This trope is about characters with a form of Involuntary Shape Shifting
or Super-Powered Evil Side
that causes them to suffer amnesia whenever they transform to their alternate form or self. Typically this trope is most often used in media with werewolves
, though characters with a Jeckyll And Hyde
style Split Personality
, Demonic Possession
, or an Enemy Within
may also suffer from this form of amnesia. When it happens it may be immediately noticeable to the character; they will freak out at suffering blackouts and waking up naked in a field
, covered in blood, and surrounded by animal carcasesnote
In some cases the amnesiac lycanthrope actually suffers a combination of Laser-Guided Amnesia
and Weirdness Censor
about the Missing Time
; they might spend weeks, months or years
unaware of their condition. It helps if they transition into a type of "sleepwalker" that walks home and cleans up post transformation. The smarter the alternate form is the likelier this is to happen, since it'll likely want its host to stay unawares as long as possible.
One dangerous possibility is for characters to become a Zombie Infectee
who willfully ignores or rationalizes away any evidence, symptoms, and lost memories. Whether they cop to it or not, expect Amnesiac Dissonance
to kick in once they feel the weight of their crimes.
Typically the memories are merely repressed and come back in a Bad Dreams flashback sequence.
If the lycanthopy can be controlled,
then learning to do so usually enables the character to remember past events as well as remain lucid and in control during future ones.
The explanation for the blackouts is usually that "the wolf
" has taken over and puts the character to sleep or in the passenger's seat. Expect even the most skeptical amnesiac lycanthrope to start to get paranoid and suspect that they're the one responsible for any recent local crimes or murders. There's even odds that it's their fault or their progenitor's
. In fact, one popular way for a villain to use the amnesia to their benefit is to get the character to assume they are solely responsible and get them to admit to the guilt or take their own life. It's entirely possible to trick a Wrong Genre Savvy
character who isn't even a werewolf in this way by triggering blackouts to coincide with crimes.
Contrast And I Must Scream
, when the lycanthrope is
aware of whats going on but helpless to stop their wolf-self. Compare What Did I Do Last Night?
, the alcohol-induced version. Compare The Killer In Me
, especially the "Amnesiac Killer" type. Compare also Identity Amnesia
and Amnesiac Dissonance
- In Bleach, when Ichigo returns to normal after battling Ulquiorra in his Hollow form, he doesn't remember anything that happened during. When he finds out that he was responsible for destroying his opponent's arm and leg during the fight, he demands that his be cut off too, otherwise the fight wouldn't be fair.
- The two occasions when Naruto unleashed four tails of the Kyuubi's chakra. He completely forgets what happened during those rampages.
- Zigzagged with Hulk as there have been periods when Bruce Banner cannot remember anything about what happened when he was the Hulk (and vice versa) times when the memories are kind of fuzzy, and other times when one or both of them remember the other's actions clearly.
- Wolf Blood, one of the first werewolf movies ever made (it was filmed in the 20's and is silent) has the lead character suffer from this amnesia so completely he doesn't remember if he went out and killed the rival logging boss who almost killed him earlier. While the film itself never actually definitively says he did it or if it was a normal wolf attack, his inability to remember any of the last evening send him across the Despair Event Horizon. He even starts running after the wolf spirits he is now able to see— off a cliff! Thankfully, his love interest stops him in time.
- In Carry On Screaming, this happens to Sergeant Bung after he is fed the Mr Hyde serum.
- David from An American Werewolf in London doesn't remember anything about the night he transforms and attacks a young couple, some hobos, and a Tube commuter.
Live Action TV
- Averted by Angua von Überwald in the Discworld. She remembers perfectly well what she was doing in her wolf-form, especially when on police work. The only difficulty she has is vocabulary, so as to report it accurately in a way that makes sense. Human speech is geared to visual metaphors. As sight is our dominant sense you'd expect this: our visual vocabulary is rich and extensive. But smell, rather than sight, is dominant in canines. A werewolf interprets the world through her nose. And human speech has a very impoverished olfactory vocabulary. The nearest Angua can get is to explain in terms of synasthaesia - blood and violence smell red, sex smells blue-purple, and so on. Which still only conveys a thousandth part of her nasal experience, especially in a city as odour-rich as Ankh-Morpork.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny Weasley finds she's having days where she wakes up in one room and has no idea how she got there, over and over. Gradually she starts to put it together that the diary of Tom Riddle is possessing her in order to unleash the Basilisk.
- In Jekyll, a modern adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Tom Jackman has no memory of anything that happens when the Hyde personality takes control. Somehow, they've reached an agreement whereby, if something happens to one which they think will affect the other, they leave a message on a Dictaphone that the other personality can listen to when they regain control.
- Werewolves in Supernatural suffer memory blackouts when they transform.
- Misfits parodies this with one character. The power he got from the freak lightning storm was to "turn" into a terrier... In mind only. He goes around naked and acts the super friendly puppy, with no memory of it the next day.
- In Teen Wolf, the Chenema in season two has no memories of what they do when transformed, in contrast to the actual werewolves who have perfect control and recall during their changes.
- Red Riding Hood in Once Upon a Time suffers from this regarding their werewolf transformations and murders.
- Heroes: Nikki is like this when her Jessica first starts taking over her body.
- Dungeons & Dragons.
- The 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide said that when a person changed into a lycanthrope (by being bitten by one) first started changing to wereform on nights of the full moon, the next morning they would not remember what happened the night before.
- Ravenloft supplement RR7 Von Richten's Guide to Werebeasts. In Ravenloft, when an infected lycanthrope involuntarily changes to wereform it will not remember what happens while it's transformed.
- Call of Cthulhu, Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign. In "The Derbyshire Monster" adventure, a young woman named Eloise Vane is under a curse to become a werewolf on nights with a full moon. Every time she becomes a werewolf she doesn't remember what happens but has evil dreams of ghastly happenings (her attacks on other creatures).
- In Elsword, Ara's backstory has this. After she gained the mystical hairpin with a Kitsune spirit sealed within and almost get killed by her brainwashed brother, she gets unconscious. The next thing she knew after she "woke up" is that she had battled her brother and the demon army unconsciously - it's the fox spirit that did it for her.
- Cynthia Wit in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has no idea that she's a lycanthrope, or that she's responsible for butchering the rabbits that her father farms. She tells you that she's been hoping to catch the culprit herself, but all she remembers is feeling terribly exhausted, falling asleep before the attacker arrives and waking up the next morning to find another dead rabbit.
- Hinted to happen to the Dragonborn in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim the first time he/she transforms into a Werewolf: you control him/her in his werewolf form for a few seconds, then the screen fades black. When it ends, the Dragonborn finds himself/herself in the middle of the forest, far from his/her initial position, naked, and his dialogues suggest he/she doesn't remember what happened. This only apply to the first transformation though; after this, you have complete control over your lycanthropy and suffer no amnesia.
- In The Sims 3 Werewolf Sims that transform back into humans will get a moodlet saying they don't remember what just happened, but they have the feeling it was "something awesome".
- Exploited in Danganronpa. Touko Fukawa and Genocider Syo both have this, but when their shared body is hit with a dose of Laser-Guided Amnesia, only the active personality was affected. This means one of them remembers The Worst, Most Despair-inducing Incident in the History of Mankind — unfortunately, they're unable to provide any concrete details, as it was the other who actually experienced it.
- The title character of Fangface has no memory of his human self, and even when he transforms back into his regular form again, he also has no memory of his werewolf self as well.
- Mr. Bogus apparently suffered from this in the first act of the episode "Nightmare On Bogus Street". After Bogus became a werewolf from drinking a potion that he created, he puts Brattus in a stewpot, when he suddenly turns back into his regular form once again, confused about how Brattus got into a stewpot. When Brattus explains to him what happened, Bogus denies ever doing such a thing to his own cousin, until he turns back into a werewolf again.
- In Animaniacs geeky Wilford Wolf turns into a hunky Werewolf that even bunnies and birds want when he sees a full moon, but doesn't remember what he did when in hunky form.
- In the episode of Futurama, Bender becomes a Werecar, and has no memory of doing anything whenever he leaves this form.
- The episode of Adventure Time "Hug Wolf" has Finn becoming the said Hug Wolf, and never remembering anything when he's back in his human form.
- Though it never happened onscreen in Ben10, Word of God stated that it happened to Ben with Ghostfreak, which was when he called his minion to pull out the Thanatos Gambit that serves as the main plot of season 3.
- Played straight with Big Chill in Ben 10: Alien Force, where Necrofriggians' reproduction instincts cause Ben to regularly turn into Big Chill unconciously and go around eating metal. Ben keeps no memory of those transformations.