Epileptic Trees

"The goat was a shapeshifter."
KillerKiller, RubyQuest discussion

A term for wild, off-the-wall theories. Named after a leading tinfoil-hat theory explaining the mysterious shaking, rustling trees on LOST during the first season of that program. The theory? The trees are having epileptic fits.

Although Lost has run its course, the image remains a potent title for the trope. No matter how absurd or irrational a theory (or tree) might seem, if it has enough ground, in the eyes of enough fans, it can spread new branches, seed new ideas, and eventually come to influence the entire work.

Crazy theories are not only common, but expected for Mind Screw series. A major species of Tree is Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory. An ongoing series which uses Chekhovs Guns to the point of becoming a Chekhov's Armoury encourages Trees because all newly introduced objects/people/skills/etc will be suspected of being a Chekhov's Gun. Horrible epileptic trees are known as Poison Oak Epileptic Trees. See Stock Epileptic Trees for other common examples.

Epileptic Trees suggested by characters are a sign of Scully Syndrome. When an Epileptic Tree is rendered null and void by the official Canon, it's said to be Jossed. When an Epileptic Tree becomes Canon, you're allowed to say, "I Knew It!" - unless it became Canon because it was an Epileptic Tree, in which case it's Ascended Fanon. See also Inferred Survival, Urban Legend of Zelda and Schrödinger's Butterfly.

If you'd like to see the wiki contributors' own personal epileptic forest, check out our Wild Mass Guessing page. Don't waste your tree here. Plant it in Wild Mass Guessing.


Alternative Title(s):

Epileptic Tree, Crackpot Theory