->'''Jack Sparrow''': It's the ''Pearl''.\\
'''Prisoner''': The ''Black Pearl!'' I've heard stories. She's been preying on ships and settlements for near ten years. Never leaves any survivors.\\
'''Jack Sparrow''': No survivors? [[LampshadeHanging Then where do the stories come from, I wonder]]?
-->-- ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''

This happens whenever a character relates a story or an urban legend they've heard about some monster or location which never leaves anyone alive. Ten to one, [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail it'll directly affect them later]].

This of course [[FridgeLogic raises the question]] of where the legend came from, if nobody has ever lived to talk about it? Perhaps the author was undead. Or the monster. Or both.


Compare DidYouDie No relation to DeathOfTheAuthor. ApocalypticLog is another possible explanation.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Gets a LampshadeHanging in ''MahouSenseiNegima'' when [[MrExposition Yue]] talked about the Deep Library after they fell into it during the Library Island Arc.
--> '''Yue:''' Of course, no one who has seen the Library has lived and returned to tell the tale... \\
'''[[ChineseGirl Ku Fei]]:''' ... Then how does Yue know about it, [[VerbalTic aru]]?
* It appears in an episode of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' when James, not wanting to reveal his [[MeddlingParents true childhood]], tells the cast a flashback story about how, as a child, he ran away from home with his Growlithe, Growlie, only to freeze to death in the snow while his pet howled mournfully at the moon. While most of the characters are moved to tears, Misty, playing the OnlySaneMan, responds that he obviously didn't die since he's telling the story, at which point James quickly falls back on EasyAmnesia ("I'm all mixed up!") as his answer.
* In ''{{Claymore}}'', the lampshade is hung upside-down when Ophelia claims that she doesn't have a nickname like the rest of the Claymores because she doesn't leave any survivors when she fights.
* Averted in ''Anime/CowboyBebop'', where Pierrot le Fou leaves ''almost'' no-one alive from his attacks, although the ones that do survive to tell the tale are eventually all hunted down and killed anyway.
** He's so little known that Spike has ''no idea who the hell is attacking him.''
* Lampshaded in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' during the Fourth Shinobi War arc. The resurrected Pain / Nagato uses his ultimate GravityMaster move, which turns the surrounding area into a floating planetoid and crushes anyone in the vicinity.
-->'''Naruto:''' He got me with this jutsu once! It's really bad, really bad! If you get caught in it, it's over!
-->'''[[spoiler: Itachi]]:''' Hey, Naruto...If it's a sure death, how come you're still alive?
-->'''Naruto:''' O_O
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* Parodied in [[http://comic.nodwick.com/?p=20 this]] ''{{Nodwick}}'' strip.
* In ''ComicBook/TheCartoonHistoryOfTheUniverse'' chapter on ancient India, there appears the Hindu parable of an atheist who spent his entire life inwardly repeating "There is no God" as a mantra. When he died, his soul was instantly unified with God, because, paradoxically, by denying God, he'd managed to keep the deity constantly in mind. The historian-narrator then asks, "Say, how'd anyone know what happened after the guy died?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in the first ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movie, with regard to the ''Black Pearl''. As it turns out, though the ''Black Pearl'' and its crew are indeed dangerous, they leave plenty of survivors in their wake.
* ''Film/SchindlersList'' has an example similar to the one above, with one character arguing the Nazis can't really be killing everyone. The context, though, makes this tragic irony rather than comedic irony.
* In ''Film/ThePrincessBride'', it is stated that the Dread Pirate Roberts "never [leaves] captives alive." One wonders why anyone would ever surrender to him.
** In the book it's made clear this only applies if they fight, if they just hand over the valuables they can go. This was [[PragmaticVillainy the whole point of building the reputation in the first place]]; a technique used sometimes by Real Life pirates.
** And nobody has ever survived the Fire Swamp though they somehow all know its dangers, including the R.O.U.S.es
* Specifically averted by ''Film/NaturalBornKillers'' in which the title characters always leave alive one witness to tell the tale. (This turns into a plot point at one stage of the story.)
* ''Film/TheGoonies'' specifically had someone mention this with the legend of One-Eyed Willy. The main character gives a {{handwave}} and says he asked his dad the same thing; probably one person got away.
* Averted in ''Film/InglouriousBasterds''; the titular Basterds always leave one [[strike:Nazi]] Nat-zee alive to spread the word about them.[[note]]That's how the story goes, anyhow. The Basterds actually spare the first Nazi willing to betray their side by telling the Basterds what they want to know. Obviously, this cowardice would be punishable by execution if the Nazi's superiors knew about it, to discourage other cowardly Nazis from doing it in the future. Hence, the official reason they're spared is to spread the word, and the Nazi's superiors are content to order them not to tell anyone.[[/note]] But not before carving a Swastika into their foreheads, so even if they ''don't'' tell the story, other people will know it.
* The ''AlienVsPredator'' movie has the pyramid filled with hieroglyphs which include the details on how the ancient civilization ended. One wonders who was around to add those details, since all of the humans were dead and the Predators apparently abandoned it for thousands of years.
* Lampshaded in ''Film/{{Kick-Ass}}'', where Kick-Ass/David [[BreakingTheFourthWall tells the people in the audience]] who figured he wouldn't die at one point because he's still narrating to stop being a bunch of smartasses and lists several films with PosthumousNarration ([[spoiler:which doesn't include this one]]).
* Lampshaded in ''Film/{{DEBS}}'', where the four DEBS members are preparing to spy on Lucy Diamond. Apparently nobody has ever fought her and lived to talk about it. [[spoiler: It turns out the various law enforcement agents sent to capture her died of various natural causes, including frostbite and ebola, as they tracked her to various secret hideouts around the world without taking adequate precautions against the natural dangers of the environments.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' special "Scared Shrekless" features the cast trying to outdo each other at ghost stories. The Gingerbread Man's story ends with him surrounded by [[spoiler: a legion of zombie {{Yandere}} cookies (yeah).]] "And then they ATE ME!" Shrek and co. pose the obvious question and he cracks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Folklore]]
* Two mythological monsters, Medusa and the Basilisk, possessed magical auras that would kill anyone who looked at them (and, in some versions, anyone they looked at). Despite this they were often physically described in great detail in the legends. In the Medusa's case it could be argued that this was because looking at her reflection in a mirror wasn't lethal and someone could have seen only their reflection. But there is really no excuse for the Basilisk, who not only had a lethal reflection, but also breathed poison gas as a backup weapon (JK Rowling tweaked the Basilisk for the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series so that indirect looks at it were nonlethal, but induced petrification).
** It also helps in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' that they have a literal undead author in the case of Moaning Myrtle.
** Actually, there is a lot of variation in the basilisk's appearance, ranging from a tiny eight-legged winged lizard with a chicken's head to a giant serpent with a feathered plume.
* Scottish folklore says that anyone who hears the flowers of the Bluebell ringing will die immediately. Well, then who lived to tell about it?
** Their deaf friends.
*** Similar story is told about unrooting mandrakes. The question remains: How would the deaf person even know there is a sound, let alone that it's the sound that is killing the other people?
*** Some variants state it's not quite the sound - the mandrake is bloodthirsty, and you can [[BalancingDeathsBooks Balance Death's Books]] by tying a dog nearby.
* This is an often-cited FridgeLogic issue with the old wives' tale that if you die in your dream, you'll [[YourMindMakesItReal die from the shock of it]] in your sleep and never wake up. If the people who die in their dreams never wake up, how does anybody know what they were dreaming about when they died?
** There is even a MoonLogicPuzzle [[http://web.archive.org/web/20121108072605/http://www.chessbase.com/puzzle/christmas2004/chr04-6a.htm based on this]]. (Although the very fact that it is on this page reveals the solution, so I apologize to those of you who didn't get it immediately.)
* Website/{{Snopes}}.com has [[http://www.snopes.com/glurge/blueribbon.asp expressed bewilderment]] at people who send them that "My name is so-and-so, I am but three/Tonight my daddy murdered me" poem and ask if it's "real" or not.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* [[InvertedTrope Inverted]] in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' book ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'': Carrot assures Gaspode that there have been no reports of wolves attacking humans unprovoked, and Gaspode reasons that this might be because no unprovoking human who did get attacked has ever returned to tell the tale.
** And again in ''Discworld/TheLastHero'': [[spoiler: Cohen and his Silver Horde realize they have been set up]] when the [[NoNameGiven bard]] they dragged along asks who wrote the scrolls guiding them up the mountain of the gods if nobody has survived the journey.
* Similarly [[InvertedTrope inverted]] in ''[[{{Spellsinger}} The Paths of the Perambulator]]'', when Jon-Tom narrowly avoids being killed by [[spoiler: an explosive pinecone]]. When he protests that there are no such things on his (our) world, Mudge half convinces him that there ''could'' be, if anyone who encounters one dies and is written off as the victim of a mundane hiking accident.
* EdgarAllanPoe was usually good about averting UndeadAuthor. He even did it with ''ThePitAndThePendulum'', though he had to resort to a DeusExMachina.
** He arguably did it ''literally'' with ''A Predicament'', a StylisticSuck-laden SelfParody where the narrator [[{{Malaproper}} mangles a fair number of literary references]], [[LosingYourHead gets herself decapitated]] and survives to lament her situation.
* Some [[Literature/TheBible biblical]] traditions hold that Moses wrote the entire Torah or Pentateuch... which invokes this trope when you realize that this means he narrated ''his own death'' in Deuteronomy 34.
** Usually waved off by claiming that either this part was written by Joshua, or Moses in a God made trance.
* Creator/AmbroseBierce's ''The Stranger'' plays the trope straight, with deep emphasis on ''undead''. A troop of Union soldiers on an exploration quest through Arizona is approached by a mysterious man who narrates the story of four previous explorers, Ramon Gallegos, William Shaw, George W. Kent, and Berry Davis, who committed suicide while besieged by Apaches in a cave rather than dying of thirst. When a listener scorns and curses him for abandoning his comrades in their death, the stranger does only tell again they were four of them who died, and disappears. With uncanny calm, the troop's Captain acknowledges that years before there had been found and buried the bodies of four men, mutilated by the Indians, and the storyteller had been just whom he said he was, Berry Davis, who even if shot again "couldn't have made him any deader".
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', perpetually-reincarnated heroine Birgitte tells Mat the story of how one of her past incarnations fought her way into the Tower of Ghenjei, home of [[TheFairFolk the Snakes and Foxes]], to make them cure her wounded lover. Mat asks how she got out, and she tells him that she didn't; [[DownerEnding she and her lover both got killed and that incarnation ended there]]. Nevertheless, she's surprised he's never heard the story before and Thom recalls a distorted version of it later, which is par for the course for the way legends and myths work in the series.
** It's explained that the story resulted from someone asking the denizens what happened to her.
* In ''Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman'', RichardFeynman mentions how he was outraged at an account taught in Sunday School that told of a girl's dying thoughts. How did they know what she thought?
* Many of Creator/HPLovecraft's stories, considering his preference for first person and high protagonist mortality rate. Though ''Call of Cthulhu'' at least justified the account of the encounter with Great Cthulhu in that some of the sailors who delayed him managed to live long enough to write it down.
* In Sara Shepard's series ''The Lying Game'', (now with a somewhat similar [[Series/TheLyingGame TV adaptation]]), Sutton is literally this, having been murdered at the outset of the first book.
* ''Literature/TheUglyBarnacle''. If [[spoiler:everyone died]], then how did Patrick Star survive to tell the story? And how did his friend WesternAnimation/{{SpongeBob|SquarePants}} survive to hear it?
* In a comedic Stephen Leacock short story, the last words are "I fell ill. I died. I buried myself. Would that others who write sea stories would do as much."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action Television]]

* ''Series/DoctorWho'' uses a "mundane hiking accident" variant in "Silence in the Library" for maximum ParanoiaFuel. The Vashta Nerada exist on ''every'' planet; the reason we never hear about them is because they exist in dark and isolated places, and, well, you know how people go missing in the woods...
-->'''The Doctor''': Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark, but they're wrong, because it's not irrational. It's Vashta Nerada.
** In ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS33E1AsylumOfTheDaleks Asylum of the Daleks]]'', one of the survivors tells the story of surviving the crash but realizes he ''didn't'' survive the crash. He explains that he died "and the cold preserved my body". Then things get worse...
* Apart from the obvious, literal example of many characters (who do indeed occasionally narrate) being vampires, ''VampireDiaries'' features a somewhat surprising example as Elena reads one of the diaries of her ancestor Jonathan, as he actually states how he saw who killed him. It's explained by the existence of the Gilbert Protection Rings, of which Jonathan was the first wearer, which revive anyone killed by the supernatural.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The singer of ''[[Music/TheLonelyIsland Like A Boss]]'' is asked to describe an average day. Apparently an average day consists of chopping his balls off, crashing into the Sun and dying.
** And turning into a jet, bombing the Russians, sucking his own dick, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking eating chicken strips]]
** ''Trouble on Dookie Island'' ends with the {{Villain Protagonist}}s getting killed by the police.
** "Rocky" has Andy get graphically killed in a boxing match by [[Film/{{Rocky}} the title character.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''FireEmblem Shadow Dragon'' Marth decides to proceed on a quest deemed suicidal, noting that these rumors couldn't be entirely true because of this.
* Brought up in ''{{Persona 3}}'', when the heroes hear a ghost story about a deadly curse that befalls anyone who stays too late after school. They immediately realize that, if everyone it's ever happened to dies, as the story claims, then nobody would've ever found out about it. While there's a grain of truth to the idea that the school can become [[DarkWorld dangerous at night]], the details of the story turn out to be an urban myth.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'', [[TheUndead Harold the sort-of ghoul]] tells several stories about himself that end with 'Everybody died'. One of your chat options is 'How did you survive?' He always answers "Didn't! Got killed!"
* In ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge'', most of the events of the game are framed by Guybrush telling the story to Elaine, and at one point it appears that Guybrush has died, upon which Elaine remarks that he couldn't have died since he's right there relating it to her.
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'' Keiichi points out Oiishi's use of this trope when he tells a story about how the old demons of Hinamizawa demanded a mother feed herself to one of them in exchange for curing her son and when she ran away the demons (with the other villagers' help) caught and ate them both. Oiishi counters that a lot of old stories are like that.
* Addressed in InteractiveFiction game ''SpiderAndWeb''. Most of the game is framed by the captured spy PC telling the story to an interrogator. If the PC gets themselves killed, the interrogator will interrupt: "And then you died?", forcing the PC to backtrack.
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'', whenever the narrating Prince dies and the player decides to continue, he will say "That's not what happened" or a similar phrase.
* Averted in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' where the last dozen [[BenevolentPrecursors Protheans]] who survived the Reaper genocide dedicated their lives to sabotage the Reaper plans for the next extermination cycle, [[FlingALightIntoTheFuture giving their successors a fighting chance against the next Reaper invasion.]] Their efforts culminated in Vigil, a VI set up to tell the next sentient races about the Prothean's ultimate fate.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Black Mage pointed it out early in ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' - if the Armor of Invincibility is said to be hidden in The Cave Of No Return, how can it be the Cave Of No Return? Somebody must've gotten out of there to spread the word that the Armor of Invincibility is there...
* In ''Webcomic/GastroPhobia'', Phobia tells Gastro a story of an adventure that ends with her death, including a "Some say that on certain nights you can still hear my voice..." stinger.
* Miya in ''ALoonaticsTale'' tells Dr. Qubert the tragic story of her, a young orphan girl, in issue 4: Talking To Myself. After an unkind and high-class vampire (probably one of the Cruors) hits her with a rock and tells her to get a job, her cat dies, then, exhausted and starving, she lays down on the ground, utters her final words ("[[Literature/AChristmasCarol God bless us, everyone]]"), and dies. Forever.
--> '''Qubert''': Oh no! You poor thing! *beat**beat* Wait.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Parodied; Groundskeeper Willie tells a story about a miner's strike he was involved in which ended with a cave-in, and concludes his narrative "Nobody made it out alive - ''not even Willie.''"
** And again where Grandpa recollects falling off the Murderhorn - "You'll die out there - just like I did. I fell 8,000 feet onto a pile of jagged rocks. 'Course folks were tougher in those days. I was jitterbuggin' that very night!"
** Averted to Homer's surprise when reading a wilderness survival story.
-->'''Homer''': [reading] Then I heard the sound that all Arctic explorers dread... the pitiless bark of the sea lion! [gasp] He'll be killed!
-->'''Marge''': Homer, he obviously got out alive if he wrote the article.
-->'''Homer''': Don't be so... [flips ahead] Oh, you're right.
* ''TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutron'' has Jimmy pointing out the FridgeLogic of an urban legend about a theme park, questioning how Nick could know the kids' final words if they were never heard from again.
* Parodied in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' cartoon where a story of a co-worker killing an entire field hockey team and not leaving survivors was learned from reading it on her website.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This is a problem with some [[CreepyPasta creepypastas.]] For example, take [[WebOriginal/JeffTheKiller Jeff the Killer]] - [[WildMassGuessing who uploaded the story?]] The fact the story exists on the Internet at all is taken by some that Jeff's brother is not particularly dead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:RealLife]]
* Fans of ''Film/CitizenKane'' have gone to great lengths to reconcile the FridgeLogic of how Kane's last word, spoken as he died all alone, could be known to the man investigating why he'd said "Rosebud".
** It's not a mystery. The butler heard Kane say it when he died, as well as right after he [[TrashTheSet wrecked the room up]], and said as much at the end. [[BehindTheBlack He was just off-screen]].
[[/folder]]

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