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Hypnotic Creature

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"Did you know that Changewing's [sic] can hypnotize their prey? Crazy, right?"

A Hypnotic Creature is a being capable of powerful hypnosis, telepathy, or any other method that does not involve biological invasion of some sort or does not come from the creature itself, such as a Mind-Control Device. Most importantly, the being itself isn't human, or even humanoid (that's a different trope). It may be some sort of Starfish Alien creature, or a bizarre alien animal or plant. It may not even be intelligent, for that matter, just running on instincts. Hypnotic Eyes or a Compelling Voice are a common feature.

Such creatures never have any sort of a civilization, and typically come from places where their hypnosis is much less effective. After all, if their mind control powers were 100% effective in their home environment, they would have conquered the universe already. At best, the smartest of these are a tribalistic community of religious, hypnosis-fetishizing nuts.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Outlaw Star: A bizarre alien cactus uses its powers to influence human brains to... sell ice cream. This was actually a test of its powers before it tries its hand at galactic dominion. However, when it encounters someone that its powers cannot control, it ends up squished.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd: The Father Earth storyline is brought to an abrupt end after the Cursed Earth invaders accidentally release alien carnivorous hypnotic plants from containment, willingly walking down what they see as their god's gullet.
  • Justice League of America:
    • Starro the Conqueror is a Starfish Alien villain who started using mind-control powers in the Bronze Age.
    • There's also the Star Conqueror, a different member of Starro's species.
  • Red Dwarf Smegazine gives us the Genetically Engineered Adaptable Pet (GEAP for short), an adorable furry creature that is capable of telepathically influencing other biological lifeforms into protecting it and loving it.
  • Sub-Mariner: Silver Age stories briefly introduced a non-sentient, one-eyed "hypno-fish".
  • Subverted in Superman storyline The Untold Story of Argo City. As watching a recording featuring a space monster named Zygor, Supergirl learns the creature seems to have developed the power to control Kryptonians with its single huge eye. However, it is later revealed that tape was a hoax and the monster never gained such a power.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon promotional material Book of Dragons, Changewings are capable of hypnotizing their prey.
  • The Jungle Book: The python Kaa can hypnotize human and other creatures who meet his gaze, if he so desires. note  In the original stories, Kaa can hypnotize animals en masse with a sort of dance, although humans are not affected and Mowgli can extend that immunity to any animal he touches.

  • Cthulhu Mythos: The serpent-bearded Byatis uses hypnosis to attract human prey. However, despite being a Great Old One (thus very, very big), it does get punched out when a human defeats it by setting it on fire.
  • Garrett, P.I.: The Dead Man is a rare good-guy example. Loghyr possess formidable mental powers even when they're alive, but are humanoids capable of more independent action than The Hypnotoad generally is. After death, their spirits remain bound to their inert and slow-to-decay corpses, still psychically gifted but physically inert, vulnerable to scavengers, and increasingly bored.
  • Gone: The Gaiaphage can control anyone who comes close enough to it whenever it wants to. It can even control people after they move away. It's not usually a complete control ( Lana managed to resist it long enough to try to kill it, although she didn't succeed), and the person might not even be aware that they're being controlled. ( Such as Caine.) It is different from other examples in that it has many, many other forms of defense besides mind control.
  • Jorge Luis Borges: The Strong Toad is almost indestructible and has the power to control other living things with its eyes. The only way to destroy it is by burning it completely.
  • Known Space:
    • In "The Handicapped", the Grogs of the planet Down could not move unaided, but can control others by putting thoughts in their heads telepathically. They develop active trade with humans (we give them mechanical hands and mobility, they serve as useful translators and living security monitors). The humans are fairly certain it's an even trade without any mind control involved, and that the planet-destroyer set up over their homeworld in case that changes is outside their range. Fairly certain.
    • The Grogs are thought to descend from the Thrintun, a species better known as the Slavers. Slavers were an intellectually inferior species that nonetheless ruled a vast interstellar empire via such control after a spacefaring race landed and was forced to give them the secret to faster than light travel. They never invented anything for themselves, which eventually bit them in the ass when the species with the longest mental "leash" used that freedom to rebel; the counterattack was a suicide command that killed everything in the galaxy that had a notochord.
  • Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus: The Venusian frogs have empathic and telepathic abilities. They use these abilities instinctively to defend themselves by causing potential predators to become fond of them and unable to kill them; this endearing quality makes them popular pets for humans. However, they can also be used by people; Lyman Turner uses them to read and influence other human minds.
  • Mode: One of the worlds visited by the main characters is populated by telepathic horses that control the native humans. In the absence of human brains, they're only as intelligent as ordinary horses, but their telepathy lets them become as smart as people by using the brains of nearby humans to help them think better. (Being used in this way doesn't appear to affect the main characters' intelligence, although generations of being mind-controlled by horses has resulted in the native humans having a very animal-like society and culture.)
  • Star Trek Novel Verse: "Troublesome Minds" are Isitri usually totally innocent and friendly people who, without actually realizing they’re doing it, naturally assert their will over everyone around them on a massive scale as part of Isitri telepathic contact. These crowds of people then consider it their greatest purpose in life to ensure the Troublesome Mind is comfortable and gets what he or she wants. From the viewpoint of the Troublesome Mind themselves, people just go out of their way to make them comfortable and be considerate to them. Aren't people nice? This is part of the reason a Troublesome Mind is rarely hostile—they have no experience of mistreatment.
  • "Beyond lies the Wub", a short story by Philip K. Dick. The Wub is a sentient Martian pig-like creature, but it has telepathic powers that enable it to freeze the captain with a look and later (when the Captain insists on shooting and eating the Wub) steal his body.
  • In The War Against the Chtorr written by David Gerrold, creator of the tribbles, a scientist points out a form of Chtorran life called the meep, which when placed with a mother rabbit will induce her to abandon her young and allow the meeps to nurse her to death. At the time the protagonist is studying another form of Chtorran life; endearing floppy-eared creatures called bunnydogs. Noting the Cuteness Proximity response most people have towards them, he suggests that the bunnydogs are meant to be the human-equivalent for meeps.

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology and Folklore 
  • The uktena (the Cherokee version of the "horned serpent" seen in several Native American mythologies) has a crystal in its forehead. Anyone who looks at it is hit by a blast of confusion, which often makes them run toward the monster instead of away from it.
  • Classical Mythology has the phrygian dragons, a species of wingless, snake-like dragons. Lacking wings, they can't fly, but they have a magical breath that they use to hypnotize prey, particularly birds, to willingly walk or fly into their jaws.
  • Averted in Hindu Mythology with the nagas. Nowadays you can find a lot of (usually fetishy) art that depicts them with Hypnotic Eyes, but this isn't a power that they have in the original legends; mostly it just seems to be people extrapolating from the idea that snakes fit this trope.
    • Similarly the Lamia of Classical Mythology is another snake-person that's commonly depicted as having hypnotic powers in modern works despite this not being an ability associated with the original myths.

  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • In the second episode, Cecil reports on a sinister glowing cloud heading for the town, and once it reaches him he falls under its Mind Control and declares "All hail the mighty Glow Cloud." Said cloud becomes a recurring character of sorts, becoming a prominent member of the community and head of the local PTA. It's hard to discuss its policies, though, since all discourse is cut off by the inevitable choruses of "ALL HAIL".
    • Khoshekh the floating cat also displays these powers, turning anyone who sees him into a cat lover and getting the radio station staff to care for him.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer:
    • The Mastermind of the Scrin race in Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars can take control of exactly one enemy unit or building at a time and has the additional ability of teleporting allied units around the battlefield. Other than that, it has no actual means of self defence.
    • This is based on Yuri's psychic drones from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. Yuri himself is an excellent example, as he's shown controlling someone's mind simply by grabbing his shoulder. The explanation? His brain can somehow both receive and transmit information. Yuri's Masterminds are tanks driven by psychic brain, it can take control any unit within its range, but it will overload if it controls more than 3 units, and will slowly loose health until the excess unit is gone.
  • DragonFable features Kathool Atchoo, a squid-like deity who controls the dreams of the Underwater City called Tethys. Sleeping Humans who enter that town usually end up hypnotised (or Brainwashed and Crazy) by the time Kathool is finished with them.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Cats are prone to "adopting" your dwarves, and there is nothing you can do about it. These drones will then flip out if their furry little masters are harmed. Since they also breed explosively, this leads many players to stick all new kittens in cages or butcher them to stop them from mind-controlling your dwarves and killing your framerate, at least until it became possible to geld them.
    Bay 12 forum-goer: When life gives you kittens, you make kitten-ade.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Fecto Forgo is an immensely powerful psychic alien hailed by the Beast Pack as "the Great One". It uses its abilities to brainwash King Leongar, their leader, into abducting the Waddle Dees so it can enslave them and generate enough energy for it to escape the Eternal Capsule, absorb Elfilin, and start invading planets again.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Thorian is an excellent example of this. It's a huge, telepathic plant-like entity that spreads spores in the air to control its victims.
    • Reapers subtly indoctrinate other creatures into serving them, influencing their minds over long periods of exposure. In Mass Effect 3, their leviathan creators demonstrate the ability to enthrall people, which works immediately, completely subsumes the target's mind and can fully override indoctrination, but only works as long as the enthralled being is within a certain distance of a leviathan or leviathan technology.
  • Pokémon: Certain species can function as this through moves such as Hypnosis. Some have this as an explicit natural ability:
    • The best examples are Inkay and Malamar, squid Pokémon that happen to be Dark and Psychic-types. Malamar has been described as having the most compelling hypnotic powers of any Pokémon.
    • The Poliwag line are capable of hypnotizing you with the swirly intestines showing through their transparent bellies, though the only thing they're capable of is putting you to sleep.
    • Drowzee and Hypno are tapir-like Pokémon based on the Baku that use hypnosis to put people to dreamland so they can feed on their dreams.
  • Prey (2017): Telepath Typhon can take over human NPCs and turn them into dangerous Action Bombs.
  • Star Control II features the Dnyarri, a race of toadlike beings that can utterly dominate the minds of others. After a slave revolt millennia ago, the entire race was genetically altered into nonsentient pets. When just one is accidentally reverted to full power, it shows horrifying power levels, and immediately takes control of an interstellar empire all by itself.
  • Subnautica: The Mesmer is an unintelligent example. It's a small but carnivorous fish with highly reflective scales, which can use those scales to mesmerize other creatures into coming close and dropping their guard... including humans. When the player is under its influence, they hallucinate their PDA telling them to go closer. Bizarrely, it even seems to affect the actual PDA, as its creature description begins to get garbled and repeat that same message near the end.

    Web Animation 
  • Spooky Month: The Eyes of The Universe is a large, tentacled monster with numerous eyes of varying sizes dotting it's large head. Anyone — with the exception of Skid — that gazes into its eyes will fall into a trance, their eyes turning big and blue like its own. Those currently in a trance will encourage others to "look at the stars", i.e. Eyes' eyes, something that Eyes itself also echos.

  • xkcd #1664 "Mycology" has a lab opening a whole new wing to cultivate a very promising fungus that takes over mammal brains and makes them want to study fungi.
  • Wilde Life includes an uktena (see above). In this version, it puts Oscar into a trance (visualized as vague Flashbacks of his earlier life), causing him to just stand there as the monster prepares to eat him.

    Web Original 
  • In AsteroidQuest, the neumono species has a natural predator that hijacks their empathic link to control and destroy their minds. While a dumb (or desperate) predator may just mind-control a neumono into a toothy death, more clever ones keep herds of mindwiped zombies which can last for generations (on both sides; one is explicitly stated to have received/inherited his herd from his mother). Things get worse when a few of the neumono's smart hereditary enemy get their pincers on a predator.
  • Unforgotten Realms Live: The Whisper Snake, which controls people through whispering.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: The Worm King can hypnotize and lock people into their dreams. Introduced in the "Evicted!" episode of Season One.
  • An episode of Aladdin: The Series had villain Mechanikles create a robot named Gregarious, a mobile robot with hypnotic abilities. Greg was able to control everyone in Agrabah, including Aladdin and the rest of the gang, so his inventor can take over. Luckily, Genie was immune to the effect but was unable to convince his friends that something was off until he found the source of their odd behavior: Greg's power. When the robot was destroyed, the effect wore off.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The alien starfish Starro (or his minions, at least) shows up in several teasers in the first part of Season 2 controlling various people. He finally appears in person in "The Siege Of Starro, Part I!", only to be quickly defeated by Captain Marvel's transformation lightning.
  • DC Animated Universe: Starro appears twice. The first time was in the Superman: The Animated Series episode "The Main Man". It was just a cameo, and its appearance was overshadowed by Lobo and the plot. At the end, it and all the other animals seen are provided a home at the Fortress of Solitude. Its second appearance was in Batman Beyond. It has taken control of Superman and attached itself to his chest.
  • Dorg Van Dango: Jet the unicorn has the power to hypnotize others.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: The Gigglepies, a race of stuffed bunny-like aliens, are actually conquerors who use their hypnotic cuteness to take over via merchandising. The more they sell, the less their victims can resist them. This tactic doesn't work on the Yugopotamians, who hate all things cute and fluffy, though the Gigglepie King admits that conquest through fear works just fine.
  • Futurama has the Hypnotoad. Using its large oscillating multicolored eyes and emiting a droning hum, it's able to influence humans and probably other creatures (including sheep) into doing its bidding. It has used this ability to win a contest for best pet. Afterward, it got its own sitcom, Everybody Loves Hypnotoad, which consists of 30 minutesnote  of Hypnotoad staring at you. It is the greatest piece of entertainment ever produced. ("Feh, it's been going downhill since season three"). But whatever you do, don't interrupt his program for anything, or he'll make you kill yourself. note 
    • There are also the alien cats who enslave people through cuteness, the Brain Slugs and the opening song to Into the Wild Green Yonder mentions "the psychic worms from Rigel IX who control everything we do". Nibbler can do it as well.
  • Invader Zim: "Rise of the Zitboy" features one of the more bizarre examples: Zim develops an enormous pimple on the side of his head that can hypnotize people into submission by jiggling. He dresses it up with a doodled-on face (actually GIR's doing) and a little puppet body and goes to school, passing it off as his new friend "Pustulio" — and soon, Pustulio is everyone's new friend until it explodes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Return of Harmony", Discord manipulates part of the Mane Six to make them reject their elements and then hypnotizes them to act the opposite of their personalities (Applejack becomes dishonest, Rainbow Dash unloyal, Rarity miserly and Pinkie Pie grumpy). He tries to do the same to Fluttershy, but surprisingly,she doesn't buy it, so he has to use magic to make her cruel.
  • Pandamonium: The evil alien sorcerer Mondraggor most of his his powers on Earth, but he still can hypnotize people and animals to get more pieces of the Pyramid of Power or attack the heroes.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): "Cat Man Do" features an intelligent cat capable of hypnotizing humans as its villain. Its Evil Plan involved using a machine to amplify its hypnosis powers so that all humans became slaves of catkind.
  • Young Justice: Starro appears in season one as a giant alien starfish that's been found frozen in Antarctic ice. The Light steals a piece of him as part of their main plan to create mind control devices that they can infect the Justice League with. Starro shows up again in season three leading an armada of alien warships to attack Earth. Vandal Savage defeats it with Warworld and is shown to have fought Starro before in the distant past.

    Real Life 
  • Cuttlefish, a type of cephalopod closely related to squids and octopodes, are capable of ensnaring prey by dazzling them with rapidly cycling colors on their skin. It's exactly as awesome as it sounds.
  • A cat's meow sounds so similar to a human baby's cry to evoke human's instinct to help them, and they can spread toxoplasmosis, which has been shown to alter the host's behavior to be more accommodating to cats (it's commonly believed that mice infected with it actually seeks out cats rather than running away, but in actuality it just makes mice lose their instinctive fear of the scent of cat urine). It's been theorized that the Crazy Cat Lady phenomenon is actually due to toxoplasmosis, though the extent that its infection has on human behavior, if any, is still unproven. In addition, they have been found to have evolved their way into domestication by making themselves as tolerable to humans as possible, in order to take advantage of the safety and the food supply of a granary or a farm — and humankind was more than happy to oblige, and that's why cats are nowadays a household pet. It is also a very well known fact that cats view their human as a personal minion that has the obligation of providing them food, shelter and cuddles if required.
  • Flowers. The whole reason they smell good is so bees and other insects will get close and happen to spread their pollen. They just happen to smell good to humans as well, even though we can't pollinate.
  • Anglerfish and snapping turtles use their lures to draw in prey.

Alternative Title(s): All Glory To The Hypno Toad, The Hypnotoad