Created By: bluepenguin on October 25, 2009
Troped

Gas Leak Coverup

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Are you a government official who needs a quick, mundane excuse for a large number of mysterious, possibly supernatural deaths? Gas leaks are the way to go. They're accidental (no need to find a scapegoat!) and provide a good reason to keep people away from the site of the disaster (there might be lingering traces of gas there, after all!). You can even say that the gas was hallucinogenic, so that if any survivors or bystanders saw anything weird, well, that's why.

Worried that anyone with half a brain will see that this explanation doesn't quite add up? Don't be. The general populace will always swallow this one hook, line and sinker, no matter how many times you use it or how implausible it is (maybe it's just that they're more comfortable believing in gas leaks than in demon attacks or the like). Watch out for nosy teenage protagonists, though. Those are a bit harder to fool.


Examples:

Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • October 24, 2009
    newtonthenewt
    In Heroes "Tabula Rasa," Noah uses a carbon monoxide leak as a cover up for Jeremy Greer who accidentally killed his parents with his power.
  • October 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the attack Sirius Black is accused of is described by Muggle authorities as a gas explosion.
  • October 24, 2009
    Prfnoff
    Making the alleged gas hallucinogenic makes this a Shared Mass Hallucination excuse.
  • October 25, 2009
    Giant Space Chinchilla
    not a gas leak but it shows up in 2nd Resident evil movie, a reactor meltdown somehow covers up a nuclear bomb IIRC
  • October 25, 2009
    random surfer
    Real Life: sometimes UFO sigtings are "explained" with references to swamp gas. Even in places nowhere near a swamp.
  • October 25, 2009
    Giant Space Chinchilla
    swamp gas example is played for laughs in the first MIB movie
  • October 25, 2009
    bigboy
    Truth In Television in WWII the British government uses this as cover rather then admit the existent of the V2 rocket
  • October 25, 2009
    Martin The Mess
    Close Encounters Of The Third Kind has the government claiming a rail accident occurred with a train carrying nerve gas as a way to evacuate everyone from the area around Devil's Tower, Wyoming, where the Aliens are soon due to show up.
  • October 25, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In PS 238, when Suzie Fusion loses her temper and almost blasts a group of mean older girls, this is the excuse used to cover up the incident.
  • October 25, 2009
    SevenMass
    How can you propose this trope without mentioning El Goonish Shive? Take this one for example:
    Mr. Verres: Ah, Some of my best work! Though I have been using that weather balloon excuse a lot. I think I'll Blame swamp gas next time.
  • October 25, 2009
    Koveras
    In addition to random surfer's reply above: See Agent Scully page image.
  • October 25, 2009
    Oonerspism
    The government is fond of using explanations similar to this one in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but the only time the "gas leak" excuse is used, it's done by the heroes.
  • October 25, 2009
    Shrikesnest
    Used in Transformers 2: Rise of the Fallen.
  • October 25, 2009
    Cat22
    IIRC this was the excuse used in Hellboy 2 at the museum to keep people out while the team investigated.
  • October 25, 2009
    knave
    In the second Montmorency novel, an explosive terrorist attack at a train station is covered up in this manner.
  • October 25, 2009
    melloncollie
    Used in Hot Fuzz
  • October 26, 2009
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • In White Wolf's Mage The Ascension, coincidental magic involved coming up with a plausible explanation for magic effects to avoid Paradox. One example given was justifying a fireball/explosion by saying it was a "natural gas explosion".
  • October 26, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    One story-arc of The Wotch involved a conspiracy of militant, mind-control wielding feminists with an Elaborate Underground Base below the school. After everything has been resolved, most of the mind-control victims have no memory of what transpired, and them waking up groggy in the school basement is explained with... a gas leak, of course.
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