"What if the mirrors are showing us something that's not real...?"Mirrors are inherently creepy objects. If you're looking in a mirror, there's also someone looking at you. A movement in a mirror can make you jump. It's no surprise that they're associated with badness. But what if there were something more than just one's own reflection in the mirror? What if the mirror showed something else looking back at you? This is the Mirror Monster! Though a mirror is really just a pane of glass and silver, in fiction it can become a gateway - something terrible could come out... or something terrible could try and suck you in. A Mirror Monster could be an image only visible in a mirror. It could be a ghost fettered to the world of the living by a mirror. It could be something which comes out of a mirror or communicates via mirror. The key thing about this trope is the horror is directly connected to the mirror itself. Sometimes mirror monsters can be defeated by smashing the glass. Unfortunately, sometimes smashing the glass can free the mirror monster and allow it free rein (or make even more of them). Compare with Mirror Scare, Mirror Routine.
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Anime & Manga
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a couple of Stands that are mirror monsters. The first one (J. Geil's "Hanged Man") exists as a light that can move between reflective surfaces, making it appear as if it only exists inside mirror reflections. The second (Illuso's "Man In The Mirror") actually pulls you through the mirror into the "mirror world".
- In Kazuo Umezu's Scary Book: Reflections, the vanity of a girl who admires her beauty incessantly in a mirror causes her evil reflection to escape and attempt to take her place, driving her to the edge of insanity in the process.
- This story was parodied in the Ranma ½ manga, where the mirror is haunted by the girl's lingering presence, and now whoever looks into it will have their reflection pop out. They aren't so much evil as just incredibly annoying.
- In one Slayers Non-Serial Movie, Lina and Naga ran afoul of a mirror that created clones of them. This mirror, showing the exact metaphysical opposite of the person who looks into it, creates a wimpy, demure Naga and a pathetic, weepy Lina.
- Sailor Moon used this trope all throughout the Dead Moon arc of SuperS/early Stars, where Queen Nehelenia would trap people in mirrors in a "nightmare", a mirror leads to a portal to her evil dreamland, and in one episode she creates a house of mirrors and controls the Senshi's reflections and makes them psychoanalyze and hypnotize them, to convince them to give up.
- Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior: Giratina travels through mirrors to get to its home dimension, the Reverse World. When it is trying to capture Ash and friends, it uses reflective objects to open a portal through and drag them via whirlwinds into the Reverse World.
- An episode of Sonic X has one character see her face in her reflection replaced with a ghost, which was one of thousands of ghosts that were none too happy with the living using it as a film location.
- In One Piece, Brûlée has eaten the Mirror-Mirror Fruit, which gives her a number of mirror-themed powers. One of them is access to the Mirror World, allowing herself to travel through mirrors. From someone looking from the other side, it comes across as this trope, as she appears in someone's mirror and can reach out and emerge through it. This power is later exploited by both her enemies and allies: The Straw Hat Pirates, realizing that Brûlée, in spite of her fearsome powers, is pretty feeble in strength, decide to tie her to other people so they can also use the Mirror World, for fast travel. Her family members, meanwhile, upon finding out that Luffy is in the Mirror World trying to use the mirrors to quickly get to Cacao Island, order the citizens of Cacao Island to either destroy or submerge every mirror on the island to cut off Luffy's escape.
- There was a New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams in which a man in a barber chair with mirrors on either side has a virtually infinite series of reflections, one of them about three-fourths of the way down the line being of a monster sitting where he is sitting.
- This is the modus operandi of The Flash rogue Mirror Master.
- In the WWE story, The Legend of Bloody Molly, Molly Holly is killed by Trish Stratus and Lita, and comes back as "Bloody Molly" (a take on the "Bloody Mary" Urban Legend) to exact revenge on them.
- In The Bridge spinoff The Bridge: A Shimmer in the Dark, the monster Mizu can inhabit reflective surfaces and use them as portals.
- Kids play a game called "Bloody Mary", based of an urban legend, by chanting the name in front of a mirror in a dark room. Supposedly, her face replaces the reflection in the mirror, and naturally, there are urban legends about kids who kept it up for too long, made Mary angry, and died the next day.
Films — Live-Action
- Legend: Darkness first appears to Lily by stepping out of a mirror.
- Prince of Darkness: Satan's father (the "Anti-God") is on the other side of a mirror trying to get through into our world.
- Phantasm: At the end of the movie, the Tall Man emerges from a mirror to grab Mike.
- Inverted with Ozma in Return to Oz. She's the girl queen of Oz and was imprisoned in mirrors as a reflection by Mombi.
- The movie Mirrors had what turned out to be a demonic being inhabiting mirrors and attacking anyone who looked into them.
- In the movie The Watcher in the Woods, Jan sees a blindfolded girl in a mirror. She turns out to be not a ghost, but trapped in another dimension.
- There's a movie called In Dreams in which, at the very end, a mirror actually distorts and drags someone in.
- In Night of the Demons (1988) there's a demon head that appears in a mirror, looking vaguely like a monstrous cow skull.
- The Boogeyman in... The Boogeyman.
- The mirror itself in Amityville: A New Generation, which goads people to hurt themselves and their friends.
- The movie The Broken deals with mirror monsters taking over their originals' lives.
- Near the end of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, dream invading serial killer Freddy Krueger leads the remaining kids to a room full of mirrors. They see him standing in the largest mirror, upon which he duplicates himself into every mirror in the room and drags them inside kicking and screaming. Fortunately, Joey learns to use his powerful voice — his own dream skill — to attack Freddy and free all his friends.
- In Hellraiser: Bloodline, the Cenobite Angelique kills one of the future soldiers by appearing in a mirror in her human form as a woman pleading for help before dragging him in and decapitating him.
- Candyman: Saying Candyman's name five times in front of a mirror will summon the killer who will slay you with his Hook Hand. At the end of the movie, Helen has become a vengeful spirit who can be summoned by saying her name five times while facing a mirror.
- The House That Dripped Blood: In "Method for Murder", a shaken Charles is lighting a cigarette on by the fireplace when he glance sin the mirror and sees Dominick standing on the landing behind him. But when he turns around, there is no one there.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's short story "The Unpleasant Profession Of Jonathan Hoag", the Sons of the Bird are powerful evil entities that enter and exit our world through mirrors.
- In The Shadow of the Wind, Julian, as a lonely child, made up stories that he told to other kids that he had a sister who came to visit him through the mirror and lived with the devil.
- In the fourth installment of ''Odd Thomas'# by Dean Koontz, something briefly materializes out of a mirror to collect someone's soul.
- In a book-only detail of Harry Potter, once the Locket of Slytherin has been turned into a Soul Jar by Lord Voldemort, his young self's eye can be seen watching through the mirror inside.
- In Shaman of the Undead, all mirrors are the gates to the various hells, so demons (or people who walk between mirrors) can and do pull this off sometimes.
- In the Discworld novel Witches Abroad, the villain uses mirror magic, and when she loses control at the end, her reflection reaches out of a mirror and pulls her in.
- The Dresden Files: This is the reason Harry refuses to keep mirrors around his house. A lot of nasty critters can use them as doorways between the Nevernever and the real world, like the fetches in Proven Guilty.
- The Stephen King short story "The Reaper's Image"
- The Goosebumps book Lets Get Invisible features a mirror that turns you invisible, but if you stay invisible too long, your reflection forces you to switch places with it.
- In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, mirrors can be used by fey and magicians as gateways to the fairy realm. They're featured prominently near the end of the book.
- Labyrinths of Echo had the Secret Investigations dealing with one of such creatures, and devouring the life-force, at that.
- Played with in John Harding's Florence and Giles. Florence, the twelve-year-old narrator, discovers that Miss Taylor, her new and possibly undead governess, magically inhabits all the manor's mirrors. Then again, Florence is both an Unreliable Narrator and completely Ax-Crazy.
- China Miéville short story The Tain features imagos, Eldritch Abominations from the other side of the mirror taking over the world. They are trapped inside mirrors by people looking at their own reflections, which causes them excruciating pain. When they manifest in reality, most of them manifest as an Evil Twin, but sometimes as something weirder like hair, hands, lips and other body parts.
- The Polish book Bromba i inni (featuring descriptions of numerous fictional creatures) includes the "Wild Viceverses", mirror-dwelling creatures which are created whenever two mirrors are placed opposite each other. While they look more or less like warped abominations, they're a subversion in that they're rather amiable and benevolent. That said, they love playing tricks on vain people by suddenly replacing their reflection in the mirror.
- Pact has Rose Thorburn, Distaff Counterpart to Blake Thorburn, the narrator, who is trapped in a mirror world and can only access the real one by appearing in mirrors, which she can break if she hits them hard enough. Supernatural creatures, however, can enter her mirror world, including an abstract demon who simultaneously exists in its own reflection, a Faerie, and a Bloody Mary that Rose summons to help her out.
- A hex in Fancy Apartments causes a mirror to distort the image of any person reflected in it. It's apparently rather disturbing.
- In the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Sir Francis Dashwood hides his soul in a mirror and then takes over his great nephew's body using it.
- In the Boojumverse, Doppelkinder are monsters which hunt in mirrors and eat their victims' eyes. They are incapable of harming Cheshires or Boojums, which don't recognize two-dimensional images like reflections in mirrors because they think three-dimensionally.
- In the Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu Mythos crossover story "The Adventure of the Death-Fetch" a man is menaced by a deadly doppelganger monster, who can come out of any mirror that shows his reflection. The poor bastard locks himself in a room with no mirrors or reflective surfaces, but in the end gets killed when he catches a glimpse of his reflection in his rifle's polished barrel.
- In the Amazing Stories episode "Mirror, Mirror", a phantom-like character appears to Jordan Manmoth, an author of horror novels, whenever he looks in the mirror or any reflective surface. Nobody else can see the monster, even when they look into the same mirror at the same time as him.
- The Supernatural episode "Bloody Mary" had this, as it was about a variant of the Bloody Mary Urban Legend mentioned under Real Life. However, this Bloody Mary didn't always kill the person who summoned her: She instead kills someone with a secret that she feels makes them responsible for a death. Said person will start seeing Mary on any reflective surface, their reflection will start accusing them of the death, and they will bleed from the eyes and die. It turns out that Mary is just as vulnerable to her reflection as anyone else, being herself responsible for deaths.
- Part of the premise of Kamen Rider Ryuki, where Mirror Monsters are simply animalistic creatures that hunt humans and eat them. Some are contracted by the Riders to fight other Riders and Mirror Monsters. While some of the monsters are heroic, they still need to be fed, or they'll eat their contractor. Though they'll wind up eating them if the contract breaks.
- Ryuki's American adaptation, Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, is near identical except the heroes are never at risk of being eaten by the monsters they're contracted to. There're still scores of evil mirror monsters to deal with though. That and they don't eat people, but rather capture them.
- Doctor Who, "Family of Blood": The family want to live forever, and the Doctor grant them that in different ways. He traps the family's youngest daughter inside every mirror. "If ever you look at your reflection and see something move behind you just for a second, that's her. That's always her."
- The entire premise of Dark Oracle is that the kids' Evil Twins can reach them by coming out through the mirrors. To say this leaves everyone incredibly paranoid would be an understatement.
- In Heroes Nikki's alternate personality Jessica would always manifest in reflections and when she takes control over Nikki's body early on, it's Nikki who gets trapped and slamming against the glass. Before she was named Jessica, her Fandom Nickname was ikkiN.
- Hulu's Deadbeat featured a less murderous version of Bloody Mary: she makes friends with main character Kevin, who as a psychic is the only one who can see her in the mirror.
- One Step Beyond: A jealous, abusive husband kills his wife when he finds her in a circus trailer with a mute clown. He flees leaving the clown as a suspect — then everywhere he goes, he sees the clown in mirror/window reflections behind him reaching for his throat, and when he spins around the clown isn't there until he IS!
- In one episode of Night and Day, Jane Harper catches glimpses of a monster in her bedroom mirror – with the image flickering at one point between that of the monster and that of her mother, Natalie. Jane’s brother Ryan frequently has conversations with his mirror self, who’s usually depicted as even more of a sociopath than non-mirror Ryan. The mirror in Josh Alexander’s bedroom (in which visions of Jane sometimes appear) is smashed, and we occasionally see glimpses of him having punched it in flashback sequences.
- The Haunting Hour: In "Scary Mary", chanting Mary's name three times in front of a mirror will summon Mary, who will send her three faceless servants through the mirror to drag the summoner back so Mary can steal their face.
- During the WCW version of the Hulk Hogan\Ultimate Warrior feud, one infamous segment involved Warrior appearing in the mirror of Hogan's dressing room. The idea was for the Warrior to only be visible to Hogan, as Eric Bischoff doesn't notice. The only problem with this: the Warrior was clearly visible to the commentators and people watching on TV.
- Proving once and for all that it is basically WCW, TNA also gave Winter the same mirror powers Warrior had. She would appear in Angelina Love's mirror and whenever somebody else entered the room she would disappear. They were a little smarter about this because the commentators never mentioned her until she finally showed up in person.
- The Undertaker does this sometimes.
- According to Grover on Sesame Street, seeing a monster in the mirror is not a cause for freaking out but an occasion to sing "Wubba wubba wubba wubba woo woo woo." After all, "That monster in the mirror, he just might be you."
- Call of Cthulhu supplement The Dreamlands, adventure "Lemon Sails". The Temple of the Oracle on Sarrub has a mirror which has been taken over by a wendigo-demon that attacks anyone who tries to use it.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The Fetch in the Dragonlance setting — a Chaotic Evil monster from the Abyss that pops through mirrors and kills people.
- In Forgotten Realms, Turmish even got the law that prohibits large mirrors for this reason.
- The Planar Handbook features optional "Mirror Planes", each of which is a plane of existence consisting solely of a featureless corridor and a lot of portals connected to various mirrors all over the multiverse. Entering a Mirror Plane, however, causes an opposite-aligned clone to manifest within, which will attempt to Kill and Replace the original, since there's nothing to do in the Mirror Plane itself.
- And of course the classic (A)D&D magic items, the Mirror of Life Trapping (pulls the viewer in, although it has a limited capacity and starts to release captives to make room for new ones once full) and the Mirror of Opposition (viewer's reflection comes to life and attacks them).
- Exalted gives us Szoreny, possibly the Mirror Monster. One of the Yozis, he used to represent The World Tree until he got turned inside out and became a grove of reflective trees laced with quicksilver. While his Charms haven't be statted up yet, it's theorized a lot of them would center around mirrors, reflection, and unseen connections.
- The New World of Darkness has two variations of this. The Urban Legends sourcebook gives various rules about the homicidal ghost Bloody Mary, mentioned in the real life section. Secondly, there's a Vampire specific ghost named Red Jack mentioned in the 'Mythologies' sourcebook that functions as a Bloody Mary for vampires specifically. He is much, much worse.
- Bleak World has the Princess race's Court of Mirrors, which exists inside the darkness they are a court of princesses that can travel through mirrors and sap the hope and willpower from a person.
- Walking with Shadows features a ghost in a mirror who tries to tempt a teenage girl to suicide.
- In the game Ghost Master, there are several ghosts who can be anchored to mirrors, and can scare mortals who look into them.
- Paranoia from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow lives in the mirrors in its boss room, and jumps out of them to attack Soma. Defeating it lets Soma walk through mirrors.
- Moreover, the first time you fight Paranoia, you really just fight its reflection. Stepping into the next room reveals even more mirrors... and a much larger Paranoia.
- Earlier, in both Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, there were non-boss mirror monsters. In the former, they attacked you while you were standing in front of the mirror. In the latter, they leaped out of mirrors as you passed by them.
- In Realms of the Haunting a literal example appears in one of the trials of Sheol where you have to smash a perimeter of mirrors. But if you look directly into them a monster will pop out of it and chase you. The only way to defeat it is to have it reflected in the mirror and break it.
- Kingdom of Loathing has the Guy Made of Bees, a parody of the Candy Man. If you encounter a mirror in the Haunted Mansion and say "Guy Made of Bees" five times, he appears and attacks you. He's a Hopeless Boss Fight (usually) without a certain item.
- At two points in Splatterhouse, Rick walks down a hall of mirrors. Several of them have his reflection turn, climb out of the mirror and attack him.
- Saltim, a boss from Billy Hatcher is this, he jumps in and out of mirrors trying to attack you and will even try to suck you in.
- In Clock Tower: The First Fear, sometimes a hand will reach out of the mirror in the bedroom and try to strangle you when you check it. It's instant death if you haven't learned to reflexively mash the panic button in these types of situations.
- In Enchanted Sceptres, there's a dead end with a mirror, which seems "as strong as steel" at first. A Black Knight sometimes appears out of the mirror, and if you smash it then, the knight "shatters into a thousand pieces".
- At one point in Prince of Persia, your path is suddenly blocked by a mirror. When you jump through it, your reflection separates from you (you re-merge with it near the end of the game).
- Subverted with Dark Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. He is Link's reflection who is brought to life through the magic of an enchanted room in the Water Temple.
- Silent Hill 3 features one scare in which you pass through a door into a room that contains nothing but a mirror covering one wall. You cannot interact with, and the door does not open if you attempt to leave. As you move around the room, your reflection suddenly stops. A dark liquid similar to blood then begins to spread around the floor in a vein pattern, spreading across your frozen doppelganger. This is never explained or mentioned again once you escape the room.
- Hang around for a while longer, and Heather will die. Fortunately, once your doppelganger freezes the doors to the room unlock and you are free to leave - provided your interest in finding what that room is about doesn't induce you to stay (there's no signal letting you know the door is unlocked).
- The Wolf Among Us has Bloody Mary herself from the Real Life section below, now working as what is effectively a Mafia hitwoman. And complete Psycho for Hire, as she happily takes her time off to show up when kids summon her and feed their lungs to dogs, when she isn't already occupied by her equally-enjoyed job. She also shows the ability to sense when the Magic Mirror from Snow White is looking at her and shutting it down, hence why he really doesn't like her.
- Fallen London: Mirrors within the Neath tend to be rather dangerous. Many have seen glimpses of something unclear looking back at them off the corner of their eyes. Something unnervingly ophidian, for those who get clearer looks. And only magicians seem to try and deal with them in anything beyond looking at your reflection, and are rumored to converse with whatever's on the other side, and even strike deals. This is because mirrors are all doorways to the outer edges of Parabola, which are frequented by unscrupulous magicians, the occasional person who was going so utterly mad they accidentally walked into Parabola from the sheer nastiness of their nightmares, and the Fingerkings, snake-like Animalistic Abominations who run the place, and have both a hidden agenda and mysterious powers with which to carry it out. In these outer edges, you can find hundreds and hundreds of mirrors sticking out of the marshes, and can peer into them back into reality, to whatever it is that's out that particular mirror. It also doubles as a Hungry Jungle full of dangerous flora and chatty fauna. That said, there's also some really valuable things to be found, which is why there's people who take venturing into Parabola and bringing them back as their job, and a very lucrative one at that. You can spot them by their Cosmogone glasses.
- The Magic Mirror in Radical Dreamers is one. It talks to the party by having a bust reflected in the mirror turn around and look at them. And under Lynx's orders, it eventually tries to kill them, though it didn't really wish to do so and eventually destroys itself rather than follow its orders.
- In The Darkside Detective, one of McQueen's unseen cases apparently involved "a woman appearing in mirrors to other women who look exactly like her".
- In Nan Quest, You can see Henry's head in the mirror behind him. Then he moves out of the way of the mirror. Mirror Henry doesn't. And then he turns around, smiling.
- In the Minecraft video One More Fright, at one point Steve wanders into Herobrine's own lair, and when he looks into a mirror Herobrine's reflection looks back and sneers.
- SCP Foundation
- SCP-125 ("Contagious Reflection"). SCP-125 can live inside any reflective surface, such as a mirror or an animal's eye. It can travel from one surface to another under certain conditions, and if it infects an animal's eye it will blind it and turn it into an abscess.
- Subverted with SCP-919 ("Needy Mirror"). If a person's image is reflected in the mirror for 15 seconds, the reflected image starts moving independently of the person... and begins pleading and begging for the person to not leave, since if the person leaves the reflection dies.
- SCP-944 ("Mirror Maze"). A child went through one of the mirrors in SCP-944 and ended up in a windowless brick room being tortured by "Zippo the Pyromaniac Clown".
- SCP-1620 ("Reflection Infection"). SCP-1620 is a rectangular sheet of metal alloy. Any primate (including human beings) that is reflected in SCP-1620 has their reflection changed into SCP-1620-1, a mirror image that is sapient and malevolent.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Ghost", when Gumball is talking down Carrie (a ghost he was allowed to use his body up until then) he sees her replacing his reflection in a puddle of water.
- In The Boondocks episode "Stinkmeaner Strikes Back", Tom DuBois sees Colonel Stinkmeaner in his reflection after the former gets possessed by the latter.
- In an early episode of Ben 10, when Zombozo is trying to break Ben mentally (and probably physically as well) by taking him through a circus-themed Acid-Trip Dimension there's a part where Ben enters a hall of mirrors and in one of the mirrors he sees his reflection has Zombozo's face.
- In an episode of Regular Show called "Jinx", Rigby tries to break his jinx by performing a ritual in front of a mirror. He ends up summoning a demonic reflection from inside a mirror named Ybgir. It's banished back when someone chants its name three times. This has a lot of references to the Bloody Mary myth.
- Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School features some thing that actually refers to itself as a "mirror monster". It does a Mirror Routine with both Scooby and Shaggy, then traps Shaggy in the mirror.
- South Park had a version of "Bloody Mary" where, if you say his name three times while looking in a mirror, Biggie Smalls will appear in the room with you (understandably pissed because everyone keeps summoning him while he's trying to get to Satan's Halloween/birthday party).
- Steven Universe introduces a sentient mirror in the appropriately named "Mirror Gem". It uses reflections of things it's witnessed to communicate; though it mostly just pals around with Steven, rather than trying to put him in danger. It's played a little more straight in that another Gem, Lapis Lazuli is trapped in the mirror, and once she gets out, proves to be plenty dangerous.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Ghost Host", one of the pranks the Flying Dutchman plays on SpongeBob is enchanting his mirror to show a monster biting his reflection in half. This is after SpongeBob becomes desensitized to the Dutchman's terrors, so he just shrugs it off.
- Staring at your own mirror reflection in a dimly lit room will often result in you seeing your own reflection distort or possibly change into something completely different. This is due to what's currently being referred to as the "Caputo Effect", which explains that when one focuses on their reflection while the eyes are being deprived of light, the mind will lose its facial-recognition ability, resulting in the subconscious taking over and making one see their reflection much differently. Things people have claimed to have seen vary from the faces of their own parents, to faces of unknown people, to outright monstrous faces. The general consensus is that this is where the Bloody Mary legend came from.
- There is a neurological disorder whereby the afflicted cannot recognize their own reflection. While they are in no danger from said reflection, they are left with the terrifying impression that they are being followed by a stranger that has somehow gotten into their house.
- Most animals can't recognize their own reflections as such, and some will attempt to challenge or threaten their own mirror image, which (of course) returns the threats in kind.