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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 Parasitic Immortality and Immortality Immorality.

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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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ceres and eventually her long-deceased husband Mikagi from Ceres, Celestial Legend — 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).
  • 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.
  • In Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, Darius Ainsworth has done 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).
  • Karakuri Circus: Bai Jin has survived for two centuries by implanting his memories and personality onto a young relative of his via Aqua Vitae. His ultimate plan involves doing the same to his son, Masaru, via his memory-downloading machine.
  • Arba in Magi: 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.
  • Yamato Takeru from Maken-ki! can technically possess anyone he wants, but it put a massive strain on his soul unless they're biologically related to him. To work around this, he both impregnated as many women as he could and, after possessing his modern-day descendant Ouken, began to mass-produce clones of himself. Thus giving him both an army and a steady amount of replacement bodies.
  • 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 Vampire Knight , Shizuka Hio takes over the body of her distant relative Maria Kurenai to exact revenge on the Kiryuu family after they killed her lover, and until she can get her own body back. Once she leaves Maria's body the latter is shown to be none the worse for the wear.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 

  • Alison's Birthday: The spirit of Alison's grandmother wants to swap with the youthful Alison.
  • 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.
  • In Danger Diva, Stanley's plan is to transfer his consciousness into his son in a bid to live forever.
  • Hereditary: After her death, Charlie briefly possesses her mother Annie and then her brother Peter, more permanently. Although it's left ambiguous the extent to which Charlie is an active participant or her grandmother Ellen is the mastermind.
  • In Lizzie Borden's Revenge, the spirit of Lizzie Borden posses the body of her descendant Leslie Borden after being unwisely summoned by a séance. She then proceeds to go an Ax-Crazy rampage through the sorority house.
  • The Rise of Skywalker: Palpatine tries this on his granddaughter Rey, trying to force her to strike him down with all her hatred. After having failing to accomplish this with her powerless father, he considers Rey the perfect cradle for his spirit.
  • 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).
  • Umma: Amanda buries an urn containing the ashes of her estranged Korean mother (the titular Umma). In turn, Umma ends up possessing her daughter.

  • 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.
  • In the Dune series, "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 that 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 the legal ramifications for his crimes, including the horrible abuse of his family. One of the conditions is that upon his death, he will have to live another life from the start through reincarnation; only on his deathbed does the devil reveal the other stipulations: he must be reborn as a member of the his own family, of the opposite sex, who lived within his original lifetime. The narrator is going to have to relive his daughter's life — and, by extension, the abuse he inflicted upon her. Including lifelong confinement in a mental hospital, complete with electroshock therapy.
  • Two thousand years before the rest of the Heralds of Valdemar series, Big Bad Ma'ar, the Mage of Black Flames, pulled a My Death Is Just the Beginning, killing himself and using the energy of his death to catapult himself into a Soul Jar. After that, he waited for an unprotected male of his bloodline to use magic for the first time and possessed him, destroying the mind of the host. This pattern repeated uncounted times over the centuries, with him making sure to leave offspring so he'd always have a way back to the real world. The first time, it was Symbiotic Possession and he persuaded his host to let him in by promising teaching and revenge only to turn on him, but afterwards he didn't bother with such niceties. Each life had him subtly return changed, undergoing gradual Villain Decay from a cruel human into a Stupid Evil monster, Deathless and Debauched, due to his soul slowly accumulating damage. His final incarnation, while possibly the strongest mage in the setting at the time, was a shadow of his old self, unable even to quite realize how diminished he had become.
  • 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 that 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.
  • In Kindred Rites by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel, the heroine Allie, a magician in training, has to deal with a very old sorcerer who has survived this way for centuries. The Keeper of Souls can only do this with a blood descendant, by swapping bodies. If he's in a good mood, he'll let the descendant so honoured live out the remainder of the previous body's natural life. He's even turned his extended family into a cult to preserve his bloodline and power; only children with potential for magic are allowed to live, and younger members of the clan searching for spouses are encouraged to kidnap young children and teenagers with powerful magic and little training in order to breed more powerful descendants and potential host bodies — which is what happens to Allie. Having escaped her captors into the surrounding forest, Allie makes a desperate appeal to Death for help; Death agrees to give her lessons in wild magic, and to place a protection upon Allie so that if the Keeper Of Souls tries to kill her or use her magic in any way, the backlash will kill him permanently... which is exactly what happens when Allie's rescue party arrives.
  • In Medusa's Web, the late Amity Madden attempts to possess her niece Madeline in order to have a healthy body with which to complete her unfinished business. In this case, the familial link is mostly incidental — the factor that really makes Madeline vulnerable is her long-ago encounter with the Medusa — but it adds a creepiness to the fact that Amity really doesn't care how damaged Madeline might get in the process.
  • 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.
  • Roswaal L. Mathers in Re:Zero has been stealing his descendants' bodies in order to complete his goal of reviving his master.
  • In the Skeleton Crew 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.
  • 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.
  • World of the Five Gods: Earl Horseriver from The Hallowed Hunt 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 Worm Ouroboros, King Gorice of Witchland is actually an immortal spirit that possesses its son every time a body dies.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hemlock Grove: Towards the end of season 3, Dr. 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.
  • A non-malicious example in Kamen Rider Kiva. Hollywood Voodoo gone wrong, plus our Half-Human Hybrid hero, equals said hero being possessed by the ghost of his Disappeared Dad for two episodes.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • 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 ICO, this is the Queen's ultimate plan for her "beloved daughter" Yorda.
  • 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.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army: Mental Time Travel is a common pastime in the future, but a certain individual, Raidou Kuzunoha XL, invented a way to send his mind up his family tree and take over the body of his ancestors. This is the "demon" that has been possessing the Daidouji family for generations.
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: In Heaven's Feel, Matou Zouken plans on doing this to Sakura once her mind fades from being connected to the Grail and crushed by the strain of holding seven Heroic Spirits.

  • 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 aforementioned previous failures were due to the beacon engine not being assembled properly. Lucrezia points this out and actually fixes it, increasing her range of available options by her own words. She can use Clank bodies to advance her schemes, but she would actually need an organic body with the Spark to improve her research, and it has been since then shown that Agatha's body has very special significance since she has the potential to become a Goddess-Queen, so this trope is still into full-play.
    • The Baron places an overlay of his personality in his son Gil's mind which is very much like what was done to Agatha even if he protests that it is not as extreme a modification; it is true that it only overtly surfaces when Gil comes into contact with Agatha.

    Web Originals 
  • A rare benevolent variant occurs in one Jenny Everywhere story, Jenny's general gimmick being that she exists as a Hive Mind of versions of herself throughout The Multiverse. It is mentioned that one incarnation of Jenny's daughter herself turned out to be an incarnation of Jenny, but she only started to be able to tap into the hive-mind's memory when she was fourteen. This allowed her to gain insights into her disappeared mother's life, and pick up where she left off.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Body transfer

Russel's plan was to use a Chinese spell called "Chong Sang", which involves the use of Mia's blood since she's a hybrid daughter of a Warrior and Guardian. This also... involves the use of someone related to him as (a biological) parent and a child.

In this case, it involves jumping into Kerwin's body. And it horrifies Zhilan. And Nicky.

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Main / FamilialBodySnatcher

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