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->'''Mayor:''' What do we got?\\
'''Jim Gordon:''' Nothing. No matches on prints, DNA, dental. Clothing is custom, no labels. Nothing in his pockets but knives and lint. No name... no other alias.
-->-- ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', regarding '''ComicBook/TheJoker'''

NothingIsScarier than someone you know nothing about. He has nothing to identify him, nothing that even states that he is real. If this person simply disappears, you are terrified because you don't know if he is watching. Sometimes he is established as a myth, a ghost story to scare people. This person lacks not only a past, but also a present and a future. He just is, and you don't know why.

The Spook is someone whose identity is a paradox, they exist but don't exist at the same time. No one can prove that he is there except by showing someone the warm body, if you even have it. If a name is given it is likely to be ShroudedInMyth; you can't be certain of anything you hear about them but you don't want to underestimate them all the same. Or they may use an obvious pseudonym like MrSmith.

In some cases, this may overlap with a LegacyCharacter: the myth is more important than the person.

AllThereInTheManual may have extra information that is confirmed by WordOfGod, but that doesn't count: this is about how this character is perceived by others. What matters is how the [[InUniverse characters in the story]] behave in regard to the stranger. If the people in the story know all about the character, then it does not qualify as The Spook even if the audience knows nothing.

This kind of character is often seen as either an EnigmaticMinion, or the guy the villains (or even the heroes) bring in to do the job right... even if they don't know what they're dealing with. Also frequently TheNondescript.

The reason The Spook is such a mysterious character is that the story treats the lack of information of the guy as a mystery, i.e attention is drawn to it and in universe characters point them out and become curious. If this doesn't happen, he's probably just a BitCharacter that isn't intended to be memorable.

Compare TheFaceless, but The Faceless is only important based around the eventual reveal (whether or not they actually have a face). The Spook will usually remain an enigma even if caught and defeated. Also compare TheMenInBlack, who are often {{mooks}} with this characteristic, and TheCowl, when a hero tries to be this to the villains. TheChessmaster can sometimes be a Spook and combined with this trope makes them all the scarier. Finally, compare/contrast {{Unperson}}, where someone else does this to a person as a form of punishment. See also OutsideContextProblem, which appears out of nowhere, and DiabolusExNihilo, a villain without any backstory.

Not to be confused with ''Radio/TheShadow'', TheGhost, SillySpook, or especially TheSpock. Nor to be confused with the Spook from ''ComicStrip/TheWizardOfId''.

Be warned that "spook" is also a mostly obsolete slur against black people, so use with caution. "Spook" is also used in a philosophical sense (mainly in certain branches of anarchism and nihilism) to refer to abstract social constructs.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* All members of ACROSS in ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' must maintain this secrecy to ignorant citizens, which is why they can only get temp jobs.
** Much of the manga is a comical {{Deconstruction}} of the trope, noting how difficult it is actually to live without any kind of identifications, steady job or social security. The protagonists end up getting mistaken for illegal immigrants several times over.
* L, Mello and Near from ''Manga/DeathNote''. Justified, as the titular notebook can kill anyone whose name is written in it. Thus, the only people who could challenge the Death Note's user would be those with entirely unknown names.
** Light Yagami initially becomes a spook when he gets his Death Note from Ryuk--a mysterious killer with the ability to kill off anyone in the world, location be damned, so long as he knows the real name of his victim. He exacts the power of the Death Note enough that the world notices the sequential killings and dubs the culprit "Kira." That would've been the end of it, had Light not fallen for a trap set out by L by writing down the name "Lind L. Taylor," a man being used as a decoy proxy for the real L. Taking the bait allows L to start hunting him down relentlessly, opening the biggest can of worms he'll ever know.
* Johann tries to become one in ''Manga/{{Monster}}'' by destroying all traces of his past. Even without him doing that, he essentially is one already due to the circumstances of his birth and upbringing. Finding out how he became the way he is is one of the plot's driving forces.
* Hazama is this in ''Anime/BlazBlueAlterMemory''. Between attempts to help Noel, Makoto (Hazama's own subordinate, by the by) has been trying to gather information that could link him to the Imperator, and found absolutely jack about him in the NOL database. Whatever justification exists cements to Makoto that Hazama is not to be trusted, and she arranges for a pickup with Sector Seven to get Noel out of Kagutsuchi. It's not a spoiler to say this doesn't work out.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* [[DiabolicalMastermind The Octopus]] in ''ComicBook/TheSpirit''. In the entire run of the series, neither the heroes, the villains, nor anyone else ever saw his face or learned who he was. In his first appearance, he ''ran through fire'' to avoid revealing his identity.
* Mr. Nobody in ''ComicBook/SpiderGirl''. Even when he's apprehended by the police, it's found that he literally has no fingerprints and that what was thought to be a full facial mask is apparently his actual face.
* ''Comicbook/TheBoys'': The unnamed Vought-American exec is this. The Homelander, a Kryptonian-class superhuman, is more than a little scared of this apparently ordinary human; even half-jokingly theorizing that the executive might be some sort of quintessential corporate lifeform.
* Cobra Commander in IDW's ''[[ComicBook/GIJoeIDW G.I. Joe]]'' comics. We never learn his name, facial appearance, or backstory only receiving vague suggestions. It's implied that [[spoiler: he may actually be "Chimera", a villain the Joes encountered years ago, having survived his battle with them and taken a new identity]] but even this is conjecture. And later it's revealed [[spoiler: he's not even a singular person, just the most recent holder of the title. There's been ''hundreds'' of Cobra Commanders throughout human history, each more inscrutable than the last. After the Commander we started with is shot dead, he's replaced by a nameless man called "Krake" in under a month.]]
* Franchise/SpiderMan villain Façade, a professional thief/merc who wields a powerful suit of biomechanical armor. He's most well-known for [[KilledOffForReal killing off Lance Bannon]], one of Spider-Man's longtime allies and to this day we've never learned his identity or backstory (the evidence given narrowed it to about two possible suspects but we're never told which is correct). It's become [[RiddleForTheAges an enduring mystery]] that's haunted Spidey ever since they first fought. In-Universe, the only people who know are Façade himself and Norman Osborn, who probably isn't interested in telling.
** This one is rather notable in that he initially wasn't planned to be the Spook, but became one after the writer's plans were derailed by ''The Clone Saga''.
* In ComicBook/VForVendetta, Finch discusses this trope with Susan. V had killed all Larkhill personnel that tortured him. The interesting part is that the only proof the goverment has of that story is the documents V had left for them to find. What if this is just a smokescreen? What if this was done not as a RoaringRampageOfRevenge, but to erase all proof of V's past? What if this is only the beginning of something greater? How can they hope to stop him?
* ComicBook/{{Diabolik}} started out as this before some of his past started being discovered. In the AlternateContinuity DK, his counterpart, known as the Shadow of the Night, is this, to the point that he doesn't even have a name (Shadow of the Night is how some people call the ''urban legend'' based on him).
* ComicBook/TheJoker has a revolving door of backstories, which makes it unknown who he is, where he came from, and what made him the way he is. Because of this, some writers depict him as a literal and/or figurative avatar of madness and chaos.
* Count Dracula in ''ComicBook/AmericanVampire'' is portrayed this way. Rather than identified as Vlad the Impaler (the real-life inspiration for the character), his origins are unknown and is theorized to have been a pig-farmer rather than the infamous nobleman. Having said that, he is generally agreed to have been Romanian due to being the [[MonsterProgenitor creator]] of the [[VampireVarietyPack Carpathian bloodline]], which became the most numerous of all vampire strains in the world.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* As ''[[Fanfic/RyuugisTheGamesWePlay The Games We Play]]'' progresses, Jaune begins to realise that he knows terrifyingly, worryingly little about who Ozpin really is. Even gaining a TrueSight ability doesn't help.
* The first BigBad of the ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'' Loneliness is this. Even several season after her demise, no one, not even Trixie (who's mind she was dwelling in) knows what she really was or where she came from, or even if she was ''real''. Even her name and gender are just conjecture, as Twilight names her Loneliness and as she's a shapeshifter, the only evidence of a gender at all is her ShapeshifterDefaultForm is female and it's not clear if ''any'' of the forms she assumes are her real one, if she even has one.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ComicBook/TheJoker was portrayed this way in ''Film/TheDarkKnight''. He had no {{backstory}}, and was only "The Joker", nothing more elaborate but nothing to diminish the personality. The premise of the movie was that the heroes have to deal with someone they had no damn clue about. They could not anticipate what he was going to do, and that is why he was so effective. In ''Film/BatmanBegins'', the League of Shadows nearly put Gotham into a riot because of poisonous gas, [[TheDreaded while the Joker nearly did the same thing just from the legend he established for himself.]]
** Incidentally, this is also what makes Franchise/{{Batman}} so scary to the bad guys. He's essentially the Joker, but [[SecretIdentity wearing a mask]] and acting against the villains. The difference, that Sal Maroni makes clear, is that Batman is TheFettered. Once they figure out his "[[ThouShaltNotKill one rule]]" Batman's status as this is diminished. The Joker [[TheUnfettered has absolutely no rules.]]
* Keyser Söze of ''Film/TheUsualSuspects'' was something similar to this. The nature of the movie made his shadow-ness even more obscure and vague. But even with the things confirmed by the police interrogators, Söze was someone who has never had a confirmed sighting, regarded as a myth, has [[MultipleChoicePast multiple versions of his backstory]] and you don't know what is fact or fiction about him.
* This is what is often overlooked in the ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'' movies because of the TimeTravel and evil robot sci-fi, but [[Film/TheTerminator the original movie]] was primarily a person being hunted by someone she knew nothing about, even the reason why she was being hunted.
* When you join the ''Film/MenInBlack'', you become one of these people.
-->''From now on you'll have no identifying marks of any kind. You'll not stand out in any way. [[TheNondescript Your entire image is crafted to leave no lasting memory with anyone you encounter]].''
* [[Film/TheBourneSeries Jason Bourne]] is an example of the "made anonymous by support from powerful intelligence agency" variety.
** All the field members of [[GovernmentConspiracy Treadstone]] are made to become this. And with Bourne losing his memory, it shows what happens when one of these people do a HeelFaceTurn.
* Chauncey Gardiner in ''Film/BeingThere'', who grew up as a gardener for a rich old man who had secluded himself and Chance from the outside world. After his master dies, and he has to go out in the world, he becomes a mysterious figure without a past.
%%* The SerialKiller from ''Film/{{Se7en}}''.
* In ''Film/RemoWilliamsTheAdventureBegins'', the bad guys refer to Remo as "The Faceless Wonder" because they can find absolutely no information on him at all other than a picture and the fact that he's interfering with their nefarious scheme.
* The whoever-it-is who keeps showing up and giving cryptic advice to Creator/BruceWillis' character in ''Film/TwelveMonkeys''.
* Cobb from ''Film/{{Following}}''. The police have no record of his existence, and he tricks his fall guy into dressing and looking just like him. The final shot of the film is Cobb stepping into a bustling street and completely disappearing.
* [[Creator/GeorgeClooney Harry]] thinks [[Creator/BradPitt Chad]] is this in ''Film/BurnAfterReading''.
* Ernst Stavro Blofeld is this is the Film/JamesBond movies. He is one of the few Bond villains to be given no backstory whatsoever, either from his own lips or from a government dossier. This is not the case in the novels the films were based on, however.
* Roat, the villain of ''Film/WaitUntilDark''. Roat, incidentally, is not his real name.
* The villain of ''Film/TheHitcher'' is called a ghost because there is nothing that identifies him.
* The Operative from ''Series/{{Serenity}}''
-->'''Dr Mathias''': I see no listing of name or rank.
-->'''The Operative''': I have neither. Like this facility, I don't exist.
* ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'' portrays [[spoiler: Section 31]] as this. [[spoiler: All of their doings are very hush-hush and under the table, while some of its operatives, like John Harrison/Khan, are given false identities to hide their true nature.]]
* In ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'', practically nothing is known about the relentless assassin, Anton Chigurh. The only thing we know is his name, maybe.
-->'''Accountant:''' Are you going to shoot me?
-->'''Anton:''' That depends. [[IWasNeverHere Do you see me?]]
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' has the titular antagonist. Natasha literally calls him a "ghost," and notes that most of the intelligence community doesn't believe he exists. Nobody knew anything about him or who really he was [[spoiler:until Steve saw his face and realized that he was Bucky, who didn't recognize him. From there, he was able to deduce how Bucky ended up as the Winter Soldier.]]
* Josef in ''[[Film/{{Creep 2014}} Creep]]''. The PoliceAreUseless to Aaron because he can't give any concrete information on Josef's name, age, location, or any other identifying details.
* [[NoNameGiven The Caller]] in ''Film/PhoneBooth'' is a complete mystery. He doesn't identify himself or reveal anything about his past (beyond having a happy childhood and being too young to have served in Vietnam), and even his face isn't seen [[spoiler: until the end.]]

* Captain Nemo from ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'' (his chosen alias literally means "no one" in Latin).
* Vying with Nemo for the earliest use of the trope is Professor Sunday, from ''Literature/TheManWhoWasThursday'', as described in the page quote.
* Mister Teatime is this way in ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}''.
* The Jackal from ''Literature/TheDayOfTheJackal'' is this. That's what makes him a perfect assassin.
* ''Literature/TheDemonHeadmaster'' is the unassuming head of a [[TheGoodOldBritishComp small comprehensive school]] who just happens to have mind-control powers and an obsession with bringing the world into perfect, emotionless order. We know absolutely nothing about how he got these abilities, where he comes from, or what his real name is - everyone just calls him "the Headmaster". Even in "Takes Over", [[spoiler: when his amnesiac clone's main goal is simply to learn what his name is, we still don't learn it ourselves.]]
* Julian from ''[[Literature/PointHorror The Boy Next Door]]''. He simply appears in the seemingly abandoned house next door to Randy and she knows very little about him.
* ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' has the AmbiguouslyHuman assassins [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar]].
* In Creator/RogerZelazny's ''Literature/MyNameIsLegion'', no records exist anywhere of the protagonist's original identity.
* Creator/StephenKing has given us many examples over the years, because he finds that unnatural horrors work best when they remain unexplained. [[Literature/NightmaresAndDreamscapes Why's there a sentient finger growing out of this guy's bathroom sink?]] [[Literature/NightShift Why is an industrial laundry machine eating people?]] [[Literature/SkeletonCrew What is this carnivorous black blob floating in the water, and how is it intelligent enough to psychologically torture its prey?]] Whenever King's characters have these sorts of questions, his response tends to be "Doesn't matter. [[OutsideContextProblem Your problem now.]]"
* ''Literature/AmericanGods'' features an amorphous collective of Spooks in the form of the Spookshow, created by people's [[ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve belief]] in TheMenInBlack. Because they're {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s of UsefulNotes/ConspiracyTheories and not actual government agents, they have a vague idea at best of what their purpose is, which ends up making them all the more dangerous. There's also the nameless man in the charcoal suit, whose true identity is never revealed because everyone forgets who he is.
* The BigBad in Creator/CSLewis's ''Literature/TheSilverChair'' (the fourth ''[[Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia Narnia]]'' book published, and the sixth in terms of InUniverse chronology) is a DiabolusExNihilo with no backstory. All we really know is that she used her VoluntaryShapeshifting and MindManipulation abilities to seize power BeneathTheEarth and now seeks to expand into Narnia.
* In ''Literature/TuckEverlasting'', the BigBad is a genteel, polite person known only as "the man in the yellow suit." He does provide some backstory for his quest--as a child, his parents sheltered a family that told tales of the mother's former husband and his own kin, who never aged a day--and has clear goals in selling the magical spring water that generates said immorality (apparently choosing to ignore the horrific implications of what will happen when the secret gets out), but other than that, he's a blank: no name, no past, no relatives, no presence...nothing. Author Natalie Babbitt encouraged this characterization in an interview, and even explained that she deliberately avoided giving him a red or black suit [[RuleOfSymbolism for fear of people interpreting the man as a death or satanic figure]] (she further stated that she put him in yellow to create a natural cadence for the repeated phrase "the man in the yellow suit").

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BurnNotice'' invokes this several times. One of Michael's plans was based around infiltrating a family of gun dealers by playing off of one of the brothers. By skillfully stealing their supplies, he then simply dropped off the face of the Earth. He explained that nothing scares you more than a spook, someone you know nothing about. He could have been FBI, a rival group, the Mafia; the point was they didn't know who he was and if he was going to return. The group was so spooked, they left the city.
** [[Creator/BruceCampbell Chuck Finley]] is everyone, and no one. He's simply Chuck Finley.
* Pick pretty much any member of the shadow government on ''Series/TheXFiles'' (particularly Deepthroat and X). The Cigarette smoking man is the only one that we ever learn anything about and what we know is vague and occasionally contradictory.
* Papa Lazarou on ''Series/TheLeagueOfGentlemen''. He's implied not to even be human.
* This is how Moriarty is treated in ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'', [[spoiler:though he gets to meet our heroes face-to-face in the last episode. Twice.]]
* The Silence from ''Series/DoctorWho''. Once you look away from them, you forget that they even exist. They often use this ability to plant commands in people's subconscious.
** The Doctor was this for much of the original series' run, as very little about his origins or his true identity were ever dwelt upon. On several occasions he's taken steps to remove himself from the historic record. The "Cartmel Masterplan" was supposed to restore this aspect by gradually RetConning what was already revealed about the Doctor to be a lie and that he was actually a more powerful figure than he appears, but it was derailed by the show's cancellation.
* The Greek of ''Series/TheWire''. By the end of the series, we only know one thing about him: [[spoiler:he's not really Greek.]]
* Razer from ''Series/TheCape'' is this.
** Chess is also this, but only InUniverse, and for the first episode.
* ''{{Series/Spooks}}'', aptly enough. Although ''we'', the audience, know quite a bit about the MI-5 officers, the regular people they interact with are regularly fed fake identities, fake credentials, and fake beliefs.
* Lorne Malvo of ''Series/FargoSeasonOne''. We're given essentially zero information about him. "Lorne Malvo" probably isn't even his real name. The most we ever learn is that he claims to have been in Alaska at one point. That's it.
* ''Series/ThePunisher2017'':
** Frank Castle considers Micro to be a complete spook at first, and it isn't until he gets Karen Page to dig up some information that he starts to warm up to working with the man.
** Lampshaded in "Kandahar", where Billy Russo comments about how the fearless leader he and Frank work for never even gave his name, although apparently others call him "Agent Orange". [[spoiler:Of course, Billy is working with Agent Orange a.k.a. William "Bill" Rawlins III]]
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': Matt's initial conflict with Wilson Fisk is complicated by the fact that Fisk is a spook, due to having carefully covered up every trace of his past.
** We don't know anything about James Wesley's past outside of his being Fisk's best friend and right hand.
** Karen Page to some extent. While bits and pieces of her past prior to coming to New York City are hinted at (like having a brother who died in a car accident; implying that James Wesley isn't the first person she shot; Ellison overlooked her sketchy past when hiring her for the ''Bulletin'', etc.), and Creator/DeborahAnnWoll has made hinting remarks in interviews, nothing solid has been established about her past. This is likely to change in season 3, as Woll has made remarks in interviews prior to the release of ''Series/ThePunisher2017''[[note]]which happened around the same time that Woll and her castmates began shooting for ''Daredevil'' season 3[[/note]] about talking with season 3 showrunner Erik Oleson about what she wants to see if Karen's past gets explored.

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* LLF had spent half a decade carving out a niche in Monterrey by introducing new foreign talent to Mexico, then one night in 2005 a woman whom no one knew anything about appeared with the goal of destroying them. It was only later that more information would surface on Tsunami.
* Midsummer 2010, PGWA was visited by a masked woman calling herself Hecate who claimed to be from Mexico. An inquiry was sent to LLF at the start of 2011, as by that point it had booked talent from all over Mexico but none of them had heard of her either.
* Los Abusadores Internacional in Valkyrie Women's Pro. No one knows who they are or where they came from, just that they're devoted to [[Wrestling/BlackRose La Rosa Negra]] and even though there aren't very many of them, [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections they have connections to people]]] whom only slightly more is known about. Subverted though in that they can call on intimidating individuals but are not themselves.[[/folder]]

* Of all people, Radio/TheShadow was, in his original continuity, one of these. His secret identity was ''so'' secret that even the ''audience'' didn't know who he was, leading to much WildMassGuessing.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Thanks to the Arcane Fate, the Sidereals of ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' turn this UpToEleven. Not only are they completely unknown to the vast majority of Creation's inhabitants, but within a week or two of meeting them, you will forget them. And any records of their existence will be lost, accidentally destroyed, vanish mysteriously, or otherwise be rendered useless. A Sidereal could murder your parents right in front of you, and in a month you wouldn't be able to pick them out of a lineup or even remember the incident clearly--were they even murdered at all, or was it a freak accident of some kind?
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', the Dark Angels Space Marines are served by the indigenous population of The Rock, the Watchers In The Dark. They are covered head to toe in robes, and have never let anyone see what's underneath. Ever. Games Workshop's official models for them don't have heads, just hollow hoods. Librarians can't probe them because they resist all psychic powers and forms of Warp contact. Are they aliens? Undead spirits of the Fallen forced to serve penance? The latter is unlikely, considering that people of Caliban have encounters with them before the Fallen are even conceived of, but otherwise... they're the only ones with answers, and they literally ain't talking.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' Advantage "Zeroed", created for ''GURPS Cyberpunk'' and popular in conspiracy games, makes a PC the Spook.
* The Occultation ability in ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'' opposes any attempt to uncover a mage's identity: magical inquiries are resisted and mundane records mysteriously vanish. The Blank Badges [[PrestigeClass Legacy]] refine this into the ability to use their Occultation score as Status, so people see them as authoritative and respectable but have no idea why or who they are.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The G-Man from the ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' series. All that ''is'' known about "him" is that he's working for some unknown "benefactor", handles Gordon's (and presumably others') "contracts" with said benefactors, has ties to the Black Mesa incident and the Resonance Cascade, is opposed by the Vortigaunts, and is clearly not human.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** The eponymous mask from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask'' is an odd variation. You know the gist of its background (standard SealedEvilInACan stuff) but the sheer amount of MindScrew going on around it makes it unknowable. The Happy Mask Salesman, while apparently a good guy, is a straighter example.
** Nothing is revealed about the Ghost Ship from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker''. It's a ship that always shows up by certain islands based on the phase of the moon, and can only be entered when holding a certain chart (not having the chart will just cause it to vanish as Link approaches). The ship itself contains a number of undead enemies in its interior, and once it is completed, it is never seen again.
* In ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'', operatives from the Office of Naval Intelligence get this trope name as a nickname for the exact reasons mentioned here. Reflecting this, TheMenInBlack-esque organization itself is more commonly referred to as [[FunWithAcronyms ONI]], a wordplay on a certain [[OurDemonsAreDifferent you]][[UsefulNotes/{{Shinto}} kai]] type. Additionally, for the majority of the Human-Covenant War, the Master Chief himself and his fellow [[SuperSoldier Spartans]] were this to most people on both sides.
* ''VideoGame/YumeNikki'': There's no explanation for anything whatsoever, no BackStory, no dialogue, ''nothing''. Madotsuki, the main (and only) character is a {{Hikikomori}} in a flat. She keeps a very trippy [[TitleDrop dream diary]]. The building she lives in is apparently only as wide as her flat. [[Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame Who is she? What is she? How did she come to be there?]] Where does she get those ideas and dreams from? Is one of Madotsuki's dream characters based on a piano teacher? Is another based on a friend? Is said friend dead? Is another based on a horribly mutilated and/or bullied girl? Is the highly sexual Kyuukyuu-kun based on rape or something? She's basically [[VideoGame/MicroMachines Mesme]] without the PsychicPowers. It is safe to say that this singular character has spawned [[EpilepticTrees Epileptic]] ''[[EpilepticTrees Forests]]'' on her own. The ending of the game itself leaves all questions unanswered, leaving things open to interpretation: [[spoiler:Madotsuki commits suicide by jumping off her balcony by using stairs that were never there]]. Your guess is as good as ours.
** Even the [[ReclusiveArtist creator of the game, KIKIYAMA]], is this. Do the ideas for ''Yume Nikki'' come from alchohol, drugs, a very twisted imagination or a completely normal person who just wanted to make a scary game? There are a few emails that indicate she is female, however.
* [[TheFaceless The Pyro]] from ''Videogame/TeamFortress2'' has no [[MysteriousPast backstory]], [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep name]], [[FeaturelessProtagonist face, or set gender]]. The fact that s/he just ''loves'' [[PyroManiac burning things]] is all we know for sure. Even after learning in "Meet the Pyro" that [[spoiler:The Pyro thinks that everything s/he does is give candy and happiness to other people (which s/he imagines as cupids and other such cute creatures)]], we still don't know anything about their BackStory. Or anything else. The only reason s/he's on the team in the first place is because s/he's insane enough to do what s/he's asked (that is, mercilessly kill the other team); Pyro's ''own teammates'' are scared of him/her/it.
-->'''The Heavy''': I fear no man...but that ''thing''...it scares me.
-->'''The Scout''': I ain't talkin' about that freak, all right? He's not here, is she? How do I get this ''(microphone-thump)''ing thing off?!
-->'''The Spy''': One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask...what dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty?
** The Spy is a downplayed example - we know he's from somewhere in France, and we know that he's a ManOfWealthAndTaste with an immature streak, but we don't know his name or backstory, and his [[WhatTheHellIsThatAccent accent]] is pretty obscure too.
* Albatross and Steven Heck in ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol''. The dossiers you build on them are about 90% conjecture.
** Albatross is the head of an entire organisation of [[TheSpook spooks]]: G22 oppose Halbech and have dirt on nearly everyone, but anything beyond that is pure guesswork. Unless the player gives them away, the BigBad (and thus [[spoiler:Alpha Protocol itself]]) doesn't know they even exist.
** Steven Heck, on the other hand, is on a class of his own due to not really being tied to any organization at ''all''; he claims he's a CIA agent, but further investigation shows no proper agenda or ties with them. In fact, he'll be loyal to you and do as you ask so long as you don't piss him off because he doesn't have any plans or orders you could screw up. [[spoiler:Some theorize he is simply a complete lunatic who started playing WannabeSecretAgent one day and became scarily good at it]].
* In ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorneyDualDestinies'', [[spoiler: the villain of the final case turns out to be a MasterOfDisguise known only as the phantom, able to perfectly impersonate anyone... to the point where all traces of their original identity are completely gone. We never learn their real name or see their real face: they're always shown wearing a mask of someone else. They feel no emotions except fear of being caught. Their VillainousBreakdown has them [[FreakOut freaking out]] about their "real face" not even existing as they pull off masks of nearly every other character in the game. They collapse into the shadows after removing the final one, so no-one ever finds out what they really look like.]]
** [[spoiler:Calisto Yew/Shih-na]] from ''VisualNovel/AceAttorneyInvestigationsMilesEdgeworth'' counts too, as we never find out her real name or backstory, and the two identities we see her in over the course of the game are fake.
* Mike Toreno in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas''. Even his name is suspect, since he was [[spoiler:working undercover]] when CJ was introduced to him.
** The U.L. Paper Contact from ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' is an even better example: not only does he never give out his name but when Niko asks if he's worried that Niko will get caught and lead the authorities to him, the Contact calmly explains that they're inside a building with hundreds of people matching his description and that by the time Niko rats him out to the cops, they will find an empty office "leased to a man who died in the final years of Vietnam" and a non existent phone number.
* Zero from ''VideoGame/KirbysDreamLand3'' is given no foreshadowing, no motive, no origin, and no clear goal, but his fight and death sequence is quite possibly the most terrifying boss fight in the entire ''Kirby'' franchise.
* Flemeth from ''Franchise/DragonAge''. With the revelations (or lack thereof) in ''Witch Hunt'' and ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', we really know nothing definitive about her at all. She goes mostly by Flemeth but [[IHaveManyNames she also has many names]], she looks human but this is cast into great doubt by Morrigan, Fenris, and Anders. Her past is ShroudedInMyth, with no clear way to know if it's true. And on top of all of this, her powers and precognition are at a level that aren't seen anywhere else in the series. Her motivations are also completely unknown, but hints are dropped that it is on a scale outside of any other in the franchise. Her identity is revealed in ''Videogame/DragonAgeInquisition'': [[spoiler:She's a human vessel for the Elven TopGod Mythal]].
* The Devil Z from ''VideoGame/TokyoXtremeRacer'' is an unknown rival that only appears when the player beats every last racer in the game. Everything about him/her/it is shrouded in mystery to the point where he/she/it's beginning cutscene heavily implies that he/she/it might be a demon or a ghost. The rivals index only labels him/her as ''????'' and gives a description about his/her/it's 280 Z's performance tune-up. Info on the driver? Absolutely none.
* The SerialKiller seen and mentioned throughout the backstory of the ''Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'' series - it's not known who he is (barring some WildMassGuessing), where he came from, why he killed kids, why he used Freddy Fazbear's Pizza in particular or why he [[spoiler:decided to return to the shutdown pizzaria to dismantle the animatronics]]. He's never even seen in person outside of a purple Atari-esque sprite in various minigames [[spoiler:(until [[Videogame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3 the third game]], but by then he's a mummified corpse with few identifiable features left)]].
* The Joker in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins''. He comes completely out of nowhere and after finding his DNA at the site of a particularly brutal murder, Batman puts it through the National Criminal Database to find out who he is, and comes up completely blank. No name, [[MultipleChoicePast no true origin]] outside of [[UnreliableNarrator a flashback that may or may not be accurate]], and [[ForTheEvulz no real motives]]. Batman and Alfred are both completely taken aback by this.
* Q from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' is a mysterious figure wearing a [[CoatHatMask trenchcoat, fedora and iron mask]]. His true name, origin, and motivation for fighting are all unknown. It's not even clear if he's a [[AmbiguouslyHuman human being]], since he tends to move in a very robotic manner. All that is known about him is that the CIA is after him, and that he appears in photos from around the world, and at similar times, implying that Q might just be [[LegacyCharacter one of many]].
* Alvaro Vasquez in ''VideoGame/{{Driver}} 2'' is stated to have no known information, not even a driver's license. The captain giving orders to Tanner and Jones claims "Maybe he don't even exist. Maybe he's just a name."
* [=Zer0=] from ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}''. What's his real name? What is he doing on Pandora? What does he look like? [[AmbiguouslyHuman Is he even human]], or is he an alien or a robot? Nobody really knows. ''Not even'' [[HypercompetentSidekick Jack's subordinates]] really know. And if the devs have any say in it, nobody ever will.
* ''Videogame/DarkestDungeon'': In a way, [[HumanoidAbomination the Collector]] qualifies. Every other beast, abomination and opponent you find in the Estate has an explanation of some sort, either being the Ancestor's fault in one way or the other, or just having arrived in the middle of the misery and Eldritch happenings, wanting a piece of either that or the supposedly defenseless Hamlet. Even the Shambler, tentacular horror from beyond, is documented well enough that its summoning rituals are well known. Not the Collector, however. The Hamlet? They haven't heard of it at all. The missions given by the Caretaker? None bring it up. The Ancestor? He has ''nothing'' on it. The man who meticulously documented every travesty going on and had plenty to write and comment on [[PosthumousCharacter from beyond the grave]] has nothing to say but an unnerved description whenever this head-seeking horror shows up. Its modus operandi, its attacks and all the rest don't link it to any other group in the game either. All you know is that it came from ''somewhere'' to seek heads to add to its endless collection, and that those of your heroes will do just fine. Other than collecting the fallen, the Collector has no apparent stake in the Darkest Estate's fate or events in the least, and it's unknown if there even is a connection between That Which Came from the Portal and itself.
* ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}}'':
** In a game where most of the enemies are animal-based and go for a "natural" angle, the Waterwraith of ''Pikmin 2'' stands out as something unusual. It is oddly humanoid, ghost-like, the only boss in the entire game that actively chases the player characters long before reaching its arena, and it is somehow completely invincible unless Purple Pikmin are tossed on it. And Purple Pikmin have not demonstrated any especially odd quirks aside from being heavier and stronger than the other Pikmin types. Nothing is revealed about it and Olimar suspects that the entire experience might have been some kind of hallucination.
** The Plasm Wraith of ''Pikmin 3'' shares many traits of the Waterwraith, in addition to having a bizarre obsession with capturing Olimar. It's a large humanoid of some sort of gold plasm that can generate fire, crystal, electricity, and even water from it. And the "other enemies" in its area are made of the same material as it, hinting that it's some powerful shape-shifter that can effectively act as many different beings at once.
* Gandrayda, the {{Shapeshifting}} BountyHunter from ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption''. According to her scan, her backstory, including her homeworld and exact age, are unknown to the Galactic Federation. They don't even know anything definite about her species aside from its similarities to the inhabitants of Jovia XII.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* We may know a great deal about the [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos Slender Man]] and what he does, but even then there is no way to know his true nature/origin without being taken or worse, especially as he is said to change depending on the mind encountering him. He is everywhere and nowhere. By believing in him you open the door. Attempts to capture or study him almost always go hideously wrong. ''WebVideo/MarbleHornets'' gives a ''possible'' origin story for him but it's left highly ambiguous if it's true or not. [[note]]One character relates a story about how a certain place would tie convicted criminals to trees, stretching them out and letting them die of dehydration before burning the tree with the body attached.[[/note]] His eyes are closed, his mouth is open, and his arms are outstretched.
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'': SCP-106 wasn't always a horribly-decayed old man, but [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/the-young-man his origins]] don't explain nearly as much as some would wish. It's known he was a soldier in one of WWI's bloodier fronts, but no one knew where he came from, why he got transferred to that particular front, and he left no paper trail of any kind that could link him to anything. No one saw him send, or receive any letters from anyone, either. Some of the soldiers thought [[WasOnceAMan Corporal Lawrence]] was less of a man, and more of a curse on their unit, even if he seemed entirely human, only slightly off about it. It's unknown if he was simply another nameless body in the trenches that [[FromNobodyToNightmare found his fate in a dark, gore-encrusted tar pit]] or if there was always something abnormal to him, but there are no records of him before those days, and only one picture of him at all, and it was from the trenches themselves.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The White Shadow from ''WesternAnimation/TheBoondocks''. He's an unnamed government agent who is only ever seen by Huey Freeman (a paranoid conspiracy theorist), who gave him the nickname of "White Shadow" in the first place. The White Shadow talks to Huey, but as he's supposed to be a secret agent after all, we know nothing about his background. Huey even wonders whether the Shadow is actually a real person, or just a paranoid delusion.
* Combustion Man from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. The heroes don't know his name, never heard him speak (the only noises he makes are grunts which aren't even credited by a voice actor), and know nothing about his past. In their first encounter with him, they only escaped by the skin of their teeth. Zuko apparently knows more about him (name, past, etc.) but his portrayal is that of a [[ImplacableMan relentless shadow]].
* From the SequelSeries, ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', absolutely nothing is known about about the BigBad, Amon. He gave a backstory but whether it's true or not is up for debate. We don't know what he looks like, what his real name is (if Amon isn't his real name), we don't know what exactly he does to take away peoples' bending or how he even has the ability, we don't know if he's being honest about his intentions or if he has ulterior motives, and we don't know how he's able to resist bloodbending. That is, until the Book One season finale.
* The DCAU Joker also has elements of this, especially in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm''. We actually see what he was like before he fell in the vat of chemicals: a nameless, voiceless, perpetually smirking mob hitman who might just be ''creepier'' than the MonsterClown he turned into. [[spoiler: He sparks a good chunk of the plot by killing Andrea Beaumont's father.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' cartoon version of Slade ends up as this. Unlike his comics incarnation, he never learn his backstory or see his face under the mask. Instead of a hitman, he's an aloof mastermind figure whose only clear goals seem to be finding an apprentice and crushing the Titans' hopes.
** The show also has the EnsembleDarkHorse Red-X. Originally, the Red-X persona was used by Robin to go undercover in a (failed) bid to find out Slade's real identity, but the high-tech, highly weaponized suit was later stolen from Titan's Tower by an unknown thief who uses it to commit high-end burglaries. Throughout the show, the team encounters him all of ''twice'' and they never find out who he is, or how he was able to steal the suit. WordOfGod is mum on subject, but the most common theory (though by [[EpilepticTrees no-means the only]]) is that he is really Jason Todd.
--> '''Raven:''' Face it. Red-X could be anyone. Anyone smart enough to find the suit, and dumb enough to take it for a joy ride.
* WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack is plagued by a shadowy samurai on horseback (aka "the Omen") throughout Season 5. There's no explanation as to who or what it is, only that it shows up whenever Jack draws near the DespairEventHorizon, and Jack can only flee in terror at the sight.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taman_Shud_Case Somerton Man]]. His corpse was found in 1948 on Somerton beach in Adelaide, Australia. More than 60 years later, his identity or the circumstances that led to his death are still unknown.
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._B._Cooper Dan "D. B." Cooper]] is the only known name of an unidentified man who hijacked a Boeing 727 between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington in 1971.
* If ''Literature/TheDisasterArtist'' is to be believed, nobody actually knows where the hell Creator/TommyWiseau came from, where he got that accent, and why he had enough money to fund ''Film/TheRoom'' on his own, not to mention squander it in dumb decisions. [[VagueAge Even his age remains a mystery]] to all but the author and Tommy himself. ''WebComic/{{xkcd}}'' jokingly [[https://xkcd.com/1400/ proposed]] that he's actually the aforementioned D. B. Cooper.
* Whoever pulled off the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Headroom_broadcast_signal_intrusion Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion]] probably counts.
* Plenty of unidentified {{serial killer}}s, most famously UsefulNotes/JackTheRipper and the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zodiac_Killer Zodiac Killer]]. Wiki/TheOtherWiki has [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Unidentified_serial_killers more information than you require]].
* Creator/{{Banksy}} ''used'' to be an example of this trope, but [[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/banksy-geographic-profiling-proves-artist-really-is-robin-gunningham-according-to-scientists-a6909896.html he may have]] [[http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14498596.2016.1138246?journalCode=tjss20& been identified]]...
* Several musical artists have cultivated this image. Music/CaptainMurphy revealed himself as an alter ego of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Lotus Steven "Flying Lotus" Ellison]], but Music/DoctorSteel, Music/RuckaRuckaAli, and [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Redbone Leon Redbone]] remain mysterious (although regarding the latter, we do know that his birth name was Dickran Gobalian).
* The [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_Iron_Mask Man in the Iron Mask]].
* [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Throat_(Watergate) "Deep Throat"]] was the a name given to the informant who provided information to ''Washington Post'' reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein during the Watergate scandal. His identity was a secret known only to them that they swore they would not reveal until his death, and for years, news agencies and other organizations could only propose theories as to who he was and what his motivation was. It wasn't until 2005 that Deep Throat was revealed to be FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, who came forward on his own. He was always the administration's main suspect, so it's less of a revelation than it looks on the surface.