Follow TV Tropes


Hearing Voices

Go To

"I hear voices in my head
They counsel me, they understand
They talk to me
They tell me things that I can do
They show me what I'll do to you
They talk to me!"
Randy Orton's theme song, "Voices"

Whenever characters start hearing the Voice of the Legion whisper in their ear, or the Black Speech dancing on the wind, there's something bad in store for them... and it comes in four flavors! — Insanity Berry, Evil Sauce, Good Mint, and Chaotic Neutral Licorice.

Insane — Bob's completely lost his mind, but how can we make that plain to the audience? Simple — Have him mention hearing voices in his head, or depict him conversing with them. Closely related to Split Personality. If Bob is a telepath suffering from Power Incontinence, the voices may actually be the cause of his madness, rather than a symptom.

Evil — The evil version can come from a lot of sources. Demonic Possession, nearby ghosts, Artifacts of Doom and Tomes of Eldritch Lore. The Demon/Spirit/Artifact(s) possessing Bob may serve as the "evil" shoulder angel, and rather than (or in addition to) forcing him to do evil, tells him to. As Bob realizes Evil Feels Good, the demon can then claim that it didn't make Bob do anything he didn't want to.

Thanks to a deal with Trope Co., for an unlimited time, we've got two new flavors, Sour Good and Mystery flavor. Except in Nebraska, something about Trope Co. and several hundred liters of Psycho Serum.

Good — The voices come from a higher power, often God or angels. Rather than compel Bob to go on a killing spree, they'll offer him guidance, and likely encourage pacifism. Or cause him to become a Knight Templar...

Chaotic Neutral — It's often unknown where the voices are coming from, whether the source is holy, unholy, or neutral is never delved into. Or even Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. Alternatively, the voices come from a multitude of sources, some good, some evil.

Interestingly, Bob may not actually be hearing voices — a common variation is for Alice to make him think he is, using a hidden radio transmitter or the like. If that's the case, see Gaslighting. Subtrope of Terrible Ticking, though they're usually implemented differently.

    open/close all folders 


    Anime and Manga 
  • Discussed for Laughs in Asteroid in Love. During the Shiny Star Challenge, Shiho asks Ao why the latter would take the unusual action of coming all the way to Okinawa just to become an observer. After explaining the story behind it, Shiho's mood sours... since she originally expected the answer to be on the lines of "guidance by voices from the outer space."
  • Joshua Christopher in Chrono Crusade has the telepath variant, where the "noise" from the thoughts of the people around him drives him insane. There's a bit of the 'evil' side for him, however — he was given the power by the Big Bad, and in the manga it's implied he might be hearing the voice of the demon's Hive Queen.
  • Lain from Serial Experiments Lain sometimes hears a crowd of noises in her head, that in turn sometimes give way to a charismatic narrator voice that claims to be God — this is clearly meant to hint to schizophrenia. It turns out that she's hearing conversations from the Wired, and the "God" is an omnipresent entity that resides within it.
  • Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul suffers from hallucinations during moments of extreme stress, as a result of Cold-Blooded Torture and later his powers eating away at his sanity. He has several conversations with an imagined Rize, as well as younger versions of himself. In the sequel, as Amnesiac Hero Haise Sasaki, he is haunted by hallucinations of a twisted version of his past self that teases and taunts him during vulnerable moments.

    Comic Books 
  • Deadpool has two. He enjoys arguing with them. Whether they are part of his insanity, something he created in order to have someone to talk to when there is no one else around, or something else entirely is a matter of Depending on the Writer. That being said, the two voices often provide Deadpool with information he didn't know, or show knowledge of events that Deadpool could not possibly be aware of.
    • Following the "Dead Presidents" arc S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Prescott joins them courtesy of the necromancer responsible for the whole mess.
    • A later comic revealed that Deadpool had spent some time fused with Madcap, which explains why one of the voices in his head that hadn't been seen in a while had used a different font and box color than the rest.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws: Arsenal and Starfire believes it's the case with Red Hood. Subverted as he's talking with Essence, who they can't see.
  • Marv from Sin City has mentioned hearing voices and strange sounds in the past. In fact, in his first story, he wondered if he snapped completely, hallucinated the entire murder mystery, and was killing innocent people. Fortunately for him (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), this wasn't the case and people were out to kill him/frame him for murder.
  • Some versions of Two-Face's insanity manifest in this way, frequently being divided between a "good voice" and an "evil voice".
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: Ultimate Green Goblin is so crazy, he not only hears voices, but also sees little floating goblins.
  • In Green Lantern's crossover issue with The Death of Superman, Hal Jordan hears the voices of the people of Coast City crying for vengeance as he battles through the Eternal Engine it was destroyed to create. They fall silent after he defeats Mongul. But as later events reveal, it's only the beginning of his problems.

    Fan Works 
  • Swallow Star explains in Apprentice and Pregnant that he once came across Applefur yelling at trees in the middle of night. She said that they were whispering to her, but she later tries to explain the episode as simply being due to hunger. He later found her trying to drown herself, so it's clear that it was more than just starvation. She's since been put on medication.
  • In The Bespectacled Mimiga Who Lost His Freaking Mind, Jack's mental stability is officially pushed way over the edge to literally cartoonish levels by the deaths of King and Toroko, causing him to schizophrenically imagine false psycho-murderer spirits of the two of them screwing around inside his poor, tortured, tormented, aching, shockingly intelligent little brain in a fashion that is rather eerily and disturbingly akin to Inside Out. As you would expect, this results in one deeply fucked-up little beast of a story, and also an amazingly brilliant one at that.
  • The End of the World:
    • Rollin, Finnick's final opponent is talking to someone who isn't there during their confrontation.
    • Annie spends a while talking to herself and eating leaves after her boyfriend abandons her (and then dies) in the arena.
    • During the third Quarter Quell, after Earl Bates is stung by tracker jackers, he seems to be hallucinating the return of the tributes he fought decades ago, yelling at the air, "Come on, if you're coming! Took on a bunch your grandfathers, and I can take you."
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Dr. Wily hears voices in his head that drive him to do very evil deeds.
  • In The Night Unfurls, this is how the bad voodoo that comes with Kyril's journal catches up to Celestine, with her mind constantly bombarded by whispers that have no sign of ceasing. This, combined with several visions depicting the horrors Kyril has been through, leaves her a whimpering wreck unable to sleep soundly, her room in a mess and her belongings scattered all over the place. Thankfully, this stops after her accidental arrival in the Hunter's Dream.
    • She has to go through this trope again as a result of eldritch forces clashing with each other in a distant place, where Kyril confronts Shamuhaza, the latter twisted into an Eldritch Abomination. She's probably not alone in this regard, if we consider the riots and the sense of dread permeating the capital due to said event. The whispers are so severe that the Plain Doll has to personally intervene by entering her chambers, which puts her to sleep while freeing her from this trope.
  • Subverted with Sticks in Sonic the Continuation. It initially seems like the voices in her head are due to a mental illness, but they're actually due to Robotnik's experiments. Sticks has been hearing digital messages from television signals, internet downloads, etc.
  • Discussed Trope and Exploited Trope by way of Bothering by the Book in Things XCOM Operatives Are No Longer Allowed to Do to cut down on MEC Troopers throwing allied units on aliens, including Super Heavy Infantry Vehicle (SHIV) units, which are Attack Drones that do not have built in speakers:
    24c. MEC Troopers claiming that S.H.I.V. units are able to volunteer or communicate are to report to Medical immediately.
  • In Those Gilded Chains We Wear, Bellatrix Black's insanity manifests itself as many voices constantly screaming in her head, which only abate after she had inflicted pain on someone or when she encounters genuine compassion.
  • This is essentially the core premise for Communication, where the players are directly in the heads of their Hosts In-Universe, where they use their knowledge of canon events to guide the character they currently inhabiting.
  • Emily Gower in Sixes and Sevens begins hearing (and later seeing) Kenneth Crichton at inopportune times during the mission on Fidonisi. It's later revealed that he's a vampire and has fed on her, creating a psychic connection between the two that he can use to manipulate her.
  • In Kaedehara Kazuha's Foolproof Guide to Accidental Kidnapping, Kazuha was so deeply traumatized by his best friend being cut down in front of him that he started hallucinating Tomo's voice, expressing his inner thoughts and insecurities. The author apparently based the portrayal on their own stress psychosis.
  • Vow of Nudity: The golden dragon who bequeathed Sarah his draconic powers is eventually revealed to endure in her mind, and starts tutoring her on her powers and relevant world history she should know.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Blue Steel: There's a scene that shows just how unhinged Eugene Hunt is when he's working out in his apartment, then starts screaming at voices that aren't there.
  • In Death Ship, the first sign that Capt. Ashland has been possessed is when he starts hearing a mysterious, disembodied voice speaking to him in German.
  • Deranged: Following his mother's death, Ezra begins hearing voices in his head telling him to exhume her corpse and preserve her body.
  • The Green Goblin's Last Stand has Norman hallucinate Spider-Man is chasing him, leading him to get beaten and left for dead by thugs.
  • In Fritz Lang's 1931 film M, the titular Murderer of children, whom both the police and The Mafia end chasing, claims that he hears voices periodically, and kills to silence them.
  • In The Snake Pit, the protagonist is having a conversation with a man who is offscreen. When the scene reveals that there is no man and she's having a conversation with a voice in her head, she's established to be insane. She's then shown to be a patient in a mental hospital.
  • Suicide Squad (2016): Harley Quinn enjoys herself trolling everyone with this trope.
    Harley: What was that? 'I should kill everyone and escape?' Sorry... it's the voices. [Beat] Hahaha, I'm kidding! That's not what they really said.
  • Sweetwater: Josiah hears them periodically and interprets this as God, with himself as a prophet. They always back up his own evil desires though, so it's quite probable he's simply delusional.
  • One of the symptoms of Karin's schizophrenia in Through a Glass Darkly. She is hearing voices that are telling her to go up to the attic, where she will go through a crack in the wallpaper and find God.
  • In The Voices, the protagonist is an insane man explicitly shown to not having taken his meds since a long time, who has his cat and his dog as Good Angel, Bad Angel. He latter hears the voices of the severed heads of three female colleagues of his kept in his fridge, who he killed thanks to a series of unfortunate events.
  • Part of Mabel's Sanity Slippage in A Woman Under the Influence includes occasionally having conversations with people who aren't actually in the room.
  • Wrong is Right. People dismiss King Awad's "desert voices" as a harmless eccentricity until they discover he's buying a couple of nukes and his voices are telling him to 'purify' Islam.

  • A old joke that relies on a now over-100-year-old advertising slogan:
    A man went on a sea trip with his wife, but his wife died on the trip. The captain said they did not have the facilities on board to store a body for burial on shore, so they would have to do a Burial at Sea. The husband knew his wife would never stand for it, but understood and allowed it anyway. That night, sleeping in his cabin, the man kept hearing a voice softly repeating "It floats... it floats... it floats". The next night he heard it again, and he knew it must be the ghost of his dead wife. The third night, exasperated, he finally responded to the voice "What floats?" And the voice said "IVORY SOAP!"

  • Afterglow (2015): Several people in an apartment building in downtown Olympia start hearing voices in their heads. It turns out that Shannon is causing them.
  • Arthur in Along The Winding Road is a long-time insomniac because of this. He believes the voices are ghosts taking their revenge for him causing their deaths.
  • In Elcenia, Vi'Yan Rylaatin the Third, High Priest and ruler of Ryganaav, hears voices that he believes belongs to the gods, and rules his nation accordingly. When Talyn inspects his mind with some kamai, he quickly realizes the man is simply mentally ill. Talyn bitterly notes the ironic contrast between this and Vampiric Inanimate Audition (listed below in the ??? section).
  • In The Black Company Soulcatcher is an interesting aversion. They actually has multiple voices that They can speak with. As Croker notes, it's a bit creepy when they have two or more talking at the same time.
  • In The Expanse this happens twice. First, Holden starts hallucinating Miller, then in the final book Colonel Tanaka starts hearing voices from other people. In both cases they themselves think they're going mad. Neither of them are actually insane. In Holden's case the Protomolecule is manipulating his brain to make him see The Investigator, a construct based on Miller, so that it can find the Ringbuilders and report to them that it's done its job. In Tanaka's case it's the beginning of her mind being subsumed into the Hive Mind that Duarte's building. And she quickly finds out a lot of people are having the same problem.
  • In the Goosebumps Series 2000 story Invasion of the Body Squeezers, protagonist Jack takes a device from the house of his weird next-door neighbor, whom he thinks might be an alien. All that night, he hears a weird little chirping sound in his ear; by the next morning he can (subconsciously) understand what it's saying, and has fallen under alien Mind Control.
  • In Robert Anton Wilson's Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, Sigismundo Celine begins hearing voices and eventually conversing with imaginary moon-people, after being locked up and drugged. Things get really weird when the footnotes start going crazy too.
  • In the Modesty Blaise novel The Impossible Virgin, Lisa Brunel hears mysterious unearthly voices that force her to do what they say, and punish her for disobedience by dinning at her incessantly for hours at a time. Willie finds out that the villain is scamming her using a hidden radio.
  • A primary part of the protagonist's character and backstory in Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah: Jack is schizophrenic (not Hollywood Schizophrenia), frequently experiencing both auditory and visual Hallucinations. In fact, one of the main characters is Jack's most omnipresent auditory hallucination: Jack and God talk to each other a lot throughout the book. God's actually really helpful, and Jack's closest friend, if a bit sarcastic. While the flavor is occasionally questioned, most of the characters (including Jack and even God) come down firmly in favor of Insanity Berry.
    Jack: So you're not...? You know — real?
    God: I'm really your hallucination.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy:
    • Zane in the second novel has a voice in his head (which he calls God) telling him to kill almost everyone he meets. He considers it a mark of his willpower that he doesn't obey the voice. Sure, he still kills people, but of his own volition, not because the voice tells him to. The voice never tells him to kill Vin, which Zane decides means that she's his soulmate. Vin eventually kills him, and Zane discovers that the voice is real — and it likes her more than him.
      "You know why I thought you'd save me?" he tried to whisper to her, though he somehow knew that his lips weren't properly forming the words. "The voice. You were the first person I ever met that it didn’t tell me to kill. The only person."
      "Of course I didn't tell you to kill her," God said.
      Zane felt his life seeping away.
      "You know the really funny thing, Zane?" God asked. "The most amusing part of this all? You're not insane.
      "You never were."
    • Vin, on the other hand, hears a "good" voice, later revealed to part subconscious, part the voice of the Big Bad. This is caused by her earring, which is a tiny Hemalurgic spike.
  • The Promise (by the Swiss author Albrecht Dürrenmat): Herr Schrott (portrayed by Gert Fröbe in the first film of the book) is a rapist and murderer of preteen girls whose motivation is a mixture of Freudian Excuse through his overly dominating wife and die Stimme (the voice).
  • Michael from The Republic of Trees suffers those near the end of the book. Though he refers to them as "demons", they all keep screaming at once, so he never hears them clearly enough to figure of what they want.
  • One of the insane people in the asylum in The Stealers of Dreams hears voices (and asks others if they can hear them too).
  • One of the characters in Christopher Moore's The Stupidest Angel is a schizophrenic actress hearing the voice of the character she played in several movies. Unusually for this trope, the voice helps her more often than it gets her in trouble.
  • The Wheel of Time: Rand al'Thor has been hearing the voice of his previous incarnation, Lews Therin Telamon, in his head for quite a while now. It's not clear whether he's going crazy, or whether he really is hearing Lews Therin talking to him. This is finally resolved in book 12. It's both; that is, as the Reincarnation of Lews Therin he is essentially gaining knowledge and memory of the Age of Legends from him, but the holding of actual conversations with a distinct voice is a symptom of his psychosis. He stops hearing the voice when he has a breakthrough which included the realization that he and Lews Therin "were not two people, and never had been".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Accused: Stephen almost constantly hears voices whispering as part of his delusions.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Anyone who absorbs the Gravitonium hears the voices of people who were absorbed by it — including Franklin Hall and Ian Quinn. Hearing these voices causes the people infused with Gravitonium to go insane, which is how Franklin Hall and Graviton are turned into a Decomposite Character when compared to the comic books — when Glenn Talbot ultimately uses the Particle Infusion chamber to gain power over Gravity, the voices contribute to his descent into madness and cause him to destroy the world in an alternate timeline.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When the trio try to convince Buffy that she murdered a girl using perception-altering demons, she hears a torrent of whispered "What did you do?"s.
    • Played straight with Drusilla.
      "I knew it. I knew before you did that you loved the Slayer. The pixies in my head told it to me."
  • Stephen Colbert's revolver, "Sweetness" in The Colbert Report, which often "talks" to Stephen. He often claims it tells him to kill the audience and crew. Of note is that he always holds "her" up to his deaf ear.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "Derailed", a train is taken hostage by a schizophrenic whose paranoia is driven by a voice in his head, which is depicted as a man standing behind him that only he (and the viewer) can hear.
  • In Firefly, River sometimes complains about hearing voices and screaming, and in Serenity she is actually shown in a couple of instances actually hearing said voices.
  • Game of Thrones: Renly describes Aerys II as doing this, though he himself is far too young to know first-hand.
  • On the Haven, season 4 premiere, newcomer Jennifer is absolutely floored to find out that Duke is real, because she's been hearing his voice—and others—for the last six months. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia, fired from her job as a reporter, and put on antipsychotics, and is relieved at the possibility she is Insane No More. In reality, the voices she was hearing were Duke and Audrey's, as she turns out to have a supernatural connection with the Barn, which took Audrey away at the end of the previous season.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Paul de Pointe du Lac experiences auditory hallucinations. He refers to them as "birds" in his head, which he believes impart God's will. His father put him in a mental hospital in Jackson to treat this, but he only got worse.
  • JAG: In first season episode "The Prisoner", when Harm is taken to a Chinese military prison he begins to talk with, what appears to be, another prisoner in another cell who turns out to be his father. However, we see on the surveillance cameras that Harm is talking to no one, and the Chinese later explain that it’s all due to the drugs they’ve administered.
  • A man having a spat with his girlfriend in a Mr. Show sketch is given (poor) advice by four people on the subway (an old lady, a biker, a Japanese man and a gay guy). Him following their advice results in his girlfriend leaving him. It's revealed that they are "The Four Voices Within" which according to an expert, we all have. The voices' intentions appear to be good but just make the man look insane.
  • Subverted in NCIS when they investigate a case of a naval officer that was diagnosed with schizophrenia after her husband was killed in action and she starts hearing voices in her room. It turns out the "voices" were from a radio transmitter planted in her air vents. She had vital information regarding the whereabouts of a large sum of stolen money, and the criminals who wanted it were trying to get her out of the picture by having her declared insane.
  • Orange Is the New Black: From "Fucksgiving" we still don't know if the voice Piper heard talking to her in Shu is real. Solitary confinement can have profound psychological effects on a person, especially on someone like Piper who is not accustomed to long periods of solitude. Solitary confinement beyond 15 days leads directly to severe and in some cases irreversible psychological harm. But for some, it can manifest in even less time. Hallucinations, for example-hearing voices when nobody is speaking could be a sort of coping mechanism for Chapman, so it's very likely that she could be hallucinating and talking to her subconscious mind.
    • We learn that Lolly has psychosis, a mental condition where she sees and hears things that aren't there (hallucinations) and believes things that aren't true (delusions). Her voices whisper things to her that makes her paranoid and shake some bells in an attempt to drown them out. She also has delusions that the NSA and the like are out to get her.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "The Curious Case of Edgar Witherspoon", the title character tells Dr. Jeremy Sinclair that he was feeding pigeons in a park one day eleven years earlier when he heard a strange voice that told him that he must keep the world in balance or it would "go puff." He says that he used to think the voice belonged to God but then he figured that God would have a deeper voice. Dr. Sinclair later begins to hear the same voice when he takes over from Edgar.
    • In the final scene of "The Trance", Leonard Randall begins to hear the strange voice that has speaking through him for the last two days for himself. He was previously unaware when it took control over his body. The voice explains to him that it will be his constant companion from now on as it teaches him the wisdom of the universe, which should take 20 or 30 years at most.

  • "Voices" by Disturbed. It's mainly from the perspective of the personality giving the insane suggestions, though.
  • "Skullcrusher Mountain" by Jonathan Coulton: "The voices that control me from inside my head say I shouldn't kill you... yet."
  • "Absolutely Bill's Mood" by They Might Be Giants.
    My room is comfortably small
    With rubber lining the walls
    And there's always someone calling my name
  • Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta". "I hear the voices in my head I swear to god it sounds like they're snoring..."
  • Creature Feature's Bad Blood "I can hear the voices stirring, all the awful things they're planning."
  • Referenced in the Twenty One Pilots song “Ode to Sleep”.
    Why am I not scared in the morning?
    I don't hear those voices calling
    I must have kicked them out
    I must have kicked them out
    I swear I heard demons yelling
    Those crazy words they were spelling
    They told me I was gone
    They told me I was gone
  • In the opening seconds of Poets of the Fall's "Drama for Life", unintelligible vocalizations represent the singer's unstable creative impulse, a "madman in [his] mind," as a Ghost in the Machine nattering away from inside his head, which he needs to battle to bring to heel.
  • Heat Man in The Megas' "Man on Fire" mentions hearing voices crying for Mega Man's death in his mind early in his crazed rant about wanting to burn the world.
  • Loki in The Mechanisms' The Bifrost Incident, after working on the Ratatosk Express and whatever Odin did to keep her mind intact through her supposed execution, forgets everything about who she is, but begins to see flashes of memory and voices. Odin, as well, heard the voice of Yog-Sothoth while working on the Ratatosk Express, which convinced her to bring it forth into her world.
    Loki: Flashes like camera bulbs fire in my brain
    Is this truly me, am I going insane?
    In faint bloody flashes I watch people die
    And if that was me, then who am I?
  • Noah: The moment the girl loses it in "Kota Mati" music video is when she hears whispers from an obviously-imaginary Ariel.
  • In Carousel (An Examination of the Shadow, Creekflow...), the titular carousel allows Vylet to speak to Creekflow, her literal Shadow Archetype.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Former WWE Diva Victoria used the theme All The Things She Said by Tatu in her early career. The song is about two lesbian lovers, but in the context of Victoria, who was dating Stevie Richards, it was about an insane woman who heard voices that compelled her toward violence.
  • Sami Callihan has heard voices compelling him to kill his opponents, he's more insane than evil however.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Vampire: The Requiem has plenty of derangements for people who fall down the Sanity Meter; one unique to vampires is Sanguinary Animism, the delusion that they've absorbed some of their victims' spirits. The voices and "memories" are only hallucinations, but they can still trick the vampire into acting as though possessed.

  • A Streetcar Named Desire: Blanche starts with this trope as she begins having Sanity Slippage.
  • In the National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island, retired pirate Billy Bones mentions hearing voices incessantly singing sea shanties (which at one point become audible to the audience). He tries to silence them with alcohol, and at one point by holding everyone in the tavern at gunpoint and ordering them to sing to drown the voices out.

    Video Games 
  • Minor character Peter Zaford, a.k.a. The Bagman, in Borderlands 2 spends the one mission where he plays a significant role talking to the voice in his head.
  • In Dink Smallwood mod The Green Voice in My Head: Hangover & Agony the titular voice, known as "Smashing Barrels Voice" ("SBV" for short) encourages Dink to do things such as smashing every barrel he sees or drinking to the point where he wakes up to discover that he's hidden all his money and buried his sword.
  • In Eternal Darkness, the game whispers gibberish at you when your Sanity Meter is low.
  • Dimitri of Fire Emblem: Three Houses hears the voices of his deceased loved ones, lost in the Tragedy of Duscur, begging him to get revenge on the people who killed them. After Dimitri discovers that Edelgard is the Flame Emperor and he believes her to be responsible for the tragedy, the voices only intensify, asking him to exact revenge. In chapter 14 of his route, Byleth happens upon him babbling to himself about how he'll get revenge. Even after Edelgard is killed, Dimitri surmises that those voices will never truly leave him alone.
  • In Green Hell, if your Sanity Meter drops below half, you'll start hearing voices in your head: echoing screams and whispers, voices telling you to give up and accept your fate, and other such creepiness.
  • Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice: Senua has a mental illness, causing her to hear dozens of voices to go with her horrifying hallucinations of the island. Since she lives in the Dark Ages, she doesn't realize that the voices in her head are a part of her mind and not demons tormenting her, but they can sometimes help by warning her of threats she can't see, like an enemy flanking. Once she makes peace about her psychosis as part of her instead of a curse and decide to make the best out of her current situation, they elevate into Good, since at this point you will not hear negative thoughts inside her mind and instead you will hear words of encouragement and helpful advice.
  • Kled in League of Legends is off his rocker in a violently proactive fashion, and several of his voice lines have him reference either voices in his head, or animals that apparently live in his head. Generally, it seems that the voices belong to the animals, given that both appear to want Kled to kill and kill again.
    Kled: The badgers command your death!
  • In Metaphobia, the protagonist investigates on several murderers who suffered from this trope, and diagnosticized as schizophrenic. They actually suffered from another condition, called in-game metaphobia which is a symptom of Mind Control from The Conspiracy, making it an Evil instance instead.
  • Doug "The Rat Man" Rattmann from the Portal series is a schizophrenic who thinks the Weighted Companion Cube talks to him. Oddly enough, he seems to do better when he listens to its advice than when he takes his meds.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, in the final chapter we learn that the voice of the rogue Colonel Konrad that protagonist Captain Walker had been hearing over the radio for half of the game was nothing but Walker's delusion — the radio was broken the whole time. But Walker needed someone to blame for the atrocities he committed in Dubai, and so created a villainous colonel to argue with and pursue. Though "Konrad" is the product of Walker's insanity, oddly enough he functions almost as Walker's conscience, berating him for his questionable actions, or warning that helping a CIA team seize control of the city's remaining water supply will only make things worse. Unfortunately for everyone, Walker only listens when it's too late.
  • World of Warcraft
    • In the Death Knight starting area of Acherus, The Ebon Hold, the Lich King will randomly whisper suggestions to the player.
    • The Old Gods are very fond of using maddening whispers to corrupt people. In the Back Story, Neltharion, the Black Dragon Aspect, was driven mad by the whispers of the Old Gods during his eons of sleep deep within Azeroth. Succumbing to their temptation, he constructed the Dragon Soul and nearly succeeded in exterminating all the Dragonflights.
      • In the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, the player gets whispers saying things like "Death is close," "Your friends will abandon you," and "Your heart will explode." These are sent by C'thun, the Final Boss.
      • Yogg-Saron whispers to the player in various locations in Northrend. There are areas where these whispers have driven large numbers of NPCs mad, such as Whisper Gulch in Howling Fjord and the Saronite Mines in Icecrown. He is the Final Boss of Ulduar. Favorites include things like "Kill them all... before they kill you" and "It WAS your fault." Given that none of the areas where these whispers show up actually require a group, it comes across more as helpful advice than corrupting whispers of insanity. Then again, that seems to be one of Yogg-Saron's big things.
    • High General Brigitte Abbendis, leader of the Scarlet Crusade during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, believes that the good kind of voices have told her to go to Northrend. It's never actually clarified whether the voices are her own zealous delusions, or the evil whispers of Mal'ganis, who would later appear disguised as Grand Admiral Barean Westwind. Whatever the case, we do know that the Lich King wasn't responsible, as he is genuinely surprised at her choice to attack Northrend.
    • Legion added no less than three sentient weapons that whisper to the player (see "Evil" and "Good" for the other two). Since Shadow Priests were reworked to basically be agents of madness, of course their weapon "Xel'atath, Blade of the Black Empire" is quite chatty. It's either commenting on the situation, or attempting to get you to revel in the death of your enemies the way it does.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: One common symptom of having fallen victim to the curse of Oyashiro is hearing a disembodied voice saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." and footsteps. Although as a practical matter, this is an indicator that the character is about to snap, there is a source of the voice and footsteps, although not necessarily one with a physical form. Meakashi-hen shows Shion literally arguing with a voice in her mind that acts as a bad conscience, making her become distrustful of her loved ones and aggressive, same with Rena in Tsumihoroboshi-hen.
  • This happens to Suoh on occasion in Sickness as part of his "Sickness", either providing him logic or persuading him to commit a heinous criminal act (mostly murder, rape on one occasion).


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Ice King from Adventure Time hears voices and sees strange visions due to his magical crown. Taken to extremes in Holly Jolly Secrets when we realize that he used to be a normal man until he put on the crown and unconsciously drove away his wife and let himself go so insane. He's completely unrecognizable in his present form...
  • Arcane. Jinx hears the voices of Mylo and Claggor, the childhood friends she accidentally killed in a hextech explosion]]. Now she kills and blows things up deliberately, so the evil version of this trope applies as well.
  • One episode of Batman Beyond has the Villain of the Week try to drive Bruce insane by pretending to be a voice from inside his head. He fails, partially because the voice keeps calling Bruce by his name. That isn't his name for himself.
  • The Joker of The Batman once mentions "Another voice in my head? The more the merrier!"
  • Discussed in Daria:
    Jake: Hey, kiddo, how was your day?
    Daria: Fine. I heard a new voice inside my head and Kevin stole a test, so everyone's getting an "F."
    Jake: That's great!
    Helen: (holds hand over phone) Daria, you were just kidding about the voice, right?
    Daria: Relax...we don't have to answer that.
    • Also comes up in "Lucky Strike":
      Ms. Li: (over P.A.) Students of Lawndale High, your attention, please.
      Jane: Is that the voice in my head that tells me to kill and kill again?
      Daria: No. Satan's voice is lower and he has an English accent.
  • In the Drawn Together movie, Wooldoor comments that with the show canceled, the cameras won't be around to distract him from the voices in his head.
    "Cut their throats and drink the children's blood, Wooldoor! Their youth will be your youth!"
  • Family Guy:
    • Meg Griffin exhibits increasing Sanity Slippage and wishes that she had softer voices in her head.
    • In one episode, after watching too much Caillou, Lois can't get the narrator's voice out of her head.
  • The voice in Robin's head in an episode of Teen Titans Go! talks about him rather than to him. It's a result of him being literally crazy about Starfire.
  • ThunderCats (2011) has Kaynar who once mentions "At least I'll have the voices in my head to talk to."


    Anime and Manga 
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura: The Movie, Sakura enters an antique shop and immediately hears a woman's voice calling her towards a particular book. The voice, belonging to the movie's antagonist, Tsu Young, coaxes/mind-controls Sakura into opening the book, resulting in the capture of all but two of her friends/family.
  • In Day Break Illusion, Akari can hear the voices of the evil Daemonia, the monsters she and her fellow magical girls are supposed to kill. However, this allows the Daemonia-possessed humans to find peace before they're killed. The reason Akari can hear the Daemonia's voices is because her father had been infected by a Daemonia when she was conceived.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, this happens to both of the human villains;
    • After using Devimon's data to create Kimeramon, the Digimon Emperor starts to hear Devimon's voice taunting him about his recklessly using the power of darkness.
    • Yukio Oikawa, while Talking to the Dead about him creating Digimon from his DNA, starts hearing those Digimon taunting him about his twisted nature. ("We're living your nightmare!")
  • Il Palazzo hears voices in the both the Excel♡Saga manga and anime, though they affect him differently depending on the continuity.
    • In the anime the voices tell him to abandon his Well-Intentioned Extremist ideals and conquer the world for the sake of power alone.
    • In the manga the voices tell him something that somehow makes him competent and far more effective in taking over Fukuoka City.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Used in the The Lord of the Rings movies, to hint at the One Ring's corrosive mental effects.
  • Poltergeist. While Carol Anne is watching a TV set to a dead channel, the static starts to sound like whispering. This is apparently the sound of the ghosts on the "other side".
  • Star Trek: First Contact. Picard keeps hearing the voice of the Collective in his head.

    Fan Works 
  • In Fate/Black Reflection, Sakura Matou begins hearing the voices of the Hollows that attacked the Matou mansion while she slept, which were subsequently absorbed by the Shadow and made a part of her. They torment her during the day, insulting her at every opportunity and urging her to kill Rin and Saber so that she can have Shirou to herself. The worst part of her situation is that she has no idea what they are or why she's hearing them, and it's steadily wearing down her already fragile state of mind.
  • In the Pokémon fic Operation GEAR, specifically its third installment The Angel of Reckoning, Nekou has a bloodthirsty bestial side that manifests itself as a voice sounding much like an evil version of herself when she tries to confront it.
  • In the Pony POV Series Dark World Arc, characters constantly hear a voice called the Nameless Passenger, that is to some degree helpful, but also encourages Revenge Before Reason and tries to act as The Corrupter for Twilight. It turns out it's actually Nightmare Eclipse, the true villain of the arc who's trying to perpetuate a "Groundhog Day" Loop to punish Discord for eternity, erasing Dark World from existence over and over again in the process. The characters don't notice the voice as being strange for the most part due to a Glamour, which Twilight eventually breaks by noticing her and asking who she is.
  • Us and Them: The first indication that Jenova is reawakening is when Sephiroth hears a woman's voice calling him her son.

  • The Saika sword and its "children" in Durarara!!. It possesses its user and tells them to "love" as many people as it can. Being a sword, it can only show love by cutting others. Anri is the only person who can use it constantly without being affected by it because she is unable to feel love.
  • Harry Potter
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry starts hearing the basilisk's voice as it travels behind the walls. Another subversion in that he isn't actually hearing voices in his head; it's just that he understands Parseltongue, so all anyone else can hear is a faint hissing. The movie version gives us the exchange quoted below:
      Hermione: Even in the Wizarding World, hearing voices isn't a good thing.
      Random painting: She's right, you know.
    • Ron hears these in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while he wears the Horcrux necklace.
  • Celmomas in The Second Apocalypse has a voice in his head. It's probably not a good voice considering what a creepy psychopath he is.
  • Nico and Nivel in The Spirit Thief both start hearing the Master of the Dead Mountain when their demonseeds grow strong enough. It's implied all demonseeds do, it's just that no other still live to tell the tale.
  • Warhammer 40,000: In Graham McNeill's Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, this is how Chaos corrupts Fulgrim.
  • In the Warrior Cats book Lost Stars, Shadowpaw hears a voice that he thinks is a StarClan cat, and tries to do what it says because he thinks it has the Clans' best interests at heart — even though its advice sounds sketchy. Turns out it was a StarClan cat, but in fact an evil one: Ashfur was using him to kill Bramblestar so that he could take over the leader's body.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel. The Beastmaster tries to intimidate Angelus by booming away in his head.
    Beastmaster: ANGELUS!
    Angelus: (holds his hands to his ears) Hello, volume!
    Beastmaster: I AM NOT WELL PLEASED!
    Angelus: I am not well deaf!
    Angelus: Yeah, what're you gonna do, huh? Give me a migraine?
  • Joel on Dead of Summer is haunted by Holyoke, the ghost of a man who once ran a spiritualist cult at the site where Camp Stillwater now stands, who tells Joel to murder Amy or else he will kill somebody else at the camp. Notably, Holyoke was haunting Joel even before he got to the camp, which is why Joel is the resident Camera Fiend; he uses his camera to tell the difference between what's real and what he's "hallucinating". Before Joel, Holyoke was haunting his brother Michael, leading him to kill himself to make it stop.
  • In Farscape John starts hearing voices after being subjected to the Aurora Chair. At first he isn't sure what's going on, but then he starts to see Scorpius as well, indicating that there is definitely evil at work.
  • The Power (2023): Allie begins hearing a female voice in her head which offers support and guidance. She initially freaks out, naturally, but comes to accept its help.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Meet the New Boss", the Leviathans start whispering to Castiel while they're inside him.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Randy Orton in his heel role for the WWE uses Rev Theory's 'Voices' as his theme song and at one point claimed to be unable to control himself. He was lying, so it counts as evil rather than insane.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Whispers background trait in Exalted.
  • Just about every Chaos unit in Warhammer 40,000 is this and Insane, as causing madness is a frequent by-product of Chaos. The current Chaos focus army, the Crimson Slaughter, are particularly notable - they hear the voices of those they kill, except for the periods while they're actively killing more, which led them to fall to Chaos because they got steadily more addicted to mass murder.
    Chaos Space Marine: DO YOU HEAR THE VOICES TOO?
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Crown of Nagash is a sorcerous artifact of the greatest necromancer in history, which is sentient and trying to reunite with its master by possessing its wearer. Its latest bearer was the orc warboss Azhag da Slaughterer, to whom it would try to inspire tactics and strategies that worked to devastating effect. Unfortunately, orcs are very stubborn and very stupid, so quite often said strategies were for naught, not to mention the effect seeing the warboss arguing with himself had on other orcs.

  • The SQUIP from Be More Chill, a pill-sized supercomputer that Jeremy and later, the entire cast of the school play takes to become popular. From its introduction it is obvious that the SQUIP is sinister at the very least, but becomes more obvious when Rich burns down Jake's house in an attempt to get rid of his SQUIP before it can hurt anyone else.
  • The Fates hound Eurydice wherever she goes in Hadestown, and she's no stranger to the wind they bring with them or the kinds of things they say to her. Listening to the Fates is what gives Eurydice the final push to leave Orpheus for Hadestown.

    Video Games 
  • Dawn of War: In Dark Crusade's Chaos stronghold, Eliphas the Inheritor speaks telepathically to the invading forces. But because this is 40K, only one is panicked (General Alexander), two greet him with contempt (Taldeer and Captain Thule), one tells him to zog off (Gorgutz), one can't even hear him in the first place (O'Kais), and the last one causes Eliphas to piss himself (the Necron lord).
  • Exploring the Forbidden City in Eternal Darkness tends to cause you to hear voices. Also, Xel'lotath's Black Guardian likes to get under your skin by murmuring to you; the characters don't appear to react to any kind of audible speech, implying it's in their heads.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Both Vayne and Cid turn out to be taking orders from a god-like being.
  • Adventuring with the Squamous Gibberer familiar in Kingdom of Loathing causes you to see chat messages from nowhere (in grey, italicized text), saying things like "Everything you care for will be smothered and extinguished." and "Even now little plots against you."
  • Love of Magic: The sense that guides sorceresses is called "The Voices". One unknowing sorceress thought she was going mad until she learned what was going on.
  • In Mass Effect, the Reapers' indoctrination can manifest like this; whispering voices in the back of your mind. Apparently, they start out quiet, unintelligible, but steadily grow stronger. By the time you can understand them, it's too late.
  • In Persona 2, Tatsuya Sudou states from time to time that he hears voices, notably in Eternal Punishment where he screams "Voicesvoicesvoicesvoicesvoices..." before attacking the party. In Innocent Sin, the voice is explicitly stated to be Nyarlathotep.
  • In Solatorobo, Red hears a voice commanding him to destroy everything when The Order is given. Elh becomes his Living Emotional Crutch during that time, talking to him to keep him calm.
  • Tales of Symphonia: One of the game's sidequests involves collecting the Infinity Plus One Weapons, the Devil's Arms. When you have collected a few, Presea begins hearing voices from the weapons. After completing the sidequest and defeating the Optional Boss, Presea is almost posessed by the spirit that lived in them, but is saved by Colette.
  • In Undertale, players attempting a Genocide Run may see some of the normal game text replaced with rather bloodthirstier messages rendered entirely in red, such as stating how many monsters in the area have yet to be killed at each Save Point. Late in the game, however, it becomes clear that these messages are not the player character's own thoughts at all, despite the absence of Voice Grunting. This does not end well.
  • In Warcraft III, the Lich King whispers to Arthas through Frostmourne. More of an Evil instance, though.
  • World of Warcraft: One of the weapons (which is sadly not available as of Patch 3.0.2), Corrupted Ashbringer, would send players /whisper messages while they had it equipped, including, yes, "kill them all".
    • In Legion, Demonology Warlocks get the "Skull of the Man'ari", the disembodied head of a powerful Eredar named Thal'kiel. Despite (usually) being no more than a floating skull, Thal'kiel will nonetheless comment on just about everything, either reveling in the destruction you cause ("Fall before your masters!"), mocking you for your shortcomings (like needing help to use a summoning stone), mocking others for their weakness, or sometimes just having conversations with your other enslaved demons. Usually about how everything will burn.

    Visual Novels 
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • As a portent of their imminent death, and reflective of the pregnancy theme of the chapter, Kaoru hears the sound of a baby crying just before they're killed by the Urashima Woman in a Bad End.
    • The victims of the Screaming Author constantly hear screaming in their head after encountering the spirit for the first time, which eventually drives them insane and causes them to commit suicide. Akira starts to experience this after his first visit to the Miroku Mansion.

  • Pluto and Earth can hear Black Hole's voice in their heads in Nebula, and she steadily tries to turn Pluto against the planets. While Earth is confused and afraid of the demonic voice she hears, Pluto just wants Black Hole to be his friend.
  • The evil souls involved in Vaarsuvius' "Soul-Splice" in The Order of the Stick basically share a body with him/her, and provide input on his/her actions, such as telling him/her which direction to go to dodge an attack, or urging him/her to do things like "destroy everyone who has ever slighted you" and "tear down creation, just to see if you can". They also talk among themselves.
  • In The Search For Henry Jekyll the side of Jekyll/Hyde not currently active manifests itself as a voice in the other's head.
  • The Greenhouse: Both played straight and inverted by demons in the setting. (Most) demons cannot be heard at all by anyone other than their host, not even magical practitioners who can see their true form. However, if their host is unaware of them, the demon can pretend to be the host's own internal voice, accentuating the negative and otherwise manipulating their host to make them more miserable so the demon can feed on their life force more easily. This is what 'Red' does to Mica. Until Mica gets clued in; once she's aware that she has a demon whispering in her ear, Red admits that the technique has become essentially useless.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Ralph says he keeps hearing an evil leprechaun who keeps telling him to burn things; said leprechaun is actually seen doing so at the end of the episode.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Megatron can hear the voice of Unicron giving him instructions after he injects himself with Dark Energon.


    Comic Books 
  • In Batman Beyond 2.0, Danica Williams, the latest speedster to take the identity of The Flash, hears the voices of Jay Garrick, Wally West and Bart Allen. (Just to confuse things, her Mirror Universe counterpart also hears the voices, but thinks they're hallucinations.)

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Draco Malfoy with a voice in his head that calls itself 'Ariel'. This turns out to be a pun - it's really the spirit of Prospero Slytherin. It's a bit morally ambiguous at first, since no one's entirely sure what (if anything) Draco is actually up to, or if he's being outright possessed. All anyone knows is that his personality has undergone a sudden shift for the better and he's much more insightful than he used to be. Eventually, it's identity is revealed and its intentions are benevolent.
  • RWBY: Reckoning has Kimba communicate with Darrel in this manner, via a microchip in his brain.
  • In the Inside Out fanfic Intercom, Riley accidentally finds herself able to hear her emotions talking and to communicate with them. Despite the problems it involves (such as a sudden self-consciousness about her lack of privacy, or having to hear their chatter all day long while she goes about her daily life), she's pretty eager to know them better and quickly befriends them.
  • In This Bites!, at the crux of Robin's decision at Enies Lobby, thanks to Soundbite and his powers, Jaguar D. Saul's voice becomes so loud it is heard and projected from beyond the grave, giving her that last bit of assurance.
    • The voice of the previous Pirate King helps his successor stand and take down Lucci.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • The Interviewers occasionally appear as a voice in character's heads, guiding characters in more positive directions. It's later explained that they're Just One Second Out of Sync of everyone else when acting in this capacity. As with the Nameless Passenger in Dark World, no one usually realizes this is strange, even if they acknowledge hearing them. This is because they were once part of Eclipse, the Passenger's true identity.
    • Princess Amicitia, AKA Dark World Twilight ascended to Alicorndom, acts the same as Eclipse but in practice is doing the same thing as the Interviewers to guide worlds to a happy ending. In fact, she's their mother and they get it from her.
  • This is the base premise for the quest Communication: here, the players themselves are the voices in the head of the designated Host, collective known as Consensus. Thanks to already knowing the events of canon, Consensus is able to guide a Host on a better pathway and ending than what would have originally have occurred for them.

  • Garion from The Belgariad hears the voice of Prophecy in his head; sometimes the voice helps, sometimes it makes snarky comments, but it's definitely good.
  • Endo and Kobayashi Live! The Latest on Tsundere Villainess Lieselotte starts with Prince Siegwald founding himself hearing voices from a man and woman that he believes to be gods in his domain. As it turns out, those voices were live commentaries from two Ordinary High School Students on Earth, MSTing the visual novel they're playing. But it still belongs to the "Good" category, since they do have the knowledge of what will happen in Siegwald's domain, and attempts to guide him through these commentaries. Later Fiene also gets the ability.
  • Magnus hears the voice of the Holy Spirit, which gives him direction.
  • The Power: Allie hears a voice that counsels and guides her, which calls her "daughter". She calls this "mother" in turn.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sean Lock once joked in an episode of QI that he hears voices, but he just ignores them and carries on killing while they plead with him to stop.

    Video Games 
  • In Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho sometimes hears the voice of his former self—from before Hyperion experimentation drove him crazy — urging him to do the right thing (or at least direct his mindless violence towards someone who deserves it, like bandits).
  • Angie in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is a rather ambiguous case. She claims she can hear 'Atua', whom she insists is a benevolent entity who only wants everyone to be happy, and channels them into her art. However, it is unclear just how much of this is true, since Angie tends to receive convenient messages, and Atua's hunches during trials are often incorrect.
    • Also in V3, there's K1-B0, who occasionally reports an 'inner voice' guiding his actions. He certainly never seems to do anything lousy thanks to it, and it's when he's without it (after getting his antenna/ahoge knocked off, reporting silence) that he gets to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope regarding the nature of hope and despair. Thankfully, he's repaired the following morning and gets back in touch. However, this turns out to be a rather nasty subversion of the goodness, as said 'voice' turns out to be the voting results of allll the people watching them. 'And they do not appreciate him resisting their will.'
  • Safiya in Neverwinter Nights 2 Mask of the Betrayer hears voices of her other incarnations giving advice, or possibly rescuing her by distracting her before she can finish reading a scroll that will incinerate herself and the surrounding area.
  • Shadow Hearts: Yuri has a voice in his head that compels him to save Alice Elliot, and to further the questline. The voice isn't happy if he disobeys. The voice turns out to be Koudelka, main character of the eponymous game.
  • The World of Warcraft expansion Legion added three Artifact Weapons that speak to the player. Arcane Mages get "Aluneth", a staff containing an arcane entity of the same name. While "good" may be debatable, it's certainly not antagonistic, and seems to at least recognize you as being worthy of wielding it. Though it may occasionally urge you to use your considerable power to send Dalaran falling into the sea... But compared to Xel'atath and Thal'kiel, Aluneth is downright pleasant.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In Volume 4, a young farmboy named Oscar starts hearing voices in his head one day, as it turns out, the voice is Ozpin's, whose soul and aura have merged with his. Oscar is special and was chosen to be Ozpin's Legacy Character.
    Ozpin: I can assure you, you're perfectly sane.
    Oscar: I'm talking with a voice in my head.
    Ozpin: I didn't say you were normal, I said you were sane.

  • Alanna: Just like in Voices, they're provided by readers. This time it's explicitly the result of a spell to link Alanna with "spirits", cast in anticipation of a trip to a puzzle-rich amusement park.
  • Two Guys and Guy: Guy mentions hearing voices in her head, to which is prescribed medication. Her psychiatrist however takes the medicine back when she reveals that the voices only say things like "Don't kill that guy" and "Think about the consequences".
  • Voices provides an interesting use of this trope. The voices heard by the protagonists are in fact commands given to them by the readers on the forums, allowing the readers to interact with the characters and help the protagonists work towards their goals. However, while the intentions of the voices are good, at least one protagonist is insane.


    Anime and Manga 
  • In Mission: Yozakura Family, Taiyo begins hearing these after Kawashita injects him with the blood of Tsubomi Yozakura, the founder of the Yozakura bloodline. She begins speaking to him in his mind in the days following his battle with Kawashita, advising him on how to suppress his new mutations caused by her blood.

    Fan Works 
  • Jericho (MLP). Jericho gets a voice in his head that's actually an entirely separate consciousness, and an artificial one at that. The voice's name is "Lauren", and she eventually becomes a major character in her own right (even though nobody but Jericho knows about her).
  • In the Tamers Forever Series all of the Enlightened Ones/ Archangels can hear the voice of their Omnivices speaking to them
    • Takato can also hear Chaos' voice in his head.
    • Additionally, DC, Tai and Takeru are contacted mentally by Gabrielle, though she only bothers to whisper random comments in the latter's mind.
  • Wings to Fly has Zechs Merquise constantly criticized and even mocked by the voice of Trieze Kushrenada and he actually thinks of it as Trieze's ghost, though he also acknowledges it's probably just his own mind. Despite the fact it's adversarial with Zechs, it's seems likely that Treize's voice is actually a positive influence: it criticizes his decision to betray the ESUN and the government of Mars, and it warns him against his obvious suicidal tendencies or outbursts of temper. Trieze's voice is occasionally silent for long periods and when challenged claims it was speaking to someone else: none of them confirm this, but their behavior sometimes seems different and the voice claims it was speaking to them after the fact...
  • The entire premise of A Voice in His Head is giving Shinji an Angel offering him advice and commentary. Some of it is even constructive.
  • Similarly, Strategic Cyborg Evangelion has Tabris as a disembodied voice in Kaworu's head. He can also be heard by Rei, the Angels and even G-Man, the latter of whom Tabris appears to be working for. While not malevolent, Tabris doesn't think very highly of humans, or even his fellow Angels. He sometimes supplies exposition about the currently-faced Angel(s) but otherwise stays in the background.

    Film — Animated 
  • In 9, it is barely hinted in the viral sites that 6 hears voices, and a deleted scene shows him speaking back. However, where the voices come from, why they talk to him, or even if they're good or evil or neutral is never explained.
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow segment has Ichabod riding home down a dark forest and hears animal sounds that sound like they're reminding him of the Headless Horseman.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The yeti-hunting team in The Abominable Snowman hear things that seem to be related to the yeti's Psychic Link, though if anyone actually hears yeti voices the audience isn't in on it. The voices we do hear belong to a radio announcer (after the radio is broken) and to a dead man. Whether the yeti are planting them or the River of Insanity mission is just straining people's minds isn't clear.
  • The Cloverfield Paradox. Volkov starts hearing voices that the audience can't hear, then uses the 3D printer to create a firearm and confront Schmidt with it, accusing him of being a spy and saboteur. However in the alternate reality they've crossed into Schmidt really is a saboteur working for German intelligence, so the implication is that Volkov is acting on information known to his own alternate self.
  • Innerspace. A man thinks he's hearing voices: actually, he has a miniaturized ship implanted in him, and the pilot is talking to him.
  • Real Genius: Chris (Val Kilmer), Mitch, and friends gas Kent and implant a transmitter in his molar. They then impersonate a booming voice of God only Kent can hear, and command him to go to Jerry's house to witness the laser-beam induced popping of a massive Jiffy Pop popcorn pan. When the military test-fires the laser (which has been reprogrammed by the gang to target the house), the house fills to the bursting point with popcorn, with Kent inside.'
  • Super: Frank frequently hears a voice which he believes is God's. Even he is unclear on whether it's just in his own mind at times however.

  • Circleverse:
    • In Circle of Magic, Tris has been hearing random voices for years, leading many of those around her, including herself, to believe she's either crazy or possessed or both. It turns out to be part of her weather magic, with the winds bringing her voices from afar. In The Circle Opens, she gains the ability to see images on the wind, which help her catch a serial killer.
    • The same thing happens to Zhergoz in The Will of the Empress, but he actually has begun to go crazy; the copious amounts of drugs which he was forced to take to cure his "madness" are suggested to have something to do with that...
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry can, under specific circumstances, converse with his own subconscious. Subverted in that Subconscious Harry really is part of Harry, but there is no explanation given as to why he appears to Conscious Harry (ironically enough, he can only speak to Conscious Harry when he's unconscious).
  • In Elcenia, a small percentage of vampires will hear inanimate objects speaking about themselves. Every object, constantly, usually about the most banal details of its creation, though they can prompt the object for particular information. In "Summons", it's left ambiguous whether "Vampire Inanimate Audition" is just a mental disorder (as it is officially classified), or if the objects are genuinely speaking, as there's no documented evidence of "hearers" gaining information this way that they couldn't have learned elsewhere. A later book, "Blood", has a hearer as a main character, and it's made plain that the voices are real.
  • In Maximum Ride, Max has a "Voice"... which comes from a chip in her arm... except not... except her whole adventure was a dream... except not... except the "Voice" is Jeb... sorta... except not.
  • Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes: In "Dolan's Cadillac", Robinson hears the voice of his dead wife throughout. It stops when he finally kills Dolan.
  • In the classic American horror tale Wieland: or, The Transformation the four main characters hear inexplicable voices that confuse, threaten, and utter prophecies that come true. Eventually these voices drive Theodore Wieland himself to kill his own family, as he, deeply religious, believes they are coming from God. However, it turns out the source of the voices is the local hobo/ventriloquist, Carson — Or Are They?

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): Are Head Six and Head Baltar the products of insanity, guilt, or divine intervention? The series finale points to the latter.
  • From: Sara hears voices which compel her to kill in exchange for promises of protection for her and her brother from the monsters tormenting the town. These clearly aren't hallucinations, as they know things that she herself couldn't possibly know, like when new cars will arrive, or where Father Khatri buried his secret bag.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Isildur hears a feminine voice calling his name every time he is out on the open sea. More notably, he is the only character hearing voices and there is no clue who or what is the source, or what intentions it could have with Isildur of all people.
  • Lost has these for people who find themselves wandering alone in the jungle. They often herald the appearance of the Others or sometimes apparitions, like with Libby in Season 4. In Season 6, it's explained that they're the dead on the island, trying to communicate with the living in order to move on.
  • Reese from Malcolm in the Middle has mentioned voices on more than one occasion. When Dewey tells him that the baby was telling him to do crazy things, Reese tells Dewey that the voices are not his friend. Another episode mentions that the voice in his head that tells him to go do stupid and reckless things for fun was getting quieter while the voice that told him that what he was doing was dangerous was getting louder.
  • Person of Interest.
    • Root is both evil and insane, but the voices she's hearing from the Machine are very real, and try to discourage the sociopathic Machine Worshipping hacker from killing anyone while she carries out the AI's wishes. The psychiatrist who's treating her doesn't believe this of course, until Root tells him some embarrassing personal information she shouldn't possibly know, engineers her own escape from the mental hospital, and shoots a government assassin without even looking at him.
    • Reese's habit of talking into a hidden earpiece to Mission Control is spoofed when the Number he's protecting is a psychiatrist, and assumes this trope. Ironically, she's actually Root in disguise, long before she started playing this trope for real.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: Johnny hears an apparently-benevolent voice (briefly) talking to him, and he spends the rest of the episode in question wondering if it was God and what, if anything, he should do about it. Mr. Carlson finally tells him he should only start worrying if the voice tells him to get naked at the airport, and Johnny cheerfully comments that the voice that says that is his own.


  • Malevolent features a few characters who hear voices in their head, starting with our protagonist Arthur Lester, who lost his eyesight and is being guided by a mysterious voice who is later revealed to be a piece of the King in Yellow, though as a result of seeing through Arthur's eyes, has decided to embrace humanity. Later we meet a man wearing a gas mask named Kellin Holeman, who claims to hear multiple voices, at least one of which is supernatural in origin though it's hard to say how many of them there are, and which ones are actually the result of supernatural phenomenon, and which are the result of some kind of madness. Then at the end of season 3 we discover that another piece of the King in Yellow has attached itself to Wallace Larson.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Hunter: The Reckoning: One of the many manifestations of The Messengers. To the point where a common joke about the old Hunter was, "So, there are voices in your head telling you to kill people who are secretly monsters... and you think you're the good guy?"
  • In Everyone Is John the players are all voices in John's (an insane man from Minneapolis) head. Each player has a set of personally defined objectives and competes for control of John.
  • Vox has the players taking turns running not only their own characters, but also voices each has started hearing. The exact nature of these voices is completely up in the air, and GMs are encouraged to make up their own explanation. They could be ghosts, gods, insanity... It's even possible for characters to share a voice they can each hear. And sometimes the voices can take over.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, this can be a side effect of Chaos corruption.


    Video Games 
  • A Stock Sound Effect in the Chzo Mythos to indicate the presence of John Defoe.
  • Dawn of Mana features both good whispers (from the Mana spirits) and evil ones (from the Echoes.)
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening had this on the mission start screen.
  • Scratches. Early on in the game, there are the eponymous scratching noises. Later on the main charater starts hearing whispering voices mocking him during an exorcism.
  • One of the ghosts in the haunted hotel tries to be helpful, but mostly comes across as creepy in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. The entire game can be filled with cryptic spoiler whispers if you pick Malkavian, though they're really easy to miss due to their comparatively low volume and infrequent appearance.
  • In The Binding of Isaac, Isaac's mother hears what she thinks is the voice of God commanding her to sacrifice her son. Whether she's actually hearing God, Satan, or just her own insanity is hotly debated.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's Dawnguard expansion, one of the members of the eponymous group is a priest of Arkay named Florentinus Baenius who claims that the god speaks directly to him... and squabbles with the deity Like an Old Married Couple. There's some debate among the rest of the Dawnguard over whether Florentinus is crazy or not, since no one's heard of one of the Divines speaking directly to mortals like that. But Florentinus does possess information he shouldn't, such as the true history of the Dawnguard, and he's also able to warn you if vampires kidnap your spouse, who will express amazement over how you knew where to rescue them.
  • Sayla from Far Cry Primal hears screams, presumably due to PTSD from watching the Udam tribe murdering and consuming her family. Because of this, she collects the ears of every dead Udam she finds, thinking that doing so silences the screams. She appears to be correct, as by the ending of the game, after Takkar kills Ull, the Udam warchief, she states that she can no longer hear their screams.
  • Sigma from Overwatch was Driven to Madness by a Freak Lab Accident trying to harness the power of gravity. Since the accident, Sigma (and his player) occasionally hear a piano melody from God knows where which leaves Sigma to demand, "What is that melody?!"
  • In Path of Exile, the Oni-Goroshi is a unique talking sword that seems to be a vessel for some sort of goddess who just wants to watch the world burn in her flames. The sword has unique voice lines across the game, and in her final unique voiceline, when you reach level 90, she tells you that swords aren't supposed to talk.
  • Sonic CD Alternative Ending: While piloting the Tornado in "The Final Day Act 3", Sonic hears voices saying that "they" love to see him suffer, his suffering is "their" fun, and calling him selfish.
  • In Disco Elysium, the Player Character's skills are also voices in his head. The Player Character himself is lucid enough — despite the alcohol-induced amnesia — to realize this does not bode well for his sanity, but the voices are trying to be helpful. Their advice isn't always good, but it's always well-intentioned. Some of them, Inland Empire and Shivers in particular, may be supernatural in nature.
  • In Slay the Princess, advancing to the next Chapter will introduce a new Voice with a personality derived from the consequences of the previous Chapter, in addition to the Voice of the Hero. Bickering ensues, especially in Chapter 3 when you have two Voices commenting on the situation. Certain chapters even have far more Voices involved. The Princess can't hear any of them, only seeing the player standing in a daze. It's not established where the Voices come from — they don't know, and neither does the Narrator.


    Web Original 
  • The Cry of Mann: When Gergiev plants an orange tooth in Jack's ear, he begins hearing voices, which becomes the main method of how callers interact with Jack. During a flashback to Jouglat in the war getting treated for his injuries, he begins hearing callers in his mind, believing to be having an out-of-body experience. In both cases, the callers are a generally neutral force, with some being helpful and others being harmful.
  • Played with in Dragon Ball Z Abridged, with Namekian fusion, which is of the Power Booster variety: the two Namekians Piccolo fuses with, Nail and Kami, continue to exist afterwards as voices in his head, unlike in the original series. While they are both good guys, they're rarely helpful.
    • In History of Trunks Abridged, Gohan hears Piccolo's voice in his head. The difference here is that Piccolo's not really there, but he's just as unhelpful as Nail and Kami were to him.
  • Technoblade hears voices in his head in Dream SMP, as a result of him deciding to canonize his stream chat. Most of the time, the voices are telling him to commit murder, but they also show a soft spot for Tommy and many others, and warn Techno against joining up with the Crimson.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ax and Deidra hear voices of ghosts because of their tribe's deep connection to the spirit realm. The spirits have different motives, some being helpful, others downright malicious or just having fun by chatting with the living.
  • SCP-1201 of the SCP Foundation is the spirit of a dead man which swaps "hosts" via touch, and can be heard by its current host. It claims to be a former Foundation researcher, and it will not shut up.
  • One common interpretation of Twitch Plays Pokémon is that the players' commands are voices screaming in the heads of whichever poor Trainer they're controlling during the game chosen for collaborative playthrough (and there have been many). The Mob as a whole averages out to neutral: some want them to succeed and disagree about how to do this, others want them to fail and fail hard. The constant bickering drives some decidedly odd behavior on the Trainers' parts.

    Western Animation 
  • Clone High: Joan thought she was finally hearing the voices of her original self, but in fact a had radio transmitter stuck in her teeth.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: Mischievous non-verbal example: In "Keep Your Keeper," the bears make zookeeper Mr. Peevly think he has a mental ailment first by making him think there's a ten-foot rabbit in one of the cages (there's not but the other animals are in on the gag) and then making him think he's hearing bells (Square Bear rings one).
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: "We'll Always Have Tom Paris": Boimler's Tom Paris plate starts talking to him when he's trapped in a tube filling with gas, and lampshades how concerning that is.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Ahsoka realises something is terribly wrong when she hears Mace Windu's death and Anakin siding with Palpatine through the Force.
  • Wakfu: Big Bad Nox claims that he can talk to the Eliacube, the Artifact of Doom which both gave him his powers and ruined his life.

    Real Life 
  • St. Joan of Arc thought her military campaign was a literal Mission from God. Dr. Craig Taylor said in his recent book on the subject, it's a matter of personal belief or opinion whether Joan belongs in the Good or the Insanity sections — the evidence we've got from other similar cases favoring Insanity.note 
    • The soldiers following her were by and large convinced this was an example of the Good variety. Their faith in her and her mission drove them to many victories as a result.
  • These tropes can be thought of as the Theme Park Version of hearing voices, which for many is Truth in Television. People can hear evil voices that are abusive and disturbing, good voices that are helpful and supportive, neutral voices, or a mixture of these. Voices may give good or bad advice. Whether people actually listen to their voices depends on the individual and the type of voices. Whether people interpret their voices as coming from religious sources or not depends on the individual, and whether the people who hear them are insane or not depends on the individual. In Real Life, hearing voices is generally unrelated to Split Personality.
    • There seems to be a correlation between a person's cultural-religious background and their perception of the voices. European and American Christians seem to be more likely to hear 'evil' voices while people coming from background with strong animistic traditions (everything has a soul) or traditions of ancestor worship seem to have a better time with their voices often describing them as benevolent or as people from their ancestry. It is however hard to collect robust data on this since people who experience no problems are much less likely to seek help or come forward to speak of their experience.
  • A certain company has released a male's T-shirt that states "I only do what the voices in my wife's head tell her to tell me to do."
  • A recruitment ad for social workers in the UK, possibly Based on a True Story, featured a man who heard lots of voices in his head. He wasn't really bothered by them, except for his dead mother's — whenever she began talking he would disturb the neighbours by singing loudly to drown out her voice. Social workers helped him by giving him an iPod so he could use other people's singing to drown her out.
  • The auditory hallucination Exploding Head Syndrome, despite its name, does not always sound like a loud explosion. In fact, it rarely does. It actually covers any kind of one-off auditory hallucination, including hearing voices. One of the most common forms is hearing someone calling your name when no one is actually doing so.
  • And finally, if you want to know what it's like to hear voices first hand... [1]


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mad Whisper


That voice

Steven wakes up somewhere in the Alps. And he hears someone talking to him. Steven can't see him, but the voice is clearly angry at him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / HearingVoices

Media sources: