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Extranormal Institute

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"I guess you could say it's not exactly your typical school."
Shinigami-sama/Lord Death, Soul Eater

The Extranormal Institute is a strange and/or wonderful place where bizarre is the new normal. Students with unusual abilities get training and courses from instructors who may have extranormal powers themselves and/or from scientific experts on extranormal powers. The school makes good internal sense (as opposed to farce played for laughs) and is genuinely functional (as opposed to a Crapsack World or the like), but has a very high weirdness level as real people deal with fantastical and paranormal things and powers.

The school is usually an important part of the attraction of whatever series it's featured in. Naive Newcomers (perhaps Strangers In A Strange School) can be expected to drop their eyes. The regulars may well be aware of their "madhouse" status and even proud of being quirky outsiders. The school building is often a specialized facility designed to permit those with extranormal powers to test them out. To reduce scrutiny from prying outsiders, the school may be set in a remote location and parts may be hidden underground. The story may make use of the town near the institute, thus permitting the use of "normie" characters who live in the region, which contrasts with the extranormal students.

Often, stories in such a setting will be in a genre (besides/in addition to the obvious sf/fantasy) in which the protagonists spend a lot of time exploring the details of the setting, such as School Story, Medical Drama, or Police Procedural. Of course, the contrast with the mundane aspects of that genre helps the bizarre details of the setting to stand out even further. It may be a Boarding School, which means that there can be stories about the trials and tribulations of living away from home in a dormitory-style setting.

The Cool School is a Sister Trope, and Subtropes are mostly types of educational institutes, including:

It also has at least one exception to the above:

Contrast with Mundane Fantastic and World of Weirdness, where the entire world is like this (at least for the protagonists). Not to be confused with a School for Scheming, which appears to be this but is actually led by malevolent individuals or groups planning to exploit or manipulate the students. Not to be confused with the Enigmatic Institute.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: The Spiritual Arts Academy (nicknamed in-universe and in the fandom as the Shinigami Academy) trains people who possess spiritual power to become shinigami. It teaches four Shinigami Arts (Zanjutsu, Hakuda, Hohou and Kidou) to prepare students for one of three organizations, the Gotei 13, the Kidou Corps or the Stealth Force. The emphasis on meritocracy was lampshaded in universe when it was observed that only those with the best grades make it into these organizations, but that the best students often find themselves only "average" once into the organization itself. Given the needs of the three organizations, the bizarre curriculum and unique threats the students are trained to handle, the Academy functions as a Superhero School, Military Academy, Wizarding School, Ninja School and Spy School all rolled into one. Students certainly don't find the education boring, and may not even make it out the other side alive!
  • Somewhat similar to the X-Men example below, A Certain Magical Index has Academy City. It has hundreds, if not thousands of schools. 80% of the population are students, over 60% of which are espers. Teaching them how to use their abilities to their fullest potential is part of the local curriculum. No one finds it unusual; in fact, the whole world knows about it and don't particularly care.
  • Day Break Illusion: Sephiro Fiore maintains the girls' education under the guise of a fortune-telling school while sending them out to fight monsters.
  • Doumori Primary School in Hell Teacher Nube is a huge, glowing focus of paranormal activity in the Doumori district. Hardly a day goes by without it (or its students) being attacked by hordes of demonic creatures from the deepest, darkest reaches of Japanese mythology. Even the staff and the rest of the student body are pretty much used to this sort of thing, but Nube's class gets most of the attention.
    • Even further along, there's an actual Youkai High attended by high school-age demons and apparitions.
  • Hollow Fields, an American, Manga-style work published by Seven Seas Entertainment, has a girl get lost and end up at a school for Mad Scientists where bad grades are punishable by death, and a homework assignment is sewing a parrot's head on to a fish while keeping the resulting monstrosity alive.
  • Kunpuu High School in Kanokon turns out to be, basically, a boarding-school for demons and spirits who find it hard to fit into human society — as such, several dozen spirits and demons are liberally mixed with the human students, and have to stay there until they learn how to maintain the masquerade. Something tells us that Chizuru will be stuck there for a while...
  • EVERYONE at Mahora Academy (or at least MANY) seems to be abnormal in some way. You have vampires, ninjas, time-travelling Martians from the future, robots, mad scientists, mages, princesses, ghosts.... And that's not even touching the tip of the iceberg. And yet, somehow the majority of the student body seem to be Muggles, who think it's merely an unusually large normal school.
  • The American Manga Pantheon High focuses on a school for demigods/goddesses.
  • While on the subject of Youkai and high school, Youkai Academy in Rosario + Vampire, where the teacher is a Cat Girl and the students are any and every type of monster imaginable. Except for Tsukune, the lone human, or at least, he used to be, who got there by accident. All the students are required to stay in human form constantly as practice, which is lucky for the one actual human there, as there is a rule that states any human who comes across Youkai Academy will be executed. Of course, he manages to escape this fate when one of his harem injects him with vampire blood to temporarily change him into a vampire and trick the rest of the school. Later on, a more permanent transformation occurred and this trope no longer applied.
  • Soul Eater has the macabre "Death Weapon Meister Academy" lead by The Grim Reaper. Has an eclectic mix of (usually human) "Meisters", and their (usually human) "Weapons".
    • Specifically, DWMA has two curricula: NOT (Normally Overcome Target) class and EAT (Especially Advantaged Talent) class. The majority of students belong to the NOT class, which serves mainly as a way for Demon weapons to learn how to control their weapon forms, and Meisters for career opportunities. Exceptional students can be moved to the EAT class, which specifically trains its students to fight evil, and makes up about 10% of the student body.
  • Tokyo ESP has these set up in the wake of the Mass Super-Empowering Event unleashed by the Arc Villain.
  • Tomobiki High and, to a lesser extent, Fuurinkan High from Rumiko Takahashi's version of Nerima. Aliens, ghosts, demons, exorcists, supernatural martial artists, oh my!

    Comic Books 
  • Atomic Robo: Tesladyne Industries is a workplace that specializes in Action Science, including such fields as Imaginary Physics and Advanced [Other] (it's so revolutionary it doesn't have a name yet). Giant bugs and extra-universal incursions are the order of the day. Vampire attacks are treated with as much concern (but much less surprise) than a fire in a normal office compound, and the receptionist keeps a shotgun and helmet under his desk just in case.
  • The Research Technical Institute from Doug TenNapel's Creature Tech is a Secret Government Warehouse and lab for cataloguing and studying everything that the U.S. Government can't explain. This includes disintegration guns, were-pigs, Cold War Russian teleporters, and the real Shroud of Turin. The building is also haunted by the ghost of a mad scientist.
  • The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense from the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. comic books.
  • The Intimates, a fairly obscure comic from WildStorm, has The Seminary, a school for teenage SPBs.
  • The Mythology Class: The University of the Philippines, where the main cast study, becomes this, in a way, at least where the titular "mythology class" is concerned.
  • In Marvel's The New Universe, D.P. 7 introduced the Clinic for Paranormal Research, a clinic for people developing paranormal powers as a result of the White Event.
    • To a lesser extent, the Ballad Institute from Nightmask also qualified.
  • PS238:
    • The story is set in a secret grade school for the children of superheroes. Most of which also have superpowers and are training to be superheroes, except for the main character....
    • Las Vegas is apparently also an example in the PS238 universe, being a place of neutral ground for superheroes and supervillains to go when they want a vacation.
  • She-Hulk once had a job working at a law firm that catered to people with superpowers, and employed a lot of them. Real law firms wish they could hire a shapeshifter to deliver subpoenas!
  • Top 10 is a Police Procedural set in a city where everybody, from the mayor down to the lowliest street bum, is a Super Hero; the city was founded expressly to get all the weirdness out of the rest of the world.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1 & Sensation Comics: In the Golden Age the Amazons hosted a school open to young girls from around the world where the students would learn about the advances Amazons had made in the sciences, magitek, respect, and Amazonian self defense. It was more of a couple of courses than a full school so their stay on Paradise Island wasn't very long, and the students tended to be kids who'd attracted Di's attention through doing things like chucking their softball coach across the field so the students were often not exactly normal.
  • The home base of the X-Men, Professor Xavier's Institute, is a school for Mutants, both to teach them how to use their powers, and more mundane forms of education. It's also a refuge from the prejudice against mutantkind, although that also makes it a major target and it's been levelled and rebuilt enough times that they make jokes about it.
    • After the above school is destroyed, Wolverine opens the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Its students include a brood, and one of the teachers is the time travelling child of the namesake Jean Grey... and one of its later students is a time-travelling teenage Jean Grey. Welcome to the X-Men, it only gets stranger from here. Homework is basically training for adventuring, e.g jetpacking and snow ball fights. Students also include a galactic Proud Warrior Race Guy, time travellers, and the front lawn is a mutant.
    • Cyclops opens the New Xavier Institute. It is located at the old Weapon X Facility, the place that gave Wolverine his unbreakable skeleton and sharp-ass claws, and the students regularly go out on missions with the teachers. Said teachers consist of: a mutant revolutionary who shoots lasers from his eyes and is wanted for the murder of Charles Xavier, a mutant telepath who can turn her skin into diamond and wears Stripperiffic outfits, a mutant Holocaust-survivor and terrorist who can control magnetic fields and a sociopathic mutant sorceress who regularly takes the students through limbo when teleporting and time travels.

  • Child of the Storm has a couple of canonical examples:
    • Hogwarts is a typical example, with the addition that the building is sentient and with a flexible internal geography, being Bigger on the Inside, with its canon weird teachers and some even weirder ones drafted in as guests. Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are, likewise, canon examples.
    • The Xavier Institute for the Gifted, which to non-clued outsiders is a somewhat odd and peculiarly selective academy/boarding house with additional tutoring and an outstanding academic reputation. Teachers include the founder, until recently the most powerful Telepath in Earth's history, an Omnidisciplinary Scientist who resembles the Cookie Monster after an intensive fitness regime, a woman worshipped as a storm goddess for damn good reason, and a hairy fellow who's the best and what he does even though it isn't very nice. The students, meanwhile, range from the truly godlike to the 'merely' very powerful, and have classes in the Danger Room, which as names go is a masterful understatement.
  • Pokéumans: The Pokéuman bases, which are like normal school except that all the students are humans that have been transformed into Pokémon. And as a result, their lessons include 'Battle Class'. Pokéxtinction has similar bases, except they also brainwash their students to obey Mr. X and join his side of the war.
  • Troll Cops gives us SEER, the Society for the Elevation of Ectotechnological Research, a sort of SCP Foundation pastiche led by Rose Lalonde and including most of the city's active vigilante superheroes.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The unnamed institution in The Cabin in the Woods. Their job is to house hundreds of unspeakable monsters, and use them to kill groups of young people in annual ritualistic sacrifices to ancient gods who, if not appeased, will come back and bring forth the apocalypse. They also have office pools.
  • The Library from TNT's The Librarian series of movies. Especially played up in the beginning of the third movie, when Flynn is completely bored with his job — which involves such duties as dueling with Excalibur.
  • Consider Kay from Men in Black: He has a job, goes to work every morning, and has coffee with colleagues... but the workplace is packed with interstellar immigrants, and his coffee pals are two feet high and chitter.
  • The Soviet film Sorcerers is loosely based on the Strugatsky Brothers novel Monday Begins on Saturday (see below). Ivan Puhov's fiancée Alyona (unbeknownst to him) works as a witch at the Scientific Universal Institute of Extraordinary Services, a subsidiary of the Scientific Research Institute of Sorcery and Wizardry from the novel. Thanks to a rival at the institute, Alyona is cursed by the jealous director of the institute (who thinks that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the young witch) to be a cold-blooded bitch, who doesn't care about anyone. It's up to Ivan and a pair of magic wood masters from the institute to lift the curse.
  • Also, Starfleet Academy in Star Trek (2009), where students and professors can be from many different planets (including actual Green Skinned Space Babes).
  • The Jedi Temple from Star Wars, the building where the Jedi Order is based on Coruscant and where Jedi apprentices train as children. Among other things, some of the Force powers they learn include precognition, telekinesis, and mind-reading.

  • The Scholomance, in Romanian mythology, is a school for evil witches and wizards to learn The Dark Arts. Students are trapped in its underground halls for their seven years of studies, and those who survive to graduate can wield immensly powerful magic. (The one student who is sacrificed to pay for the tuition of the others, however, has a worse time of it).

  • Codex Alera: The Cursor's academy fits this description. It is a school for teenaged youths in a world where everyone has magic abilities, so between math and history class there are classes on magical theory and actual training to use magic. However, it also happens to be the school for training the empire's messengers and spies, so some classes have final exams like "figure out that your mentor is a traitor to the Crown in time" or "catch a certain thief who has eluded all detection so far".
  • Dora Wilk Series has the simply-called "school", which is part-education facility, part-psychiatric hospital, part-safe haven for half-bloods which had been mistreated by Rafael. The students include a slew of half-angels, half-fire demons, part-werewolves, people with blood of all three systems and more.
  • In Dragon Slayers' Academy, the school for which the series is named.
  • The Dreamthought Project in The Dreamside Road tried to teach its members to wield the various paranormal forces that they’d documented. This led to a small order of government-sponsored magic wielders.
  • The Higher Institute of Villainous Education in the H.I.V.E. Series is a school for training supervillains.
  • The House of Night is a school where vampyres learn how to behave in society. It also helps students deal with the Change- in this particular mythology, vampyres are not made by biting but as the result of a biochemical change, which, once it has started, either leads to becoming a full-fledged vampyre or dying.
  • Miskatonic University from various H. P. Lovecraft Stories. The only institute of higher learning in America that gives a degree in Eldritch Horrors.
  • A non-supernatural version in The Melting Season. The performing arts school where the main character Giselle goes used to be a hospital during World War I(or the Civil War) and is filled with crazy people.
  • The 1964 Strugatsky Brothers novel Monday Begins on Saturday is about a young Soviet programmer shanghaied into working at the "Scientific Research Institute of Sorcery and Wizardry," an organization that combined a magical and often logic-defying setting with an insane and equally logic-defying Soviet bureaucracy, which the work hilariously mocked. The sequel, Tale of the Troika, takes place in a poorly organized Secret Government Warehouse.
  • Nowhere Island University is a mix of a bunch of sub-types, due to its separate schools. Some, like the Academy of Military Science and Shadowhaven specialize in turning out Elite Mooks. However, most of the other schools focus on a specific area of technology (medicine, computers, engineering, etc.) and have taken the university years ahead of the rest of the world technologically.
  • Inverted in the middle grade novel Ordinary Magic, in which everyone has magic and there's a special school for normals.
  • The Talamasca from the books of Anne Rice is not full of paranormal activity as such, but full of people who study it.
    • Some Talamascans do possess paranormal abilities, the most notable of which being Jesse Reeves, descended from a (very) long line of witches dating back to Ancient Egypt. Her abilities are, pretty much, limited to seeing ghosts and weird dreams.
  • Rick Riordan LOVES this trope, especially in works that form part of his shared universe of mythologies.
  • The title school of The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School is a Boarding School of Horrors that has a whole house dedicated to "unusual" girls. "Unusual" can mean anything from "Carrie-level psychic powers" to "one of Lovecraft's Deep Ones" to "daughter of a notorious criminal mastermind". The Headmistress makes it clear that she is indifferent to whether students become heroic or villainous, as long as they don't settle for being ordinary.
  • The eponymous hospital in James White's Sector General series, a 384-story structure in outer space that houses such things as humans, giant furry caterpillars, six-legged elephant-things with their symbionts, 60-foot eels, telepathic gestalt intelligences, shapeshifters, superheated and cryonic beings and ones that metabolize hard radiation — to say nothing of the patients — all working together to make it a smashing hospital, though apparently finding suitable seating in the oxygen-nitrogen dining halls is a pain.
  • While not being a school in the proper sense, the Wizard Tower in Septimus Heap is the hub of the Castle and of its Magyk system.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles:
    • Zigzagged with the Institutes. Despite their educational-sounding name, they function more as enclaves or embassies of Shadowhunters outside of their home country, Idris, providing both living quarters and space for them to practice runes without alerting the mundanes. Aside from the people who run them, the only people who reside in the Institutes are their relatives and those who have nobody or nowhere else to go (basically, orphanages), as most Shadowhunters prefer to live in Idris or mingle with the mundanes.
    • Played straight with the Shadowhunter Academy, a school in Idris that trains Shadowhunters. Students include both Shadowhunters and mundanes, the latter of whom must do the Ascension ritual at graduation so they can transform into full-fledged Shadowhunter, which has a chance of brutally killing them in the process. The school has long been closed down by the time The Mortal Instruments starts, but is reopened in the ending so the Clave can recruit mundanes amid the loss of many Shadowhunters during the Dark War, and becomes the setting of Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.
  • The first book in The Solomon Code series is technically a school for half-angel teens, though in reality it's a prison camp where the boys are barely taught anything.
  • The Jokertown Clinic in Wild Cards is a low-budget hospital for those mutated by the Wild Card virus, as well as the workplace and research center for the only (generally known) extraterrestrial living on Earth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" shows that the government has one of this institutes for Invisible Kids.
  • Eureka: Eureka town, where everyone is a Mad Scientist.
  • Heroes features two:
    • Primatech (called the Company before we learned more about it) seems like a typical "government agency rounding up the superhumans" thing until it's shown that superhumans are actually in charge of it; specifically a group of evolved humans who prefer to keep the existence of their kind secret, but help those that they round up get a hold on their powers.
    • Sullivan Bros. Carnival is a safe haven for evolved humans, who can simply pretend that their skills are carnival acts. It's much less morally ambiguous than Primatech, at least until the guy in charge is murdered by his brother Samuel, who subsequently takes over.
  • Sanctuary is about a clinic that helps "abnormals" (mutant humans and cryptids with strange abilities). One of their employees is a Sasquatch, yet he is treated as if he was simply a misunderstood human being.
  • That's So Raven: One episode has Raven briefly join an institute for teens with various Psychic Powers.
    Student: I'll get it!
    Doorbell sounds.
  • Torchwood: The Torchwood hub has a pet pterodactyl, which is probably one of the more mundane fixtures.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Demon: The Descent: St. Jerome's is one of the world's most exclusive daycares. This is because it caters to Offspring — the Half-Human Hybrid children of the Unchained — in all their various forms. "Ordinary" Offspring have one or more low-level Reality Warper traits. Fractals, having a more potent concentration of demon in their bio-quantum signature, are even more powerful than Offspring and can see through demonic Cover. Thusly, you have a daycare full of children who can do things like make you an Unperson or pull things out of Hammerspace. For extra weirdness, St. Jerome's may also potentially house Nephilim, the most powerful kind of half-demon, who have demonic forms and enough power to go toe-to-toe with angels.
  • GURPS Illuminati University, which covers more than just magic. Classes include hysteria and future history, the botany building is a tree, and destruction of any planetary bodies requires written permission from the Arch-Dean (who, according to rumor within the setting, is either a former angel, a former demon, or both). The favorite sport of IOU (you're not cleared to know what the 'O' stands for) is Moopsball, which... well... just look at the rules. The various Colleges within the greater University are mostly devoted to various genres of adventure:
    • The College of Temporal Happenstance, Ultimate Lies and Historical Undertakings (C.T.H.U.L.H.U.)note  centers around time travel.
    • The College of W.U.S.E. (Weird and Unusual Science and Engineering) is made of mad scientists, slightly-less-mad students of Science! and devotees of The Computer (the A.I. that controls, among other things, student schedules and dorm assignments).
    • SPCA (School of Performing and Creative Arts) teaches classes in drama, melodrama, villain monologs, and applied courtesanship, among others.
    • COUP (College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions) trains future spies, super-spies, ninjas, powers-behind-the-throne, IRS agents and the like.
    • The School of Social Anti-Sciences (a parody of pure academia and liberal arts majors) conflicts with the College of Zen Surrealism, since the first resents the second for being obscure and pointless on purpose, rather than concentrating on pure academics and only achieving obscure pointlessness as a side-effect.
    • The College of Communication mainly addresses propaganda, misinformation, and creating conspiracy theories for fun and profit.
    • The School of Conservative Arts (parodying liberal arts and conservative politics) teaches classes like Political Architecture 101: Empire Building for Fun and Profit.
    • The College of Metaphysics is a Wizarding School plunked into a genre stew, with majors like Applied Theology (with classes like AT 102: How to Start Your Own Church and AT 401: World Building in 7 Days or Less) and Political Thaumaturgy.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars is the biggest, only-est source of scientific and engineering knowledge in the Imperium. In keeping with the medieval parallels, it's equivalent to guild-style education facilities, even steeping their work in a "secret society" flavor. In fact, they lay it on so thick that they're more of a cult that worships technology (ironically viewing actual inventiveness as heretical). Basically your average Mechanicus-controlled planet is a seminary for cyborg mechanic-priests.
    • The Schola Progenium is a combination of Catholic school and boot camp reserved for the orphaned children of war heroes — graduates stand a good chance of becoming commissars or storm troopers.
    • The Scholastica Psykana trains psykers to control their powers after abducting them from their homes. Fail to make the cut, and you get sacrificed to the Emperor.

    Video Games 
  • Bloodborne's Byrgenwerth College. The madness started when its Provost, Master Willem, decided to investigate the ancient Pthumerian ruins under Yharnam. They found two key components to the Pthumerians' mastery of magic — Old Blood and Insight. Byrgenwerth under Willem focused on Insight research, while his apprentice Laurence left to found the Healing Church to focus on the "healing" properties of Old Blood. This worked terribly for all involved.
  • In The Council of Hanwell, the small titular town can somehow afford a huge science facility to research the anomalies.
  • Though originally intended as a joint wartime Anglo-American espionage agency, The OSA ended up dealing with armies of undead, Nazi Ubersoldaten, Bilogical weapons, zombies, The Spear of Destiny, an ancient interdimensional amulet and an undead superhuman prince. Oh, Those Wacky Nazis...
  • Elden Ring has Raya Lucaria Academy in Liurnia, which teaches glintstone sorcery. Scholars pick a field of study called a Conspectus focusing on different spells- Lazuli sorcerers study Carian lunar magic, Karolos studies comets, Olivinus studies stars, Haima studies battle magic, and Heirodas is for scholars who did fieldwork. The Twinsage Conspectus contained the elite sorcerers who excelled in multiple fields. All sorcerers are given large stone masks shaped after their conspectus founder, which increase intelligence at the detriment of physical stats. Raya Lucaria has currently shut its doors to the outside world and is engaged in a civil war with Liurnia's ruling house of Caria.
  • Saint Pigeonations, the school where Hatoful Boyfriend takes place, turns out to have elements of this. All right, in-universe the fact that all the faculty and the entire student body save one Token Human is composed of sentient birds is completely standard — well, having a human is weird — and it's simply seen as a prestigious high school for gifted birds. Bad Boys Love reveals that much of the student body was specially invited because they have varied unusual skills and abilities, some of which are cultivated. But they are not taught these things. The doctor medicates or operates them into fruition for his own sinister purposes, and sometimes kills the students on the way. Most of them have no idea.
  • Grissom Academy in Mass Effect is a school for biotics and gifted techies (the two "wizard" classes in the game).
  • The Red Wizard Academy in Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer is a typical boarding school or college... dedicated to studying souls, where the library is a repository of souls, a pair of pit fiends run a business downstairs, and there's an entire wing of the infirmary for soulless patients. The professor who asks the protagonist to devour a soul (it's a long story) in front of the class as a practical demonstration is stated to be typical of the faculty.
  • The Carrington Institute from Perfect Dark, an N.G.O. Superpower and Spy School that also carries out research on SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) and ends up contacting the Maians, a technologically advanced and friendly alien race.
  • The otome Visual Novel (P)lanets - the life of normalcy has ended! has a designated high school called the Psychokinesis Learning Academy for New and Exciting Tactical Studies for teenagers with Psychic Powers.
  • Pokémon: Sabrina runs a training school for humans with psychic powers in addition to her Gym Leader duties.
  • Psychonauts: Whispering Rock Summer Camp is a traditional summer camp with the twist that all the campers are psychics in training.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Beacon Academy is the most prestigious school for training future Huntsmen, people trained in Aura and advanced weapons skills to protect humanity from the Creatures of Grimm. Beacon is next to a monster-filled forest which the Headmaster uses to break in the new students on only their first day in school. If they survive that, they then have to survive Professor Port's class. If his boring speeches don't kill, his habit of releasing caged monsters in the classroom to fight unwary students just might. And that's only Day Two. The headmaster had announced it was going to be an interesting year. He wasn't joking. The kids don't just have fairytale monsters and crazy teachers to worry about; the human villains want to attack the school, too.

  • In Alice and the Nightmare, the Phantasmagoria University is Wonderland's most prestigious school. It trains Dream Walkers and Dream Weavers, has giant virtual reality domes and war vets as professors.
  • While not as extreme as some of the other examples, Sokolov Academy from Bad Moon Rising was a school specifically meant for young werewolves and children who had the potential to become werewolves. Given the Fantasy Kitchen Sink nature of the universe, that meant that the students and staff also included a girl who was more reptile than wolf, a smattering of the magically inclined, more than a few ghosts, and at least two living people who could speak to the dead.
  • A piece of side art in Dubious Company, shows a flashback to Walter in Elementary school. The desks float. The students are all bird people and the professor appears to be teaching wormholes while using a Holographic Terminal and wearing a battle helm. Guess who becomes the Magitek engineer.
  • In The Glass Scientists, the Society for Arcane Sciences dedicates itself to protection and promotion of Mad... sorry, Rogue Science.
  • The eponymous boarding school of Gunnerkrigg Court is interesting in that some of the weirdness (Robots in the hallways, monthly holosimulator classes) is out in the open, while other part of it (the Cretan labyrinth off the old library, the secret railway with stops at the giant animal holding cells) is hidden from most students. (Many of whom have supernatural powers or hail from non-human backgrounds.) As if that's not enough, there's also the TicToc birds, whose presence in the Court no one can explain.
    • In other words, Gunnerkrigg Court supports technology and freely uses it, while it tries to deny or at least hide things that it cannot explain with technology. A major theme in Gunnerkrigg Court is the conflict between technology in the court and the unexplainable, etheric magic in the forest beyond the court. Ironically enough, the Court's leadership Does Not Like Magic due to mixture of it being a Black Box and because of petty jealousy. Their ultimate goal is to travel to another world free of magic. They accept students with magical talents not to embrace their gifts, but to figure out how to be free of them.
  • A more mundane appears in Lookism with 7 departments. The Protagonist Park Hyung Suk is a part of the Fashion department. Each of the departments have their own martial artists, for some reason. So it's more serious than Martial Arts and Crafts, as one of the characters is a Boxing Battler, and there's references to many different real martial arts. Yet the school focus is more based around the students' creativity despite most of them being martial artists.
  • Nowhere University has main characters that include a magical girl, a witch, a Jedi, etc., & the teachers come from literary classics. It's sister schools, Somewhere University, Anywhere University & Everywhere University probably qualify as well.
  • Roommates and its Spin-Off Girls Next Door have the St. Jude university where most of the cast works or studies (They are all fictional characters from various fandoms)
  • In Skin Horse, the eponymous tight-budget American nonhuman sapient protection project shares the Annex One building with the Clerk of the Clerk of Clerks, the Department of Jetpack Suppression, the Department of Precambrian Defense, the Feline Trauma Project, the Department of Irradiation, etc.
  • Sleepless Domain: Future's Promise School for Magical Girls is the city's exclusive private school for girls with Magical Girl Warrior powers. It is said to be very well-funded with a strong education, and accommodating school hours to spare its magical girl students from being Triple Shifters. The school is only open to girls who have registered with the Board of Magical Girls, and attendance is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended that active magical girls take advantage of the academy's benefits — as one magical girl puts it, it's a reward for the potentially lethal work the girls do every night.

    Web Original 
  • Carmilla the Series's Silas University. Alchemy club, the Homecoming Goat Sacrifice, the Eldritch Library, the main character's new roommate is a vampire, and then there is the Eldritch Abomination that is beneath the school and demands a sacrifice of five girls every twenty years.
  • Dream High School takes place in a shared lucid dream. The students have super-speed, floating and flying powers (at least outside of the school building) and you're greeted by a floating sign. Students' books also fly and follow them around but only outside of the school building.
  • A downplayed example in Frankenstein M.D.'s Engle State University, whose medical school produced Victoria Frankenstein, and thus, Frankenstein's Monster. (In fact, Engle State gets its name from Ingolstadt, Germany, the town where book Victor attends university.)
  • Arachne Tellwyrn's University in The Gods Are Bastards sits squarely atop this trope, as well as its mountain. Having a Professor who can cause Demons to back off merely by introducing herself is just a bonus.
  • The forum-based RPG Shadowside not only covers the basis of this, but almost all of the subtropes are at least partially true of it.
  • Hyakuji High School, the eponymous high school from Shin Hyakuji High School forum-based RPG covers a variety of subtropes related to this concept.
  • Whateley Academy of the Whateley Universe. It's a high school for the vast majority of all the teenaged mutants on the planet.

    Western Animation 
  • Class of the Titans: While the gods of Mount Olympus no longer have the power to stop Cronus on their own, an oracle has foretold that Cronus will be defeated once and for all by seven teenagers descended from Greek mythology's greatest heroes. These chosen ones are gathered at Olympus High, a school that hides a secret entrance to a special training ground for them.
  • Clone High, as well as rival institution GESH (Genetically Engineered Superhuman High, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin).
  • Creep School has a somewhat child-friendly version filled with ghosts, magical beings, (mostly) friendly monsters and an anthropomorphic chameleon.

    Real Life 
  • One of the selling points of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is that it is a very strange place. Complete with some actual Bizarrchitecture. You might be woken up at three a.m. by an explosion, or be heading to class when you spot a large spaceship in the middle of the Infinite Corridor, or see a group of students randomly attacking each other with padded weapons. After the first few months, students apparently become quite blasé about the whole thing.
  • The same or similar can probably be said of any school whose student body consists largely of nerds (ie. Rice, Caltech, Brandeis, etc.)
  • This also applies to art schools. Likewise, any functioning studio facility, creature shop, props workshop or film school tends can invoke this easily — even when there's not a sci-fi or fantasy project in production.
  • A major point of pride for the Rochester Institute of Technology and its students is finding new ways to fuse technology with art and design — so in other words, you can expect to find all the weirdness typical of a tech school and an art school, squared. This comes to a head during the annual Imagine RIT festival held during the final weekend of the school year, where students and faculty turn the entire campus into a veritable Mad Science Fair as they showcase the bizarre projects they've been working on all year.
  • The University of Chicago goes as far as to invoke this trope, embracing unashamed expressions of nerdiness. This is helped by how the college's gothic architecture more closely resembles an elaborate Wizarding School than a university.
  • Texas A&M University. Large number of nerds + corps of Cadets + the cultures the university tends to draw its students from = large number of strange things that are generally met with apathy.
  • Hollins University, which is an all women's university in Roanoke, Virginia, may qualify. The school has secret organizations, such as Freya (members wear black, hooded robes, remain anonymous in their lifetime, and pass out cookies during finals), as well as traditions such as Ring Night that require junior class volunteers to do silly stunts. Other traditions include things like Tinker Scares, in which the senior class runs through dormitories banging pots and pans yelling that Tinker Day has come. The seniors will perform several of these before Tinker Day actually arrives — during which time classes are canceled, and students and faculty dress up in strange costumes and climb Tinker Mount in Roanoke. It's worth noting that that last tradition dates back to when the university was a seminary institute in the late nineteen century.
  • This can also be said about any school with a large, well-established game of Humans vs. Zombies. For students at these schools, discussions of how to avoid zombies on the way to class, people sprinting across the quad shooting Nerf darts at people chasing them, or seeing forty people suddenly siege a dorm are quite normal.
  • Not to speak for all religious schools, but at some universities, the extranormal is more with the students than with how the institute is run. Some of the kids come from extremely sheltered backgrounds, and for them the very prospect of living in the dorm or going to the cafeteria by themselves is terrifying; some of the others are MK (missionary's kids) and come from various jungles, islands, and so forth and find Los Angeles as a whole basically stifling. Throw in a few cases of visions or demonic possession, and this place probably qualifies.
  • The military tends to get like this sometimes, having its own distinct culture which can be quite baffling to outsiders (expect tons of swearing and impenetrable jargon, especially Fun with Acronyms). Also, consider that their training consists of learning how to operate deadly weapons like machine guns, grenade launchers, and tanks. Learning how to kill people and blow stuff up are quite typical activities for them.
  • Since the Adelaide Fringe often tends to involve some type of light related street art, pity the tourist who walks down North Terrace and forgets that the Fringe is on.
  • The Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Well, all of San Francisco, but the Haight just comes to mind. Yes, that is a naked man wearing a cowboy hat standing on the street corner; no, no one cares. Especially egregious when the Pride Parade hits town. In fact, a lot of big cities across the world would qualify.
    • This trope goes back to the 1960s, when Haight-Ashbury was the center of the hippie movement and the Summer of Love, which largely meant being self-sufficient, listening to avant-garde music and dropping acid a lot.