Even though, as far as we know, babies are generally not considered as smart as children or adults, there is one thing that they can often sense: pure evil. If a baby is in the room when something bad happens, it will almost always start crying, even though there's no way it can know what's going on. As another often-used example, when the baby is picked up by a villain, it will automatically start crying regardless of whether the villain has done something to it or even looks scary. Makes a little
more sense in cases where the villain in question is known to eat babies
, though not much, given that the baby isn't terribly likely to be aware of that.
A sister trope to Evil-Detecting Dog
, and a sub-trope of Children Are Innocent
Anime and Manga
- In Sailor Moon, during the Doom Tree arc the baby that Usagi is helping Mamoru look after is able to tell that "Natsumi" (En) does not mean well. As a result, En ends up receiving a Tinkle in the Eye.
- A subtle example in the 2003 version of Fullmetal Alchemist; Rose's baby smiles and giggles in the presence of the Elric brothers, but he cries in the presence of Lyra, who for all intents and purposes is Lawful Neutral. It turns out that Lyra was actually Dead All Along and the series' Big Bad, Dante had hijacked her body. She planned to do the same to Rose later, but fortunately didn't succeed.
- In an issue of the Fantastic Four, Doctor Doom walks the streets of New York in civilian clothes (with a less ornate mask replacing his usual one). He passes a baby boy, who begins screaming and crying uncontrollably. Doom apologises to the boy's mother for frightening the child; the mother replies that the baby is blind.
Films — Animated
- In the Dangerverse's first story, Living with Danger, Remus Lupin thinks this was averted because Harry liked Sirius Black and avoided Peter Pettigrew, when (he thinks) Sirius became a traitor and Peter died fighting him. When he gets told the truth (that the traitor was actually Peter) he realises that Harry was indeed detecting evil.
- In the Soul Eater fic The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Stein and Marie's baby son cries harder when he sees Medusa, and even after she's gotten him to quiet down via Ironic Nursery Tune, he's still visibly afraid of her. Medusa even lampshades the fact that she hasn't done anything to hurt him yet. (Key word: yet.)
Films — Live-Action
- In Megamind a baby starts crying when it sees one of Megamind's Brain-Bots. Later in the movie, the same baby appears and starts crying when Megamind's Bernard disguise fails and his real self is seen kissing Roxanne. During the climax, after Megamind has seemingly defeated Titan, the same baby appears to start crying, only to stop and look confused like everyone else, Lampshading Megamind's Heel–Face Turn.
- In Sky High, the parents/superheroes-turned-infants begin to cry when being loaded into an "evil bus". Will's father especially when being spoken to by Royal Pain.
- When a TV news reporter updates on the situation of the soldiers in the first live-action Transformers film, William Lennox's infant daughter becomes fussy right after the report.
- In The Blair Witch Project, as a woman holding a baby tells the filmmakers about the legend of the Blair Witch, her baby repeatedly tries to put its hand over her mouth to get her to stop talking. Making this extra creepy is the fact that it wasn't scripted — the child does this of his own volition.
- The infant Robert Lockhart in The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox freaks out at the sight of his uncle James. James is actually his biological father; he raped Esme Lennox, who was thrown into a Bedlam House, and the baby was taken from her and adopted by Esme's sister and James's cousin.
- When Spike is rescuing the baby boy that the Fell Brethren want to make a holy sacrifice in the last epsiode of Angel, the Brethren surround him and order him to put the baby back in the bassinet. He looks at the baby, who shakes his head.
- Baby Wyatt of Charmed tended to put up a blue forcefield if something evil came too close.
- In the Good Luck Charlie episode which shows the Teddy/Spencer break-up, the baby, Charlie, bites Spencer. This is before Teddy discovers he's two-timing her with Skyler. Teddy also dreams that a giant Charlie is attacking Spencer.
- Averted in Game of Thrones. A baby boy giggles happily when the Night's King, the leader of the White Walkers picks him up and turns him into a new White Walker.
- Subverted in "Silent Witness", an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The baby cries whenever the man who killed her babysitter comes nearby. His guilty feelings make him suspect that the baby will actually get him caught, and it seems like he's deciding whether to do away with the child too. (He doesn't.) At the end we learn that the baby cries whenever any unknown man comes nearby.