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->''"By concealing yourself in the flesh of your enemies you can constantly escape detection while committing countless evil acts. The different bodies will keep the authorities guessing, and when you get bored you can simply shed your current skin and move on to the next. There is also a great deal of fun to be had with tormenting heroes with this fashion. Consider, 'Mom, is that you?'"''
-->-- '''How to Be a Villain''', ''Neil Zawacki''

Some {{Body Snatcher}}s simply have no patience.

Maybe they're committing GrandTheftMe, only to find that they're quickly [[PossessionBurnout wearing their new bodies out]]. Maybe no one person they possess has all the skills they need. Maybe they have no idea who's good to take over until they've done so. Maybe they're afraid of being found if they stay in one body too long. Maybe their preferences for a pleasurable existence tend heavily towards being AllergicToRoutine. Or maybe they're just plain nuts. In any case, when a BodySnatcher is constantly switching from body to body, they are said to [[TitleDrop Body Surf]].

Naturally, this makes them hard to catch. If this is done in a closed environment, you get a TenLittleMurderVictims scenario -- only the identity of TheMole ''changes'', making things considerably harder for the heroes. Of course, it's considerably harder for the villain, too, who had better be a really good actor if people aren't going to be able to quickly tell who is NotHimself.

Compare VainSorceress. May happen when people play hackey sack with a HeartDrive capable of DemonicPossession.

Not to be confused with the move of the same name in ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', [[ImplausibleBoardingSkills wherein you surf using a body.]] Nor it is related to BodySled. Or CrowdSurfing, for that matter.

CompareAndContrast BodyBackupDrive, where the target body ''usually'' isn't occupied when the new host moves in.



[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In ''Anime/ValvraveTheLiberator'', the Kamitsuki - the pilots of the titular [[HumongousMecha mecha]], who become a sort of [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]] - can do this. By biting another person's skin they take control of their bodies, which is connected to their ability to absorb 'Runes', tiny building blocks of information. The person returns to normal when they bite their original bodies back. They retain the abilities of the bodies they surf into, such as combat awareness, and language - in episode 16, [[spoiler: Saki]] didn't know how to say "hello" in Dorssian to K-Zwölf before body-snatching him, but communicates fluently with other Dorssian soldiers once in his body.
** This is how the [[spoiler: Magius managed to take control of all the world's major nations. Their power is the source of the Kamitsuki's]].
* In the second season of ''Anime/CodeGeass'', [[spoiler: Marianne, Lelouch's mother, reveals that she is [[NotQuiteDead alive and kicking]], despite her apparent assassination prior to the series. When she was shot, her Geass awakened and gave her the power to possess the nearest person. She body-surfs into a child who was staying in the palace]].
* ''Anime/{{K}}'': The [[spoiler:new Colorless King]] is revealed to have done this to multiple people, including [[spoiler:a random high school student, the Silver King, and two of Shiro's classmates]]. Said person is fully aware of his presence, and targets other Kings in hope of gaining their powers. And until the end of season 2, [[spoiler: Weismann was stuck in Tooru Hieda's body, and Tooru's consciousness was buried under Weismann's until Weismann returned to his original body]].
* In [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime adaptation of]] ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', the Philosopher's Stone can be used to Body Surf by transferring someone's soul and mind into a new body. The series BigBad has this technique repeatedly and is over 400 years old. Unfortunately the amount of time she can spend in each body lessens each time she does it, meaning she requires more and more Philosopher's Stones to keep going.
* Orochimaru from ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' plans to live forever in order to learn all the world's jutsu. That is impossible since new jutsus are made everyday, and some are handed down from family to family and kept a secret, AND some require years and years to master, whether you're a prodigy or not. To this end he developed his ''Living Corpse Reincarnation'' jutsu, which allowed him to be able to transfer his soul into another person's body, and the perks include acquiring any special abilities that the meat puppet may have. He can only perform this jutsu once every three years. In theory this could be the closest thing to immortality, but the reality is the host body will eventually weaken and reject Orochimaru's invading soul, so he will have to find a new host before it is too late. How long it takes for the host to reject him depends on how powerful the host is to begin with: the body he used as an emergency measure wasn't tremendously decayed by the time the three years were up while a powerful hosts like Sasuke or Itachi could serve him a reasonable term, if not a whole lifetime.
* Captain Ginyu in ''Anime/DragonballZ''. Started out by snatching Goku's body, but when he realized that because [[HowDoIShotWeb he didn't know Goku's special fighting techniques]], he had only a fraction of Goku's original power, he took a beating. Later, he decided to snatch Vegeta's body, as Vegeta was so powerful at the time that Ginyu wouldn't need to know very much about him to still be more powerful than any of the heroes at the time. He ended up inside the body of a frog and thus couldn't use his body-swapping technique because it required speaking, but later ended up stealing Bulma's body when she makes a device that allows him to communicate and almost managed to body-snatch Piccolo before being returned to the frog's body for good.
** Ironically, this leaves Ginyu as the only survivor of Frieza's minions, as both his body (now occupied by the frog's mind) and his mind (now in the frog) end up on Earth, and Ginyu-in-the-frog is seen alive and well two {{Time Skip}}s later. One is left to wonder what the lifespan of a Namekian frog is.
** Ginyu returns, still in the frog's body, in ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'''s adaption of ''Resurrection F''. [[spoiler:He tricks Tagoma into swapping bodies with him and fights the Z Fighters for a bit before Vegeta finally kills him, leaving Tagoma stuck in the frog's body.]]
* Baby from ''Anime/DragonballGT'' jumps from body to body trying to find a host powerful enough to kill Goku, Trunks and Pan. He also leaves behind pieces of himself in each body, ensuring he still has control even after leaving it. The meat of the conflict takes place after he settles into the body of Vegeta.
* Mukuro Rokudo in ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' can transfer his soul between any bodies he has injured with his weapon, including artificial box animals (don't ask)... and it's his favorite tactic.
** Daemon Spade, as the Primo equivalent of Mukuro, also made use of this. [[spoiler: This allows him to still be alive in Tsuna's time and be the villain of the Inheritance Cerimony arc.]]
* Many people in ''Manga/MPDPsycho'' are able to transfer or copy their personalities, but Tetora uses this power whenever practical (though he always returns to (or stays in, if he made a copy) his original body fairly fast).
* The "Phantom Thief G" in ''Manga/DGrayMan'' ([[spoiler:actually an orphan with a parasite-type Innocence]]) can possess people [[spoiler:and Akuma]] just by looking at them; he's gotten roughly ''three dozen'' people arrested in his place.
* Pandaemonium in the manga version of ''Manga/ChronoCrusade''.
* Anon, from ''Manga/TheLawOfUeki'', who steals the bodies of his victims [[spoiler:by swallowing them whole.]] He does this to [[spoiler:Robert Haydn]] and even [[spoiler:the current ''God''.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Kekkaishi}}'', The Sousui and Tsukihasa are capable of this as a form of immortality.
* In ''Manga/SoulEater'', [[spoiler:Medusa]] uses magic to cheat death this way, the first time jumping into [[AdultFear a helpless child]], and then upgrading to something more comfortable by stealing the body of [[spoiler:her sister, Arachne.]]
** Giriko has enchanted his memories [[GeneticMemory into his own genes]], which are passed down to his children when he has kids. In effect, his children aren't people whose bodies he steals, they're ''him'', [[BodyBackupDrive born again and again.]]
* Karla The Grey Witch of ''Roleplay/RecordOfLodossWar'' has survived for centuries doing this via GrandTheftMe by placing the circlet she now resides in on her victims' heads. She is forced out of one victim only to possess another. It's implied in the manga that she needs a willing host, as the circlet doesn't do anything except lie on the ground until [[spoiler:Woodchuck picks it up and places it on his own head after crossing the DespairEventHorizon]].
* ''Manga/PandoraHearts'':
** [[spoiler:The main character, Oz]] was originally an AnimateInanimateObject that came to life due to the powers of the Abyss. He had two rabbit bodies that he bounced back and forth from -- when one was destroyed, the other became a chain -- and then when [[spoiler:Alice]] took his own body, his soul went into his CONTRACTOR'S body, so when his contractor de-aged again (REALLY long story) he had his fourth body. He even tells Echo it could happen again if his contractor's body dies.
** Alice also seems to be capable of this, considering she hijacked [[spoiler:Oz's rabbit body]] from him when her own was dying.
* In the ''Franchise/EvilliousChronicles'' there's a difficult to learn spell called the Swap Technique which allows for mages to move their souls into other bodies--they could also go the entire way and swap the person's soul into their previous body. The character Elluka Clockworker has used the spell to swap into at least three bodies over the course of the series.

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* The ''Comicbook/XMen'' villain [[Characters/XMenRoguesGalleryMToZ Proteus]] [[PossessionBurnout burns through the bodies he possesses as he uses his mutant powers]]. However, assuming he doesn't ever use his reality-warping powers, he could stay in a single body indefinitely.
* This is one of the powers of the psychic Kay Cera (A.K.A. "Cuckoo") of ''ComicBook/ClanDestine''.
* Mountjoy, a villain from one of the X-Men's various dystopian futures, does this. He physically merges with his victims to possess them, and sometimes consumes their bodies for sustenance.
* ComicBook/{{Apocalypse}}, another X-Men villain, is known to do this. While he has healing and regeneration powers as well as technology to prolong his life, this is not enough to achieve immortality due to his powers slowly destroying his body. Apocalypse has had to from time to time forcibly [[GrandTheftMe steal the body]] of an unfortunate victim, who he terms as "vessels", his abilities allowing him to take over every aspect of their body to remake them in his appearance. Naturally he feels [[ItsAllAboutMe that someone being chosen to be his vessel is an honor]].
* This is the entire concept of DC Comics superhero Deadman, whose sole power is the ability to effortlessly possess ''anybody'', from children to Franchise/{{Superman}}. He was brought back to life at the end of ''Comicbook/BlackestNight'', and in ''Comicbook/BrightestDay'' he appeared to be capable of restoring things to life. Then [[StatusQuoIsGod he died again]].
* ComicBook/DoctorDoom has the Ovoid mind switch, an alien technique taught to him by the, guess, Ovoids, a species of aliens incapable of reproduction at one point so they had to clone their bodies and transfer their minds into it. Despite a later Comicbook/SheHulk issue retconning it as being difficult if there's a soul / mind in the body the "caster" is trying to inhabit, Doom seems to be able to do this with relative ease, especially after the Unthinkable arc, where all he is is a spirit, and he swaps and hops about the Comicbook/FantasticFour until Reed shoots Doom-in-Thing, killing both, sending Victor von Doom... ''to hell''.
* [[Comicbook/TeenTitans Jericho]] of Franchise/TheDCU had this as an ability, and when he tried to help Raven using it, [[TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow it eventually drove him completely mad]].
-->'''ComicBook/{{Nightwing}}:''' Joey, [[AccidentalInnuendo get inside me!]]
* In the DC {{Elseworld}}s book ''Franchise/{{Justice League|OfAmerica}}: [[ComicBook/TheNail Another Nail]]'', [[Comicbook/NewGods Scott Free (Mr. Miracle)]] is killed by [=DeSaad=], but before dying he transfers his mind into Big Barda's Mother Box circuitry, allowing him to "possess" his wife long enough to use his escape-artist skills to release her from Darkseid's shackles. Barda then acquires a Franchise/GreenLantern power ring, allowing Scott Free the ability to manifest himself as a green energy construct.
* The DC villain Ultra-Humanite accomplishes this by surgically transferring his brain between bodies. He tried to do this to ''Comicbook/PowerGirl'', but she stopped him.
* In ''Comicbook/FinalCrisis'', ComicBook/{{Darkseid}} (and possibly the other Comicbook/NewGods) is able to do this, as Darkseid is able to jump from "Boss Dark Side" to [[spoiler:Dan Turpin]].
* [[spoiler:Palpatine]] in ''Comicbook/DarkEmpire'' was forced to do this as one clone body after another was rotted by TheDarkSide, culminating in an attempt to possess newborn Anakin Solo, a desperation plan necessitated by [[spoiler:the fact that all of his remaining clone bodies had been sabotaged by traitorous elements in the Empire]].
* In the final book of the ''Literature/DarthBane'' trilogy, bane attempts to learn this technique to forestall his death at the hands of his apprentice. [[spoiler:He attempts to force his soul inside the body of his apprentice, it fails. Or does it?]]
** It worked better for another character named Set Harth, who learned the technique from the Sith, but then decided to ditch them. Who needs ambitions to one day rule the galaxy when you can live forever, huh? He successfully managed it for at least a few hundred years, after which his trace had gone cold.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', a low-grade warlock's plan to invoke this trope was foiled when he discovered that every human had a defensive aura that his disembodied presence couldn't overcome. Foiled, he had to settle for possessing a dog, which grew to immense proportions with the warlock's spirit inside. [[spoiler: It's hinted that he moves on to a rat after his dog body is destroyed.]]
* In ''Comicbook/{{Flare}}'', the Tigress claims to have done this periodically over thousands of years. Her latest victim is [[http://heroicmultiverse.com/flareonline/?id=171 prison psychiatrist Katherine Kaat.]]
* In the third ''Comicbook/IronMan'' annual issue, anyone who held the wand of the (then-deceased) villain Molecule Man was eventually possessed by his essence. He is defeated when Comicbook/ManThing grabs the wand, and since he doesn't have a mind to possess, Molecule Man is left trapped helpless in the wand (although later eventually figures out how to recreate his body).
* ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}'' villain Worldkiller-1 transferred his soul from one body to another the whole time, looking for a perfect host. In the ''ComicBook/RedDaughterOfKrypton'' arc, as Supergirl was fighting the leader of an alien race, Worldkiller-1 emerged through the Diasporan damaged body and tried to snatch Kara's body. She forced him out, though, so he transferred his spirit into the bodies of random bystanders -who were burnt out nearly instantly- until Kara agreed to let him surf into her body.
* The Passengers of ''ComicBook/{{Revival}}'' are each linked to a specific body but near the end of the series they begin hijacking armed soldiers to attack and jumping to new ones when the old bodies are killed.
* Demons in ''ComicBook/CleanRoom'' have their own (probably not physical) bodies, but they enjoy possessing human hosts and wreaking havoc. There is no outward indication of the possession, nor are there any limits to which hosts can be possessed or how many a demon can affect over time.

[[folder: Fan Fiction]]
* In ''FanFic/KyonBigDamnHero'' The SOS Brigade [[FridgeHorror determines]] [[spoiler: Kanae's backstory]] had this. [[spoiler:As Kanae was escaping the AlienInvasion right behind her she jumped [[AlternateUniverse through worlds]], in every world she had an identity but has never considered what happened to her "local" copy, who she had never met]].
* A rather horrifying version is done in the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' by [[spoiler:Discord during his first reign. As a spirit, destroying his body merely frees him to take over another one (explaining why Celestia didn't just smash his statue to bits when she had the chance). After [[NiceJobBreakingItHero her sister Galaxia shatters Discord's statue]] when he's defeated with the Rainbow of Light, he possesses G1 Wind Whistler (Celestia initially refuses to tell whether it was her or Galaxy, as she didn't want their memory tainted by association with a monster like Discord, but Dark World eventually confirmed it) and [[BodyHorror morphs her body into the one he has now]]]].
** And then, in the [[BadFuture Dark World]], [[spoiler: [[DaddysLittleVillain Fluttercruel]] proves she's inherited this trait from her "father" -- Rarity kills her, but her spirit is able to resist being DraggedOffToHell, and hijacks Sparkler's body for herself. After being killed a second time, she tries to possess Twilight, but Fluttershy's and Pinkie Pie's souls [[BackUpFromOtherWorld restrain her]] so she can be blasted with the Elements and banished from mortal reality before she can succeed]].
* In ''Fanfic/MyLittleMommies'', The BigBad Sleipnir has this power, but with certain restrictions. You see, he's a MonsterProgenitor (called the "Father of All Monsters" in-story), he created griffins, minotaurs, manticores, and others (though he didn't create dragons) via magical mirrors. If his body was killed, he could jump to any sentient creature created by a mirror and shape its flesh into his own form, but only if they were ''directly'' born from a mirror, their descendants were immune. He's currently SealedEvilInACan, and plans to have his spirit inhabit one of the Mane Six's three foals created by the mirror at the start of the story (or Dinky, who was created the same way).
* In ''FanFic/SurrogateOfZero'', [[spoiler:Rei]] emerges through Shinji and comes close to [[spoiler:"tanging" Siesta]] before she's stopped by [[spoiler:Asuka]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Immortal}}'' the bodies of the inhabitants of New York are too heavily mutated and modified to survive being Horus' hosts for long, so he is forced to jump from one to another every few hours. He stops after taking residence in the unmodified Nikopol.
* ''Film/TheHidden'' (1987). A PuppeteerParasite-like alien takes over various people in Los Angeles and [[ForTheEvulz uses them to commit thrill crimes]]. He is chased by a member of a different PuppeteerParasite species who is inhabiting the body of an FBI agent.
* In ''Film/{{Fallen}}'' (the one with Denzel Washington and John Goodman), the resident body snatcher can switch from body to body by touch. In one scene, [[spoiler: he chases Denzel Washington in a crowd by body surfing his way through the crowd, each person reaching forward to touch the next in the chain]].
** [[spoiler: [[EarWorm Time, is on my side..]]]].
* In ''Film/{{Shocker}}'', this is Pinker's special power. He's very bad about selecting bodies with bad hearts, though.
* The Agents in ''Franchise/TheMatrix'' do this to revive themselves when killed. Since every human still plugged into the Matrix is a potential Agent, the Resistance cannot afford to leave witnesses when they go about trying to free people. As shown repeatedly in the movies, any populated area in the city is extremely dangerous. In a matter of seconds, an agent can jump into anyone nearby and shoot you dead.
** [[Film/TheMatrix The first movie]] shows this in the finale when Neo runs through a market and an apartment complex. Agent Smith, Agent Brown and Agent Jones are constantly taking shots at Neo from behind or from the sides as they try to kill him.
** In [[Film/TheMatrixReloaded the second movie]], this is taken to its logical conclusion with a highway chase scene during rush hour.
** [[Film/TheMatrixRevolutions The third movie]] culminates with Smith, now unbound by the rules the Machines imposed upon him, copying himself into every human and program in the Matrix.
* The main character in the Korean horror film ''Film/DeadFriend'' suffers from EasyAmnesia, [[spoiler: and doesn't even remember that she had [[FreakyFridayFlip swapped minds]] with the main villain. Since this happened just as she was about to drown, the villain quickly jumped into the next nearest girl, and spends the rest of the film possessing different characters to get revenge.]].
* Jason Voorhees of ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'' fame does this in ''Film/JasonGoesToHellTheFinalFriday'' after his true body gets blown to hell in an FBI SWAT ambush that ends with a frigging ''airstrike''. The host bodies die after Jason leaves them (oddly enough, NOT from the damage they take while he possesses them).
* The creature in ''Film/{{Proteus}}'' absorbs bodies throughout the movie and is able to assume their form from then on. The minds of the victims continue to exist within it and are able to surface when it naps after a meal.
* In the J-Horror film ''Another Heaven'', the Body Surfing killer is actually [[spoiler: a murderess from the future whose (inadvertent?) time travel turned her into a ''sapient puddle of water''.]] The bodies possessed are found to be missing their brains [[spoiler:which are found to be merely shrivelled up and covered in tumours]]. The film gets kind of weird towards the end, with the implication that [[spoiler:the killer evaporated from a housefire, and is now in the rain]].
* A rare non-supernatural example: In ''Film/TakingLives'', this is essentially the tactic of a serial killer - [[spoiler: he kills people who look similar to himself, dresses them up as his old persona (killing them in messy ways helps), and steals their identity, continuing his life as the victim.]]
* In ''Film/HeavenCanWait1978'', Warren Beatty's character Joe Pendleton is a quarterback who is taken from his body "before his time" by an over-anxious guardian angel. His body is turned into ashes by the time this is discovered, however, and he thus must find a new one to inhabit. While waiting for a more fitting corpse, Joe settles for that of an elderly millionaire. HilarityEnsues.
** ''Film/HereComesMrJordan'' and the Chris Rock comedy ''Film/DownToEarth'' does a similar thing with a prizefighter and a black comedian, respectively.
* ''Film/{{Lifeforce}}'': After her escape the female vampire starts switching from body to body to evade capture.
** The male vampires also survive being blown up with grenades by surfing into the bodies of the soldiers who blew them up, taking it to BodyHorror levels by changing the soldiers' bodies into exact duplicates of their old bodies (similar to the Agents in ''Film/TheMatrix'').
* In ''Film/{{Xchange}}'', the titular company allows people who can afford it to swap minds for a short period of time as a form of instant travel (or just plain entertainment). The protagonist, Stuart Toffler, is a company's PR guy who is told by his boss to go to a city on the opposite coast via Xchange to attend a funeral. Unfortunately, he finds out too late that the guy he swapped with is a contract killer running from the law by constantly stealing bodies and running away with them. Stuart is required to "vacate" his temporary body for its rightful owner. Unfortunately, the only available body is that of a 4-day clone, and body swaps are forbidden more than twice in that time period. The film is (very) loosely based on Creator/RobertSheckley's novel ''Mindswap''.
* The cult leader David Mendez in ''Film/{{Mindstorm}}'' turns out to be a powerful psychic capable of changing bodies as his old body is dying. The first time he does this is when he's a boy, a part of an experiment of psychic children being trained for use during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. Their facility is then attacked by a Soviet strike team. All but two children are killed, and he himself is mortally wounded. He manages to possess one of the Russian soldiers and spends the next several decades working on trying to find the person or people responsible for this, eventually starting a cult. He later forces Senator Armitage to kill him, thus giving him the chance to take Armitage's body. At the end of the film, Tracey ruins his plans to run for President by shooting him in public. It's clear he'll survive in someone else's body, but it won't be someone running for President.
* Klaus does this in ''Film/HoldYourBreath'', possessing one teenager after another.

* Dog-Face Joe in ''Literature/TheAnubisGates'' by Creator/TimPowers does it as GrandTheftMe, as any body he takes soon starts growing hair all over.
* Done in a deliberately de-MindRape-ified fashion in ''[[Literature/AWrinkleInTime A Swiftly Tilting Planet]]'' -- Charles Wallace has to Body Surf throughout history to prevent TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. Notable as a rare example of the ''hero'' doing this. He specifically ''doesn't'' displace the original mind, and in fact that mind often doesn't even know he's there.
* In P.C. Hodgell's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' series, [[spoiler: Bane]], an undead spirit, travels in this way, moving from host to host and sucking the life out of each in turn.
* In the world of Corona, the setting of the DemonWarsSaga, any sufficiently skilled user of magic gemstones can do this to an unborn child with a good magical hematite. In ''Mortalis'', Abbot Je'howith is tempted to pull this on the child of the king when he suffers a heart attack after using magic to verify the pregnancy, but eventually resists and accepts his fate. In ''Transcendence'', it is revealed that the long line of miraculous prodigies leading the theocracy of Behren have secretly all been one despicable old man's soul doing this over and over again.
* Tak from Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/{{Desperation}}'' is forced to possess new bodies because he constantly wears them out.
* Constant Literature/{{Drachenfels}}, Genevieve Dieudonné's first BigBad uses this method to keep him going past his "death". It reached the point when he was [[TimeAbyss older than virtually every other species on the planet]]
* Corpsetaker from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. He (she?) goes through two different bodies during his (her?) time in the limelight, forcing Dresden to engage the WhackAMole scenario in order to kill him (her her her). The twist? He's right the first time around, and he ''knows'' that.
** To elaborate, in ''Dead Beat'', Corpsetaker is in the body of [[spoiler: Alicia, a college-age girl]]. Later on, when fighting [[spoiler: Anastasia Luccio, head of the Wardens, Corpsetaker suckers her into gutting Alicia's body, then transfers his (her) mind over to Luccio's, leaving Luccio's mind dying in the younger body]]. Harry, however, figures this out immediately and [[spoiler: [[KillHimAlready shoots Luccio/Corpsetaker in the noggin]]]]. Of course, this leaves [[spoiler: Luccio stuck in the young and attractive (but magically weak) body instead of her old one. His uninformed companion declares him a traitor and almost kills him before he can justify his actions]].
** In ''Ghost Story'', [[spoiler: Corpsetaker is back as a ghost. S/he steals Butters' body and attempts to Body Surf into Molly, but is repelled]].
* In ''Literature/EmpireFromTheAshes'', the mutineer's inner council managed their constant manipulation of the human race without going into stasis by transplanting their brains as necessary into the bodies of lesser mutineers who had obediently gone into stasis. Less important mutineers have to make do with regular human bodies.
* In ''Literature/EveryDay'' by David Levithan, the main character A wakes up every day in a new body. He has no body of his own and barely manages to scrape out a personality of his own. In fact, he may not even have a gender -- the novel is in [[TheAllConcealingI first person]] so the only indication of his gender is in the book summary. A is content with his life, never getting too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with his girlfriend Rhiannon.
* In the novel ''[[Literature/{{Quarters}} Fifth Quarter]]'' by Creator/TanyaHuff, one character keeps himself alive this way by jumping to the body of his killer just before he dies. After figuring it out, he makes a habit of it and lives for several centuries jumping from body to body.
* Sario from ''Literature/TheGoldenKey'' does this a number of times throughout the book. Unusually, the reason he switches is because the body he is currently inhabiting is usually too old, Sario having taken the then-young body and lived the life of the person he switched with into old age.
* In Creator/GeorgeRRMartin's short story "The Glass Flower", this method of immortality is achieved by way of a BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind. In the story, there are three "contestants", three "prizes", and a controller that take part in what is referred to as the "game of mind", where they enter a virtual world and battle one another, with weapons or psychologically. The contestants try to take over the bodies of the prizes, though the prizes can fight back and retain their bodies if they win, and the controller creates the world in which they fight.
* In ''Literature/GoodOmens'', angel Aziraphale does this after accidentally losing his own body.
* ''The Great Game'' by Creator/DaveDuncan: Tion, soi-disant "god" of youth (actually a enchanter from an AlternateUniverse -- but that's much of a muchness, since in this story being from elsewhere in TheMultiverse is the defining attribute of enchanters) holds a contest every year for the most beautiful and skilled youth in all the land. This youth 'represents' Tion and hands out the prizes -- and then disappears for several years. Unbeknownst to everyone else, Tion has been committing GrandTheftMe for the sheer fun of it. The "god" is later shown changing bodies several times, and comments that male bodies 'wear better'. It is implied that the theft is reversed (with them Brainwashed not to remember) after several years of, um, wear; one of the characters has a chunk of his mind missing.
* [[spoiler: Magos Antigonus]] from the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/GreyKnights'' novel ''Dark Adeptus'' gains this ability through discovering some LostTechnology, allowing him to be NotQuiteDead. He's a hero, though, or something approximating it in this CrapsackWorld.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': Voldemort, after being almost destroyed by baby Harry, only retained the ability to possess bodies, and he jumped from animal to animal ([[PossessionBurnout severely cutting their lifespan]]) until he was able to get his new body.
* The mage Ma'ar in Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series magically overwrites the soul of any person who is a direct descendant of his original body as soon as that person displays mage-talent. The only way to kill him for good is to kill his host and then [[spoiler:follow him into the netherworld and destroy his SoulJar]].
* The DiskOneFinalBoss of the ''Literature/HIVESeries'', [[spoiler:Overlord]], did this once before the start of the series into the body of [[spoiler:Number One,]] intending to then surf into the body of [[spoiler:his clone/son, Otto]]. However, he is soon transferred into [[spoiler:the Animus, a fluid which replaces blood. Ordinary humans cannot survive it for long,]] so he spends the last few months of his life hopping from body to body as they expire increasingly quickly.
* In ''Literature/TheHost'' [[spoiler: Wanda ends up doing this when her friends swap her into another vacated body]].
* There were a race of body-hopping aliens in Jack Chalker's ''Literature/TheIdentityMatrix''. Thing is, they weren't just possessing the bodies, they were instantaneously ''switching'' minds, which means that there were a lot of people left behind in the wrong bodies afterwards, including the protagonist, who winds up getting switched ''twice.'' And never gets the original body back.
* The villain in Creator/MercedesLackey's novel ''Jinx High'' does this with her own daughter every time she feels like she's getting too old, transferring herself to her daughter's body and her daughter to her old one. She pulls a KarmaHoudini at the end of the novel by jumping back to her original body, leaving her daughter back in her body to die in her place.
* In Literature/KnownSpace, Jan Corben essentially Body Surfed through a series of clone daughters, via brain transplant. Each time she would assume the clone's identity, "inherit" all her stuff, and the identity attached to the old body would "die in a tragic accident". She survived for a timespan of 20, maybe 30 generations that way before suffering a genuine tragic accident.
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Mordak he has always survived this way but now he can plan for it. [[spoiler: He offered Zarracka power because it would allow him to make her his backup body. He hoped to do this to the Big Bad but the heroes anticipated that it and prevented it.]]
* Absolutely ''everyone'' in Creator/RogerZelazny's ''Literature/LordOfLight''. Yes, even the protagonist.
* The Marra of ''Literature/TheMadnessSeason'' are capable of doing so, as long as they remember that they can. One manages to survive this way when she first encounters the Tyr.
* Creator/RayBradbury's short story ''The One who Waits'' (1949).
* Doro, the adversary in Octavia Butler's ''[[Literature/{{Patternist}} Wild Seed]]'' and ''Mind Of My Mind''. He uses up the body he's in (in months at the most), then jumps to the nearest body, killing the person in it and taking it over. Kill him (or just really startle him) and he jumps automatically. He doesn't know how to die, and he's been doing it since the Ancient Egyptians raided his bronze-age village in Nubia.
* Daedalus from ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'' does this, except instead of possessing innocent people, he transfers his soul from robot to robot as he builds more advanced bodies.
* In ''Literature/TheSkinjackerTrilogy'' by Neal Shusterman the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent after]][[NotUsingTheZWord light]] [[spoiler: Allie]] finds she is able to hear the thoughts of and "skinjack" (a.k.a. posses) the living, and runs into other afterlights like her in the sequels. She ends up taking over peoples bodies as a convenient way to travel and because being in a living person's body is [[spoiler: addicting to skinjackers]]. But she keeps switching bodies because [[spoiler: if a skinjacker stays in one person's body too long, they are unable to leave]]. She tries hard not to be villainous though. In the first book she prefers to call it "body surfing," thinking "skinjacking," the proper term for the trope in Everlost, sounds too villainous.
* This happens in ''Literature/{{Transition}}'' by Creator/IainBanks.
* The antagonist of Stephen Gallegher's ValleyOfLights can jump from body to body.
* ''Literature/TheVampireChronicles'' has Maharet. When she was human, her eyes were gouged out so after she was turned into a vampire she would take the eyes from the humans she killed and use them until they wore out.
* In ''Literature/TheWarAgainstTheChtorr'' books by David Gerrold, members of the Telepathy Corps are fitted with brain implants that allow them to "switch minds" with others with a similar implant through radio transmission. The implants are supposed to be used only for military intelligence-gathering, but some agents (nicknamed "carpetbaggers") like to jump from body to body just for fun, which rather annoys the telepath who has to inhabit the body after a night of debauchery.
* Major plot points in several of the ''Literature/WildCards'' novels. One character is able to make others into "Jumpers" who body-surf by swapping meatbags with another. Meaning a single one of them can cause an entire room of people to switch bodies. When the Jumpers form an army bad things happen.
** The Jumper "Prime" is revealed to be [[spoiler:Edward St. John Latham, aka "Loophole", an AmoralAttorney who many believed owed his lack of a conscience - and resultant skills as a lawyer - to the wild card. It turned out he's honestly the best lawyer in the world - when his card finally turns, he gains the ability to body surf and create other body surfers via anal rape]].
* The Sea Hag in the ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' novel ''Golem in the Gears'', much to the consternation of the protagonists.
* Creator/RobertSheckley's ''Mindswap'' novel involves a protagonist spontaneously deciding to visit Mars but wanting to avoid the lengthy trip, so he opts to swap minds with a Martian who wants to visit Earth. He finds himself in a room on Mars in the body of a Martian only to be old immediately that he must vacate the body. Apparently, the previous occupant of the body signed two contracts[[note]]12, actually[[/note]], and the contract with another person was signed first. The protagonist wants to go back to his own body but finds out it was stolen, so he goes on a desperate quest to return his own body, including switching bodies several times. In the end, he corners and defeats the thief.
* A ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' novel had the BigBad figure out how to do this with the use of some ancient ruins.
* In ''Shattered Sky'', the final book of the ''Literature/StarShardsChronicles'', one of the Vectors travels this way, taking a host body and forcing it to commit suicide so that it can travel to its next host (the Vectors require host bodies in our world, and will die if disembodied for too long), who then repeats the process until the Vector has reached its destination.
* In ''Literature/ThoseThatWake'''s sequel, entering the neuropleth allows you to do this at the cost of your physical body.
* An understated example in ''Literature/{{Edenborn}}'': Dr. Hyoguchi theorizes that it is possible to overwrite a mind with another one from brain scans if the two bodies are genetically identical. He leaves a message to the Ten asking them to clone him and then overwrite the clone's mind with Hyoguchi's so that he can live again. The morality is nebulous; the clone's mind will cease to exist, but the process is painless and gradual and Hyoguchi recognizes the incredible sacrifice and asks for it as a gift. Both the member of the Ten who receives the message and the clone in question take the proposal seriously.
* The Ganymede in Robert Jackson Bennett's ''Literature/AmericanElsewhere'' does this countless times. In the novel the town of Wink, New Mexico has several trans-dimensional {{eldritch abomination}}s living in it, mostly in {{living body suit}}s. Most aren't evil so they only change bodies when they need to. The Ganymede '''is''' evil, uses up the bodies and jumps to new ones as its whims dictate.
* In ''Literature/LockIn'', a sizable percentage of the population of the world is suffering from Hayden's Syndrome, one of the symptoms of a flu-like disease. The titular condition is of the AndIMustScream variety - the Haydens are unable to interact with the world in any way. After trillions of dollars in research, several methods of allowing the Haydens to live semi-normal lives are developed. One involves the use of Integrators, a rare form of Hayden who did not suffer a lock in, but whose brain chemistry was still altered. An Integrator can be used as a temporary vessel for a locked-in Hayden. The more common alternative is the use of Threeps, robotic avatars, although they don't provide for a full experience.
* {{Familiar}}s in F.J. Hale's ''After the Spell Wars'' novelettes work like this, possessing the bodies of animals and jumping into a new one (with sorcerous help) if their current host dies. Morasha swaps bodies repeatedly over the course of two short books, once deliberately and the other times because her host was killed. [[spoiler: Subverted in the end when she gets trapped in an intelligent dolphin's body and refuses to Body Surf again until a means to extract her ''without'' killing the host can be devised.]]
* In ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'':
** Thorn has a habit of hopping into the body of one of his minions when he wants to have a conversation, destroying his new host's mind in the process.
** After his body is killed, [[spoiler:Harmodius]] hops into the mind palace of his ally, though his host remains alive and (mostly) in charge. Eventually, the ghost kills the mind of an enemy mage and takes up permanent residence in his body.
* One science fiction story from the anthology magazine Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (titled Through All His Houses Wandering if memory serves) this happens unintentionally to a scientist who volunteered himself for their psychic communication experiment after initially giving him amnesia only he was body surfing random aliens in widely scattered parts of the galaxy associated with the Western Zodiac with a range of effects from going unnoticed and unable to do anything all the way to total control.
* In ''Literature/TheMachineriesOfEmpire'', it eventually turns out that this is how [[spoiler:Nirai Kujen's]] immortality works. In a flashback, when he walks into [[spoiler:Jedao's office]], he's immediately shot, only to enter a moment later in a different body and say that he has more of those than his less-than-gracious host has bullets.
* There's a CloneByConversion example in ''Literature/{{Slimer}}''. Charlie is a genetically-engineered shapeshifting shark who absorbs the minds and bodies of his victims. Near the end, as his original body is dying, he "impregnates" the body of a Brinkstone helicopter pilot instead of absorbing him. The original body dies, while the cells implanted into the pilot convert the man's body into an exact duplicate of Charlie, with his memories and personality.
* In the ''Literature/SonjaBlue'' series, fire demons work this way. They possess a body to give themselves a physical presence, but their fiery nature causes the body to slowly cook from the inside, so before long they have to choose another body to leap into.
* In Creator/GregEgan's ''The Safe-Deposit Box'' short story, the protagonist's mind inhabits a different body every day. They all live in the same general area and are of similar age (and since the age the protagonist started identifying himself as a boy, they are usually male), but nothing else seems to give any clues as to how or why it happens. In fact, it wasn't until school age that the protagonist realized that this isn't a norm, and other people don't "change" into someone else every day.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* ''Series/QuantumLeap'' is built around this premise but the body surfer is the protagonist, and is required to "set things right" in the person's life by the end of each episode. Does involve MentalTimeTravel and mind swap (which [[FridgeLogic raises the question]] what happens to the timeline that has been "set right" after the befuddled host is returned to his or her body).
* The Goa'uld in ''Series/StargateSG1'' can do this, but tend to stick with one host as long as possible. (For example, Apophis kept a body that had been badly scarred by the torture he'd endured at the hands of a rival.) Anubis, on the other hand, was part {{Energy Being|s}} and once his containment field was destroyed, he had to possess humans. The bodies burned out quickly, necessitating taking new ones frequently.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** The second episode, "Lonely Hearts", dealt with a demon who jumped from body to body in search of the one it could live in permanently. It was a metaphor for searching for the perfect mate and, indeed, most of the episode took place in a nightclub.
** The third-season episode "Carpe Noctem" features an old man who shuttles his consciousness in and out of young men in order to experience the joys of youth, but the spell destroys any living body he possesses. Then he ends up in Angel...
** The Senior Partners are unable to inhabit our dimension while in their native forms, instead manifesting in the bodies of "lower demons" or using living mouthpieces.
* The Cylons of ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' do this upon their deaths, however they simply Body Surf into a brand new otherwise dormant [[SendInTheClones identical body]], rendering them effectively immortal. [[spoiler:Eventually the system that allows them to do this is destroyed, rendering every death from that point forward final]].
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Lady Cassandra develops this ability in her constant quest to remain young and beautiful. In one episode, "New Earth", she takes over Rose, the Doctor, then Rose again, then one of the disease hosts, then Rose a THIRD time, and finally her cloned assistant (who was a willing host).
** Subverted in series four: [[spoiler:''Midnight'' has [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer the other passengers]] eager to accept the idea that the malevolent entity that has been possessing Sky has jumped into the Doctor, freeing her. Instead, not only is she still possessed, but is now playing a rather sick [[PeoplePuppets ventriloquism game]] in trying to get the Doctor killed...]]
** In AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho, ''The Fearmonger'' has the titular Fearmonger jumping into people... first the leader of the biggest political party, and then, [[spoiler: apparantly,]] the Doctor. [[spoiler: At the end, it's revealed the the monster was in another guy up until the point where Ace had been in hospital-- whereupon it jumped over to her, getting her to try to kill the Doctor.]]
** The Big Finish adventure "Retail Therapy" in the Ninth Doctor Chronicles concludes with [[spoiler: the Ninth Doctor, with Jackie Tyler's help, transferring his consciousness into the body of the villain, reversing the life draining devices he sent out, and surfing back to his own body as the man's body "wears a bit thin", so to speak.]]
* Androvax in ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'' story ''Prisoner of the Judoon''.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
** The demon Eyghon in the second-season episode "[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS2E8TheDarkAge The Dark Age]]" does this to several characters over the course of the episode. The catch is that [[spoiler:he can only possess a dead or unconscious host, and, when his current body dies, it turns into a puddle of goo, spreading out to infect the next unfortunate dead/unconscious person who comes into contact with it. He eventually manages to possess Jenny Calendar, and when Angel tries to strangle Eyghon!Jenny, the demon jumps into Angel's body (who is technically undead, being a vampire and all) after Jenny's body nearly dies. The vampiric demon inside Angel's body then proceeds to defeat Eyghon for good: "I've had a demon inside me for a couple hundred years just waiting for a good fight."]]
** The villain of sixth-season episode "After Life".
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'':
** Happens to Tom Paris in the episode "Vis-à-vis". A criminal steals his body and dumps Tom in his own, leaving him to avoid pissed-off previous body-swopped personalities, plus somehow get back to Voyager and convince people that 'Tom Paris' isn't who they think he is. A similar plot appears in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/BountyHamster''. This time Cassie is the victim.
** In "Warlord", a former dictator jumps from body to body (usually volunteers from among his fanatical followers) in a quest for immortality but finds himself accidentally inside Kes. At first he finds Kes' mind powers and sexual attractiveness very useful; her stubborn determination to resist him not so much. Not to mention that if you want immortality, a host body that is dead of old age before it hits ten years old is a ''bad choice''.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'':
** In the episode "Wolf in the Fold", spirit Redjac hops from body to body while committing violent murders because he's [[spoiler: actually Jack the Ripper]]. And another episode had three noncorporeal life forms using the bodies of the Enterprise crew to construct android bodies for themselves.
** The final episode "Turnabout Intruder" had one of Captain Kirk's lovers, Dr. Janice Lester, swap her mind with his so she can live her dream of being captain of a starship. Then, she realizes she needs to kill her old body to make the transfer permanent.
* ''Series/BigWolfOnCampus'' had one of these for a MonsterOfTheWeek. It switched bodies by touch. Since it switched between "Human forms", that meant it could also posses and animate a giant statue.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}''
** Season 4 had [[AlphaBitch Dawn Stiles]] whose spirit possessed the bodies of Lana, Martha, Lois, Chloe, and ''Clark''.
-->'''Clark''': [[Funny/{{Smallville}} Crown's mine, bitch.]]
** Bizarro kills a number of human hosts by simply wearing them out before finding Clark and becoming his EvilTwin.
** Season 10 BigBad {{ComicBook/Darkseid}} can possess any host that can't control the darkness in their heart.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' had a sentient virus who could only infect one host at a time. It was double-tricky to catch because it drugged its victims so that afterwards they didn't even know they'd been possessed.
* The Rossum executives do this in the last few episodes of ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}''. Ambrose, Harding and 'Clyde' change bodies several times. An interview with Alan Tudyk revealed that Alpha planned to do this, as well.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'':
** "Better Luck Next Time" featured two nearly immortal aliens who could inhabit any living host and can survive for however long they can bind to the central nervous system. After the host dies, they have only moments to transfer into another body until they die, since they can't live too long in the Earth's atmosphere. If they transfer, they will still live for however long they can repeat the sequence. If they fail, they disintegrate. This was a sequel to another episode: one of the duo was in fact ''Jack the Ripper!''
** "Free Spirit" featured a person involved in a mind-transfer experiment whose consciousness became disconnected from his body after the scientists chose to terminate the experiment by killing the test subjects. He takes several years to learn how to possess people's minds and then comes back to get revenge on his killers. He's become so good at it that in one scene he repeatedly jumps between two people [[FinishingEachOthersSentences to finish a single sentence]].
* [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast His Divine Shadow]], the BigBad from the first season of ''Series/{{Lexx}}''. He could transfer his "essence" to a new host when his old host was near death, thus ensuring he could reign indefinitely. The fact that[[spoiler: his new host's mind and personality was improperly "cleansed" before the transfer]] was a major plot point in the first season.
* This comes into play at the end of Season 1 of ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy''. [[spoiler: Turns out this is what the Magna Defender did to Mike, with the eventual side-effect of bringing him back to life.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' , the Source kept switching between bodies in order to lure Paige to evil. [[IdiotBall Right in front of her, with her seeing the switch in flames every time.]]
* Count Petoffi on the original ''Series/DarkShadows'' was able to do this. He was last seen in the 19th Century caught in a fire with no apparent escape route.
* Demons and Angels in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' move from vessel to vessel, when they have [[PossessionBurnout burnt out a host]], the current host is no longer convenient, or a better vessel is available.
* Mabus, the BigBad of ''Series/FirstWave'' can do this using his PsychicPowers. The other Gua can ''sort of'' do this by copying their minds onto spherical storage devices and uploading themselves to a new husk (human/Gua hybrid grown in a lab). However, Mabus can only successfully possess hosts that are mentally strong enough to hold his essence. At least three people are shown to be able to do this: [[TheChosenOne Cade]] himself (the original husk for Mabus was his clone), [[ActionGirl Jordan]] (he ''really'' enjoys being a woman especially after seducing Cade), and a software mogul. Another episode featured a Gua who figured out how to do this to any human. The only thing that gave away his identity was the constant whistling of "London Bridge Is Falling Down".
* A MonsterOfTheWeek in ''Series/BloodTies'' turns out to be this. Interestingly, when it invades a person, his or her spirit is pushed out and roams around for a bit, only visible to other supernatural beings and people sensitive to the supernatural world. The creature burns out the body in a matter of days, after which it must find a new host. It can be without a body only for a few seconds before expiring. The "possessed" person mostly acts the same, having all the memories of the host, but is a little more animal-like and ''loves'' red meat. Unfortunately, its latest target is Vicki's old friend, an undercover cop, whose spirit comes to her for help. They manage to kill the creature, and her friend gets his body back, but it's already too damaged and survives only about a minute.

* ''Manhwa/{{Priest}}'' has villain Jaarbilong, who commands a horde of zombies. He can possess any of the zombies at will, if his current body is destroyed he simply jumps into another one. Ivan gets around this trick by attacking his soul directly.

* In the video of ''Music/PanicAtTheDisco''''s "Don't Threaten Me With a Good Time", some sort of tentacle beast travels from a young woman's body to the body of Brandon Urie, and returns to the bar in his body presumably to find another host.

[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]
* In ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'', the villains Iuchiban and Yajinden do this. At one point Iuchiban attempts a GrandTheftMe on previous main villain Daigotsu, but for the most part their hosts are unimportant to the plot. They generally warp the bodies into their own image, however.
** Less nefariously, the Kami Togashi body-hopped for over a thousand years to guide the Empire towards the Second Day of Thunder. All of his hosts were willing members of his Clan hand-picked for the duty, however.
** Similarly, the Kami Shiba used his Clan's Ancestral Sword as a focus through which he can return in the soul of the current Champion of his Clan, all of which were his direct descendants. However, he is incapable of actively directing the new Champion, and instead acts more like a spirit guide.
* Characters with the Possession advantage can do this in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}''.
** As can any informorph (AIs and [[BrainUploading uploaded human brains]]) in ''Transhuman Space'', though only with computer brains that are unoccupied.
* In ''TabletopGame/InNomine'', the Kyriotates (angels) and the Shedim (demons) are Body Surfers by necessity; they MUST possess the bodies of other beings while on Earth (unlike most angels and demons who are given special bodies to use in the physical world) and they can only possess their hosts for a limited amount of time, the Kyrios have a "hard limit" of anywhere from a day to a week or so as to how long they can borrow a given body continuously, and Shedim are required to force their hosts to perform evil acts each day, and the host becomes more likely to resist the longer they have been possessed, so the demons don't usually stick around for more then a few days at a time because the host gets too hard to control.
* ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' features body surfing as a core element of the setting, to the point where bodies are referred to as "sleeves", useful not only for restoring [[BrainUploading backed-up]] characters after death and customizing characters for the job at hand, but also for long-distance travel in the form of Egocasting.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has several examples of this.
** The (in)famous ''TabletopGame/TombOfHorrors'' module for AD&D revolved around the players trying to prevent the uber-demilich Acererak from becoming this. [[strike:When]] If they fail, Acererak gains the ability to manifest himself in full power within ANY undead creature on ANY plane, effectively propelling him straight into Greater Godhood.
** 3.5 [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons D&D]] has Glimmerskins, Good-aligned ghostlike monsters who can assist characters by giving them fast healing and a few extra feats.
** And, for a more direct approach, the ''Magic Jar'' spell allows for rapid movement between bodies as long as anyone's near the "Jar". (It's the place you [[SoulJar keep your victim's soul]] while your original body is comatose.)
** Psionics does this too, obviously. Mind switch has endless possibilities, and there are brain leech parasites who can hop from person to person easily by using mind control to keep multiple individuals enthralled.
** Tsochari and Hellwasp Swarms can crawl inside a body and take over, although the process slowly kills a living victim and does not prevent the decay of a corpse.
** The TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}} setting has the odem, an undead spirit that Body Surfs as its signature ability. The cursed, headless Jacqueline Montarri is a variant of this trope, who steals just ''the heads'' of one victim (preferably beautiful) after another, wearing them to acquire the victims' abilities, then replacing them as they rapidly wear out.
** Some of the darklords, if killed, will Body Surf into a new host within their domain, after which the Dark Powers re-shape the stolen body to resemble their old one.
* ''TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil'' provides The Owls, disembodied spirits that take over humans or vampires and turn them into rotting, blood drinking corpses known as Bloodjackers. When the corpse rots or is destroyed, The Owl simply grabs a new host. Some actually keep rooms full of fresh corpses, waiting to be possessed.
** The Owls are pretty much what hunters know about the strix from ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem''. Over there, the strix have the power to not only jump into human corpses (which will kill the host instantly), but to also possess vampires who are in torpor or whose souls are currently out of their body due to possession or astral projection powers.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** Notably averted: Daemonic possession is a regular occurrence, but it's a very difficult thing to set up and daemons can't easily leave their hosts without being pulled back into the [[{{Hell}} Warp]].
** Lucius the Eternal, the Champion of Slaanesh, uses an unusual method: whenever he's killed, he slowly reincarnates into his killer (if they felt any satisfaction at all in having downed him), until the only thing remaining of the victim is yet another screaming face in Lucius' armor.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2: Mask of the Betrayer'' [[spoiler: the player spends the entire game struggling against a body-surfer that has inhabited her body and threatens to devour her identity.]]
** [[spoiler: Gann's mother]] possesses your companions while you are fighting her.
** In [[VideoGame/NeverwinterNights the original]], the Intellect Devourer has taken over [[spoiler:the prison warden]] and brainwashed several guards. If you're stealthy and you want some positive karma, you can snap the guards out of it and get them to flee. Otherwise, once you kill the first body . . . "Heeheehee, I'm HERE, foes!"
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** [[spoiler: Flemeth]] from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', who does this after her body succumbs to the ravages of age. [[spoiler:With the bodies of her daugters, whose souls and power she consumes in the process.]]
** The Archdemons of ''Franchise/DragonAge'' lore take over a nearby darkspawn if their bodies are destroyed. The first Blight lasted over a hundred years before somebody figured out how to turn people into Grey Wardens, who are the only people capable of stopping an Archdemon. [[spoiler:If a Grey Warden kills an Archdemon, the two souls cancel each other out in a spectacular lightshow, permanently killing both.]]
*** When Flemeth learns about this [[spoiler:she realizes that she can combine these two by tricking the archdemon soul into the body of her unborn grandchild (who would not have a soul yet), thereby salvaging the soul of the Old God...for her own mysterious purpose, of course.]]
** [[spoiler: Corypheus]] from the ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII: Legacy DLC'', who was [[spoiler: one of the Tevinter Magisters who entered the Black City and became one of the ''first'' Darkspawn.]] After being defeated by Hawke, before s/he strikes the final blow, his eyes briefly turn black and the Grey Warden (Larius or Janeka) that Hawke has allied with [[MeaningfulBackgroundEvent staggers in the background]]. It's further implied that [[spoiler: Corypheus]] is now possessing them with the large SlasherSmile they wear as they leave.
** The above is confirmed in ''Videogame/DragonAgeInquisition''. The Elder One [[spoiler:is Corypheus. It is later confirmed that he can reincarnate himself in any tainted being, including Wardens.]]
* In ''VideoGame/AvengingSpirit'', you play as a ghost who's been brought to earth by a scientist, and you have to save your girlfriend from some gangsters. You have to possess the game's enemies in order to do anything- every time one body gets killed, you have to go right into a new one in a certain amount of time, or you'll run out of spiritual energy.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Geist}}'' the player takes the role of John Raimi, a scientist separated from his body by an experiment by terrorists. Raimi cannot do anything outside his body, but luckily he can possess and control anything he can frighten from animals to armed guards, and can even possess objects ranging from mop buckets and cans, to Gun Emplacements and Bombs. Unfortunately for you, some of the later enemies in the game can Body Surf you as well.
* Likewise, this was the premise behind the AdventureGame ''VideoGame/OmikronTheNomadSoul'', while the player character being a soul from "our" universe who is only able to interact with the alien world of Omikron by taking over the bodies of Omikron's citizens. He/she hops from body to body quite frequently; the process seems to displace the original soul, so that the body's left an empty shell when the player leaves it for another. The morality of this is never even superficially addressed, especially considering the bad guys are essentially doing the same thing, only on a much more massive scale. The player even evaluates potential hosts like new cars when you examine them, and towards the end the game even requires you to poison a guy who just saved your life so you can jack his body.
* In ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersJericho'', the player character is a commander of an occult special forces military unit, and dies rather early into the game. His disembodied persona can shift into the bodies of each of his soldiers, possessing them consensually (though I guess nothing could stop him from 'pulling rank'.)
* This is Bob the Cherub's main tool in ''VideoGame/{{Messiah}}''.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces'', this is [[spoiler:[[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Lambda]]'s]] modus operandi. In the end, though, he settles down in [[spoiler:Asbel]].
* ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear X2'' has Eddie, who is looking for a new body to possess after Zato died. His story mode pretty much revolves around trying to do this and repeatedly failing (can't possess Zappa, for example, because Zappa's got the spiritual equivalent of a "No Vacancies" sign up).
* The player characters of the ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'' series can kill people to absorb them, allowing you to take on their appearance and pass for them. You will do this often. There's also a move called Body Surf, but it involves ''literal'' body surfing. As in surfboards.
* Basically all of ''[[Franchise/CrashBandicoot Crash of the Titans]]''. Aku Aku even tells you to do this to beat the first boss. Just [[PeoplePuppets "jack"]] a spike, then keep Body Surfing on up the chain to defeat more powerful mutants!
* [[spoiler:Miang]] in ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' possesses another woman's body every time her current body is killed. She has gone through an average of one body a decade for [[spoiler:10,000 years]]. [[spoiler:Grahf]] also lives on by possessing people once his current body wears out.
* [[spoiler:Dimitri Yuriev]] in ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' also does this. At the time the game begins, he's been possessing bodies for at least 200 years because [[ImmortalitySeeker he's terrified of dying and having to face U-DO]] aka [[spoiler:God]]. He dedicates every waking moment to finding a way to destroy U-DO and comes very close to doing it. He'd be a TragicMonster, if he wasn't a complete asshole.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'', Zelda can quickly surf from one Phantom to another one whenever Link hits one in the back. This turns into a true Body Surf-Orgy in the last segment of the Tower of Spirits.
* In ''VisualNovel/DisgaeaInfinite'', one of the Prinnies has his soul sucked out of his body by [[MacGuffin a talking magical pocket watch]]. He has to jump between the other character's bodies to solve the main plot of the game. The fun part of the watch is that not only can he see events from the eyes of the person he's possessed, he can also hear their thoughts, and can influence their decisions, making them do things totally out of character i.e. Laharl hugging a sleeping Prinny or Etna professing love to Laharl.
* The character you control does this in ''VideoGame/SpaceStationSiliconValley''.
* In ''VideoGame/AgeOfWonders'', the dark elf Incarnate unit.
* This is a major gameplay innovation in ''VideoGame/The3rdBirthday,'' a sequel to ''VideoGame/ParasiteEve''. It also doubles as MentalTimeTravel. Aya is using a machine to travel a year into the past, temporarily imposing over the physical presence of soldiers and civilians in the past; she can hop into another one at any time which lets her hop onto roofs or take over gun emplacements to use against the bizarre monsters plaguing the land.
** Oddly enough, this is to the ''benefit'' of the people she possesses, as Aya has access to more firepower and special abilities than anyone else. In addition, simply by taking over their bodies, she's allowing them to regenerate their health, which they can't do otherwise. Many of the challenges in the game revolve around keeping people alive, which will require a lot of body surfing during the tough segments.
* A major gameplay element of ''VideoGame/{{Stacking}}'' has Charlie Blackmore, a particularly small Russian stacking doll, possessing multiple dolls at once by "stacking" into them.
* The BonusBoss of ''VideoGame/BaldursGateTalesOfTheSwordCoast'' Aec'letec will immediately take over the body of one of his cultists every time he is killed. Depending on how quickly you kill him each time this trope can easily come into play. Especially if you exploit his crippling weakness to Cloudkill.
* In ''[[VideoGame/GloryOfHeraclesIVGiftFromTheGods Glory Of Heracles IV]]'' Both the protagonist and Plato gain the ability to do this after losing their bodies. There are 100 or so characters one can become, scattered around the world.
* The DrivingGame ''VideoGame/DriverSanFrancisco'' has protagonist Tanner use the "Shift" ability to jump into the bodies of random motorists.
* This was revealed to be Master Xehanort's ultimate goal in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep''. [[spoiler: It only worked partially.]]
* ''Franchise/WildArms'':
** Mother of ''[[VideoGame/WildArms1 Wild ARMs]]'' has a lifecycle that involves creating four children on a dying world, moving on to the next, destroying that one, fusing with one of the four (and killing the rest), and repeating.
** Kressen of ''VideoGame/{{Wild ARMs XF}}'' simply downloads himself into a younger body whenever his old one gets old.
* [[Literature/ArsGoetia Nebiros]] has this ability in ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei: VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2''. He appears with a gaggle of other demons, which he'll periodically revive if killed. Should the player decide to focus on Nebiros, he will simply take over one of the other demons and ''[[ResurrectiveImmortality transform him into the next Nebiros]]''.
** Cain [[spoiler: a.k.a. Naoya]] combines this with ResurrectiveImmortality. Every time he dies, he reincarnates with all his previous memories intact. Unfortunately, [[WhoWantsToLiveForever this isn't consensual]], and has been going on ''since biblical times''.
* ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'': While not normally a part of his skillset, Pit is forced to use this when [[spoiler: he is transformed into a ring that can control the body of whoever is wearing it]]. He surfs his way through the body of a little girl, a dog, and BadassNormal Magnus before he's able to return to his own.
* In ''[[VideoGame/DestroyAllHumans Destroy All Humans 2]]'' Crypto can possess pretty much anybody walking on the street. Which, since he is a [[TheGreys short grey alien]], is handy for walking around undetected, talking to mission givers (some of whom only talk to specific kind of people) and if he's possessing a cop or soldier, calling off the [[WantedMeter hunt for him]]. The downside is that it drains his host's life.
* In ''Videogame/IMissTheSunrise'', [[spoiler:The Black One]] does this every time they die, essentially giving them ResurrectiveImmortality. However, their consciousness can only take over the body of [[spoiler:a Lesser]]. Since [[spoiler:their brains aren't as complex as other creatures']], this leads to [[TheFogOfAges memory problems]].
* Multiple examples in ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** The [[MechanicalLifeforms Geth]] are in fact an entire race of computer programs, who can transfer themselves from one platform to another, either to escape danger or simply to take control of a more appropriate platform (a Geth Trooper as opposed to a [[SpiderTank Colossus]] or a [[CoolStarship Dreadnought]]). As a tradeoff, Geth typically have to operate in networked groups.
** Reapers can also take control of indoctrinated minions, though this plays more like DemonicPossession, leaving Shepard to deal with a super-charged ([[PowerGlows and glowing]]) BossInMookClothing.
* In ''VideoGame/TombRaider2013'', this was how [[spoiler:Queen Himiko stayed alive for hundreds of years. Whenever her body becomes too old for her she chooses a successor among her handmaidens. Then she transfers her soul into the girls body, [[FateWorseThanDeath destroying the original soul in the process]].]] However the cycle was broken, [[spoiler: when the latest handmaiden [[HeroicSacrifice comitted suicide]] during the transfer ritual. As a result Himiko was trapped in her previous body which quickly decayed into a [[AndIMustScream horrifying corpse]]]]. Now very pissed off [[spoiler: Himiko causes the storms that keep people trapped on the island, while the solarii cult searches for a new host body]]. As it turns out the perfect replacement happens to be [[spoiler: Lara's best friend Sam]].
* In ''Relics'' (an old Japanese computer game by Bothtec), the player character was a shade that could possess various creatures.
* The premise of ''VideoGame/WiLD'' is that the player controls a shaman who can indwell various animals, even jumping from one to another.
* Player characters in ''[[VideoGame/NexusWar Nexus Clash]]'' respawn in a different, random body every time they die. This is constrained by character class, and each class has a different set of possible random bodies that one can wake up in. Unlike most examples of this trope, it's implied that you ''aren't'' displacing the original owners of those bodies, who were already removed from the picture by the PowersThatBe.
* Kyouji Kuzunoha of the ''VideoGame/DevilSummoner'' series, after his untimely death at the beginning of the first game. When the protagonist ends up in Kyouji's body, Kyouji ends up hopping from body to body throughout several games. He starts in the first game as [[spoiler:Takashi]], then shows up in ''VideoGame/SoulHackers'' as Sukeroku, and then again in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' as Daisuke Todoroki.
* Mario can do this to enemies, {{Non Player Character}}s, and even inanimate objects with the help of Cappy in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioOdyssey''.
* VideoGame/Dishonored2 allows the player to do this with [[http://dishonored.wikia.com/wiki/Possession Possession]] and the 'Chain Hosts' upgrade. Without this upgrade you must return to human form to possess another host.

[[folder: Visual Novels]]
* [[spoiler:Matou Zouken]] from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight.''
* [[BigBad Roa]] from ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}''.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Reynardine from ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' is a [[strike:[[OurDemonsAreDifferent demon]]]] [[CunningLikeAFox fox]]-being who has the ability to Body Surf, but the [[RestrainingBolt events of the plot]] prevent him from doing so. Good thing, too, because when he does it, he kills the host.
** Coyote had the original, non-deadly version of the ability, until he gave it to Reynardine, and mostly used it for mischief. It should also be noted that Reynard had ''no'' idea of the side effect before he used the power.
* Fridge from ''Webcomic/SamAndFuzzy'' can hop from body to body in close proximity. [[spoiler: He's only killed when Sexxica/Candice kills every host within range of him, [[KillUsBoth including herself]]]]
* Professor Fitz in ''Webcomic/{{Fans}}'' surfed through several bodies in order to avoid dying of old age. At one point, Will Erikson allowed Fitz to swap bodies with him in order to insure Fitz' loyalty to Rikk and AEGIS. Fitz is currently inhabiting the body of a fire-breathing dragon and loving every minute of it.
* This is the MO of [[spoiler:The Other]] from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''. It's (thus far) ambiguous if [[spoiler:the original Other was Agatha's mother Lucrezia, or an EldritchAbomination an experiment [[GoneHorriblyRight worked too well on]]]].
* Godiva from ''Webcomic/{{Vanguard}}'' has a power that requires a line of sight but lets her see and hear through the victim. It comes in handy against tougher opponents, as people very rarely have a defense against throwing their own weapon down and pulling back the [[NighInvulnerability Nigh Invulnerable]] face plate blocking all those bullets.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the lich sorcerer Drishnek likes to do this because his unholy powers tend to rapidly age and weaken his host bodies, so he constantly has to swap into a new host to survive. Every time he swaps bodies, however, the body he leaves behind dies.
* The A.I. O'Malley from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue''. O'Malley's degree of control over its host seems to vary from individual to individual: Caboose's mind is completely subsumed while possessed (which may account for his [[TheDitz sudden drop in IQ]] once it's removed), Doc develops O'Malley as a campy would-be universal tyrant split personality, and most of the other soldiers simply have some bizarre aspect of their character amplified to dangerous levels. Church somehow escapes its effects, ostensibly due to being ''that'' much of an asshole.
** As revealed in ''Reconstruction'', [[spoiler:it's because he's the Alpha A.I.--which means O'Malley is merely a fragment of his personality to begin with]].
** Trivia: The only soldier to escape possession is Tucker, due to the fact that the RT crew decided an evil Tucker would be too obscene to broadcast.
** It should also be pointed out that ''any'' AI appears to be capable of body-surfing, (or at least the ones that are [[spoiler:more than just fragments]]) but none to the degree that O'Malley is capable of. [[spoiler:After "dying", both Tex and Church possess other people or robot bodies, but only O'Malley is shown to be able to possess someone and still give the other person some free will.]]
* Astral Controller of ''Website/EpicTales'' is only able to interact with the physical world by possessing human hosts. In his first appearance he switches between multiple different hosts as the situation requires.
* ''Literature/FineStructure'': [[spoiler:[[BigGood Mitch Calrus]] is distinctively ''not'' immortal, but he needs to be around in 20,000 years to fight the FinalBattle. The solution is to use BrainUploading to make countless digital copies of himself all over the solar system, and have his immortal ally upload him into available bodies as needed]].
* Dr Bright of the Wiki/SCPFoundation. His spirit is tied to [[http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/scp-963 SCP-963]], so anytime his body dies, the SCP can be transferred to a new body. Bright is also a darker example of the trope than usual, since possessing someone even briefly [[DeathOfPersonality wipes their original brain pattern.]]
** Ditto for [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1510 SCP-1510]], an ancient Roman soldier's helmet containing the cursed spirit of its former owner. Any man between 28 and 35 years old who wears it will become possessed by the soldier's spirit.
* In the universe of ''WebVideo/TalesFromMyDDCampaign'', most Warforged either died or put themselves in suspended animation after their creators died of the [[MysticalDisease Astral Plague]]. While a few Warforged have learned enough about artificing to maintain their golem bodies, an even smaller group, called the "Dark Ancients", have instead developed the ability to disconnect their consciousness from their physical body, allowing them to possess other construct bodies. It is widely suspected that the Dark Ancients are behind the occasional rediscovery of caches of sleeping Warforged, as this ensures a supply of fresh bodies.
* In ''Film/NoobLaQueteLegendaire'', [[spoiler:physical god Dortös]] has to posses a mortal host to survive on Olydri's surface. The character has been shown using two bodies so far due to the first being possessed from a lack of options and more compatible hosts existing out there. However, the character's dialogue as it takes leave of his first host's travel companions implies there is a least a little PossessionBurnout going on as well, as it talks about using the body until its resources run out. The video game context probably make the burnout likely to be CastFromHitPoints rather than CastFromLifespan.
* ''Literature/HeroesSaveTheWorld'': This is Michael Williams' power, combined with the ability to read thoughts and memories from whatever brain he's currently inhabiting.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' gives us Jericho, who can take over anyone by making eye contact. In the penultimate episode, he does this very rapidly during a big fight scene.
* In ''WesternAnimation/PacManAndTheGhostlyAdventures'', this is part of what made the villainous ghost Specter so dangerous. Most ghosts can only use DemonicPossession on a living being for a few minutes at best without artificial aid, but Specter had developed the ability so much that he could possess a body for days, and loved switching between them quickly, leaving Pac with no idea who he was, and [[ParanoiaFuel not even Pac's]] TrueCompanions [[ParanoiaFuel could be trusted]]. Specter was ''so'' dangerous, Pac had to use an EngineeredPublicConfession to get him on Betrayus's bad side so he would be locked up, since he would keep coming back otherwise, something Pac hasn't done for any of ghostly foes before or since.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/BountyHamster'' took place on a planet where a scientist had invented a device which allowed any two people to switch bodies. The BigBad for that episode had stolen that device before the main characters got there. They ended up trying to track down said BigBad as they ended up in the bodies of the locals (or each-other, or in one case the BigBad from a past episode). At one point the titular hamster, the girl who hired him, and the BigBad were all in the same body. At the end of the episode, he (the BigBad, [[IThoughtItMeant not the hamster]]) ended up in a cactus.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' special, "Destination: Imagination", World can take over anything in his universe. He just can't take over anything that already has a face, and he has to be physically touching it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', The Lich has this ability. Whenever his old body is destroyed, he simply surfs to a new one. The first time, Finn manages to kill his old body, so his soul transfers into [[spoiler: Princess Bubblegum. After that body is shattered and he's exorcised, he possesses [[EasterEgg The Snail]] to escape]].
** In the Season 4 finale, he does it again, taking the body of [[spoiler: Billy, which ultimately allows his plan to succeed]]. It's unknown whether [[spoiler: The Multiverse]] affected his current body.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', Timmy gets a buzzer-like device that he can use to switch bodies with anyone he shakes hands with. After he inadvertently switches with Crocker, he has to rush back home to keep Crocker in his body from finding his Godparents. Because Timmy's dad won't let Crocker's body in the house (thinking that Timmy's mom has feelings for Crocker), Timmy has to switch with his dad. HilarityEnsues as Timmy accidentally bumps into and switches with everyone else in the house: Timmy in his dad's body switches with his mom, Timmy in his mom's body switches with Vicky, Timmy in Vicky's body switches with Vicky's dog, and Timmy in the dog's body finally switches with Crocker in Timmy's body.
* The third and final appearance of Queen La in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfTarzan''.
* According to ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', Miss Havisham of ''Literature/GreatExpectations'' plans to do this. By way of her genesis device powered by the tears of young men. Along with her army of robot monkeys.
* In ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'', an evil queen invites villains from across the cosmos in hopes of finding potential heir for her space armada. However, when Lord Hater triumphs over the competition she grabs him and reveals that she really just wanted a new host as her current body was wearing out. Interference from Wander leaves her spirit trapped in a sandwich.
* The premise of ''WesternAnimation/PennZeroPartTimeHero'' is that the characters travel to other dimensions and take over the bodies of specific inhabitants.
* In the third season premiere of ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'', Rick escapes from Federation captivity by transferring his consciousness into one of his interrogators, then when his own body is shot in the head he transfers to two other alternate reality Ricks.