History Main / MaybeMagicMaybeMundane

26th Mar '17 4:16:34 AM Doug86
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* At one point of ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' storyline ''ComicBook/KryptoniteNevermore'', Superman confronts a villain who uses an ancient artifact -- called the Harp's Devil -- to steal powers and abilities. After breaking the Harp, Superman ponders on its nature: Was it a magical device? Or just a piece of forgotten technology? He concludes that he will never know, the story does not tell, and both answers are possible in this setting.

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* At one point of ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' storyline ''ComicBook/KryptoniteNevermore'', Superman confronts a villain who uses an ancient artifact -- called the Harp's Devil Devil's Harp -- to steal powers and abilities. After breaking the Harp, Superman ponders on its nature: Was it a magical device? Or just a piece of forgotten technology? He concludes that he will never know, the story does not tell, and both answers are possible in this setting.
25th Mar '17 1:53:02 PM justanid
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SubTrope of RiddleForTheAges; SuperTrope of OrWasItADream. Often comes into play with AngelUnaware, and does when [[ThereAreNoCoincidences characters say]] BecauseDestinySaysSo about situations that could be interpreted as ContrivedCoincidence. Any apparent DeadPersonConversation (particularly if TalkingInYourDreams) may fall under this, if the conversation contains nothing that the character could not have known. PropheciesAreAlwaysRight does not preclude their looking like dumb luck.

See also MagicRealism, InMysteriousWays and DominoRevelation.

Compare ThroughTheEyesOfMadness, where the audience sees evidence in favor of the weird explanation, but remains unsure of whether it's real or not because of the possible [[UnreliableNarrator unreliability of the narrator]]. Also, from TheOtherWiki, Compare [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantastique Fantastique]], a genre of fiction typified by supernatural phenomena that is not explained to the reader or the main characters, hinting at a magical occurrence.

Also compare AmbiguousEnding.

Contrast RealAfterAll, which often involves a mix of mundane and magical explanations, but usually makes it clear at the end which incidents were which -- at least to the audience. (GaveUpTooSoon is common for the characters.)

[[noreallife]]

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SubTrope of RiddleForTheAges; SuperTrope of OrWasItADream. Often comes into play with AngelUnaware, and does when [[ThereAreNoCoincidences characters say]] BecauseDestinySaysSo about situations that could be interpreted as ContrivedCoincidence. Any apparent DeadPersonConversation (particularly if TalkingInYourDreams) may fall under this, if the conversation contains nothing that the character could not have known. PropheciesAreAlwaysRight does not preclude their looking like dumb luck.

See also MagicRealism, InMysteriousWays and DominoRevelation.

SubTrope of RiddleForTheAges. SuperTrope to OrWasItADream.

Compare ThroughTheEyesOfMadness, where the audience sees evidence in favor of the weird explanation, but remains unsure of whether it's real or not because of the possible [[UnreliableNarrator unreliability of the narrator]]. Also, from TheOtherWiki, Compare AmbiguousEnding; and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantastique Fantastique]], Fantastique]] (from TheOtherWiki), a genre of fiction typified by supernatural phenomena that is not explained to the reader or the main characters, hinting at a magical occurrence.

occurrence.. Also compare AmbiguousEnding.

ThroughTheEyesOfMadness, where the audience sees evidence in favor of the weird explanation, but remains unsure of whether it's real or not because of the possible [[UnreliableNarrator unreliability of the narrator]].

Contrast RealAfterAll, which often involves a mix of mundane and magical explanations, but usually makes it clear at the end which incidents were which -- at (at least to the audience. (GaveUpTooSoon audience, GaveUpTooSoon is common for the characters.)

[[noreallife]]
characters).

See also DominoRevelation, InMysteriousWays, and MagicRealism.

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[[noreallife]] %% No Real Life examples, please.
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24th Mar '17 9:41:18 PM HighCrate
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* A few episodes in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' end this way, particularly ''The Fortune Teller'' and ''The Swamp''. Avatar uses basically every combination of mundane or magical explanation at some point.
** Bending could be seen this way. It seems to contrast with some of the overtly magic/spiritual aspects of the canon in that it is just a martial art in the Avatar universe. Katara sharply corrects Soka when he refers to water bending as playing with "magic water."

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* %%* A few episodes in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' end this way, particularly ''The Fortune Teller'' and ''The Swamp''. Avatar uses basically every combination of mundane or magical explanation at some point.
** Bending could be seen this way. It seems to contrast with some of the overtly magic/spiritual aspects of the canon in that it is just a martial art in the Avatar universe. Katara sharply corrects Soka when he refers to water bending as playing with "magic water."
point.
24th Mar '17 6:57:38 PM 64SuperNintendo
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* A few episodes in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' end this way, particularly The Fortune Teller and The Swamp. Avatar uses basically every combination of mundane or magical explanation at some point.

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* A few episodes in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' end this way, particularly The ''The Fortune Teller Teller'' and The Swamp.''The Swamp''. Avatar uses basically every combination of mundane or magical explanation at some point.



** The episode ''Read my lips'' has Batman analyzing the Ventriloquist and Scarface's voices in the Batcomputer. The result shows that those voices belong to ''two different persons''. Batman also says to Alfred that he studied with the world greatest ventriloquist, Zatara (Zatanna's father) and that the Ventriloquist could ''give him lessons''. So, InUniverse, they aren't sure if the Ventriloquist is just way better artist that the world greatest magician, or if Scarface is truly a DemonicDummy. For what it's worth, the two actually were voiced by the same actor, so maybe the Batcomputer just wasn't up to snuff.

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** The episode ''Read my lips'' My Lips'' has Batman analyzing the Ventriloquist and Scarface's voices in the Batcomputer. The result shows that those voices belong to ''two different persons''. Batman also says to Alfred that he studied with the world greatest ventriloquist, Zatara (Zatanna's father) and that the Ventriloquist could ''give him lessons''. So, InUniverse, they aren't sure if the Ventriloquist is just way better artist that the world greatest magician, or if Scarface is truly a DemonicDummy. For what it's worth, the two actually were voiced by the same actor, so maybe the Batcomputer just wasn't up to snuff.
15th Mar '17 4:41:34 PM SteveMB
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* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'

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* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'':
15th Mar '17 4:40:40 PM SteveMB
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* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' dealt with this trope. If you'd only watched the cartoon, they make it clear, even to the point of explanation, that ComicBook/{{Zatanna}}'s tricks are just stage magic. If you read the comics however, you know that Zatanna is capable of magic, and it's later confirmed on ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. So the question is, was any of it real, or did she just play it straight throughout the whole episode?

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* An ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'
** In the
episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' dealt with this trope. If you'd only watched the cartoon, they make it "Zatanna", it's clear, even to the point of explanation, being outright stated, that ComicBook/{{Zatanna}}'s tricks are just stage magic. If you read the comics however, you know that Zatanna is capable of real magic, and it's later confirmed on ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''. So There are a couple of incidents[[note]]the Joker card predicting young Bruce's future and Zatanna's final disappearance[[/note]] that raise the question is, of whether or not real magic was any of it real, or did she just play it straight throughout the whole episode?involved.
13th Mar '17 6:37:27 AM Arcana4th
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Added DiffLines:

* ''VideoGame/NightInTheWoods'' lives and breathes this tropes constantly, to the point it's impossible to be sure about what happened in the end of the game.
** The Janitor is a recurring figure that appears and gives Mae cryptic sentences that seem like either warnings or helpful advice. The end reveals that he [[spoiler:knew Mae's name all along]]. There is a lot of ways to explain what he does, several simply being that he is an old and wise man that has taken a liking on a girl who really look like she needs help, but it's left ambiguous whether [[spoiler:he is or not a supernatural entity, with hints that he might actually be God himself]].
** The latter part of the game is focused on a ghost hunt, but the characters themselves lampshade the possibility that it's actually just a normal person that has done everything.
** Mae has recurring nightmares of a astral band in strange places that always end with she meeting a gigantic and bizarre creature. It's hinted at the possibility that Mae has some sort of connection to the supernatural and that those entities are some sort of CosmicHorror, but the nature of these dreams and things are ultimately left unexplained. There is genuinely a possibility that Mae is sick and is hallucinating in her nightmares, [[spoiler:not helped that the end of the game confirms she has some sort of psychosis, with symptoms of dissociation and sleep paralysis]] and one of the newspaper in the library reveals that there was some sort of gas leak in town that makes people hallucinate.
6th Mar '17 11:00:23 AM lavendermintrose
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Tsukiuta'' abuses this trope. It's an [[IdolSinger idol anime]], following two six-member boy bands. Shun, the leader of one of the groups, is known as the "demon king", and sometimes seems to have supernatural powers... but it never goes into whether or not this show takes place in the real world, or some sort of world where that's possible. And then there's the ''one episode'' featuring the female equivalent group - who, apparently, are magical goddesses-in-training ''from the moon''. And the boys don't know.
3rd Mar '17 2:36:36 PM StFan
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* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid':

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* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid':''VideoGame/MetalGear'':



** Another example that is frequently debated by the fans is the nature of Ocelot's "Liquid Ocelot" persona. While Big Boss explains it in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' as solely the product of nanomachines and Ocelot's self-induced psychotherapy techniques, it's less clear about the Liquid persona in ''Metal Gear Solid 2'', when he still has Liquid Snake's right arm grafted to him. Even though Big Boss says that "an arm can't do that" in regards to Liquid's supposed possession of Ocelot, there is the fact that Ocelot's father is a spirit medium in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'' (something Big Boss may be unaware of), and he seems to be far less in control of "Liquid" in ''MGS2'' than he is in ''MGS4'' after Liquid's arm is replaced by a cybernetic one.

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** Another example that is frequently debated by the fans is the nature of Ocelot's "Liquid Ocelot" persona. While Big Boss explains it in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' as solely the product of nanomachines and Ocelot's self-induced psychotherapy techniques, it's less clear about the Liquid persona in ''Metal Gear Solid 2'', when he still has Liquid Snake's right arm grafted to him. Even though Big Boss says that "an arm can't do that" in regards to Liquid's supposed possession of Ocelot, there is the fact that Ocelot's father is a spirit medium in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'' ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' (something Big Boss may be unaware of), and he seems to be far less in control of "Liquid" in ''MGS2'' ''[=MGS2=]'' than he is in ''MGS4'' ''[=MGS4=]'' after Liquid's arm is replaced by a cybernetic one.
3rd Mar '17 12:54:49 PM StFan
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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]]



* LightNovel/DenpaTekiNaKanojo: The BecauseYouWereNiceToMe scene that is RememberedTooLate by Juun could perfectly explain Ame’s PastLifeMemories of being King Juun’s knight. However, ''it could not explain'' the PsychicLink Ame has with Juun.

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* LightNovel/DenpaTekiNaKanojo: ''LightNovel/DenpaTekiNaKanojo'': The BecauseYouWereNiceToMe scene that is RememberedTooLate by Juun could perfectly explain Ame’s PastLifeMemories of being King Juun’s knight. However, ''it could not explain'' the PsychicLink Ame has with Juun.



* In the ''Manga/DeathNote'' manga's final chapter, it's noted that [[spoiler: Mikami mysteriously died in prison ten days after Light's defeat, leading Matsuda to theorize that Near wrote in the Death Note so as to restrict Mikami's actions, enabling Light's conviction. The anime includes no such speculation from Matsuda, and Mikami instead commits suicide on the spot, casting doubt on a supernatural interpretation]].

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* ''Manga/DeathNote'':
**
In the ''Manga/DeathNote'' manga's final chapter, it's noted that [[spoiler: Mikami [[spoiler:Mikami mysteriously died in prison ten days after Light's defeat, leading Matsuda to theorize that Near wrote in the Death Note so as to restrict Mikami's actions, enabling Light's conviction. The anime includes no such speculation from Matsuda, and Mikami instead commits suicide on the spot, casting doubt on a supernatural interpretation]].



* It's left vague if [[spoiler:Yuuki post-episode eight]] in ''Anime/{{Tokyo Magnitude 8}}'' was a ghost or [[spoiler:Mirai]] hallucinating. [[spoiler:He did have hope Mari's daughter was alive even though he saw her presumed daughter's body]], which could mean he has a knowledge of the dead, and we see him disappear later. However it's possible that was all in [[spoiler:Mirai's]] head and she was imagining what [[spoiler:Yuuki]] would do.

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* It's left vague if [[spoiler:Yuuki post-episode eight]] in ''Anime/{{Tokyo Magnitude 8}}'' ''Anime/TokyoMagnitude8'' was a ghost or [[spoiler:Mirai]] hallucinating. [[spoiler:He did have hope Mari's daughter was alive even though he saw her presumed daughter's body]], which could mean he has a knowledge of the dead, and we see him disappear later. However it's possible that was all in [[spoiler:Mirai's]] head and she was imagining what [[spoiler:Yuuki]] would do.



[[folder:Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'': Is Hobbes a real person, or (as most people around Calvin think) just a stuffed animal subjected to Calvin's vivid imagination? Careful attention reveals that instead of both being possible, ''neither'' is: Calvin could hardly tie himself to a chair, for instance, which Hobbes has done to him (on request).[[note]]This was viewed by Calvin's father. So it's not just Calvin's imagination.[[/note]] On the other hand, photos of Hobbes in action show only a stuffed tiger. The best we're likely to get is the author's comment that "Calvin sees Hobbes one way, and everyone else sees Hobbes another way. I show two versions of reality, and each makes complete sense to the participant who sees it."
** This comes up with some of Calvin's other apparent fantasies, too. In one series, he creates several duplicates of himself; no one besides him and Hobbes sees more than one Calvin at a time, but his mother seems a bit perplexed at how she keeps finding Calvin in unexpected places. On the opposite side there are also fantasies that have very mundane solutions that are pointed out, such as when Calvin imagines a baseball coming to life and chewing up his bat, Calvin's father points out the mundane idea that Calvin had been hitting rocks with it, despite Calvin clearly being scared...
* At one point of ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' storyline ''Comicbook/KryptoniteNevermore'', Superman confronts a villain who uses an ancient artifact -called the Harp's Devil- to steal powers and abilities. After breaking the Harp, Superman ponders on its nature: Was it a magical device? Or just a piece of forgotten technology? He concludes that he will never know, the story does not tell, and both answers are possible in this setting.

to:

[[folder:Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'': Is Hobbes a real person, or (as most people around Calvin think) just a stuffed animal subjected to Calvin's vivid imagination? Careful attention reveals that instead of both being possible, ''neither'' is: Calvin could hardly tie himself to a chair, for instance, which Hobbes has done to him (on request).[[note]]This was viewed by Calvin's father. So it's not just Calvin's imagination.[[/note]] On the other hand, photos of Hobbes in action show only a stuffed tiger. The best we're likely to get is the author's comment that "Calvin sees Hobbes one way, and everyone else sees Hobbes another way. I show two versions of reality, and each makes complete sense to the participant who sees it."
** This comes up with some of Calvin's other apparent fantasies, too. In one series, he creates several duplicates of himself; no one besides him and Hobbes sees more than one Calvin at a time, but his mother seems a bit perplexed at how she keeps finding Calvin in unexpected places. On the opposite side there are also fantasies that have very mundane solutions that are pointed out, such as when Calvin imagines a baseball coming to life and chewing up his bat, Calvin's father points out the mundane idea that Calvin had been hitting rocks with it, despite Calvin clearly being scared...
[[folder:Comic Books]]
* At one point of ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' storyline ''Comicbook/KryptoniteNevermore'', ''ComicBook/KryptoniteNevermore'', Superman confronts a villain who uses an ancient artifact -called -- called the Harp's Devil- Devil -- to steal powers and abilities. After breaking the Harp, Superman ponders on its nature: Was it a magical device? Or just a piece of forgotten technology? He concludes that he will never know, the story does not tell, and both answers are possible in this setting.



* The ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' villain Scarface, a ventriloquist dummy mob boss, is sometimes teased as something more than a delusion of an unstable mind. The Ventriloquist himself believes that the dummy is possessed by the spirit of a gangster rather than a facet of his own personality; since it was cut from wood of a tree that in the past was used to hang criminals, it is a rather spooky origin for a seemingly mundane puppet.
** How "real" Scarface is also depends on the continuity. In some, the Ventriloquist was able to free himself of Scarface's influence via therapy; in others, all it took was destroying the doll.
* Zigzags in ''ComicBook/BatmanTheCult'' with BigBad [[SinisterMinister Deacon Blackfire]], who claims to be a 500-year-old Native American mystic. On one hand, his methods of recruitment are clearly shown to be based on psychology and drugs, just like documented cults. On the other hand, evidence suggests Deacon Blackfire really was immortal. Whether he was a complete fraud or merely a partial fraud is never fully explained.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' as a whole tends to take this approach to the nature of Gotham City itself and Arkham Asylum in particular. Is the city cursed, plagued by demons, tormented by {{Darkseid}}'s Omega Power, by nameless [[EldritchAbomination things]], or is it just an incurable WretchedHiveOfScumAndVillainy all on its own? Hints at various supernatural origins for the city's woes and the Asylum's troubles come and go, but none are ever confirmed and there's always a mundane or comic-book-mundane explanation for everything else.
* ComicBook/BatMite's whole ComicBook/PostCrisis existence. Two stories by Alan Grant show Bat-Mite appearing to a criminal named Overdog. Both times Batman (who doesn't find Bat-Mite) rationalizes that these were just Overdog's drug-induced hallucinations, but the reader is left wondering...
* ''ComicBook/GlobalFrequency'' #5, "Big Sky", revolves around the appearance of a spectral, otherworldly being referred to as an 'Angel', which is powerful enough which drives the entire population of an isolated Norwegian coastal town mad. The team eventually discover a mundane explanation involving the burning down of a local church and resonance around local rock formations which caused sensory overload -- but then, after they've identified this explanation, one of them floats the possibility that the appearance of a ''real'' angel might have similar effects involving similar probabilities.
* ''ComicBook/JMSSpiderMan'' introduces a character named Ezekiel that claims that Peter's powers aren't a mutation caused by an [[ILoveNuclearPower irradiated spider bite]] but are in fact "totemic" powers carried by the spider which it felt compelled to pass on after being hit by the lethal radiation beam. It was written in a way letting it be totally ambiguous if either this version or his classic origin is the real one, and even suggesting that both might be true to some extent. When Spider-Man asks an ally of Ezekiel which explanation is true, he simply responds that one explanation didn't necessarily contradict the other.
* When the original Mysterio came BackFromTheDead, he appeared to have supernatural abilities, supposedly gained in Hell. Given that he was already a MasterOfIllusion, it's impossible to be sure how real these powers were, and in the post-''ComicBook/OneMoreDay'' timeline they haven't come up.

to:

* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'':
**
The ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' villain Scarface, a ventriloquist dummy mob boss, is sometimes teased as something more than a delusion of an unstable mind. The Ventriloquist himself believes that the dummy is possessed by the spirit of a gangster rather than a facet of his own personality; since it was cut from wood of a tree that in the past was used to hang criminals, it is a rather spooky origin for a seemingly mundane puppet.
**
puppet. How "real" Scarface is also depends on the continuity. In some, the Ventriloquist was is able to free himself of Scarface's influence via therapy; in others, all it took was takes is destroying the doll.
* ** Zigzags in ''ComicBook/BatmanTheCult'' with BigBad [[SinisterMinister Deacon Blackfire]], who claims to be a 500-year-old Native American mystic. On one hand, his methods of recruitment are clearly shown to be based on psychology and drugs, just like documented cults. On the other hand, evidence suggests Deacon Blackfire really was immortal. Whether he was a complete fraud or merely a partial fraud is never fully explained.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' ** ''Batman'' as a whole tends to take this approach to the nature of Gotham City itself and Arkham Asylum in particular. Is the city cursed, plagued by demons, tormented by {{Darkseid}}'s ComicBook/{{Darkseid}}'s Omega Power, by nameless [[EldritchAbomination things]], or is it just an incurable WretchedHiveOfScumAndVillainy all on its own? Hints at various supernatural origins for the city's woes and the Asylum's troubles come and go, but none are ever confirmed and there's always a mundane or comic-book-mundane explanation for everything else.
* ** ComicBook/BatMite's whole ComicBook/PostCrisis existence. Two stories by Alan Grant show Bat-Mite appearing to a criminal named Overdog. Both times Batman (who doesn't find Bat-Mite) rationalizes that these were just Overdog's drug-induced hallucinations, but the reader is left wondering...
* ''ComicBook/GlobalFrequency'' #5, "Big Sky", revolves around the appearance of a spectral, otherworldly being referred to as an 'Angel', which is powerful enough which drives the entire population of an isolated Norwegian coastal town mad. The team eventually discover a mundane explanation involving the burning down of a local church and resonance around local rock formations which caused sensory overload -- but then, after they've identified this explanation, one of them floats the possibility that the appearance of a ''real'' angel might have similar effects involving similar probabilities.
probabilities.
* ''Franchise/SpiderMan'':
**
''ComicBook/JMSSpiderMan'' introduces a character named Ezekiel that claims that Peter's powers aren't a mutation caused by an [[ILoveNuclearPower irradiated spider bite]] but are in fact "totemic" powers carried by the spider which it felt compelled to pass on after being hit by the lethal radiation beam. It was written in a way letting it be totally ambiguous if either this version or his classic origin is the real one, and even suggesting that both might be true to some extent. When Spider-Man asks an ally of Ezekiel which explanation is true, he simply responds that one explanation didn't necessarily contradict the other.
* ** When the original Mysterio came BackFromTheDead, he appeared to have supernatural abilities, supposedly gained in Hell. Given that he was already a MasterOfIllusion, it's impossible to be sure how real these powers were, and in the post-''ComicBook/OneMoreDay'' timeline they haven't come up.



* Creator/AlanMoore's ComicBook/{{Providence}} deals with this trope and hangs a {{Lampshade}} on it. The approach to Lovecraftian horror in the books is to present it this way to Robert Black, while the reader knows the truth. Robert Black, being an aspiring writer, lampshades the trope by describing it in his commonplace book at the end of Issue 4:
--> '''Robert Black''': Now, if something supernatural were to actually occur to someone in real life, anyone normal would just run a mile. They wouldn't have the author and reader's interest in unraveling the mystery and getting to the story's end. They'd simply flee. I know I would, and I like to think that I'm a normal person underneath it all. I suppose the only way to handle it realistically is to rely on people's tendency not to believe that anything out of the ordinary is going on, even if evidence is mounting to the contrary."

to:

* Creator/AlanMoore's ComicBook/{{Providence}} ''ComicBook/{{Providence}}'' deals with this trope and hangs a {{Lampshade}} on it. The approach to Lovecraftian horror in the books is to present it this way to Robert Black, while the reader knows the truth. Robert Black, being an aspiring writer, lampshades the trope by describing it in his commonplace book at the end of Issue 4:
--> '''Robert Black''': -->'''Robert Black:''' Now, if something supernatural were to actually occur to someone in real life, anyone normal would just run a mile. They wouldn't have the author and reader's interest in unraveling the mystery and getting to the story's end. They'd simply flee. I know I would, and I like to think that I'm a normal person underneath it all. I suppose the only way to handle it realistically is to rely on people's tendency not to believe that anything out of the ordinary is going on, even if evidence is mounting to the contrary."



* ComicBook/TheUltimates began with an unclear origin for the powers of Comicbook/TheMightyThor. Is he a real God from Asgard, attacked by a rival god with reality-warping powers? Or just a madman with delusions of grandeur, who stole high-tech weapons produced in Europe? In the first two story arcs, both options seemed plausible to the reader. The final answer only came at the end of the second arc: [[spoiler:he's the real deal.]]

to:

* ComicBook/TheUltimates ''ComicBook/TheUltimates'' began with an unclear origin for the powers of Comicbook/TheMightyThor. Is he a real God from Asgard, attacked by a rival god with reality-warping powers? Or just a madman with delusions of grandeur, who stole high-tech weapons produced in Europe? In the first two story arcs, both options seemed plausible to the reader. The final answer only came at the end of the second arc: [[spoiler:he's the real deal.]]



* The Annual issue of ''ComicBook/TransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'' keeping with its close look at Cybertronian religion. Did the ground in Theophany give way by chance, or was it in response to Drift's plea? Was everyone teleported to safety because the Metrotitan's faith in the Cybertronian race restored after Rodimus' selfless act, or was it because he got the energy to do so after some of his mass was displaced? Did Ore disappear because Primus sent him to the Afterspark, or, as an extension of the Metrotitan (having been temporarily resuscitated by him), did he teleport along it? Was it something else? We'll never know.
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', does Snoopy's dog house really fly, or is it just his imagination? There's also the question of how it can be BiggerOnTheInside, and how he got all the stuff that is supposedly inside it; [[TakeMyWordForIt claims have been made by him and other characters]] that it contains a television, pool table, a book collection, and even a Van Gogh (which he replaced with an Andrew Wyeth after the dog house was destroyed in a fire).

to:

* The Annual issue of ''ComicBook/TransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'' ''ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'' keeping with its close look at Cybertronian religion. Did the ground in Theophany give way by chance, or was it in response to Drift's plea? Was everyone teleported to safety because the Metrotitan's faith in the Cybertronian race restored after Rodimus' selfless act, or was it because he got the energy to do so after some of his mass was displaced? Did Ore disappear because Primus sent him to the Afterspark, or, as an extension of the Metrotitan (having been temporarily resuscitated by him), did he teleport along it? Was it something else? We'll never know.
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', does Snoopy's dog house really fly, or is it just his imagination? There's also the question of how it can be BiggerOnTheInside, and how he got all the stuff that is supposedly inside it; [[TakeMyWordForIt claims have been made by him and other characters]] that it contains a television, pool table, a book collection, and even a Van Gogh (which he replaced with an Andrew Wyeth after the dog house was destroyed in a fire).
know.



[[folder:Fan Fic]]

to:

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'':
** Is Hobbes a real person, or (as most people around Calvin think) just a stuffed animal subjected to Calvin's vivid imagination? Careful attention reveals that instead of both being possible, ''neither'' is: Calvin could hardly tie himself to a chair, for instance, which Hobbes has done to him (on request).[[note]]This was viewed by Calvin's father. So it's not just Calvin's imagination.[[/note]] On the other hand, photos of Hobbes in action show only a stuffed tiger. The best we're likely to get is the author's comment that "Calvin sees Hobbes one way, and everyone else sees Hobbes another way. I show two versions of reality, and each makes complete sense to the participant who sees it."
** This comes up with some of Calvin's other apparent fantasies, too. In one series, he creates several duplicates of himself; no one besides him and Hobbes sees more than one Calvin at a time, but his mother seems a bit perplexed at how she keeps finding Calvin in unexpected places. On the opposite side there are also fantasies that have very mundane solutions that are pointed out, such as when Calvin imagines a baseball coming to life and chewing up his bat, Calvin's father points out the mundane idea that Calvin had been hitting rocks with it, despite Calvin clearly being scared...
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', does Snoopy's dog house really fly, or is it just his imagination? There's also the question of how it can be BiggerOnTheInside, and how he got all the stuff that is supposedly inside it; [[TakeMyWordForIt claims have been made by him and other characters]] that it contains a television, pool table, a book collection, and even a Van Gogh (which he replaced with an Andrew Wyeth after the dog house was destroyed in a fire).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]Works]]



* Partly why VideoGame/Metroid2 [[{{Creepypasta}} Secret Worlds]] is so haunting. Is it all an elaborate hoax and the protagonist merely a sucker? Or was Palm really visited by [[spoiler: the ghost of Gunpei Yokoi?]]

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* Partly why VideoGame/Metroid2 ''VideoGame/Metroid2'' [[{{Creepypasta}} Secret Worlds]] is so haunting. Is it all an elaborate hoax and the protagonist merely a sucker? Or was Palm really visited by [[spoiler: the ghost of Gunpei Yokoi?]]






[[folder:Films -- Animated]]

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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]Animation]]



* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'' has an example that goes beyond the others; [[spoiler: Late in the film, it's implied that the whole adventure is just real-life human Finn's playing with his dad's Lego sets- but our hero Emmet is fully conscious and- with some difficulty- capable of moving a little while in the 'real world'.]]

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* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegoMovie'' has an example that goes beyond the others; [[spoiler: Late [[spoiler:Late in the film, it's implied that the whole adventure is just real-life human Finn's playing with his dad's Lego sets- sets... but our hero Emmet is fully conscious and- and -- with some difficulty- difficulty -- capable of moving a little while in the 'real world'."real world".]]



* The ending of Disney's version of ''Disney/PeterPan'' leaves it ambiguous whether the adventures in Neverland were real or {{All Just A Dream}} of Wendy's. Unlike in the original play and novel, where Wendy and her brothers spend many days in Neverland and come home to find their parents grieving their absence, here the trip lasts just one night, the children are already back home by the time the parents come back from their dinner party, and while they see what looks like the pirate ship sailing in the distant sky, it's purposefully drawn so we can't quite tell if it really is the ship or just a cloud formation. The sequel more or less confirms it to have been {{Real After All}}, though.

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* The ending of Disney's version of ''Disney/PeterPan'' leaves it ambiguous whether the adventures in Neverland were real or {{All Just A Dream}} AllJustADream of Wendy's. Unlike in the original play and novel, where Wendy and her brothers spend many days in Neverland and come home to find their parents grieving their absence, here the trip lasts just one night, the children are already back home by the time the parents come back from their dinner party, and while they see what looks like the pirate ship sailing in the distant sky, it's purposefully drawn so we can't quite tell if it really is the ship or just a cloud formation. The sequel more or less confirms it to have been {{Real After All}}, RealAfterAll, though.



[[folder:Live Action TV]]

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[[folder:Live Action [[folder:Live-Action TV]]



[[folder:Podcasts]]
* Episodes of ''Podcast/TheMagnusArchives'' are in the form of statements from people about their possibly supernatural experiences. Each statement is followed by comments, from the archivist; he disbelieves much of what he reads, but awkward details usually leave room for doubt about a mundane explanation, and whether there was really any supernatural aspect is sometimes left ambiguous.
[[/folder]]



* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' loves this trope as a cornerstone of its setting, especially when the Adeptus Mechanicus come into play. Is that ancient relic so powerful because it was created with long-lost technology of astounding power, or is it truly blessed by the Emperor to protect his children? Do the Necrons invoke some strange techno-sorcery in their weapons and vehicles, or is their understanding of the material world so absolute that we can't even begin to understand how they work? Are the Legion of the Damned mystical undead, or just regular marines suffering from some ungodly mixture of the Black Rage and Nurgle Rot? Did the Techpriest's chanting and ritual application of holy oils appease the machine spirit of the Land Raider, or does the Land Raider just have a voice-activated diagnostic program installed? The answer is very, very rarely made clear in any given case. This is made worse because it has to be on a case-by-case basis since magic and super-tech both exist in the setting, and some tech (especially that used by Orks) is explicitly a mix of real mechanical systems and ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve.

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* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' loves this trope as a cornerstone of its setting, especially when the Adeptus Mechanicus come into play. Is that ancient relic so powerful because it was created with long-lost technology of astounding power, or is it truly blessed by the Emperor to protect his children? Do the Necrons invoke some strange techno-sorcery in their weapons and vehicles, or is their understanding of the material world so absolute that we can't even begin to understand how they work? Are the Legion of the Damned mystical undead, or just regular marines suffering from some ungodly mixture of the Black Rage and Nurgle Rot? Did the Techpriest's chanting and ritual application of holy oils appease the machine spirit of the Land Raider, or does the Land Raider just have a voice-activated diagnostic program installed? The answer is very, very rarely made clear in any given case. This is made worse because it has to be on a case-by-case basis since magic and super-tech both exist in the setting, and some tech (especially that used by Orks) is explicitly a mix of real mechanical systems and ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve.



[[folder: Theatre]]

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[[folder: Theatre]][[folder:Theater]]



* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''. Among many, many other examples, there is Fortune. Is she ImmuneToBullets due to luck-based powers, or a prototype force field? If it's the force field, then why can she deflect missiles after the force field has been proven to be deactivated? Also, she managed to survive a gunshot wound due to her being one of a very few number of people with their hearts on the opposite side of their chests...
** Another example that is frequently debated by the fans is the nature of Ocelot's "Liquid Ocelot" persona. While Big Boss explains it in ''MetalGearSolid4'' as solely the product of nanomachines and Ocelot's self-induced psychotherapy techniques, it's less clear about the Liquid persona in ''Metal Gear Solid 2'', when he still has Liquid Snake's right arm grafted to him. Even though Big Boss says that "an arm can't do that" in regards to Liquid's supposed possession of Ocelot, there is the fact that Ocelot's father is a spirit medium in ''MetalGearSolid3'' (something Big Boss may be unaware of), and he seems to be far less in control of "Liquid" in ''MGS2'' than he is in ''MGS4'' after Liquid's arm is replaced by a cybernetic one.

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* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid':
**
''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty''. Among many, many other examples, there is Fortune. Is she ImmuneToBullets due to luck-based powers, or a prototype force field? If it's the force field, then why can she deflect missiles after the force field has been proven to be deactivated? Also, she managed to survive a gunshot wound due to her being one of a very few number of people with their hearts on the opposite side of their chests...
** Another example that is frequently debated by the fans is the nature of Ocelot's "Liquid Ocelot" persona. While Big Boss explains it in ''MetalGearSolid4'' ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'' as solely the product of nanomachines and Ocelot's self-induced psychotherapy techniques, it's less clear about the Liquid persona in ''Metal Gear Solid 2'', when he still has Liquid Snake's right arm grafted to him. Even though Big Boss says that "an arm can't do that" in regards to Liquid's supposed possession of Ocelot, there is the fact that Ocelot's father is a spirit medium in ''MetalGearSolid3'' ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3'' (something Big Boss may be unaware of), and he seems to be far less in control of "Liquid" in ''MGS2'' than he is in ''MGS4'' after Liquid's arm is replaced by a cybernetic one.



[[folder:Webcomics]]

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[[folder:Webcomics]][[folder:Web Comics]]
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