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Cassandra Truth

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"You may believe yourselves rid of your headache now, and maybe you are — but you've only done it by cutting off your own heads."
Fox Mulder, The X-Files, "The Truth"

Sometimes people just won't believe you.

You try your hardest to tell someone that your parents are actually super villains and that you need their help to bring them down, or that aliens have landed in your backyard and are now plundering your kitchen, or that the nice grandpa in the flat above you is in fact an evil bloodthirsty creature from another dimension, but the authorities look at you like you are crazy and send you packing, or that some random frog you came across one day can sing and dance. What's a lone protagonist to do?

In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long tells the two best ways to tell a lie.

  1. Tell the truth, but not all of it.
  2. Tell the truth, and maybe even all of it, but do so in a way that the person "just knows" you have to be lying.

A common staple of Disney and children's films, where the Kid Hero stumbles upon an evil conspiracy or a criminal ring and their parents and the police refuse to listen. The only thing to do is to save the day yourself, with PG heroics and Scooby-Doo style.


If the protagonist trying to report the situation works for someone who can actually do something about it, such as the FBI, it's not so much that they aren't believed, but Da Chief will tell them that it isn't worth it to expend resources "on a hunch".

This sort of situation can also be used to maintain the Masquerade: if a minor character finds out and tries to tell someone that the guy next door is secretly a Warrior of Justice, they won't be believed, because who would ever think that that foppish playboy could really be the dark, grim Super Hero? Often though, it's because they're horrible at wording it so it sounds genuinely insane.

Sometimes Alice actually asks what's going on and, when given the true-but-bizarre explanation by Bob, responds "Well, if you don't want to tell me, just say so". As it turns out the truth is Freakier Than Fiction (in-universe, anyway) and thus Alice thinks the truth is obviously made up by Bob. This is often Played for Laughs, and sometimes it will ironically be used as reverse psychology by Bob to either:

  • Intentionally deceive Alice into believing that something that's less strange must actually be the truth if, for example, Alive is interrogating Bob, and Bob doesn't want a much larger secret to get out.
  • To get Alice to stop asking him about it, if Bob doesn't want him/her to "know" the truth.

Related to Devil in Plain Sight, except that in that case, the disbelief is mainly due to the deceptive abilities of the "devil", whereas in this one, it's usually due to strange circumstances, the perceived unreliability of the speaker, or just plain bad luck. It can also be a Crying Wolf situation, where the fact that the character lied previously is obfuscating the fact that they're telling the truth now. It can also be caused by the "normalcy bias", where people underestimate the likeliness of a disaster or how bad it could be. (Think of the people in the path of a hurricane who refuse to evacuate.) If it deals with uncovering something that might be dangerous and people don't believe the person not because they think they are lying but because they are crazy, see Properly Paranoid.

The title comes from the mythical seer Cassandra, whose prophecies were always accurate, but never believed because of a curse placed on her by the god Apollo, thus making this Older Than Feudalism. (Writers of speculative fiction just looove to name precognitive or clairvoyant characters "Cassandra" or some variant thereof, like in Smallville, Buffy, My Hero, Red Dwarf, and The X-Files).

If the person telling the truth is an NPC in a video game, they're spouting Infallible Babble. In this case, the in-game characters won't believe them.

If the character is the one guy to figure something out despite all the much more expert people working on the problem, he is an Einstein Sue.

This is often played to ridicule the doubters, even when the truth is on the level of the absurd. A protagonist warns others of a completely unlikely, nigh impossible event, but the audience, in on the secret, perceives a truth they would normally doubt themselves as completely obvious.

Subtropes are Ignored Expert and The Cassandra, where the character in question is in a position where they really should be believed, due to authority on the subject or track record of accuracy, but still isn't.

See also Not-So-Imaginary Friend, for a specific situation where the "truth" is the existence of a character. If the person telling the truth is dismissed by law enforcement officers, it's Police are Useless. When the truth in question has something to do with Medium Awareness, compare Audience? What Audience?. And when it's the story itself that's being accurate/factual and the audience who doesn't buy into it, that's Aluminum Christmas Trees.

Contrast with Sarcastic Confession and You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You, or Internal Reveal when they believe the truth. A particularly cynical twist is when whoever wasn't listening concludes that Cassandra Did It when what she's saying comes true or to have someone finally believe them, only for their new proponent to find that its a Contagious Cassandra Truth. Can overlap with Don't Shoot the Message if the truth is defended badly, jerkishly, and/or tyranically.

May involve Refuge in Audacity if the character counts on others not believing in him to get off scot-free. The Other Wiki even has an article about Cassandra Truth.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 8 episode 31 of Happy Heroes, Happy S. meets a wooden puppet boy named Pino who says he is looking for his nose and learns that said puppet boy is a notorious Compulsive Liar. By the time he looks inside a whale's belly to look for his nose, Happy S. begins to think Pino might not be telling the truth and stops helping him, only to find the bakery he described in his backstory and hear its owner explain everything Pino stated earlier. Happy S. realizes his mistake and goes back to help Pino again.

    Comic Books 
  • Peter David loves this trope. In literally every comic series David has written, you'll find at least a half dozen examples of a character bluntly telling the entire truth of an incident and the reply invariably being "fine, don't tell me." A literal example in Supergirl (1996) as one character is the Cassandra of legend who's sadly accepted how no one believes her predictions of disaster.
  • Superman:
    • Jor-El in nearly every version of Superman's origin. The classic story is that he tells the Kryptonian High Council (or something like that) that Krypton is doomed and they must evacuate, but nobody believes him, so he's forced to send his infant son to Earth in a small rocket.
    • Averted in the origin of Superboy-Prime from DC Comics Presents #87, where the Jor-El of the Prime Universe tells colleagues that Krypton is doomed, and everyone believes him, but bureaucracy gets in the way.
    • The reason no one believed him in the DCAU version was because they relied too much on someone else who they shouldn't have: Brainiac. The computer knew Jor-El was right, but told them a conflicting story, in effect making Krypton the first victim of his mad plan to absorb all the knowledge in creation and then destroy it. (To make it even more dramatic, Brainiac told the council to order Jor-El arrested, but he managed to activate the controls to Kal-El's rocket right before they could; by then, it really didn't matter what they did. A related change in this continuity is that Jor-El does manage to convince one member of the Council, his father-in-law Sul-Van; who plays an instrumental part in distracting the police to buy his son-in-law time.)
    • John Byrne had fun with this during his run. A computer programmer working for Lex Luthor ran extensive data on both Superman and Clark Kent into the system, in order to find a perceived connection between them. When the computer responds, "Clark Kent Is Superman", Lex promptly fires the programmer, refusing to believe that someone with Superman's powers would be satisfied with a "normal" life.
  • The first volume of Runaways has the superpowered main characters struggling with the fact that no one will believe that their parents are supervillains, resulting in them having to bring them down personally. Conversely, after the Pride are dead, their activities exposed, still few are willing to trust the Runaways, because of who their parents were. In this case it was somewhat subverted by the fact that the characters' parents essentially owned the police and had their fingers in the pies of every major organization, illicit or non, on the West Coast.
  • Tim Drake finds himself in this situation during "Red Robin" while he is trying to prove that Bruce Wayne is not dead.
  • In a Swamp Thing storyline where the title character is believed dead, Adam Strange shows up to tell Swampy's girlfriend that he's still alive and is trying to get home to her. She's incredibly relieved... until Adam starts helpfully explaining how he met him on an alien planet that he travels to by "zeta beam", at which point she shuts the door in his face. Adam Strange gets similar treatment in The DCU Elseworlds story DC: The New Frontier. He even gets locked up in Arkham Asylum.
  • In Route 666, the main character is named Cassandra (usually called "Cassie") and suddenly starts seeing a world of ghosts and horrific monsters preying upon humanity. No one else can see this, and so, in her struggles against them, she is also pursued by the police as a psychopathic killer.
  • Invoked by Neil Gaiman in a 1993 speech at the Diamond Retailers Seminar: "I'm not here to play Cassandra. I do not have the figure and I do not have the legs". In his speech, he predicted that the contemporary speculator boom in comics would result in the market crashing.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Extremely minor character Harvey Who was portrayed as this. A member of the Royal Secret Service, he warned King Max Acorn over not trusting certain characters, including the original Robotnik. However, Max ignored those warnings as he had trusted the mystical Source of All for his guidance. Years later, when Max's son Elias had lost the throne, Harvey decided to help him as he realized he was in a better position to be king than his father ever was because he never used the Source.
    • Another example is with Sonic himself. Even after hearing that Eggman was planning to use a Wave Motion Gun that would destroy both the Freedom Fighters' camp and half of the Eggdome in an effort to get rid of him, Sonic brushed off Shadow and Rouge's assertions that Eggman was going crazy until he witnessed Eggman's Villainous Breakdown firsthand.
  • Daredevil: In the classic issue #181, before Murdock's Secret Identity became public, even before Kingpin knew who he was, Bullseye figured out that Murdock was Daredevil, and even guessed that the chemical accident had given him his powers. When he tries to tell Kingpin, Fisk dismisses him as insane.
  • When Harry Osborn first became the Green Goblin shortly after the presumed death of his father Norman, he was quick to admit to the police that he was a villain after Spider-Man apprehended him. However, Spidey had stripped him of the Goblin costume and accessories, and because the police figured Harry was too young to be the Goblin (who they had been after for years) they didn't believe him, assuming he was a crackpot. (Which was technically true, given the fact that the drugs he had been taking had made him unstable. Fortunately for Spidey, they also ignored Harry's claims that Spider-Man was Peter Parker for the same reason.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Origins: Magneto's mother tells him that he has a disease, and that they were working on a cure. He kills her. But it turns out that she wasn't saying it because of Fantastic Racism: being a mutant is an actual disease after all.
    • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy:
      • Played for drama. Xavier agrees that the vision of the aliens dying (that he got in a dream, as well as Jean) was not a made-up montage, but thought that it was just a visual metaphor of loneliness and abuse from some new mutant. It turns out that the visions were completely what they appeared to be.
      • Marh-Vell telling Danvers and Fury he's on their side isn't believed at first, which he's indignant about.
        Marh: Are you people so far gone you can't tell when someone's trying to help?
    • The Ultimates: Absolutely no-one believes Thor when he starts talking about Asgard
  • For many of the first few arcs of Volume 2 of X-Force, X-23 is constantly warning Wolverine that Angel is a liability they can't trust because of his Super-Powered Evil Side. However Logan downplays her concerns, and insists Warren is under control. Sure enough, Archangel proves to be an uncontrollable wildcard that derails a couple of their operations. Logan immediately warns her not to even think of saying "I told you so" when she's proven correct.
  • Deadpool will loudly and repeatedly tell anyone who will listen about how they're all in a comic book medium, complete with critiques about either the plot or art style, but nobody does listen. Granted, it doesn't help that he's genuinely insane otherwise.
  • Age of Bronze: The daughter of Priam, Cassandra frequently makes predictions. While some are clear, others are gibberish and only decipherable in hindsight. This tends to get all of her prophecies dismissed -even when she's reminding Priam of a prophecy he believed. The problem is compounded by Priam being insistent on having his own way, to the point of ignoring other, saner prophets.
  • In Violine, Kombo, when his predictions are not useless because of being only moments before or during the actual event, is not believed when he actually does predict the future.
  • The Ultimates (2015): Connor Sims, the Anti-Man, managed to attain a state of hyper-awareness when he gained his powers, and learnt all reality was in a "cage". Unfortunately, his attempts to explain this to people never work, partly because Connor went insane because of what he saw, and also because something is making sure no one hears his explanations. Then, come Civil War II, someone does start listening. It's Thanos.
  • Scooby-Doo! Team-Up: When Velma tells the Jetsons she came from the past, Jane assumes she hit her head.
  • Batman '66: Egghead finds a Time Machine and visits future museums. His only comment from the experience is that he won't trust a museum stating the Mets win the 1969 World Series.
  • The Flash: When Linda Park was erased from existence by Abra Kadabra, Bart was the only one who remembered that she ever existed. However, because he was Bart, everyone dismissed him when he told them about her, thinking she was his imaginary friend.
  • Joker: Harvey Dent sics one of his crooked cops on Joker henchman Jonny Frost to warn him about The Joker, and then calls Jonny to his office to warn him some more: "you are involved with a sick man who will see you die... because for him, death is the punchline." Granted, the Joker's far from laughing by the time he shoots Jonny in the face at point-ouch range, but Dent was close enough about the death part.
  • The Red Ten has twisted mass-murdering villain Oxymoron telling long-time nemesis crimefighter Red that her super-team, the Alliance, is made up of monsters with some responsible for crimes even worse than Oxymoron's. This sets Red to find the truth and Oxymoron lampshades how he knew all the way until the end, Red was hoping this was just some sort of plot by him rather than accept the reality.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Safe Havens, at one point a school photographer snagged a photo of Remora's mermaid transformation, but when he presented it to the school principal she simply denounced it as a photomanip, as Samantha had already shown her several photomanips in advance. Samantha later apologized to him, telling him she had to do it to protect Remora's secret.
  • In a Tempest strip, when Tempest awakes in an interrogation room, he quickly and clearly tells the questioner that Deathfist and his daughter have broken out of prison and are on their way to Times Square to punch a hole in the space-time continuum. When the lie detector says he's telling the complete truth, the interrogator jumps to the conclusion that he's figured out how to fool it.
  • In The Wacky Adventures of Pedro, Pedro's adventures in other time periods and/or worlds become this when his friends doubt that they actually occurred.
  • B.C.: Early in its run, BC saw clams walking about, but nobody would believe him.
    BC: Clams got legs!
  • In one Spider-Man storyline, Spidey manages to get J. Jonah Jameson to interview him. He indignantly dismisses the webslinger's "ridiculous" story about being bitten by a radioactive spider.

    Film — Animation 
  • Barbie And The Twelve Dancing Princesses: When Rowena finds the princesses' dancing shoes worn out and asks what they did, she assumes they're lying to her when they tell her about the magical world they were visiting, and forces them to work as maids. She does not believe them until she eventually sees it herself.
  • In Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Sid is kidnapped in his sleep by a tribe of mini-sloths who wish to sacrifice him to prevent the coming flood. When he stumbles back into camp the next morning, no one believes his story, insisting that he was just sleepwalking and dreamed the whole thing. Later the tribe reveals themselves to Diego when they ask Sid to return to them, but Sid turns them down in one of the film's more heartwarming moments.
  • Woody from the Toy Story films. The first movie had him trying to convince the other toys that Buzz was still alive and he didn't kill him. In the second one he insisted to Jessie and Stinky Pete that Andy didn't break him intentionally. And in the third one, he had difficulty telling the other toys that Andy really wanted to put them in the attic and not in the garbage.
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, no one will believe Fievel after he warns them about Cat R. Waul's evil plan to eat all of the mice that he convinced to move west, which Fievel overheard while snooping.
  • Played with in The Land Before Time: Cera tries to tell the others that Sharptooth isn't dead. Littlefoot convinced them all otherwise until witnessing Sharptooth again try to eat them. Then again, Cera did fill her story with so many Blatant Lies (i.e: claiming she bravely faced Sharptooth, when she really fled for her life), that it's hard to blame Littlefoot.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, no one believes Hiccup's story about the Night Fury at first. (Totally justified, because Night Furies are incredibly dangerous dragons, and up to that point, no one had ever even seen a Night Fury, or at least seen one and lived to tell about it, much less wounded one. Not to mention that Hiccup has said things like that before.)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has an odd variation, where the villain notices the truth herself but is too overconfident to accept it. After indulging in typical Nothing Can Stop Us Now! Evil Gloating, the Queen suddenly stops mid-Evil Laugh to ponder, "But wait! There may be an antidote! Nothing must be overlooked!" Then she checks her book, and realizes there is one, but quickly dismisses it, saying, "Love's first kiss, bah! No fear of that! The Dwarfs will think she's DEAD! She'll be buried alive!" As we all know, it didn't turn out that way at all, and this flaw in her plan is exactly what saved Snow White.
  • In Mulan, when the Huns emerge from the snow, Mulan is the only one who sees it. She returns to the city to inform Shang of this, but he doesn't believe her because she had earlier lied and posed as a soldier. The ordinary folk refuse to listen because she's a woman. In a twist of fate, Shan Yu and his army show up at that exact moment and take the Emperor hostage right in front of everybody.
  • In The Jungle Book 2, Shere Khan refuses to believe Kaa when the latter truthfully tells him he has no idea where Mowgli is.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sally tries to tell Jack about her vision of his Christmas being a disaster. Jack, blinded by his plans, blows her off and then comically misses the point by thinking Sally was referring to his "Sandy Claws" outfit.
  • The Iron Giant toys with this. Earlier on in the movie, Mansley is trying to convince a general that there is a giant metal robot out there, and isn't taken seriously when he does. He was right about that part. However, he was also wrong about the nature of the robot... it was much gentler than he was making it out to be. Eventually, this gets switched around, and the ones trying to convince the army that the giant is gentle are the ones telling a Cassandra Truth.
    General: Tell me again, Mansley, and this time, listen to yourself.
    Mansley: A giant... metal... man. [Face Palm as he realizes how stupid that sounds]
  • Happens to Mater in Cars 2. Due to his reputation as a prevaricator of fanciful stories (established in the "Mater's Tall Tales" shorts), none of his friends believe him when he tells about his experiences in international espionage.
  • Played straight and then subverted in the course of about fifteen seconds in Monsters, Inc. After Celia gives Mike an ultimatum, insisting he tell her the truth or she'll break up with him, Mike tells her all about Boo and the conspiracy surrounding her and the company. Celia instantly dismisses it as a "pack of lies" - then sees Boo being carried in Sully's arms, and Randall furiously chasing the three of them, and realizes he was telling the truth.
  • Mr. Tweedy in Chicken Run notices early on in the film that the chickens are plotting something and insists on investigating, but his wife, Big Bad Mrs. Tweedy, refuses to listen and convinces him it's all in his head. Naturally, the chickens are left free to organize a revolt, thoroughly humiliate Mrs. Tweedy, and escape.
  • In Recess: School's Out, the police laugh off and outright mock T.J.'s attempts to tell them that an evil mastermind has taken up residence in the school now that it has been abandoned for the summer. They do this even when T.J.'s friends back him up, and when Ms. Finster tells them that something's going on at the school. The fact that they weren't even willing to believe Finster, a teacher at the same school and thus theoretically a better source than kids also gives them shades of Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop.
  • Hercules: Phil discovers Meg is working for Hades (albeit unwillingly). When he tries to warn Herc, he will have none of it, going to the point of hitting him in a blind rage, leading Phil to leave at Herc's darkest hour. Hades ends up revealing Meg's involvement to Herc after taking his strength away. And boy, does it have a more crushing effect on Herc than having his strength gone.
  • Osmosis Jones infiltrates the villain Thrax's organization and learns his entire plan — but because he's a screw-up, nobody believes his warnings. Thrax even points this out, and has a laugh over it.
    Thrax: They're making this too easy! Hahahahaha! Y'know, in all the bodies I've been in, no one's ever gotten wise to me. And now for the first time, an immunity cell has figured out everything, and they don't believe him! Hahahahahaha! Can you taste the irony in that?
  • In Epic MK doesn't believe her father's studies in that there are Leafmen who live in the forest. At least until she gets shrunken down to size to see them for herself.
  • The Mystery of Mamo has Inspector Zenigata insisting to the Egyptian police that Lupin has already broken into the pyramid to lift the Philosopher's Stone. Not only is he right about what Lupin is after, Lupin really is already in the pyramid, despite the cops having the place surrounded.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games after Sunset Shimmer is able to bring down the accidentally evil Human Twilight Sparkle Crystal Prep principal Abacus Finch attempts to get Canterlot High disqualified from the titular games for using magic, despite the fact that it was her fault it happened in the first place. Students from both schools call her out for it. However, when she vows to bring legal means into this, they pretty much invite her to do so, knowing that if she told anyone, they'd think she was a loon. She's forced to take what was left of her dignity and walk off.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: Pacha tries to warn Kuzco that Yzma and Kronk are trying to kill him, but Kuzco blows him off, thinking they were there to take him home. He then falls out with Pacha, believing his claim to be a plan to save his hilltop from destruction, and then orders Pacha to go away. Kuzco makes his way to Yzma and Kronk, only to overhear them discussing that they are seeking to kill him and that the kingdom doesn't miss him. Kuzco realizes Pacha was right, but Pacha has left, and Kuzco hangs his head in despair.
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: Goofy overhears the Gammas' plan to cheat in the X Games, and tries to warn Max. Max, who has been continuously embarrassed by his father, coldly dismisses him. However, when the Gammas blast PJ out of the match, forcing Max's team to forfeit, Max realizes Goofy was right.

  • This trope is a huge part of the Ayreon legendarium. In The Final Experiment the protagonist, Ayreon, is sent visions from the future about the end of the world and travels to King Arthur's court to warn him. Merlin is jealous, convinces everyone that Ayreon is wrong, and realizes that was a bad idea too late. He predicts that another seer will come: Mr. L in 01011001 has dreams about the end of the world sent to him by cyborg fish aliens; unfortunately, he's in an insane asylum.
  • Emilie Autumn's Bedlam House chic is heavily based on her belief that psychiatric institutions have not progressed that much with patient care: specifically, she alleges that abuse is rampant but never gets brought up because "[she's] the crazy girl and he's the doctor with a million dollar education".
  • Go listen to "Cassandra" by ABBA. Just do it.
  • Fear Before the March of the Flames have "Taking Cassandra to the End of the World Party", with lyrics referencing someone predicting a catastrophe while being ignored and the chorus "no one listens to the damned".
  • The Crüxshadows also have a song titled "Cassandra".
  • The Lumineers' darkly humorous song "Submarines" tells the story of a town drunk who tries in vain to warn the townspeople about an impending attack.
  • Sheltered Reality's "My Name is Barbara" (both the original from their old band name Rex is Dead and the Still Survivin' Remix) has the titular character not being listened to. The singers lampshade the fact that no one ever listens to someone named Barbara. In the process, Barbara loses her sister and brother-in-law to gangs, didn't get a job, and could never stand up for herself.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The trope namer: Cassandra from Classical Mythology, theater, and literature, as featured in The Iliad, The Odyssey, the lost epics of the Trojan Cycle, The Aeneid, and many others!
  • In some versions of the King Arthur story, Merlin has this problem; see, for example, this Arthur, King of Time and Space strip.
  • Numerous Biblical prophets, most notably Jeremiah and Elijah, spent much of their lives trying to convince the public in the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah that exile was imminent due to the people having strayed from the Torah's commandments, and the monarchy in particular having turned to idolatry. This was often met with hostility, particularly from the monarchy.
    • Isaiah 53:1 invokes this: "Who has believed our report?"

  • Nobody in the Cool Kids Table game Creepy Town believes Oliver at first when he appears panicking that Ethan is dead. For that matter, nobody believes Frank when he claims the devil possessed his chainsaw to kill Ethan.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Shane Douglas was a victim of The Kliq's reign of terror during his 1995 WWF run as Dean Douglas. After Shane went back to ECW at the start of 1996, he spoke out against them. With the damage that the Kliq offshoot the New World Order later did to WCW, and Triple H's own rise to power, Shane ended up being proven right.
  • CHIKARA, 2009. Eddie Kingston was working rudo while trying to convince everyone that Claudio Castagnoli was the bad guy, then was proven right when Claudio turned on Mike Quackenbush as part of the riot that marked Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes' formation at the end of the 2009 Season Finale, Three-Fisted Tales.
  • In 2014, SoCal Val, of whom no major news had come about since an arrest the following year, showed up without warning, promising to advance the careers of wrestlers who had lost at SHINE 21. The Lucha Sisters, in their usual way, compared her to a virus and complained that no one was listening to them (besides Kellie Skater, who said everything was okay). By the same time next year, Val was directing a Power Stable on every WWN member show, and sitting on FIP's commentary table to boot.

  • A quite magnificent example in the first episode of Series Two of The BBC Radio 4 comedy The Casebook of Inspector Steine. As it begins, Mrs Gloynes, the police station tea lady who is actually the crime boss of 1950s Brighton, has been laying low since the highly intelligent PC Twitten discovered her secret and agreed to keep quiet if the crimewave stopped. Near the end, the constable is reluctantly dragged on stage at a music hall and hypnotised to believe that "this charming Cockney charlady is a criminal mastermind". The episode ends with crime rates up again, and Steine telling Twitten that if there's no way to snap him out of this delusion, the least he could do is keep quiet about it.
  • In the radio adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a fortuneteller insists that inside Jekyll's saintly exterior is a monster. The other characters shrug this off.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Secret Hitler is based on this. Most of the players are liberals, a smaller number are fascists, and one of them is Hitler, but the liberals don't know who Hitler or the fascists are. What ensues is everyone constantly doubting each other. There is no easy way to know whether the chancellors passing fascist policies actually had no other choice or are furthering their own agenda. This is a game of lies and bluffing, and frequently liberals inadvertently shoot other liberals.
  • Mage: The Awakening features "Proximi", families with a magical heritage, limited magic, and an unbreakable family Curse. Particularly the Primid family, said to be descended from Cassandra with a gift for prophecy, and who originally shared her Curse. They eventually tried to use it to their advantage (deliberately making predictions that they knew people would act against, as a way to manipulate them), so the Curse altered itself accordingly (the point of Proximus Curses being that they are always bad, and change themselves to fit loopholes). Now, the Primid Curse is that they are incapable of accurately conveying their prophecies at all (that is, they will know the future, but will be unable to truthfully tell it to anyone else)
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution the US government has found a way to release psionic powers in some individuals and now there's a massive, worldwide shadow war between several factions that want to exploit them to their own ends. Also, the media, which is constantly being monitored for signs of psionic activity, is completely controlled by some of these conspiracies and they're experimenting on the general population with prenatal tampering and releasing strange chemicals into the water. You try getting your average person to believe that.
  • Sidereal Exalted have a two-fold version of this trope. In a straight application, nobody listened to them when they tried to stop mad Solars from doing world-endangering shenanigans. In a more twisted one, they can do it on purpose, at will.
  • One Ork codex for Warhammer 40,000 has a flavor quote about Ork Kommandos, where the guardsman who survived the attack is executed for covering up his cowardice by inventing a story of half-glimpsed shadows. Orks being a race of Leeroy Jenkins, sneaky orks are a rarity, making them all the more effective.
    • There's also mention in the background of an Eldar seer named Q'sandria, a former pupil of the legendary Farseer Eldrad Ulthruan, and the only one who believes Eldrad's soul still lives despite his body being destroyed during the 13th Black Crusade. Since the timeline is frozen we don't know is she is right, but considering the name...
    • Magnus the Red tried to warn the Emperor of his brother Horus's corruption but was ignored. While Magnus was right, he used sorcery to deliver the message, which was not only outlawed but inadvertently allowed daemons to invade the Imperial Palace. By the time the Emperor realized the truth half of his sons had been corrupted and turned against him. Worst of all Magnus himself was forced to turn to chaos to save his legion joining the same traitors he tried to warn his father of.
  • In the board game They've Invaded Pleasantville, a homage to alien-invasion B-Movies, the townspeople can't react to the alien presence until somebody spots the aliens and spreads the word. Certain people are unable to spread the word, because nobody else in town will believe someone known to be 1) a drunkard or 2) a Democrat.
  • Paranoia suggests that Friend Gamemaster occasionally invoke this trope by faking Sarcasm Mode:
    PC: I check for hidden security cameras.
    GM: [knows there aren't any, but rolls dice behind the screen anyway] Why, there are no hidden security cameras whatsoever! You can do anything you want! Isn't that awesome?

  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, once Mrs. Lovett's pie shop starts doing business again, the Beggar Woman starts hanging around the shop, trying to warn people that something evil's afoot, pointing out the stench from her chimneys and claiming that Mrs. Lovett is a witch. Naturally, no one believes her because she's a mad beggar woman.
  • Trope Namer: Within The Oresteia, in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus, Cassandra gives a prophecy revealing Clytaemnestra's plan to kill her husband, Agamemnon. Although the chorus does try to listen to Cassandra, they don't understand a thing she says, and eventually ask her to stop talking about such horrible things, because they would never happen. This is all part of Apollo's curse on Cassandra: she's doomed to be able to see the future, but without anyone ever believing or understanding what she predicts.
  • Julius Caesar: By the time Caesar learns that he should pay more attention to soothsayers, it's too late. He also learned too late that it's not a bad idea to install metal detectors in the Senate.
  • In Pygmalion, act III, when Eliza is taken to a party, Nepommuck remarks that she can't be English, because her English is too perfect. Higgins replies, paraphrasing here, "Well, I think she sounds like someone taught by an expert, probably from Drury Lane." Notably, the host of the party goes with Nepommuck instead of Higgins. Obviously, Higgins was the one telling the truth.
  • In Macbeth, the entire play hinges on a play on words and this trope. Macbeth was warned to "beware Macduff", that Dunsinane would never be taken until "Birnam Wood came to high Dunsinane", and that he could only be killed by a "man not of woman born" by the witches, which he took to mean that he was invincible. However, Macduff was delivered by Caesarian Section and is thus not technically "born" of woman, and Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane through soldiers carrying boughs from the forest's trees to mask their numbers as they marched on the castle.
  • In Hamlet, everyone is busily wondering why the title character seems so miserable and even insane. At one point, Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude comments that the most likely cause of her son's behavior is the death of his father and her subsequent "o'erhasty marriage" to Claudius, the former King's brother (and murderer). She's 100% correct, but naturally no one listens to her until it's far too late.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: Over the course of the play, Catelyn turns out to be right both about Theon's Face–Heel Turn and Walder Frey not forgiving Robb for breaking his marriage pact. In both cases, her warnings weren't taken in account when she made them.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Tsukihime, the day after fighting and killing Nrvnqsr Chaos Shiki is given the option of telling the truth about what he had been doing the past few days to his sister Akiha. She simply laughs at his explanation, but in reality she actually probably believes his supernatural story, being a supernatural being herself.
  • In Remember11, Kokoro and Satoru attempt (and fail) to convince their respective companions that the two of them are experiencing random personality transfers.
  • In Hourglass of Summer the protagonist tries to warn the girls of the future events he's seen from traveling randomly through time against Lee Jane's warnings not to. It fails because nobody believes him and the tragedies happen to them anyway. Subverted by Kaho where the letters he writes to her warning her against going to the train station on the day she dies are simply never delivered by her overly controlling father.
  • One of Corpse Party: Blood Covered's Bad Endings has this: Satoshi finds himself sent back to the day they performed the ritual that sent them to Tenjin. Unfortunately, he can't convince anyone not to go along with it, as they all assume he's just too scared and superstitious rather than having good reason to protest. Book of Shadows actually picks up from this ending and deals with the results.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Season two sees the Reds try to figure out why Lopez disappeared, then why the Warthog later went nuts and started trying to kill Sarge. Donut actually hits on the bizarre correct answer: Church got killed, then his ghost possessed Lopez to use for a body, then the Blues accidentally triggered the Hog's remote control while looking for Lopez's "fix stuff" function. But the other Reds think Sarge's brainwashing beam idea is more likely, and they'd rejected that one out of hand for the Mundane Solution that the Blues reprogrammed Lopez.
    • "The tank is RIGHT THERE, for the love of God!"
  • If your little sister came up to you and said she literally exploded, you assumed that she's being sarcastic, right? At least, that's what Yang from RWBY thought anyways. But when Weiss came along, it turns out her little sister, Ruby, was telling the truth.
    [referring to her last encounter with Weiss]
    Ruby: [leaps into Yang's arms] OH GOD, IT'S HAPPENING AGAIN!
    Weiss: [yelling at Ruby, also referring to last encounter] You're lucky we weren't blown off the side of the cliff!
    Yang: [staring at Ruby] Oh my God, you really exploded...
  • RWBY Chibi: In a skit in episode 22, Ruby tells everyone that the floor in her room is lava. Her friends, thinking she's just playing a game, humor her by crossing the room without touching the floor. Then Roman Torchwick ignores her warning and steps on the floor. He immediately screams and melts, to Weiss, Blake, and Yang's shock.
    Ruby: ...I tried to warn him!
  • Many of the skits in asdfmovie will have a character warn of something, then get treated like an idiot only for it to be true. The very second skit in the first movie has a guy trying to be saved from his killer tie. The other guy just walks backwards away from him, leaving the first guy to whimper "Please don't hurt me..." and the tie to laugh.

    Web Original 
  • Webprose example: In Star Harbor Nights's Toymakers arc, fully half the conflict could have been avoided if everyone had just believed Claire's observations and her resulting conclusions.
  • #109 of the Evil Overlord List: "I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange clothes and with the accent of an outlander shall REGULARLY climb some monument in the main square of my capital and denounce me, claim to know the secret of my power, rally the masses to rebellion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded in case the real thing ever comes along."
  • In the Paradise setting, this frequently applies to characters who try to convince others that they have been invisibly transformed into Funny Animals but just don't look that way to normal people. There are ways to short-circuit the Weirdness Censor temporarily, however.
  • Sean Malstrom accurately predicted the rise of the Wii to first place in the seventh generation all the way back in 2006, when others were expecting the Wii to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor in terms of (lack of) commercial success. However, Malstrom hasn't exactly become famous for this thanks to his controversial opinions on other gaming-related subjects overshadowing everything else.
  • When he tries to put Rocky IV's message of "people can change" to the real world, The Nostalgia Critic gets punched and shot at. He also tried really hard to get people to believe he didn't have a crush on JesuOtaku, but due to how much he denied it and what he's like, nobody believed him.
  • In the CollegeHumor sketch, "I Swear I Didn't Wreck the Bathroom," Zac is the only one in the bathroom, and discovers an evil goblin spraying poop all over a bathroom stall. The goblin disappears, leaving Zac and a messed-up bathroom stall. His colleagues come in and start berating him, as he tries to convince them that it was a goblin. Long story short, Zac gets fired. (This actually marks Zac's last CollegeHumor sketch, as he was leaving CH.)
  • The Closing Logo Group encountered this when Professor D.L. Chandell claimed a logo variant discovered by a user named Supermarty-o, the "Cokeburst", was a phony. A massive administrative shakeup followed which began with his expulsion from the CLG. Just over two years later, it was definitively discovered that the "Cokeburst", the veracity of which the CLG had defended against its own owner, was indeed fake, but the Professor certainly didn't help his case by acting like a major Jerkass about it. Needless to say, the whole mess resulted in the site changing its policy on so-called "mythical logos".
  • Invoked by Jim Sterling in Turning Players Into Players. Given how many predictions he'd made about the video game industry that had come true despite people pooh-poohing them, he started referring to himself as the Cassandra of video games.
  • In Worm, this tends to happen whenever Skitter and the Undersiders try to warn the heroes about a greater threat. Somewhat justified as circumstances lead the heroes to believe the Undersiders are just using disasters to gain power or are corrupting people in some way.

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Video Example(s):


"The Truth Detector"

Irving's mean older brother Albert doesn't believe Phineas and Ferb exist.

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Example of:

Main / CassandraTruth

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Main / CassandraTruth