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Familial Body Snatcher

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A type of Body Snatcher who uses Grand Theft Me and Body Surf who possesses their own family members and descendants. This may be because of a restriction on their power, often attributed to Genetic Memory or needing a close blood match, or preference since it allows them to keep resources and property through the generations, which may justify a Single Line of Descent. Since this process typically overwrites or suppresses the body's original consciousness, effectively killing the host, it's usually portrayed as Immortality Immorality.

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These body snatchers will usually stick to one gender as their targets of possession, though taking any available body regardless of gender is not unheard of.

Compare My Grandson Myself, where an immortal or long lived character pretends to be their own descendant, and Walking Transplant, which includes the variation where a person has their brain placed in a younger clone body which may have had a life of its own up to that point. Related closely to Raised as a Host, since it's often a parent having a child for this specific purpose.


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Examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Ceres and eventually her long-deceased husband Mikagi from Ayashi no Ceres - she can only "reincarnate" in her descendants because of their tennyo blood (though the reincarnation is at first treated more like a form of possession).
  • In Fate Kaleid Liner PRISMA Illya, Darius Ainsworth has doing this for a thousand years with a technique called Conceptual Replacement, which allows him to take over their bodies. Unlike most examples he's not in control the entire time, and his current host, Julian, uses this to masquerade as his own father (who was Darius' previous host).
  • Arba in Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic is introduced using the body of Ren Gyokuen as a vessel, having previously possessed her mother and awakening after Gyouken gave birth to her two eldest sons. After Gyouken's body is killed she jumps to her daughter, Ren Hakuei, after attempting to take over her son Hakuryuu first, showing that while she prefers the females she is capable of taking over the males if need be.
  • Giriko from Soul Eater would use his skills as an Enchanter to implant his own memories into his own children, granting him a form of immortality until Arachne resurfaced. After spending thirty generations doing this, bottling up his murderous tendencies in-hiding, it has not helped his temperament. To his annoyance, he's forced to switch to a female body shortly before his rage destroys his soul entirely.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alex Brisbane is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great and ends up possessed by his soul as a result.
  • Irene Belserion from Fairy Tail once tried this by enchanting her memories and personality onto her newborn daughter in an attempt to escape her Sense Loss Sadness. However, the attempt ended in failure because they were blood related. At least, that's what she tells herself, unable to admit it was because she couldn't bring herself to do such a horrible thing to her child.

    Film 
  • Being John Malkovich: The portal that leads into John Malkovich's head was made by a distant relative of his and designed to select members of that family as hosts.
  • Alison's Birthday - the spirit of Alison's grandmother wants to swap with the youthful Alison.
  • Tales of Terror: In "Morella", Morella's spirit possesses the body of her daughter in order to extract vengeance on her husband. And everything goes horribly wrong (or goes horribly right, depending on your perspective).

    Literature 
  • In The Hallowed Hunt, Earl Horseriver is a descendant of the last Hallowed King and host to his soul thanks to a spell to keep him going to fight the invasion five hundred years ago by transferring his consciousness sequentially into each of his male blood heirs.
  • In the Dune series by Frank Herbert, "Abominations" whose Genetic Memory of their ancestors was awoken when they were still in the womb are at risk of this, shown by Alia in Children of Dune when she starts being influenced by the memories and ego of her grandfather, Baron Harkonnen. While the series makes it clear it's not his actual spirit the effect is very much the same.
  • In Give Her Hell by Donald Wollheim, the narrator makes a Deal with the Devil to avoid charges, including horrible abuse of his family. One of the conditions is for him to live another life from the start through reincarnation... and only on his deathbed does the devil reveal that he is limited, among other things, by this trope, so the narrator is going to relive his daughter's life and by extension the abuse he inflicted on her.
  • In the Mage Winds trilogy of the Heralds of Valdemar series, Big Bad Ma'ar is discovered to have been possessing the bodies of his descendants to prolong his own existence.
  • Fay Harper of Jinx High has survived since before the American Revolution via Grand Theft Me, but can only possess a blood descendant. Or at least a blood relative. The end of the novel strongly implies she was able to jump back to the current host's mother, a previous host body. She's tried moving into the bodies of non-relatives, and they've all died.
  • A variant in Nightside: the long-dead Merlin Satanspawn can be called up through his last living descendant Alex Morrisey, which causes Morrisey to vanish and Merlin to appear in the flesh. Alex finds the experience quite traumatic, and it's implied that he takes Merlin's place in death while Merlin is manifested.
  • In the Stephen King short story "Gramma", an eleven year old boy has to stay at home with his dying grandmother. His grandmother is a witch and after she dies her spirit possesses him.
  • H. P. Lovecraft: In The Thing on the Doorstep, a man's wife is, in fact, his father-in-law, who now has designs to retake a male body.
  • In The Worm Ouroboros, King Gorice of Witchland is actually an immortal spirit that possesses its son every time a body dies.
  • Bryseis Kakistos's attempt at doing this set off the plot of Brimstone Angels - after her original body's death, her ghost manipulated her descendants, getting two of them to conceive a child together for her soul to be reborn into. Unfortunately for Bryseis, she didn't realize her great-granddaughter was pregnant with twins, with the result being that her soul got split into thirds, with part in each twin and part reduced to a near-powerless free-floating specter. Near the end of the series, she manages to successfully pull this off by possessing one of the twins, Havilar, after recovering the broken pieces of her soul. Though Bryseis can possess other people, it's explicitly stated that she is more powerful and has better control if the body she's doing it belongs to a blood relative. She had further plans to have either Havilar or her sister Farideh conceive a permanent body for her after she was done with Havilar's, but was defeated before having the chance to actually arrange such a thing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hemlock Grove: Towards the end of season 3, Doctor Johan Pryce develops the ability to upload someone's mind into a new body. His employer Olivia, who is dying of a vampiric disease, has him transfer her into an unsuspecting billionaire's body. However, the upload soon decays and Pryce explains that genetic compatibility is an issue. Desperate, Olivia then makes repeated attempts to download herself into all of her three children, each of whom rebuff her or fight her off.
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    Video Games 
  • Flemeth in Dragon Age is stated to use her daughters for this after her body succumbs to the ravages of age. Her latest daughter Morrigan requests in an optional sidequest that you hunt her down before she can pull this on her, not that it sticks since she shows up in the next two games. Complicating matters is that Yavana, another of Flemeth's daughters introduced in The Silent Grove, refers to Flemeth's possession as "a gift", but this isn't elaborated on. Dragon Age: Inquisition also adds a huge level of irony when Flemeth's true nature is revealed, since Flemeth has become one with the Elven Goddess Mythal, whose domain is motherhood.
  • In Psychonauts, Fred Bonaparte is a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte and allegedly becomes possessed by his ancestor's Genetic Memory. It's ambiguous as to whether this is actually true or simply a delusion of Fred's.
  • Miang from Xenogears is able to possess any woman descended from her, which given that the world is a Lost Colony and humanity was born from her after Deus created her, this means all of them (with the exception of Emeralda, whose status as an Artificial Human means her DNA, if she even has it, isn't from Miang). She has gone through an average of one body a decade for 10,000 years. It's also shown that the woman's original personality remains intact even after the possession, as a previous host Karen Wong, Fei's mother was able to re-emerge after Miang abandoned the body moments prior to the host's death. She also possessed identical twin sisters on at least one occasion.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Lavok Corthala, ancestor of Valygar Corthala and creator of the Planar Sphere, is stated to have been preying on his family for centuries, stealing bodies to take over.

    Webcomics 
  • In Girl Genius, Lucrezia Mongfish/The Other's two known successful instances of Brain Uploading into a living person (as opposed to a Clank) have been in her own relatives, mainly her daughter Agatha and her niece Zola. Whether she's actually limited to her own relatives hasn't been clarified, but it's known all previous attempts with non-relatives were failures. It's also been strongly implied that Agatha was conceived specifically as a backup in case anything happened to the original Lucrezia.
    • The Baron has placed an overlay of his personality in Gil's mind which he can use to possess him outright and which is very much like what was done to Agatha even if he protests that it is not as extreme a modification.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past" Ra's al Ghul was badly injured during his final battle with Batman and the Lazarus Pit couldn't heal him. His body hijacking machine could only imprint his memories on a "close genetic match", so he stole the body of his daughter Talia. More recent advances allow him to possess anyone, so he wants to hijack Bruce Wayne's body. The episode is a Whole Plot Reference to The Thing on the Doorstep.
    • Another episode has a wealthy businessman use Brain Uploading to create a digital version of himself after his death. Years later, his son reactivates the digital copy to ask for his father's advice. The digital copy has other ideas and tries to download itself into his son's body. Luckily, Batman stops him.
  • DuckTales (2017): Magica in her current state is a Living Shadow that can only affect her niece Lena. She can't control her fully, but is able to paralyze Lena on command, and uses the promise of freedom from this bond to coerce her into doing more. When the lunar eclipse strengthens Magica's powers, and Lena tries to get rid of her, Magica ends up taking over her body entirely. Ultimately, this is subverted, as Lena is actually Magica's Living Shadow, not biological family—by Magica's account, Lena isn't any kind of family, or even a person at all.
  • Samurai Jack: The penultimate episode reveals Ashi, Jack's love interest, to be Aku's daughter resulting from the High Priestess having drank a whole chalice of himself. As Ashi is an extension of Aku, this allows Aku to completely overwhelm Ashi and turn her into another clone of himself and force her to fight Jack.
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