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Contagious Cassandra Truth

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Wade: Look, there's a creature. It's a killer.(His message is greeted by laughter)
Jenna: Well, you know, Carol said Ross was missing.
Lacy: Maybe he's in the car.[...]
Jenna: I'm leaving.
Karla: Hey! You can't break up the hot tub party.

When a hero delivers a Cassandra Truth, they usually have trouble convincing anyone to believe them. Sometimes they get lucky though; maybe they're speaking to a Reasonable Authority Figure who hears them out and decides to investigate further or perhaps irrefutable proof of Demonic Alien Ghosts just burst through the wall. Either way, somebody you expect to have more influence than you is convinced that you're right... but they're no more able to convince anybody else than you.

Maybe the Police Are Useless for everyone, perhaps the person you've convinced can't convince their bosses, or it might just be that your new confidant already has a reputation for believing crazy things. Par for the course if an Extra-Strength Masquerade is involved. Bonus points if a scene where they try to convince someone to believe them parallels one they had with the heroes. Either way, they've put their name on the line but ended up co-signing your discredit card.

Compare and contrast the Secret-Keeper, who learns the truth but agrees to keep it to themselves, and Broken Masquerade.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Monster: Over the course of the series, various people grow convinced that Dr. Tenma is telling the truth about Johan committing the murders that he is accused of and/or are persuaded to work toward exonerating him upon realizing that he is a good person and does not deserve to be a fugitive, up to and including Inspector Lunge. However, they still remain largely powerless to prevent the authorities from attempting to apprehend Tenma, save for trying to take matters into their own hands.
  • Spy X Family: The Whole Episode Flashback revealing Twilight's past and how he became a spy actually reveals that Franky Franklin was the one to instigate it through this trope. Franky realized that the government can just feed masses the information they want them to have and even manipulate them, so they'd rally behind the war between Ostania and Westalis. With both sides claiming the other was the instigator of the war, Franky decided that fighting without knowing the full picture was simply a dumb idea and deserted from the army. Twilight ignored and denied this at first, but after his childhoodfriends were sent on what basically amounted to a suicide mission and wondering if having more intel about the whole thing could have saved lives, Twilight leaves the army to join the intelligence divison.

    Comic Books 
  • In Last Daughter of Krypton, Zor-El becomes convinced that his brother Jor-El is right and Krypton is about to blow up. However, he knows he will not be more successful than his sibling in reasoning with the Science Council who rule the planet, so he secretly builds a rocketship in a secluded lab, shoves her daughter Kara into it, and blasts her into space right before their planet explodes.

    Fan Works 
  • Coming Home: At first, Frank dismisses James' belief that something is out to get him as mere paranoia brought on by grief over the recent loss of his wife. When he finds out the truth, however, he desperately tries to get help... only to find that nobody believes him.
  • Compulsion (Lead Zeppelin): The only one who believes Alex about the threat that Leet's escaped chimeras pose, as well as his concerns about the chimeras reproducing, is Director Piggot. Unfortunately, Leet is widely considered to be a joke, along with everything he creates, so others refuse to accept that he might have made something incredibly dangerous.
  • A common plotline for Miraculous Ladybug fics is Marinette struggling to convince others that Lila is a Manipulative Bitch who keeps lying to them. Often, especially in Salt Fics, the only people who believe her are other characters whom the author likes, who find themselves facing the same problem as Marinette: no matter what they say or do, nobody is willing to believe them.
    • Played With in The Karma of Lies: Adrien knows that Lila's a Con Artist, but assumes that knowledge means he's safe — and since HE won't fall for any of her lies, he's perfectly fine standing by letting her string all his classmates along. The moment he realizes that she's tricked HIM as well, he immediately blurts out that she robbed him, only for Alya to promptly chide him that "We all know Lila doesn't lie!" His efforts to convince the police fall flat as well, and having the rest of the class gradually come to believe him doesn't help, especially when they discover how he'd refused to warn them.
    • The One to Make It Stay: After Rose asks Prince Ali about Lila, she learns that she lied about doing charity work with him, as he'd never even heard of her before. This leads to all of Kitty Section — Rose, Juleka, Ivan, Mylene and Luka — learning about her true nature. Yet when they attempt to warn the rest of the class, they aren't entirely convinced. Alya even blatantly moves the goalposts by declaring that all their evidence only proves Lila fibbed about one thing, refusing to accept any evidence that her other claims are just as phony.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Chicken Little, when the title character finally succeeded in convincing his friends that "the sky is falling" (in other words, an alien ship was visiting), when they tried to back him up the rest of the town didn't believe them either.
  • Doug's First Movie: Doug and Skeeter tell the Mayor about the swamp creature they found, but she can't publicly declare its existence without backlash. They try, but an attempt to capture the beast by a Corrupt Corporate Executive impedes this.
  • Recess: School's Out: TJ witnesses suspicious activity at the school and reports to the cops only for them to laugh him off. TJ then rallies his friends from their camps and desperately tries to convince his friends that is happening at school, but they think he made the thing up to force them out of camp, until they all witness a giant satelite dish emerge from the school roof. Later when TJ gets captured, TJ's friends report the incident to the cops only for them to laugh at the gang too. Even when Miss Finster comes by with the same story, the cops laugh her off too.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 12 Monkeys has an interesting variation of this trope. Dr. Railly doesn't believe James Cole's claims that he's from the future, but when he disappears, she investigates his claims and finds corroborating evidence. When Cole returns, Dr. Railly has difficulty convincing Cole of the truth, as he has accepted her explanation that he is delusional. Ultimately, they are both on the same page, but can convince no one else as they race to save the future from The End of the World as We Know It, while being chased as hunted fugitives and suspected terrorists. But none of that matters, as it turns out that You Cannot Change The Future and the film ends on the virtual definition of a Downer Ending.
  • Avalanche Sharks features quite a bit of this. Old Duffy is widely dismissed as a crazy old hermit by the local sheriff, ski patrol people and spring-breakers when he shouts out warnings about sharks in the snow. When the sheriff is convinced the sharks are real by his wife, and some of the spring-breakers find evidence of attacks while looking for the brother of one and the cousin of another. None of them are given much credence by the local mayor, ski patrol man and resort owner. The spring-breakers try to warn some of their friends on the mountain right before another attack, with only one girl listening to them and leaving in time, while even the ski patrol guy finally starts believing after seeing an attack, but its difficult getting the lift operator to start sending people down right before the Characters Dropping Like Flies climax.
  • In Breakin, the main character manages to get her extremely sceptical agent to come down and watch a street dancing contest. This convinces him that they have potential and he agrees to take on her friends as clients too. Unfortunately he has even more trouble convincing his contacts to take them seriously.
  • In the Child's Play series, Mrs. Barclay ends up being committed because the cops who witnessed Chucky refused to back up her story.
  • In Edge of Tomorrow, after William Cage dies several times after fighting the Mimics in a doomed frontal assault, he tries to warn his squad-mates that the counter attack was going to fail, and the Mimics would take over Earth, but they tape his mouth shut shortly before they go off to battle and die. He then joins Rita Vrataski, who had gone through the same thing some time earlier and who has secretly partnered up with the foremost expert on the Mimics. When Cage asks her that if they know about the Mimics ability to manipulate time to their advantage, why they don't take that information to the high command so they can formulate a battle plan, Rita answers that she tried numerous times, and for her trouble she was either put in a psychiatric hospital, or was dissected to see if anything could be learned from her physiology. As for the researcher, he says when he tried telling them everything he learned about the Mimics, and that he had invented a device that could track down their leader via their Hive Mind mentality, he was labeled a crackpot, and dismissed.
  • In Happy Accidents, Ruby starts wondering whether Sam is telling the truth.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry and Hermione try to tell Dumbledore that Sirius Black is innocent, he is quick to believe them (he may have even suspected it since he went to prison), but acknowledges that even his word added to theirs won't be enough to convince many people.
  • In the middle of The Terminator, Sarah Connor seems happy to accept the psychologist's explanation that Kyle Reese is a paranoid schizophrenic, and the Killer Robot is just on PCP. By the beginning of the second film, she's locked up in a mental asylum for insisting that Reese's story about the impending apocalypse is true.

  • Goosebumps: Discussed in Say Cheese and Die — Again! When Mr. Saur refuses to believe Greg's story, he insists that his friends can corroborate, only for Mr. Saur to dismissively declare that he's sure they'll tell him whatever Greg wants them to say. Greg later lets his friends know that their testimony won't matter to the adults.
  • The Lost World (1912): Nobody believes Professor Challenger's claims that he's found Living Dinosaurs on a remote Amazon plateau. Summerlee even joins one of his expeditions with the intent of proving to Challenger that he's nothing but a charlatan and a fraud, only to end up in the same predicament as him, with nobody believing their stories.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Angel's "Shiny Happy People", Fred catches Cassandra Truth literally from Jasmine's blood, and then figuratively when she talks to the only other person so far to see the truth (who had been converted earlier), who explains to her "she [Jasmine] must die" and "you've been called".
  • On First Wave, Cade starts off on his own knowing of an alien invasion of Earth. He eventually manages to convince paranoid conspiracy nut "Crazy" Eddie who likewise joins him in fighting the aliens.
    • There are bits in the series where someone else realizes what's happening and aids Cade. At one point, they're able to put together a small network of agents secretly working against the aliens until they're wiped out in a purge.
  • Throughout the second season of Hannibal, Will gradually manages to convince several other characters of Hannibal's true nature. None of this actually helps Will, as these potential allies proceed to either skip town or get disposed of. One finds themselves the victim of a Frame-Up that Hannibal had been planning for two years.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: When Tally realizes that the Spree are disguising innocent civilians in a bomb-equipped Spree truck, she warns Anacostia, who believes her, but is ordered by Alder to kill them all anyway. When Tally tells Abigail and Raelle this later, they also instantly believe her.
  • Mulder usually had this problem after convincing Scully about his theories on The X-Files. Other characters they convinced also tended to suffer this trope (if they weren't blackmailed or bribed by the Ancient Conspiracy).

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Quest VII: After the heroes prevent a tragedy from unfolding in Vogograd, the prefect promises to memorialize the events so that they learn from their past... but in the present day, said memorial has been replaced with a version of events that makes the party out to be the villains of the tale. Only one young boy, Lev, recalls the real story, which leads to him being completely isolated and picked on by the other kids... until they find the original monolith. The adults refuse to accept the truth, punishing their children for adopting the real version of events; however, the kids remain resolved to keep the truth alive.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Cowboy Cop Garrus Vakarian details to Commander Shepard how he successfully convinced his usually skeptical By-the-Book Cop father (that he was a bit estranged with) that the Reapers are real. Since his father has connections in the top echelons of the Turian Hierarchy, he tries to convince the Primarch. The Primarch is... less convinced. Averted once the Reapers finally arrive; Garrus's dire portents are vindicated and he gets catapulted to the top echelons himself and has generals saluting him.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Invader Zim episode "Vindicated", Dib thinks he's managed to convince the school's guidance counselor, Mr. Dwicky, that Zim is an alien who's trying to conquer Earth, but Dwicky tells a colleague that he's just playing along so Dib will eventually feel comfortable enough around him to confess what always has him so on edge and antisocial. Dib feels very hurt once he realizes that Dwicky never really believed him, but then Zim shows up without his disguise because he fell for the trap Dib and Dwicky set up, pretending to be fellow aliens offering him superweapons. Then the aliens Dib and Dwicky pretended to be show up too, superweapons in tow, and Dwicky, childhood belief in aliens now reignited, accepts their offer to travel the stars with him, unfortunately bringing with him the video evidence of Zim's alien identity.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
  • Phineas and Ferb has an episode where Candace finally convinces her mom that her brothers have done something bad, then she has trouble convincing Lawrence. When Candace points this out to her, however, Linda fails to realize it.
    • In another episode, Stacy and Jenny join Candace in busting Phineas and Ferb, but when they try to tell their mom, she merely thinks that Candace is rubbing off on them.
  • In The Simpsons, Lisa discovers that town founder Jebediah Springfield was secretly a villainous pirate. No one believes her story except Homer, who is smart enough to know Lisa tends to make the right assumptions on these things. They fail to convince anyone else and Homer is stripped of his role in the town parade as punishment. Subverted when Lisa realises that the museum curator covered it up (he relents, but Lisa decides that the lie inspires the town and leaves things be).
  • In the TaleSpin episode "It Came from Beneath the Sea Duck", Kit is chewed out by Rebecca for taking Molly outside the apartment while babysitting (in reality this was for a load of convoluted reasons). Baloo is smart enough to suggest letting Kit explain what happened, however Rebecca just assumes that Kit learned his irresponsible behaviour from him and shushes him too.