"The eyes are not the windows of the soul: they are the doors. Beware what may enter there."
Some creatures can literally kill or at least maim people simply by looking
at them. Turning them to stone
is another common effect. People may be warned against the danger of making eye contact with these beings, since often they must meet the creature's gaze for the power to work.
Often works through some kind of magic; see No Eye in Magic
for a more general application of this principle, and Eye Beams
for a more weapon-like version. Not to be confused with Death Glare
, which is only metaphorically related.
Anime and Manga
- In Basilisk, Gennosuke and Hyoma can kill people by glaring at them. Specifically, it's an eye power that reflects the Killing Intent of an attacker back on him, forcing him to kills himself with his own weapons.
- In Fairy Tail, Black Wizard Zeref kills Zancrow after looking at him. Not surprisingly, his magic kills everything around him.
- In Campione! one of Duke Voban's Authorities was taken from Balor (mentioned in Mythology below) allowing him to turn people into pillars of salt just by looking them. Doesn't help him much fighting Gods or other Campione since their magic resistance is high enough that it only slows them down at best.
- In Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi, Ulla has this. In fact, due to her mother's wish to kill all humans, it's not just her eyes that can kill, but also her voice and touch.
- In Bleach, when As Nodt actives his Vollstandig, Tartar Foras, his Fear ability upgrades to the point that he can fill people with heart-attack inducing fear just by eye contact. It only takes one look; if the victim closes his or her eyes after the initial eye contact, the deadly fear will remain. He can also create a wall covered with eyes to surround the victim and ensure they look into at least one.
- In Darker Than Black, the contractor Ilya has the ability to shut down a person's brain by locking eyes with them. The effect is degenerative, giving the victim a few seconds of living out Flowers for Algernon before motor and cognitive functions give in and the victim chokes to death. Brrrrr...
- Ghost Rider's Penance Stare redirects all of suffering and pain inflicted on others by its target back onto the victim themselves. It can be downright fatal depending on who Ghosty is performing the move on. If Ghost Rider tells you to look into his eyes, you're in big trouble.
- An X-Men villain named Gorgon had the power to turn people to stone by looking at them. He was defeated when he sees his reflected gaze on Wolverine's claws.
- One version of Clayface could dissolve people into goo just by looking at them.
- Looking directly at The Spectre's eyes and the little skulls in them will do this.
- Oboro from the Japanese live-action film Shinobi: Heart Under Blade (inspired by the same novel that inspired Basilisk) is a Yamato Nadeshiko with the power of brutally killing someone just by looking at them.
Live Action TV
- In Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing With Fire, Baron Vengeous had the ability to cause a victim to rupture by glaring at them.
- Wild Cards: If it's Demise, don't look in his eyes! Demise's Wild Card allowed him to channel his own death experience into another person's by locking gazes with them. The experience was always fatal for the other person.
- The Laundry Series, given its Post-Modern Magik approach, has "gorgons" who are actually people who suffer a very rare form of brain tumor that serves as a conduit for an extra-dimensional particle-wave function that transforms carbon into silicon — in other words, a petrifying gaze. It also exists in snakes (basilisks) and chickens (cockatrices), and its effects can be mapped to a CCTV camera.
- In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Muggle-born students keep turning up Petrified, apparently because of some monster loose in the school. The protagonists eventually realize that it's a basilisk, which kills with its gaze; the reason nobody has died so far is only because none of the victims saw it directly (except for Nearly-Headless Nick, who couldn't die because he already did).
- The Lost Years of Merlin features Balor (see below), who in this version guards the portal to the Otherworld.
- Very few people like looking into the eyes of The Man With The Terrible Eyes. Looking at them for too long tends to break people emotionally and mentally.
- Most of the titular "gifts" in the first Annals Of The Western Shore book work this way: a look, and a gesture, and intent. The Caspros have a family legend of a brantor who had to go blindfolded in his youth due to Power Incontinence, and Orrec resorts to this as well.
Myth and Legend
- In Doctor Who, if you see a Weeping Angel you have to keep your eyes on it to keep it in its statue form. But if while doing that you look it in the eye, it can gain a foothold in your mind and kill you slowly For the Evulz.
- In Classical Mythology, anyone looking into the eyes of a basilisk or cockatrice would be instantly killed or turned to stone.
- While Greek myth says that anyone who looks upon Medusa's face will turn to stone, the common popular depiction of her is that one has to be able to see her eyes to be stoned.
- Balor, the Cyclops of Celtic Mythology, was said to be able to char people to ashes by looking at them with his eye.
- The catoblepas is a hideously ugly oxlike creature who either kills you or turns you into stone if you meet its gaze. Fortunately, most versions go on to add that the catoblepas finds its head incredibly heavy to hold up, and is thus not much of a threat to anyone who isn't lying on the ground.
- The Talmud (Shabbat 33b) tells the story of Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai and his son Rabbi Eleazar, who spent twelve years hiding in a cave as fugitives from the Roman government, and studying Torah. When the prophet Elijah told them it was safe to come out, they were furious to see people engaging in worldly occupations instead of Torah, and "whatever they cast their eyes upon was immediately burnt up." A heavenly voice called out, "Have you emerged to destroy My world?" and ordered them back to the cave for another twelve months.
- 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons:
- Meeting the gaze of the catoblepas causes death.
- If you're on the Astral Plane, looking a basilisk in the eyes will kill you.
- The beholder has two small eyes which cause death or disintegration to any creature they look at.
- Warhammer: The Dark Elves have a creature called the Medusa which is a gorgon like creature with a terrifying ability to make its victims burst in blood when they look at its eyes.
- The Navigators of Warhammer 40K have a Third Eye that lets them see the Warp, it also kills anyone who looks at it, which is why they wear blindfolds.
- In Jedi Knight, there's a Force power called Force Deadly Sight that is basically this. One of the bosses, Sariss, can use it against you in battle, and there's a way — if you play as a bad guy, that is — to become capable of using it yourself later in the game.
- In the Final Fantasy Tactics series, the flying eyeball creatures can cause nasty status ailments with a glare attack that never misses. However, if you can position your units to not look at the creatures straight in the eyes, then their gaze attacks always fail.
- In Akatsuki Blitzkampf, the Knowledge Broker Sai possesses eyes that can inflict several kinds of diseases and damage on his opponents. Woe betide whoever is near him when he removes his Sinister Shades...
- A minor villain in Noblesse is able to attack by merely looking at someone. His opponent is naturally shocked that he takes a hit without seeing any gesture from said villain.
- A spectral being called a Shadow seems to kill using this method in Soul To Call.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the episode "The Stare Master" features a cockatrice, with the penalty of looking it in the eyes of the "turning to stone" variety rather than "instant death". And the cockatrice has the power to reverse it if one can convince it that it should stop turning creatures to stone, as Fluttershy successfully does.