Follow TV Tropes



Go To

"I began removing toys from the home while Beef sleeps. I want him to think that maybe the kid was never there to begin with, which seems like an inadequate mind game now that ghosts are forcing him to pee on himself."

Gaslighting is deliberately trying to drive someone mad by altering their environment without their knowledge, then denying it. In a more general sense, it's denying someone's perceptions of reality in order to cause confusion, anguish, and paranoia. You move their things, transmit noises into their room when no one else is there, change little details about your dress behind their back, and so on. Or you start acting drastically differently than you usually do. When they confront you about it, you claim to have no idea what they’re talking about and feign concern for their memory and mental health. Soon, they are convinced that they're hearing voices, seeing dead people, hallucinating, or whatever. The victim can become so convinced that they're going insane that they actually go insane.

The name comes from the 1938 play Gaslight (later adapted into two separate films of the same name), where a woman's abusive husband tries to manipulate her into believing she is going insane. It gets to the point where even the dim gas lights of their home make her question whether they actually are dim, or whether she has gone mad.


In real life, this is a common tactic employed by the abuser in abusive relationships, especially those that revolve around an imbalanced power dynamic, including domestic abuse and school/workplace bullying. The goal for the abuser is to trick the victim into doubting their own sound judgement and perception at every turn, which usually serves a two-folded purpose. Firstly to make the victim susceptible to the idea that if the abuser commits a violent or other criminal/transgressional act on them, it didn't actually happen, just like the other things the abuser denied happened. Secondly, if the victim can be persuaded that they are not of sound mind and only the abuser is capable of seeing the truth, they can be fooled into depending on the abuser to tell them what's real and what's not, keeping them in proximity for the abuser to commit more abusive acts against them. In short, the abuser is able to both cover their crimes and gain the victim's captive loyalty by telling them a convincing lie enough times that their word becomes "the truth".


As in fiction, this method of manipulation often leaves deep psychological scars that require extensive efforts to correct, including therapy and in some cases, even medication. The abuse victims suffer, and the destabilisation of their psyche often plays a role in later manifestations of mental illnesses such as complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD).

"Gaslighting" has undergone a certain amount of lexical devaluation. Rather than meaning "subtly influencing another's perception of reality to cause self-doubt," it is also often used to refer to subtle deception in general. At worst, one party in a conflict recalls events differently and accuses the other of "gaslighting" them even if no such malice is intended.

See also Why Did You Make Me Hit You?, Driven to Madness, Paranoia Gambit, and 2 + Torture = 5.


    open/close all folders 

  • A Canadian Tire TV spot in, where else, Canada, had the current "bumbling chubby oaf" mascot guy hide in a woman's wall pretending to be the wall itself asking her to buy Canadian Tire brand paint to paint it with. The ad comes off REALLY creepy.
  • In this Tide-To-Go commercial, a Drill Sergeant Nasty chews out a soldier for having a stain on his outfit. When the sergeant turns around to address the other troops, the private with the stained shirt quickly cleans it using the Tide-To-Go. When the sergeant turns back to the private, the private asks what stain the sergeant is talking about.
    Drill Sergeant Nasty: What'd they do, send me a dag gone Houdini?!

    Anime and Manga 
  • Blood-C: This is actually done by the Big Bad Fumito Nanahara where he hires actors to play as Saya's friends and lets them pretend that they were killed by the Elder Bairns just to provoke an emotional response from Saya just to see whether she could retain her new personality or not. He also drugged Saya with coffee and marshmallows whenever her old memories resurfaced. But the whole gaslighting stops after some of the actors get fed up waiting for Fumito to give them their rewards and decide to finish the job themselves by forcing Saya to drink her own blood and revealing to her that it's all a set-up.
  • In Heavenly Delusion, Kiruko ends up being a victim of this tactic by the Head of the Water Filtration Centre, who turns out to be Inazaki Robin, Kiruko’s former Big Brother Mentor who took advantage of her trust in him to rape her. However, at first Kiruko resisted and screamed, so Robin knew needed a way to keep her silent and make her more submissive. He recalled that “Kiruko” had the body of Kiriko Takehaya with Haruki Takehaya’s brain inside of it due to a medical procedure in the past, thus she believed herself to be Haruki, which gave Robin an idea to break her.
    Robin started off by questioning if Kiruko was really “Haruki,” which made her angry and confirm it was true. However, he then pointed out in a roundabout way that even if Kiruko had Haruki Takehaya’s brain, thus having his memories, that didn’t necessarily mean she was “Haruki.” It was possible she was really “Kiriko” who simply had Haruki’s memories, and that she was lying to herself the entire time. When Kiruko realized she didn’t have a way to counter this theory, she hallucinated and saw “Haruki” in a nearby mirror, making her think that “Haruki” was trying to save his sister “Kiriko” from being raped by Robin, which ended with Haruki’s reflection in the mirror disappearing and frightening her because it made her realize she might really be “Kiriko” after all.
    This revealed a deep-seated fear she had of her real identity after the medical procedure she went through in the past, which broke her down from a tough Action Girl who fought literal monsters and took crap from nobody into a traumatized wreck who only wanted to “obey orders” from her rapist. The only thing keeping her from crossing the Despair Event Horizon was that she knew her friend Maru was still out there, having resorted to pleading that he would save her. Fortunately, he did later after giving Robin a much-needed comeuppance for his betrayal of an orphan he used to take care of in the past
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders:
    • Jotaro pulls this on Daniel D'Arby during their poker game. Jotaro sets his cards face-down, and then has Star Platinum move things around faster than D'Arby can see. D'Arby had already cheated to give himself a winning hand but now believes Jotaro has switched the cards without D'Arby being able to keep up. Jotaro's unwavering confidence only adds to D'Arby's unease, making him certain he'll lose.
    • Dio Brando later pulls a similar stunt on Polnareff. Dio stands at the top of a staircase, challenging Polnareff to come up and fight, or otherwise step down and swear loyalty to Dio. Polnareff attempts to answer the challenge, only to find Dio laughing, saying Polnareff must want to give in since he stepped down. Sure enough, Polnareff looks at where he is and realizes that, despite his attempts to go up the stairs, he keeps moving down. Dio is stopping time and moving Polnareff down every time he tries to step up.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics:
    • In an older story actually dating to near the Gaslight film's original release, Archie and Jughead, shortly after seeing the film, start gaslighting Veronica — because Archie forgot his date with her and he wanted to avoid her temper — by convincing her that Jughead is Archie and vice-versa. They actually get her doubting herself to the point that she begins trying to hug and kiss Jughead who, being the girl-hater that he is, swiftly gets the heck out of there in disgust. Then Archie is left alone with Veronica, wearing an evil grin, asking, "Have you ever heard of a movie called Gaslight?"
    • A newer comic has Jughead pull this on Mr. Lodge as a joke after he decides it's hilarious how Mr. Lodge has a massive fishtank for a single tiny fish. He continually swaps it out for a slightly bigger one each time the man leaves the room and actually has Mr. Lodge genuinely doubting his sanity... until he catches Jughead in the act and swiftly retaliates.
    • Another comic has Archie and Ms. Grundy do this by accident to Mr. Weatherbee. The principal dumps his repulsive coffee in a plant while checking out the set for a school play, and then right after he leaves Ms. Grundy asks Archie the plant is not big enough and to go get a slightly larger one. This goes on for some time with Mr. Weatherbee never catching them in the act by pure chance, but believing the plant is growing massively fast and coming to the conclusion the coffee must have been turbo-charged. Naturally though he goes to get some scientists to check it out... just in time for Ms. Grundy to decide the plant is distracting and getting Archie to bring back the original tiny plant. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Batman:
    • The Joker tries this on James Gordon during the events of Batman Endgame by doctoring himself into several photos, such as an old newspaper about a fire in a hospital, and another where he can be seen in the background of a photo taken after the birth of Barbara and James Jr. Bonus stories at the end of each issue show that he also attempted this on (already unhinged) Arkham patients...and succeeded. He is going out of his way to make himself appear as a bogeyman, taking the "monster" part of Monster Clown quite seriously.
    • The organization of wealthy gamblers The Black Glove led by Simon Hurt try to drive Batman to his mental breaking point in Batman RIP. They actually succeed, leaving them at the mercy of Batman's Success Through Insanity backup personality The Batman of Zur En Arrh.
    • The Batman story Dark Victory (sequel to The Long Halloween) had Alberto Falcone get out of Arkham, only to become convinced that his home is haunted by the ghost of his father when he keeps hearing voices, and even receives a gun like the kind the Holiday Killer used. When he reports this to his siblings they think he's nuts, but it's actually the Calendar Man who has been talking to him through hidden speakers throughout the house in an attempt to drive him to kill.
    • Master illusionist Doctor Tzin-Tzin tries to do this to Batman in the classic story "The House That Haunted Batman." He fails.
    • Robin (1993): When Bruce decides to test Tim by giving him a fake message from the future about a teammate turning evil he responds to Tim bringing it to his attention by acting like Time Travel is impossible and ridiculous. Bruce is on a team with a time traveler and has traveled in time himself, making Tim immediately realize the message is from Bruce. Amusingly Tim had actually suspected one of his villains of leaving the message to try and unsettle him, so he was furious when he realized it was Bruce trying to test his commitment to Bruce's ideals.
  • In The Beano, in a Roger the Dodger strip, Roger wants a day at the beach but his parents won't agree to it, so he gaslights them by putting washing back in the washing machine and bringing back books that his father already returned to the library so they think they're getting stressed and agree to it. When his dad realises what Roger's been doing by checking the date the book was checked out on (that day, rather than whenever he'd originally checked it out), they turn the tables and gaslight Roger by going full circle around a roundabout on their way to the beach, telling him they've already been and are just coming back.
  • A rare well-meaning example can be found in Bone. When Fone Bone comes to the valley, nobody believes that he met the Great Red Dragon, much for his frustration. It happens that Gran’ma Ben and Lucius took years convincing the people and sentient animals that dragons were make-believe, so they could have a normal life and keep Thorn safe. Besides, Gran’ma held a strong grudge against the Great Red Dragon because he didn’t help her to save her daughter and son-in-law. Thorn is not happy at all when she learns her grandmother deceived all those years. It also backfires against Lucius when Phoney Boney takes advantage of the villagers’ fears creating rumors against a dragon; Lucius can’t tell them the Great Red Dragon is not dangerous because he would have to admit that he lied to the villagers.
  • A very important Wham Line in The Boys reveals that Black Noir, actually a clone of the Homelander, has been doing horrible things and sending photographic evidence to the Homelander to make Homelander think he himself is murderously insane so Black Noir will get the go-ahead to kill him.
  • Catwoman and her partners make a plan to do this to Roulette, who had thought she'd done it successfully to Catwoman.
  • The Spot started gaslighting Daredevil as payback for Daredevil foiling one of his crimes and humiliating him in the process. He kept this up for months. His powers allowed him to do things like plant the remains of Murdock's father on Matt's desk and teleport his institutionalized ex-wife to his bedroom and back to the asylum before anyone noticed she was gone. It didn't help that Matt's friends already thought he was going nuts because he was trying very hard to act happy in the face of all of the tragedy in his life.
  • Venom (Donny Cates) revealed that Eddie's "cancer" and memories of a sister and uncle who'd died from it were really false memories created by the symbiote to keep Eddie from leaving it.
  • An EC Comics story subverted this with a story in which a woman believes she is losing her mind after the death of her young son. It's actually a ploy by her husband to get her committed to an asylum, which is successful — until the reveal that he's going to the asylum, and she played along with the doctors to lure him there. She had found out what he was doing and that he, not her, is the one who's mentally ill.
  • In an early Peter Milligan comic for Vertigo, Enigma, there's a supervillain team called the Interior League whose modus operandi is gaslighting. Specifically, they break into your house while you're out/sleeping, and rearrange the furniture into the exact right positions to turn you into a homicidal maniac.
  • In one issue of The Flash during Barry Allen's tenure as the titular speedster, the villain Abra Kadabra sought to pull this on Barry by putting him in a situation where he'd be tricked into thinking that the iconic lightning-chemical bath, instead of giving him his powers, actually left him with horrible skin-burns. Kadabra even set up illusions of Barry's friends coming in to try and convince him that he'd never been a superhero, but rather that he'd been in a coma following his hospitalization. Near the end, though, Barry managed to defeat Kadabra after noticing a key detail that the villain had overlooked. Kadabra had brought in an illusion of Professor Zoom to taunt Barry, something which, if the supposed reality was true, should be impossible, as Zoom's origin was inspired by the Flash — basically, if the Flash never existed, then logically Zoom shouldn't exist either.
  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac:
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: The Italian Mickey Mouse story Mickey and the visionary syndrome (1997) features a particularly elaborate one. The story opens with Mickey, in detective mode, trying to capture a duo of industrial spies. He falls from a considerable height and suffers a concussion. For a while, he is delirious. The spies are apprehended by the police and Mickey is to be the key witness in their trial. When Mickey is released from the hospital, he is still in poor health and unable to fully care for himself. Conveniently, a previously unknown Country Mouse cousin drops by for a visit and offers to move in with him for a while. The cousin takes over all the housework and even volunteers to do repairs in neglected areas of Mickey's household. A few weeks later, Mickey feels fine enough to go out for a walk with the cousin. The cousin soon seems to vanish into thin air, and with him, all the improvements he made to Mickey's house. Mickey's family denies the existence of this mysterious cousin and no associate of Mickey remembers meeting him, only hearing Mickey mention him in phone conversations. Everyone concludes that Mickey has not recovered from his concussion and suffers from hallucinations. His allies in the police lose all faith in him, he is discredited as a trial witness, and Mickey genuinely starts doubting his own sanity. Then he notices an overlooked detail in his house and starts figuring out what happened. The overlooked detail was a rope knot performed by the cousin which failed to vanish with the other improvements. He soon figures out that "the cousin" was a con artist connected to the industrial spies. The entire gaslighting operation was intended to have the case against them collapse before the beginning of their trial. During his stay, the cousin claimed shyness to avoid meeting any of Mickey's associates. He orchestrated his own disappearance, while his accomplices were working hard to undo the improvements and repairs in Mickey's residence.
  • In one Cartoon Network comic featuring The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, the Hooded Claw tries this, having decided that if he can't kill Penelope and get her fortune, he'll drive her mad, and in her weakened mental state, she'll sign over her fortune to his secret identity Sylvester Sneekly. It almost works, but before Penelope can have a breakdown, the Ant Hill Mob show her the Hooded Claw's carelessly discarded costume and she calms down upon realizing that the strange things happening to her were probably the Claw's doing. This in turn drives Sneakly mad, as the stress of having his plans go up in smoke again after so much effort gets to him.
  • A Project Superpowers story has the Black Terror getting stalked by the ghost of a girl who died in a robbery he broke up, who tries to convince him that all he does is create more problems for people, and thus he should just kill himself. The ghost turns out to be Mystico, an old ally of the Black Terror's who is now being blackmailed into trying to steal his soul.
  • In the Runaways story "It's Not Lupus", Nico accidentally (and literally) curses Molly after losing her temper. When Molly suddenly turns deathly ill, she convinces Klara that it was her fault, that she infected Molly with a disease from the 1900s. Of course, then Chase starts acting strangely, despite Klara and Molly having been quarantined, and Nico is forced to concede that she's behind these incidents.
  • In Mysterio's second appearance in the Spider-Man comics, he poses as a psychologist and nearly convinces Peter Parker that the strain of a secret identity is driving him crazy and that revealing this identity to the friendly psychologist would cure it all... the changes were not terribly subtle though. More things like Peter walking in to the office to find the room was upside down, including the psychologist.
  • The Spider-Man story Revenge of the Green Goblin had Norman Osborn use Goblin serum-laced toothpaste, hypnotic CDs, and other tricks to make Peter doubt his reality and ultimately dress like the Goblin himself.
  • Superman:
    • "Dead Again" had Brainiac, who was thought to still be lobotomized after the events of Panic In The Sky!, pull this off by making it appear that Superman's body was still in his grave, making everyone, even Superman, think that he wasn't the real deal and that he was truly dead.
    • In Krypton No More, Supergirl is coaxed into making her cousin believe Krypton never existed for his peace of mind (long story). She pulls this off by going through Clark's home and the Fortress of Solitude, switching the Bottle City of Kandor, the Phantom Zone projector, and anything that could prove the existence of Krypton with dummies, and then telling her cousin Krypton was a delusion of his.
    • In a 1966 Action Comics story arc (issues #332-335, "The Super-Revenge of Lex Luthor"), Lex Luthor plots to destroy Superman psychologically by saving his life multiple times, and manipulating people's perception of him. After weeks of demoralization, Superman eventually figures out what's going on and pretends to have a mental breakdown to make Luthor think he finally won.
    • In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, villain Xviar sneaks into Clark Kent's apartment and treats his civilian clothes chemically so that Superman is unable to use his powers. Just as planned, he makes Superman believe he is suffering some kind of nervous breakdown.
    • In The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor, a criminal gang is paid to drive Lena crazy. So, they stealthily install several devices around her home which make things blow up or float randomly, leading Lena to believe her psychic powers are going out of control and she is a danger to everyone.
  • During the "One Year Later" arc of Teen Titans, the titular titans visit the Doom Patrol in order to get medical help for Kid Devil. While there, Robin discovers that the Chief regularly gaslights the other Patrolmen, convincing them that they're mentally ill or have impaired judgment in order to discourage them from questioning his orders.
  • In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, the motormouth Autobot Swerve brags about doing this to his roommate, the paranoid security chief Red Alert, just to make him freak out. He then says he's going to wheel Red Alert into a different room while he's offline recharging. Given that Red Alert is known for being paranoid and violent, this just serves to cement Swerve's Too Dumb to Live status.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Asuka comes up with a Zany Scheme involving Strip Chess and role-reversal to bewilder Misato so thoroughly that she doesn't have the mental fortitude to make a big deal of the fact her two wards are sleeping together. It ultimately backfires rather badly.
  • Burning Bridges, Building Confidence: Adrien engages in this by telling Marinette that everything Lila has done to her is entirely her fault. Insisting that Lila wasn't harming anyone with her constant lying, despite how she has used those very same lies to turn most of their classmates against her with Malicious Slander. According to him, that's Marinette's fault for standing up to her and trying to expose her. Can't she see that her lies were harmless? After she and the rest of the Girl Posse find out about this, Cole calls this out directly as gaslighting.
  • In Fear No Evil, a My Hero Academia fanfic, the police attempt to gaslight Aizawa into believing that he wasn't nearly kidnapped, there was no boy kidnapped in front of him. Then immediately contradict themselves by saving said boy ran away from home. Aizawa is not having it and immediately teams up with All Might to find the boy (Izuku Midoriya).
  • Hermione Granger and the Boy Who Lived starts out with Hermione having just successfully concluded a campaign against a man who raped and murdered one of her friends (and a string of previous girls). The network of concealed speakers, pretending that he was being haunted by the ghosts of his victims, was supposed to drive him to publicly confess, rather than to hang himself, but she doesn't feel particularly remorseful about the result.
  • Fujimori subjects Katsuki to this in King (MHA), exploiting the fact that Katsuki is in severe shock in order to manipulate his memories, having him repeat a carefully tailored and revised version of events in order to ensure he testifies 'correctly'. By the time Katsuki realizes what's happened, he realizes that he can no longer trust his own memories of the incident, as they've been heavily colored by the version he was forced to memorize.
    • Fujimori also subjected Shouto to this when they were much younger. By the time he was through with them, their testimony helped ensure that his mother was completely blamed for the incident that caused his scar, getting her institutionalized while Endeavor gained full custody.
  • In Last Call, Jasper's abusive ex-girlfriend Lapis tries to gaslight the abuse as being exaggerated. Throughout their relationship, Lapis used to gaslight Jasper.
  • Like A Redheaded Stepchild features a more benign example: during Harry's first year, the Weasley boys all write home and talk about him as though he really was their brother, to the point where a harried Mrs. Weasley soon forgets that he isn't (Ron even reminds her to make him a Christmas jumper, since she "forgot" last year).
  • The short Invader Zim fanfic One Night features this happening to Gaz. In the middle of the night, she witnesses a mysterious creature kill Dib and then drag his body out of the house. She calls the police, but by the time they show up, the blood has all disappeared, as has Dib's room, and every picture of him in the house. The police then reassure her that she just had a nightmare and leave, leaving Gaz to start questioning her sanity. Then the creature attacks her, only for her to suddenly wake up in her room, with a very much alive Dib also telling her she was having a nightmare...except not really, as it turns out he and Zim faked the whole thing to mess with Gaz as a cruel prank.
  • Defied in the sequel to Project Sunflower. Erin Olsen/Sunflower spends the night at Ditzy Doo’s house with her daughter Dinky, unaware that Marigold is also spending the night there. Meadowlark, Marigold’s mother, who still hasn’t forgiven Erin for lying to her and her daughter in the previous fic, accuses Erin of not listening to her to stay away from her and her daughter. When Meadowlark threatens to forbid Marigold from seeing Dinky if she doesn’t move out of Ponyville, Erin calls her out it and tells her that she’s not going to let her blame her for her actions.
    Erin/Sunflower: If you want our friendship to be over, that's fine! Just tell me so I stop hanging on and hoping you'll forgive me one day. But I won't let you blame me for your decisions!
  • In Worm fanfic Queen of the Swarm, Aisha occasionally used her "Forget about me" powers and her trickster disposition during a gang war to do this to enemy gangs' members:
    "Back during the war, we found out one of the households was hardcore ABB. Not actual gang members, but the kind who would – and did – make attempts to smuggle gangers into the neighborhood, where they figured they'd be safe under E88's radar. Now, these were civilians, so we couldn't just beat the shit out of them. We might've officially been villains, but even back then we didn't hurt people like that. So instead, the evil genius here has an idea.” I let the information sink in for a moment while Imp preened, before continuing. “She camps out in their house for a week. Brings a pillow and a sleeping bag, sets up in a closet. Every day, she rearranges their furniture. Sometimes it's just little things, like an ottoman being across the room or a glass on the other side of the table. Other times, she spends the whole day shoving the couch into the dining room. By the end of the week, they're freaking out. Of course, when she starts to write satanic messages on their mirrors, that's when they decide it's the last straw. They left the territory and we moved refugees into the house the same day. Now,” I addressed them directly, “imagine her and Regent on patrol together. Street vendors would end up painted like clowns and gangers would have their pants set on fire."
  • In The Very Secret Diary, one of Tom's preferred tactics of abusing and manipulating Ginny is to tell her she "must be imagining things", deny she wrote to him when she did, outright lie about where she was at certain points, and passive-aggressively convince her that she is the Heir of Slytherin, and then turn around and make her feel like she's crazy when she begins to believe it, saying of course she can't be the Heir.
  • In You See Them, Ren's parents have rebuke every claim that he can speak with the dead, telling him that they were hallucinations. When Ren and the other Phantom Thieves confront the Amamiyas' shadows, they learn that they knew that Ren could genuinely see the dead, but tried to silence him to make him a normal kid. Ren and the other thieves are furious about the revelation.
  • In Maleficent fanfic Your servant, Mistress, Stefan is mentioned to be doing this to his wife as a part of his abuse. It helps him get sole custody for their daughter once his wife sues for divorce.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Bettermans from The Croods: A New Age try to gaslight Grug and Ugga into giving Guy to them and needless to say, they aren't happy when they catch on.
  • Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame constantly gaslights Quasimodo to be an obedient servant.
  • The Lion King: Scar manages to manipulate Simba into believing that he is responsible for Mufasa's death when in truth, he did it.
  • Morag from The Loud House Movie gaslights Lincoln into thinking that he is responsible for causing Lela the dragon to destroy the town of Loch Loud when it was really her own doing.
  • In Ratatouille, Chef Skinner is under the impression that Linguini is doing this - trying to make him see a phantom rat everywhere after he ordered the rat killed. "Am I seeing things, am I crazy, is there a phantom rat or is there not, but oh, no! I refuse to be sucked into his little game..." There actually is a rat, however, and Linguini isn't trying to gaslight him. He is, however, suffering a Sanity Slippage because of seeing the rat, but not being able to catch Linguini with him.
  • Mother Gothel from Tangled seems to be a successor of Frollo in this department as she often uses this as her go-to Abusive Parent tactic to get Rapunzel to obey her.

    Film—Live Action 
  • Gaslight is the Trope Namer and probably the modern Trope Maker. In that film, a man marries a woman so he can get into the loft her aunt willed her and get at her aunt's hidden treasure, after killing that same aunt with his bare hands. To keep her out of the loft while he searches for it, he starts a plan to make her think she's gone insane so that he can commit her to an asylum. The trope name (and the movie's title) comes from the part of the film in which the woman, convinced that she is going crazy, is unsure whether or not she's imagining the gas lights dim, which is happening because he's turning on the lights in the attic for his search, and this is re-directing gas from the downstairs lights.
  • Amélie does this to the grocer as a punishment of sorts for berating and belittling her friend. At first, they're just little things — for example, she replaces his slippers with identical ones that are a size too small, swaps his lightbulbs with much dimmer ones, and exchanges his toothpaste with a cream intended for his feet. Eventually, her tricks get more and more elaborate until he really begins to question his sanity...but the real kicker is when she replaces the speed-dial number for his mother with that of a mental hospital.
  • Stanley Kubrick does it to the viewer in A Clockwork Orange. He made continuity errors on purpose during the scene where Alex has dinner with the author. The dishes on the table move around and the level of wine in the glasses changes between shots.
    • He did something very similar in The Shining; the hotel sets are deliberately constructed to be geometrically and architecturally impossible. It's too subtle to notice unless you are really paying attention to the sets, but rather cleverly inflicts unease in the audience.
  • Sgt Angel in Hot Fuzz starts to think that he's going insane after everyone in the village ignores the increasing amount of evidence that there is a murderer on the loose in the village.
  • Shutter Island
    • The film uses continuity errors to suggest insanity. For instance, while one of the patients is being questioned early on she asks for a glass of water. She's brought a full glass in one shot, in the next shot she drinks it, but there's no glass in her hand, and in the next shot she sets down an empty glass. All these shots are so short (about a couple seconds each) that it becomes harder to notice, heightening the unease the audience feels for reasons they can't really explain.
    • Furthermore, such tricks seem to be used against the protagonist by the staff of the hospital. By the end, he doesn't know if everyone in the hospital is conspiring against him or if he has slipped into paranoid insanity. He is in fact a paranoid schizophrenic with psychotic delusions, and the staff are indeed part of a conspiracy, but it's to help him.
  • The Screaming Skull has a Bluebeard who killed his first wife for her money and then attempted to gaslight his second wife, already mentally shaky, into suicide so he could get her inheritance. As it turns out, his first wife's spirit wants revenge from beyond the grave...
  • Mentioned in The Darjeeling Limited. When Jack discovers his ex-girlfriend's perfume in his luggage, Peter suggests she might be trying to gaslight him.
  • Lucy, the heroine from False Positive, undergoes artificial insemination. It works, but as her pregnancy progresses, Lucy suspects that Dr. Hindle is doing this to her, such as by denying that he aborted her "parasitic" twins.
  • A large part of how the conspiracy is maintained (most namely with the therapist and, for instance, his disappearing drink) in The Forgotten (2004).
  • Referenced in Bordello of Blood, although in that case, it was less about driving anyone mad and more about concealing criminal activities.
  • A variation of this idea forms the plot of the 1969 film The Big Cube. In it, spoiled rich teenager Lisa tries to con her stepmother Adriana out of the money her recently-deceased father left her by driving Adriana insane. She and her drug-dealer boyfriend try to accomplish this through a combination of LSD and a hidden tape recorder. The boyfriend takes things too far, however, when he adds an extra message to the tape urging Adriana to jump out the window to her death...
  • Psycho II. Norman Bates came home cured. Marion's sister decides to unravel that.
  • In the The Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera, the brothers do this to a police inspector. He checks Groucho's apartment for Chico, Harpo, and Ricardo, and the brothers try to conceal the fact that they are staying there by hiding the fact that there are four beds. The beds get repeatedly shuffled between rooms until the cop is convinced he is nuts.
  • In Les Diaboliques, a man's mistress and his wife conspire to kill him. But after they drown him, signs turn up to make it unclear whether he's really dead or not. The mistress and the husband are actually conspiring to frighten the wife, who has a weak heart, to death.
  • In the 1940s film The Dark Mirror, the evil twin, Terry, attempts this on the good twin, Ruth. She uses such tricks as turning the lights on quickly in the middle of the night and telling her now-awake sister she must be hallucinating, and hiding a music box in the house and leaving it on.
  • The Tenant, Roman Polański's self-starring conclusion to his "Apartment Trilogy" (with Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby), has the protagonist moving into a new apartment whose former tenant (a woman named Simone Chule) had committed suicide. Over time, he becomes convinced his neighbors are conspiring to turn him into Simone's likeness. It is probably more likely that he is going mad on his own, but the film does leave room for interpretation.
  • A favorite plot device of William Castle, who was influenced by the aforementioned Les Diaboliques. Visible in Macabre (on a male victim, fairly unusually), House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Tingler, and The Night Walker at the very least.
  • Featured extensively in Rosemary's Baby, where the plot turns out to revolve around a satanic cult that wants to impregnate Rosemary and make her give birth to The Antichrist. This is accomplished by drugging her, insisting that she looks healthy when in reality the Fetus Terrible causes her to look pale and malnourished and just generally acting like nothing is wrong. Later they dismiss her ravings about witches and cults as stress from the pregnancy and use similar tactics to convince her that the baby died. The reason this works so well at first is due to the sheer amount of people involved, with Rosemary’s husband, doctor, and every tenant in her apartment building being in on it.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week In The Dark has this being done to a woman who has recently been blinded in an accident, the culprit being her volunteer aid, who is also her Stalker with a Crush. The purpose is to make her feel helpless and thus more dependent on him — thus he'll do things like move an end table just enough that she'll trip over it the next time she enters a room, or take a vase from her house and hide it in plain sight, then buy her flowers and "find" the vase for her, pretending it was there the whole time and she missed it while feeling around the shelf.
  • The 1961 film The Pit and the Pendulum has a man believe he accidentally buried his late wife alive. It turns out his wife was never dead and is conspiring with the man's best friend, who was also the doctor who declared her dead, to drive the man insane so they can continue an affair they are having. They succeed, but soon find they have driven him too insane, and are quickly on the receiving end of Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Both Vabank and its sequel base their delightful mind-screwyness on Kwinto's crew gaslighting Kramer (in the first movie, to give him a "perfect" alibi: in the second, to drive him right into the hands of Przygoda) in very elaborate ways.
  • A major plot point in Changeling, as the Los Angeles Police try to convince Christine Collins that the boy they found is really her missing son (despite being obviously different) and she must be crazy to think otherwise. Frighteningly enough, this is Based on a True Story.
  • In Bunny Lake is Missing, the heroine's young daughter disappears, along with nearly all evidence of her existence. Her brother encourages her to try to prove to the police that her daughter is real. It's actually a misdirection gambit to prevent her from figuring out that he was the one behind the abduction.
  • The Truman Show is all about this, especially when he starts to notice there are things wrong with his reality because it's a reality show inside a giant soundstage. His wife and best friend, who are actors, try to convince him that little things like seeing his "dead" father again on the street or a Klieg light falling from the sky are signs of a mental breakdown.
    • One part which stands out is when Truman starts voicing his objections, and then he begins the next scene dressed in children's clothing.
  • In the Anthology film Chilling Visions 5 States Of Fear, a variant of this trope occurs in "The Trouble With Dad". An elderly man living in a nice isolated house appears to be suffering from Alzheimer's, as his daughter and son-in-law keep having to remind him of events he can't recall. In fact, these events never happened; they're just trying to convince him that his mind is failing so he'll be Driven to Suicide and they can inherit his house. He discovers the truth when he finds the freshly-dead carcass of his dog, which they'd secretly killed and claimed had been "put down" months ago.
  • Mean Girls: Regina does this to Aaron when she gets back together with him just to prevent him from asking out Cady, flat out denying that she broke up with him.
    Aaron: What are you doing? YOU broke up with ME?
    Regina: That's crazy, why would I break up with you? You're so HOT.
  • Midsommar: Christian does this to Dani, as part of his emotional abuse. This results in some serious retribution when Dani sends him to be boiled to death in a bear carcass
  • Matilda does this to Sadistic Teacher Trunchbull via telekinetic powers, at first in very little adjustments, but finally by outright having two paintings levitate around the room. Since Trunchbull is highly superstitious, she instantly assumes that her brother-in-law Magnus, whom she had murdered is haunting her. She catches up on the situation though when she finds Matilda's red hairband.
  • The Terror: Katrina is attempting to drive the Baron to suicide by making him think that he is haunted by the ghost of late wife. However, unusually for this trope, she uses supernatural means to do so.
  • The House That Dripped Blood: In "Method for Murders", Charles' sightings of Dominick turn out to be part of a plan by his wife Alice to have him declared insane so she can run off with her lover.
  • Trading Places: The Duke Brothers do this to Louis Winthorpe as part of their bet. When Louis returns home with Ophelia, he finds that somebody changed the locks on his door, and when he knocks on the door, his butler Coleman pretends he doesn't know him.
  • In The Hands of Orlac, the Con Man Nera has been carefully manipulating things to make Orlac believe that his hands have a mind of their own so that Orlac will believe that he could have been responsible for his father's murder and be susceptible to blackmail.
  • The Invisible Man (2020) begins with Cecilia attempting to escape from her abusive husband Adrian. After she does so, he fakes his own death and begins stalking her, using a special suit of his own invention that renders him invisible. Cecilia realizes what's going on fairly quickly, but of course, everyone just thinks she's losing her mind, a belief that Adrian takes advantage of to alienate her from her friends and ultimately frame her for her sister's murder. And even when she finally manages to prove the suit exists and Adrian isn't dead, he sets things up so that his brother takes the fall instead. Driven to the edge with grief and realizing the law will never punish Adrian, Cecilia eventually resolves to murder him herself.
  • Panic Beats has a husband conspiring with his mistress to get rid of his wife by convincing her that an ancient ghost of his estate is after and frightening her to death with it. That's only half of the story of backstabbing and intrigue.
  • Society: After the Society is exposed, Billy realizes that all the messed-up things they've been showing him, including several displays of their Lovecraftian Superpower, were in an effort to make him lose his mind.
  • Disney's Tangled practically revolves around this trope, with "Mother" Gothel hitting 11 out of the 11 signs of gaslighting.
  • Bowfinger: Bobby Bowfinger unknowingly does this to Kit Ramsey. When Kit refuses to star in his movie Chubby Rain, Bowfinger decides to make the movie with him in it without him finding out. However, he seemingly has no idea Kit is actually intensely paranoid about aliens and thinks they're very real, so when Bowfinger's actors walk up to Kit out of nowhere and start talking to him about aliens and UFOs, it pushes Kit right up to the edge of a breakdown.
  • The Lodge: Aiden and Mia spend the film pulling this on Grace, attempting to drive her into committing suicide by, among other things, claiming everyone in the lodge is dead and in Purgatory. They succeed too well - Grace kills their father Richard and is implied to be about to murder both of them at the end of the film.
  • Kimi: Angela's psychiatrist suggests that her mental illness is just making her think that what she overheard is like her rape, but doesn't push it. Natalie Chowdhury though explicitly tries to use it against Angela so she can dismiss her report. Angela however never falls for it, and has hard evidence too in any case.

  • In Time and Again, one of the criteria used in choosing a time-traveller was to see how he reacted to apparently reason-defying events: he responded rationally and soon figured out how the testers had tricked him.
  • Whether it was his intent or not, Dracula did this to Jonathan Harker while he had Harker imprisoned in his castle. Harker was convinced he'd hallucinated the whole thing for a long time afterward. By the end of his stay, not only is Jonathan a psychological wreck but he's practically become nocturnal to match the Count's own sleeping habits.
  • Agatha Christie:
    • Third Girl has Norma, the titular girl, believing herself to have murdered someone after having vivid memories of appearing at the crime scene. It turns out that the murderer (the man pretending to be her father) and his accomplice (Norma's roommate) have been feeding her drugs and taking her to the crime scene to make her come to this conclusion. They do it again in the climax, this time placing her by the body with a knife in her hand. The imposter even has a portrait painted of himself in the same style as one of Norma's mother to make the impersonation more convincing to everyone else, no matter how much Norma insists that the man is not her father.
    • In one of her short stories that were part of the Labors of Hercules cycle, the Cretan Bull, Hercule Poirot investigates the apparent mental breakdown of the almost-wedded son of a navy officer. Turns out that the officer, whose madness runs in the family, was trying to drive the young man insane (helped by an interesting use of a drug — probably thanks to Christie's background as a pharmacist — spiking his shaving lotion with belladonna eyedrops, which soothe the eyes but are poisonous and psychoactive if ingested), in order to get revenge on the family friend who had an affair with his wife and is in fact the guy's real father. He wants to convince him that he's Axe-Crazy and murderous, to drive him to suicide. Since he isn't the Admiral's son, he doesn't have his madness, and everything ends all right. (Though interestingly, the officer himself doesn't survive all of this.)
    • In A Caribbean Mystery the murderer is revealed to have poisoned his wife's cosmetics to make her hallucinate and appear insane to others and herself. This is so that it'll look more convincing when he kills her and makes it look like a suicide.
  • According to the Tom Clancy novel The Cardinal of the Kremlin, this is a technique sometimes used by the KGB to break down prisoners. Particularly messing with their perception of time, by putting them in a windowless cell and moving their mealtimes around so they feel like they're suffering from time-dilation or compression, but also sometimes more...unusual methods are taken into use. Like having somebody dress up like the prisoner's long-dead war buddy and pop up in the middle of an interview, with the interviewer not 'seeing' him...
    • And this is their soft torture. When they capture a Western spy who is young enough for them to properly torture, they place her in a sensory deprivation tank for hours. She ends up thinking she's died and gone to Hell.
  • Roald Dahl's The Twits was all about this — the titular dysfunctional couple do it to each other to begin with (for example, adding a small segment to the bottom of a walking stick every day to make the wife think she's shrinking), and have it spectacularly turned on them at the end (they're tricked into gluing themselves to the floor, and end up shrinking down into nothing in their efforts to get themselves unstuck).
  • In Captain Underpants, George and Harold do this to their science teacher, Mr. Fyde, by making animal noises very quietly and then denying that they heard anything.
  • A The Vinyl Cafe short story recounts how a Chinese restaurant owner using this managed to get a bigoted regular customer to slowly feel more and more subconsciously uncomfortable and to stop coming there on his own. Over the course of a year, he slowly increased the portions that the customer received a spoonful at a time, shortened his chair with a file, and changed a painting that he liked to look at while he ate a brushstroke at a time (it used to be a summer scene, and it was turned to a winter scene by the end).
  • In the V. C. Andrews standalone, My Sweet Audrina, Audrina's whole family engages in gaslighting (particularly to fake the passage of time), leading her to believe she is someone else after her rape.
  • Discworld:
    • In The Fifth Elephant, Acting Captain Colon becomes convinced that the rest of the Watch is doing this to him — specifically, stealing the sugar lumps — to try to drive him mad. They're not. Colon's really bad at counting, and it doesn't help that he starts eating them while he's trying to count them.
    • In Going Postal, this is the point of Lord Vetinari sending Clerk Brian, something of a Highly Visible Ninja, to spy on a banker. Rather than get actual information, Vetinari wants to make the banker nervous. He (Brian, not Vetinari) rearranges some of the banker's stuff.
    • A much more minor and almost inadvertent example: in Night Watch, a group of disgruntled watchmen steal the elderly Captain Tilden's silver inkpot, a memento that Tilden's old cavalry unit gave him when he retired from the service, and attempt to frame Vimes by planting it in his locker. Vimes anticipates this and initially plans to simply plant it in the locker of one of the conspirators, but is forced by circumstances to instead put it in Tilden's safe and convince the old man that his memory is going and that Tilden forgot about putting it back in the safe. Poor Tilden is embarrassed and half convinced that he's going senile, and Vimes feels terrible about the whole thing because Tilden is a good man who doesn't deserve to have his mind screwed with in such a way.
    • Vetinari has a clock(!) with that effect in his audience chamber. While somebody waits to be let in to see His Lordship Vetinari, they are left alone in a nicely furnished room with what looks like a normal grandfather clock, amongst many other completely ordinary things in the room. Except, when normal clocks do tick tock, this one occasionally, in long uneven intervals does tick tick tick. Or doesn't do tick tock at all, skipping it completely. Or does tick tock slightly too fast. And things like that. After about half an hour, some important but unconscious parts of human mind start going cuckoo. Vimes is one of the few people to notice what is happening because 1) he is made to wait often enough in the room and 2) he is a policeman with a great eye for details. Everybody else just gets stuck with a sense of growing unease and unknown dread (compared to a completely natural known dread of having to meet the absolute ruler of Ankh Morpork, who can get you executed or imprisoned with a word).
  • In Skies of the Empire, Zayne imposes himself on a vulnerable-looking man and insists he's the man's nephew in order to steal archived blueprints. After deflecting answers about himself and plying the man with booze, he seems to fall for it. He actually just starts going along with the ruse until he can suss out what Zayne wants from him, but the ease with which Zayne and Nanette execute the plan suggests they've done it before.
  • In The Famous Five book Five Run Away Together, the Five sneak into the dungeons, and make noises of cows, sheep and horses to frighten the Stick family who are camping out there. Their son Edgar is well and truly taken in.
  • In James Thurber's The Great Quillow, the title character uses this to drive away Hunder the giant.
  • Caroline B. Cooney's Losing Christina trilogy deals with a seemingly charming husband and wife duo who enjoy doing this to young women For the Evulz. The main plot of the series involves one of their latest targets, Christina, figuring out what they've been doing and trying to convince people of their real nature, all the while holding onto her own sanity.
  • This is part of a sub-plot in The Fear Index where the computer program VIXAL-4 has been using his bank accounts to buy things, using his e-mail to contact people, even hacking into his doctor's notes and using little bits of that to get a guy to break into his house and murder him.
  • In the children's book The Night It Rained Pancakes (adapted from a Russian folktale), a Russian peasant does this to his impressionable brother not to make his brother question his sanity, but to make their feudal lord question the brother's sanity so he won't believe the brother's claims that gold was discovered on their land.
  • In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom insists they do this as part of his infamous and unnecessarily convoluted scheme to rescue Jim the "proper" way. He and Huck hide spoons while Aunt Sally counts them, and then replace them when she tries to re-count, as well as sending mysterious threatening messages.
  • A textbook example occurs in a YA novel by Steven Oftinoski that reads in some ways like an homage to The Screaming Skull, right down to its name — The Shrieking Skull. A reclusive widow is being tormented with visions of a skull and recorded screams to make her think she's being haunted by the ghost of her long-dead decapitated lover. This is so that she can be declared insane and put in a mental hospital, thus paving the way for the sale of her old mansion to a greedy developer, a sale that will make the gaslighter rich. It's her seemingly kindly doctor. The plot is only exposed when the Kid Detective starts investigating and the gaslighter, afraid they will be discovered, tries to scare him away with the skull, thus proving it isn't all in her head.
  • In Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, Chaz Perrone is driven insane in many small ways by his wife Joey, whom he thought he had killed.
  • Molly Sterling's ex-husband Rodney in Catherine Anderson's Sweet Nothings was a pro at this, convincing not only those around him but Molly herself that she was unstable and belonged in a mental ward, just so he could get his hands on her family's money.
  • Used as a roundabout method of murder in I, Claudius, where Claudius' superstitious brother Germanicus is tormented to death by a variety of inexplicable occurrences. The culprit? His young son Caligula, who got in touch with his inner psycho very early on.
  • A profoundly important aspect of 1984, it is taken to the absolute extreme, with every aspect of the past being constantly altered and treated as if it had never been altered, with dissent to this process punishable by the Ministry of Love.
  • Animal Farm, also by George Orwell, shows Squealer the pig engaging in gaslighting in order to manipulate the other animals. The most striking example of this is how he alters the Seven Commandments written on the barn wall: "no animal shall kill another animal without cause", "no animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets," and so on. As few of the other animals can read and even fewer can write, no-one contradicts him.
  • Hush, Hush. In the first book, Patch does this to Nora, using his angelic powers to trick her into hearing his voice in her head and making her hallucinate certain things. He also makes it so that Nora is the only person who can see or hear him, so she looks like she's crazy when she talks to him.
  • The parody book An Alien's Guide to the X-Files suggested this strategy for aliens so that their abductees would not be believed, Mulder would constantly be distracted, and Scully would be driven insane. The suggested plan for Scully was to secretly sneak into her home at night, raise the countertops and shelves, replace her furniture with something just slightly larger, and take in the seams on her clothes to convince her she was shrinking and gaining weight.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Roose Bolton doesn't let not knowing what a gaslight is stop him from using this trope. What he does to Jaime and Brienne over a dinner/ meeting/ condescending debriefing in Harrenhal has very strong shades of it, for all it was just over one meal. The selection of an ill-fitting, horrible dress for Brienne (who is well aware that she's not considered attractive), the hard-to-cut food, the top-heavy goblet, and the cutlery provided for Jaime (who recently lost his dominant hand)? Not an accident. And, all tailored to hit both of their egos in some very tender places, make them uneasy... and just to amuse him, while he puts forward his version of events with no spin and no underlying threats or power-plays whatsoever. The thought of staying with him for a month when he's got no particular reason to be good to you should, rightly, make your skin crawl.
    • Tywin Lannister has spent pretty much all of Tyrion's life trying to convey how much of a useless disappointment he (and society at large) finds his son to be. And, Tyrion has internalized a lot of the less-than-subtle digs (from assigning him to dangerous, demeaning or both positions to the very horrible "prank" pulled on both Tyrion and his actual daughter-in-law, Tysha), being utterly convinced that people will only ever follow him for money.
  • In Wraith Squadron, Grinder finds himself the victim of a prank of this nature, orchestrated by Face, Phanan, and Kell. It was intentionally vicious (though ultimately harmless) because the other squad members were tired of the pranks he was pulling on them, and pulled the prank as revenge and as a warning for him to stop.
  • In the Past Doctor Adventures novel Palace of the Red Sun, the Sixth Doctor basically inflicts such a fate on Protector Glavis Judd, a ruthless conqueror who has spent his own career manipulating others by causing problems on other worlds so that he can step in and 'save' the people from their supposedly corrupt rulers. After the Doctor is able to send Judd five hundred years into his own future, he's dismissed as a lunatic who just thinks he's Glavis Judd and is sent to an asylum with others who share that delusion. Judd is last shown no longer sure of his own identity in the face of so many other people proclaiming they're him.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, after Alex sees several people in a place where they shouldn't be, and then nothing is there, he fears he's going mad. Turns out that one of his foes is a shapeshifter.
  • In R.L. Stine's The Best Friend, one of Honey's main tactics in driving Becka up the wall is stealing her stuff and saying Becka let her keep them.
  • Joe Pickett: The bad guys in Out of Range uses drugs and psychological trickery to turn game warden Will Jensen's depression into paranoia, which ultimately drives him to suicide. They attempt to do the same thing to Joe when he takes over the post.
  • In Mr. Mercedes, Brady, while ostensibly "fixing" the victim's computer, uses this to drive Olivia to suicide. The offender had stolen the victim's car to drive it into a crowd of people, then rigged the victim's computer to play voices masquerading as those who died in this attack.
  • In Worm, Imp uses her ability to terrify people by misplacing or stealing their things, moving their furniture, giving them small cuts that they don't remember getting, and so on.
  • In the Mary Higgins Clark novel Remember Me, a couple goes away for the summer to recuperate from the death of their young son. However, the woman is relentlessly plagued by nightmares, flashbacks, and hallucinations about the accident in which he was killed (and she was driving the car, leaving her with considerable Survivor Guilt as well). Her husband insists that she needs to be confined to a mental hospital, but he turns out to be a Red Herring. His concern, while overbearing, was genuine. It turns out that the culprit is his ex-girlfriend, who's trying to drive her insane to the point of killing herself so that she can get him back. The nightmares have been induced by the sounds of the accident and a child's crying being piped into the house—the reader might recall at some point that the ex is a real estate agent and that it was she who "kindly" found the house for them.
  • In The Amy Virus, Cyan's parents do this to make her conform to their rules. Cyan's friend Renate even refers to the trope namer when she points it out to her.
  • In the novel Kind of Cruel, in keeping with one of the major themes concerning the difference between memories and stories, Jo frequently gaslights Amber, her sister-in-law by being chummy with her one moment, viciously lashing out at her the next, then snapping back to normal and acting like nothing unpleasant transpired at all. Amber herself even notes Jo tends to do this when nobody else is around, making it even harder for Amber to be sure if Jo's behaviour was real or imagined.
  • In Great Black Kanba by Constance & Gwyneth Little, the heroine suspects this is being done to wealthy "Uncle Joe" as all of the incidents that make him look like his sanity is slipping could also be the result of deliberate action. Uncle Joe also realizes this, but having committed murder for reasons unrelated to the gaslighting, exploits the incidents as part of an Insanity Defense. The book ends before we learn if this was successful.
  • Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not: In "The Adventure of the Madman", Moriarty sprinkles powdered Devil Foot Root on the wood Dr. Seward is burning to heat his asylum: hoping to send the doctor mad so no one will ever believe there was a patient called 'M'.
  • Harrow the Ninth: The protagonist, Harrow, already has a habit of hallucinating people who aren't there. Just after she admits this to Ianthe, she finds a corpse under her bed: when she asks Ianthe if there's anything under there, Ianthe says no, confused. As it turns out, both girls saw the corpse. Ianthe just lied about it to make Harrow more vulnerable.
  • Used on the reader in Well of Ascension, the second book in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. Sazed discovers an ancient Terris document carved in metal, and makes a rubbing, not knowing that the god Ruin can alter any text not written on metal. Ruin subtly changed the details in the prophesy to make it look like it was coming true. That's not the gaslighting part, though, just manipulation. The trick is played on the reader in the quotes in the chapter header. The quotes are from the genuine article, but many appear out of context long before the cast discusses the doctored version, to give the reader a sense of unease. For example, one header says the writer was struck by the hero Alendi's stature and how he towered over others, but the doctored version claims that he was struck by his small stature and the fact that he could still tower over others.
  • Elizabeth from Miracle Creek has attacks of rage every few weeks that involve hurting Henry in some way, like pinching or scratching him. Afterwards, she matter-of-factly tells him that he was hurt in some other way, like being scratched by the neighbor's nonexistent cat, and watches his eyes dart back and forth as he tries to figure out which version to believe. If she repeats her lies often enough, Henry will forget what really happened.
  • In one Sister Fidelma story, a farmer witnesses attacks on his farm that are denied by his wife and neighbor. Their intention is to have him declared mer, insane, so that they can control the silver mine he unwittingly owns. His nervous manner and appearance mean that the local chieftains don't take him seriously.
  • In the Welcome to Night Vale novel The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home, the title character manipulates people's surroundings, especially her "favourite", Chad in order to...persuade Chad to settle down, get married, and have children. Of course, her reasons for wanting him to do that are not particularly benevolent either.
  • Where The Drowned Girls Go: The Whitehorn Boarding School of Horrors tells students that their experiences Trapped in Another World aren't real, punishes them for disagreeing, and doesn't let them graduate until they truly believe it. The students enforce this on each other, too, calling Cora's Mark of the Supernatural fake against all evidence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Strangers From Hell: Done repeatedly to Jong-woo, with the result that he eventually goes insane.
    • Eden's other residents constantly cross his boundaries. When he complains to Ms. Eom she tells him it's just a misunderstanding.
    • Despite Jong-woo's boss and his jealous coworker's rude indirect (and direct) jabs at his living situation and personality in general, they tell Jong-woo he's overreacting when he justifiably gets mad.
    • No one takes Jong-woo seriously when he says there's something strange happening in Eden Studio. They all say he's imagining it, he's exaggerating, there's nothing wrong...
  • Jessica Jones (2015) shows gaslighting extensively (and very realistically, despite the setting — real-world victims of the technique have commented on how truthfully gaslighting is depicted by the show). This is not surprising, for a show that uses a villain with mind-controlling powers as an explicit metaphor for domestic abuse. At various times, first season villain (and Jessica's former abuser) Kilgrave attempts to confuse and distort Jessica's reality not with his actual mind-control powers, but simply by retelling the story of their relationship from a delusional perspective, that he insists on in the face of Jessica's own memories. Similarly, we see other characters such as Trish deal with this tactic from her mother. Interestingly, Jessica Jones doesn't simply demonstrate realistic gaslighting and its psychological effects alone but shows its characters combating the technique by re-asserting their own stories. A recurring theme has Jessica reciting the names of streets she knew from the neighbourhood she once lived in, part of a psychological technique sometimes used by victims of abuse to have something concrete to hold onto that is outside of the warped reality insisted on by their Kilgrave.
  • Used on Remington Steele as Steele and Laurel pull a scheme to force a murderer to confess. Keeping to a running theme of the series, Steele openly cites the movie as the inspiration.
  • In Happy Endings, the episode "The Kerkovich Way" reveals the eponymous way involves lying to someone, flooding them with specific details until they question their own perception of reality. Alex protests and says it's wrong, while Jane (who does it so often to her husband he's one MRI away from a free MRI) uses it very often, to crazy extremes in this episode.
  • One episode of Corner Gas had the entire cast, mostly Brent and Emma, do this in order to make Oscar think his memory was failing him in his old age. He even starts suspecting it, but they just laugh and tell him he's being ridiculous. At the end of the episode, Emma starts feeling guilty and makes Brent tell Oscar the truth. Oscar has forgotten everything and doesn't know what the hell Brent's talking about.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Gone", an accidentally invisible Buffy does this to a social worker (moving her coffee mug and whispering, "kill, kill...") who was probably about to have Dawn taken away. Kind of mean, since the social worker wasn't being unreasonable; she just happened to visit the Summers' house on a really bad day... which is probably every day around there...
    • "Dead Things" also played this for drama at one point, with Spike convincing the already severely depressive Buffy that she Came Back Wrong, and is thus inherently evil. Buffy ends up telling Tara (who was also gaslighted into thinking she was inherently evil for a long time) about this, and she convinced Buffy that it's false. Interestingly, this is a plot point Joss Whedon avoided answering. It's quite likely this was intentional.
  • Angel did a variant of this with "Dear Boy", with Wolfram & Hart using the recently resurrected Darla to tease Angel, making his friends think he's lost it.
    Wesley: Vampires don't come back from the dead.
    Angel: I did. And I saw her. I'm not crazy!
    Wesley: Where?
    Angel: Right between the clown and the big, talking hot dog.
  • In the episode of The Avengers (1960s) "The House that Jack Built", Emma is trapped in a house that is an elaborate psychological maze, built by a now-dead businessman who had too much free time, too much money, and one hell of a grudge against her. A recorded message he leaves flat-out states that the intention is to drive her insane and eventually to suicide.
  • In Monk, apparently convincing someone and her friends that she is insane and hallucinating will ensure that you can murder someone using a method she devised and not get caught. After all, if an insane woman says she knows how a murder was carried out, there's no reason to even test the theory.
    • Inverted only to be played straight in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Asylum", where Dr. Lancaster dresses as Santa Claus to gain entry to a chimney in a mental institution to retrieve the gun he used a few years ago to shoot and kill a rival doctor at the institution because he knows the patient in the room overlooking his route is obsessed with Santa Claus and won't be believed. Unfortunately, Dr. Lancaster's plan backfired when he was forced to abandon the search because one of the patients was throwing a fit, and he apparently didn't anticipate that the patient in question would actually photograph him or that Monk would start investigating. As an emergency fix, he makes things seem as though Monk and the patient in question were becoming insane (or in the case of the patient, more insane than he already was), such as stealing the camera as well as rags from his Santa suit that Monk discovered, stealing a fellow inmate's necklace and somehow planting it on Monk to make it seem as though he stole it, and replacing pictures he drew with more disturbing pictures.
    • This seems to be happening to Sharona in "Mr Monk and the Girl Who Cried Wolf", providing the first example.
    • In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist", there is an episode-length use of this trope: Randy is undergoing a dental operation at Dr. Bloom's to remove an infected tooth. During the operation, a bald man barges in and furiously demands that Dr. Bloom tell him what he's done with Barry Bonds, who is worth $13 million. A fight breaks out, with Dr. Bloom and his assistant Terri ultimately killing the intruder. When Randy comes around after his operation is over, he looks around and sees no signs that a fight ever happened, because Dr. Bloom and Terri had dumped the body in the woods and also replaced broken equipment. Everyone, Stottlemeyer included, dismisses Randy's claim as an effect of being under anasthetics at the time. When the victim's body does turn up, Randy identifies him as the man Dr. Bloom killed but is laughed at by the other cops and quits in anger (Stottlemeyer theorizes to Randy that according to him, the intruder confronted Dr. Bloom because he thought Dr. Bloom kidnapped Barry Bonds and they were arguing about the ransom money). Randy only realizes that he wasn't hallucinating when he notices an article about the armored car robbery that the dead man, Denny Jardeen, had been involved in: in that robbery, armed men with pistols and rifles had hijacked an armored car, unloaded it at a warehouse, shot and killed both guards, and made off with $13 million in bearer bonds. Randy realizes that one of the guards punched Jardeen in the face before he was shot, Jardeen had gone to Dr. Bloom's to get a broken tooth fixed, and divulged the location of the bonds to him and Terri while under anesthesia. The good doctors went to his house, found the money in a toolshed, but instead of turning the money in to the police, they kept it. When Jardeen figured out what happened to the bonds, he confronted Bloom about it, forcing Bloom and Terri to kill him. Randy misinterpreted "bearer" as "Barry", explaining the Barry Bonds discrepancy.
    • Another case happens to Monk in "Mr. Monk Is Up All Night": Suffering from insomnia, Monk is wandering through the streets, and happens to pass by a diner kitchen where he hears an argument going on. He peeks through a window and sees a drug deal going bad, with the dealer and customer debating if a third man at the deal, an Asian, is actually a cop or not. Suddenly, the Asian pulls a badge and gun and declares the other two men under arrest. Monk looks away as the drug dealer attacks the undercover cop, only to hear a gunshot. He looks and sees the drug dealer has shot and killed the cop (and blood has splattered everywhere). The dealer hustles the customer into a waiting car that speeds away. But when the police arrive, however, the kitchen (which was destroyed in the fight) is spotless and immaculate, and there is no evidence that a murder happened, not even a body to prove a thing, and no cops have been reported missing. Monk later finds the supposed "undercover cop" at a train station, but he denies ever having been to the diner. He also locates the customer, a coin dealer, who denies ever having been there. The apparent murder was an elaborate con by the Asian and "drug dealer" to steal the coin dealer's merchandise, tricking him into thinking he had witnessed a murder and was paying them hush money. The reason why the kitchen was spotless is that a waitress at the restaurant helped the Asian clean up the kitchen before the cops arrived.
    • In "Mr. Monk Goes on Vacation", Sharona's son Benjy is the one who witnesses a murder, and only Monk believes him. The hotel manager in particular chalks it up to the boy's imagination. Eventually, when Monk figures out the true culprits, they made sure that they clean up all the evidence to continue making it look like Monk is a loon and Benjy is crying wolf.
    • "Mr. Monk Gets Drunk", both the guests at a hotel and the owner and staff find one fellow patron dead from a heart attack, and that he has a ton of money in his room. They intend to share it among themselves. The problem is that Monk had a chat with the dead patron the night before, so they conspired to make it look like the guy was someone Monk just made up. The charade includes reshooting a group photo, since an initial photo taken while Monk was present included the victim, and sabotaging the guy's car and make it look like it's been on the property for years. Monk almost managed to get fooled, until a hitman looking for the dead guy arrives, with the picture of his quarry.
  • Scrubs:
    • The Janitor convinces Kelso that he's suffering memory loss like this. Largely by yanking Ted around with a crane, but whatever works for comedy. Kelso does figure it out though and gets back at the Janitor. And then done to the Janitor in the last season, where they actually convince him all the weird stuff he did (building a giant sandcastle in the parking lot, etc.) was just in his mind. He believes it. Or does he?
    • J.D. also mentions that he's attempting to do this to Turk when he asks Melody to keep a tiny bottle of ketchup so that he can replace everything in his apartment with tiny versions and convince Turk that he's grown extraordinarily tall.
    • In the episode "My Buddy's Booty", the Janitor reveals to Dr Cox that he stole the keys to J.D.'s apartment, so he can go in, switch off his alarm, and move stuff around. He then pushes it beyond deniability by taking J.D.'s bed to the hospital while he's asleep and leaving it in front of an ambulance.
  • In an episode of Medium, a man tries to get his wife committed to an insane asylum by drugging her candy with hallucinogens. It gets out of control when the priest accidentally takes some, too, and the man who was drugging his wife hits him on the head, causing him to fall down the stairs (he feared that the priest would be suspicious once he became lucid again).
  • In the Arrested Development episode "My Mother The Car," Lucille crashes her car with Michael riding shotgun, giving him a head injury. She spends the rest of the episode trying to convince him the crash was his fault, giving him a Tap on the Head whenever he starts to remember the truth, all while being an extremely eerie Stepford Smiler "caring mom" to her injured son.
  • Midsomer Murders:
    • Done in the episode "Beyond the Grave" where a woman's brother-in-law and her therapist conspire to make her think she's going insane, seeing her dead husband's ghost.
    • A later episode has a woman made to believe she's committed several murders via voices being transmitted while she's sleeping and hearing creaking stairs. It turns out the murders were committed by a man who's installed several transmitters in her house to get her to blame herself. Jones himself listens to the sounds from the bedroom while fully conscious and claims he'd go for his bat.
  • Farscape: "Won't Get Fooled Again", where Crichton recognizes it beforehand. "Somebody is gaslighting me!" This was actually the second or third time it had been done to him (depending on if you count Maldis who made it completely blatant), although the first where driving him nuts was the actual intent.
  • Done in an episode of Australian drama series The Flying Doctors. For an extra twist, a medicine with the known side effect of making people dizzy and confused is mixed into the victim's food, in addition to basic gaslighting.
  • Used in retrospect in Burn Notice. The original plan was just to convince their target (an abusive and politically connected ex-husband) that people were trying to kill him, to get him to leave town. Unfortunately, his mobster brother wouldn't let him run, so they did some quick stepping to make it look like the whole thing was a series of paranoid hallucinations, presumably getting him committed in the end. Features an awesome performance by Michael as a Catholic priest. Conversation between Michael and Sam suggests this technique is a standard spy technique, particularly for targets with a history of substance abuse.
  • Occasionally used on Leverage.
    • "The Order-23 Job" has the team use a faked outbreak to freak out a germophobic Corrupt Corporate Executive who's about to go away to Club Fed. They get him to escape the custody of the Federal Marshals in order to lead him to his hidden stolen money.
    • "The Three Days of the Hunter Job" has the team target a tabloid TV reporter and make her think she's stumbled upon a conspiracy theory involving terrorists and when that isn't enough, ups the ante without much effort. The episode gets extra points when the team convinces the reporter that there's a chemical in the water supply, and give her pills to counteract it — pills that turn out to be anti-psychotic meds. Guess what happens when she interrupts a broadcast for "breaking news" and her producers tackle her...
    • "The Morning After Job" may take the prize. The team convinced a protected federal witness that he had killed his one-night stand, played by Parker, to convince him to give them evidence against Big Bad Moreau. The plan goes awry, so they end up bringing Parker into the courtroom when he's about to give his testimony and escape all consequences for his actions. Needless to say, he flips out and ends up being tazed after leaping off the stand screaming "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?" at Parker and a bewildered FBI agent (who believed that Parker was also FBI).
  • In Vengeance Unlimited, Mr. Chapel uses a police officer's ID and his own computer savvy to drive his mark crazy. It's almost undone by his mark's biggest fan, a computer genius herself... Until he gets the mark to confess within her earshot.
    • That show loved this trope. There's another point in that episode where he pays off an entire restaurant to use Monopoly money instead of cash, much to the horrified confusion of the victim. Then, to drive the nail home, he has them switch back to real money when the victim is in the bathroom, then back again when he goes to pick up the check. It works beautifully.
  • In Cold Case, when the team is investigating an alleged suicide, it was played straight, in that the nanny did this to the victim in order to get to her husband, and subverted, in that it was the husband that killed his wife to hide his plagiarism and just made it look like a suicide, taking advantage of her previous apparently insane behavior.
  • The Prisoner (1967):
    • Number Six does this to a particularly nasty Number Two in "Hammer Into Anvil". He's long since learned that his fellow citizens will immediately tattle on every action of his. But if he does random things for no reason, the other Villagers have nothing to report. But Two can't accept that. They must all be in cahoots with Six!
    • Variations on the technique are used against Number Six in several episodes, most notably in "The Schizoid Man", where Number Six is brainwashed to believe that he's a Village agent brought in to impersonate the "real" Number Six (who actually is a Village agent impersonating him) in order to break him.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • Used by Dewey to punish Lois for not getting him an ingredient he needs for a science experiment.
    • He also did this to Hal for refusing to buy him a piano. Mostly by making things go missing. Then it was revealed that the many things he stole throughout the episode were for an organ he was constructing in the garage.
    • Hal did this to Lois once. Lois gets into a car accident which appears to be her fault, but which she insists is not, even when shown a video that seemingly proves her guilt. When Hal finds a video shot from another angle that proves she was right all along, he decides to never let her see it. He was so desperate to hear her admit that she was wrong about something that he didn't care that she was actually right.
  • The Adventures of Superman:
    • In one episode this was apparently being done to Jimmy Olsen. Items were moved around in his house and the painting in the living room kept changing. Ultimately, the gaslighting was unintentional, the result of burglars using his house to stash stolen goods while he wasn't there.
    • In another episode, Perry White starts seeing Julius Caesar's ghost (a play on his Catchphrase "Great Caesar's Ghost!"). It turns out to be a ploy to undermine his credibility as a witness in an upcoming gangster trial. Superman saves the day by gaslighting the gangster into believing the ghost of a crook he betrayed had come back to haunt him.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
  • Dax (with Quark's help, evidently) moved Odo's furniture while he was regenerating "four times in the past year" preceding the fourth-season Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Homefront". Of course, she's only moving his stuff two or three centimeters each time, but it still drives him crazy enough to confront Quark about it.
  • Crops up in Jonathan Creek in "The Judas Tree". Jonathan also mentions Gaslight at one point during the episode.
  • Neighbours:
    • Elle Robinson did this to Max Hoyland in revenge for his role in her brother's death (a case of mistaken identity, due to said brother having an evil triplet. This was his exit storyline, as his marriage never recovered even after regaining his sanity.
    • Years before that, Michael Martin gaslighted his stepmother Julie Martin; he always blamed her for breaking up his mum and dad's marriage, driving his mum to alcoholism and later death in a car crash. Michael proceeded to gaslight Julie by moving objects around the home (or hiding them), pretending he hadn't talked to her about things (or alternately, pretending to have talked to her when he hadn't), and altering her dosage of tranquilisers. By the end, he had her convinced she was insane, including leaving the house and running around the back to make it appear that there was more than one of him, and was only caught out because he got too cocky.
    • Used and namechecked in a 2015 story arc which again involved a (former) Hoyland and a Robinson. When Stephanie Scully returned after two years in a mental hospital, she quickly befriended Paul's daughter Amy and grandson Jimmy. Paul, concerned for Jimmy's safety (and possibly still carrying a grudge over Steph's involvement in the death of Ringo Brown), attempted to make her doubt her sanity again and force her to return to the hospital, using information he learned from Steph's psychiatric nurse/ex-girlfriend Belinda. However, he was soon exposed for it after blackmailing Aaron into helping him, and Stephanie managed to trick him into a confession by pretending that it had worked.
  • The Victim of the Week in an early episode of NCIS was subjected to this treatment via a radio hidden in her house's ventilation to make her hear voices.
  • In Psychoville we have a character do this to themselves, creating a false borderline schizophrenic hallucination in order to remain committed, only to eventually go genuinely insane.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "A Portrait for Troian", Sam jumps into the body of a parapsychologist working with a young widow who insists the ghost of her late husband is haunting. It turns out to be a plot by her brother to gaslight her.
  • In 7th Heaven, Annie Camden was becoming emotionally distressed that the twins would not call her "mommy", yet repeatedly called Ruthie "mommy". Turns out, Ruthie managed to somehow teach them how to call Ruthie their mommy (in a manner similar to how a Sea World trainer teaches aquatic animals tricks) as a prank for Annie.
  • An episode of T And T had a spoiled brother and sister do it to their (grand?)mother so she can't disinherit them and give everything to her parrot. To complicate matters, the butler is trying to murder her and the parrot.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • In the season 1 episode "The Ringbanger", Leslie Nielsen plays a visiting colonel with an astonishingly high casualty rate, and the doctors decide to give him "a karate chop to his mental well-being" to get him a Section 8 discharge and prevent him reassuring his command. They mess with him by repeatedly moving the location of his tent (and the camp loudspeaker next to it), giving him a glass of milk that they claim he'd been insistent about getting all morning, and convincing him that Major Burns is really a homosexual crossdresser lusting after him.
    • In the episode "The Winchester Tapes", BJ switches Charles' uniforms with those of heavier/thinner men to make him think he's losing/gaining weight. Hawkeye asks BJ what's next. The answer: "He gets taller."
  • In the White Collar episode "Vital Signs", Neal comes up with a plan to do this to a crooked doctor. They convince him that his kidney failed while he was on a flight to India looking for an illegal transplant, that he's currently in India hooked up to a dialysis machine, and that Neal (posing as a doctor) can get him the transplant he needs if he gives up the number of the account where he keeps his ill-gotten money.
  • Invoked by name in one episode of Reno 911!. Junior is gaslighting Trudy, and that's how he discovers her video will. The others give him suggestions.
  • Parodied in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 when Pearl makes the bots hallucinate. While it fails to have any effect on Tom Servo (who sees everyone as an Eldritch Abomination, just like normal), Crow's hallucinations bring him to the brink of despair when he sees that Mike's Snickers bar is suddenly a Milky Way.
  • Inverted in an episode of Full House. After accidentally damaging the wall in Danny's room, the girls move everything over by about 3 inches to hide the damage and maintain the symmetry of the room. This allows us to see how set in his ways Danny is when he starts dropping things on the floor because he had memorized exactly where everything had been.
  • Brody does this to Carrie to some extent in season one of Homeland. She's completely right about him, but he manages to convince her that it's all in her head. It helps that she really is bipolar. It also helps that he does nothing overtly that would make him appear guilty, even backing down completely during his chance to use a suicide vest. Though he only did this after Carrie convinced his daughter to call him.
  • A really disturbing example of this was used in Murder In Mind. A middle-aged doctor 'confesses' how he helped his wife commit suicide after she developed a degenerative brain disorder. What he doesn't tell is that he wanted her out of the way and she was perfectly healthy — he created her problems with a poisonous metalloid combined with this trope.
  • Namechecked by Roz in an episode of Frasier where he seems to be getting more forgetful and she pranks him into thinking he'd made an appointment with his hairdresser.
  • In an episode of The Drew Carey Show, Oswald and Lewis play pranks like this on Drew. They change the settings on his scale so he thinks he's lost a bunch of weight, they then giddily explain to someone that they plan on exchanging his bed for a smaller one while he sleeps so he'll think he's gotten huge.
  • In the episode "The Ian Cam" from the BBC series Clone, Victor gaslights Rose in order to convince her that she has Alzheimer's disease so that she will have a brain scan.
  • In American Horror Story: Murder House, malevolent ghosts do this to Vivien, in order to get custody of her about-to-be-born baby taken from her and given to her husband, so they can more easily steal the baby. The ghosts are real, but intentionally either appear only to Vivien or convince the other characters to lie when asked about seeing them.
  • Cole does it to Paige in an episode of Charmed, along with having a demon possess her with insanity. He uses demon powers around her and erases the evidence, so she can't be sure she's seen anything.
  • Namechecked in the Made in Canada episode "Alan's Brother", in which the executives at Pyramid Productions do this to erstwhile CEO Alan's older brother (and legal owner of Pyramid) Frank after he is released from a mental hospital, takes over as CEO and proves even more inept than Alan. They start by replacing the coffee mug on his desk with other mugs while he is out of the room and then accusing him of stealing them while placing his mug in strange but highly visible places. This escalates to putting all of the office's coffee mugs in his desk drawer, at which point production adviser Veronica dresses as Frank's abusive mother to confront him over the "theft". He proceeds to re-commit himself and hands the reins of Pyramid back to Alan.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Passing Through Gethsamane", a group of people do this to Brother Edward, who is actually a former serial killer subjected to Death of Personality for his crimes, and doesn't know it. They use a bloody message on a wall (made with the future equivalent of disappearing ink), speakers carefully hidden in walls, and a Centauri telepath to "trigger" a fake memory.
    • A later episode, "Intersections in Real Time," has Captain Sheridan being subjected to this by an interrogator who wants to convince Sheridan that he's guilty of conspiracy and treason to undermine Earth for the aliens. Techniques include arbitrarily declaring that it is different times of day during the same conversation and subjecting Sheridan to a variety of Ambiguous Situations, some or all of which may have been faked for his benefit.
  • Being Human has Nina being forced to do this to a social worker, to cover for the fact that they don't really have the official documents to let them look after "Uncle Billy" (an amnesiac Herrick). To get rid of the social worker, Nina yells at her and pretends that the worker was negligent and irresponsible and basically tricks her into thinking leaving the house in peace was a favor. To be fair it was really important that "Uncle Billy" stay with them since they were the only ones who knew he was a murderous vampire and everyone felt really bad about driving the social worker to tears. (Annie even teleports into her car to leave her some tissues.)
  • Hannibal uses this several times, with the title character employing it to keep his crimes hidden.
    • In "Entrée", Dr. Frederick Chilton is accused of having accidentally done this to one of his psychiatric patients, former surgeon Dr. Abel Gideon who was institutionalized after killing his relatives. Chilton planted the idea in Gideon's head that he is actually the Chesapeake Ripper, a serial killer whose murders stopped around the time Gideon was locked up. It's so effective that even when Gideon discovers he's been gaslit, he still isn't entirely sure he's not the Ripper. When Alana Bloom calls Chilton out on this it's implied that he realized what was going on but decided to play along to keep the renown from being the psychiatrist to someone as famous as The Ripper.
    • Also throughout season 1 Hannibal turns out to have been doing this to Will Graham, with his ultimate goal being to convince Will he's a serial killer and mold him into an apprentice. He pulled this off with a combination of hypnosis and taking advantage of Will's undiscovered encephalitis.
    • Happens again in Season 2 when Miriam Lass turns out to be alive, if missing an arm. Years of captivity, hypnosis, and drugging by Hannibal means she's primed to be in a position to think that Chilton was the Chesapeake Ripper.
  • Community:
    • The rest of the study group all insist to Pierce that they celebrated his birthday, blaming the painkillers he's taking for why he doesn't remember. It turns out this particular example doesn't work; in a later episode, after Pierce has played all sorts of convoluted mind-games on the study group under the pretext that he's dying, they angrily demand to know why he did so. Pierce yells back that he's sick of them all treating him like some kind of joke, citing their pathetic attempt at this and expecting him to buy it as one of the examples. They look suitably shamed (although they also point out that Pierce's treatment of them in turn kind of justifies their treatment of him).
    • Dr. Heidi tries to do this and convince the study group that Greendale Community College isn't real and they were all inmates at "Greendale Asylum". They initially buy it, but swiftly realize this claim makes no sense, and as he tried it out of desperation with no time to set anything up they have copious physical evidence to prove him wrong.
      Annie: I'm literally carrying a Greendale backpack!
    • After the midterm dance’s bear-themed decorations ("Bear Down for Midterms!") are deemed to be in poor taste after a recent bear attack, the study group quickly change them into dogs and changes the motto to “Fat Dog For Midterms”. They then try to convince a very confused Annie that this phrase has always existed, criticize her for not knowing it, and even create a Wikipedia page for it. It works once they start to accuse her of being racist.
    • Parodied in another episode where Annie's idea of a devious prank is to move everything on the dean's desk except the stapler slightly to one side so that he'll think someone had moved his stapler slightly to the other side.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Power of the Daleks", Lesterson manages to get gaslighted by a Dalek. The main Dalek in the story had been acting subservient to the humans ("I am your SERRRR-vant") and Lesterson had been trying to sell it to the other members of the colony as a miracle find that would help in the mines. After Lesterson works out that the Daleks are up to something after seeing their factory, his Dalek is constantly seen performing actions (such as laying cables) and insisting, when Lesterson asks him what he's doing, that he had ordered him to do it — "I. Am. Your. SERRRR-VANT." Lesterson soon becomes confused as to whether he actually did witness the Dalek factory, and the other colonists all decide that he's insane, refusing to take anything he says seriously.
    • In "The Android Invasion", it's revealed Styggron convinced Crayford that he only has one eye. Near the end of the story, the Doctor tells Crayford to take his eyepatch off, and he discovers the eye under there.
    • "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" features a scrap crew where one member is convinced he is a robot. He isn't — his brothers gaslighted him into thinking he was to psychologically torture him out of pure boredom.
  • Extant: Come episode five What On Earth is Wrong? the ISEA have attempted this to make sure everybody else thinks she's crazy. Molly lets them think they've convinced her as well in order to dig deeper.
  • The Office (US)
    • About half the pranks Jim plays on Dwight fall under this category. Of note is the time he and Pam got an actor friend to make Dwight think Jim had retroactively turned Asian-American.
    • Another time, Dwight is convinced that Jim and Pam are blinking in Morse Code in order to talk about him behind his back. When he calls them out on this, Jim responds by pointing out that they are working parents of a newborn baby and asking if Dwight honestly thought they would pay money to hire a babysitter so they could learn an outdated skill just to torment Dwight.
      Jim: (cut) Yep! That's exactly what we did.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Dahak did this to Nebula by using Iolaus' body to appear in front of her as "hallucinations". Nebula and her courtier Agenor only realize the truth when Hercules engages "Iolaus" in a physical fight. Agenor apologizes to Nebula for believing she was crazy. Given the circumstances, Nebula admits that she kind of wishes she was.
  • In Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • Amaro's father, mother, and sister all engage in this regarding the abuse his father put him and his mother through.
    • The victim of the week in "Swimming With The Sharks" has this done to her by three of her employees as part of a plan to make her lose her company.
  • In an episode of Diagnosis: Murder, a hypnotherapist framed one of his patients and convinced her she was a murderer by killing his wife himself, putting the patient in a trance and commanding her to come to his house and pick up the murder weapon (since it's impossible to hypnotise someone into committing murder) and making her wake up standing next to the body with the weapon in her hand.
  • 3-2-1 Contact had a "Bloodhound Gang" story called "The Case of the Cackling Ghost" where an old woman, despite not believing in the supernatural, was experiencing strange and frightening goings-on with a strange cackling ghostly sound coming out of her radio and apparent appearances of a ghost on her estate that seem linked to a necklace in her possession with a purported curse that says the owner would go mad. The Gang investigates and exposes the events as this trope, coupled with a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax, perpetrated by her villainous nephew to get the necklace for himself.
  • Mission: Impossible uses this as one of the many ways to frighten their con into submission, often with the help of high-tech gadgetry and Latex Perfection.
  • F/X: The Series also used this trope albeit sparingly — the protagonist being the head of a special effects studio who's often roped in by the local law enforcement and detectives to get a confession out of a suspect.
  • In Apocalypse, a Channel 4 special by Derren Brown, the crew uses this on their unsuspecting volunteer, Steven, to make him think that a meteor strike is imminent.
    • On the Guilt Trip episode of Derren Brown's Experiments, Derren Brown used this technique as part of his experiment to see if he could get an ordinary person to think he might have committed murder. He had him unknowingly invited to a "conference" for a weekend that was populated entirely by actors, and they would start by switching ties or jackets when he wasn't looking, and at dinner, they distracted him so that they could switch his plate and glass a few times, and at one point even moving and replacing the furniture outside the conference room and planting a "stolen" necklace in the mark's hotel room just to mess with the mark. They also used other psychological tricks to induce feelings of guilt whenever he heard a bell and carried his bed outside one night to the location where the "corpse" of someone who had been rude to him was found so that he had hazy memories of being there. The combination worked so well that when somebody who had been obnoxious to him was apparently discovered dead, he went to the nearby "police station" to turn himself in.
  • Murder, She Wrote: In "Angel of Death", a playwright friend of Jessica's is being gaslighted to convince him that he is being haunted by the ghost of his dead wife. (Especially appropriate as Angela Lansbury was in the 1944 film version of Gaslight.)
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: In "Mind Games", after a pair of adulterers kill the wife's husband (whose mother happens to be C.D.'s friend), Make It Look Like an Accident, and inherit half of the trust, they decide to get the mother's half this way. Their tactics involve spiking her tea with small amounts of ecstasy, moving her things around when she isn't looking, and having someone dressed as her dead son ride down on a boat, calling to her.
  • The Department S episode "The Ghost of Mary Burnham" has an unassuming economist being driven insane to prevent him from being appointed as head of the International Monetary Fund.
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:
    • Rebecca isn't trying to drive Josh crazy, but she uses every trick she can to convince him they should be together, sometimes straying into this. The most obvious attempt is when at the end of the first season they get together and she confesses she moved to West Covina for him and "our love story can finally begin" — then at the beginning of the second she realizes this creeps him out, feigns confusion, denies she ever said it, claims he's the one who did and pretends his fixation on her is weird until he apologizes and she graciously forgives him.
    • Josh later describes his behaviour towards Rebecca in early season 2 as gaslighting, back when he was insisting that they were just Friends with Benefits while she clearly wanted more (though YMMV on whether gaslighting is an accurate description of that situation.)
  • On The Red Green Show, one segment of the Possum Lodge Word Game (a Password-esque game where Red tries to get a Lodge member to guess a certain word by giving hints) features Red trying to get Dalton to say "Paranoid".
    Red: You have two slippers. That makes a...
    Dalton: Pair.
    Red: If someone bugs you, you get...
    Dalton: Annoyed.
    Red: Put 'em together! Put 'em together!
    Dalton: Are you saying that someone is stealing my slippers to annoy me? Y'know, it's probably my neighbour. He's trying to get me. He thinks I sneak into his house at night and rearrange his furniture.
    Red: Okay, and he thinks that because he's...
    Dalton: Caught me doing it!
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Janine may be delusional, but her delusions were undoubtedly fed by Warren. In a moment of clarity, she publicly calls him out on it.
    Janine: You said we would be a family!
    Warren: She's not well.
    Janine: I was well enough to suck your cock! I did every fucked-up thing you wanted. All the freaky shit she'd never do, because you promised me we would run off and we would be a family!
  • All My Children. Janet Green hires an actor who looks exactly like Dixie Martin's dead brother Will (who Janet murdered) to terrorize her. It works until another character runs into Will and mentions it to Dixie, who realizes that she isn't going crazy.
  • The Bold and the Beautiful:
    • Crazed murderer Sheila Carter swaps Stephanie Forrester's calcium tablets for mercury pills, then manages to break into her home and either shift things around or steal them and later return them. Stephanie's resulting erratic behavior has herself and her loved ones wondering if she's becoming senile or outright cracking up.
    • Sheila herself was a victim of this. Enraged when her husband James dumps her for Sheila, Maggie begins piping recordings into Sheila's home of her many victims.
  • Felicia Jones and Mac Scorpio pull the same stunt on General Hospital's Ryan Chamberlain, trying to get him to confess to being a Serial Killer—they break into his apartment and spray paint it with messages from his victims—"WHY?!", "You will pay", etc.
  • The Opposition with Jordan Klepper frequently uses an actual gaslight in a Visual Pun as part of a Running Gag.
  • After Mac and Dennis move to the suburbs in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the low-battery warning chirp/beep of their new house's smoke detector goes off throughout the day, but only Mac can hear it. A heated argument later reveals Dennis was just messing with Mac.
    Dennis: Newsflash, asshole! I've been hearing it the entire goddamn time!
    Mac: Then why wouldn't you say something?!
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "The Awakening", Beth Carter suffers from alexithymia which prevents her from feeling emotions. However, she receives a revolutionary brain implant developed by Dr. Steven Molstad which allows her to access the full range of emotions for the first time. Beth moves in with Molstad's colleague Joan Garrison so she can slowly adjust to the outside world and learn how to process her emotions in the normal way. While staying in Joan's apartment, she begins to have strange experiences such as Hearing Voices, seeing Joan's cat Mulligan butchered (only for him to turn up alive and well later on), and being abducted and experimented upon by aliens. Dr. Molstad tells Beth that it may be necessary to remove the implant but she steadfastly refuses. It turns out that Joan secretly works for a rival company that is developing a brain implant similar to Molstad's and that she and her boyfriend Kevin Flynn (who pretended to be attracted to Beth) were attempting to drive Beth insane in the hope of discrediting Molstad's implant. They were assisted in their plan by Mike and Dolly Kellerman, two other residents of Joan's apartment building.
    • In "Nightmare", the crew of the United World Forces spaceship Archipelago believe that they have been captured by the Ebonites and are psychologically tortured but it turns out to be an elaborate simulation to gauge their reactions.
    • In "What Will The Neighbors Think?" Ned uses a tape of voices to gaslight Mona into thinking she's really still hearing them after they went away. This makes her so distraught she kills herself.
    • In "Mindreacher", Judith Wilder has been Hearing Voices for quite some time. It is ruining her life to the point that she is not going to school and she has distanced herself from her friends since she does not want any of them to witness one of her attacks. It turns out that Judith's nanny Alice has been secretly giving her a drug for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, formerly used by Judith's late mother, to deliberately induce auditory hallucinations. Alice is madly in love with Judith's father Chancellor Duncan Wilder and feared that he would no longer need her services as Judith was getting older.
  • The Poirot adaptation of Third Girl has this as part of the solution but takes it a step further than the original novel. Instead of feeding Norma drugs to make her believe she is going crazy, the murderers go for classics like planting a knife in her room and then removing it after the murder. They also deliberately kill the victim similarly to how Norma’s mother committed suicide, and even attempt to deliberately trigger painful memories of that incident in seemingly innocent conversations.
  • Knots Landing: In Season Nine, Jill tries to convince Valene that she is going insane. The first part of her plan involves hiring the forger Mrs. Bailey to write Valene letters in Ben's handwriting in order to convince her that Ben is returning home after almost a year in South America without a word from him. This essentially serves as a prelude to the gaslighting to make Valene more susceptible to it. Jill then obtains tape recordings of Ben's voice from his time as a TV journalist at PWC and edits them to form messages to Valene which she leaves on her answering machine. The first of them has Ben say that he is returning home soon. Valene excitedly tells Gary, Karen, and Mack the good news but she is unable to locate the tape with the message on it so they all begin to suspect that it may have been just her imagination. What she doesn't realise is that Jill broke into her house and stole the tape to discredit her and make her doubt herself.
  • Stranger Things:
    • After breaking into the Hawkins Laboratory and seeing the portal to the Upside Down, Chief Hopper is drugged by agents of the conspiracy and deposited back home, with loads of pill bottles scattered around him to make him think upon regaining consciousness that he's simply had a drug bender and hallucinated the entire thing. He doesn't buy it, and instead tears his house apart until he discovers the bug that he's convinced they would have planted in his house to further monitor him.
    • Joyce is a victim of a not-quite-intentional version of this trope when her estranged husband Lonnie returns home for the funeral of their son Will. Joyce is convinced that her son is still alive and has even witnessed him trapped in another dimension, but after only a few hours Lonnie has her doubting her own sanity and starting to believe that she's actually just having a psychotic breakdown out of stress, exhaustion, and grief. She's not, and she eventually snaps out of it and realises she's not insane at all, but it turns out Lonnie actually was planning to gaslight her into suing the company everyone believes is responsible for their son's death so he can collect a massive cash payout and then abandon her again. He just genuinely had no idea that there actually were the kind of sanity-doubting unusual things going on at the same time. As Lonnie is an abusive deadbeat, it's implied that Joyce has fallen victim to these kinds of manipulations before.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • Discussed in "Person or Persons Unknown". David Gurney believes that someone is attempting to drive him crazy by buying off everyone who knows him, including his wife Wilma, his best friend Pete, and his own mother, so they will pretend not to know him.
    • Again discussed in "What's in the Box". Joe Britt accuses his wife Phyllis and the TV repairman of plotting to drive him crazy after his recently fixed TV shows him incriminating scenes from his life.
  • Both TV adaptations of A Caribbean Mystery expand on the use of this trope from the novel. In the 1989 version the killer doesn't just try to fake his wife's suicide; he actively tries to convince her that she killed a woman (whom he actually killed himself, having mistaken the victim for the wife) in order to get her to kill herself out of guilt. The 2013 Marple version has the killer hiring a local woman to pretend to be murdered, and then "haunt" the wife by appearing to her as a ghost. Then, having served her purpose, he kills the woman for real.
  • Happens to Caroline in the penultimate episode of Poldark, with two separate yet escalating incidents—first, her horse is spooked with her on it, and later, her dog is poisoned, albeit not fatally.
  • Tori is on the receiving end of this in Victorious by a mysterious new student named Ponnie. Ponnie at first seems friendly but always disappears whenever other people are around. She also vandalizes Tori's locker but fixes it before Tori can show it to her friends. This causes everyone to assume Tori has had a mental breakdown and is seeing things.
  • Motherland: Fort Salem: Anacostia and Izadora both know Scylla is alive and imprisoned at Fort Salem, but both of them insist to Raelle that Scylla is dead. It gets worse when Anacostia uses Raelle to break Scylla during interrogation but uses a sleeping spell on Raelle to make Raelle think it was all a dream.
  • Liar (2017): Andrew expertly twists what Laura says, doing all he can to get her thinking she just was confused, and he didn't rape her.
  • Dark Desire: Discussed by Alma and her psychiatrist, since she's unsure if all her suspicious about Darío are unsound or not. Her psychiatrist says based on what she describes he may be doing this to her. Leonardo later gets convinced by Esteban that he murdered Brenda, but doesn't remember it (he's innocent).
  • Higher Ground: There's a chilling, realistic example when Scott tells his stepmom he'll tell his dad she raped him. She calmly replies that his dad will never believe it. Then later she tells him that his dad wouldn't forgive it either, because he'd think they'd had a consensual affair. Unfortunately, she's right that his dad won't believe. He thinks Scott is just making something up from dislike of his stepmom.
  • Colonel March of Scotland Yard: In "Present Tense", Ernest, the husband of March's niece Emily, takes advantage of his supposed death in a plane crash to 'haunt' Emily and attempt to drive her to commit suicide.
  • On Resident Alien, the Hugh Mann alien Harry Vanderspeigle killed the human Harry Vanderspeigle and later hid the body in his freezer. In the penultimate episode of the first season, this is discovered by D'Arcy Bloom. However, by the time she reports it to the police, the alien has returned home and hid the body. Nobody believes her about having there having been a dead body in the freezer, and she accuses the town Sheriff, Mike Thompson, and Deputy Liv Baker of gaslighting her.
  • A superpower-based example in The Umbrella Academy: Reginald forces Allison to Rumor Vanya into believing that she is ordinary, while Reginald feeds Vanya pills to suppress her powers. "I heard a rumor you think you're just ordinary." Allison's powers in general: she can literally speak whatever she wants into existence. If she tells you something's true while using her powers, you will believe her.
  • Superstore: In "Easter," Dina hunts down a suspicious man in an Easter Bunny costume, who turns out to be Jerry paying Sandra a visit. To protect him from Dina's wrath, Sandra claims that she doesn't see any Easter Bunny in an attempt to make Dina question her own sanity.
  • In the Ultraseven episode "the Green Terror", Ultra Garrison astronaut Captain Ishiguro was replaced by a plant alien who terrorized Earthlings before capturing them and replacing them with plant aliens disguised as humans. Ishiguro's impostor would become moody and secretive before transforming, go out on rampages, and later pretend to the wife and housekeeper that nothing was going on, even after they witnessed his true form a few times. It all culminated with "the couple" going on a vacation by train and his transformation into a kaijuu before her own eyes.
  • Cleverman: Jerrod tries to make Charlotte thinks she's simply imagining things as a result of being hormonal while pregnant after she realizes her pregnancy's abnormal. He secretly gave their child Hairypeople DNA to experiment without Charlotte's knowledge or consent.
  • On Sisters, Georgie's therapist plants the idea in her head that she's a victim of sexual abuse, as it's frequently a cause of the depression and anxiety that she's been suffering. That very night, she has a flashback of her father touching her inappropriately. Within weeks, she's convinced that her father repeatedly molested her, and estranged from her family—her mother for supposedly turning a blind eye and failing to protect her, her sisters for being in denial about being abused themselves, and her husband for not believing her, along with experiencing a newfound Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality. Only months later, watching one of her sisters, a doctor, examine her ill son, does she realize that what she remembered was her father examining her (he was a doctor too). She's horrified to realize that all of her feelings were completely unjustified and that everything was a ploy by her therapist to seduce her.
  • Barry: Barry casually offers to drive a powerful woman who mistreated Sally insane by doing things such as switching her dog for another and taking pictures of her while asleep he'd send later. She reacts realistically in horror and orders him to get away from her.

  • The trigger of The Who's rock opera Tommy. As a child, the title character witnesses his mother and father kill the mother's lover (or vice versa, depending on version) and is told "You didn't see it, didn't hear it / You won't say nothing, no not a word of it". The only way the boy can reconcile reality with parental directive is to become deaf, dumb, and blind.
  • Steely Dan's "Gaslighting Abbie" from their Two Against Nature album. Invoking the movie which is the Trope Namer, the narrator and partner engage in all sorts of tomfoolery against the aforementioned Abbie: dimmer lightbulbs, doppelganger tactics, and even "a fright night with blood and everything". In true Steely Dan form, this malicious mischief is delivered in their signature smooth tunefulness.
  • Eminem:
    • Eminem's gaslighting at the hands of his mother and her Münchausen Syndrome is mentioned in numerous songs, such as in "Kill You" (where she tried to turn him against his absent father until Slim realises she was the crazy one) and "Cleanin' Out My Closet", in which Marshall says that his whole life he was made to believe he was sick when he wasn't. "The Apple" contains a gruelling anecdote about his mother attempting to convince the young Marshall that he had a sister who died, even showing him a picture of one of his relatives to try and force him to doubt his own memory.
    • "Stepdad" opens with a near-literal example. Slim's stepfather wakes up his young son and beats the shit out of him for leaving the lights on in the kitchen, profusely swearing at him and ignoring the child's protests that he didn't do it. The stepfather knows this, and in fact, he himself left the lights on just so he could have an excuse to blame his abuse victim.
      Last night, he said I left the kitchen light on
      But he walked in there this morning and purposely flipped it, I saw him
    • In "Insane", Slim's stepdad keeps bursting into the bathroom when Slim was using it, claiming Slim needs his help to pee properly, despite being a big boy now. This left the young Slim confused about his own developmental age — which probably has something to do with the Psychopathic Manchild personality he ends up with in adulthood.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In this Dilbert, the title character says that he goes down to marketing every week to move an employee's cubicle wall in by a quarter inch. When asked why, he comments that he's been at it so long (Given that the cubicle is now about six inches wide, he's apparently been doing this for roughly eight years without the owner of the cubicle noticing), he forgot what the original point was.

  • In Welcome to Night Vale, the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your House does things like this.
  • The Magnus Archives episode "Wonderland" consists of three patient sessions in a mental hospital. In each session, the doctor informs the patient that they are lying or delusional for repeating the information that was told to them in previous sessions.
    • In an earlier episode, Melanie is unwittingly the only one who remembers the original Sasha, who has been replaced by the Not-Them. When she asks Jon where Sasha is, he replies that she already saw Not Sasha. Melanie assumes Jon is trying to gaslight her and storms off angrily.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Dane Cook discussed this and played it for laughs in his "B&E" routine. He tells the story of a time that he kicked in the front door and a closet door of some stranger's house, then ran away without taking anything. Cook admits that it must have been bizarre for that family to come home to find nothing missing, further imagining a scenario where he keeps randomly kicking in the front door of the family's house for no reason whatsoever, psychologically destroying the father of the household into wanting a divorce.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Gaslighting is a gameplay mechanic in the Ravenloft campaign setting of Dungeons & Dragons. Basically, this is altering circumstances to force another character to take a Madness check. Naturally, this is an evil act, and doing this to anyone for any reason always attracts the attention of the Dark Powers.
  • Vampires infected with Malkavia, and the Malkovian Bloodline from Vampire: The Requiem can do this with illusions via the Dementation power called, what else, Gaslighting. It IS possible to use this for non-destructive and benign purposes, but keep in mind you're dealing with insane walking corpses fueled by magic blood in the World of Darkness.
  • Unknown Armies role-playing game Big Bad, the Mystery Man, has this as his actual superpower.
  • Arguably, any time you Slipshank (reach under, behind, or into a convenient object and grab something that shouldn't be there) something in Continuum, this happens, only instead of you thinking you are insane until you go back in time and put it there to begin with, you acquire a small amount of Frag (your memories and the universe disagree, therefore you start fading out).
  • This trope is frequently recommended for DMs trying to run a Mind Screw type of horror game, via Painting the Medium. Specific examples are generally along the lines of describing a room with something, e.g. a girl, mentioned in a Breathless Non Sequitur.
    Players: Describe the girl.
    DM: [looks confused] What girl?
  • In The Dark Eye, one long term experiment at the School Of Pains involved putting drugs into the subjects dinner and letting undead bodyparts wander into his room at night, while at day convincing him that all experiences were hallucinations and nightmares, offering joyful companionship and walks in the park. Goal was to find out if the troubled mind would decide for one of the realities while negating the other or ultimately break apart.
    "Despite heavy fear attacks, general mental instability, and explicit suicidal tendencies, the experiment will continue as planned."
  • The Dungeons & Dragons specific magazine, Dragon, once published a Monster Ecology article about the Kenku (humanoid crows whose hat is being thieves) that mentions this trope as a possible use of their vocal mimicry. Just tie up someone with information, blindfold them, make a bunch of horrific noises (sharpening blades, snarling monsters, screams of agony, etc.), and let their minds fill the blanks...
  • Pathfinder has the Mesmerist archetype called the Gaslighter. Its favored trick is making people perceive their own reflection as somehow corrupted, and can cause fear, hallucinations, and sanity damage. Unlike most effects of this nature, for which the culprit tends to be fairly obvious once the effect has expired (it was that guy who was pointing at me saying magic words right before), due to the nature of their hypnotic stare and psychic magic, they can do this without the victim being aware they're doing any of it. You have to be evil to take it.
  • The Demon: The Descent sourcebook "Night Horrors: Enemy Action" features a demon with an increasingly fractured mentality who not only gaslights the people around her, fragments of her personality may have started gaslighting other fragments. Just to drive the point home, she even has an Interlock actually called Gaslight, which allows her to edit people's memories.
  • Interstitial: Our Hearts Intertwined has The Linksmith, a playbook all about manipulating people's memories in order to control them and gain their trust. As such, the playbook has a trigger warning right at the top to ensure everyone playing is comfortable with it.

  • The play Angel Street was the original source of the Trope Namer, Gaslight.
  • Mean Girls: The original movie hinted that Regina did this to Aaron in order to convince him to take her back, and the musical expands on it. In the number "Someone Gets Hurt," Regina rewrites the story of their breakup as Aaron only seeing her for her social status and cruelly dumping her as soon as the excitement wore off, when in reality the inverse is true. She then tried to frame his desire to ask out Cady as simply moving on to a new popular girl and leaving her in the dust without caring about her feelings. Of course, none of this is true, and in reality, Regina doesn't care about Aaron and only wants him back because she doesn't want Cady dating her "property."
  • In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Toby, Maria, Fabian, and Feste decide to humble Malvolio, who has been dismissed by Olivia for following the instructions in the forged letter which he believes is from Olivia, much to her displeasure; Feste puts on a fake beard and gown, disguising himself as a curate priest.
    Sir Toby: Come, we'll have him in a dark room, and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he's mad; we may carry it thus, for our pleasure and his penance, till our very pastime, tired out of breath, prompt us to have mercy on him: at which time we will bring the device to the bar, and crown thee for a finder of madmen.
  • In Edward Taylor's Murder By Misadventure, Harry Kent is increasingly spooked by several small things being misplaced about his apartment — a book, a bottle of pills, a bottle of whisky, even a set of golf clubs. It takes a bit of deft sleight-of-hand, and a few secret doors and hatchways on the set, to make them appear and disappear in the stage production.
  • In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, the turning point comes when Kate submits to Petruchio and agrees with his insistence that it's 7 am and time to go out when it's really no later than 2 am. Shortly thereafter she agrees with his insistence that the sun is really the moon and that an old man passing them on the road is really a young maid. Kate gives Petruchio no trouble thereafter.

    Video Games 
  • Albedo attempts this on Junior in Xenosaga.
  • Zouken Matou tries this on Sakura in Fate/stay night. He thinks he succeeded. He's wrong, it was a coincidence.
  • The developers of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem do this to the player when the player character's Sanity Meter slips low enough.
  • The Endermen in Minecraft invoke this, as they actively pick up and move blocks around for no reason.
  • Fallout: New Vegas features a Vault where this was the entire experiment, with the vault segregated into two sections and discord and paranoia sown between the two groups (not helped by the colony of lizards that moved into the sulphur caverns underneath the vault who made scratching noises in the ventilation). The medical terminal notes that an awful lot of residents are developing paranoia and other mental illnesses. By the time you find the powder gangers residing here they've begun to undergo the same process, albeit the lizards are now fire breathing geckos
  • In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Scarecrow does this repeatedly to Batman, and by extension to the players themselves.
    • The nastiest example is the later Scarecrow vision that starts with a burst of digital static and then begins replaying the game's introduction; the player soon sees that Batman and the Joker have swapped places, but before that, a reasonable assumption is that the game has crashed and restarted.
  • This is a favorite tactic of certain culprits in the Nancy Drew PC game series, with examples even appearing one after the other at times.
  • One of the weirder things about Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh is that there's definitely gaslighting going on — by a supernatural being. (Short version: some evil creature from another dimension is trying to break Curtis's mind to take over his body.)
  • Dark Seed II, in a small but breathtakingly pathetic example. In Mike Dawson's bedroom is a closet that he never bothers to open because he knows it's locked. Eventually we discover in a flashback that when he was a child he was scared of monsters in the closet. To humour him, his mother pretended to lock the door. Decades later he finally realises that it was never locked at all.
  • In Metal Gear Ac!d, Alice (almost) manages to give Snake an entire Jekyll & Hyde split personality by secretly dosing him with hallucinogens through the remote-controlled drug injector in his suit (to put him in a compromised psychological state), setting up clues on the base itself (such as hacking the security system so it appears to know Snake's retinal patterns), having people Snake has never met pretend to know him as the other person, and having a character dress as Snake and claim to be his Doppelgänger to give him an Enemy Without encounter, amongst other things.
  • In one late-game in Sleeping Dogs, Wei and an ally scheme to make a deeply superstitious and emotionally unstable Triad boss relapse on his heroin addiction by breaking into his mansion and ruining his careful feng shui, trashing the place, rearranging his furniture, stealing his Good Luck Charm and leaving a few references to the number four around, to scare him into thinking he's being haunted by vengeful spirits. Wei's ally comments afterward that the boss might not buy the "ghost" story, but figures that believing people are breaking into his house to mess with him will also have the desired effect on his psyche.
  • It was done unintentionally in one arc of Higurashi: When They Cry, when Houjou Teppei's body, recently done in by Keiichi, was moved by Mion, trying to prevent a repeat of the aftermath of 1982's murders, and he couldn't be sure if he'd ever killed him making him even more paranoid. This is not helped at all by the fact that Satoko genuinely has lost her sanity, and insists Teppei is still alive, making it even more complicated.
    • Takano does this, on purpose or not, with Rena and Shion when she lends them her notebook which only causes them to fuel their paranoia.
  • Part of a Secret Test of Character in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. The Star Gate gaslights Luigi by giving him three options to answer a question, calling them all wrong, declaring the answer an unavailable fourth option, and accusing Luigi of lying when he points out that said fourth option did not exist for him to pick. The test was to see if Mario would defend his brother.
  • In the tie-in manga to Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, it's shown that Kristoph did this to his little brother, Klavier.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: Beldam gaslights Vivian twice. Both times deal with Beldam losing something that she specifically stated she didn't trust Vivian with, then claiming she said no such thing and blaming Vivian for losing them, followed by threatening to punish her.
  • Dutch in Red Dead Redemption 2 does this very frequently to his gang members. He does this to Arthur, John, and Javier in ambient conversations, enforcing a black and white mentality, of "doubt or faith" and becomes sharp and aggressive when they don't immediately agree with sufficient enthusiasm. Most telling is when he abandons Arthur to die at the military base and Arthur calls him out on it, Dutch vehemently denies he did such a thing.
  • Going Under: This is one of the Loading Screen messages for Winkydink, the Horny Devils zone.
  • In Chapter 2 of Deltarune, Kris (or rather, the player through Kris' body) does this to Noelle on the hidden Weird Route. They manipulate Noelle by playing into her Nice Girl and Extreme Doormat attitude, make her entirely dependent on them, and prey on her fears to make her obedient. As a result, Noelle becomes a mindless puppet who kills on command, even when she knows it's wrong.

  • Su Lüxia uses this as a revenge tactic in Cheating Men Must Die, erasing herself from the memories of everyone in Min Mingzhe's world except him. Since she's already made him fall desperately in love with her, he grows increasingly obsessed and tormented in a world that thinks he's gone mad.
  • Blue tries doing this to Dave in her first appearance in College Roomies from Hell!!! It works pretty well until she nearly falls to her death while shimmying across the balcony.
  • Dave's Bro from Homestuck uses his ventriloquist's dummy, Lil' Cal in combination with some slick Flash Stepping to make Dave (and the audience) think that the doll is alive. Even worse better is that he also somehow manages to use this as a fighting technique.
    • Bro isn't the only one gaslighting everyone. There is a memorable instance, described in the Homestuck page when the author gaslighted the audience. We discover that many of the kids have disturbing graffiti on their walls, but are effectively blind to it until it's explicitly pointed out to them. One character took rather normal-seeming pictures of John's room and posted them online. After the reveal, the author modified the pictures to contain the graffiti, changing the URLs by one character. Before and after.
      • Homestuck did this to the audience from the very beginning: "John: Quickly retrieve arms from drawers." After the audience spends several pages helping the poor protagonist with no arms move stuff off his magic chest so he can get his arms, John cheerfully opens the chest to fetch his fake prop arms, using the arms attached to his torso that had been stylistically omitted from visual portrayal until now. This very neatly introduces us to the comic itself: take nothing for granted.
    • Gamzee does this to Terezi during Murderstuck, using her blindness to his advantage, by changing her surrounding environment with his super-fast Flash Step.
    • Hussie has gaslit the audience again. When John stuck his hand through the Homestuck icon, his arm appeared in many random panels throughout the comic to date. Shortly after, John himself disappeared, popping up in many other panels as a blue-and-white silhouette.
      • And once again, John's newfound power has caused clues to appear on previous pages. This time, in order to gain full control of his narrative jumping, he was drowned in oil. This oil was then teleported through space and time, to appear as ink splotches on pages that were previously unmarked. How many more retcons do you have, Hussie?!?!
  • Earlier MS Paint Adventures also gaslight the audience, but more blatantly. Best exemplified with the famous "What pumpkin?" joke: if the audience ever try to get the characters to interact with a pumpkin, the pumpkin inexplicably vanishes and the narration acts confused as to why anyone would think there was ever a pumpkin present.
    • In Problem Sleuth, the running gag was that an innocuous-looking item would inexplicably turn into a dangerous item when called on and be treated as if it was always this way. If the player called on the dangerous version, it would change back and the character would do something stupid with the thing. This one ultimately was played with; savvy players eventually cottoned on and would call the wrong item to use the one they were actually aiming for. Occasionally, Hussie would throw the players for a loop by having the actual item come out when mentioned. It was later revealed in an In-universe GameFAQs walkthrough that the constant gaslighting was the fault of an unintended glitch that would have to be exploited to progress.
  • XKCD: As seen in the page image, Black Hat Guy made a set of silent carpentry tools specifically to carry out this sort of thing.
  • This strip of Crazy Sunshine.
  • Rayne Summers of Least I Could Do once got his best friends to play a prank on their friend Mick where they tried to convince Mick that Rayne had been dead for years. See it for yourself.
  • The "Paranoia" arc of Cosmic Dash has someone from Dash's past spreading "souvenirs" from a traumatic event, before attacking him while he's isolated and restrained in the medbay.
  • Alice accuses the Cheshire Cat of trying to gaslight her in this Hark! A Vagrant strip.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal suggests "pranking" someone by gradually altering the whistle on their kettle or teapot until it sounds like it's screaming their name, then deny that it sounds wrong whenever they ask. The really creepy part is how it requires you to install a tiny mouth.
  • Daniel from The Guide to a Healthy Relationship does this on a regular basis in his social circle, for example with Apollo whom he discredits in front of the others on the basis that Apollo is The Alcoholic, but his favorite subject is his romantic partner Julian who's suffering hallucinations and doesn't trust their own perceptions and memories anyway. One time, Daniel drugs Julian on sleeping pills and later claims they demolished a room during a "freak-out", which resulted in one of his friends getting angry and beating Julian up, not to mention Daniel's own subtle threats to punish Julian for this misbehavior later on, knowing the kid was sound asleep while that happened.

    Web Original 
  • When Linkara begins seeing and hearing people who aren't there during his review of Silent Hill: Dead/Alive, he tells himself that someone must be trying to pull this trope on him. It doesn't seem to be helping much. It turns out he's right.
  • A blog piece titled A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” strips the elements of intentionality and mental illness from the term to use it to refer to subtle emotional abuse.
  • Frogdad: The Ultimate in Parental Trolling. In a nutshell: because the original poster used a Precision F-Strike while underage, the poster's dad set up a scheme to make him paranoid with the use of Beanie Babies, all to prevent him from swearing again.
  • The premise of youtube series Henry Tumbleweed involves a trio of con artists breaking into the main character's house dressed as monsters in order to convince him that he is insane, and needs the help of an expensive psychiatrist, who is actually one of the con artists in disguise.
  • The guys at Rooster Teeth have been prone to do this to each other for kicks. Two known instances were when Burnie, Gavin, and Jordan replied to Gus' IMs with quotation marks around their replies, driving Gus nuts as he was wondering how that was happening, and when Ryan rigged a buzzer inside Gavin's desk (under the computer monitor).
    • In Ten Little Roosters, Barbara, the killer, reveals that she planted dolls of Michael and Gavin, the first two victims, in Ryan's room, making him think that he was suffering from a split personality and making him the killer.
  • Clickhole: "I Keep My Grandfather’s Mind Active By Calling Him Every Day And Telling Him World War II Never Happened" is a bizarre inversion, where the mind games are meant to keep the victim sane.
  • This memetic story tells the tale of someone who drove a bully insane by memorizing his schedule and habits and then leaving pineapples in increasingly intimate places for him to find, including in his own room. The story ends with finding out that the victim had a panic attack because someone left a pineapple on a shelf at a grocery store, which spooked the victim. And even then, the original poster had nothing to do with that; it was just a coincidence.
  • This occurs in The Stinger of Season 1 Episode 8 of Tales From the SMP, "The Pit". After Karl finds the secret room he found one trip earlier completely covered in blood, the Inbetween tries to convince him he's just hallucinating, and that his deteriorating mind can't be trusted. Fortunately, Karl manages to make his escape at the end of the episode to the Other Side, a mirror version of the Inbetween which, as far as we know, is far more honest about its intentions.

    Web Video 
  • The LoadingReadyRun Crapshot #443, "The Gaslight," shows both sides of gaslighting. Presenting itself as an ad for "Dave's Gaslight-o-torium," it repeatedly insists that the viewer wouldn't really be interested at shopping at a warehouse for messing with someone else's perception of reality 'cause that ain't them, while at the same time subtly changing the accessories Dave is wearing. By the end, the video has turned into an ad for "Ernest's Furnace Warehouse, the most trusted name in gas lighting."
  • The Weather: Discussed; Cricket says she'll "break up with 'her'", and her caller encourages her to do so because her partner was apparently gaslighting her this whole time. It's never elaborated upon, but Cricket admits he's right and that she just needs to be brave and get out of the relationship.
  • The trope gets discussed in one of LilyPichu's Minecraft videos. Toast asks Sykkuno if he knows what gaslighting means, and Lily promptly demonstrates its meaning by trying to gaslight Sykkuno and Valkyrae into thinking she told them what it meant already.
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on YouTube and Twitch.
    • Since a huge part of scams is making certain that the victim doesn't speak to anyone who would recognize the situation for the sham that it is and warn them about it, scammers will often go to great lengths to convince victims that literally everyone around them is out to trick them or screw them out of their money, except, of course, for the scammer themselves. While sometimes this involves actually chasing off other scammers, they will also push victims to avoid or ignore legitimate employees of shops or banks, and on a few occasions even their own families.
    • Many of the most successful scambaits ultimately involve Kitboga himself doing this to the scammer(s). He spins a whole scenario for them, complete with crazy characters and the most oddball situations, such that by the time they're done, many of the scammers no longer know which way is up. They're no longer certain if they're even running a scam, if somebody is trying to scam Kitboga, or in some cases end up completely off the mark from whatever scam it was they were originally trying to run in the first place. Either way, they find themselves completely in Kitboga's alternate reality and Kitboga is only all to happy to eventually end the call with them believing that they just wasted hours of their time with nothing to show for it.

    Western Animation 
  • Tried on Bruce Wayne in the Batman Beyond episode "Shriek". It didn't work because the "voices" called him Bruce, and his identity as the original Batman was so ingrained that he didn't even think of himself as Bruce Wayne anymore. (Although it did work in that it got him committed for a while, until the transmitter that was creating the "voices" was discovered.)
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, a pair of mooks try to drive the recuperating Ventriloquist insane so Scarface will emerge again. When Scarface finally surfaces, he starts a job and betrays them, telling them he was laying low and they forced him out early.
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers a Chinese emperor unknowingly suffers this thanks to his scheming sister. So what do the Rangers do? They gaslight her back.
  • In an early episode of Sealab 2021, Sparks had the orphans pee in Captain Murphy's bed every night to make him think he was wetting himself, as part of a larger plot to drive him insane.
  • The Looney Tunes short "Mouse Wreckers" has mice Hubie and Bertie driving Claude Cat up the wall and out of the house in this fashion. It got remade 10 years later as "Gopher Broke", featuring the Goofy Gophers Mac and Tosh gaslighting Barnyard Dawg.
  • Done by Rallo in The Cleveland Show, along with the help of Cleveland Jr., to get back at his senior friend's Gold Digger newlywed wife. It eventually culminates with them placing several cats around her home and having her being wheeled away to a mental hospital.
  • The Tom and Jerry short "Year of the Mouse" revolves around Jerry and a mouse friend trying to make Tom think he was attempting to kill himself while he slept, then laughing at his increasingly frantic reactions. The plot was pretty much a remake of the Hubie and Bertie short, but it ends with Tom catching the mice in the act.
  • The Pink Panther does this to the Little Man or another character in several episodes, whether intentionally or not, by changing things when they aren't looking. The best example is probably the episode "Pink Campaign", where Pink Panther gets revenge on a lumberjack Little Man who cut down his treehouse, by stealing the Little Man's entire house piece by piece, taking the front door, the back porch steps, couch, TV set, chimney and fireplace, the outside walls, bathroom sink and medicine chest, and the roof, with only the foundation remaining. By this point, the Little Man has gone through complete Sanity Slippage and gets taken away in an ambulance, and unsuccessfully trying to escape the ambulance after seeing his house in the woods, which Pink re-assembled, only for Pink to walk away after it crumbles to debris. Pink also does this in the episode "Pink Posies" by replacing the yellow flowers Little Man plants with pink ones immediately after he plants them and replanting them again as soon as Little Man removes them, with Little Man at first thinking there is something wrong with his eyes, then getting more and more enraged as Pink makes the pink flowers reappear instantly even when Little Man tries mowing them down.
  • In Family Guy, Brian replaces Peter's I Can't Believe It's Not Butter with real butter, driving him insane.
    Lois Griffin: I don't know, doctor. Looking back, I think it might have been real butter.
    Doctor: Your husband murdered three children.
  • In The Simpsons, Lionel Hutz uses this as a dirty tactic against Apu while defending Marge against shoplifting charges. Hutz asks Apu what kind of tie he's wearing and Apu describes it and even how he's wearing it. Hutz then turns his back to Apu, removes his tie, and claims he was never wearing one. No one is any the wiser (despite the tie in question visibly hanging out of his shirt cuff) and Apu starts to wonder if he can trust his eyes. It was all for naught, as Marge was declared guilty.
  • Two episodes of The Scooby-Doo Show has this as the villain's plot:
    • "Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats" has Uncle Leon/Gramps the Vamp trying to convince Lisa that she is going to turn into a vampire.
    • "Make A Beeline From The Feline" has Dr. Bell/The Cat Creature making Daphne's aunt believe she is turning into the cat creature.
  • An episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo? had the villain manipulate Shaggy in a plot to fool him into believing he turned into a Kaiju every night after he ate a "cursed" pizza.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Pickles", Bubble Bass ends up gaslighting SpongeBob by complaining that SpongeBob forgot the pickles on his order while hiding them under his tongue the entire time. This briefly drives SpongeBob into insanity, and not only is he convinced that he can't remember how to make a Krabby Patty, but he also forgets basic tasks such as how to dress, arrange his house, go to bed, and even put words together properly.
    • "One Coarse Meal" has Mr. Krabs pretend to be Pearl in order to frighten Plankton, who is terrified of whales, and eventually drives him to attempt suicide. When Plankton learns Mr. Krabs was behind it all and is about to take his revenge, SpongeBob joins in on the gaslighting to scare Plankton away. This is a rare case where the ones doing the gaslighting are portrayed as the heroes.
  • In one Top Cat episode, Top Cat faked an illness so he could be waited on by a Hospital Hottie, but once she went away to get married and he was left with a much less pleasant nurse he got out of her care by making her think the Christmas decorations around his room (in Summer) are only in her head.
  • The Dan Vs. episode "The Telemarketer" has Dan's Identical Stranger from an earlier episode trying to drive him insane in retaliation for Dan getting him arrested for something the former did.
  • An unintentional version happens in Jem: when a wealthy Jem fan puts out a notice saying he is willing to pay large sums of money for Jem's secret identity, Pizzazz and the other Misfits approach him and hatch a plan to bring Jem into a copy of her mansion and have her interact with actors playing her friends and family so she'll reveal her secret. Not knowing she's really Jerrica, they fabricate pictures and movies of Jem as a little girl, and the impostors pretend to have known her as Jem since childhood. The ridiculousness of seeing an alternate past that her friends and family seem to believe is what really happened leads Jem to a mental breakdown.
  • Similarly, this unintentionally happens in the Futurama episode "Insane in the Mainframe" when Fry is sent to a robot insane asylum by a careless judge. A combination of the robots there constantly insisting he must be a robot if he was sent to a robot asylum and the stressful horrific living conditions (no food, robot therapy being dangerous and painful to a human, being attacked) drives him to be "cured" and released, now thoroughly convinced he's a machine.
  • One King of the Hill episode has Hank noticing that someone is subtly rearranging furniture and drinking his grapefruit juice while he's gone. Bobby and Peggy initially think he's going crazy until Cotton and Dale discover that Kahn and Minh have been breaking into their house to have sex.
  • TaleSpin:
    • "Balooest of Blues" has a variation; Baloo inherited a gigantic mansion, including a butler and cook. He stays the night with his friends, only to constantly feel like statues suddenly turned his way, images looking the other way, and sometimes signs of assassination attempts such as axes or arrows being dangerously close to his head once he turns around. He switches rooms with the others multiple times to ensure he is just imagining things which doesn't help. Nobody believes him until he actually ends up injured. The butler and cook try to murder him since he is the last inheritor before the mansion goes to them.
    • "The Idol Rich" plays it straighter. Baloo and Kit find a rare idol worth millions. However, it is soon stolen from them by Colonel Spigot and the Vembrians. Unable to overwhelm Spigot's goons, Baloo and Kit trick him into thinking the idol is driving him crazy with evergrowing absurd pranks, resulting in Spigot throwing it out of his plane and allowing the pair to reclaim it.
  • Rick and Morty: How Rick Sanchez keeps exerting control over his family, and especially Morty. He undermines their self-esteem and confidence in their selves and abilities, while never fully being honest to them about how much he needs them. "Morty's Mind Blowers" makes this clear when it's revealed that he chooses to delete the memories of Morty, as well as Jerry, as and when he sees fit. Notably, the memory vials that are red in colour, are memories where Morty pointed out Rick's mistakes, which he chooses to delete solely to maintain his authority over him. This finally bites him in the ass in the Season 3 finale where his gaslighting leads to Beth doubting whether or not she's a clone and ends up going back to Jerry and talking things out, leading to their remarriage.
    • Parodied in the Season 4 premiere:
      Anchorman: (to Anchorwoman) Gaslighting doesn't exist; you made it up because you're fucking crazy.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Done in the episode "The 87 Cent Solution!", with Scrooge as the victim. The perpetrator, Glomgold, was using a time-stopping watch to remove the titular 87 cents, stretch Scrooge's clothes out, steal his spats, and lick all of his possessions, among other things to drive Scrooge mad and drive everyone away from him. It very nearly worked.
    • "A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!" also has this trope in play, this time with Lena as the victim, albeit with a twist as the gaslighting taking place in the dream world. This time, the culprit is Magica who is trying to get Lena to give her magic back. Yet again, it nearly worked.
  • The Dragon Prince features villain Lord Viren indirectly ordering his son Soren to kill a pair of princes in order to seize control of the throne they're in line to occupy in the first season. Much later, towards the beginning of season 3, when Soren brings up these orders in front of his father and sister, the former vehemently denies them, claims his son is easily confused and not very bright, and trusts in him even less from that point on.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Before his Heel–Face Turn, Discord has gaslighted Twilight into losing faith in The Power of Friendship by hypnotizing her friends into behaving like unsavory jerks.
    • Queen Chrysalis seems to have a knack for this as well in the season 2 finale where she manages to gaslight Twilight into believing that her former foalsitter Princess Cadance has gone bad and also gaslights her friends, big brother, and even Princess Celestia herself into believing Twilight has gone crazy.
    • One-shot antagonist Wind Rider caused a more unintentional example where he frames Rainbow Dash for sending Spitfire away and Rainbow at one point believes that she really is guilty.
    • Another one-shot villain, Gladmane, uses this tactic on the acts in his resort to get them to turn against each other and see him as their only friend.
    • Cozy Glow is a young artist when it comes to gaslighting others. Her victims include but are not limited to:
      • The CMC for making them question their skills at teaching friendship when she intentionally fails a test they've been helping her study for.
      • The Young Six for making them question if their capable of friendship.
      • Every other student in the school by making them turn on Chancellor Neighsay (not to say he didn't have it coming).
  • During the "Operation M.O.O.N." episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, the KND learn that NASA is planning on sending a family to live on the moon as the first phase of a colonization plan, which causes the KND to panic because it might lead to the discovery of their Moon Base. The KND plot to trick both NASA and the family chosen for that mission, the Beatles family, into thinking they made a successful landing, when they were actually taken to an elaborate movie-like set (it was even on Hollywood). Numbuh 4 a.k.a. Wally Beatles, who joined his family on the trip, was Locked Out of the Loop because he Cannot Keep a Secret.
  • Supa Strikas: In "Hot Property", FC Cognito coach Inyo takes advantage of Shakes's need for a bigger place to live, and provides him, in a convincing disguise, with a luxurious, futuristic mansion, complete with its own soccer pitch. After Shakes 'deduces' the FC Cognito Goalie's weakness (he deliberately avoids the top right corner of the goal mouth while saving shots), Shakes intensely practises for his match against FC Cognito, shooting into the one same top-right corner spot over and over again until he cannot get it wrong. On match day, Shakes is slowly driven to insanity with every goal he misses, but cannot figure out why he's off his game...until Spenza analyses the entire pitch at his futuristic mansion...and finds out the goal mouth is slightly bigger than 24 feet x 8 feet (a typical Super League goal mouth size).

    Real Life 
  • In an interview on C-SPAN in 2004, Jon Stewart actually referenced the idea, saying that the Bush administration's spinning in the face of what Stewart believed was overwhelming evidence made it "feel like they're trying to Gaslight me".
  • A British mental health organisation managed to do this by accident when they ran a series of banner ads on various websites (including YouTube) in order to increase awareness about various mental health issues. One of the banner ads was about paranoia, and it involved playing constant, quiet whispers over the speakers/headphones that were alternatingly insulting and indistinct until the user rolled their mouse cursor over the advert. Some people, however, did not notice the advert and were genuinely disturbed by the effect, thinking they really were hearing voices.
  • One of the hobbies of the Manson Family was to break into people's houses and rearrange all of their furniture, most likely used as a terror tactic to start their global race war.
  • The Stasi (secret police of East Germany) loved this. If someone was suspected of being a dissenter, they'd sneak into the person's house and move things around, switch out types of tea, and do other things to distress them without them knowing what is going on. Needless to say, the Stasi were quite effective in using Zersetzung against political undesirables.
  • It has been alleged that this tactic is still used to discredit people who get too vocal about causes and irritate agents of the grouping or nation they are active against. Of course people alleging this can then be dismissed, without hard proof, as paranoid, flaky, or mentally deranged — which also discredits the cause they are campaigning for, by association. The Asghar Bukhari case is interesting.
  • Gaslighting is a tactic often used by crafty domestic abusers to tie partners down to their relationship. By re-arranging things, getting items "lost", and saying events happened differently than remembered, they create the sense that the victim has no idea how to handle their own life and needs to depend on the abuser to help them survive because they doubt that they could survive on their own.
    • Abusers don't even have to be that crafty. One of the reasons partners have trouble leaving abusers is that they have been gaslit to believe that the abuse they are suffering is actually their fault, the cliched line "Why did you make me do that to you?" sums up the situation in a nutshell.
  • A mild humorous example. Critic Alexander Woollcott had a portrait of himself he was very fond of. A couple fellow Algonquin Round Table members had a series of near-duplicates made with details just a tiny bit askew. For months they would periodically swap in a new duplicate and query, "Alex, whatever is happening to that painting?"
  • Some party games involve a mild (and benevolent) form of gaslighting. One example is that a player (usually a child) is blindfolded, stands on a chair with their hands on the shoulders of somebody in front of them. The chair is lifted up a couple of inches, and the person on whose shoulders the child's hands are crouches. This can make the child feel as if they are flying up into the air; if a book is gently lowered on to their head, they might believe they have floated up to the ceiling. If they take their blindfold off, they might be astonished to find they are still near the ground.

Did you enjoy reading about the Gaslamp Fantasy genre?

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Insanity Ploy


Vera gaslights Elliot

After spending the entire episode psychologically abusing Elliot, Vera finally breaks him and claims that he did this because he cares for him.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / Gaslighting

Media sources: