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Accidental Truth

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Proof that one can lie, and yet still be telling the truth.
"Gwendolyn, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?"

A character says something intending it as a lie, only for the lie to end up being the truth. They didn't know it, but what they said was correct all along, or has become correct quickly enough.

Sometimes, though, the character will feel guilty about their lie, especially if there's some Oblivious Guilt Slinging—if so, they may show their strong moral character by rejecting their chance at escape and owning up to the lie.


As this is a form of The Reveal, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Beelzebub, in order to make their fellow students interested in finding the demon prince En, Furuichi tells the rest of the delinquents that En is from Akumano Academy (demon academy) instead of, you know, Hell. Then after Furuichi managed to make En mad, En took over Ishiyama High and made it into an actual Akumano Academy, filled with 394 demons.
  • A Bride's Story: Joruk's little Crying Wolf joke ends up as this when it turns out there really is a wolf attacking the clan's flock of sheep.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero: Magenta convinces Hedo to help by claiming that Capsule Corporation's advanced technology was developed with the help of aliens. Unbeknownst to Magenta, this claim is partially true: Doctor Brief helped Jaco, a member of the Galactic Patrol, by fixing his ship for him, figuring out how their anti-gravity devices worked in the process through reverse engineering. The Patrol let him keep the resulting design as thanks for his assistance.
  • In Fairy Tail: Multiple in the Edolas arc:
    • Carla claimed to be the Exceeds' princess to prevent Edolas!Erza from arresting her and Happy. Turns out that she really is Queen Chagot's daughter.
    • Natsu claimed that he is the Demon King in order to make himself the scapegoat for magic disappearing from Edolas so that Mystogan (the Jellal from Edolas) can look like a hero for "defeating" Natsu, and not have to sacrifice his life to take the blame. Then it turned out that he is E.N.D., the most powerful demon from Zeref's books.
  • In Inuyasha, Miroku at one point plans to get lodgings for the night by pretending that a nearby house is "haunted", and performing an "exorcism" in exchange for food and bed. When he does his exorcism, an evil spirit actually does pop out... the house really was haunted.
  • K: In an early episode, Yashiro spins a fake sob story about an imaginary sister who's been hospitalized for years in order to garner sympathy for Kuroh and buy himself time to escape. Later on, in Episode 11, it's revealed that he's actually Adolf K. Weismann, whose elder sister Claudia died in the war.
  • In chapter 6 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, when Tsubasa mentions to Shirogane that the girls in his class made fun of him for not having a girlfriend. Shirogane then mentions that the girls probably all really liked him, and spouts out several hidden meanings behind their jeers and that they secretly all like him. It's all bullshit he made up on the spot to seem like an experienced ladies-man, but one of the girls he brings up says "That's hilarious" at Tsubasa, with the hidden meaning being "(I'm so glad he's free)". Again, it's all crap that Shirogane made up, but this particular girl turned out to be none other than Maki Shijo, who did secretly like Tsubasa. She can be seen later that chapter when Tsubasa asks Kashiwagi out, and she's devastated.
  • In episode 61 of Kiratto Pri☆Chan, the Oshama Tricks prank the entire town of Kirajuku by spreading rumors saying that Meltic Star is returning from their world tour. The rumor spread through town so quickly that they thought they were in really big trouble until it turned out that they really DID return!
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (2005), Link's uncle, instead of telling Link that Agahnim sent his parents to the Dark World, tells him that they died. At the very end, though, Link sees the ghosts of his parents alongside that of his uncle, confirming that they were Killed Offscreen.
  • In The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the heroes tell the Spanish to send a scouting party to foil a hypothetical ambush, in order to distract them from something (maybe stealing goods from them). Then the Aztecs capture the heroes, furious that their ambush has been foiled...
  • In episode 26 of Nichijou, the girls decide to celebrate Nano's birthday on little more than a whim of Yuuko. They even go so far as to buy her a cake. Nano's simply left wondering how her friends knew it was her birthday.
  • One Piece:
    • A Running Gag in is that a good chunk of Usopp's lies are either true without him realizing it, or become true at some point. Specific examples:
      • When he nailed a faraway rock formation with the Merry's cannon, his immediate response was I Meant to Do That. He'd later develop those skills for real, and become the crew's sniper.
      • One of his many lies is visiting the country of the dwarves, which is exactly what he gets to do in the Dressrosa arc as he visits Green Bit.
      • After Luffy, Zoro, and Sanji were knocked out in the Thriller Bark arc, he woke them up by claiming a beautiful swordswoman just brought meat. In the Dressrosa arc, enter Rebecca, a beautiful young swordswoman who does befriend Luffy by feeding him.
      • His most classic lie is him having 8000 followers. He does eventually gain a lot of followers in Dressrosa for knocking out Sugar and causing everyone there to return to normal, and the end of the arc sees the formation of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet.
      • The first story we see him tell to cheer up his sick friend Kaya is about finding a giant goldfish that was so large that its poops were mistaken for islands. As the crew is leaving Little Garden they're almost swallowed by just such a fish, which Usopp actually acknowledges seems familiar.
    • Once Morgans learns that the Five Elders want Dr. Vegapunk assassinated and that Luffy is currently on Egghead, he has his newspaper write up a Propaganda Piece saying that Luffy has taken Vegapunk hostage, which is a lie meant to earn him the World Government's good graces. The next day, while tapping on a call between the Five Elders and Egghead, Morgans overhears Luffy declare that he's done just that (kind of), leaving Morgans shocked that his lie turned out to be true. It especially shocks Vivi, who the day before called out Morgans for making up lies about Luffy.
  • In Otaku no Musume-san, Kanau is embarrassed that her father Kouta is an Otaku so she lies to her new friends that her father is their favorite manga artist. Later, Kanau and her friends learn she was actually half-right when Kouta reveals he's actually that manga artist's assistant in drawing.
  • In Steins;Gate, Okabe Rintarou makes up ridiculous stories about being a mad scientist who goes by the alias "Hououin Kyouma" and is pursued by an evil organization. That turns out to be completely true, and not quite fun and games. Also, guess which alias did Okabe chooses to go by when he actually became a mad scientist in the bad future.
  • In When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, one of Ando's chuuni rants became true halfway through, and he and people around him indeed got superpowers.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, Luka has a dream about the battle where the Signer Dragons fought the Earthbound Gods. When her brother Lua asks whether Power Tool Dragon was there (meaning that he could be the fifth Signer), Luka replies yes to cheer him up even though she didn't see it. An entire season later, after Crow has become the fifth Signer with an entirely different dragon from the one Luka saw, Lua is finally recognized by the Crimson Dragon and made a sixth Signer, which allows him to summon Life Stream Dragon, who turns out to be the true form of Power Tool Dragon.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf:
    • In Joys of Seasons episode 21, Mr. Slowy tells the other goats that what's clearly a lunar eclipse is actually a mythical creature called the Tengu eating it. The goats are instructed to band pots/pans and wooden spoons together to scare it away, only for them to be told later on that it's just a lunar eclipse and there is no Tengu... except there actually is someone on the moon trying to eat it. In this case, though, it's subverted since the creature eating the pancake moon is actually just Wolffy, who is turning it into a heart shape as a gift for Wolnie.
    • In Marching to the New Wonderland episode 3, to scare the goats into paying more attention to their mission, Mr. Slowy comes up with a story about a Great Demon King that lives in the big tree they're travelling through. He then notices multiple ants outside running away and panicking about the Great Demon King. Also subverted, as they're referring to the Spider of Justice who annoys everyone with the sheer amount of Unwanted Assistance he gives.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Cataclysm: One issue follows a group of mercenaries hired by a CEO to rescue people buried under the rubble caused by the earthquake. One such group of rescues contains a young boy who hero-worships Batman and asks if he sent them. The main rescuer claims that he did, showing one of his friends a provision in the contract they signed that authorizes them to tell lies to keep up morale. The contract also mentions the name of the CEO who hired them as rescuers: Batman's Secret Identity, Bruce Wayne.
  • In the "I'll Take Manhattan" storyline in Catwoman, Selina Kyle is standing for mayor of New York, and the Mob has offered a bounty to take her out of the running. The Trickster comes up with the brilliant idea of starting a rumour she's secretly Catwoman... and can't understand why the real Catwoman is so mad about this.
  • Phony Psychic Robert Lees claims that this is what's going on with his prophecies in From Hell. He makes things up as he goes... and they all come true anyway.
  • In Generations: The Marvels, Carol claims to be a Kree soldier named Car-Ell. In The Life of Captain Marvel the following year, she learns that her mother was Kree, and her Kree name is indeed Car-Ell.
  • In Immortal Hulk #7, a child playing with Iron Man and Captain Marvel toys predicts part of the following events by making the two argue whether or not they should use a "Mega-Laser". Cap begs Iron Man not to use it, he says there's no choice. Oh, and so do the toy versions of them.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: After the fifth Golden Ticket is found, Brian spreads a rumour that one of the Golden Tickets was a forgery so he can unload his stash of Hackerjacks. However, it turns out that one of the reported Golden Tickets is actually a forgery.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: Fred Flintstone, wanting to play bowling rather than watch some opera, makes up a story about the opera house being haunted. The place turns out to be "haunted" by a Corrupt Corporate Executive who needs the land to build a mall.
  • In the first arc of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Boomerang's narration tells us the story of how after Silvermane's death his head survived and was found by the son of a junkyard owner, who made it a little robot body, and they became friends. He then says that's nonsense and that Silvermane's head is actually being held by the Owl, and his masterplan is to steal it. It's then revealed that this is just what he's telling the team, and actually he's after something else, and his narration says the whole story of Silvermane's head surviving is ridiculous... at the same time as the Shocker is at the junkyard and sees the head in its little robot body.
  • In one Silver Age Superman story, Jimmy Olsen is kidnapped and interrogated about Superman's identity. He buys himself some time by claiming that Superman is "my boss at the Daily Planet". Guess who's filling in for Perry White when the crooks show up with a chunk of kryptonite...?
  • In Thunderbolts Baron Zemo goes by the codename Citizen V and proclaims to the media that he is the grandson of the original Citizen V who fought Nazis in World War II. Helmut's father killed the original Citizen V during World War II, so Helmut was sure the original Citizen V had no children or grandchildren. A few years later Zemo gets beheaded and thanks to a prank from his former team member Techno he wakes up in the body of the grandson of the original Citizen V.
  • Les Tuniques Bleues: After an army-wide briefing, General Alexander orders our two heroes to stay, making sure they understand the battle plan, then has them go on a mission where they're sure to get captured by the Southerners. Once they do, Blutch quickly figures out they were sent so the Rebels would get the battle plan out of them, and proceeds to willingly give the whole plan n great detail to their commander. Unfortunately, the Rebels are suspicious, especially when Chesterfield refuses to talk, and undergoes several days of torture until he finally snaps and... gives a completely different version of the Union's battle plan. Which turns out to have been the real plan, resulting in a Union defeat.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Garfield strip, Garfield tricks Odie out of his food by saying there's been a dog food recall. After Garfield eats it, it cuts to Jon reading an article in the paper that there really has been a dog food recall, with Garfield doing a Spit Take offscreen.
  • In one Popeye Sunday strip, Popeye asks his future self if J. Wellington Wimpy really will ever pay him back for all the hamburgers he's paid for. Wimpy is utterly horrified to learn that the answer is yes.
    Wimpy: Nothing destroys one's appetite like learning one has been telling the truth all along.

    Fairy Tales 
  • A fairy tale multiple variants including Jesper Who Herded the Hares and The Three May Peaches has the king of the land has offered the princess's hand in marriage to whoever can complete an Impossible Task of bringing something rare to him. Three brothers, sequentially, decide to give it a try. They carry the thing in a basket and in turn meets a mysterious old lady who asks what's in the basket they are carrying. The first two, for fear of seeming ridiculous, invent a mundane lie, and then they find that their basket is actually full of the thing they claimed. The third son tells the truth and gets magical help with the other tasks.

    Fan Works 
  • Accidental Hero (CashewsAndCoconuts): While ranting to Toshinori about how it seems like All Might has been overworking his sickly secretary, unaware that Toshinori IS All Might, Izuku notes that you can't judge people based on their professions and personal personas. As an example, he cites Endeavor, declaring that for all they know, he could be a child abuser!
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 4 Asuka thinks that Rei was acting like she was less a teenage girl than an alien that looked like one... that is actually true since Rei is the soul of an alien being stuck in the body of a human girl, but Asuka did not know that at the time.
    • Misato also refers to their counter-conspiracy as "the side of the angels" during the Christmas party (in the "good" sense, not in the "Eldritch Abomination" sense). Said group is run by Rei and Kaworu.
  • Becoming a True Invader:
    • When Kor is held prisoner by Pel's cult, she bluffs by claiming that Zim is planning to attack by crashing through the wall in the Dibship. Minutes later, that's exactly what happens.
    • Also, despite Tel making up the Great Boad prophecy as a means of entertainment for his sister, Dib happens to fit the criteria of the Gateway, namely having a huge head. And he really does end up summoning an entity, though it's a monkey astronaut from an Alternate Universe, not the Great Boad.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug fic Bite off more than you can chew and you will choke, Lila decides to spread rumors about seeing Marinette getting a little frisky with some delinquent in an alleyway. Adrien immediately asks why she was spying on him and Marinette - while both are trying to hide the hickeys they left on each other. Lila is left catatonic for a full day as she realizes her attempts to make Marinette look bad only pushed Adrien and her together.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Played for laughs with Tai's joke about Zwei being descended from Umbramail, Lord of All Corgis. Later Salem digs out a portrait of her family. With her, Ozma, and their daughters is a corgi with that name.
  • Darth Vader: Hero of Naboo: After getting a look at Vader, Plagueis makes several educated guesses on who he might be, with one of them being that Vader is a time traveler, which is absolutely accurate.
  • The Day Everything Changed: One night, Konata has a nightmare in which Kagami is brutally beaten by another girl. The next day, it happens.
  • Daystar: After Vicky really pisses Taylor off, Taylor gives her a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech, during which she implies that Vicky had been almost killing people and then pressuring Amy into covering it up to keep from getting in trouble. Taylor just said this because the Charm she was using informed her that it was the most hurtful possible thing she could say to Vicky at that moment, and she didn't find out for a couple more chapters that it was actually true.
  • In For Love of Magic, Harry responds to Lockhart lying to the press to mooch off Harry's fame by writing an anonymous letter to both the Ministry of Magic and Daily Prophet about concerns he has that Lockhart might be extorting sexual favors from the older female students. Harry's rather surprised to later hear of Lockhart being sentenced to sixty odd years in prison for doing just that (among other things).
  • Harry Potter and the Boiling Isles: When going to get Ron so he can stay with them at the Owl House, Harry and the other residents pass Eda off as Harry's aunt. Eda finds out a few chapters later that she really is Harry's aunt.
  • Hop to It: As the heroes are planning to infiltrate DyTech in search of information about Omega, Chat Noir suggests that they claim that there's an akuma in the building. He hasn't even finished his sentence before an akuma actually shows up, breaking into DyTech.
  • In Spy X Family, Loid tells Yor that Anya is his biological daughter, hiding that he actually adopted her as part of his mission. In irresponsible spy, they run into Anya's biological mother, who Loid recognizes as Ostenian researcher he seduced 7 years ago for information... which means Anya is his actual daughter. To make matters worse, both Anya's mother and Yor think that not only did Loid coldly leave her behind, but that he secretly kidnapped Anya from her (she was actually captured for human experiments before she escaped and got adopted by Loid).
  • I See What You Do Behind Closed Doors Miraculous Ladybug: After revealing his Secret Identity to his new girlfriend Marinette, Adrien continues flirting with Ladybug as Chat Noir, unaware that they're the same person. When Marinette confronts him about this, he claims that he was only offering his partner dinner since she's been "having trouble in her civilian life." While he's lying his butt off, pretending she's having financial issues to make himself look like a charitable and caring friend, he's not wrong: Ladybug has been having a lot of problems as a civilian lately. He's just completely unaware of what those are, despite being so closely connected to many of them.
  • In the Young Justice fanfiction "I Want To See You Smile!", the main character is a self-insert that has been remade to look like a non-human species from a completely different work. She plays it off as if she were an alien, lying about her homeworld and its customs, only for her ring to inform her that not only is it all true, but the reality of her species is updating in real-time with her lies about it. At one point, she accidentally creates a caste system, only to realize what she's done and immediately backtrack, saying that the oppressed castes have made great strides towards equality.
  • Last Child of Krypton: In chapter 2 Kaji thinks that angering Asuka would be a bad idea because she might breach the hull of the plane. He was just kidding, but she actually might breach the hull thanks to her Amazonian heritage.
  • Overlady: Apparently a noble family was once accused of demonology by the regime as an excuse to wipe them out. Afterwards, the guards found out they really were practicing demonology and one of them notes "they didn't seem the type."
  • Personality Swap AU: In order to explain Izuku having One For All after years of Quirklessness, he's passed off as being a "really late bloomer". This turns out to be true — Izuku does have his own Quirk, which eventually manifests...but because of One For All, nobody recognizes the signs until it becomes undeniable.
  • The renegade hero!!!....Invader Zim?: After letting slip to Betty and the Pelekais about his time on Foodcourtia, and wanting to fuel their misconception that he's a heroic rebel, Zim tells them that it was because the Tallest banished him there as punishment for his actions during Operation Impending Doom... which is exactly what happened, it's just that Zim has deluded himself into thinking that he was just there on vacation.
  • Shatterheart when Syaoran is kidnapped by a street gang who is led by a pair of Serial Killers, the female leader Cassie mocks his hero complex by cowing "You got a princess waiting for you in a tower? Have lots of magical adventures with your friends? Explore foreign territories and overthrow cruel regimes?" Which is a pretty accurate guess of what he actually does.
  • In The Somewhat Cracked Mind Of Uchiha Itachi, Mizuki distracts Kabuto from attacking Naruto and Sasuke by talking about the Uchiha Clan being ostracized by the village and Danzo's machinations. Since Mizuki and Iruka were just chunins at the time, they had no idea how close to the truth he was.
  • This Bites!:
    • In Chapter 26, Tashigi tries to throw the Marines off the Strawhat Pirates' trail by sending them to Jaya... which is, in fact, their current location.
    • During the G-8 arc, Cross tells Sanji that he's glad he's 1/3rd secret agent. Since Cross never saw anything past Chapter 800, the conclusion of the Dressrosa Arc, he has no idea how close to the truth he really is.
    • In Chapter 61, after letting slip to Koala and Boa Sandersonia that the Straw Hats were going to be scattered, he warned them not to say a word about it, or he'd tell Dragon and Hancock about that and that. Turns out that the two really did have a couple of Noodle Incidents that they didn't want their superiors to find out about.
  • Played With in Thanks, but no, when Lila makes a fit about Kim bringing her a plate of garlic pasta, claiming that she was allergic to garlic and that he could have poisoned her. While she is evidently not allergic to garlic and nothing in the pasta would have caused a reaction, Marinette suspects that Kim had added chili powder to the pasta as part of a hazing prank suggested by Alixnote .
  • Played Straight from Lila's P.O.V. (but Averted in general) in In Too Deep. When a rumor about Ladybug being in love with Marinette starts to spread around, Lila "confirms" that the two are dating to hopefully cause trouble for the both of them. Eventually, Marinette starts to go along with the rumor in order to better hide her secret identity, proving Lila was "right".
  • Total Lady Drama Island: Due to her habit of Accidental Misnaming, Lindsay at one point calls "Cora" by "her" real name, Codynote .
  • During the Indigo League arc of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Ash's second-round opponent is a self-proclaimed "Rookie Crusher", who accuses Ash of being a "fake rookie" when he gets defeated. Everyone in the stadium naturally thinks he's just being a crazy Sore Loser, but Pikachu takes notice that he's technically correct on his assumptions.

    Film — Animation 
  • In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Brom Bones seemingly makes up the whole story about the Headless Horseman to terrorize the superstitious Ichabod Crane. As it turns out, the Headless Horseman really does exist and goes after the terrified Crane in the ending. Although the Horseman just might have been Brom in disguise.
  • In Aladdin, Jafar borrows the Sultan's diamond ring, claiming he needs it to find Jasmine a suitor when he actually plans to use it to find the one who can enter the Cave of Wonders. In a way, Jafar fulfilled his claim as Aladdin would end up being Jasmine's suitor, not to mention Jafar seeking him out would lead to events that would result in them being together.
  • In Anastasia, con artists Dimitri and Vladimir plan to pass off a homeless orphan as the long-lost Anastasia to get the lucrative reward the Dowager Empress is offering to anyone who finds her. Little do they know that the orphan they choose to train to act as Anastasia is the real Anastasia who lost her memory as a child.
  • In Home (2015), to get the other Boov to move out of his way, Captain Smek says that he's carrying a baby. We later learn his Shusher's rock is an incubator.
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown: Fast Tony the con artist armadillo predicts a devastating flood to help his sales. Not long after, Manny confirms the flood is actually going to happen, much to the genuine surprise of Fast Tony himself.
    Manny: You guys gotta listen to Fast Tony! He's right about the flood!
    Fast Tony: I am? Er... I mean uh... (boldly) Yes, I am.
  • In The Incredibles, Bob Parr, formerly the superhero Mr. Incredible, is hired to take out a robot called the Omnidroid whose advanced A.I. meant that it had (in Bob's words) "got smart enough to wonder why it had to take orders." That Omnidroid was completely under the control of the villain Syndrome, and was part of his plan to create a situation for him to pretend to resolve. However, the Omnidroid in the plan got smart enough to wonder why it had to take orders — or, more specifically be controlled by Syndrome's remote. The Omnidroid targeted the remote and took Syndrome out, resulting in Mr. Incredible having to do the job that he was fake-hired to do for real.
  • In Monster House, when the trio of kids enters the titular house, they see a chandelier that acts as the house's uvula, with one of the boys commenting that it's a girl house note . Turns out that he was right as it's revealed in the climax that the house is possessed by the spirit of the owner's dead wife.
  • A written example in Mulan: Mushu writes a fake message from General Li saying that Shang's new troops are needed on the front lines so Mulan will have a chance to prove herself. That message turns out to be desperately true: the village to which they arrive at has been sacked by the Huns, leaving every imperial soldier—including the general—and citizen slaughtered.
  • Shrek:
    • During the climax of the first film, the titular ogre objects to Fiona and Farquaad's wedding with the on-the-fly reasoning that "he's only marrying you so he can be king." Not only is this already known to be the case, as shown in his introductory scene, but when Fiona turns into an ogre as a result of her curse, Farquaad has the two of them detained while proudly stating this fact.
    • Played for Laughs in Shrek 2, when Gingy and Pinocchio are breaking Shrek, Donkey, and Puss out of prison, they need Pinocchio's nose to grow in order for Gingy to reach them, so Donkey suggests that Pinocchio say something crazy like he was wearing ladies' underwear. When Pinocchio says it...nothing happens. It's only when he gets defensive when the others ask if he really was wearing ladies' underwear does his nose grow.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Evil Queen, under disguise as an old apple peddler, convinces Snow White that the poisoned apple is a "wishing apple". The princess buys into the hag's deception, biting the apple after wishing for the prince to come to her, and is knocked out cold as a result. Turns out that the laced apple did lead her to the prince she so desired, but not in the way she expected.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The ABCs of Death: In the "B" segment, Dulce and Erik fabricate a story about the Abominable Snowman coming out every night to take away kids, but only those who stay up at night, to scare Xochitl into staying in bed. They are then killed by a homeless man in almost exactly the manner they described to Xochitl. Xochitl is spared because she was hiding under the cover Counting Sheep, just as they told her to do.
  • In The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the people of the Moon have detachable heads. While traveling with the Baron, the Queen of the Moon's head starts moaning and giggling because her body is keeping the amorous King company. The Baron explains to a little girl that "The King is tickling her feet" instead of the obvious-to-adults explanation. The film then shows two bodies moving on a bed, the covers slip, and... the King is tickling his wife's feet.
  • In Ask a Policeman, Sgt. Dudfoot and his constables create fake evidence of a smuggling ring to report to the Chief Constable so they can keep their jobs. In doing so, they accidentally expose the existence of a real smuggling ring.
  • Douglas Fairbanks' character in The Black Pirate isn't really a pirate; he joined the pirates in order to get revenge on them after they killed his father. In order to impress the pirates, Fairbanks seizes a ship singlehandedly (while managing not to kill anybody). The plan is complicated when the ship he seized turns out to have as a passenger a hot lady (Billie Dove) who winds up about to be made a Sex Slave by the pirates. Fairbanks, improvising madly, proclaims her a princess and convinces the other pirates to hold her for ransom. He's making this up, as shown when he uses Scare Quotes to refer to the "princess" when sending a note calling for help. The ending reveals that she actually is a princess.
  • In The Cannonball Run, Mad Dog and Batman tell a motorcycle cop that their brakes have failed. When they attempt to stop, they discover their brakes really have failed.
  • In Geek Charming, Josh says Dylan got something in her contact lens to hide the fact that they were having a moment when caught by Amy and Asher. Although Dylan denies wearing contact lenses, we see her the next morning wearing glasses after dropping one of her contact lenses in the sink.
  • In Ghost (1990), Sam Wheat was gunned down in a mugging, and after his spirit follows his killer who had recently broken into his apartment, he goes to Oda Mae Brown, a medium, in the hopes she can help him get a message to his girlfriend. When he first sees her working, Oda Mae is scamming a woman whose husband recently died. When Sam voices his displeasure, Oda Mae begins freaking out at the revelation that she can in fact hear ghosts, and later in the movie, she voices her displeasure at the fact that spirits from afar traveled to see her and won't leave her alone.
  • In Jack Frost (1998), Jack gives his son a harmonica shortly before he leaves for a gig and dies in a car accident, claiming it's magic. It turns out to be true, much to the surprise of both of them.
    Jack: You were the one who played on the magic harmonica!
    Charlie: What?! Magic harmonica?! I thought you made that up!
    Jack: So did I!
  • In Jingle All the Way, the postal worker bluffs the police by claiming a package he's holding is a mail bomb. To his own surprise, it is.
  • Sort of in Johnny English. Johnny makes up a false description of a man who stole the crown jewels. Surprisingly, a man identical to Johnny's description appears in the epilogue.
  • The Ladykillers (1955): Professor Marcus claims it would do no good to bring the stolen money back because the police wouldn't want it. He turns out to be right and Mrs. Wilberforce gets to keep the money, but for completely different reasons than the ones he gave.
  • Left for Dead: After firing at Morbius, Goldie claims that he is bulletproof as she runs away. While Morbius is Immune to Bullets, the real reason Goldie's shots had done nothing was because she missed with all six bullets despite being at point blank range.
  • In Liar Liar, Jim Carrey is occasionally surprised at what he's "allowed" to say while cursed to tell the truth. For instance, he asks for a toilet break...
    Judge Stevens: [irritated] Can't it wait?
    Fletcher: [crestfallen] Yes, it can. ...but I've heard [emphasis added] that if you hold it you can damage the prostate gland, making it verrrry difficult to get an erection or even become aroused!
    Judge Stevens: Is that true?
    Fletcher: ...It has to be!
    Stevens: ...In that case, I'd better take a short break myself.
    • He's also surprised when he is able to say that he really wanted to see his son that day. "How 'bout that, I do."
    • In its most heart-breaking form:
      "I'm a bad father!"
  • In Money Movers, Leo—who is secretly an undercover operative for the insurance agency—sends a Cut-and-Paste Note claiming that the counting house is going to be robbed as a ruse to flush out any possible thieves within the armoured car. Unknown to him, there really was a plot to rob the counting house from inside the company.
  • In Mystery Men Mr. Furious claims he gets Super-Strength when angry. He later reveals he's been basically bluffing, but in the Final Battle with Casanova Frankenstein, he goes into genuine Unstoppable Rage and mops the floor with him. Apparently he just didn't have the Hair-Trigger Temper he thought he did.
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968): Johnny is teasing Barbara in the cemetery and keeps saying "They're coming for you" and then points at the shambling old man and says "He's one of them". The old man turns out to be a ghoul and attacks Barbara.
  • No Way Out (1987): Lieutenant Commander Tom Farrell, the protagonist, is leading a hunt for a Soviet mole inside the Pentagon, but it's really a wild goose chase organized to cover up the Secretary of Defense accidentally killing his mistress. A damaged Polaroid is theorized to show the mole, but actually shows Farrell in a completely innocent situation (The Mistress was dating him on the side). Except, Farrell really is a Soviet Deep Cover Agent: the Framing Device of an interrogation is revealed in the end to be him explaining the film to his handler.
  • The Rocket Boy has the hero lie about what was guarding the nest since he wanted to sound like he did something more impressive than destroy a recording. He described a large orange spiky reptile, which then appeared after finishing his boast.
  • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, part of Mysterio's fake tragic backstory is that he's a multiversal traveler who fled to the MCU Earth after his was destroyed. While Beck and his collaborators think this is "ridiculous", the truth is that the multiverse does exist, and has ever since Loki. And Spider-Man gets some personal experience with the multiverse in his next movie.
  • The 1987 Christopher Reeve movie Street Smart is about a journalist who makes up a hard-hitting story about prostitution to keep his job. Unfortunately both the authorities and a street pimp (thinking he's the subject of the article) put pressure on him to reveal his non-existent 'source'.
  • True Memoirs of an International Assassin. A thriller novel about an international hitman called The Ghost is marketed as a true story, forcing the author into various dangerous situations. At the end, it's revealed that the man who gave him the idea for the novel really is an international hitman.
  • Year of the Gun (1991). A journalist decides to write a thriller novel about a terrorist plot to kidnap the Italian prime minister Aldo Moro. Unfortunately there really is such a plot in motion, and a draft of the novel falls into the hands of the terrorists who take measures to silence what they assume is a security leak.

  • Bret King Mysteries: In The Mystery of the Comanche Caves, Bret and his friends try to track down a fat henchman of the Big Bad. They claim that he's Benny's cousin Juan Gordo ("gordo" is Spanish for fat) to make their inquiries more inconspicuous. When they finally catch the guy, it turns out that his nickname really is Gordo.
  • In Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Willy Wonka tells the listening world a poem warning them about the approach of menacing monsters called "grobes". Soon afterwards, the space hotel comes under attack from real alien monsters. Mr Wonka identifies the aliens as Vermicious Knids and admits to Charlie he just made the grobes up.
  • Subverted in The Devil in Vienna, where Inge recalls entertaining her cousin with a story about how she, the cousin, was really a princess but had been adopted as a baby. It turned out that the cousin really was adopted, and the adults all thought Inge deliberately tried to upset her.
  • This is the problem that led to Dirk Gently's expulsion from college: the capstone of his scam to deceive his more gullible classmates into believing that he had psychic powers but was in denial about their existence founders when he produces a complete copy of a future exam "under hypnosis" (by looking over previous exams and guessing what might come up) only for it to turn out to be exactly letter-for-letter correct. This continues happening to him in the second book where he is horribly accurate doing fortune telling in drag and correctly identifies one of the conspirators because he want to arbitrarily blame the whole mess on somebody who isn't him.
  • Terry Pratchett uses this trope a lot in Discworld:
    • From Wyrd Sisters, "You'd have to be a born fool to be a king." The professional fool who becomes king is a "born fool" — since despite the witches' implications to the contrary, he comes from a long line of jesters.
    • In Night Watch, Sam Vimes is sent back in time about 30 years, and when asked his name, gives the first he can think of; John Keel, his old sergeant. He isn't Keel, of course, but due to the real Keel being murdered by a fellow time traveler, he ends up taking his place. He even coincidentally gets an injury that requires an eyepatch and makes him look like Keel. The History Monks are excited by this, as it lends credence to the theory of self-correcting history.
  • In Dracula, when Mina Harker asks Dr. Seward to let her listen to his phonograph diary, he's worried that she won't be able to stand hearing what happened to her best friend Lucy and tries to deter her by saying he doesn't know how to go to any specific part of the recordings. No sooner are the words out of his mouth than he realizes, "Oh, Crap!! I really don't have any idea how to find any specific part of the diary! How are we supposed to use it to find clues about the vampire we're hunting?!" He now has no choice but to grant Mina's request to listen to the whole thing and transcribe it on her typewriter.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: Dragonflight, Lessa tells the tyrant Fax and the dragonrider F'lar that although Gemma has died, her child has been born alive and male, in order to provoke the fight that results in Fax's death. After the fight is over it is revealed that a live baby boy was cut from Gemma's womb in the intervening time.
  • Earth Girl: Jarra, after getting accepted into an archaeology class run by an off-world university, decides to conceal her status as Handicapped (someone who can only survive on Earth) by posing as the child of a Military family. When she eventually decides to look up her birth parents in the records, lo and behold, they are Military personnel.
  • The Eminence in Shadow: Cid does this repeatedly. Pretty much any time he comes up with some random idea of whats going on, it somehow turns out to be true, or he is vague enough on said topic that it looks like he was aware of it:
    • Cid spent years and went through tens of thousands of iterations making up the most believable cover story possible for justifying his Chuunibyou dreams: that the Diabolos Cult is persecuting all descendants of the legendary heroes. Just one problem... his research into a believable excuse stumbled on evidence of an actual cult, and it's all true.
    • When his sister is kidnapped and Beta tries to figure out where she is, Cid throws a dagger at a random spot on a map and declares she's actually being held in the opposite direction Beta had thought. In truth, he had already considered her a lost cause and was just humoring Beta. Turns out that direction was actually the location of the Diabolos cult base where Claire was held captive.
  • Inverted in Robert E. Howard's "Gates of Empire". Giles Hobson makes up a story about the Crusader army's intentions to impress a pretty girl with how in the know he is. It turns out she's a spy for the Saracens. No harm done, since he lied to her, right? Except that, although he didn't know it, what he told her is exactly what the Crusader leader planned to do.
  • In Hills End by Ivan Southall, one the children claims that there is Aboriginal art on the walls of the cave in an attempt to sound important to his teacher. Later, when they are lost in the caves, they stumble into a chamber containing Aboriginal cave art and the bones of megafauna.
  • This is basically the plot of the Honor Harrington novel Shadow of Freedom. An agent of the Mesan Alignment informs resistance movements on a few planets currently being oppressed by the Solarian Office of Frontier Security that he's managed to get them support from the Star Empire of Manticore. The plan is that when they launch their uprisings, and the Manticorans fail to show up, the uprisings will be crushed along with Manticore's credibility. Unfortunately for him, the resistance movements manage to get word to the Manticorans. The Manticorans do show up, and not only do the uprisings succeed, but by the end of the novel, OFS has lost an entire sector. What was particularly stupid was that the Mesan agent in question actually told the resistance just how to contact the nearest Manticoran fleet, figuring that their admiral wouldn't move without orders from above. Apparently, he forgot that the RMN has a tradition of officers taking the initiative to launch operations without clearance from above, with the idea that if their superiors disagree, they can disavow what happened. This was rather stupid of him, as one of his previous operations failed in part because a Manticoran captain (Aivars Terekhov) did just that, and came out with a promotion and a knighthood.
  • In the Horatio Hornblower novella St Elizabeth of Hungary (collected in Admiral), the protagonist has to convince a party of Napoleon loyalists to abandon their mission to restore their deposed Emperor, and he sees no option but to give his word of honour that Napoleon has died. When he gets back to port, he is met by the news that Napoleon actually had died, getting him off the hook. Characteristically, though, he still beats himself up over telling what HE knows was a lie.
  • At the beginning of Les Misérables, Valjean is caught after stealing the bishop's silver and makes up the story that the bishop gave it to him as a present. The skeptical policemen take him to the bishop, and the bishop surprises both them and Valjean by confirming the story and adding more valuable gifts on top. Cue Valjean's Heel–Face Turn.
  • A Lion in the Meadow: The mother thinks she just made up the dragon, but then the "story" turned out to be true after all.
  • The Nero Wolfe novel And Be a Villain hinges on this. It turns out that the victims were all part of a blackmail syndicate which, instead of targeting their victims with real secrets, instead made up slander which was just convincing enough to be accepted as real. Unfortunately for them, it turned out that with one of their victims, they accidentally stumbled upon a genuine secret that the blackmail victim was willing to kill to protect...
  • Towards the end of Neverwhere Richard pretends to have a key the antagonists want. He lies so badly that they assume (correctly) that he's trying to protect Door and ignore him. Unbeknownst to him, she'd slipped the key into his back pocket.
  • In Jeff Sweet's "Nightmare in New York" after receiving a junk mail letter addressed to "Dear Friend", Kevin playfully writes to the company president, Milton Stanley, as if they were old buddies, mentioning imaginary people and a college he didn't attend. Milton writes back to him, referring to the same people as if they were friends and family and mentioning Kevin's sporty sideburns. Kevin shaves off the sideburns and doesn't reply, only to get a letter stating that Milton is coming for a visit to get away from company and personal troubles. Then Milton's wife shows up and states that if Kevin doesn't murder Milton with the poison she's supplying, she'll tell Kevin's wealthy fiancee all about his wife and daughter in another state, producing a family Christmas photo she claims he sent them two years ago.
  • H. Beam Piper:
    • In H. Beam Piper's novel Space Viking, Lucas Trask distracts his divided followers from their quarrels by inventing a conspiracy by his enemy Andray Dunnan to subvert and take over the planet Marduk. It turns out that that's exactly what Dunnan is up to.
    • Another example is in Piper's novel The Cosmic Computer, in which the protagonist travels to Earth to investigate local stories about an abandoned supercomputer left behind after a recent war. He concludes that the computer never existed, but backs off from attempts to convince people of that; instead, he organizes a search in order to stimulate the economy and improve morale. And then the supercomputer turns up... Graveyard of Dreams, the original short story, only got up to the "organizes a search" part.
  • Safehold: The members of the Group of Four, leaders of the Corrupt Church fighting a war against the Empire of Charis and its allies, claim that the religious schism is the result of worshippers of Shan-wei (the church's Satan analogue) in Charis to subvert the authority of the Church of God Awaiting. Little does the Church know that it's actually a Path of Inspiration created by Well-Intentioned Extremist Luddites, and that Charis is being assisted by an Ancient Tradition and a Ridiculously Human Robot who both have overthrowing the Church's stranglehold on innovation as their primary goal. And they're doing it in the name of the murdered Dr. Pei Shan-wei, the terraforming expert who was the leader of the faction opposed to said Luddites.
  • In The Stars Are Cold Toys, after discovering a race of Human Aliens (something thought to be impossible), a coalition of Weak races (including representatives from humanity, although acting without government approval) sends a Manchurian Agent, altered to look like a dead alien pilot and his memories suppressed. After arriving to the race's homeworld, the pilot's friends are shocked when he doesn't recognize them. After some testing, which is also meant to reveal any infiltration attempts by a hostile race, his (false) identity is confirmed, although they determine that he has completely lost all his memories. A few days later, he and "his" friends discuss sending in agents to infiltrate humanity, which one of them claims to be extremely easy due to the race's similar appearance. He then excitedly points out that an easy way to disguise any oddities is with amnesia. Everyone then falls silent, realizing what they have just suggested, but they then dismiss it.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Alan Dean Foster's novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye. Luke Skywalker is given a small container but is not told its opening combination. When he's captured, he pretends the container is his. His captors test him by asking him the combination: he is forced to bluff and say "It's open". They try it, and it works: it was open.
    • X-Wing Series: In Iron Fist, Face Loran and Ton Phanan prank their CO Wedge Antilles by setting up a voice changer on an infiltration mission so that Wedge sounds like an Ewok. Things get a little out of hand after people hear of the "Ewok pilot", forcing Wedge to at one point fly a TIE fighter with a stuffed Ewok strapped to him, which they cover with a story that the Ewok escaped from a lab and uses prosthetics to reach the controls. While escaping Warlord Zsinj's doomed super star destroyer in Solo Command, Gara Petothel encounters Kolot, an actual genetically enhanced Ewok who really can fly in exactly that manner. Even better, it was hearing about the supposed Ewok pilot that led to Kolot being modified in the first place.
    • In the Enemy Lines duology, Smug Snake Viqi Shesh is in the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong, and on the verge of execution. In order to prove her worth to them (and spare her life long enough to escape), she pretends to have found a conspiracy against the Warmaster: the "shapers" (their equivalent of scientists and doctors) are deliberately causing one of his artificial limbs to be rejected. As it turns out, the conspiracy not only exists but is found and rooted out relatively quickly—more quickly, it also turns out, than Shesh would have liked.
  • Tales of Dunk and Egg: In "The Mystery Knight", Dunk fears the worst when Egg is captured by one of the conspirators, but we later learn that Egg convinced his captor to abandon the conspiracy by revealing his true identity as Prince Aegon, and claiming that his father, Prince Maekar, knows about the conspiracy and is leading an army to arrest all the conspirators. Egg completely made that up, but soon afterward a royal army turns up on their doorstep after all, albeit led by Egg's uncle Lord Bloodraven rather than his father, because Bloodraven had been investigating the conspiracy long before Dunk and Egg stumbled upon it.
  • In The Traitor Game, Michael tells Shipley that him and Francis stopped being friends because Francis was gay and made advances towards him. At the time, Michael only said this because he knew this would make Francis Shipley's target, but at least the first part turns out to be true and it's implied that, while the second part wasn't entirely true, Francis did have feelings for Michael.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Francie Nolan claims her name is Mary Frances in order to win a doll at a charity Christmas party. She feels guilty about lying, but reasons that she can take the name Mary when she makes her Confirmation. When she announces this intention, her mother tells her she can't because her real name is Mary Frances Nolan.
    • Made interesting because one of the messages of the book is that people sometimes tell what's true but write what they wish was true. If (as a lot of people do) you start thinking of Francie as the author's avatar...
  • In The Truth Teller's Tale, Truth Tellers Cannot Tell a Lie. Roelynn's father isn't nobility but he is extremely ambitious, and hopes to marry Roelynn to the prince. Roelynn is extremely flirtatious and falls in love with a variety of men, which is explained as being a free spirit until her father ties her down. So, when the titular Truth Teller, Eleda, says that her friend Roelynn will marry the prince, it breaks both Roelynn and Eleda's hearts: Roelynn because what Eleda has said must be true and because she has already secretly married her newest love, and Eleda because she has forced a lie past her lips (It Makes Sense in Context). Her new husband turns out to be the prince, so Eleda has told no lie at all.
  • In The Twits, Mr. Twit makes up a disease called "the Shrinks" in order to play a prank on his wife. But at the end of the story, it turns out there really is such an ailment, which ends up making them both disappear.
  • There's a pretty brutal version of it in The Wall by Jean-Paul Sartre. A political prisoner is given the choice between execution or turning traitor and giving the location of a collaborator. At the last moment, he delays the execution by making up a location so that the army will look foolish, knowing full well that the collaborator is hiding far away from there. The army searches... and it turns out the collaborator had to switch hiding spots to that location. He is killed, and the man goes free.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) has a habit of making up excuses to be anywhere that isn't on the front lines, usually saying something like that he needs to check on the troops or that he is concerned about some seemingly minor matter and wants to make sure it isn't a bigger problem than it appears. This often leads to him stumbling onto some previously-unknown game-changing event (genestealers, Chaos cultists, Necrons, etc.) that is a bigger problem than whatever issue he was trying to avoid, and which the soldiers wouldn't have been able to handle had he and Jurgen not been there.
  • In This Body's Not Big Enough for Both of Us by Edgar Cantero, several murders are committed, and each corpse is left with what appears to be a red chrysanthemum. Everyone suspects a gang called the Red Chrysanthemums. To prevent a gang war, a private detective pretends the flowers are actually a rare type of red rose, which turns out to be correct.
  • In The Housing Lark by Sam Sevlon, Sylvester is a Trinidadian of Indian origin, who is trying to find lodgings in racist 1950s London. He's advised by black Trinidadian Battersby that there's a white landlord who accepts Indians, but only if they're actually from India. Syl is accepted but is intimidated by Ram, an extremely Sikh-looking man who he thinks could reveal his lie at any moment. He tries getting Ram evicted by telling the landlord that he isn't really from India, but this just leads to his own deception being exposed. When he tells Battersby about this, Battersby tells him that Ram was the last Indo-Trinidadian he sent there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used absolutely ridiculously on All My Children: Krystal wants David to keep the secret that Babe's daughter is actually Bianca's baby, so to stall for time, Krystal announces that David is Babe's father, even though to their mutual knowledge, they only met recently. David orders a DNA test to confirm, and it turns out he is Babe's father, due to a nameless frat party liaison 20 years back.
  • In Season 7, episode 9 of The Amazing Race, Rob Mariano decided to have some fun with Meredith & Gretchen and asked them if they had gotten on the earlier flight to Turkey in spite of there not being one... except that it turned out that there was in fact one, which Meredith & Gretchen and Uchenna & Joyce got on, leaving Rob & Amber and Ron & Kelly in the dust. Rob, not knowing this, kept on laughing at and trash-talking these two teams until he learned in Turkey that he and Amber were actually two hours behind them. Laser-Guided Karma at its finest.
  • In the second half of the first season of Andor, Cassian is thrown into a nightmarish prison on Narkina 5, where the prisoners spend all day making mechanical parts in a factory located inside the prison. Each prisoner has a counter in their cell showing the amount of time left on their sentence, but during Cassian's first night there another prisoner named Melshi tells him not to both paying attention to the counter, saying that the number doesn't matter and the Empire will find an excuse to keep them in prison as long as it wants. Melshi is thinking of a law that was recently passed called the Public Order Resentencing Directive which created significantly harsher penalties for breaking the law and allowed for "reevaluation" and lengthening of prison sentences for anyone already in prison. While he's correct to be cynical about the prospect of ever being free again, Melshi turns out to be more right than he knows, because they later learn that anyone who reaches the end of their sentence on Narkina 5 is secretly transferred to some other prison within the Imperial system rather than being set free.
  • In the rebooted Battlestar Galactica miniseries, Baltar quasi-randomly picks someone on the bridge as being a Cylon in order to divert suspicion over his own role in the attack on the Colonies to someone who's been a jerkass to everyone and they really don't like. The man turns out to be a Number 5 model of humanoid Cylon.
  • The Boys (2019): The Seven make a number of jokes about Deep wanting to have sex with dolphins, which he vehemently denies. Based on his conversations with the dolphin he tries to rescue, it appears The Seven were correct.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a variant when Willow's Power Incontinence makes it so that whatever she says becomes literally true. Hilarity ensues before anybody figures out what's going on.
  • Played with in an episode of Burn Notice: Michael is hired to get rid of a Loan Shark who is making a woman's life miserable. He goes to a lot of trouble making it look as though the loan shark is an undercover cop, and then poses as another criminal and informs the guy's boss. The only problem is Michael and company hid the fake evidence a little too well, and the boss doesn't find it. Then at the last moment, before the boss is about to give up and probably kill Michael for wasting his time, he finds... different evidence. Turns out the loan shark really was an undercover cop. Cue Oh, Crap! moment.
  • Community Season 2 Episode 9 Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design, Jeff invents a fake night class taught by Professor Professorson... then meets Professor Professorson. (Prof. Professor Professorson; "Professor" is his given name.) Then things get weird. Although eventually subverted, as the whole thing is just an act devised by the Dean to teach Jeff a lesson about lying.
  • Dead Man's Gun:
    • The salted gold mine in the second episode, "Fool's Gold" turns out to really have a vein of gold as the con artist is being chased through it by the people he cheated. Not that they notice this.
    • In "The Fortune Teller", Madame Gisella, the eponymous character reads the fortune of a landowner who allowed them to pass through his property) and tells him that his life will be in danger because of his gun. While Gisella is merely trying to trick the man into giving her his (valuable-looking) gun, that gun is the eponymous Dead Man's Gun and he really was in danger by having it. Part of the reason the man is so quick to hand it over is because he has indeed been having bad luck since he got the gun, which makes her claims sound true to him.
  • As in the original books, Dirk does this in Dirk Gently. In the final episode, when Richard complains that he's more concerned about finding a decent cleaner than the actual case (an assassin targeting his former clients), he claims that finding a cleaner is a vital part of the case. It turns out the assassin gets close to her targets by posing as a cleaner, and guess who hires her next?
  • In Downton Abbey, Thomas Barrow has a falling out with one of the nannies, who doesn't let him see the children (whom he is fond of). So he tells Lady Crawley that the nanny is mistreating them. He thinks it's a lie, but then Lady Crawley does actually see the nanny racially abusing little Sybbie and sacks her on the spot. He looks slightly bewildered when Cora declares the family owes him a great debt the next morning but quickly recovers.
  • I Love Lucy:
    • One episode has Lucy and Ethel running a raffle to raise money for "Ladies' Overseas Aid", a Fake Charity they make up on the spot on the basis of, "We're ladies, we want to go overseas, and boy do we need aid." Eventually they're informed that doing such a thing is illegal, but just as they collect all the money, a representative from the real Ladies' Overseas Aid organization shows up to collect their generous donation, which they gladly hand over as a policeman was there getting ready to arrest them for fraud.
    • Another episode had Ricky and Fred trying to get Lucy and Ethel to stop gossiping by making a deal where the first pair to spread gossip would have to serve the other pair for a day. Ricky baits Lucy into spreading a rumor about a neighbor's wife and the milkman having an affair by pretending to talk in his sleep. After catching them gossiping by listening through the air vent, they later see the neighbor chasing the milkman after catching him in the act.
    • In one episode, Lucy and Ricky go onto the Mr. and Mrs. Quiz radio program after Lucy believes Ricky to be a history buff, though it turns out he really isn't. They are asked three questions, but get each of them wrong as Lucy had memorized the answers for different questions. They get one more shot with a bonus question: what did George Washington say as he and his men were crossing the Delaware? A distraught Ricky asks, "Please let me sit down, this is making me sick," which turns out to be the correct answer.
  • Himitsu no Hanazono (2007): While Misuzu is snooping around the Kataoka's deceased father, she finds out that he's a plagiarist, that all his paintings were stolen from his dead best friend, and that his 4 sons are oblivious to it. Being the loudmouth she is, she tells everyone immediately.
  • In The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret , in a spiral of bad lies and bad decisions, Todd lies to everyone that he is not American but actually English, born and raised in Leeds (which he comes up with because of the famous Live at Leeds album by The Who). It's later revealed that he actually WAS born in Leeds, but even HE didn't know it.
  • Janda Kembang: In episode 5, Rais buys an obviously broken motorcycle partly because it is cheap and partly because the seller and RT leader claim it is an antique. Rais repeats the antique bike lie when he tries to sell it to a motorcycle repairman. After Rais trades in the bike to the repairman for his old one, a customer suddenly appears and says that it is an antique and proceeds to buy it for a higher price than Rais would get.
  • In Kamen Rider Drive, Gou (Kamen Rider Mach) at one point apparently turns against the heroes. At around the same time they discover that the current Arc Villain has the power to brainwash people by altering their memories. Chase eventually confirms that Gou had been affected by the brainwashing, but in order to spare the feelings of his sister Kiriko (since a cure for the brainwashing hadn't yet been found), tells her that Gou was actually working undercover to undermine the Roidmudes. It turns out that he really was; he happened to have a particular biological quirk that made him immune to the brainwashing.
  • Magnificent Century: In the first season, Hürrem claims to be pregnant to avoid being sent away from the harem. She's lying, and everyone else is pretty sure of it too, so a doctor inspects her to find out. Turns out she actually was in the early stages of pregnancy and just didn't know yet.
  • In Malcolm in the Middle, when questioned about his poor grades in History, Reese claims that the teacher has it out for him and is intentionally failing him. When Malcolm discovers that the teacher actually is trying to send Reese to remedial classes out of spite, Reese admits that he didn't know that and was just lying to save face.
  • Mashin Sentai Kiramager: In an early episode, Galza claims that he was brainwashed by Yodon in order to lure Mabushina into a trap. Juru recognizes that he was lying because he had a vision of Galza laughing during his betrayal, which contradicts his claim that Yodon had suppressed his emotions. It is revealed near the end of the series that Galza actually was brainwashed by Yodon, but the brainwashing had taken place much earlier than Galza had claimed, all the way back during his childhood, and Yodon did it by erasing all of his positive memories of his brother and programming him to hate everyone who cared about him.
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn: "In Not-So-Sweet Charity", the boys were trying to convince some girls that a hot guitarist/singer their age was dating someone, and upon seeing Dawn coming in a door, claimed it was her. The truth actually led to problems because the parents hated each other and forbade them from even being on each other's property.
  • In The Office (US), this is how Pam's pregnancy is outed to the office. Stanley had confided in Michael that he had had an affair, which Michael then lets slip in the break room, but then tries to cover it up with a series of, what he thought, were outrageous gossip-lies so that nobody would believe the story about Stanley. One such lie, "Pam is pregnant", turned out to be perfectly true.
  • Happens at least a few times in Perry Mason, regarding the mystery Perry must unravel to clear his client. Such examples include:
    • "The Sardonic Sergeant": An army Major's dead body is found by his wife, with it clutching a Suicide Note confessing to a crime he was being investigated for. To keep him from being disgraced postmortem, the wife claimed that he had been murdered, thinking that no murderer would be found. When the Sergeant who served under the Major is arrested for suspicion of murder, the wife is guilt-ridden to the point that she hires Perry to defend the Sergeant before eventually confessing to the fact that she made up the claim. It's then that a surprising fact is revealed to her: the suicide note she had found had been forged by someone else and that her husband actually had been murdered.
  • Quark. Zigzagged in "All the Emperor's Quasi Norms". Zorgon threatens to kill Quark unless he reveals where "it" is. Having no idea what he's talking about, Quark plays for time by saying It is on a particular asteroid. Turns out It really is there, causing Quark to believe this is a case of Because Destiny Says So when he's told by the locals of a legend about a Stranger who will use "It" to defeat their enemy. But it turns out that "It" is just a worthless rock and the whole thing is a coincidence.
  • An interesting variant, where the character never learns he was telling the truth, in the Smallville episode "Harvest". The Town with a Dark Secret attributes their health and vitality to Human Sacrifice, but the sheriff tells Clark it's down to the Blue K in the water. It is.
  • The Tales from the Darkside episode "Seasons of Belief" has a couple rather sadistically spinning a yarn about a giant Christmas monster called a "Grither" to their young children. And guess who shows up at the end of the episode...

  • In episode 13 of Interstitial: Actual Play, when Riley asks for someone to name any property, Hazel blurts out Twin Peaks before regretfully saying that there's no connection between the show and Disney. Riley quickly corrects her because the show aired on ABC, and thus Mr. C drives into the battlefield and turns his car into a mech suit.
  • In episode 8 of Sporadic Phantoms, Kyle claims that the only reason one of the Phantoms would side with The Sharing over each other is if they'd been taken over by mind-controlling space worms. Since the show is set within the world of Animorphs, he doesn't realize how right he could be.

  • In one episode of Absolute Power (BBC) (the original radio version), Archie hires Prentiss McCabe to embarrass the Prime Minister, who's been getting a bit too full of himself lately. Martin makes up a story about the PM making plans to abolish the monarchy and set himself up as President. Turns out such plans were discussed, albeit not as a serious proposal... and Archie wrote up the document, making him the obvious scapegoat when the government goes into damage limitation mode.

  • The story of the "Miracle of the Roses", in which St. Elisabeth of Hungary is claimed to have been saved by God's own intervention. Carrying bread to the poor in defiance of her husband's wishes, she is saved from discovery when her pouch turns out (to her surprise) to hold roses instead of the bread (other versions say that she did not actually speak when asked what she had, however—presumably because a saint shouldn't be lying in the first place).

    Tabletop Games 
  • A short story in the BattleTech rulebook Total Warfare has an officer from the Draconis Combine lie to his men by saying that he has orders calling for them to retreat when their planet gets invaded by an overwhelming force from the Federated Commonwealth. Under the Draconis Combine's bushido code, a samurai who retreats without orders must commit seppuku, but the officer figured that his men might be saved if they could honestly say they thought they were obeying the Coordinator's orders. After his forces have evacuated to their dropship, he prepares to commit seppuku himself when he gets a priority your-eyes-only transmission telling him that he's ordered to retreat due to overwhelming Federated Commonwealth attacks on multiple Combine worlds.

  • In Bells Are Ringing, Ella, being menaced by two Corvello henchmen after she accidentally ruined their "Titanic Records" bookie operation by knowing more about classical music than their code books, desperately makes up that the police were recording their conversations all along and that Inspector Barnes should appear any moment now. He does so immediately. Ella is overjoyed, and the henchmen are arrested.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: Jack and Algernon pretend to be brothers, then it turns out they actually are brothers. Also, Jack tells Gwendolen his name is Ernest, and it really is. (He was abandoned as a baby.)
  • The Music Man. Professor Harold Hill cons the citizens of River City into paying for uniforms and instruments with the promise that he'll train their children into a band. He does so using a "think" system which couldn't possibly work, but in the end, the children learn to play anyway (albeit extremely out of tune) and he's saved from being punished.
  • The Rainmaker and the musical version 110 in the Shade end with Starbuck's promise of rain in twenty-four hours coming true after he admitted it was all a con.
    "For the first time in my life...rain!"
  • Shucked: Gordy the Con Man claims he'll fix the failed corn crops in Cob County, but in reality, he's only interested in the rare rocks in the soil. He lies to the townspeople that the rocks are preventing the soil from getting moisture, so the corn will grow better once he digs them out. Despite being a claim he pulled right out of his ass, in the end, it turns out Gordy is 100% correct. The rocks really were responsible for the crop failures, and the corn starts growing again once they're all removed.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: A conversation between two Militia members has them realize that Batman must have a huge amount of money for his gadgets, which they suggest something like government funding. Then one of them jokes that Bruce Wayne also has the funds to be Batman, only for his friend to laugh.
  • Used in Tales of the Abyss. The party needs to head to Chesedonia to find out if Largo is really Natalia's father by asking her wet nurse. Jade tells Natalia that the rest of the party heard a travelling Scorer was reading false prophecies in Chesedonia. When the party arrives, they find Smug Snake Sync doing just that. Guy even lampshades it, saying "It seems our lie has become the truth."
  • In Primal, Jen says of Queen Devena, "I guess she's not the gal she used to be." She isn't.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: Angela Cross says, "I swear that crazy old man is not the same person I used to work for." He isn't.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Demyx claims that Organization XIII members do have hearts in spite of the fact that Nobodies are said not to. Come 3D, it turns out that he was unknowingly honest.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Matthew gains entry to Kaocho Palace by telling the guards he and his friends are the Adepts the king was waiting for. Turns out the bad guys were Railroading them into the king's service.
  • In Uncharted, Sully sends the enemy mooks on a wild goose chase, and, purely by coincidence, he happens to have sent them to exactly the right place.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Subverted to a degree. Liquid Ocelot convinces the members of the Beauty and the Beast Unit that if they kill Solid Snake, their minds will be cleansed. Snake, of course, beats them, but according to Drebin, fighting him turned out to be just the therapy they needed to be free of their torment.
  • In Sam & Max Save the World, episode "Reality 2.0", Sybil's VR goggles break and Max makes up a cool-sounding Technobabble explanation for what's wrong, despite the fact that he clearly knows nothing about the goggles. Turns out his explanation was right on the money.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: In dialog with his friend Zoltan, Geralt can quip that Witchers fish with bombs. Later in the game, you talk with a fellow Witcher, Lambert, who reveals that he does exactly that. There is no story significance to it, however.
  • Fallen London When attempting to bluff a demoness from hell, you spin a ridiculous story about how the Correspondence, which is the only spell magic in the Fallen London universe (and currently unusable because it always literally backfires) is in fact the language of the gods, which is written on a giant beast that sleeps under the Bazaar - and in fact, IS the heart of the Bazaar. Congratulations, you just explained the nature of the game's Dark Secret in under a single paragraph! And now you have to go looking for it while the demoness you flat out lied to believes what is actually true.
  • In the opening of Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall, it's revealed your opening job came by the way of an anarchist called Green Winters who sent you on the run by telling your leader it was vital to the future safety of the Flux State. It turns out Green Winters really wanted you to find his brother who he suspected was imprisoned in the mansion he sent you to, and lied to get your team leader to take the job — but the conspiracy that disappeared his brother turns out to be working on a project that was going to destroy Berlin and the Flux State, which Green Winters was completely unaware of. The party even notes the Dramatic Irony of the situation once you discover the truth.
  • One Show Within a Show of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is "Haunted L.A.", a show that is supposed to show the supernatural present in the city. As you find out when you encounter them, the show is entirely faked and makes up the supernatural events shown within using actors and special effects... Which is while they're doing a story on a "haunted abandoned hospital" that turned out to be the lair of a very real vampire who did not appreciate them poking around. By hacking the mail of the presenter you can also uncover a long rant from someone decrying the show and listing a lot of demonstrably fake stories they've run in the past... Including a story about Griffith Park having Werewolves in it, which you learn is true much later in the game.
  • At the end of the first week of The World Ends with You, Kitaniji, the conductor of the game, decides that Neku's partner Shiki contributed the most to winning the game, and pretends to restore her to life, but then re-enters Neku into the game after taking Shiki as his "entry fee" (i.e. what he values most). Part of the reason Kitanji did that was to cover up the fact that he couldn't restore Shiki to life without the Composer, but Neku, who'd come to care for Shiki over the course of the week, never doubted that Shiki was most important to him.
  • At the end of Resident Evil during Jill's story, Wesker reveals that he and Umbrella were holding Barry's family hostage, which explains why Barry was acting so odd throughout the story. After ordering Barry to leave, Wesker confesses to Jill that he and Umbrella actually don't have Barry's family hostage and he only said that to get Barry to do his bidding. In the backstories in the later sequels, it's confirmed that Umbrella was keeping tabs on all the former S.T.A.R.S. members after the Mansion Incident, including Barry and his family, which made Wesker's bluff become true.

  • Girl Genius:
    • Theo's story at the beginning about the Dragon from Mars is a pure flight of imagination, but the Other's lab actually IS in the Heterodynes' basement and, if the novel's prologue adaption is accurate, the Other's base of operations is extra-terrestrial as well! Also, in this story Klaus got wasped. And soon enough this also happens.
    • A crowd once mockingly calls Zeetha the Baron's daughter, which according to Word of God is actually true — if the sketch of her father which looks exactly like Klaus is to be believed. Gil has also been called "the gol-dang Storm King" there, and some time later we learned of the Baron's plans to instate him as the Storm King.
  • Happens in El Goonish Shive when Susan tells her mother that Justin is gay so that she won't mind him staying the night. Turns out he is.
    Ellen: You lied to your mom for a guy?
    Susan: Yeah, I told her that Justin was gay.
    Ellen: Uhhh...
    Susan: Trust me, it was a lie at the time.
    • It appears that Susan told two accidental truths in one night, as what she herself called a ridiculous claim has turned out to have been declared a medical condition. Officially speaking, hair does spontaneously change color. The actual cause is magic burnout, but the government calls it "spontaneous" in order to uphold The Masquerade.
    • In The Rant to this EGS NP strip, Dan pretends to believe that the people who told him you can have six-character names in Chrono Trigger on the DS are "the filthiest of liars", and the fact you can have six-character names just shows they were mistaken.
  • In The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon, Angel calls the titular Jack "the toughest guy in the universe" early on, before any action had occurred. She wasn't very far from the mark.
  • A meta-example from the world of webcomics: Kris Straub made "Addictions and the Human Toll" as a parody of Least I Could Do, heavily implying that Rayne has a sex addiction and needs help. A week later, "Not Viagra" reveals that Rayne has been diagnosed with depression.
  • Exterminatus Now has the tale of Edward Bay.
    • Eastwood once had a guy declared a heretic and executed on false pretenses, because he was dating one of Harry's old girlfriends. As it turns out, the man was a dangerous heretic, but that was learned only after a Blackguard Kill Team executed him on the toilet.
  • In Kevin & Kell, when Lindesfarne is mistaken for the princess of England, she manages to find and track down the real one, a homeless hedgehog named Churtsey Ealing. A twist at the end of the arc indicates that Churtsey is not the real princess, and Lindesfarne allowed her to be passed off as the real one to stay with her family, be free of media attention, and avoid having her status as royalty detracts from the credibility of her research. Years later, an arc reveals that Lindesfarne is actually the princess of England in the human world, and Churtsey is her counterpart in the animal-dominated world.
  • Played for Black Comedy in Sore Thumbs: main character Fairbanks killed two people because they "looked like terrorists". By sheer luck they were, and he got off scot-free.
  • Early in Shortpacked!, Amber suggests that Ethan's lack of interest in Robin might be due to him being gay. As she later admits, she only said it to needle Robin and had no idea it was the truth.
  • Paradigm Shift: Our main characters are examining a dead man found in an alleyway, looking like he's been mauled by a large wild animal despite the fact that this is the middle of Chicago. Detective Stuart quips that it was a full moon last night, leading to groans from the others... but two volumes later it turns out he's right. This ends up being a Late-Arrival Spoiler, as the first story arc is deliberately ambiguous about whether something supernatural really is going on or if they're up against a Serial Killer who just thinks he's a werewolf.
  • In Dumbing of Age, Penny accuses Jason of sleeping with a student out of spite and is astonished to learn he actually has.

    Web Original 
  • In Farce of the Three Kingdoms, Zhuge Liang spins a completely implausible story that Cao Cao's motivation for invading the South is his obsession with the Qiao sisters. It isn't, but Cao Cao turns out to be rather creepily obsessed with them.
  • Leo Bone (aka Napoleon) does this in Look to the West to try and seize a Royalist French fleet by telling the Royalists their exiled leader has formed an alliance with Britain; when they return to Corsica, it turns out that he has.
  • When reviewing "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers, Todd in the Shadows was uncertain what the word "haver" meant, and threw out "babbling out nonsense words?" as a wild guess. Then the dictionary definition was displayed.
    "Huh. Okay, that's exactly what it means."
  • RWBY Recaps: As part of the Running Gag, Mysterious Badass Lady Person (Raven Branwen) is introduced as possibly someone's sister. He's absolutely right; she is Qrow's sister.
  • Achievement Hunter manages to do it twice in 2019 Trouble in Terrorist Town videos, both via Ryan killing Trevor. The first time, in "Secrets of Bikini Bottom", Geoff had just announced Lindsay (a Traitor) as Alfredo's killer; Ryan, thinking he was next to Lindsay, turned around and blew away Trevor - who happened to be Lindsay's teammate. By the time it happens again in "We Start a Band" the crew have figured out custom skins; this time Ryan's the traitor, Trevor accidentally starts to call out Jeremy and only gets half of Ryan out before he goes down, and the others believe Trevor was actually calling out Matt (whose custom skin is Geralt) - Matt happened to be Ryan's Assassin teammate.
    • They get a third incident in "Big Chungus, Bigger Trouble". This time around Trevor has nothing to do with it, and while Ryan is involved he's the one who's accidentally revealed as a Traitor due to his teammate's actions when Fiona claims him to be a Vampire. Ryan was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when Jack sniped Gavin; after the round Gavin lampshades this trope when it's revealed Ryan really was the Vampire.
      Gavin: Fiona called it by accident.
    • They later get this trope to trigger in Among Us, specifically in "It's The Golden Deagle". Matt, who got the mod's added role of Sheriff, kills himself shooting Michael with Jeremy nearby; they both decide to blame the death on a nearby Lindsay, which successfully convinces a third player and gets a fourth to skip. To Michael's shock and Lindsay's annoyance, Lindsay was the Impostor.
  • Smashboards, long considered the authority on invokedCharacter Tiers in the Super Smash Bros. series, released the sixth tier list for Super Smash Bros. Melee as an April Fools' Day joke in 2004. Among the bizarre changes was putting Jigglypuff — at the time considered only barely viable — in second placenote , with the argument they made justifying it being that Jigglypuff utterly dominates aerial play with their unmatched air speed and Wall of Pain technique. In future years, this claim would turn out to be more correct than anyone could have guessed, and as of 2021, Jigglypuff had been shaking up Tournament Play enough to rise to the top tier in the real tier list, in third behind only long-running champions Fox and Marth.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer:
    • In the pilot episode, the titular character tries to cover his misuse of ISIS funds by claiming that he's searching for a mole in the agency. Later, it turns out that there is a mole, and Archer's "investigation" has inadvertently put him at risk of discovery—leading him to attempt to escape.
    • In "Skytanic", ISIS is called to come along on the inaugural voyage of a luxury airship due to a bomb threat. It's later revealed Mallory made the threat just to get a free ride and make her neighbor jealous. However, it turns out that the captain was going to blow up the ship for real.
    • Likewise, in "Live And Let Dine", Mallory leaks information about a fake threat at a fancy restaurant hosting a meeting between U.S. and Albanian diplomats to get a reservation. Sure enough, the Albanian ambassador is poisoned. Though it's revealed that the thing was set up by Katya and Barry just to make ISIS look bad, not totally coincidental.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the third part of the series finale, after infiltrating the aircraft used by the Fire Nation, Sokka tries to get rid of its crew by posing as their captain, who announces on the loudspeaker that he's holding a birthday party at the bomb bay for one of the crew members. It turns out it is one of their birthdays. Then the door opens and they fall in the ocean.
  • In the Catscratch episode "Tale of a Tail", Mr. Blik convinces Gordon to come along on a fishing trip (and carry the cooler) by lying about the existence of the Kraken, and how it will grant the wish of any to defeat it. By the end of the episode, this turns out to be true (as Gordon uses himself as a torpedo to defeat said Kraken, who then uses Gordon as a missile to defeat a three-headed one in a later episode).
  • Dan Vs.: In the episode, "Elise's Parents," Dan falsely accuses Elise's parents of being in the mafia. While he pinned it on Don, who had no involvement, Elise Sr. is, in fact, part of another crime syndicate. Also, when Dan used "cupcake" as lingo for "kill," (because of the limits of the Recorded Spliced Conversation), this turns out to be a legitimate euphemism.
  • In one episode of Dave the Barbarian, to prevent Dave from finding out that she caused his flowers to grow into giant monsters, Fang tells him that there's a poetry contest in town. Later, when she's forced to get his help, it turns out there really was a poetry contest happening, with the Narrator lampshading.
  • DC Nation had a Plastic Man short called "Superheroes Wear Pajamas", where Plastic Man was caught sleepwalking with a teddy bear named Mr. Tinklebottoms and is ridiculed by the town for it. To try and save face, Plastic Man claims that his teddy is really a demonic supervillain in disguise that he captured and he beats it up for good measure. At the end of the short, after Plastic Man patches up his teddy bear and apologizes, a lightning flash shows the bear with a sinister and monstrous-looking face.
  • In an episode of Drawn Together, Princess Clara tries to interrupt a wedding ceremony because the couple is gay. Spanky drives her off by telling her that there's a Jew outside poisoning a well. When she goes out, it turns out that there actually is but in a subversion, he was just putting water purification tablets in it.
    • In the same episode, Clara claims that a gay marriage can lead to an invasion of Nazis riding on dinosaurs. At the end of the episode, after Clara admits that one gay marriage isn't the end of the world, it shows that the world has indeed been taken over by Nazis riding dinosaurs.
    • In another episode, Clara's discovered Munchausen By Proxy and is trying to stop Wooldor from telling Foxy about all the drain cleaner she's been feeding him. When she tells the amorous Foxy that Denzel Washington is in the hall, guess who shows up. When he starts explaining the situation, Clara declares that there's a second Denzel in the hall- with two penises. She was wrong about that one. No double-hung Denzel, just triple-hung Wesley Snipes.
  • In the The Fairly OddParents! episode "Mr. Right", Timmy, sick and tired of always being wrong, wishes that he was always right, thus making it so that whenever he says something, it's automatically true, to the extent that when he told Mr. Crocker that there were only 49 states in America, North and South Dakota immediately merged into a single Dakota to prove him right. As usual, Timmy's wish backfires—he subsequently insists to Mr. Crocker that he doesn't have fairy godparents, which causes Cosmo and Wanda to disappear right then and there.
  • In Family Guy when Lois gets elected mayor during "It Takes A Village Idiot And I Married One" she scares Quahog's citizens into paying taxes needed to clean the local lake by bombastically declaring it's being used by Hitler and the Legion of Doom as their base of operations to plot Jesus' assassination. It then immediately cuts to the Legion of Doom with Lex Luthor demanding to know how Lois found out about their plans.
    Solomon Grundy: ME SOLOMON GRUNDY kind of dropped the ball on that one.
  • In one episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, in order to get rid of Mr. Herriman so they can have a party, Bloo used the old prank call where he asks "Is your refrigerator running?" and amazingly, it works; Herriman runs off to chase it. However, as it turns out Herriman didn't do this because he was gullible; his refrigerator has been known to run off (it, like a lot of furniture in the house, is an imaginary friend) and it did so this time too. He only finds out about the party after he's done scolding it.
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Trap-Trap", Kaeloo sees Mr. Cat chasing Quack Quack around with a mallet and tells him not to hurt Quack Quack, and Mr. Cat blatantly lies to her that he won't. For the rest of the episode, all of his attempts to hurt Quack Quack end up failing, and therefore he really doesn't hurt him.
  • A version shows up in The Legend of Korra. Corrupt Corporate Executive Varrick puts out a ridiculously obvious and over-the-top set of propaganda films against the Northern Water Tribe Chieftain Unalaq designed to turn public support against him and towards the rebels fighting against him. Varrick does this purely because Unalaq's edicts are bad for his own business, and his films transform The Fundamentalist, self-righteous, Holier Than Thou Unalaq into an Omnicidal Maniac Mad Scientist planning to use a Doomsday Device to destroy the world. This turns out to be far closer to Unalaq's real personality and goals than either fans of the show or people in that world would have guessed when Varrick first started making these films, not that Varrick knew about that or would have cared.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In "These Boots were Made for Walking (On Your Face)", K'nuckles tells a pair of thugs searching for Flapjack to search for him in a pile of old diapers as that is one of Flapjack's favorite hiding places, while he sneaks off to talk to Bubbie. However, it turns out Flapjack really was hiding in the pile of diapers and the thugs capture him.
  • In an episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey, when Adam is tired of Jake making up lies about him to put in the school newspaper, he decides to give Jake a taste of his own medicine and write a lie about him. However, his story about Jake getting "cheek implants" turns out to be true. This is lampshaded by Lupe.
  • Ninjago: During "Hunted", Cole tries to pass both himself and a de-aged Wu to the Dragon Hunters as the "Dangerbuffs". There turns out to be an entire family of Dangerbuffs around, but fortunately they have a reputation for being odd and stupid, so none of Cole's activities elicit any suspicion.
  • Jellystone!: The titular "Mr. Flabby Dabby Wabby Jabby" is the fake identity Augie and friends made up on the spot while disguised in a Totem Pole Trench. It is also a real character who looks just like their disguise, has a high pitched voice and even is a lawyer just like they previously fibbed.
  • The Owl House:
    • The episode "Thanks to Them" revealed some truths.
      • Masha tells the story of how Caleb chased a witch into the Demon Realm and Philip pursued him, complete with both of the more commonly told outcomes, then adds their own gloss about how Caleb likely just eloped with his hot witch girlfriend and his kid brother Philip became upset over it. Barring a degree of understatement, the latter is more or less exactly what happened.
      • Likewise, before Masha's in-universe Alternative Character Interpretation that Philip just got upset that his older brother found a hot witch girlfriend, they also speculated that after Caleb and Philip disappeared, the two became locked in an "endless cycle" of the younger brother chasing the older brother. Considering Philip spent centuries making countless grimwalkers trying to replace his brother, only to murder them in a rage every time they too grew to care for witches, Masha wasn't far off the mark.
      • When Belos is ejected from Hunter's body and angrily accuses "Caleb" of stabbing him in the back by refusing to aid him any longer in his genocidal plans, Luz tells him he did it first. The memory portraits in "Hollow Mind" imply that Philip literally stabbed Caleb to death, apparently in a Battle Amongst the Flames. Notably, Belos actually gets a little chagrined and immediately opens the portal to the Demon Realm rather than continue attacking the kids, implying the comment hit closer to home than Luz was expecting.
    • The series finale, "Watching and Dreaming", shows that Belos' claim that the Titan was not nearly as dead as it appeared was in fact true, even though Belos only said so as a way to sway citizens into following him by claiming to be the voice to the Titan's will. Despite his physical body being decayed to basically a skeleton, the Titan's soul still clings to the bones and has been watching over the Boiling Isles for many years, but he is benevolent and, rather than Belos carrying out the Titan's will, the Titan has actually been doing his best to thwart Belos.
  • The Quack Pack episode "Hero Today, Don Tomorrow" had Donald Duck try to impress his nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie by claiming to personally know athletic celebrity Flint Steele. It later turns out that they did know each other when they were younger; Donald used to pull pranks on Flint when he was younger and unfit and these pranks were what motivated Flint to become physically fit.
  • In an episode of Pepper Ann, a new girl named Amber has arrived at school and everyone loves her...everyone, that is, except for Pepper Ann, who is jealous of her being seemingly perfect. At the same time, a thief is breaking into everyone's lockers, and Pepper Ann, fueled by her jealousy, suspects Amber, except she has nothing to go on except Insane Troll Logic. Finally, during a fall at Amber's house party, when Pepper Ann is ready to apologize to Amber for being jealous and suspecting her, the contents of everyone's lockers spill out from Amber's room. Turns out she was the locker thief.
  • In one episode of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja, Randy lies and gives the villain a fake name, "Ranginald Bagel" after almost giving out his real name. A few episodes later, it's revealed that there actually is someone named Ranginald Bagel at his school, and because of Randy, the Big Bad believes that he's the Ninja and targets him for assassination.
  • In one episode of The Real Ghostbusters, Walter Peck attempts to drive the Ghostbusters out of business by making a fake call about a ghost terrorizing a government lab, figuring they'd get in trouble for unlawful entry and trespassing note . The only problem was there actually was a ghost messing with the lab's equipment, and the Busters were lauded for catching the ghost and saving the lab.
  • Rolling with the Ronks!:
    • "Humongorilla" has Mormagnon lie about there being a gigantic gorilla solely to take advantage of the Ronks' superstitions and manipulate them into giving him fruit, but it later turns out the Humongorilla actually exists.
    • In "Little Ronks of Horror", Flash entertains the Ronks with a story about a Croakadragon, which turns out to actually exist after Mormagnon disguises himself as the creature to mess with the Ronks. At the end of the episode, Flash then tells a story about a zombie werewolf, thinking for sure he's making up a non-existent monster this time, but the final shot shows that such a creature exists as well.
  • The Rotten Ralph episode "Point of No Return" had a case of this happen when Ralph neglects to return the VHS of Bongo Bob: The Movie to the video rental store and tries to keep Sarah's dad home to prevent him from finding out that the tape is overdue and has been destroyed. Sarah's dad gets Ralph to let him out of the house by claiming that he will pick up Bongo Bob II: The Wedgie Continues at the video rental store. On his way to the video rental store, Sarah's dad laughs that Ralph believed his lie about there being a sequel to the Bongo Bob movie, but finds to his surprise that a sequel does exist and is available at the video rental store.
  • Seven Little Monsters: "April Fools" has a boy named Maurice help One, Two, Three, Six, and Seven get back at Four and Five by pulling a prank that involves Maurice pretending to be an alien from Jupiter who intends to cause Four and Five harm. He turns out to actually be an alien from Jupiter at the end of the episode, but fortunately has no malevolent intentions and only wants to bring a copy of Three's script play to his home planet so it can be used to entertain his people.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", Homer, as Internet whistleblower "Mr. X", starts creating false stories like how the government is controlling peoples' minds with flu shots. Later, Homer is kidnapped and taken to a mysterious island because his flu shot lie turned out to be true, as they are given around Christmas to give people the urge to shop.
    • In "Yokel Chords", Bart makes up a false story about the ghost of the school cook, Dark Stanley, murdering children for food - just to scare a free lunch out of his classmates. Then Bart is punished for causing such an uproar in the school for it and has to see a psychologist, whom he eventually confesses his lie to. Turns out later that Dark Stanley is in fact real and had killed the psychologist's son.
    • In "The Last Temptation of Homer", when trying to hide the fact that he is talking about himself, Homer says a friend of his named "Joey Jo-Jo Jr. Shabadoo" has a problem. Moe insults the name, causing the man sitting next to them to run out of the bar crying:
      Barney: Hey! Joey Jo-Jo!
  • Throughout the 20th season of South Park, Cartman pretends to be a progressive and insists women and girls are smart and funny, especially his new girlfriend Heidi. It turns out he was accidentally right about Heidi being a genius, but not about her being funny.
    • In "World Wide Recorder Concert", the boys try to fool the New Yorker kids by making up the dirty word "mung". Turns out it's an actual dirty word.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the first episode, Mr. Krabs doesn't believe our hero is fit for the fry cook job. He sends SpongeBob on a Snipe Hunt to find a seemingly nonexistent hydrodynamic spatula (with port and starboard attachments and a turbo drive). It turns out said spatula is real, and there was only one in stock, which helps SpongeBob earn the job by satisfying five whole bus-loads of anchovies.
    • In the episode "Funny Pants", Squidward gets fed up with SpongeBob's nonstop laughing and tells him that if he doesn't stop, he'll burn out his "laugh box" and never be able to laugh again. Later in the episode, he confesses his lie and cracks up laughing over his own prank. As it turns out, the laugh box is real, and Squidward burns out his and has to get a partial transplant from SpongeBob at the end of the episode.
    • In "One Krab's Trash", Mr. Krabs sells a soda drink hat to SpongeBob, and then, after finding out that it's apparently worth a million dollars, attempts to scare it off SpongeBob by telling him the hat is cursed and unless he returns it to the grave of its previous owner, Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen, he himself will be cursed. Imagine his surprise when he finds out that not only is Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen real, but the hat really was his when he was alive.
    • In "Yeti Krabs", Mr. Krabs tries to scare Squidward and SpongeBob (but mostly Squidward) into working harder by making up a story about a Yeti Krab who tracks down and eats lazy workers, along with anyone in the vicinity. A real Yeti Krab shows up by coincidence after he leaves (not to eat SpongeBob and Squidward for being lazy, but to buy a Krabby Patty) and hilarity ensues.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: In "Mudd's Passion", Harry Mudd is found selling "love crystals". He's just running one of his scams and is as surprised as anyone else (and dismayed that he'd been offering them so cheaply) when it turns out that they actually work.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Superman's Pal", Angela Chen comes up with the story about Jimmy Olsen being Superman's friend purely because she couldn't convince Superman to give her a statement about his latest rescue but saw him thank Jimmy by name. To Jimmy's surprise, she turns out to have hit on the truth.
  • In the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Night of the Rogues", Shredder, fed up with Bebop and Rocksteady's incompetence, tosses them down into a garbage pit. Towards the final act of the episode, the pair becomes convinced that, rather than Shredder being angry with them, they were still confined to the pit because Shredder was in trouble, leading the duo to break out and race to "save" him. While it didn't happen when they believed, the ending of the episode saw the rogues Shredder had recruited to deal with the Turtles turn against himnote  and began chasing him and Krang, with Bebop and Rocksteady's timely arrival being just the escape they needed.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In "Mikey Gets Shellacne", when Mikey first reveals his zits, Donnie examines them and jokes that they're going to spread throughout his body until he basically becomes a giant zit and explodes. Later, they get worse, and it's revealed they're the result of Mikey stupidly rubbing a reject batch of retro-mutagen on his skin. Donnie does some bloodwork and discovers that the zits are spreading through Mikey's body, and he will explode if they don't fix things fast.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy:
    • "Cruisin' for a Bruisin'" has Kitty lie to Dudley that there is a bad guy trying to ruin T.U.F.F.'s cruise to get him to leave her alone. It turns out that Verminious Snaptrap is actually planning to sink the ship with his iceberg lair.
    • To avoid getting in trouble for playing a game of ping pong while on duty in "Rat Trap" Dudley and Kitty lie to the Chief that they were planning on how to stop a new villain named Jeff. While it's clear that they made up Jeff, the end of the episode shows that a villain named Jeff actually exists.

    Real Life 
  • This is a big deal in philosophy, specifically epistemology. They're called Gettier problems, and it's an argument against the justified true belief definition of knowledge. Very, very simply it's a person having good reason to think a certain thing, then it actually being something else, then it turns out the original way. You're still right, but explaining the double-switch is a problem.
  • Juan Pujol was a Catalan who wanted to support the Allies in World War II but didn't want to fight, having been a conscript in the Spanish Civil War. He tried to get a job with the British as a spy but was unsuccessful. Then he managed to get a job with the Germans as a spy, intending to feed them misinformation. However, since he didn't have any real knowledge (he was living in Portugal and didn't even speak English) one of his concocted stories turned out to be broadly true. This led to the British searching for a real spy, and eventually contacting him and employing him as an official double agent.


Video Example(s):


Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen

Mr. Krabs tries to scare SpongeBob out of a priceless soda-drinking hat by posing as a ghost, telling him the hat is cursed and must be returned to its deceased owner, Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen. Approximately one nanosecond later, SpongeBob announces he's gone and put the thing in the actual Smitty's grave.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (28 votes)

Example of:

Main / AccidentallyRealFakeAddress

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