- A clue from an anonymous source
- A note from a past or future self
- A revealing tape of some kind
- A threat of some kind
- Ransom demand
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- In Ore-sama Teacher, both Mafuyu and Hayasaka receive notes in their lockers saying "360 degree warning". This presages the appearance of a new character, a wacky fake 'ninja' who is trying to destroy the Public Morals Club.
Films — Animated
- The Incredibles. The "note" is in the form of a digital tablet with a video message inviting Mr. Incredible to do secret superhero work.
Films — Live-Action
- Murder by Death. While Sam Diamond and Miss Skeffington are in their room, they hear a ticking sound. A note is slipped under their door that says, "That ticking sound is a bomb that will go off in 30 seconds. Signed, The Murderer."
- In Unsane, a horror/thriller author receives one about a series of murders related to his latest book.
- Memento: The hero receives a few of these. Some of them from himself, since he suffers from anterograde amnesia.
- Home: Frank Money receives a note that says, "Come fast. She be dead if you tarry." This causes Frank to start his journey home to save his sister.
- In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Henry Baskerville receives a message consisting of words cut and pasted from the London Times warning him to stay away from the moor (where Baskerville Manor was).
- Mysterious poison-pen letters (together with pranks and outright vandalism) are part of a plot against Shrewsbury College, Oxford in Gaudy Night.
- A couple of these appear in Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday. The notes' author employs the classic pasted-letters-cut-from-printed-material technique.
- In The Girl From The Miracles District, Ture leaves Nikita a note serving as a Sequel Hook, promising her that "the truth" is hidden in a remote Norwegian village.
Live Action TV
- In The X-Files, Agent Mulder repeatedly receives revealing documents on various conspiracies from his informants. They try to be sneaky about it.
- In an episode of Magic City, an envelope is shoved under the door. When opened, it contains a photo with "$20,000" written on the back. The photo shows one of the heroes in bed with a mobster's wife and is clearly an attempt at blackmail.
- Mysterious notes or objects are often the catalyst for Scott Wolter's investigations on America Unearthed.
- Silent Hill 4: Henry can receive messages from the dark world if he slides blank pieces of paper under his door. Better go check on your neighbor!
- The Dream Machine has it's main plot started by one Viktor finds in his new apartment.
- World of Warcraft: At the start of the Mists of Pandaria legendary questline, you receive this conveniently named item, indicating that the last of the Black Dragons wishes to recruit you to save the world.