Skeptic No Longer
"And I don't want to hear anything about "I don't believe in vampires" because I don't believe in vampires, but I believe in my own two eyes, and what I saw is fucking vampires!"Bob is a dyed-in-the-wool Agent Scully. No matter what Alice tells him, he cannot accept that the truth is anything other than what his own common sense and experience tells him. Usually Alice, the hero, gets about as fed up as she can get with Bob, because Alice knows the truth and Bob. Will. Not. Listen. But then Bob runs into the monster, and suddenly finds that he can no longer pass it off as swamp gas from a weather balloon that was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus. This shocks Bob into dropping the Idiot Ball very quickly, and very heavily. In the blink of an eye, he goes from being Agent Scully to being Agent Mulder. Often Played for Laughs, since the former skeptic is almost always the most rational denier up to this point. Bonus points are given if the skeptic is also an Obstructive Bureaucrat who suddenly comes to his senses. This sort of occurrence also helps to kick the action along since now they can treat it as Serious Business. If they're unlucky, they might have caught a Contagious Cassandra Truth.
— Seth Gecko, From Dusk Till Dawn
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Anime and Manga
- Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya initially thinks he's the Only Sane Man after Nagato, Mikuru and Itsuki tell him the truth about their nature as well as Haruhi's. Then, Ryoko tries to stab him, traps him in a sealed dimension, turns her arms into energy tentacles, then Nagato arrives, survives getting impaled by twenty spears, chants a couple of spells, and Ryoko dissolves. Needless to say, he's afterwards quick to believe in whatever he sees or hears from these three.
- Chisame in Mahou Sensei Negima! goes from the Only Sane Man into... the only sane man aware that the universe she lives in doesn't make sense at all but whatever. She gets cool age changing pills and magic hacking powers if she plays along, right?
- In earlier parts of One Piece, Zoro says that he doesn't believe in dragons. Later on in Punk Hazard, when he and the crew meets an actual dragon, he's visibly suprised.
- Doctor Thirteen from DC Comics is basically built around this. He's a parapsychologist who investigates spooky things in order to prove they're actually fake. His belief against the supernatural is so strong that it's said that is the reason why the paranormal doesn't work for him. His daughter, however, is a sorceress, the biggest slap in the face for him.
- In Redaction Of The Golden Witch, the adults of the Ushiromiya family decide that Kinzo's rantings about magic and witches might not be so far-fetched after all. In fact, they're willing to try working Black Magic themselves in order to solve their problems, and bring Kinzo back via Human Sacrifice.
- The marines in Aliens were pretty much uniformly contemptuous of Ripley's description of the xenomorphs, refusing to believe that they could be as effectively lethal as she was saying. After all, they were rough, tough hardcore marines. Suffice to say they found religion pretty damned quick...
- Captain Lorenzo in Die Hard 2 believes John McClane that Colonel Stuart and Major Grant are working together only after McClane empties a submachine gun (the same kind used by the soldiers in their attack against the terrorists) full of blanks at him. Lorenzo then calls in the cavalry.
- The page quote comes from From Dusk Till Dawn, where the fact that vampires are real comes as a shock to everyone... but they get over it quickly.
- In The Sixth Sense, Doctor Malcolm Crowe believes that Cole Sear's problems stem from some sort of schizoaffective disorder... until he encounters something that turns his skepticism on its head.
- In Split/Second, Detective Dick Durkin refuses to believe that the Serial Killer he and Harley Stone (his partner) are tracking isn't actually a human being at all, but rather some kind of monster. And then he runs face-to-face with the thing.
Stone: Did you see him?Durkin: That wasnae a him, that was a fucking it!
- Seeing the monster also leads to Durbin's line, "We need to get bigger guns!", which under the circumstances was a very rational reaction.
- Doctor Peter Silberman encountered proof that Sarah Connor wasn't crazy in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. By The Sarah Connor Chronicles, he's living in isolation, away from major cities, raising dogs and keeping a healthy sense of paranoia about killer robots disguised as human beings. He even apologizes for not believing in Terminators, not that it does him much good.
- However, this isn't the case in movie continuity. He appears in Terminator 3, as Scully as ever, and ascribes his experience with Terminators to psychological trauma (before recoiling in fear at the sight of the Terminator showing up again).
- Oh, come on, Indiana Jones. In Raiders of the Lost Ark he remarked that despite being an expert on the occult he doesn't believe in magic, superstition, (and if you liked Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, aliens.) yet in Raiders and Skull he believes it enough to get the hell out of there and or not look at the item that would have killed him.
- Then again, the item in question was the Ark of the Covenant. Not daring to look at it when some idiot is opening it is just fear of God.
- Recall that one of the instructions God gave Abraham, Lot and company as they fled Sodom before its destruction was not to look back. Lot's wife disobeyed, with fatal consequences. As an archaeologist in the 1930s, Indy would have been familiar with this; indeed, he would have had an extensive knowledge of both Jewish and Christian canon and apocryphal lore. He's probably rationalizing from all this that whatever might be going on, it's something he and Marian ought not to witness if they want to live.
- In The Woman in Black, Sam Daily finally acknowledges the supernatural nature of the house and the existence of the ghost in the last act, and helps Kipps lay the ghosts to rest. Well, he tries...
- In The Haunting (1963), Luke Sanderson is flippantly skeptical that anything supernatural is going on at Hill House, no matter how creeped out the rest of the cast (and the audience) is getting. But by the end of the movie, even he has given in, declaring that the house ought to be burned down and sown with salt.
- In Cat People, Oliver doesn't believe in the story of cat people Irena tell him about. At the end of the movie, when he finds her body shapeshifted into a panther, he realizes how wrong he was.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Miss "Turner" (actually Miss Swan) tells Captain Barbossa she doesn't believe in ghost stories. She then sees the crew by the moonlight and discovers that the ship she's on (The Black Pearl) is crewed by the undead.
"You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner... you're in one!"
- In the Star Wars franchise, contrast Han Solo in A New Hope and again over thirty years later in The Force Awakens
Han (Younger, ANH): Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen *anything* to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
Han (older, TFA): It's true - all of it. The Dark Side... the Jedi... they're real.
- A skeptical atheist walks around near Loch Ness. Suddenly, the Loch Ness monster erupts from the water and grabs him. In panic, he shouts "Oh Lord, save me!" God answers: "You dare to ask me for help, when you didn't believe in Me one minute ago?" The atheist says: "Have mercy, Lord - one minute ago I didn't believe in the Loch Ness monster either!"
- Paksenarrion, from Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksenarrion, gradually changes from a skeptic to a believer to a full-blown Paladin of St. Gird; the Girdish medallion Canna left to Paks when Canna died gives the first signs when it starts warning Paks of dangers.
- At the end of Victory of Eagles, General Wellesley declares himself a convert to the idea that the Dragons of the Aerial Corps are in fact fully sentient... then declares that he will be "damned if I will let you make them political" and manages to get convicted traitor William Laurence's sentence of death commuted to Transportation to Australia on the condition that he take the most obvious prospective rabble-rouser (Temeraire himself) with him.
- In Man from Mundania, Grey Murphy refuses to believe in magic after being brought into Xanth, until he encounters a river flowing up a cliff and simply can't come up with a scientific explanation for it. It helped that his magic talent was Anti-Magic, so he kept unconsciously nullifying magic near himself, such that some of the things Ivy tried to show him didn't work.
- Professor Summerlee in The Lost World.
- Word of God states that Cloudtail and Mothwing of Warrior Cats stopped being atheists after an army of dead cats invaded the clan territories in The Last Hope.
- Dr. Claymore from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians short story "Son of Magic." Then again, being attacked by Lamia and befriending a son of Hecate will do that to you. Not to mention dying, meeting a goddess, then coming back to the mortal world as a familiar.
- In The Sanguine Chronicles, Marko's friend Janie is a hardboiled skeptic when it comes to the supernatural. Then she discovers Marko is a werewolf/vampire hybrid when she catches him mid-shift.
Live Action TV
- In the How I Met Your Mother episode "Matchmaker" Marshall and Lily (both a bit superstitious) are convinced their apartment is infested by a mutant combination of a cockroach and a mouse (which they dub a cockamouse). Robin plays the role of skeptic until the end when she finally sees the cockamouse herself (though we never do), and it's revealed that somehow the cockamouse can fly too.
- In The X-Files, Dana Scully, originally the hard core skeptic of the dynamic duo, became the believer (with her new partner, Agent Doggett, who took the role of the skeptic) when Fox Mulder was Put on a Bus.
- Lost's Jack after he returned to the Island. Previously he denied everything supernatural or odd, even if it happened right in front of him and other people saw it. Once he became a believer, he went to the opposite extreme-believing everything. Such as lighting dynamite right next to him on a slight chance that he can't die...
- On Supernatural Agent Henriksen spent most of his time ruthlessly pursuing Sam and Dean, whom he believed to be serial killers with psychotic delusions. Seeing a mass outbreak of demonic possession up close changed his opinion on a lot of things, and he chose to help them. Sadly he was killed in the same episode.
- Emma Swan of Once Upon a Time initially did not believe that The Evil Queen from Snow White had cursed a bunch of fairy tale characters to be trapped in our world. Seeing Henry fall unconscious with no apparent cause and subsequently fighting Dragon Maleficent disabused Emma of her skepticism.
- Zak Bagans, the leader of the Ghost Adventures crew, claims to have never believed in ghosts. That is, until he met one face-to-face. Now he's a passionate investigator of the paranormal.
- Clive Barker's Undying: Patrick started his career as an Occult Detective trying to "debunk folklore and mysticism." Presumably he stopped trying to disprove the supernatural at the latest by some point between obtaining the clearly magical Gel'ziabar stone and gaining a German wizard as an archrival.
- In Alan Wake, Sheriff Breaker spends most of the time thinking that Wake is having a mental breakdown, and doesn't believe his stories of shadowy attackers and monsters. And then Agent Nightengale is stolen by the darkness right in front of her. One of the first things she says after she witnesses Nightengale's death is "Tell me how we can stop these things" with no hesitation at all.
- Partially inverted in this xkcd strip.
- Girl Genius: Carson Von Mekhan, the former seneschal of Castle Heterodyne and secret ruler of Mechanicsburg during his masters' long disappearance, was of course initially dubious of Agatha's claim of being the real Heterodyne heir. Seeing Agatha in action wore down his doubts, and they were banished completely when she made the kill-happy Castle Heterodyne back down from killing Herr Diamant for doubting that there even was an heir.
- Vanamonde, his grandson and successor, was dispensed from skepticism even earlier, once he had a sip of Agatha's special coffee brew and had a coffee connoisseur nirvana moment. And then he wouldn't shut up about the "perfect coffee".
- Homestuck: We see in some flashbacks that the Kids have been getting contacted by the trolls periodically throughout their lives, but they've never believed that the trolls were anything other than... well, Internet trolls. When the Sburb session starts up and they get transported into the Medium, and all the other weirdness that happens, they are suddenly much more inclined to believe what the trolls have to say.
- Captain Black of Jackie Chan Adventures gets this in the Season One Finale. Shendu? In ma base, steeln d talizmans? Whoa, Nellie! I'm okay now, let's defeat magic with magic!
- Happens to Eduardo in the first episode of Extreme Ghostbusters. His very first line is "Ghosts. Yeah, right." Then Slimer shows up, and by the end of the episode, Eduardo is a Ghostbuster.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Feeling Pinkie Keen," Twilight Sparkle is dismissively skeptical of Pinkie Pie's "Pinkie Sense," even though Applejack (who has lived in Ponyville a lot longer that Twilight) confirms that it's real. At first she insists that Pinkie's ability to predict certain events just before they happen is nothing but coincidence. Then she tries to analyze how the Pinkie sense works, because (as Pinkie points out) Twilight can't believe something she doesn't understand. After being repeatedly smacked in the face by compelling evidence, Twilight accepts that the Pinkie sense exists, even though she can't explain it.