany. Other known instances were in a rural community in Utah in 1899, and near Omaha in 1949. On every account, the two children were murdered and won the sympathy of the community.[1]


Hans and Gretta from the mid-20th century.

The demon fed on the emotions of the people, specifically hatred and persecution. As such, it would often appear to humans and goad them to bring justice by persecuting witches or women who appeared to have connection to the supernatural. Such was the power of the demon that it convinces its targets completely, regardless of the bond or relationship between parents and children.[1]

In 1999, the pair appeared as murdered children to Joyce Summers in Sunnydale. The children laid dead in a playground with an occult symbol drawn on their hands. The children then haunted her in visions, encouraging her to "punish the bad girls."[1]

Joyce formed Mothers Opposed to the Occult and roused the adults of Sunnydale into an angry mob, resulting in their taking most of Giles' occult books away, Sheila ordering Willow to be confined to her room, Cordelia's parents taking away her black clothes and candles, and a mob beating Michael for being a warlock. The Scooby Gang initially attempted to investigate the deaths themselves, but Willow identified the symbol on their hands as a harmless protection. Buffy eventually realized that nobody knew a thing about the children themselves, such as their families or names. The gang carried out further research on the children and found prior records of their "deaths" over the years.[1]


The death of the demon.

As the mob tried to burn Buffy, Willow, and Amy at the stake, Giles and Cordelia assembled the necessary ingredients to cast a spell to reveal the demon's true form, negating its thrall over the Sunnydale population. The demon charged at Buffy as she attempted to use her strength to free herself from her restraints, only to snap the stake she was tied to. She lowered her body with the stake still tied to her, which impaled the demon through its throat, killing it.[1]

Powers and abilities[]


The demon's true appearance.

The demon in its true form appeared as a towering humanoid with red eyes, bat-like ears, and tusks. The demon could be forced to revert to its true form with a revealing spell. It would still attempt to convince humans that it needed to receive justice, but it did not have the power to convince people as it did while disguised as human.[1]

Behind the scenes[]