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Invisible to Normals

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"Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. What deafness then, might we not all possess? What senses might we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear a whole other world around us?"
— The Orange Catholic Bible, Dune

There are just some things that normal people don't seem to notice. In some settings it's because they just don't seem to want to see it. In some, it's because it's just not their problem. But then there are the settings where they don't notice because they literally can't: The supernatural creatures just can't be seen in the first place without having some supernatural power of your own. Whether it's psychics being able to see ghosts or wizards being able to see magical creatures, the one thing that stays the same is that normal people just can't see what's really going on.

Sometimes this is accomplished by innate ability, or sometimes it's a spell that keeps them hidden. Sometimes it's because they just aren't in phase with the rest of the world, but the end result is the same.

This trope can often aid the Masquerade.

When it goes down, expect someone thus hidden to ask "You Can See Me?"

See also Blind Seer, Plausible Deniability, Bystander Syndrome, Unusually Uninteresting Sight, and Weirdness Censor (which are the standard explanations as to why this works). This trope is a subtrope of By the Eyes of the Blind, and sister trope to Invisible to Adults. If the invisibles are ghosts or similar undead figures, you get I See Dead People.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Humanity in Ayakashi Triangle have a Weirdness Censor that prevents them from seeing or hearing the eponymous spirits unless the viewer has some level of spiritual power, or the ayakashi appears to be something mundane (for instance, Shirogane and Garaku pretend to be a regular cat and human, respectively). Exorcist ninja Magitek is able to duplicate the effect with their battlesuits and other things.
  • During Bakemonogatari's Mayoi Snail chapter, Koyomi is the only person who is actually seeing and interacting with Mayoi. Hitagi understands that something odd is happening as she watches Koyomi interact with Mayoi but tries to play the situation by ear. It takes her most of that arc to admit to Koyomi that she can't see the other girl. Mayoi is currently an apparition that gets attached to people who possess an urge not to go home. The audience is actually given a decoy scene earlier when Hanekawa interacts properly with Mayoi (though the latter is uncomfortable around Hanekawa).
  • In Berserk, normal people, especially those who are dedicated to the Holy See's religion and those who have never had a supernatural encounter, can't see elves. As Puck attempts to explain, when a person looks at something, they imprint the event in their memory and they remember it, but if they don't remember what they've just seen, then they only try to remember the good parts of that event. A simpler explanation would be that when the secular religion took over the pagan beliefs, it all became a matter of clapping one's hand to believe, and the populace only see stuff that they want to see.
  • Bleach: Spiritual beings such as ghosts, shinigami, and hollows are invisible to normal humans but can interact with the world in ways that will be visible. Humans with spiritual power can see these beings but only a few have the power to fight spiritual threats, something at least one hollow has exploited.note  If humans lose their spiritual power they can no longer see the spiritual world. The sole exception is Uryuu, who mysteriously retained his ability to see the spiritual world despite losing his power.
  • Demons in Blue Exorcist can only be seen by other demons and people who have been hurt or tormented by demons.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, there are some beings/objects/dimensions that can only be seen/experienced by people who have magic powers. However, Sakura's older brother, Touya, has the distinction of being the only one who can see ghosts.
  • In Darker than Black, observer apparations are invisible to anyone who isn't a Contractor or Medium. This tidbit blows one Contractor's cover when one person notices that she's staring at a puddle of water a little too intensely.
  • Shinigami in Death Note can only be seen and heard by people who have touched a Death Note belonging to them.
  • Zig-Zagged in Digimon Ghost Game. Most of the time, when not actively attacking, Digimon are invisible to those without Digivices, and when wreaking havoc in the real world they take on a translucent appearance earning them the nickname "hologram ghosts".
  • In the 11eyes anime, only the fragments can see the black moon.
  • A variation on the trope. In the first El-Hazard series, only Nanami Jinnai can see through the Mazoku race's illusion, a unique, personal power gained by crossing dimensions. However, she is unable to see the illusion at all, so she doesn't know she's seeing through an illusion and assumes what she sees is normal because nobody else comments on it...
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure takes this to extremes — the girls' joint Transformation Sequence is a sound and light show on a par with an industrial accident in a fireworks factory, and no one but their current opponent ever notices it — or their equally pyrotechnic attacks.
    • The attacks are usually unseen because people faint or disappear when the bad guys arrive. The transformation itself is actually instant.
  • In the anime (and part of the manga) Gantz, during the "games" the main characters and their quarry are literally Invisible To Normals, though they still cause lots of inexplicable blood stains and property damage.
  • In GeGeGe no Kitarō (2018), it's brought up early in the series that humans can only see Yōkai if they believe the creatures are real.
  • Harem Royale - When the Game Ends -: Zepfur (a demon) can only be seen by Asunaro and the girls she forces to become Asunaro's harem. In her words, she can only be seen by the game pieces. This also applies to the harem game app she created.
  • Among the powers of Helen of Helen ESP is the ability to see various otherwise hidden supernatural beings.
  • A few smaller examples are abound in Hetalia: Axis Powers. There's all of England's "magical friends" (Unicorn, Flying Mint Bunny, Brownie, and an assortment of fairies and other magical creatures) of which only he can see (and a few select others such as Norway and on occasion France, though only when in England). Then Japan's Kappa, which only England can see as of the present, and presumably Norway's Troll. Though it's been said that everyone (but America, except for on Halloween) can occasionally inherit England's second sight when visiting the nation, England and Norway are the only ones with the ability to see the magical creatures which are invisible to normal people.
    • World☆Stars revealed that Iceland can see magical creatures as well, though, in the interest of appearing as normal as possible, he pretends that he can't.
  • In I Will Live Freely In Another World With Equipment Manufacturing Cheat, only Touji, the protagonist, can see or interact with the item loot drops that occur all the time, from many activities, notably the death of monsters, because of his special RPG-esque manufacturing special ability. Fortunately, these drops do disappear over time, so the world isn't literally drowning in random bits of trash.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure from Stardust Crusaders onwards, the metaphysical 'body' of a Stand is only visible to other Stand-users, unless they're bound to physical objects (e.g. Strength is bound to an oceangoing freighter, Surface is bound to a human-sized puppet and Love Deluxe is bound to its user's hair). This makes Hayato from Diamond is Unbreakable a particularly impressive character in that he provides invaluable assistance to the heroes despite only being able to perceive Stands through their effects on the physical world.
    • This ends up backfiring on Hol Horse when he tries to threaten some people with Emperor, only to be reminded that they can't see it.
    • A recurring element throughout the series is someone who couldn't see Stands suddenly commenting on them. When this happens, it's a sure bet that they're due to develop a Stand of their own.
    • Since basically every rule of how Stands work gets broken at least once by an abnormal Stand, Shizuka's stand Achtung Baby (which is bound to her own body) is invisible even to other Stand users, which is a bad thing since Shizuka is a baby and thus can't take care of herself, and can also easily vanish from her caretakers since she has no control over the stand.
    • This quality of Stands is troublesome for any video game adaptations, as Stands were only introduced in Part 3. For the sake of game balance, characters who come from those eras (Jonathan, Will Zeppeli, Speedwagon, Young Joseph, Caesar, Stroheim, Lisa Lisa, and the Pillar Men) can hold their own in a fight against Stands (or tag team successfully with a Stand user), although it's never clarified whether they can actually see Stands or not. There are a few lines in Eyes of Heaven that imply that they don't (Esidisi is able to sense that Old Joseph has a power other than Hamon but not what it is, which Joseph finds intriguing enough to comment on), but nothing is directly confirmed either way.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Humans without supernatural potential can see cursed spirits only in places with high levels of cursed energy or when specifically targeted by one. Not all humans with potential qualify to become jujutsu sorcerers (or curse users), though. Then there is the Muggle Born of Mages Maki, who is often ridiculed for being incapable of seeing cursed spirits without the aid of special glasses. What's usually glossed over by her detractors is that as a tradeoff she has received a ridiculous boost to strength and overall toughness, which combined with her training and determination makes her extremely dangerous.
  • The characters in Kamichama Karin really are invisible when transformed.
  • In Kill la Kill, Ryuko's superpowered uniform Senketsu is sentient, but normally, only she can hear his voice, leading the others to think he is her Imaginary Friend or Companion Cube. At one point, Senketsu directly gives Tsumugu a threat and he's surprised to actually hear him. Ragyo and Satsuki can hear him as well.
  • The manga Kuro provides us an inversion. At the age of six, children receive a shot that makes the monsters that threaten their town visible to them. The main character, Coco, was in an accident at that time and never received the shot when she was supposed to (and when it was effective). As a result, she's the only one oblivious to their presence.
  • In La Corda d'Oro, the protagonist Kahoko can see Lili, the fairy of her high school, which is something only a few can do. Lili was so happily surprised she gave Kahoko a superpower...sort of.
  • The Season Fairies in A Little Snow Fairy Sugar can only be seen at special times by special humans. In fact, after the fairies find all their Twinkles, their human companions lose the ability to see them. This, of course, happens to Saga.
  • Mages in Lyrical Nanoha often put up a barrier that puts everything around them slightly out of phase/time to everyone else so they don't perceive the fights held between mages or the latest Monster of the Week. These barriers can, however, be breached and destroyed from the inside.
  • The mushi of Mushishi can only be seen by certain people.
  • My-HiME mildly subverts this trope. While Yukino's power (usually) hides the various supernatural battles from the eyes of the normals, the collateral damage from those battles — often quite significant in scope — remains afterwards, to the concern and puzzlement of many.
    • And in a further subversion, the damage gets bad enough that the normal students draw the conclusion that the Fuka-academy is too dangerous. Mai's non-hime friends are shown leaving and urge Mai to come along. The campus shuts down late in the series, soon after Mai's Unstoppable Rage over Takumi's death overloads Yukino's attempts to conceal the battle, but it reopens after the final battle, in time for the senior class to graduate.
    • The Hime Star is invisible to virtually all non-Hime. Natsuki's mother tells her to never tell anyone that she can see it.
  • Ecchan in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok is invisible to humans.
  • This trope forms the main premise of Natsume's Book of Friends: Natsume, the titular character, is forced to deal with several supernatural creatures that only he is able to see which causes him a lot of grief, eventually turning him into a very lonely person.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi explains that there are spells to prevent normal people from noticing magic and related phenomena. Normal people can still see magic, but they are predisposed to accept alternate explanations for it. This becomes a major plot point in an early-mid arc where someone wants to invert the spells, forcing people to believe in magic.
  • In NightWizard, both Wizards and Emulators use powerful Lunar Caskets and Lunar Robes to hide their magical nature from humanity, due to the presence of the World Barrier
  • The main character in Noragami can only be seen by the main heroine, who saves him from getting hit by a bus. When she recovers, the people who were at the accident remark that there was nobody there besides her.
    • Yato later mentioned that it isn't like he is invisible but he is hard to notice like noticing exactly how many waiters are in a restaurant.
  • Penguindrum has the three penguins following the Takakura siblings around.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Neither Kyuubey nor the witches (or the witches' familiars) can be seen by normal people.
  • Ghosts in RIN-NE are invisible and intangible, and the hero has a coat that can do the same to him. It has the opposite effect when you turn it inside out.
  • Rozen Maiden. In Season 1, Jun goes researching Rozen Maidens on the internet, only to find that nobody believes they exist. Yet, Sugintou goes flying in broad daylight in a busy city and nobody notices her. The dolls travel from place to place in flying doll cases- again in broad daylight. Logically speaking, SOMEBODY would have to notice the aforementioned occurrences. Yet, the only people who actually know about the dolls are the mediums/others they live with.
  • In Sgt. Frog, the aliens and their machines really are invisible, most of the time, thanks to their "Anti-Barrier". That, or they're in a laughably bad disguise that usually reveals their frog-like heads, much like Pinky and the Brain's Man Suit.
  • The spirits in Shaman King can only be seen by those with an affinity for them.
  • Shugo Chara!: Guardian Characters can only be seen by people who believe in them.
  • Ghosts in Skyhigh.
  • In Sugar Sugar Rune, only witches and wizards can see magic spells being cast. Everyone else is "frozen" until the incantation is complete.
  • The Great Wyrm in Suzume can only be perceived by Closers, the beings who are the Keystones, or people who have been to the Ever-After. To everyone else, the only sign of its presence is the fleeing birds or the earthquakes that result from it crashing to the ground.
  • The youkai in Tactics.
  • In Totsugami, the titular totsugami, which are ayakashi/spirits, are only visible to the totsugamimori. Ordinary people are completely oblivious to their existence.
  • Much of what the runaway spirits in The World God Only Knows do can't be seen by people who aren't either supernatural themselves or linked to it by being a buddy or host. Other things aren't this convenient and do have to be hidden somehow. Causes a real problem at the end of the Hinoki arc when Fiore more or less toggles the invisible off in regards to Hinoki's giant form and causes an event so large that Hell can't entirely cover it up and instead have to turn it into an urban legend that simply has no physical proof.
  • In CLAMP's X/1999, the super-powered fighters have the ability to create "kekkai" which are barriers that prevent normals from entering, and repair all damage within them when dispelled. However, if the fighter is killed in the battle, the kekkai disappears and all damage immediately appears in the real world.
  • In ×××HOLiC, many of the weird spirits and occurrences that happen can only be seen by Watanuki, Yuko, and other spirits or supernatural beings. Doumeki also eventually gains this ability after he gives half of his eye to Watanuki.
    • Kohane, who is introduced later in the series, like Watanuki, was born with this power.
  • In the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, one character with no Egyptian past life, no Millennium Item, and otherwise no supernatural powers of his own whatsoever was the first person shown to have the ability to see and communicate with real monster spirits that would become a staple of the franchise in future installments: Rafael from the Season 4 Waking the Dragons arc.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Duel Monster Spirits are invisible to most people. What determines who can see them is never explained in the original (the dub gives the Adaptational Explanation that monsters choose to reveal themselves to those they trust), but some humans have the ability to see and communicate with them. Judai, Hayato, Johan, Manjoume, Rose, Fujiwara, Edo, Satou, and Giese could all see spirits, though Hayato, Satou, and Giese were implied to only see their own personal ones, and Edo said he could see strange things after his third duel against Judai. The principal of North Academy somehow knew that Manjoume has the power before Manjoume himself knew, but he never mentions if he can see them himself.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Nicolas, Hermann, and Hans of Team Catastrophe cheat in their duels by having the Living Shadow of their Hidden Knight - Hook attack their opponent's wheels to make them crash their motorcycles. Until they are beaten by the heroes, they are able to get away with this several times because ordinary people cannot see the shadow, so they think it was a regular accident. During Crow's duel with them, he is forced to dodge the shadow several times, and most of the audience is wondering what in the world he is doing. Carly is able to see the shadow and points it out, while Stephanie, who was sitting right next to her, doesn't see what she is pointing at. It's not made clear to the audience to whom Hook is visible or invisible to; while it's not surprising that Team 5D's can see it, or Carly (given her past as a Dark Signer), normal people like Ushio, Mikage (who is never seen dueling) and Breo can also clearly see it, while the Duel-savvy Master of Ceremonies cannot. So, it doesn't seem to depend on whether you are a Duelist or not or how much knowledge you have.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: Astral being a ghost is normally invisible to anyone other than Yuma, but he can be seen by people with special powers or if he's in a certain space.
  • In Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs normal humans who have no spiritual powers will not see or hear ghosts. If humans have insufficient spiritual powers, they would just see a blurry white silhouette with a scary voice.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, most demon bugs and some demons can only be seen by people with high enough spiritual sense. Koenma uses this as an advantage to give out information to his detective and friends without the fear that muggles might see.

    Comic Books 
  • In Athena Voltaire and the Brotherhood of Shambalha, Athena and Desmond both go into the temple of the Brotherhood of Shambalha, but only Athena sees anything there (and doesn't realise that Desmond isn't seeing anything — she only finds out later). Exactly why this is isn't stated, but it's probably a choice of the Brotherhood.
  • Blackbird (2018):
    • All of the paragon buildings are like this, as are a good chunk of the magical creatures, notably the Great Beast.
    • The paragons themselves are also like this, although they can suppress the effect if they wish to do so — or reinforce it if the need arises. This is in addition to and separate from their ability to easily modify memories so no one remembers encountering them.
  • Deadman is a ghost and cannot be visibly perceived by other human beings. This is an automatic ability, and one that Deadman has no control over. Beings gifted with supernatural prowess, may be able to see Deadman's true form.
  • Bernie of Death Vigil can only be seen by necromancers and other members of the Vigil. In one issue of the comic, Marlene explains to Clara that she's trying to capture her image on camera.
  • In Fables, there's an outright war on the streets of New York between the forces of the Adversary and Fabletown. They explain that there are many magical protections to keep "mundies" out of Fabletown (or just walk through, in cases of days where there isn't a gigantic battle) but the spells had to be weakened in order to cast another spell: a rainstorm to put out the fires. It's then noted that the rain will keep people out of their business and reduce visibility enough that, if they can finish the battle fast enough, nobody will notice anyway.
  • Hilda has the elves and their houses. Evidently, you can see them just fine as long as you fill out the proper paperwork.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • Hulk foe Mercy's whimsical explanation of her Invisibility.
      Mercy: Give it up, Doctor. I can only be seen by people subjected to gamma rays. Or by people subjected to any intense radiation. Or by the nearly dead. Or those who are very sick. Or... anyone I feel like seeing me, really.
    • The Hulk also has the ability to see astral forms.
  • In Monster Allergy, monsters can be only seen by people who have the Sight Dom. Tamers and Keepers are those people who can see monsters.
  • Rainbow in the Dark: People living in the Gloom can't see the Veratu, the Cleaners, the monsters, or anyone who's broken free from the Gloom. Until the end of the third issue that is.
  • In Superman storyline "Breaking the Chain", a flashback shows Supergirl and her father were the only ones able to see a race of evil spirits which had escaped from the Phantom Zone and were possessing random Kryptonians. Later it was retconned as hallucinations and false memories induced by Kryptonite poisoning, though.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, the Argiopes are spider-like creatures who attack the sources of time paradoxes to protect the timestream, and can only be seen by time travelers.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Wonder Woman can innately see Time Monsters and things on the ethereal plane due to her mild telepathic abilities and mental training. With training some normals like Steve Trevor can also view things on the ethereal plane, but they have to be looking for them.
  • Zatanna once asked for Superman's assistance against a portal that was spewing out demons. While Supes could see and fight the demons, he couldn't see the portal, even after going through all his different vision modes. Zatanna goes, "It's outside the electromagnetic spectrum!" and uses a spell to make it visible.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Fiction 
  • In The Best Seven Years, Hobbes is a Furry. Furries are magical versions of regular animals born from said regular animals. They possess the traits of the animal they are, along with human traits such as speech and walking on two legs. Furries, however, can only be seen by wizards: Muggles see Furries are regular animals, or in some cases (Like Hobbes) as an inanimate version of that animal.
  • In Cross Cases, when Castiel and Dean pay a visit to the Carpenter house in their search for Sam, Cas stops some distance from the house to talk to the angels guarding the property, which he can see and hear just fine. However, no one else can, and most can't even tell they're there, leading to Cas just looking like he's talking to nothing. Dean passes it off as him just being loopy from the all-nighter he pulled the previous night, leaving out that he's kind of like that all the time. When they leave, Cas mentions that when Dean met Mouse, three of the angels put their swords to his throat, ready to kill him if he had done anything to that dog, and he had no idea.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Harry, using the full power of whatever canon magic there is, gets a trunk shaped like an animated dragon whose magical powers are so high that muggles can't see it.
  • In I.D.: That Indestructible Something, many individuals across the world get transformed into creatures from fantasy works (such as My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) or myth. While they can see each other's true forms, all the "normal" people still see them as ordinary humans. They don't notice any inconsistencies either, such as the fact that they need to bend down to touch the apparently six-foot-tall person, who's in actuality a pony half that size. However, this effect has limitations and stops working if someone's confronted with too much weirdness at once (such as encountering an elephant-sized dragon.)
  • The Last Seidr: Justified; Harry was sent to the MCU with the Sorting Hat, which has a spell on it that allows both it and its wearer to walk around completely unnoticed (unless they do something to attract attention). This is how Harry wanders the SHIELD Helicarrier until Bruce Banner sees him. The same applies to many items in the Hat, such a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which is disguised as a book on knitting). Dr. Banner and Thor seem to be the only ones immune to the charms, as he sees Harry even with the Hat and can easily read Fantastic Beasts.
  • In Rabbit of the Moon, Bell is the only one who can see and interact with the Messengers. While the gods can smell them, Hestia can't feel or interact with them even when they're touching her finger.
  • In When Reason Fails, the Censor acts to hide all supernatural elements from the Muggles. Temporary exceptions can be made to allow individuals a choice in joining the supernatural world or not, or to defend themselves from supernatural threats, but that's it.
  • Aogami exploits this in You Need to Think About Happiness. When his human partner is being chased by bullies, he fuses them into their Nahobino form. Since the bullies don't have enough spiritual power to see gods, the leader only sees an empty room.

    Film — Animated 
  • Child of Kamiari Month: Kanna can only see and interact with Yasha, the deity-possessed Shiro, and other gods while the divine magatama bracelet her mom had is activated.
  • In Coco, only the dead are able to see other spirits, being completely invisible to the friends and family they come to visit on Diá de los Muertos. The exception to this rule are animals like Dante, as well as alebrije, guardian spirits, that can travel and live in both the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead. Pepita, Mama Imelda's massive winged jaguar, is a simple tabby cat in the Land of the Living.
  • In ParaNorman, no one believes that ghosts and Norman's power to see ghosts are real because ghosts are invisible to humans, except for Norman.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the 1997 film The6th Man, after Kenny's brother, Antoine dies, Kenny can see Antoine but the others don't see them because Antoine is a ghost.
  • In Beetlejuice, ghosts typically cannot be seen by mortals because they instinctively ignore the strange and unusual. However, the Goth girl Lydia can because she is, in her own words, "strange and unusual".
  • In Dragonball Evolution, normal humans cannot see ki attacks.
  • In The Frighteners, a woman is being frightened by flying babies, in which it was just Stuart and Cyrus that are carrying the babies. She didn't seem to see and hear the ghosts.
  • In the James Stewart movie Harvey, Harvey is a pooka, a fairy spirit who appears to Stewart's character as a six-foot white rabbit, but who is invisible to others. Naturally, everyone else thinks Stewart is insane. It's not explained what causes only Stewart's character and later the shrink to see Harvey.
  • Nick in The Invisible can only (barely, sometimes) be heard and felt by the girl who has almost killed him. And by animals. To everyone else he is invisible.
  • Mermaid Down has a ghost who haunts the Beyer Psychiatric Facility for Women. No one can see her except the mermaid, who can't talk, and a mentally ill patient named June, who everyone thinks has an imaginary friend.
  • In the Mostly Ghostly film series, Max can see Nicky and Tara but the others don't see them because they are both ghosts.
  • In Oh, God!, God cannot be seen, heard, or recorded by humans unless He allows it. This even extends to transcripts, such as a stenotype paper record of His courtroom testimony.
  • In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, magic itself is invisible to normals, as demonstrated by Becky's inability to see a giant flaming pentagram above the city. Magic that creates physical effects, such as starting a fire or animating a statue, is visible since the objects themselves are otherwise normal.
  • The Chinese Vampire in Who Cares can only be seen by those who have come in contact with the bead that was stolen from it.

  • In Icelandic folklore, the Hidden People are a race of people that are invisible to humans, unless they wish to be seen. Oddly enough, they would also be invisible to one another if it were not for a salve that is smeared in the eyes of their newborns. Normal humans only know this because the Hidden People tend to lack midwives, and thus seek humans' help when in labour. The human midwife would then be asked to smear the salve in the infant's eyes, and would then accidentally get some of the salve in one of her own eyes. From then on she would then be able to see the Hidden People and their world with one eye. Often resulted in madness...
  • In the fairy tale "Godfather Death", Death gives his physician godson the ability to see him (Death) standing at the sick person's bed whenever he (the physician) is called, indicating to him whether the patient can be cured or is certain to die. No one else is able to see Death.

  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathon Stroud takes place in an Unmasqued World, but this trope still applies somewhat: demons can change their forms and often do, though their true selves can be seen on "higher planes." Demons can see on multiple planes to recognize each other; magicians can use special contact lenses to see on a few and are thus harder (but not impossible) to trick. Some humans are naturally gifted with the ability to see multiple planes.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, magicians regularly lay down barrier spells/runes to prevent normal people from seeing them and what they do. One likens it to the world being a coin, where normal people are standing on one side and magicians are on the other. Most of the time, this effect is achieved with a spell that makes normal people simply leave the area.
  • The Daevabad Trilogy: Magical creatures have an innate Perception Filter that causes humans to disregard and forget about them; the ability to appear normally before humans is a rare gift. When one djinn goes undercover in Cairo, his human host almost gets used to his presence with constant reminders, yet never notices his Pointed Ears and inhuman skin tone.
  • In the Deverry novels, the Wildfolk can only be seen by those with the dweomwer (magical ability). One of the earliest scenes of the series introduces them from the perspective of Jill, who has long ago learned not to mention them to anyone else, and will go on to be very surprised when she realises Nevyn can see them as well.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, Death actually explains this. It isn't that the normals can't see them, it's that the normals' brains come to the logical conclusion that they CANNOT EXIST and therefore write them off as not existing. It's important to note that this only happens to adults. Children, who aren't educated and mature like adults, are imaginative enough to see what's really there. Wizards and Witches can also see them: both because they're magically attuned and because they're entitled to a personal visit when their time comes.
    • Death's "granddaughter", Susan, inherits some of this talent in that she can make other people ignore her. When using it generally, she won't be noticed by normal people unless they focus their attention, but those of magical persuasion (like wizards) can still sense that someone's altering perception and use that to focus on her. However, once she knows someone's onto her, she can concentrate on that person, and even Archchancellor Ridcully can't pick her up once she knows he's trying to seek her.
  • A recurring theme throughout the Disney Chills books is the Disney villains tormenting the heroes with things only they can sense, such as Ursula tormenting Shelly with the smell of seawater and octopus ink, Captain Hook haunting Barrie with the increasingly-loud thumping of his boots and sword strikes, and Hades making Hector smell smoke and see fire.
  • In DO NOT TAKE THE SHELLS, there's Harris's drawing of the Eldritch Abomination. He perceives it as being disturbingly lifelike, but Cathy, who hasn't seen the real thing, can't see anything in the drawing at all.
  • In the Elemental Masters series, only those with at least a touch of magic can see the Elementals (though they can see the effects of the elementals).
  • David Eddings' The Elenium and The Tamuli actually show three different ways to achieve the trope, each by a different supernatural force. Styric Child-Goddess Aphrael can cast a spell that makes people ignore her and anyone else with her. The Delphae Xanetia can alter the light around her, causing it to "wrap" around and pass her. And then the Troll-Gods somehow come up with a weird third way. In essence, they jump from one frozen moment to the next. To someone within, it looks like the world is going at something like 1 frame per second, with all the jerkiness that implies. Meanwhile, the rest of reality never gets to see the people inside because the instant they're visible is vanishingly small. Interestingly, due to the differing magics involved, method #3 seems to interfere with method #2 (someone in the skipping invisibility will see Xanetia with a multicolor glow).
  • Fablehaven has certain creatures that only those that are "fairystuck/fairykind" or "shadow charmers" can see, one jarring instance was a kobold who disguised himself as a cute guy and dated all the girls in Kendra's class despite being a goblin with pus leaking out the side of his head.
  • In The Girl from the Well, ghosts cannot be seen by ordinary people. They become visible to those they are targeting and those who have had past encounters with them, and can also be seen by the spiritually sensitive.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Dementors cannot be seen by Muggles, though they still feel the Emotion Eater aura. It's unknown if anything else is like this.
    • Played with a bit in regards to most magical locations. To keep Muggles from discovering magic, most wizarding locales use some sort of enchantment to keep Muggles from wandering into them, which includes spells to make them look like something else entirely (for instance Hogwarts, which will look like withered ruins to any Muggles that find it), repel them from the areas in question (the Quidditch World Cup's stadium), or to keep them from noticing the spot at all (The Leaky Cauldron).
    • There are also things that even most wizards can't see, such as thestrals (horse-like reptilian beings that are invisible unless you've seen someone die) and any location protected by the Fidelius Charm (which keeps you from seeing a particular location unless you've been told the address by the Secret Keeper). The Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries has a gate that emits sounds hearable only to people who have seen death (much like the Thestrals), because they are sounds of dead people enticing the living ones to cross the gate and enter the afterlife.
  • The Hearts We Sold has a variant. Everyone can see demons just fine, but to most people, they appear as ordinary humans. Only people who are interested in making a deal can recognize them for what they are.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: In Life, the Universe and Everything, a "Somebody Else's Problem Field" prevented anyone from paying attention to a spaceship present during a game of cricket.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, Genius Loci/Friendly Ghost Oreg invokes this. He can hide himself from everyone but his current master (the one who wears a ring that is given from father to firstborn son on the death of the father), but shows himself to Ciarra, the mute daughter of the house, presumably because she won't be able to tell anyone about him. That he is fond of her may have something to do with it, too. He is able to show himself to everyone else if he wants to, as shown later when he and Ward pretend that he's one of the many bastard sons of Ward's father.
  • Isekai Walking has spirits, like the cute furball that likes to follow Sora, the main character, around, sit on his head, etc. Only Sora can see it, but people know it's there when their food starts going missing or other incidental consequences of its actions and presence.
  • IT: Pennywise/IT makes himself visible to whoever he chooses, hence why only the members of the Losers' Club and Bowers' gang can see him.
  • In John Dies at the End, the majority of the monsters John and David battle are invisible to most humans. This is because the monsters are from another dimension and their existence extends to this one by varying degrees. Those that can see them are either psychic, not human, really drunk and stoned with an open mind, or in John's and Dave's cases have taken the drug "Soy Sauce", which tunes your brain into the different "frequency" these monsters exist in.
  • In Katalepsis, spirits look like eldritch abominations, but very few people can actually see them, such as the main character Heather. The fact that she can see them is why she spends most of her life thinking she is crazy.
  • In The Kingdom Keepers, the Overtakers can't be seen by anyone other than the DHIs at first. They eventually can be seen as more people believe in them.
  • "Plateau Eyes" is the name of a mutation/psychic power in Known Space. It keeps people from noticing/remembering you, and is explained as causing the muscles in someone else's eyes to contract, narrowing the pupil. When people are really interested in something their pupils get larger; the Plateau Eyes phenomenon inverts this twice: the widening is postulated to be the cause rather than the effect (or at least some kind of feedback loop), so naturally narrowing the pupils would make whatever the person is looking at seem singularly uninteresting. The first character known to have it (in A Gift from Earth) has been doing it subconsciously his entire life, often to his frustration (he'll be hitting it off with a woman, get nervous because he starts to think he might finally get to have sex, and then she stops talking to him and wanders away distractedly).
  • The 200 million horsemen army in the Left Behind book Assassins is invisible to everybody but believers in Christ, but are nonetheless dangerous to those who aren't believers, as they have been unleashed to slay a third of the remaining world's population around the time of the Sixth Trumpet Judgment (believers not included).
  • In The Machineries of Empire, people who aren't hosts to the undead or undead themselves can't see or hear Jedao, which means that once Cheris leaves the facility where the black cradle is kept, she's the only person who can communicate with him (though he can hear and see everyone).
  • The Messenger Series: Only a select few can see Favour or the valley in which he dwells. As a result, there are very few people with whom a messenger can share the secret. Even former messengers aren't guaranteed to be able to see the Great Grey Horse. On one occasion, Rose is photographed as the Polaroid picture develops, Rose sees Favour appear in the picture, looking directly at her. However, everyone else just thinks the picture is suffering from a bit of over-exposure. Once he vanishes from the picture and Rose's sight, the picture no longer looks over-exposed, and everyone just thinks it took a few moments to finish developing properly.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Shadowhunters, demons, and Downworlders are all invisible to normal people, or "mundanes", until they've been bitten by a werewolf, forced to focus, or otherwise pulled in.
  • In the novel and miniseries Neverwhere, people who live in the London Underground are effectively invisible to normal people. These people can stand in front of normal people, completely naked and actually trying to initiate some sort of conversation and be utterly ignored. On the off chance they are able to grab someone's attention, they are almost always promptly forgotten. Played for laughs in one scene where museum security is called on to remove Richard, only to spend about half an hour trying to figure out just who they're supposed to arrest.
  • Odd Thomas sees a lot of things that are usually invisible. This is mostly a case of I See Dead People, but Deeply Odd has the Rhinestone Cowboy and the rest of his cult who is a normal person hidden by some dark magic. This is revealed when he threatens Odd with a gun in a busy grocery store. Odd assumes he's bluffing, as no reasonable person would draw attention to himself like that. Then he starts shooting, and all anyone else sees are his shots hitting a product display.
  • Pact explains the lack of noticing Others by normal people as a result of the Standard of Suleiman bin Daoud (the Biblical King Solomon), an agreement that most Others, over the course of the past several thousand years, have been forced to sign by various practitioners that bound or negotiated with them. The Standard means that Others can't interfere with the uninitiated without some excuse — failing the test of a sphinx, or wandering where a goblin might find them instead of staying home.
  • Pahua Moua: Normal humans and even most shamans can't see spirits in the mortal realm like Pahua can, leading them to think she has imaginary friends.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, plasmex is a type of psychic energy which few people can use, and even most of those who use it are incapable of seeing it. Phantoms, which are made completely of plasmex, are thus invisible to all but a few people.
  • In the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Mist serves this function: it blurs Greek mythological elements to all mortals (except those with the unique ability to see through it) and replaces them with something they can understand (and less anachronistic). For instance, a sword might look like a shotgun, and a hellhound can run through Manhattan unnoticed because everyone thinks it's a truck. There are some mortals that can see through the Mist, but they are few and far between; hence, there is a good reason why it's impossible for us to find a way to the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, though it makes you wonder how it can be Hidden in Plain Sight at the cruising altitude of airplanes.
    • The Mist can also be manipulated to make people think or see certain things. It can affect demigods, too: in Sea of Monsters, when Tyson (a Cyclops) is outside Camp Half-Blood, Percy has to concentrate very hard or else it will appear to him that Tyson has two eyes instead of one.
    • Deconstructed in the Sequel Series, The Heroes of Olympus: It turns out there's a second Roman Camp Half-Blood, but because of the mist the campers don't ever remember them as what they really were: half-bloods. Then you realize that Percy and other half-bloods throughout history have fought and killed some VERY peculiar monsters who seemed... almost human...
  • Point Horror: Inverted in "The Devil's Footprints" from 13 More Tales of Horror. Everyone at the party can see the mysterious goat costume guy, but Brian the house-controlling computer cannot see him on the camera footage.
  • Sanctuary: Morgan and their friends have always been able to see ghosts, and in fact, the ability runs in Morgan's family, but most people can't.
  • The Scholomance: Mundanes are largely immune to maleficaria because they don't perceive mals as threats, which drains the monsters of most of their magical power. A mal once tried to sneak up on El in gym class, and her teacher, thinking it was a rat, killed it by hitting it with a cricket bat. El, who can unleash the power of a supervolcano with magic, notes that she could not have done the same.
  • In Septimus Heap, the door to the Queen's Room is visible only to the Queens and Princesses.
  • In The Society of Sylphs, all adult sylphs can see humans, but the vast majority of humans are too focused on the physical world to see sylphs. Eddie is a rare exception.
  • Magical creatures in The Spiderwick Chronicles are usually invisible to those who do not have "The Sight".
  • In The Spirit Thief, regular people can't hear or talk to spirits, and even wizards - except for two very unusual ones - are incapable of actually seeing them. Though obviously, if a table stood up and started dancing, they'd notice.
  • Star Wars Legends: People who are not Force-sensitive cannot see or hear Force Ghosts. For example, during Star Wars: Legacy, Cade Skywalker is contacted by the Force Ghost of his ancestor, Luke Skywalker, but Cade's companions think he's talking to himself.
    • It also happens in Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi, though initially even Tash can't see Aidan either, just sense that he's there and watching. She gradually becomes able to perceive him more and more clearly. When she's trying to enlist his help while being threatened, the Big Bad says that acting crazy won't save her.
    • In Junior Jedi Knights: Anakin's Quest, Anakin Solo, Tahiri Veila, and Uldir Lochett enter the Dagobah cave. While Anakin and Tahiri experienced horrifying visions, Uldir only perceived it as a cave, because he wasn't Force Sensitive.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Some intelligent spren are invisible to anyone except the person they are bonded to (but can choose to be seen by others), while some are always visible. Non-intelligent spren are something else altogether; scenes from the point of view of someone who can See the Invisible implies that spren are always around, invisible, but normally can only be seen when there is a strong source of emotion or natural phenomenon to feed off of.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, magic spells are invisible to those who possess little magic of their own, but are visible as glowing lines of energy to people who possess it in greater amounts. Ghosts are invisible even to potent magic users, capable of being seen only by Xhea and each other.
  • In Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz, creatures called Goblins can only be seen in their true forms by humans with some psychic ability (the "Twilight Eyes" of the title). The main character has unusual purple eyes that make him able to see them. Another character has an amber third eye in his forehead with the same ability. The protagonist's love interest can also see their true form and see the future, though there doesn't seem to be any visual quirk to indicate it.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign:
    • Summoners and vessels above a certain level gain a variant of this. A normal person can still see them just fine, but if the summoner or vessel leaves their field of vision, they lose all memories of them. It's speculated that this is because an uninitiated mind is unable to properly comprehend the supernatural. However, when the normal person sees the summoner or vessel again, they regain all memories of them.
    • When a summoner and vessel actually summon, they gain another level of this. Electronic sensors, such as cameras and microphones, can no longer detect them.
  • The entire premise of Wars of the Realm is that angels and demons exist all throughout human life, but that no one can see them. No one but Drew Carter, of course.
  • In The Whitby Witches trilogy by Robin Jarvis, the aufwaders (a race of goblin-like beings) can only be seen by humans who possess "the sight" and are completely invisible to those who don't. However, the first book in the trilogy features a human-aufwader hybrid who can be seen by humans whether they have "the sight" or not.
  • In The White Rabbit Chronicles, zombies can only be seen by a few people. Some of these people have the ability from birth while others gain it after a traumatic incident.
  • Johannes Cabal: Ghosts are invisible and inaudible to non-supernatural beings. The titular Necromancer has magical See-Thru Specs to make them visible but relies on his demon, vampire, and witch friends to relay a Friendly Ghost's speech to him.
  • The premise of Wars of the Realm is that angels and demons exist all around us, hidden in a spirit dimension which normal people cannot see - and that protagonist Drew Carter gains the ability to look across that veil to see the spiritual war going on everywhere.
  • When the Angels Left the Old Country: Demons can see people's sins, personified as creatures hanging around them. After a while, Uriel can see them too, though it can't tell them apart very well.
  • In Worm, parahumans gain their powers by connecting to a strange, extradimensional entity that does the heavy lifting for them—giving them Required Secondary Powers and influencing them to be more effective in combat. Chevalier of the Protectorate can see images of these creatures when he looks at parahumans thanks to his power.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Aquabats! Super Show!, Eaglebones Falconhawk's bird, The Dude, can only be seen by Eaglebones himself.
  • Happens repeatedly to Annie the ghost in Being Human. Most ghosts can only be seen by other supernatural creatures—for example, the new tenants of Annie's flat, a werewolf and a vampire. However, as time goes on, Annie begins to become more solid and visible, at one point able to pass as a living human again. During the transition, however, there's a lot of "Can you see me?", and George actually uses the phrase 'invisible to normals' at one point.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured two variants of this in the fifth season.
    • Most people just saw Dawn as a regular girl, but insane people and certain demons could recognize the energy construct she really was. Buffy's spell in "No Place Like Home" is a technical inversion, as it made Dawn invisible to the "abnormal" (magic-using) Buffy.
    • When an ordinary human saw the transformation of Ben into Glory or vice versa, they would forget about it shortly after. Demons were not affected by this spell, but any attempts by Spike to explain this to the Scoobies were doomed from the start because the Scoobies would instantly forget what they had been told.
  • The Collector: Only the Devil's clients can see and hear the temporary portals to Hell that appear to collect.
  • Manny in Constantine (2014) can choose who he's visible to, and often is only visible and audible to Constantine himself. Once, when they're talking while Zed is present, she asks where Manny is and Constantine delights in giving her the wrong directions so she ends up just wandering around the room.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Extant: The visions of dead people the astronauts see. Nobody else sees them and cameras or photos won't capture them, leading to questions of if it's just all in their heads. Although later a "filter" enables film to show that at least something was present at the time.
  • In The Flash (2014), Savitar is so insanely fast that his body is constantly vibrating. Only other people with Super-Speed can see him, even if he's standing still.
  • Throughout the seasons of Fraggle Rock Gobo spends a lot of time ducking out of sight from the resident human, Doc... only to discover in the penultimate episode that under normal circumstances humans can't see Fraggles anyway, so he needn't have bothered. To add insult to injury, this is also the one episode where Gobo actually needs Doc to see him, so he has to work out how to make himself visible to the human. The "You Can See Me?" event happens in the last few minutes of the episode.
  • In both Ghosts (UK) and the stateside adaptation ghosts are invisible to most living people, but the female lead gains the ability to see them after a Near-Death Experience caused by one of the ghosts haunting the mansion she inherited.
  • In Ghostwriter (2019), both Ghostwriter's messages and the characters summoned from books can only be seen and heard by the protagonists. However, the effects of the actions of book characters on real-world objects are visible to anyone, and if the protagonists use something from a book to create something in the real world, the creation is also visible.
  • Grimm has Wesen, supernatural creatures, whose true form is visible to Grimms when they are under stress or undergo other strong emotions. To everyone else, they appear human except in rare instances when they actually want to be seen, and even then the person has a hard time processing it.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Young Hercules, and Xena: Warrior Princess, Gods cannot be seen or heard by ordinary humans unless they allow them to. Hercules can see them because he's a demigod.
  • In House of Anubis, Nina can see ghosts as a consequence of being The Chosen One. While her friends are all eventually able to see Senkhara, it's due to them being cursed by her in their dreams which makes them abnormal by default, and she's still the only one who can see and hear her at all times. The only exception is Mara and Eddie catching a glimpse of Senkhara while hunting for ghosts in the living room. Eddie, however, happens to be The Chosen One's protector, giving some justification for him seeing Senkhara at all.
  • Kamen Rider Ryuki:
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: Ganma can't be seen by normal humans unless they want or are forced to. They can also be seen by those in possession of a Ghost Driver or an Eyecon.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Corner of the Eye", both Carlito and Father Anton Jonascu can see the aliens in their true form. Everyone else only sees the human images that they project using their visual fields.
    • In "The Beholder", Patrick Tarloff, who was blinded in an accident when he was seven, receives a brain implant that allows him to see for the first time in almost 20 years. The treatment is supplemented by regular injections of iridium (produced in space) which forms a neural bridge to his optic nerve. Immediately after regaining his sight, Patrick begins to see an ethereal woman. Although his psychiatrist Dr. Louise Burrows dismisses it as a hallucination and he comes to accept this, he later discovers that she is in fact real. She is an alien named Kyra who lives on a different plane of existence. Patrick can see her because the iridium in his system expands his perception.
    • In "Decompression", the Time Traveler appears to Senator Wyndom Brody in the form of a Hologram that only he can see and hear as the projection is keyed to his neural signature.
    • In "The Tipping Point", the artificial intelligence Prometheus has created Energy Beings from computer code which can only be seen by people wearing special glasses.
  • As the Opening Narration reminds us every episode, Quantum Leap's Al exists as a hologram that only Sam Beckett can see because he's being projected back in time to guide Sam. A few episodes have children, animals, or mental patients seeing Al, and the Yet Another Christmas Carol episode handwaves it by saying the Scrooge stand-in has brain chemistry similar to Sam's.
    • That group of special individuals also includes some who see Sam rather than the leapee.
    • In the episode which fans do not refer to by name, a malevolent entity impersonates Al for most of the episode, then turns to acknowledge the real Al when he finally manages to show up. Sam and Al are naturally freaked out.
    • The same principles apply for the sequel series Quantum Leap (2022). Ben's hologram is only visible to him and other leapers who have used the same quantum accelerator. Ben's face itself can't be seen by other people in the past, and is only visible to holograms, Ziggy's imager, and other leapers; this leads to an situation in the second season when he starts a recurring Time-Travel Romance with Hannah Carson, who knows his secret but only ever sees his leapees' faces.
  • In Shadowhunters, the shadowhunters can make themselves invisible to mundanes with a special rune. Clary is able to see them because she's actually a shadowhunter too.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Happens accidentally to Daniel in "Crystal Skull". This leads to a funny conversation between Daniel and his grandfather (who can see him due to having encountered the same phlebotinum skulls that turned Daniel invisible): neither realizes they're actually talking to each other at first, as his grandpa thinks Daniel is just a hallucination but talks back anyway, and Daniel doesn't expect an answer and is just responding to conversations to pass the time/rhetorically, as no one else can see or hear him.
    • Also occurs in a number of other episodes, including one in which a young boy who arrives on base is revealed to be able to see an invisible race, and was genetically created to have this ability.
    • There's also an episode where SG-1 activates an alien machine that allows people to see invisible creatures in another dimension (and forget how to use their brakes). This understandably freaks out the residents of Colorado Springs.
  • Supernatural:
    • At one point, Dean gains the ability to see those possessed by demons for what they are. This occurs when he is running out of time with his Deal with the Devil.
    • Hellhounds and Reapers are also invisible to normal humans, and can only be seen by the people they're coming after. Although in Season 8, it turns out a normal person can see a hellhound, if they look through glass that's been scorched with holy fire.
    • While visible under normal circumstances, angels and high-level demons can make themselves invisible and unheard by humans, allowing for an entire conversation to take place with an unwitting human ten feet away. Presumably other angels and high-level demons would be able to see them, and potentially humans with psychic abilities.
  • In the vintage anthology sci-fi series Tales of Tomorrow episode "The Children's Room", only people with the right intellect-enhancing mutation can notice the titular room's presence in the library, or make sense of the writing in the books it contains.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "One for the Angels", only the person who is about to die, initially Lou Bookman, can see Mr. Death. After Maggie Polanski is hit by a truck, she can see him as well.
    • In "The Hitch-Hiker", Nan Adams is the only one who can see the title character.
    • In "Mr. Bevis", Mr. James B.W. Bevis is the only person who can see his Guardian Angel J. Hardy Hempstead.
    • In "Mr. Dingle, the Strong", neither the two-headed Martian nor the two Venusians can be seen by humans. However, they can see each other.
    • In "Nothing in the Dark", the revelation that the contractor can't see Harold Beldon leads Wanda Dunn to realize that he is Death.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Personal Demons", Rockne O'Bannon is the only person who can see the strange, hooded creatures that have been following him everywhere he goes and destroyed his car and apartment.
    • In "The Crossing", Father Mark Cassidy repeatedly sees a car driving away from St. Timothy's Church and crashing over a cliff. When he tries to get help, he realizes that he is the only one who could see it.
    • In "Rendezvous in a Dark Place", Death can typically only be seen by the person who is about to die. However, Barbara LeMay can see him because her obsession with him means that the two of them spend so much time together.

  • Yureka: Features like the ghosts of players are invisible to those who don't work for the stats to see them.

  • In the book of Numbers from The Bible, the Angel of the LORD appears in the path of Balaam and his donkey as they go to meet King Balak. The Angel with His sword drawn couldn't be seen by Balaam, but his donkey sees Him and turns off the road. Balaam thinks he has a Stubborn Mule, so he smacks her and gets her going again. The Angel of the LORD appears again in the way, and again only the donkey sees Him, so she turns away again, this time injuring Balaam's foot. Balaam smacks her again and gets her back on the road. The Angel appears for the third time in a place where the donkey couldn't turn, so the donkey simply lays down. Balaam is getting fed up with the donkey's antics and strikes her. It's only after Balaam's donkey starts talking to him that Balaam is able to see the Angel of the LORD.


    Tabletop Games 
  • World of Darkness:
    • Played with in Genius: The Transgression. Visually, it's explicitly defied- Wonders can be seen and remembered perfectly by anyone. However, Wonders don't work in tune with normal reality, so any attempt to explain them to non-Inspired makes you look like someone trying to recap Timecube backwards, a phenomenon known as Jabir. Normal people- or worse, normal scientists- interacting with Wonders tends to cause Problems. The Inspired keep up The Masquerade simply because attempting to break it just makes you look really stupid, if it doesn't kill you first.
    • Changeling: The Lost has the Mask, a cover for all things fae. Changelings appear to be perfectly normal, despite being twisted (both physically and mentally) by their time in Arcadia, and the True Fae can pass as well... mostly.
    • Changeling: The Dreaming has chimerical items and beings, creations, and creatures of the Dreaming that can only be perceived by the fae or the people they enchant. In keeping with the game's themes, these things can affect you, but trying to affect them back - or even just taking the blow - can make you look nuts to mortal observers.
    • In Mage: The Awakening, High Speech — the literal language of Awakened magic — is inherently incompatible with muggles due to the Quiescence, a veil against the supernatural caused by the Abyss. As a result, ordinary humans cannot hear or read it; it just becomes vaguely foreign-accented gibberish on a casual scrutiny. On a deeper scrutiny, it acts as a Brown Note; they don't understand it, but it sparks off as so inherently wrong deep inside that they can be driven insane by exposure to it, which is one reason why mages try to not let muggles see or hear them using it.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem present the Obfuscate Discipline to vampires. Those with this ability can use it to conceal the presence of themselves or perhaps other things from the minds of mortals. The catch is that this is strictly a mental discipline, meaning nonliving eyes like cameras, beings with strong mental power, or beings gifted with Super-Senses (like those with the Auspex Discipline) can see through the concealment.

  • In The Addams Family, the chorus of ancestral Addams ghosts can only be seen by the family. This leads to some amusing situations; for example, near the end, Wednesday catches a bouquet thrown to her by a spectral bride, much to the confusion of her "normal" fiance.
  • In Blithe Spirit, only Charles can see and converse with Elvira (the ghost of his dead wife).
  • The fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream can be invisible to the humans. To avoid confusing the audience, Oberon conveniently explains this to them.

    Video Games 
  • In Ancient Domains of Mystery, a number of foes, including the Cat Lord, are invisible, requiring a means of seeing invisible in order to defeat easily. The player can also become invisible, making most enemies incapable of seeing the character, with a notable exception of shopkeepers, who can sense the presence of an invisible character if given sufficient time.
  • Angels in Bayonetta are invisible to humans. As is the Player Character herself, most of the time. This is because of Parallel Universes. Later has a serious callback when Luka recalls seeing his father rising in the air near Bayonetta and realizes it was the Angels that killed his father.
  • In Bloodborne, there are plenty of things that are revealed to you only when you have enough Insight. However, having a high level of Insight also makes you more vulnerable to frenzy. In fact, there are some instances where it's actually advantageous to go in with as little Insight as possible!
  • Catherine: It turns out that Vincent is the only one who can see and hear the titular succubus.
  • Subverted in City of Heroes. Normal citizens will be able to see you use magic, supertechnology, etc. They will come up to you and thank you for beating up the mobs that were being jerks. And if you're playing City of Villains, they will cringe away from you.
  • In Contrast, only Didi can see Dawn. Also inverted, as Dawn can only see Didi - other people can only be seen by their shadows.
  • Digimon Survive is based on the original concept for the franchise where Digimon have always existed alongside humans and were seen as youkai. They merely received the name "Digital Monsters" after being acknowledged and observed by humans via modern digital devices. In order to locate items or hostile Digimon hiding nearby, the humans need to use their cell phone cameras to detect them.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The spirits of the dead can only be seen by trained Sourcerers like the playable characters, who are taught by their patron god via Astral Projection. To informed NPCs, speaking of seeing ghosts is a dead giveaway of your Godwoken status.
  • Tockles in Dragon Quest XI can only be seen by the Luminary, with the exception of Tickington's residents in the Switch version. It gets a bit silly when Rab and Prince Faris get walked on by one Tockle (the postgame's Greater-Scope Villain) and do not even notice.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • Glowing golden eyes are a trait of Vampires (as revealed in the Dawnguard DLC. It's implied that this is a trait that is Invisible To Normals, and can only be seen by certain other supernatural beings (such as the Dragonborn, who has a draconic Aedric soul).
    • Despite anyone being capable of reading the Dragon-Language inscriptions on Word Walls, the Nordic denizens of Skyrim have puzzled for millennia over what their true function was. It's implied that only the Dragonborn is capable of perceiving the hidden Words of Power written upon them.
    • When the Dragonborn or his/her companions successfully sneak, they are able to pass right under the noses of NPCs without being seen. On the other hand, when an NPC sneaks around the Dragonborn, he/she always sees them even if they're implied to be invisible to everyone else, leading to some Narmtastic moments in which a rogue character leaves a conversation with the Dragonborn and sneaks away... clearly visible as they crouch-walk around the corner. Why? Well, Uriel Septim VII did say in Oblivion that those with the Dragon Blood "see more than lesser men".
  • Ever Oasis: Only Children of the Great Tree (seedlings who can plant oases, such as the player character) can see water spirits.
  • Fake Happy End: Only a select number of people can see and enter the tower. However, normal people will avoid the tower by instinct, and attempting to bring them inside the tower will cause them to lash out and go insane. Unfortunately, those who go into the tower also eventually become unnoticeable to normal people. The effects are gradual, starting with something as simple as a waiter forgetting the victim's order, but eventually, the victim will become completely impossible to perceive. The whole point of the tower is to seal all human knowledge and perception of demons, but humans who enter the tower slowly transform into demons, even before dying.
  • Final Fantasy XII:
    • Venat, and perhaps the rest of the Occuria, too. This is, in fact, part of the reason that Dr. Cid comes off as being mad, as he carries out conversations with Venat as normally as with anyone else, though to nearly everyone else, it appears as though he's talking to himself.
    • The Occuria can't be seen by anyone except Ashe. The other party members hear every word of their conversation, though.
  • Fran Bow: The nightmare version of the real world can only be seen and interacted with when Fran takes her mysterious red pills.
  • Golden Sun:
    • The protagonists use Psynergy, which is basically magical abilities, which can only be seen by those who can use it. However, at one point you fight in an arena against a series of opponents who are standard humans, leading to some Fridge Logic for what the audience and opponents see when all these gladiators are defeated by a character who just waves his hands around to damage his opponents.
    • Averted by Briggs in Dark Dawn, when he identifies Matthew & Friends because he saw them handwaving around some crates on the other side of the dock and realized it must be Psynergy. This exception is justified: Briggs comes from a family of Mars Adepts, has battled Adepts before, and knows what to look for.
  • Harvest Moon: The Harvest Sprites and Harvest Goddess are generally invisible to most people. The fact that the player character can see them is treated as a big deal, making them the only one capable of actually helping the Sprites or the Goddess. In Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, Inari specifically mentions that it's commonly children that can see guardian deities, with adults being a rare exception.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: Poltergeist Polterguy is completely invisible to the family, only the dog can detect him.
  • Indigo Prophecy: The Oracle is completely invisible to people, if he does make contact with someone, they'll completely forget he existed at all. The only ones who know of him are those he took possession of to commit various murders and are able to see through his eyes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mass Effect 3: Shepard is able to understand the Prothean data recordings found on Eden Prime, which everyone else only perceives as noisy static, due to having the collective knowledge of their race implanted in their subconscious during the first game.
  • Mind Zero: The MINDs appear as either monsters — either as the summoned monsters or mad monsters — or weapons used by Minders. Taken a step further, Minders can't hear MINDs unless it's their own.
  • Ōkami: Although Amaterasu is not this trope per se, to most people she appears as nothing more than an ordinary wolf rather than the flaming bronze plate-equipped, red-striped mother goddess of the sun.
  • Otherworld Spring Of Shadows: The main character needs a special amulet in order to see fey creatures (good and bad). In Otherworld 2: Omens of Summer the "sight" is temporarily granted to her by the little girl she spent the entire first game trying to find.
  • Pokémon Colosseum:
    • Shadow Pokémon have a black, fiery aura that is invisible to everyone except the girl who, conveniently enough, is your traveling partner.
    • In the sequel, the Aura Reader was designed as a means of detecting this aura for the more mundane protagonist - one of the obstacles for purification is the ability to identify Shadow Pokemon reliably and immediately.
    • Throughout the franchise, Normal-type Pokémon are immune to Ghost-type moves and vice versa.
  • The 'Aura Beasts' from Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, Nick can see them with Aura Vision and it's implied other psychics can sense them.
  • In Rakuen, nobody in the hospital seems to notice all the fancy blue doors leading into Morizora's forest except for the Boy, Mom, and Uma. On the flip side, the Leebles become alarmed when the Boy and Mom suddenly poof into existence because they can't see the magical door they just walked through.
  • Sara And The Sarcastic Creatures: Sara can see the titular invisible monsters because she bathed in a magic pond as a child.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • The devils in Devil Summoner 2 - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon certainly apply. Raidou can summon a devil to follow him around, and even send it out on solo missions, but most people are blissfully unaware.
    • This was also true of the first Devil Summoner prequel, Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army.
    • In the Persona series, the Velvet Room is only visible to a few people. In Persona and Persona 2, only Persona users, artists and the elderly can see it, whereas in the following installments that is limited to the Wild Cards.
    • In the PSP Updated Re-release of Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, it is revealed that normal people cannot see Personas. Overall, the Persona 2 duology strongly implies that demons are invisible to most people, and many dungeons are very public places.
      Yukino (while inside a school full of people): We're being attacked all the time but nobody seems to notice...
    • Also applies to Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, where demons are invisible to everyone not looking out through a Demonica equipped with the Demon Summoning Program.
    • Navarre's ghost in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse is only visible to demons, humans possessed by demons, and humans who have died and come Back from the Dead. If anyone is capable of seeing him, expect them to give something inhuman about them.
    • In Persona 5, Morgana is an "Inaudible To Normals" version. While he appears and sounds like a completely-normal house cat to ordinary people, those who go to the Metaverse and hear him talk gain the ability to do so as well in the real world, otherwise you'll just hear him meowing. This is a hint that Goro Akechi knows more than he lets on, as early during his introduction, he overhears an impossible conversation between Morgana and the Phantom Thieves that briefly mentioned pancakes and comments on it afterward, having no idea that he naturally shouldn't have heard that.
      • The fusion of Mementos with reality in the endgame is initially unperceivable to anyone except Persona-users and their allies. Mishima starts freaking out over the bones growing around buildings and the Rain of Blood, only to get dirty looks from everyone else in the train car he's in. He notices that they're seeing nothing amiss and is forced to put a lid on his reactions, lest they think he's crazy.
  • In Silent Hill 2, the little girl Laura is the only one who doesn't see the monsters or how scary the town looks. This is actually a deconstruction of the trope specifically because she's normal, meaning she's the only one who's sane.
  • Somethings Wrong With Sunny Day Jack: For some reason, the player is the only one able to physically see the titular character.
  • In Spirits of Anglerwood Forest, the forest spirits are invisible to everyone except Edgar. It's implied that the reason for this is that the Big Bad made contact with Edgar when he was a baby.
  • The Tales Series:
    • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, Centurion Tenebrae is said to be this; naturally the party members of the previous game (and one notable exception), along with the protagonists can see him. However, only Colette and Yuan can see Tenebrae naturally. Tenebrae can turn himself visible, which lets the other party members interact with him.
    • Seraphim in Tales of Zestiria cannot be seen by normal humans, as shown in some interactions between main protagonist Sorey and various human characters while the seraphim party members are with him. Likewise, daemons look like normal humans to most people, even though they are actually supernatural monsters who can only be defeated through specific means.
    • The prequel Tales of Berseria averts this as the result of the Advent. The Malakhim (which were what the Seraphim used to be called) used to be invisible to normal humans until that day where they could be seen and even be controlled by exorcists. Likewise, most people are under the impression that daemons only appeared with the Advent, but the truth is that they always existed, it's just that before normal people only saw them as ordinary (but insane and dangerous) humans.
  • Thief:
    • The series strongly suggests that Keepers are Invisible to Normals when they want and only gifted people, such as Garrett, are able to notice them.
    • Talented hiders would know where to look for the hiding places Keepers would use. This may overlap with Invisible to Adults, as Garret was just a street urchin when he attempted to pickpocket a Keeper. This Origin Story is bookended at the end of Thief 3, when Garret, now the leader of the Keepers, catches a young girl pickpocketing him and gives the same line.
  • Anything the Process converts in Transistor appears to Red as a non-descript white version of whatever they converted. To the citizens at large, objects just seem to vanish into thin air. Red's possession of the Transistor appears to be the reason she is able to see them where others cannot.
  • In Vampyr (2018), this is heavily implied with Jonathan's sire Myrddin. Every time he appears in public to Jonathan, only he can see and talk with him while nobody else can. Though believed to be just a projection, it turns out that he physically appears in front of Jonathan this way. One in-game document states that only vampires have been able to interact with this mysterious entity and mortals were only able to record his existence by second-hand telling.
  • In the Wadjet Eye Games universe (The Blackwell Series and Unavowed), magic and magical beings cannot be perceived by mundanes, who instead see nothing at all or fill in a mundane alternative if they're forced to directly interact with it. Anyone exposed to magic has a chance to become "Void-Touched" by the experience, which allows them to see magic even if they have no magic of their own.
  • In The World Ends with You, the Players of the Reaper's Game are invisible to other people, except when they go to shops to buy things. The Noise are also invisible. However, it is implied that there are some people who can see the Game, such as one bystander whose thoughts reveal that he can see Noise symbols. He calls them "weebers." Weebie weebie weebie... Another one mentions that she saw someone with wings.

  • The entities of the Horsemen in A.P.O.C are invisible to everyone but the host. Some of the effects the Horsemen have on the hosts are not so invisible, though.
  • Apocalyptic Horseplay: With rare exceptions, humans can only see the Horsemen if they have been influenced by them, either directly (the Horsemen use their powers on them) or indirectly (they are closely affiliated with their domain). Pestilence can only be seen by people who are sick, Famine can only be seen by people who are starving, and War can only be seen by people who have fought in an actual war. The same rules apply to Death, to their logical conclusion.
    Damocles: I, uh, couldn't see the others at first. But you... I can see you.
    Mot: I am Death, Damocles. Everyone can see me.
  • Awful Hospital: Existence in any given zone exists on multiple subjective but equally valid and 'real' layers of perception. For example, our main character Fern perceives the titular Hospital as a significantly worn-down but otherwise more or less structurally mundane hospital (at least, until the Maternity Ward arc), while Isaac perceives it as an alien environment covered in Meat Moss and filled with various utterly inhuman monstrosities. Most humans (aka. Gray Zoners) are stuck in a gray-zone perception range, leaving them unable to perceive anything outside of gray-zone normalcy, though some, such as Fern and Jay, have been forced into a less mundane perception layer by their relocation to the Hospital, and others, such as Miss, Cheryl, and Doctor Mann, have learned how to voluntarily shift their perception layer like non-Grays can.
  • Com'c: Block cannot be noticed by those who are not Fourth Wall Observers.
  • In Distillum, both Rob (a Distillum) and Kavitha (it's complicated) hear the anomaly in chapter 2, but The Team Normal, Jamie, doesn't. He's concerned about it.
  • In The Dragon Doctors Tomo Wakeman is a ghost who is not only invisible but completely unnoticeable unless she, say... intentionally stomps on a shaman's toes.
  • Gradually subverted in Fans!, where despite the best efforts of the sinister shadowy Government Conspiracy the truth of what really happens eventually becomes public knowledge.
  • Watch Chief Drozeki from Girl Genius can only be reliably seen by the Jägerkin and is the sole remaining member of the watch created by one of Agatha's ancestors that were designed to be invisible and quickly forgotten if interacted with without special equipment.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the cave housing the artifact that was created to allow women to summon Hyperspace Mallets has multiple wards on it to prevent discovery by Muggles including this attribute.
  • The Greenhouse: Demons can't be seen by those who aren't magical themselves. The exception is the person who they're possessing; while at first the demon will be just as invisible to an ordinary person they're possessing, their host will start to catch glimpses of them in reflective surfaces, and will eventually be able to see them clearly all the time. This comes back to haunt Mica after she loses all memories of 'Red' when they're separated, because there are no photos to prove that she's not just out of her mind now that she can't see her friend anymore.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • The psychopomps are able to reveal themselves to anyone but usually operate invisibly since they're forbidden from interfering in the lives of mortals. However, some etherically-gifted individuals—including Antimony and Surma—can see them even when they're supposed to be invisible.
    • The RoTD plays this... weirdly; while Mort and Annie see the requisite occult and arcane trappings, Kat only sees the whole setup as a sort of kitsch haunted house causing her companions to be amazed at her ability to navigate and operate such eldritch mechanisms as a VCR and camcorder.
  • If: Only those that wield a "Companion" can see others. Otherwise they're invisible to the human eye.
  • In The Kingfisher, mortals seem to miss out on the supernatural. Asked why people don't notice them climbing on the side of buildings, Vitus tells Jack, "most people don't look up."
  • Somewhat Lampshaded in MegaTokyo. Some people in the strip notice the giant drunk turtle, the zombie hordes, and the rent-a-zillas, but most are blissfully ignorant. Ironically enough, the one who is the most out of touch with reality, Largo, is not only able to see them but seems rather capable of dealing with them.
    • Since the TPD has an entire division dedicated to organising, managing, and cleaning up after the giant drunk turtle, zombies, and rent-a-zillas, you could argue that in Megatokyo, this IS normal life, and everyone's just resigned to it.
    • It's later revealed that average people have a "SEP Field" that prevents them from seeing the extraordinary things in Japan (giant monsters, magical girls, Ninja, etc.). Only those who have had the field shattered (Junko), are a member of the extraordinary (Miho, Yuki, Meimi), or have a very blurred view of reality (Largo, Dom, Ed) are able to see things for what they are.
    • The whole thing is unclear. For example, at the same time as Junko is finally noticing all the weird things that are happening around her, a guy is complaining that if she had been paying attention, a robot wouldn't have smashed his car with a telephone pole. It seems more like half the people notice but don't care, and the other people don't notice.
    • Actually it's more like each person has a unique perception filter. While Largo can see zombies and the like, he also sees zombies where there are none. Like raves.
  • The gods of A Moment of Peace are invisible to the stick figure humans they walk among, but apparently Monster Food, worm-like creatures hanging from the very bottom of the food chain, can see them.
  • Nothing Special: While the comic doesn't stay in the human realm for very long. It's stated humans can't see magical things in their world.
  • Paranatural:
    • The world is haunted by numerous ghosts and other supernatural creatures, which only spectrals can see. Word of God is that while the spirit world is often described as "invisible," the truth is that it's more like a completely different world that only occasionally interacts with the mundane one, while spectrals are people that interact with both. So, for example, if a normal person and a spectral were sunbathing and were shaded by a spirit, the normal person would get a tan while the spectral would not. This also means that mundane cameras can take pictures of spirits without trouble; normal people see nothing, while spectrals see the spirit.
      Alt Text: The number of famous pictures ruined by photobombing spirits... you wouldn't believe.
    • Dramatically subverted when Johnny shows Ed a photo of the Ghost Train... because while Johnny can't see the Train, he sure as hell could see the passengers, namely the Activity Club, and wants to know how they were flying through the air.
  • Penny Blackfeather has, as of yet, Nathaniel's ghost and snow spirits. Some characters also have Weirdness Censor strong enough to explain Eldritch Abominations as skin disease.
  • Peter and Company features mysterious angel-like beings called guardians as well as a bunch of troublemaking worms that can only been seen by children that the guardians have been assigned to. An exception to this rule are the elite guardians, who can be seen by normal people but only while they are shapeshifted into something else, and whose assigned child does not gain the ability to see guardians and worms. The mysterious Eddy, who apparently is a higher being who doesn't play by the same rules as normal guardians or elite guardians, seems to be able to be seen by anyone.
  • The Everto in Shadownova. They have a tendency to kill the people who can see them.
  • In Shifters the majority of humanity doesn't know that Shifters, Vampires, or any of the other Veil Races exist due to the conspiracy called The Veil.
  • Slightly Damned whenever Death or the person doing his job is temporarily transported to the world of the living to collect a soul that failed to move on by itself, he can only be seen by people who have come back from the dead. But as a trade-off, he apparently cannot see angels and demons in the world of the living while he is visiting.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Spirits, including extremely hostile and dangerous ghosts, can only be seen by mages, and the Little Stowaway among the crew's mages unfortunately gets his first experience with this while the crew's officially recognized mage is in Deep Sleep.
  • In SwordCat Princess, the extranormal is hidden from the general populace by the Cloaker Field, a field generated by a hidden worldwide race called Cloakers; Jack's father explains this fact to him with a colorful "Cloakers, numbnuts!". Metahumans are not affected by the field, so they can see all extranormal beings and events.
  • Unsounded: Ghosts can only be seen by the physical things they're haunting, and occasionally by the light of the khert as it pulls them back in. Those with the mutation known as Ghost Eyes can see them outright, and Sette's ability to smell the metaphysical gives her an unnaturally good sense of them as well.
  • Wilde Life: This is inverted for Clifford Norman. He is an animal person who is able to become a large red wolf at his choosing. He is protected by a mysterious figure of incredible power. That figure placed a shoud on Clifford which makes Cliff invisible to those of a supernatural nature, such as the figure's top lieutenant or an old trickster spirit. For the latter, he walks right by Cliff and only notices, and jumping in surprise at his "appearance" when Cliff makes himself known. Why this has been done to protect Cliff is not known.

    Web Animation 
  • Flipnote Warrior: The Art Fairies and Anti-Sakuga can't be seen by regular people.

    Web Original 
  • In the Addergoole setting, a double layer of invisibility exists: fae can Mask to hide their unnatural appearance from other fae or fae-blooded, and something called the Blindness of the Gods hides such things from normal Mortals. Except on Halloween.
  • In Goodbye Strangers, the titular creatures can only be seen and physically interacted with by "sensitives". Sensitivity is an innate ability that cannot be learned, but unlike other examples of this trope, it has no genetical component and cannot be passed through generations. Additionally, for some reason ethnic, sexual, and religious minorities in a local area display more sensitives than the average.
  • Possibly the Ginosaji in The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon series. No one but his victim Jack seems to notice the creepy guy with white makeup and a black hoodie hitting someone with a spoon. When Jack tried to take a photo of the Ginosaji, the only thing that showed up was a strange blur.
  • Less is Morgue: Ghosts can only be seen or heard by people who are being actively haunted by one (as is the case with Riley and Evelyn), or by corporeal undead like vampires and zombies, or demons, or astrally projecting techbros, or are just blitzed out of their skulls. Okay, there's a lot of people on this podcast who can see ghosts.
  • In Moonflowers, the Chinese-American Ned Song is cursed by The Wild Hunt into a white wolf's form. Aside from Ogma O'Luain, who can speak to him but can't tell OTHER people about his true identity, everyone including his own daughter thinks that he's a giant white wolfdog. When he speaks to Ogma's granddaughter's cat, nobody hears their conversation. It's established that only gods/spirits and deceased humans can communicate with Ned.
  • In the Paradise setting, human characters are randomly, permanently changed into Funny Animals (and some are gender-swapped as well). After they Change, characters have an illusory full-body disguise of their old human selves where normal human beings are concerned (whether they like it or not), especially early on when the "Reality Distortion Field" is stronger. A man who turned into a female bear might look much like his old masculine self, just a little overweight — which means he will need to continue to dress like a man. Normals literally cannot tell anything has changed; only other Changed can see them as they are.
  • Most anomalies are completely visible to regular in the SCP Foundation setting, which is why they have to make extensive use of amnestics, but there are a small number of anomalies that only some people can perceive.
    • SCP-870 are predatory creatures that can only be seen by those who have schizophrenia, although each person who can see them describes them completely differently.
    • SCP-2256 are enormous creatures that are protected by an effect that keeps people from remembering them and so can only be seen by people using mnestics (which do the opposite of amnestics). It turns out however that studying them too much harms them because being perceived hurts them.
  • It seems the Slender Man is only seen when he wants to be seen and rarely shows himself to anyone besides his victims. People who don't know about him are usually safe. Thus, even if he were near right now, perhaps even looming over your shoulder as you read this, you wouldn't be able to see him.
  • The gods and demigods in Thalia's Musings, unless they choose to be seen and/or heard. Thalia claims to have used this power to stalk mortal men.

    Western Animation 
  • Angel's Friends, Angels and devils can't be seen, heard, or touched by humans until they take on human form. Though Raf isn't sure if this applies to dogs too...
  • Angel Wars: Humans lack the ability to see angels and demons unless the demons are specifically taking on a human form. It gets pretty ridiculous to see a giant demon's footprints crushing holes in the pavement in a city—the demon's father even calls him out about attracting unwanted attention.
  • Billy Joe Cobra in Dude, That's My Ghost! can't be seen or heard by anyone unless they're wearing something he had in life.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: The first time the Anti-Fairies appeared, they were this, with Cosmo and Wanda having to poof up special goggles so Timmy could see them. In their second appearance, this was dropped, and the second Jimmy Timmy Power Hour attempted to retcon it and then had Jorgen remove the power entirely.
  • On the final season of The Flintstones, the alien Great Gazoo is introduced. He is visible only to Fred, Barney, Pebbles, and Bamm-Bamm. He deliberately makes it so that Fred and Barney and "no one" else can see him, but explains that he's naturally visible to small children and animals when asked.
  • Gargoyles:
    • Demona occasionally used magic spells to prevent mundane people from noticing her or her accomplices. This eventually was done away with when she gained human shape-shifting abilities. Goliath and the other gargoyles simply relied on Plausible Deniability to keep themselves hidden, but eventually they were seen enough that the Masquerade fell.
    • Any member of the third race can do this as well, though usually they just shapeshift into a human form.
  • In Hilda, elves are only visible to people who fill out the proper paperwork.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee has it so only specific people can see supernatural happenings. Only people who are magical themselves can see magical beings, due to a 'veil' erected by the 'elders'. One of Juniper's tasks is to enforce this separation.
  • Magical Girl Friendship Squad: Only the hosts of the Mushruminations can see and hear the little creatures on their body. Nut can see them, being a goddess, but can't hear them. The ones that are growing on inanimate objects, however, are visible and audible to everyone.
  • Mike Tyson Mysteries has this in "House Haunters" when Marquess has the ability to see ghosts when no one believes that it is real.
  • Miraculous Ladybug has the renlings, "cousins" of the kwamis, who cannot be seen by anyone except for the wielder of the Prodigious.
  • Monster Allergy also has monsters invisible to normals. This is used to comedic effect in several episodes, as Elena, the main character's best friend, can't see the monsters, but tries to help out anyway. Later, she can finally see them thanks to Greta giving her the Gift of Sight. Ghosts, however, are visible to everyone because everyone who isn't a ghost are just "living ghosts".
  • Obituary: A Grave Beginning has June starting to see and hear ghosts after her parents were killed by a satellite 10 years ago. No one believes her that ghosts exist.
  • In The Smurfs (1981), Smurfette's pegasus friend Blue Eyes is only visible to Smurfette, which makes other people including her fellow Smurfs think that her friend is imaginary.
  • In the final battle of W.I.T.C.H., the heroines are forced to fight in downtown Heatherfield. Normally, such a battle would be easily noticeable, but the girls get around this by having three of their friends create, as Will put it, "one ginormous glamour zone" around the battle, making it appear to anyone standing nearby that the fight is merely a cartoon taking place on a large television screen which has been recently built on a nearby building. Of course, in order to maintain this illusion, they must still prevent any debris knocked around in the fight from crushing the people below.



The Trope Codifier in Japanese media are the Stands from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / FightingSpirit

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