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I Know What You Fear

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Jack Frost: Afraid? I'm not afraid of you.
Pitch Black: Maybe not. But you are afraid of something.
Jack: You think so?
Pitch: I know so! It's the one thing I always know. People's greatest fears.

Basically the power to discover other people's fears. Often necessary for a "What Do They Fear?" Episode. This power can come in several forms:

  • Fear Perception: The power to know what a person's fears are. For example, one could see a picture in your head or something similar. One then has different options to use this info. This type does not necessarily include the ability to project those fears into people's heads and they may have to be exploited in a more normal way, such as dropping them in a snake pit or a sewer full of rats.
  • Fear Inducement: The power to bring a person's fears to life without actually having any knowledge about what those fears are. This power does not deliberately cause a person to believe they are, for example, vomiting worms, it's just the effect of the power on that particular person. It is sort of like infecting people with dread.
  • Fear Invocation: The power to see a person's fears and/or show them their fears (if they have several). Control is near-absolute and often includes intensity and duration. A character with this power will usually have some kind of psychic or illusionary power to bring the fears to life.

It goes without saying that this is usually a bad guy power. If it's a power used by a Decadent Court, Omniscient Council of Vagueness or just a plain evil enough version of The Government, then it will almost always take the form of Room 101. It can, however, be used by a Terror Hero who ultimately fights for the good guys — though, naturally, these tend to be some shade of Anti-Hero.

Contrast Your Heart's Desire, which is knowing what another creature wishes for most.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Saint Seiya: Phoenix Ikki was initially introduced as a bad guy with the ability to Invoke Fear. What makes his case pretty interesting is that he eventually undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, yet keeps his "Phoenix Illusion Demon Fist", as a form of Cool and Unusual Punishment, making it sort of a Subversion of Bad Powers, Bad People. The technique digs up what will inflict the most damage to your mind, and if you lack willpower, it WILL One-Hit Kill you. And even if you DO have the willpower to not die from the mental blow, odds are you will end up extremely weakened from the shock and be easy prey. Well, there is ONE instance of an opponent that was able to NOT ONLY shake it off like nothing, but actually inflict it back on him, but we're talking about the one Gold Saint specializing in meditation, peace of mind and closest to the Gods. Interestingly, this technique even gets Epiphany Therapy uses in the Asgard arc on two enemies.

    Comic Books 
  • Alias: A variation of Fear Inducement appears in Volume Four: Jessica comes face-to-face with occasional Daredevil villain (and Jessica's archenemy) the Purple Man, whose body secretes chemical pheromones which, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, allow him to control their actions by verbal suggestions. He orders Jessica to imagine the most horrifying thing she can envision, which turns out to be the corpse of her boyfriend (Antman II) covered in ants lying in her bed. The Purple Man comments that he can't see what she's seeing: "it doesn't work that way."
  • Avengers: The Initiative: Trauma actually transforms into what his target fears, giving him whatever physical attributes and/or powers that go along with the new form. This combination of psychic powers and shapeshifting was considered a "holy grail" of mutant powers by Gyrich. Also, he's not really a mutant at all, but the half-human son of the dream demon Nightmare. It should be noted that this is imperfect — he went through four forms trying to find a weakness in the Hulk (who, as it turns out, isn't afraid of anything), and got tossed into a parked car for his troubles.
  • Batman:
    • The Scarecrow uses a hallucination-inducing gas to discover and induce a person's greatest fear. (Ironically, poetic justice proves his own greatest fear to be... a fear of BATS!)
    • Cornelius Stirk wanders into this territory as well. He's a telepath who can make other people see what he wants, which he uses to both make himself appear as someone they trust and to prey on their fears.
  • Captain Britain antagonist Lump has the power to confront targets with illusions of their fears.
  • Checkmate features a character named Adam Sharp who was injured in Iraq and rebuilt as a Super-Soldier named Chimera. In this form, he has the ability to read minds and take the form of whatever his victim is scared of.
  • Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines: In "Spy in the Sky", (Fun-In #3, August 1970, Gold Key), Dick Dastardly sends Muttley on a secret mission to learn Yankee Doodle Pigeon's greatest fear. Sensing a spy in his midst, Yankee Doodle makes Muttley think he's scared of lightning. Armed with this information, the Vulture Squadron takes off corralling thunderclouds to push in the pigeon's direction, but it backfires — Yankee Doodle's flight helmet is equipped with lightning rods.
    Dastardly: [removing Muttley's medals] "Afraid of lightning," you said...Give me those medals!!
  • Gen¹³ villain Phobia is a creepy little girl with Fear Invocation powers.
  • Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps is based entirely on this concept. With their power rings they can create constructs of both their own fears and their victims'. Later, in the Blackest Night arc, the Scarecrow himself (see above) is recruited as a temporary Yellow Lantern.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002): A comic based on the cartoon depicted the old toyline villain Scare-Glow as having Fear Invocation powers. He psychically discerns a person's greatest fear before trapping them in an illusion based on it. Apparently, it's harder to figure out what certain people are afraid of, but he thinks that if he waits long enough he'll discover what even Skeletor fears, knowledge he can then use to free himself from Skeletor's service.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Fear, the cape-wearing and helmeted Dark Judge, has the ability to discern any person's deepest fear so he can literally scare them to death by opening his visor and forcing his victims to gaze into his Nightmare Face. It doesn't work too well on Dredd himself, though...
    Judge Fear: Gaze into the face of Fear!
    Judge Dredd: Gaze into the fist of Dredd!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): The Nightmare spirits inflict this upon our heroes when they try to rescue Rarity from their clutches. With The Power of Friendship, Twilight Sparkle faces her fear of disappointing Princess Celestia and being dismissed as her student, Rainbow Dash her fear of losing the power of flight, Pinkie Pie her fear of being unable to make others happy, Fluttershy her fear of losing her way with animals, and Applejack her fear of letting down her family.
  • New Mutants: Dani Moonstar creates illusions based on the target's worst fears.
  • Paperinik New Adventures
    • Trauma was a Fear Inducer, creating fear in his enemy and then eating it to transform the victims in the mindless Coolflames.
    • In the sequel, PK2, we have Korinna, a Fear Invoker who uses her power to create a small army convinced she is the only one capable of stopping the things they are afraid of.
  • Teen Titans villain Phobia can control the fear of the human mind and create life-like illusions of the fears in that person's mind, including their greatest fear. And she can teleport, so she doesn't have to stick around for the pants change.

    Fan Works 
  • Better Bones AU: The Dark Forest incorporates things that living cats fear as part of its environment, i.e there are horses because a lot of cats are scared of horses, and prey includes the rabbit that blinded Longtail and the pheasant that lead to Shrewpaw's death. Though of course, one cat's fear isn't everyone's, so some cats in the Dark Forest find a way to enjoy the scenery.
  • Child of the Storm has boggarts as a matter of course, and the Spirit of the Fallen Fortress in the sequel, which is essentially a cross between a boggart, a Dementor, and Hannibal Lecter. The resultant Eldritch Abomination reads its victim's mind, takes the form of their worst fears and slowly torments them through various forms of Mind Rape until they go insane, before killing them and eating their souls. It's killed gods before. However, its abilities are less effective against those who've faced their fears before - Sirius, who spent 12 years in Azkaban, is mostly unbothered and actually finds it cathartic, and Harry's psychic defences mean its tactics aren't as effective (though it does rattle him, badly, for a little while).
  • Desperation Attracts Vultures: Naruto utilizes this against Sasuke at Mei's suggestion (though he takes it much further than she expected). During their match, he first gives Zabuza's "eight targets" speech then disguises himself as Haku and claiming to have never really died. This drives Sasuke into such a panic that he uses both his Cursed Seal and Chidori.
  • The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13: Link after becoming the God of Fear instinctively knows what everyone is afraid of (and is fully capable of subjecting them to it).
  • Rhyme and Reason: Ivana M. Killjoy has done quite some in-depth research on the Rangers as part of her Batman Gambit, including their individual fears which she uses against them — somewhat less in Chip's case because she keeps him busy otherwise.
  • The Parselmouth of Gryffindor: Maximilian, owing to his Boggart nature, can see even an Occlumens's worst fear. Because he's a nice guy all around, he usually keeps it a secret.

    Films — Animated 
  • Rise of the Guardians': Big Bad Pitch Black is the original Boogeyman and a Nightmare Weaver; knowing what others fear is one of his powers. It comes in handy when he wants to Break Them by Talking.
    Pitch: It's the one thing I always know. People's greatest fears.
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story: Professor Screw-Eye has invented a radio that allows him to know what scares people. He uses this radio to his advantage to make his circus of fear (which entertains people by scaring them) successful, and it's also behind his villainous plot to brainwash the educated dinosaurs into ferocious monsters, since lots of people are afraid of dinosaurs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, can induce in her victims visions that reveal their greatest fears and read those visions.
  • Galaxy of Terror: This is the central concept: a group of space travelers sent on a rescue mission are trapped on a planet with a mysterious pyramid that's revealed to be able to bring the characters' worst fears to life. These manifestations are usually monsters that kill them. For example, one character is terrified of maggots, which leads to her squicky death.
  • Hook: Peter and the Lost Boys capitalize on Hook's fear of ticking clocks (and the Croc who made such noises) to encircle him with clocks, driving him briefly into a panic during the final duel.
    Peter: Tick Tock, Tick Tock, Hook's afraid of an old dead croc...
  • It (2017): Pennywise seems to be able to detect his victim's major phobias and fears and represent them to feed on them.
  • Jumanji: The titular board game seems to summon challenges that aren't completely random. Alan's first challenge after Judy and Peter get him out of the jungle is Van Pelt, who is played by the same actor of Alan's father and is a representation of Alan's fear of his father.
  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie: Among Shang Tsung's powers is the ability to see into a person's soul and find out what that person fears most so he can use that fear against them.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger, the franchise's main villain, attacks people in their nightmares with their fears.
  • Peter Pan: In the 2003 film, Hook taunts Peter with his fear of Wendy growing up and forgetting him to throw him off-balance in a battle.
  • Poltergeist (1982): According to their psychic medium consultant, the ghost causing the Freelings all the trouble has this ability.
    Tangina: Now clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning. Don't give it any help. It knows too much already.

  • Belgariad: In the prequels, Polgara's Mind Rape persuasion method is revealed to be this. It only failed once, and that was because the target had made sure to drug himself sufficiently that he was lucid but nevertheless high as a kite (note that if she put much effort into it, she probably could have un-drugged him like Belgarath did in the prequel).
  • Books of Bayern: Several characters, mostly antagonists, are capable of knowing exactly what one fears (mainly things like public humiliation or loss of control, which are the things behind fears like acrophobia or arachnophobia) and also what a person wants, desires, or intends. Their power also gives them the ability to know precisely what to say in order to get what they want. Yeah. It's no wonder they're mostly Bad Guys.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Demons that feed on fear are called phobophages and have a degree of this as a matter of course. The variety that appear in the 8th book, Proven Guilty, are called Fetches and their intended victim is at a horror movie convention. This results in Captain Ersatzen and Shout Outs aplenty.
    • Certain demons and other nasties have a variation: they instinctually know how to cause pain to their victims, but only as information, not as understanding. For instance, a demon knows to attack a family man through his children, but not why.
  • Doom: The spidermind can retrieve a human's fears from their mind and project horrible images to them.
  • Fingerprints: Amanda Reese was capable of perceiving others' fears.
  • Galaxy of Fear: The Nightmare Machine: The titular machine can invoke fears in other characters, though some characters note with alarm that machines shouldn't be able to know what those specific fears are. It's not a machine. The fears are amazingly powerful hallucinations, though not always internally consistent, and subject to Year Inside, Hour Outside. Eppon in Army of Terror also has this ability.
  • Harry Potter: Boggarts are Invokers, shapeshifting creatures that morph into the worst fear of whomever faces it, whether that form is inherently intimidating or not. Dementors or giant spiders? Scary. The image of a full moon to a werewolf or the image of office supplies to an outdoorsman? Harmless.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Elva is a heroic (kind of) example. She has the ability to sense a person's negative emotions, including fear.
  • Journey to Chaos: Dengel protected his final lair with a "Fear Field", an array of magic runes that encompass anyone who approaches with an illusion of their worst fear. During Looming Shadow, all the members of Team Four are subjected to it as they climb Mt. Daci. Basilard sees his students dying and joining his previous students in blaming him for their death while his Evil Uncle kills him with his own sword. Nolien sees his younger brother become an Evil Overlord as First Duke of Heleti, abandon their parents, and abuse Tiza. Tiza sees herself back in the place that caused her amnesia, her friends and mentors dead, and Nolien brainwashed into hating her. Guest star party member Zettai sees her abusive parents come back from the dead and kill her new friends. Eric sees Nulso take over Ataidar and turn Annala into a Sex Slave.
  • Lady Of Gems: The Feasters can bring a person's fears to life so they can feed off that or those person's fears.
  • Lensman: The series offers an unusual example of the good guys having and using this capability. In all cases, it's used against people who have led straight-out revolting, disgusting, criminal, and evil lives, in essence letting them be judged by their own consciences, and in all cases but one, it is lethal. Justified in-universe in that the lethal uses are in the context of an ignored warning not to re-enter Arisian space and against a murderer who would have been executed in any case. The third is as an exercise in the true nature of mercy - or otherwise.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society: The Whisperer, a machine invented by the Big Bad Ledroptha Curtain, can detect an individual's worst fear when they're seated in it. It then sends out powerful contentment to deny that fear so that the individual will be docile and do what Mr. Curtain wants.
  • Midnighters: The third book has a peculiar scene where Rex, the group's Half-Human Hybrid, attempts to intimidate a minor character. He somehow knows (without knowing how he knows) that said character is afraid of snakes, and his appearance and posture shift in just such a manner as to bring up thoughts of snakes, without changing blatantly enough to be obvious Shapeshifting.
  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party performs sadistic research on individuals and operates a "Ministry of Love" dedicated to customizing its tortures to suit the individual being tortured. This culminates in the individual's visit to Room 101 where their worst fear has been crystallized into reality to make them bend to the party line forever.
  • Renegades: The villain Phobia can sense what a person is afraid of - both their greatest and current fears - and shapeshift himself into embodiment of that, ranging from plumes of fire to swarms of spiders. He is limited, though - when he learns that Sentinel's greatest fear is being powerless, he notes that it's a difficult one to exploit.
  • Star Trek: In the four-part Invasion series, the Furies have this as their main weapon: a directed-energy beam that forces anyone who is hit by it to experience sheer terror.
  • The Taking: The invaders besieging the town inherently know what people's fears and insecurities are and use them to drive people to despair so that they will be of no help to the world's children and thus have their souls taken. For Molly, this takes the form of poems she likes being mockingly quoted at her out of nowhere and encounters with her Ax-Crazy father, whom she fears most.
  • The Wardstone Chronicles includes a secondary character with the ability to do something called the Dread, which is a induces fear in its target.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: "The Tale of the Dangerous Soup" features a restaurant owner making soup out of the fear that is extracted by a magical statue.
  • Charmed: Barbas, the Demon of Fear, is a Perceiver and Invoker who uses his powers to literally scare people to death. Played by Billy Drago (John Bly from The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.), he made several appearances throughout the duration of the show, becoming important enough to have a Good Counterpart shown in the Mirror Universe episode. The sheer contrast between the personalities and actions of the two is rather hilarious.
  • Criminal Minds: One killer of the week was a Psycho Psychologist who did this mundanely—he interviewed people new to the area about their greatest fears (which were of course all situations he could replicate to harm them—nobody said they feared public speaking, or even spiders), then killed them in what he claimed was an "experiment" to reduce their fear.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The alien monster "The Mind of Evil" attacked people with hallucinations of their worst fear.
    • Similarly, the hotel in "The God Complex", with the added twist that the fear is a trap to draw out their faith
    • "Frontier in Space" has the Master using a "hypnosound" to induce the worst fear. Humans see the alien Draconians, while the Draconians see humans. Jo Grant sees a monster from one of her past adventures.
  • In the Haven episode "Fear and Loathing", Jackie Clark's Trouble is that anyone who looks into her eyes sees their greatest fears instead of her. She has no control over it and hates it. Her ability gets stolen by Ian Haskell twice.
  • In Hornblower, Jack Simpson finds out that Horatio Hornblower is afraid of heights. Simpson sends his men to tell Hornblower that he's ordered by Lt. Eccleston to climb to the fighting top. It's a lie, nobody gave that order, and Simpson laughs at Hornblower and refuses to help him when he's stuck in the rigging, unable to move.
  • Lucifer (2016): Just to show how much he is his opposite, Lucifer's Evil Twin, Michael, can force someone to say their fears, instead of desires. He even uses a corrupted version of his brother's Catchphrase while doing it:
    Michael: Tell me, what is it that you truly fear?
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: This is the Jabberwocky's power.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "And the Children Shall Lead". Gorgon the Friendly Angel taught the children the power of learning another person's fears and using the fears to disable and control them. The kids caused Sulu to see swords surrounding the Enterprise so he wouldn't change course and used Uhura's fear of dying to prevent her from calling Starfleet Command.
  • Taken:
    • The aliens' Psychic Powers allow them to use a person's fears against them. This is exhibited in their ability to show people all of their memories and all of their fears and their tendency to create images of something that scared a person immediately before abducting them. For instance, the carny that frightened Jesse as a child.
    • In "Dropping the Dishes", Captain Walker is terrified when a cockroach falls on him, explaining to his amused fellow soldiers that they have frightened him ever since he was a child. In "John", Walker is swarmed by cockroaches that only he can see after entering the alien ship created by Allie from people's thoughts.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: In one episode, a drug lord has just learned that his girlfriend is actually an undercover FBI agent. Knowing that she was afraid of water and couldn't swim, he ordered his henchmen to drown her. Luckily, Walker and company showed up in time to save her.
  • The X-Files:
    • "Blood" dealt with people whose phobias were heightened to unbearable levels because they were exposed to drug called LSD-M and they were possibly receiving subliminal messages. (Or they might have been hallucinating them.) The fears included Claustrophobia, fear of being raped and fear of blood.
    • "Wetwired": Government controlled people through Subliminal Seduction transferred through TV broadcasting and caused them very vivid Hallucinations of their worst fears which compelled them to murder even their loved ones. Scully thought that Mulder is collaborating with The Conspiracy and he helped them to abduct her.
    • In "X-Cops", the monster of the week could sense people's worst fear and made them real. Some were literal monsters (a wasp man or a generic villainous killer). A man panicked because he thought his partner is going to leave him. One woman died of exotic disease simply because Scully happened to mention its name.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Arcane spells phantasmal killer and weird are Fear Inducers, as they do not require knowledge of their victim's worst fear in order for them to work.
    • The phantasmal slayer from the Heroes of Horror supplement may have been the in-universe inspiration for the aforementioned phantasmal killer spell, since they hunt by taking on the appearance of their victim's worst fear and frightening them to death. This means the monsters' true appearance is unknown, since anyone who disbelieves the phantasm or looks at them under a true seeing effect only sees a ghostly version of the observer's greatest fear.
    • The dream larva is the manifestation of a god's nightmare, with the ability to shape itself into anyone's greatest fear. This is not an illusion, it physically becomes the most horrifying sight imaginable to the observer when looked at, even when looked at by a group of people.
    • Dark Sun has id fiends, intelligent oversized lizards that can psionically draw out their prey's fears — "Against reason, a creature's deepest fears skulk nearby, lurking behind rocks or whispering from shadows." Those who fail their saves against this effect suffer combat penalties, which the id fiends capitalize upon when they pounce.
    • Warriors of Heaven has a nonlethal version of the first, phantasmal terror.
    • A Guide to the Ethereal Plane introduces the unfortunate result of phantasmal killer turning real, as illusions sometimes do there — Fær, the monster who polymorphs into the victim's nightmare and kills by touch, but isn't resisted as easily as the original spell (it is for real this time).
  • In Nomine: Calabim that serve the Demon Princess of Nightmares can see a person's worst fear.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The black mist that exudes from the empty space where the top half of the planeswalker Ashiok's head used to be enhances Ashiok's ability to see the worst nightmare's of anyone it touches, and bring them to life.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: During the quest "Here Lies the Abyss", the Inquisitor and their party are transported to the Fade (a place most people can only visit in their dreams) and must confront a character who can manifest their greatest fears in front of them. Each companion may comment about what it is they see; Cassandra sees maggots, for example, while for the Inquisitor it's spiders.
  • The Force Unleashed: Darth Phobos can use the Force to probe someone's mind to find their fears and create illusions of it. In her boss battle, she puts on a Shape Shifter Guilt Trip, as Starkiller's greatest fear is Juno Eclipse's death.
  • Ghost Master: Some of the ghosts can discover people's unconscious or conscious fears. Often it's up to other ghosts to exploit those fears.
  • Injustice 2: Scarecrow. It's a rare intro dialogue when he doesn't tell his opponent what they fear, and is always fighting in a cloud of fear gas.
  • League of Legends: The reworked version of Fiddlesticks has this as a power, as most of unique interactions with other champions have it echoing the final words of there deceased loved ones or reminding them of their biggest regrets.
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: The final test to meet the Chronicler is to face the thing you fear the most. In Spyro's case, Cynder's evil adult form, as he was afraid of her being turned back into it.
  • Loom: The Terror draft allows the user to become whatever the target fears the most. It's also a genuine transformation rather than just an illusion; if you use it on the dragon (who is, ironically, a pyrophobe), you briefly become a blazing fire that can ignite nearby things.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Madame Clairvoya tells Luigi that Bowser may be behind the ghost army while the leader is clearly King Boo: however, the Koopa King appears in the final battle as a mecha-suit for the Big Bad. One possible interpretation is that King Boo knows what Luigi fears and that he has less experience in fighting Bowser than Mario does, which is why the Boisterous Bruiser antagonist is represented as a bloodthirsty beast.
  • Melty Blood: Tatari is a vampire that is repeatedly created from rumors, and has the ability to manifest people's subconscious fears as reality.
  • NiGHTS into Dreams…: Wizeman, being the god and creator of nightmares, is implied to have this power. He can also alter the dreams of visitors or create nightmares in order to take advantage of these fears. He even uses it in the second game to steal Helen's red idea by removing all light from her dream (Helen is deathly afraid of the dark).
  • Super Paper Mario: Parodied in the final level. You're asked what your worst fears are, and then have to go through rooms that contain these, but savvy players can select healing items as answers, causing them to appear. You can also say that Francis (a nerdy chameleon you fought earlier in the game) is your worst fear, causing him to be brought to you and angering him about being interrupted.
  • In Touhou Chireiden ~ Subterranean Animism, the mind reader Satori Komeiji uses this as her main combat tactic. Her first spellcard is a form of hypnosis that draws past traumas to the surface, which Satori then reads and copies with her subsequent spellcards.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hatoful Boyfriend Holiday Star: The King is capable of this and uses it to try and drive visitors over the Despair Event Horizon. If he can take away their desire to leave and face the real world and the real problems in their lives they can stay with him and be happy. Mostly he talks to them and gives them picture books with simple stories about allegories of themselves inevitably failing and dying, but he also tries to guilt trip Yuuya by talking about what he did and conjuring broken eggs.

  • Walkyverse: The Head Alien has a list of his enemies' fears and tries using it on Joe. However, since he mostly focuses on Joyce and Walky, his list isn't really up to date.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta: Daos, as Sinistral of Fear, has this ability. Alex successfully bluffs Daos by challenging Daos to name his worst fear, and after trying to do just that, Daos believes Alex has a powerful mental shield, since all Daos saw was a blinking smiley face. (Actually Evil Otto, an entity that genuinely terrifies Alex.)
  • Hitmen for Destiny: Subverted with Caspar Gropius - he can see peoples' worst fears and manifest them into reality, but he's extremely lazy with this power, and if the fear in question is even slightly abstract or difficult he just summons a Giant Spider instead because "everyone is scared of them".

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-825 is a helmet that has this effect on its wearers, presenting them with increasingly horrific visions based on their worst fears.
    • SCP-2006 is a shape-shifter with the power to transform into what it thinks a person fears. The Foundation's containment procedures make sure that the entity believes that cheesy sci-fi horror movie monsters are the things humanity fears the most. It's classified as "Keter" because its limitless shape-shifting potential means that it could cause The End of the World as We Know It if it ever escaped and discovered what really scares people. A nuclear holocaust, for example.
  • In the LoadingReadyRun sketch Fear Itself, the demons know people's fears and can build them, but their star operative shares a tip: don't bother with the time and expense of creating their worst fear, just bulk-purchase flaming clown spiders and use them on everyone. Jimmy feels this is a betrayal of the personalized torture service people expect, but finds himself utilizing them regardless.
    Jimmy: Okay in my defense he was a pyrophobic arachnophobe with extreme coulrophobia, so...
    Mr. Stiles: They all are, eventually.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots: The Bloodwolf describes himself as the source of all fear, and inflicts visions of the heroes' deepest fears to feed on their terror and increase his power.
  • DuckTales (1987): One episode features Magica DeSpell casting a fear cloud over the McDuck mansion, which causes the inhabitants to experience what they fear most.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters: The Fear creature.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Experiment 300 (Spooky) is an Invoker by way of shapeshifting. In its titular episode—a Halloween Special, of course—it mimics a whole roomful of water and nearly drowns Stitch (Stitch is afraid of water because he can't float in it), and then mimics Nani's fear of having Lilo taken away by mimicking the social worker Cobra Bubbles. Jumba claims that its impression of his ex-wife is very scary.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: The Movie had Horror's Hand, which brought one's worst fears to life. For Billy, it was a spider-clown-mailman; Irwin had to peform stand-up comedy in front of bears; and Mandy saw a future in which she's lost her edge and is now the fat and cheerful wife of Irwin. Grim, meanwhile, laughed off the hand's magic because being Billy and Mandy's slave meant he lived his worst fear every day of his life.
  • Gravity Falls: The Gremloblin from "Boss Mabel" is a Fear Inducer; anyone who looks into its eyes will be confronted by a vision of their worst fear. Unfortunately for the Gremloblin, Dipper manages to use a mirror to subject it to its own fear-gaze.note 
  • The Owl House: In "Enchanting Grom Fright", Luz learns that part of the upcoming school dance is the "Grom Royalty" having to face Grometheus the Fear Bringer and defeat him in combat. As the name implies, Grometheus has the power to read people's minds and turn into their worst fear. Luz and Amity must work together and face their worst fears, Luz her fear of having to confront her mother and confess she's been hiding out on the Boiling Isles instead of going to reform camp, and Amity her fear of being rejected by her crush, who just happens to be Luz.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: One of the Shen Gong Wu, the Shadow of Fear, combines Perception and Inducement. First, it lets one enter a person's mind to identify their worst nightmares and induce them while they sleep. Once they have a good enough grasp of those fears, the holder can create them in reality as well as dreams.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fear Manipulation, Phobiamancy, Fear Discover Power, Fear Seer


The Gremloblin

The Gremloblin has the ability to show someone their worst fear through eye contact.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / IKnowWhatYouFear

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