A character knows that he is, and any companions with him are, being watched by someone (or someones) despite no one nearby appearing to pay any attention to them. The character may credit Spider-Sense, Telepathy, knowledge of an Ancient Conspiracy, the presence of someone in a Conspicuous Trenchcoat, or similar tropes, or they may break the fourth wall by making note of a Camera Trick like Eyedscreen, Rack Focus, or a Tracking Zoom.
- In Monster, Johann Liebert himself is very good at knowing when he's being watched. Case in point is when he made it clear to Tenma that he knew he was sniping him by making eye contact — from hundreds of yards away, mind you — and giving one of his trademark panic-inducing smiles.
- A vengeful doll spirit Showing Off the New Body in Ranma ½ picks up a stick to bash Ranma with. He grabs the stick, but not because he's on to her intentions: he thinks she's giving him a stick to hit his dad who's hiding in the bushes watching.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry, the first warning that you're about to fall victim to the Curse of Oyashiro-sama is the sensation of being watched.
Rena: Someone is quietly spying on you from afar. Someone is constantly shadowing you. Someone is always right behind you, looking at you. Eventually the footsteps will be a little offbeat from yours, and you'll hear one extra. And then, when you turn off the light and climb into your futon, it will stare down at you from the base of your pillow. Silently, patiently, waiting until you've accepted your sins.
- In the OVA of A Certain Scientific Railgun, Mikoto experiences the phenomenon known as "Someone's watching." At random points throughout the episode she gets the feeling that someone is indeed watching her and this understandably leads to paranoia.
- Pretty much the main plot point of Chaos;Head. Almost every time something weird happens, someone or something will say or read "Sono me dare no me?", which roughly translates to "Whose eyes are those eyes?"
- It's revealed in Full Metal Panic! TSR that this was actually a reason for a good number of Sōsuke's more paranoid moments while undercover at school. Apparently his "backup" from the Intelligence Division would aim at him with a sniper rifle's laser pointer for kicks, setting off his battlefield-honed instincts.
- In the director's cut of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Misato is spying on Kaworu from several miles away with binoculars... then Kaworu turns and looks her directly in the eye. Cue Misato going You Can See Me?
- Conan always knows when Kaitou KID is watching him. Always. Haibara always knows when she is being watched by a member of the Black Organization.
- This is Pride's specialty in Fullmetal Alchemist, being an omnipresent Eldritch Abomination with the body of an inconspicuous little child, and all.
- When the protagonists of the 3rd volume of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure scry on the Big Bad using a television, he immediately announces his awareness of them and points towards their viewpoint, before sending some feedback through the connection.
- Variable Geo: Chiho thought Damian hadn't noticed her, while she was eavesdropping on him at the Jahana Research Facility. She overhears one of the the lab tech say they'd get better results for Satomi's field tests with live data, rather than simulations. Damian doesn't even bother looking over his shoulder, he simply smirks and tells him to start with the girl that was spying on them, from the doorway.
- In Axis Powers Hetalia, during one of the Allies' meetings, six of the seven members of the group get the unnerving sense that an unseen presence is watching them. Theories as to what it is ranges from it being the ghosts of one of Russia's czars to a video tape that has a lot of static. It's actually the seventh member, Canada, who of course they failed to notice entirely.
- Happy Heroes: In Season 8 episode 9, when Huo Haha sets up the crystal ball for Big M. to use, it shows Happy S. and Smart S. playing cards. Happy S. says he gets the feeling someone is staring at them, and Smart S. realizes that... the audience from around the entire country is now staring at them, at which point the frame zooms out to show they're on a television screen being watched by several viewers.
- It's implied that the elves of ElfQuest can sense whenever they're being watched, which comes in useful when they're trying to avoid enemies. Also when someone finds them attractive.
- In Gotham City Garage Barbara suspects she is being watched after sending a message to the rebels, hoping reach her sister out. Of course, she's being watched by Lex Luthor's chief enforcer.
- Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: After being arrested, Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus know they are being watched 24/7 while staying in their cells.
- Channon Yarrow in Transmetropolitan can tell people are watching when her neck itches.
- The Far Side Anatidaephobia - The fear, that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you...
- Tintin - Tintin and the Picaros. Franchise/Tintin arrives at the expensive hotel where Captain Haddock is staying and points out the various hidden microphones in his Gilded Cage. He also points at the mirror and says it might be a double-sided mirror with a camera on the other side. Cue Colonel Sponsz watching Tintin on a monitor, pointing directly at him. "He's clever, that boy."
- Lampshaded in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
Hobbes: Am I the only one who feels like we're being watched?
Calvin: You mean like in a really cheesy clichéd movie fashion?
- Last Child of Krypton: In chapter 3, as Shinji is in school, he realizes he is being watched. Using his Kryptonian Super Senses he quickly spots Kaji standing out of the school grounds, and he quietly slips out to have a talk with the older man.
- In episode 20 of the first arc of Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, John Constantine prays for Supergirl's safety. Feeling pretty embarassed, he wonders if he's been seen... which he has. Supergirl was eavesdropping on him.
- In Supergirl (2015) story Survivors, Kara and the Danvers realize someone has been watching them for a while.
- In A Growing Affection, Hinata experiences this near the end of the story, and it creeps her out more than usual due to her all around vision.
- In the Discworld spy/supernatural/political/general murderous mayhem thriller Why and Were, this happens to an Assassin who has been targeted for elimination by the political staff at an Embassy representing her homeland's deadliest enemies. Cat and mouse is played on the streets of Ankh-Morpork. Quite literally so.
- In A Teacher's Glory Team 7 listens to this feeling and realizes that they are being spied on by Kabuto and Hinata. Amusingly, Kabuto never gets the same feeling when they begin counter-spying on him.
- In the Worm x Dishonored crossover fanfic A Change of Pace, one of Taylor's Charms gives her a jolt whenever someone is watching her.
- She later gets a Cold Breath charm that let's others feel when she's watching them. Unfortunately, she also forgets she's wearing it while tracking a target and gets put into an ambush for it.
- In The Bug Princess, while he and Lydia are on a tour of the cemeteries in New Orleans, BJ suddenly senses that they're being watched. Since he already suffers occasional Bad Dreams thanks to the events of the previous story, he immediately goes on high alert.
- The gods in Son of the Western Sea can inherently tell when they are being observed and by who. When Athena is talking with Annabeth, she notes that only the Olympians are watching their conversation because the minor gods are not impudent enough to listen in on her.
- Horton Hears a Who!
Mayor of Who-Ville: Hey, hon, did you ever get the feeling that you were being watched, and that maybe that thing watching you is... ehhh, a giant elephant?
- Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Luke: I feel like... I don't know...
Yoda: Feel like what?
Luke: [whirls around and whips out his blaster] Like we're being watched!
- Somewhat justified in that the Force does grant a bit of extra awareness.
- Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie
Bill: You ever get that feeling when you know you're being watched?
- In Jurassic Park, Muldoon notices that there's a velociraptor waiting for him and Ellie in the bushes near the shed. What he doesn't spot, though, is the other velociraptor... until it's too late.
- The Bourne Ultimatum: Impressive for making an entire sequence based around this, with Jason Bourne able to see the line of sight for at least a dozen cameras and avoid them all himself while instructing a journalist on how to avoid them.
- An inversion of sorts takes place in The Warriors when Mercy tells the gang that she's noticed they're being watched. She's then informed that the gang knew all along and, thanks to her, their enemies now know they've been spotted.
- The Conspiracy: Characters are shadowed by a man on a bike and a blacked-out truck at various points after they catch onto things they shouldn't.
- Predator. While Dutch and his team head for the rendezvous point, the Magical Native American Billy senses the title opponent watching them from the trees.
- The Dark Tower:
- Roland does this when he's in Eddie's head in The Drawing of the Three, pointing out all the airport feds who are watching the suspected drug mule while Eddie's out shopping.
- In the forth novel, Wizard and Glass, Roland's love Susan can sense when the witch Rhea is watching them through the eponymous glass.
- In the YA novel The Dancing Meteorite, misfit Kira tries to tell her less-experienced fellow students that someone is watching them... and they think she's crazy and ignore her. Needless to say, it turns out they should have listened.
- In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000: Gaunt's Ghosts novel Sabbat Martyr, Baen says this to Varl. He's right, because Pater Sin and his psyker-Creepy Children are walking between them while psyk-cloaked. In Traitor General, the scouts on Gereon know they're being tracked just before the Nihtgane show themselves. In The Armour of Contempt Mkoll and Eszrah recognise that there's someone out there watching them who the latter gets to see and is strongly implied to be MkVenner, while Vadim and Caffran have a similar sentiment at their part of Gereon.
- In one of the Warhammer 40,000 Eisenhorn short stories by Dan Abnett, a veteran soldier twice has this feeling, which is good enough to make Eisenhorn ready weapons and get into cover. Good job really, as they get fired on almost immediately.
- In The Wheel of Time, characters in the World of Dreams have a constant feeling of being watched. Often, possibly always, they're right. They get similar feelings in the city of Shadar Logoth, because the city itself is aware.
- In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, this is a magic ability. Unless magically blocked, absolutely reliable, and capable of detecting even magical viewing, from a distance, and often capable of figuring out the intent of those watching. This ability can also detect electronic surveillance devices, but only if there is someone monitoring them and consciously watching/listening. If no one on the other end is paying attention to the data being transmitted, then this ability will not pick up on the devices.
- In the Discworld book Monstrous Regiment, it is mentioned that vampires have a highly developed sense of this. As The Igor says, "In timeth of thtrethth a vampireth perthonal thpace can extend theveral mileth". "Threth-th?"
- The Lord of the Rings
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf calls Sam out for eavesdropping on him when he is explaining the properties of the One Ring to Frodo.
Sam: There aren't any eaves at Bag End and that's a fact.
- The Two Towers. Sam has the feeling of being watched, and it turns out to be Gollum following him.
Once, looking suddenly back, as if some prickle of the skin told him that he was watched from behind, he thought he caught a brief glimpse of a small dark shape slipping behind a tree-trunk.
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf calls Sam out for eavesdropping on him when he is explaining the properties of the One Ring to Frodo.
- In Warbreaker, Breath gives you this ability, called "lifesense". With only one Breath (which everyone is born with), it manifests as this trope.
- In Shibumi, the protagonist Nikolai Hel is capable of sensing when someone is watching him. It is not really telepathy and he isn't wholly sure how he gained that ability but he speculates it is a result of his senses being sharpened to cope with the lack of external stimulus after spending several years in solitary confinement. Considering he has several other Charles Atlas Superpowers, it's probably not as strange for him.
- Herald Mage Vanyel Ashkevron convinced a type of elusive and generally harmless minor spirit to watch any non-Herald that used "true" magic in Valdemar until he or another Herald Mage told them to stop. Given that Ashkevron was the Last Herald Mage for several centuries and the spirits were nearly impossible to ignore, block out, drive off, or even properly locate... most mages either fled or cracked within a week or two of crossing the border.
- Tash Arranda in Galaxy of Fear, being an untrained Force-Sensitive, can tell this, even when the 'watcher' is a technically blind living planet or a ghost. At the start of the series she's not comfortable enough in her powers and her companions keep telling her It's Probably Nothing, but as the books go on she and they start trusting this sense more.
- Lolita. Humbert during his last road trip with Dolores is convinced a private detective is following him. Becomes a sign of his Villainous Breakdown as he lapses into increasing paranoia, but his fears are not entirely unfounded as it's actually Quilty, another pedophile who plans on stealing Dolores away from him.
- The Girl from the Miracles District: On a ferry taking them to Norway, Nikita sees a pair of ravens circling the ship and immediately concludes that they're spying on her. Given that there's exactly two of them, their species and Nikita's own connection to the Norse pantheon, that's not a far-fetched conclusion.
- The Caves of Steel. While they are having lunch in a community kitchen crowded with hundreds of people, Elijah Baley is informed by his robot partner Daneel Olivaw not only that they're being watched, but that several of the people doing so took part in an anti-robot demonstration that they broke up the day before. Of course as a robot he has perfect recall of their faces and can pick them out of the crowd easily.
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Hercules and Iolaus almost always seem to know when they're being followed or are walking into an ambush, and often crack deadpan jokes to one another about it.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena always knows when a god is watching her. Usually Ares.
- In the Highlander series, Immortals always know when another Immortal is nearby. They can sense each other's Quickening.
- Ziva David of NCIS can always tell when someone is watching her. Tony lampshades this in most instances, calling her on her "spidey-sense".
- In Babylon 5, Lyta Alexander can tell if someone is watching her through a security camera after her psychic upgrade.
Dr. Trent: She knows she's being watched.
Sheridan: The security cameras are carefully hidden.
Dr. Trent: Yes, but she knows where the camera is, and she knows we're watching her. Just look at her. Is there another camera in there?
Sheridan: Yes, but...
Dr. Trent: Humor me.
Sheridan: ...Switch to the alternate view.
[Lyta's head snaps around to look at the viewer]
Ivanova: Well, that's a neat trick.
- Rule number one of The X-Files: Someone is always watching.
- At one point in the original-series Star Trek episode "Devil In The Dark", Spock is able to tell when the Horta is watching him and Kirk.
- JAG: In Skeleton Crew, Commander Alison Krennick, while investigating the murder of a female officer, is lost in the corridors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Seahawk. She suddenly feels that shes being watched, the lights go out and when she desperately reaches for the hatch to an upper level its stuck. Then it suddenly opens and a Marine guard is on the other side and he goes down to see if there is anyone there, but he finds nothing. It is implied by the camera angles that someone actually was following her, but we never get to see who it was.
- The Outer Limits (1963) episode "Second Chance". While the stewardess and pilot of the spaceship ride are being secretly observed by the alien Empyrian, the stewardess tells the pilot that she has the feeling of being watched.
- The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Stopover In A Quiet Town". At one point while she and her husband are walking around the empty town, Millie Frazier says that she has the feeling of being watched. The revelation of who's watching them is the Twilight Zone Twist.
- Person of Interest. In "Synecdoche", John Reese spends the episode thinking that he's being watched, which is only natural when you have Artificial Super-intelligences hooked into every CCTV camera. However this time it's because he's being protected by a Similar Squad of vigilantes working for the same Benevolent A.I. that he does.
- "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- The rules for Scrying spells allow the person being observed to notice the scrying sensor. As far back as AD&D 1st Edition, being spied upon by a magical crystal ball gave the target a chance to detect that they were being observed.
- Module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. When the PCs arrive in front of Lolth's giant spider ship, they will get a feeling of being watched from the windows (which look like giant eyes) in the head of the ship.
- Dungeon magazine #21 adventure "Jammin'". After the Player Characters board the spelljammer ship Halcyon, they will constantly have the felling of being watched. This is because the spectre captain of the ship is keeping them under observation continuously.
- Aberrant includes the ability to detect this trope as a Mega-Perception enhancement named "That Creepy Feeling". Being extranormal, this sense can be fooled by the Quantum power "Blank" (which also negates such unnatural senses as ESP and telepathic scanning).
- In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, one of the standard voice files for the Dark Elves, if they nearly detected the player, was: "Someone's watching me. I can tell."
- When you read people's minds in The World Ends with You, you might come across that one person who thinks,
"Hey! You there! Peeping at my thoughts, huh? I know you are! Well, if you think you can mind-control me or something, you're sorely mistaken!"
- GLaDOS's cameras are everywhere in Portal, and the walls in some of the hidden rooms have crude drawings of said cameras with "SHE'S WATCHING YOU" scribbled on the wall.
- The surveillance in Mirror's Edge is extensive, however, the protagonist specializes in escaping the authorities despite them knowing exactly where she is.
- In web-game Dragonstone, the genre-savvy innkeeper uses this phrase to warn you about the upcoming new enemy type.
- Ceiling Peon is watching you infiltrate.
- Apparently, Gabe Newell is watching you!!
- In the Lonesome Road DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, you're being watched by Ulysses the entire time.
- In RollerCoaster Tycoon (both 1 and 2), you can click on patrons, which brings up a window with a camera trained on them and tabs to see their likes, dislikes, thoughts, etc. If you keep that window open for about 10 minutes, one of the thoughts the patron starts to have is "I have a feeling someone is watching me...".
- Happens in pretty much every game based on Slender. Even more so in Arrival, especially during the prologue, when Slender Man may be outside the house but doesn't come in. The fact that he's just lurking outside makes it even creepier.
- One can't help but feel this reaction in P.T. It's heavily implied that as you progress through the hallways, Lisa is watching you.
- White Face of Imscared outright says that it loves watching you, appearing at least somewhere in most of the rooms watching the player from afar. It's incredibly unsettling.
- Mass Effect:
- On boarding the apparently lifeless ship Worthington, squadmate Kaiden will comment that he feels like they're being watched, but the radar shows nothing... Turns out the crew was killed by one of their own in a psychotic breakdown over her brain-dead boyfriend, and she attacks Shepard and co. when they pull the plug on him.
- Ashley says as much if she's brought to Ilos, and she's not talking about the geth swarming the place. A few minutes later, it turns out the VI Vigil was listening in on them.
- Double Subversion in Higurashi: When They Cry. Characters who have come under "Oyashiro-sama's curse" tend to say that it's like a shadow constantly on their backs, like they're always being watched. One would think that it was unfounded because they have a brain dysfunction causing them paranoia, but it turns out that the footsteps they hear are in fact real. The problem is that they hear someone following them but can't see them. The paranoia from the brain dysfunction (which was caused by parasites) that allows them to hear it is, in fact, caused by extreme stress. The "shadow" in question? Never intended any harm.
- The group suspects they are being watched by Zero in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and thus decide to give themselves aliases, lest he/she find out and come after their families. Zero is one of the group, and knows their names.
- Ambrosia is always under Onyx's watchful eye in War: 13th Day.
Ambrosia: He was always there either a step behind me or just within my line of vision. He never spoke. He simply observed and, sometimes, more than that.
- Since you're being chased by ninja, everybody in Yo-Jin-Bo gets this feeling all the time. And if you spy on Muneshige and Mon-Mon in the hot spring, they'll say this about you.
- One of Nanase's spells in El Goonish Shive tells her both how many people are looking directly at her, as well as how many merely have her in their field of vision. It allows her to discover exactly how much she gets leered at.
- At one point in Dominic Deegan, Quilt attempts to scry for Stunt. He screws it up and ends up looking straight up someone's skirt... Cue Pamela asking, "Does anyone else feel like they're being watched?"
- Gunnerkrigg Court does not track Zimmy even though she's a bit unsafe to be around. Because she feels even the staring of a robot's camera and it annoys the hell out of her.
- Based on Real Life events, This Scandinavia and the World comic.
- In Bob and George, Megaman's reaction to the audience.
- In Nebula the sense everyone gets that there's something out in the dark watching them helps make an already tense situation (Sun's recent Hair-Trigger Temper and Thousand-Yard Stare, Jupiter's increasing lack of subtlety in his plans to take over the solar system, Earth Hearing Voices that no one else does) worse. The fact that something really is watching them doesn't make it any better.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: One Plague Zombie sub-class is known to observe its prey from hidden places before attacking them at the most opportune moment. They are usually so well-hidden that the sensation of being watched is one of the few established tell-tale signs of their nearby presence.
- At the beginning of Vox and King Beau, Vox's then-boyfriend complains of feeling like he's being watched around their house. When Vox moves out after discovering that her boyfriend is cheating on her, people who visit her in her new apartment have similar complaints.
- For most of Season 1 of The Magnus Archives, Jon is a clear Agent Scully - he claims that nearly every statement he reads is bogus, even when he's presented with undeniable evidence to the contrary. In the season 1 finale, Martin confronts him, asking why he insists all the stories are fake when they're obviously real... and Jon confesses that he actually believes all of them. He's just been feigning skepticism because he feels like something has been watching him read statements, and that whatever is watching him will get very angry if he admits that the statements are credible. He's completely right. The Magnus Institute is a cult that serves the physical manifestation of the fear of being watched, and by reading statements, Jon has actually been feeding it.
- Franz Hopper of Code Lyoko felt this while creating Lyoko.
- In Hair-Raising Hare, Bugs manages to pull this on Gossamer the big, hairy monster.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- Patchy the pirate and Polly the parrot are arguing about SpongeBob. Cut to SpongeBob in the Krusty Krab, saying, "I just have this strange feeling that a pirate and a parrot are arguing about me... and the parrot is winning!"
- Also parodied and subverted with — this gag was actually initiated by the blue jellyfish stalking him, but two door-to-door salesmen are seen hiding behind a rock after the line is said:
SpongeBob: [while being followed] It feels like... someone... wants to sell me something!
- In The Penguins of Madagascar the entire episode "Tangled in the Web" is a "being watched" moment. (There are webcams everywhere.) The same episode starts with a close-up of Skipper saying something to the effect of "Ever get the feelings someone is watching your every move?" The camera zooms out to show the other three penguins standing very close to him in circle, all staring at him.
- In The Simpsons episode "In Marge We Trust", Bart, having discovered a Japanese advertising mascot in Homer's likeness, suggests that the family is being spied on. Marge insists that "no one is watching us", and the family resume eating dinner, glancing around uneasily as they do.
- Jonny Quest TOS episode "The Fraudulent Volcano". While taking Jonny and Hadji to rescue Dr. Quest and Race Bannon, the sergeant says that he has a feeling they're being watched. He's right - they're being spied upon by Dr. Zin's men.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy, episode "Fa, La, La, La, Ed":
Edd: Ed, please! Someone may be watching...
- The Venture Bros. pilot in the image above, played for laughs of course.
- Space Ghost episode "The Web". After the main characters land on the planet Teelus, Jan says that she has a feeling that they're being watched. They are, by the giant humanoid ants that infest the place.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Beyond the Farthest Star". While the Enterprise away team is on board the alien ship, Dr. McCoy says being on the ship gives him the creeps and that he feels like something's watching them. He's right: there's an intangible alien being on the ship that's trying to return to the Enterprise with the team.
- The inexplicable sensation that someone is staring at you is a real phenomenon that people experience in everyday life. The Other Wiki has this article on the "psychic staring effect", which talks about the various studies done on the subject concluding that the feeling is not actually as reliable as people might think.
Now, time to give them a good poke in the eye.