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[[quoteright:336:[[Disney/{{Dumbo}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_lw4fvnGmxa1r3h0ezo1_500_5130.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:336:[[DisneyAcidSequence What'll I do? What'll I do? What an unusual view!]]]]

->''The man whom we all know, stupid, unimaginative, whose brain is bitten numbly by numb maggots; who walks generously with wide-spread, tentative legs, falls frequently in the gutter, and who sees, in the extremity of his ecstasy, blue mice and [[TropeNamer pink elephants]].''
-->-- '''Creator/JackLondon''', ''John Barleycorn''

An extremely intoxicated person, at least in fiction, hallucinates -- they see things that aren't visible to a sober person. Animals are the commonest, even though they're seldom literal Pink Elephants.

Because of this, others seldom credit the eyewitness testimony of a person who had been drinking, particularly if [[WeirdnessCensor the sight in question was real]]. They will write him off, saying he hallucinated the whole thing, mistook something innocuous for a monster, or couldn't possibly have seen (or remembered) the event that clearly when his faculties were swimming in booze. This can be played for drama or comedy.

The first recorded usage of "pink elephants" was by writer (and inveterate drunkard) Creator/JackLondon in his autobiographical account ''[[Creator/JackLondon John Barleycorn]]'', as in the page quote.

In RealLife, alcohol can produce hallucinations, not as an effect of drunkenness but of alcohol withdrawal -- which is dangerous and indeed sometimes ''lethal''. Elephants are not, in fact, common; rats or spiders are more typical, and the effect on the drunkard is usually terror, plus the other symptoms of withdrawal, which are also not pretty. The OtherWiki [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seeing_pink_elephants has more info]]. Bear in mind, the animals "seen" are connected to culture: in Poland and Germany, it's white mice, while in [[VodkaDrunkenski Russia]], it's green imps,[[note]] (зеленые черти ''zelenie cherti'')[[/note]] and to Spanish-speakers, it's blue devils/demons.[[note]](''diablos azules'')[[/note]]

Compare SingleMaltVision, MarijuanaIsLSD. Also see NoMoreForMe, in which a drunkard sees something in TheMasquerade, decides it's the booze, and throws out his bottle. Can combine with YouHaveToBelieveMe or CryingWolf (if the drunk person routinely claims to see little green men after a night out, he won't be believed the night of the actual alien invasion).

Should not be confused with [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife literal pink elephants]] (which ''can'' occur in RealLife as a result of albinism; many of the sacred "white" elephants of UsefulNotes/{{Thailand}} are actually pink), although any character who's been drinking will probably confuse them.


* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delirium_Tremens_%28beer%29 Ale Delirium Tremens]] (itself a pretty strong brew) uses pink elephants on its labels and associated merchandise. The name refers to an acute episode of delirium that is usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol, first described in 1813 and also known as "the shakes".
* In the mid-1960s, Post Cereals added pink elephant pieces to their animal-shaped "Crispy Critters" kid's cereal, promoted with jaunty animated commercials - reality at a ''Series/MadMen'' level.
* A series of Russian social ads against alcohol abuse is built around the pun "squirrel"--"delirium tremens".[[note]]Squirrel is "belka" or "belochka", delirium tremens is "belaya goryachka" often contracted to "belka" or "belochka".[[/note]] Rated PG-14 for disturbing imagery. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSdyrwIObNE In part 1 (translated)]] the "squirrel" tells how he visited a drunk who was chasing spiders, hunted and roasted some imaginary critters, then tried to murder his wife. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJLYgb8eROk In parts 2 and 3]] the drunk met his friend's ghost and [[RebelliousSpirit joined street protests]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* {{Discussed}} several times in the ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'' comic "Western Circus": Luke sees a circus elephant in the middle of American prairie, and later mentions that if it was pink and he was drunk, he wouldn't have any questions. Some time later, after the elephant goes on a rampage chasing a guy who wronged it, Luke calms it down, saying that it was just hallucinating pink men.
* One ''ComicBook/GastonLagaffe'' strip involves an elephant painted pink that Gaston plans to use to prank one of his friends. However, M. De Mesmaeker suffers collateral damage.
* In an issue of ''ComicBook/GreenLanternCorps'', alien GL Salakk gets intoxicated by a spiked drink and actually ''creates'' a horde of pink elephant-ish creatures.
* In ''Action Comics'' #7 (December 1938), in a story in which {{Superman}} lifts an elephant over his head while performing at the circus, a drunk in the crowd exclaims, "I don't mind seeing pink elephants, but (-hic-) this is too much!"

* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8069358/31/Catch-Me-In-Midair Catch Me in Midair]]'' an in-labor Remus complains to Snape.
-->'''Remus:''' Can't you be useful and give me some potion that makes me see pink hippogriffs until this is all over and our babe is here?
* ''[[http://www.potionsandsnitches.org/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=3239&textsize=0&chapter=19 Summer of Bonding]]'' briefly mentions that it's illegal to plant Night-Blooming Ceffapods in a Muggle area because when they start seeing pink elephants, people think they're drunk.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'', the DisneyAcidSequence "Pink Elephants on Parade"

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Don Birnam suffers from this in the Oscar-winning ''Film/TheLostWeekend''.
* George Valentin hallucinates a tiny version of himself, and then a whole scene from his last movie, while drinking himself into a stupor in ''Film/TheArtist''.
* In ''Film/MeAndEarlAndTheDyingGirl'', the hero accidentally eats a drug cookie and IntoxicationEnsues. And one point he looks around and noticed people in pig and panda bear costumes across the street.

* In ''Literature/LordJim'', a minor character ruins his brain with alcohol and ends seeing a swarm of toads staring at him.
* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', a possible side effect of drinking scumble is seeing hairy green spiders coming out of the walls.
** Numerous creatures of this type are part of the unwanted retinue of Bilious, Oh God of Hangovers.
** PlayedWith in ''Discworld/{{Mort}}'', when one elephant gets drunk, and someone mentions that he's probably seeing pink humans.
** In ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', Detritus finds out Igneous is smuggling troll drugs. Unfortunately, he finds this out the hard way, by ingesting some that he had on his finger. He then asks "Did I eat that?" and when he's told yes he says "Good, because I'd hate to think this room was ''really'' full of giant spiders."
* In chapter 18 of Creator/RaymondChandler's 1943 Literature/PhilipMarlowe novel ''Literature/TheLadyInTheLake'', a character refers to a doctor "who ran around all night with a case of loaded hypodermic needles, keeping the fast set from having pink elephants for breakfast."
* In Creator/CharlesDeLint's ''Jack of Kinrowan'', an inebriated young woman sees a biker gang hunt down and kill a little man in a seemingly magical way one night. She first assumes the scene to be a hallucination, but one item from the scene remains: the dwarf's red cap. She later discovers that whenever she dons the cap, it allows her to see into the land of Faerie. Few humans can see it, but her drunken state allowed her briefly to break through.
* As seen in the page quote, the TropeNamer is Creator/JackLondon's memoir about life as an alcoholic.
* In ''[[Creator/SimonRGreen For Heaven's Eyes Only]]'', a GargleBlaster is described as being so potent that when you order one, it's ''served'' by a tiny pink elephant.
* In Nelson Bond's "The Gripes Of Wraith", pink elephants seen in an alcoholic daze are referred to as "beasts of bourbon" by a PungeonMaster.
* In James Joyce's (in)famous novel ''Literature/{{Ulysses}}'', there is a chapter called Circe that's ''150 pages long'', written as a playscript, which almost entirely consists of drunken hallucinations. These include William Shakespeare as a ventriloquist dummy with antlers, two floating Oxford professors with lawnmowers giving Stephen advice, Bloom's grandfather appearing to talk about sex, a nightmarish KangarooCourt, a PowerFantasy that lasts more than thirty pages but takes up less than a second of real time, and a GenderBender hallucination in which Bloom turns into a prostitute and is raped. This is a classic work of literature, everyone.
* In Creator/PGWodehouse's ''Uneasy Money'', Nutty sees a monkey and assumes this. Elizabeth, who wants him off the drink, pretends not to see it.
* In Creator/SeananMcGuire's ''Literature/OctoberDaye'' novel ''One Salt Sea'', Toby hopes that a shrieking mermaid in a wheelchair will be taken for this.
* In the original ''TheBlueLagoon'', Paddy sees a "cluricaune" leprechaun and red rats after a rum binge, but he knows they are not real; "as real-looking as the real things, and though they possess his mind for a moment, almost immediately he recognises that he is suffering from a delusion."
* In ''Son of Literature/{{Spellsinger}}'' an alcoholic rhino knight swears off the booze to help the heroes. Unfortunately, they pass through a magical effect that brings his [=DTs=] into reality.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Referenced in the ''Series/OurMissBrooks'' episode "Cure That Habit", when Mr. Stone wrongly suspects Mr. Conklin of being drunk and having hallucinations.
* Parodied in an episode of ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'', when a drunk guy on a boat sees Lady Penelope in fancy dress sailing past in the amphibious FAB 1:
-->'''Drunk guy''': I've heard of seeing pink elephants, but a pink Rolls-Royce at sea driven by Marie Antoinette is ridiculous!
* Series/RabCNesbitt sees a pink elephant, the "Heebie Jeebie", after being told to give up drinking by his doctor in the season 1 episode "Drink". It spends the episode trying to convince him to continue drinking.
* ''Series/{{Community}}'' - after breaking his legs in a trampoline mishap, Pierce gets addicted to pain pills, causing him to see, and get advice from, a 4-inch tall Andy Dick (who is the pilot of Pierce's toy remote-control helicopter).[[/folder]]

* Mentioned in ''The Divine Comedy'''s "A Drinking Song": "We'll drink beyond the boundaries of sense/ We'll drink til we start to see lovely pink elephants/ inside our heads, inside our beds/ inside the threads of our pyjama legs/ so don't shoot til you see the reds of our eyes/ and an army of elephants marching behind."
* Invoked in the MysteryJets song "Veiled in Grey":
-->I'll bet you wouldn't believe me \\
If I whispered in your ears and said \\
I can see a pink elephant \\
And it's standing on the corner of the bed \\
You'll just smile and roll your eyes to the back of your head
* Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians did a song called "Pink Elephants" back in the 30s. While said pachyderms were naturally the main focus, it included other unnatural animals such as a polka-dot boa constrictor and a lavender alligator.
* Music/SpikeJones' song "Clink, Clink, Another Drink" (which featured a guest appearance by Mel Blanc in Daffy Duck mode), contained the following lyrics:
--> Oh, ow, what do I do now?
--> Pink elephants are running after me!
--> Though that stuff was smooth as silk
--> From now on I'll stick to [[DrunkOnMilk milk]]
--> Nothin' else to drink for me!
* "Fairies Wear Boots" by Music/BlackSabbath mentions the devil/imp variation. The narrator sees fairies and dwarfs partying outside his house and when he goes to the doctor, the doctor thinks the narrator wants the anti-psychotic medicine for recreational use, thus triggering the visions.

* The drunks in the Fisticuffs Multiball mode of ''Pinball/TheChampionPub'' sometimes mention that you're "turning all pink and... elephanty".

* In Alfred Noyes's "Forty Singing Seamen", it concludes with the narrator's offering this as the MaybeMagicMaybeMundane explanation. To be sure, that included drinking the grog.
-->''Across the seas of Wonderland to London-town we blundered,\\
Forty singing seamen as was puzzled for to know\\
If the visions that we saw was caused by--here again we pondered--\\
A tipple in a vision forty thousand years ago.\\
Could the grog we ''dreamt'' we swallowed\\
Make us ''dream'' of all that followed?\\
We were only simple seamen, so of course we didn't know!''\\
'''Chorus'''--''We were simple singing seamen, so of course we could not know''

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''Videogame/{{Bioshock|1}}'', all the items have a bit of flavor text which can be read from the menu. The homemade moonshine simply says "Oh god, I'm seeing things!", courtesy of some nameless bar patron.
* Brad Wong, the ''Videogame/DeadOrAlive'' series' token [[DrunkenBoxing drunken fighter]] spends all of DOA3 and DOA4 searching for a mystical wine called "Genra". At the end of 4, he actually does find it. His ending video shows him drinking it and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttVYAVvW7EU tripping hard]], though this may just be to represent his euphoria upon finally finding the liquor of legend.
* In ''[[VideoGame/TonyHawksProSkater Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4]]'', Ollie the Magic Bum sees pink elephants occasionally, and on the College level, he asks you to grind on some poles and logs to collect them all.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', one village in Outland contains pink elekks, which are only visible to drunk characters.
** Also, during Brewfest, pink elekks can be seen by drunk people around the major cities. The American players gets some quests for them, but these are removed in the European version, apparently for legal reasons: having a whole festival about getting drunk is okay, but letting this lead to hallucinations is prohibited because it somehow glamorizes drug abuse.
* Referenced, in a way, in ''VideoGame/AmongTheSleep'': One of the protagonist's toys is a stuffed pink elephant. [[spoiler:This foreshadows that the "supernatural" events of the game are the protagonist's way of coping with the abusive behavior of his alcoholic mother.]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' references this when describing aquae lucidius, an incredibly potent liquor brewed from ''wyvern poison'', which supposedly leaves the drinker "seeing purple dragons for days".
* In ''[[NexusWar Nexus Clash]]'', the [[AchievementSystem Achievement Badge]] for drinking sufficient amounts of booze is actually called "Pink Elephant Rider". Due to the StatGrinding system inherent to Nexus games, it actually makes you more powerful. Exactly ''how'' is one of the few things the series' elaborate lore doesn't attempt to explain.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* A Strong Bad Email from ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' mentioned a drink called "Pink Elephant Pants."

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/ImpureBlood'', [[http://www.impurebloodwebcomic.com/Pages/Chapter002/ib009.html diju shee the big red thing in the sky?]].
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' has the [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=474 Tequila Monster]] and [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=719 Beast of Bourbon]] waiting for you at the end of the bottle.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=1520 seeing Slick and Monique for once sweet, Squigley (not unnaturally) concludes that he's hallucinating after his binge.]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', the Baron sends not soldiers but strong drink to a celebration in Mechanicsburg. One guard observes that a few drinks of that and you'll be chasing flying pink mimmoths.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff300/fv00230.htm a dog in an apron is presumed to be a hallucination caused by food fumes.]]
* Lamshaded in ''Webcomic/TheLastDaysOfFOXHOUND''. Decoy Octopus manages to get drunk at 10 am, and decides to hang around the seemingly incompetent genome soldiers. After they display a significant increase in performance (read: being capable human beings), Decoy reports it to Liquid Snake. Liquid dismisses it as Decoy imagining it due to his intoxication, and Decoy counters with "I'm drunk, not schizophrenic".
* ''Webcomic/TheFoxSister'' has a subversion: The vicious, red-eyed canine creature the [[http://thefoxsister.com/index.php?id=36 drunk man sees]], is in fact ''not'' just a "stray dog".

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The elephants from ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'', as well as the song associated with them, make a reappearance in an episode of HouseOfMouse, minus the alcohol. The sequence comes to an abrupt end when Timothy scares them off.
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'':
** The short "Punch Trunk" features a tiny elephant that wanders around the city, causing mass panic. But when a drunk sees it, all he says is "You're late" and wonders why he isn't pink this time.
** An earlier cartoon, "Calling Dr. Porky", has a patient being harassed by a band of pink elephants.
** Yet another cartoon ("Hobo Bobo") has the young elephant Bobo trying to get to New York from India, and told that the best way to sneak onto the ship is to paint himself pink. Because nobody will admit to themselves that they're seeing a pink elephant. It works, but it turns out to work a little ''too'' well once he gets to the city.
* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', when the boys are put on ADD medicine, Cartman has hallucinations of spiders with ChristinaAguilera's face.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** When the town is accidentally dosed with peyote, TheAlcoholic Barney is able to drive off his threatening monster hallucinations by consuming enough liquor to summon a friendlier pink elephant hallucination. Curiously enough, said pink elephant [[ShoutOut looks exactly like the ones seen in]] ''Dumbo''.
---> '''Barney:''' Thanks pinky! You've always been there for me!
---> '''Pinky:''' ''([[http://i.imgur.com/4ed9mmF.gif Winks]])''
** In another episode, Barney is beating on the ground, yelling "Take that, snakes!" Lenny complements him on rehearsing for Whacking Day (where the townsfolk whack snakes). Barney's reply: "What's Whacking Day?"
** [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] in a HalloweenEpisode where aliens come to earth and Homer sees them land; they make sure Homer isn't believed by spraying him with rum to make people think he hallucinated the whole thing.
** In "The Springfield Files" episode Homer sees what he thinks is an alien while going home from Moe's bar. The creature he saw was real but nobody believed him.
** Invoked again with the Duff Days beer festival in "Pygmoelian", where pink helium balloons shaped like elephants are available for sale. Homer buys a balloon for Maggie, but it gets loose and floats into a meeting of [[GayConservative Log Cabin Republicans]] who are trying to choose a logo.
* ''Film/ClosedMondays'' involves a drunkard who goes stumbling into an art exhibition and sees the exhibits come to life in weird and disturbing ways.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In the hospital, Theodore Dalrymple saw the effects of hallucinations and
-->''Withdrawing alcoholics may suddenly collapse and die; they may have epileptic fits; and their terrifying hallucinations may prompt them to behave in bizarre and dangerous ways, for example by throwing themselves from high windows to escape the pursuing monsters...Indeed, I have known such patients dive through windows of the upper stories of my hospital in order, as they supposed, to escape the monsters, or enemies, who pursued or were attacking them. (Interestingly, it has proved difficult to persuade the hospital administration that such patients should be nursed on the ground floor as a precautionary measure, suggesting a subliminal death wish, though not on the part of the patients.)''
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwJfXgTO7J4 This]] CandidCameraPrank invoked this trope with an elephant painted pink and a pretend cop who refused to turn around until the elephant happens to be out of sight. The cop even used a breathalyzer on a few of the people who saw the elephant!