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[[caption-width-right:350:The Beast of Bourbon. [[Music/TheRollingStones ♪ "Ain't I drunk enough?" ♪]]]]
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->''"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 pink elephants."''
-->-- '''Creator/JackLondon''', ''John Barleycorn''

"Pink Elephants" is a common way to refer to alcohol-related hallucinations. The term was originally coined by Creator/JackLondon -- himself a famous drinker -- in his autobiographical novel ''John Barleycorn''. It is now widely used to refer to any sort of alcohol-related hallucinations -- even those that don't involve elephants of any color. (If a work has someone hallucinating ''actual'' pink elephants, it's probably a comedy exercising the RuleOfFunny.)

What the stereotypical hallucination is likely to be varies culturally; drunk Americans tend to see pink elephants or snakes, Germans see white mice, and Russians have green imps. In RealLife, alcohol-related hallucinations are most commonly associated with "the [=DTs=]" (delirium tremens), which is a ''withdrawal'' symptom experienced by severe alcoholics, not a ''direct'' effect of the alcohol itself. In fiction, however, it's common to suggest that extremely strong drink will cause people to see hallucinations. There is a grain of truth to this--severe alcohol poisoning ''can'' cause hallucinations. But this is rare. Except in fiction.

A subtrope of MushroomSamba, which covers hallucinations caused by drugs in general. May overlap with MarijuanaIsLSD, which is about unrealistic depictions of drug effects. Compare with SingleMaltVision, where alcohol affects sight, but does not cause actual hallucinations.

Should not be confused with [[AmazingTechnicolorWildlife literal pink elephants]] which ''can'' occur in RealLife as a result of albinism. A drunk character who sees them may mistake it for this trope, causing them to [[NoMoreForMe swear off drinking]]. Can combine with YouHaveToBelieveMe or CryingWolf (if the drunk person routinely claims to see pink elephants, and now there's one in their backyard).



* [[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".
* 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.
* Invoked in one ''ComicBook/GastonLagaffe'' strip, which involves an elephant borrowed from a zoo and painted pink, that Gaston plans to use to prank one of his friends with a tendency to drink. 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!"

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'': The [[http://www.gocomics.com/bloomcounty/1985/01/06 January 6, 1985 strip]] shows the bizarre creatures that Steve Dallas is STILL seeing five days after a particularly epic New Year's bender.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* 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 -- Animation]]
* ''Disney/{{Dumbo}}'' features the most infamous example where a drunk Dumbo and Timothy blow alcoholic bubbles and start seeing literal Pink Elephants on parade, leading to a nightmarish DisneyAcidSequence musical number. When they wake up, they find themselves stuck on a tall tree. This BigLippedAlligatorMoment was even the former trope image.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheLostWeekend'' has a particularly terrifying use of this trope, as Don hallucinates a bat swooping in and eating a mouse in the wall. Unlike many films, which have people seeing their Pink Elephants during their drunken binges, this one gets it right, and has Don seeing his mice and bat ''after'' his spree, when he's going through withdrawal.
* 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/DrKildare's Victory'', a severely intoxicated man is running through the halls of Blair General trying to find his pink elephants.
* ''Film/TheAbsentMindedProfessor'': The police officer assumes that Shelby was drunk and hallucinating when he describes the unseen flying car that gave him the "Shelby Stomp."
-->'''Officer:''' Oh, ''that'' kind of a thing! Well, why don't you just blow into this tube and we'll see if we can't find out where that thing came from.
* ''Film/LeCercleRouge'': Jansen wakes up after an alcohol bender and hallucinates a variety of creatures, including giant spiders, lizards, snakes, and rats. (Like ''The Lost Weekend'', this film correctly portrays the Pink Elephants as happening during withrawal.)

* 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.
** Detritus also sees giant hairy spiders in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' after performing a FingertipDrugAnalysis.
* 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 ''Literature/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.
* Discussed in ''Literature/ANightInTheLonesomeOctober'': Quicklime remarks at one point that he keeps out of the way of people with hangovers because he's been told it's bad for people in that condition to be seeing snakes, though he's never understood why.
* In ''Literature/TheTerror'' Crozier has severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, his sickness-induced visions prove to be prescient.
* Invoked in the short story "Dave the Mighty Steel-Thewed Avenger" by Creator/LauraResnick. Dave is a law student coming home after a night out. When he meets a large rodent which stands up on its hind legs and starts trying to tell him about his destiny, his first thought is "did this mean that two beers were enough to give me alcohol poisoning? Should I proceed immediately to the campus medical center and check myself into the detox unit?"

[[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.
* Invoked in the ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' episode "Regeneration" when Captain Archer recalls [[Film/StarTrekFirstContact a story Zephrem Cochrane told]] about cyborgs from the future attempting to disrupt the warp-speed pioneer flight that led to Earth's first contact. T'Pol dismisses the story, noting that Cochrane was known for [[TallTale telling "imaginative stories"]] and was "frequently intoxicated".
* ''Series/BlakesSeven''. At the end of "Rescue", Villa (who's been [[DrowningMySorrows drowning his sorrows]] for most of the episode) decides NoMoreForMe after seeing the antagonist RapidAging and then turn to dust. "It'll be pink [[InSpace asteroids]] next."

* Mentioned in Music/TheDivineComedy's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFGFJMfBtlM 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!\\
From the day I was born,\\
'Til the night I will die,\\
All my lovers will be pink\\
And elephantine!''
* 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
* 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!
* Irish singer Christy Moore's song [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHtWcBU9zdI Delirium Tremens]] recounts the various nightmares experienced by the subject after he drank a little too much, many of them based on Irish political figures of the time.
-->''I looked out from under the blanket up at the fireplace.\\
UsefulNotes/ThePope and UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy were starin’ in me face.[[note]]Many households in Ireland at the time contained photographs of Pope John Paul II's visit from 1979, and of JFK's visit from 1963[[/note]]\\
Suddenly it dawned at me I was getting the old D.T.'s\\
When the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infant_Jesus_of_Prague Child of Prague]] began to dance around the mantelpiece.''
* Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians' "Pink Elephants":
-->Pink elephants on the table\\
Pink elephants on the chair\\
Pink elephants on the ceiling\\
Pink elephants everywhere

* 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''

* Referenced in the ''Radio/OurMissBrooks'' episode "Cure That Habit", when Mr. Stone wrongly suspects Mr. Conklin of being drunk and having hallucinations.

[[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.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'':
** One village in Outland contains pink elekks, which are only visible to drunk characters.
** 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 ''VideoGame/NexusClash'', 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://impurebloodwebcomic.com/comic/chapter-1/page-009/ 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/CharbyTheVampirate'' a moonshiner is upset when he thinks [[BearsAreBadNews Munchie]] has replaced his usual [[http://www.charbythevampirate.com/comic/25 pink elephant.]]
* 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".
* In ''Webcomic/GirlsWithSlingshots'', the mysterious flask from the wedding produces this.
-->'''Jamie''': What the hell was in that flask?\\
'''Hazel''': I dunno. Sammy said it was "special alcohol."\\
'''Jamie''': Sammy?\\
'''Hazel''': Yeah, Sammy the one-eyed talking platypus.\\
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'': [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3207#comic "If I drink less, I'll stop having vivid hallucinations, Chuck."]]
* ''Webcomic/LifeAndDeath'' features one after a pint of [[GargleBlaster whatever the hell]] [[http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Life_and_Death/4838166/ this is]], leading to some interesting conclusions.
-->Normally, if I'm drunk enough to see these, I act drunk. [...] I think I'm so drunk that I'm sober.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''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.
* ''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 compliments him on rehearsing for Whacking Day (where the townsfolk whack snakes). Barney's reply: "What's Whacking Day?"
** {{Invoked|Trope}} 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" 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.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheOldLadyAndThePigeons'' While drunk, the gendarme hallucinates that the old woman has turned into a turkey.

[[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!
* In the late 60s, Post cereal Crispy Critters became quite popular with kids. Somebody at General Foods (parent company of Post) thought it'd be a neat idea to add pink elephants to the mix. In a ''children's'' cereal.