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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/helpful_hallucination.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-"What can I do? I am a figment of your imagination."-] ]]

->'''Rémy''': I pretend you exist so I have someone to talk to! You only tell me stuff I already know! I know who I am! Why do I need you to tell me? Why do I need to pretend?\\
'''Gusteau:''' [chuckles] But you don't, Remy. You never did. [disappears]
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}''

[[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment Detective Bob is a detective.]] He's in the middle of an important case when, suddenly, a whole bunch of traumatic stuff happens to him, he hits his head on an orange crate, and he somehow ends up taking a lot of drugs. Now, wherever he goes, he is followed by a talking, pink hippopotamus named Oswald, that only he can see. Bob is hallucinating!

This is bad for the case, right? Clearly, Bob is no longer mentally fit to do his job, and should go somewhere to receive treatment until Oswald goes away. Right? RIGHT?


For you see, Oswald is a manifestation of Bob's subconscious. He thus knows all about the case, including details that Bob apparently ignored or didn't quite put together. So instead of impairing Bob's ability to function, Oswald is basically akin to temporary mental superpowers, helping to point Bob in the right direction.

In real life, hallucinations usually aren't so helpful, and you probably shouldn't take advice from one.

Compare DreamingTheTruth, DeadPersonConversation, and SpiritAdvisor.

For extra creepiness, the hallucination may know things the person they haunt ''shouldn't'' know. [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane This is usually a clue]] they are a ghost or an AngelUnaware.

SPOILERS to follow, as some of these hallucinations aren't identified as such until TheReveal.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* "Radar Man" from ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'' appears to have this happening to him. Or...the sexy figurines might actually be talking to him. It's that kind of show.

* In the ''ComicBook/SinCity'' story ''The Big Fat Kill'', while driving Jackie Boy's corpse to the tar pits for disposal, Dwight starts hallucinating that Jackie Boy's talking to him, taunting him about how screwed he is about the whole situation. Dwight answers "Sure, he's an asshole. Sure he's dead. Sure, I'm just imagining that he's talking. That doesn't stop the bastard from being absolutely right."

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Played with in ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', where Remy hallucinates Gusteau advising him about cooking, and life in general. Until Remy finds out Gusteau has a son:
-->'''Gusteau:''' I have a son?!
-->'''Remy:''' How can you not know you have a son?
-->'''Gusteau:''' I am only a figment of your imagination! You didn't know, how could I?

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Gravity}}'' when [[spoiler:Stone has quietly accepted that she is stuck in a shuttle without fuel and is probably going to die, Kowalski, who she believed to be dead, suddenly appears outside the shuttle, lets himself in, and tells her that all hope is not lost, as there is a trick to get the shuttle moving, urging her to not give up. Kowalski then disappears into thin air when Stone looks the other way for a second, revealing him to be a hallucination, but she realizes that his method to get the shuttle moving actually works.]]
* In ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'' Max has a recurring hallucination of a young girl. At one point she appears in front of him and reaches towards him which causes him to instinctively cover his face, and this winds up saving his life by giving Max an ImpaledPalm instead of an impaled head. She also appears at a critical point in the movie and gives Max the idea to [[spoiler:take the unguarded Citadel]].

* ''Literature/DiarioDeUnZombi'' has Erik, a masked opera dancer who leads the protagonist to the last living humans in Barcelona.
* ''Literature/RedMarsTrilogy'' has Hiroko lead Sax Russel, lost and freezing to death, back to his rover. It's left open if she was a hallucination or real.
* In ''[[Literature/BridgeOfBirds The Story of the Stone]]'', Master Li and Number Ten Ox drink hallucinogenic tea in order to take a "mind trip" to the [[CelestialBureaucracy Chinese]] [[SpiritWorld Hell]]; it is deliberately ambiguous whether their experience is this trope or a genuine spirit journey.
* In the Literature/InspectorRutledge series, Hamish--the soldier Rutledge has constantly hallucinated since he executed him during WWI--sometimes points out things that Rutledge's conscious mind has missed. That being said, Hamish is just as likely to be hostile and outright disruptive.
* In ''Literature/{{You}}'', main character Russell frequently sees the heroes of the game he's working on, who offer encouragement and cryptic advice. Exactly why this is happening is never stated, since he isn't brain damaged or mentally ill; after many of the encounters, however, he mentions waking up, so this may overlap with DreamingTheTruth.
* [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane One interpretation]] of a chapter of ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' in which a downed pilot comes into radio contact with an extremely helpful VoiceOnTheRadio, who does things like reiterate her survival training, help her navigate through semi-familiar terrain, motivate her, and even alert her to danger that she had not yet heard. After her rescue, no trace of the helpful woman on the radio could be found.
* One of the [[SideKick supporting characters]] of Geoph Essex's ''Jackrabbit Messiah'' is the omnipresent voice in Jack's head, which is paradoxically (though apparently [[ShownTheirWork not uncommonly]]) the only thing that keeps the rest of Jack's symptoms from overwhelming (and [[HeroicBSOD paralyzing]]) him, making him a pretty useless hero without it.
-->'''Amity Sheridan:''' It keeps the rest of his hallucinations and delusions in check.
-->'''Lieutenant Springer:''' The biggest monster in the closet intimidates the rest.
* In the Polish writer Anna Chmielewska's whodunit, ''Wszyscy jestesmy podejrzani'', the main character has hallucinations of a snarky, sassy BigRedDevil who gives her hints and nudges towards solving the case.
* In the book (not the movie) of ''ThePostman'', Gordon is encouraged during his effort to escape (by pulling himself up and over the beam he's tied to) by visions of the dead, including the computer Cyclops, Ben Franklin (and [[ItMakesSenseInContext his stove]]), and the original owner of his postal carrier's uniform.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Happened a few times on ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
** Bones hears the murder victim telling her information about herself and the case.
** In the Hockey episode, Booth gets advice on the investigation from a famous NHL player after being knocked unconscious.
** When Booth was trapped by [[SerialKiller the Gravedigger]] on a ship that was to be sunk, he received help from the ghost of a private who died in Bosnia(?) while under Booth's command. Booth knew it was a hallucination, but there were things that he did that needed two people to do.
*** Or, if you prefer DoingInTheWizard, he could have been hallucinating the ''obstacles'' as well as the ghost who helped bypass them. This still doesn't account for Bones seeing the guy in the graveyard at the end of the episode (though ''she'' doesn't know the significance of the soldier being there)
** When Booth was about to have ADateWithRosiePalms to donate sperm for Brennan to artificially inseminate with, Stewie from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' appeared on the TV and gave him relationship advice. ''This'' one prompts some medical investigation and he ends up discovering (in time) a serious brain tumor which may or may not explain some or all of the previous hallucinations he experienced that season.
* In ''Series/CSIMiami'' Eric gets shot in the head. When he recovers, he hallucinates Speed, who died several seasons ago. The hallucination points him to evidence he missed, and helps him crack the case.
* In the ''{{Series/Eureka}}'' episode "The Ex-Files", Carter's hallucination of Stark seems to have a bunch of knowledge that you wouldn't expect him to. Most of that knowledge (like Stark's shoe size) is totally useless, though he does point Carter in the direction of one particular clue that's important to the episode plot.
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'': while trapped on the other side and brainwashed, Olivia hallucinates a version of Peter who tries to convince her that she's in the wrong universe.
* In ''Series/{{Glue}}'', James, while on an acid trip, hallucinates [[spoiler:his dead boyfriend Cal, who reveals the location in which hed hidden the contract for the horse their families co-owned]].
* In the last couple of episodes of the fifth season of ''Series/{{House}}'', House gets advice on a case from a hallucination of [[spoiler: Amber]], who had died in the season four finale. Unfortunately, [[spoiler: as he continues hallucinating, it's not limited to Amber and the hallucinations become... less helpful...]]
* In a grim variant, Gibbs' former marine commander on ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' wound up a fugitive when he was suspected of stealing a cache of Saddam Hussein's money recovered in Iraq. He was goaded on in his quest to find and eliminate the real thieves by a fellow marine, who turned out to be an hallucination of a man who'd died in combat years earlier.
** In the episode immediately after Kate was shot, most of the cast either imagined or outright hallucinated a parting conversation with her ghost.
*** Same happened with Mike Franks.
* On ''Series/NYPDBlue'' Sipowitz had a hallucination conversation with his dead partner Bobby Simone, who convinced Andy to take his new young hotheaded partner John Clark Jr. under his wing rather than let him go his own way, which was leading down the wrong path.
* The (unfortunately) [[ShortRunners short-lived]] TV series ''Series/{{Raines}}'' wore this as it's hat. The main character, a police detective played by Creator/JeffGoldblum, had hallucinations of the victims of the crime he was investigating, who followed him around until he solved the case. The hallucinations would actually change slightly in appearance and manner as he learned more about the victim. He was completely aware of them not being real--in fact, the hallucinations would sometimes comment on it.
-->'''Raines:''' What do you want?
-->'''Sandy Boudreau:''' It's your imagination, Detective; I'm just a figment.
-->'''Raines:''' What do you want?
-->'''Sandy Boudreau:''' I want you to find out who killed me.
-->'''Raines:''' Then you'll go, back to whatever dark, twisted, malfunctioning part of my brain that you come from?
-->'''Sandy Boudreau:''' Yeah.
* One episode of ''Series/SirArthurConanDoylesTheLostWorld'' sees Marguerite stepping into a booby trap and falling into a pit with spikes. She gets hurt and suffers a concussion. While Challenger gets help she hallucinates about her best friend Adrienne who keeps her awake so Marguerite doesn't fall asleep. Later it turns out to be a NotSoImaginaryFriend - which freaks Marguerite out.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': When [=McKay=] gets trapped at the bottom of the ocean in a broken puddle jumper, he has a hallucination of Carter that's his subconscious trying to keep him from doing something that will get him killed.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS09E01IThinkImGonnaLikeItHere "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" (S09, Ep01)]], Sam creates versions of Dean and Bobby who help him decide whether he should continue to fight or accept death.
* May occur in ''Series/TwinPeaks'', particularly The Giant who appears at critical moments to give Cooper hints on the case. [[MindScrew This being Twin Peaks, however, it's unclear whether it's this trope in action or something else.]]
* In the first season of ''Series/VeronicaMars'', Veronica [[spoiler:and Duncan]] gets vague messages from a hallucination of [[SpiritAdvisor Lilly, who was murdered in the show's BackStory, providing hints towards solving the mystery of Lilly's murder.
* In the ''Series/TheWestWing'' episode "Two Cathedrals" (which is widely considered one of the greatest single episodes of television of any genre in the history of the medium), President Bartlett has a soul-searching conversation with his personal secretary, Mrs. Landingham, for whom he attended a funeral earlier that same day.
* The KidDetective show based on the ''Literature/HalfMoonInvestigations'' used this for a EurekaMoment (less of a form of brain damage or insanity and more of a kid's over imaginative imagination) where Fletcher argues with his own imagined version of the school's AlphaBitch to understand both how and why she didn't commit the crime of [[spoiler: dumping dye chemicals into the school's pool and delaying a swimming competition.]] Naturally, she didn't do it - [[spoiler: it was one of the school's swimming pool team who did.]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* During ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'', Ryouta is advised by a stranger and then is given pause when another character thinks he's snapped and started babbling to the air. He asks the stranger if he's a hallucination and is told "... If I was, that would mean you're asking a hallucination whether or not he's a hallucination. Does it matter? Maybe I am, or maybe I'm not." The advice is good, but that doesn't convince Ryouta one way or another. [[spoiler: The stranger is actually a ghost and InvisibleToNormals.]]
** Higure Anghel exudes hallucinogenic pheromones which he is not immune to, but while his hallucinations are often strange and don't seem to have much to do with the situation, they give him insights that more sober characters lack and are excellent for EpiphanyTherapy. [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane And at some level they may be real anyway]].

* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0605.html Lord Shojo explains he could be this.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/{{Twig}}'', Sylvester makes use of hallucinatory versions of his friends to help him plan his actions and consider new approaches, with the hallucinations occasionally acting to offer suggestions of conscience and ruthlessness depending on how Sy remembers them. He also uses them to model his friends, for example [[spoiler:his hallucination of Mary helps him shoot her through the knee by warning him she'll try to disarm him.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Lampshaded on when Homer tried to access information from his coyote spirit guide while conscious:
-->'''Spirit guide:''' I'm only a memory, Homer. I can't provide additional information.
** The ''Series/TwinPeaks'' example is spoofed on "Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part 2". Chief Wiggum has trouble making sense of the backwards-talk until Lisa just snaps and tells him straight-up.
* Skipper of the Penguins of madagascar has his mind erased by Dr. Blowhole and suffers through two spirit guides trying to help him before his mind settles on Alex the Lion.
* After Henchman 24 dies on ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', his ghost haunts Henchman 21, and starts warning him of danger and giving him advice in combat. Eventually, he explains that he's just a figment of 21's imagination, and all his help just gave 21 the confidence to do what he already had the capacity to do, including letting go of his dead friend.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In his book ''Hallucinations'', Oliver Sacks reports that many people who experience HearingVoices claim that they are these, with only some of them experiencing the stereotypical malevolent kind.