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Laser-Guided Amnesia
aka: Mind Wipe

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Why, yes, I'd like a piece of your mind.
I'll take this one and that one...

Yuuichi: If you really have amnesia, then how come you said that you were never gonna forgive me?
Makoto: Look, all I do remember is that I have a grudge against you! I just don't remember anything else about my life, ya' got it?!
Yuuichi: I guess I never knew that amnesia could be so convenient.

As established elsewhere, amnesia comes up a lot in TV. Amnesia is an odd thing in the real world and can give you lots of strange symptoms.

In TV, it's very weird too, but it's much more specific. Amnesia has several basic attributes in TV land:

  1. With surgical precision, amnesia strips you of all information pertaining to personal identity, leaving just about everything else intact. TV Amnesia is a disorder where you forget where you put your keys, but you do not forget what a key is or what it's for. You will forget where you went to school, but not any of the things you learned in school. As a result, the character will retain all of their skills — though they may not know they have them at first.
    Interestingly, while this would seem to be Hollywood Science at first glance, this really is how retrograde amnesia works (well, some of the time). "Procedural memory", which governs skills that the brain has automated, appears to be separate from "declarative memory", where you store previous facts and events, and in many cases only one of the two is damaged. And then there's muscle memory, which may or may not be affected by amnesia.
  2. In a series with Plausible Deniability, amnesia typically also erases all knowledge of the Masquerade. The character will completely forget that aliens, monsters, vampires and such are real, but will remember that normal people don't believe in such things. This can seem especially odd since, if you don't remember anything, how do you know that aliens and werewolves are any stranger than the sun coming up in the morning and setting at night?note  Even more odd if the character is himself an alien or supernatural being and subsequently "defaults to Muggle" after losing his memory, which is typically the case for those with Alternate Identity Amnesia. Occasionally, this is paired with Fake Memories to create an elaborate deception.
  3. With very few exceptions, amnesia is always entirely retrograde: memory loss extends backward from the moment of injury. Anterograde amnesia (the inability to accumulate new memories) has only started to come up in recent years, usually in comedies. Amnesia usually extends back clean to birth. Real amnesia resulting from head trauma or drugs is usually confined to a short period on both sides (before and after) of the incident. In real life, if amnesia is long lasting then its almost always Anterograde Amnesia because memories are created in the hippocampus (more or less) but stored all over the brain, so Hippocampal damage can cause Anterograde, but it would take massive widespread damage to cause full Retrograde. Memento is one of the few works to depict Anterograde Amnesia, and does so with a fair bit of accuracy.
  4. If caused by a tool of the group the protagonists belong to, the likelihood of abuse of this power is almost never addressed. There's little interest, procedure, or advocacy devoted to making sure someone isn't stealing from, raping, killing or committing other crimes against Muggles and then erasing their memory of it. Hell, even if they only use it for its intended purpose, they're still tampering with people's minds often without their consent, and yet the ethical implications of this are completely ignored. After all, who cares about Muggles as long as the Masquerade is intact?
  5. The amnesia inducer works like a toggle switch (especially in the case of blunt force to the cranium). (Surgeon General's Warning: Definitely NOT Truth in Television.)

Very useful in maintaining that things are no big deal. To this end, it's pretty standard for The Men in Black to use this on anyone who's seen too much, often employing a Memory-Wiping Crew. Contrast Exposition Beam. Can cause an Amnesiac Hero to be born.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: Tales from the Vault: The Second Doctor encounters a gang staging robberies and then using an alien crystal to wipe the minds of any witnesses so they cannot remember any details of the robbery. The Doctor eventually uses the crystal to wipe the gang leader's memory of the crystal and how to use. Captain Matheson explains that UNIT Secret Ops now uses the crystal to remove memories of alien incursions and UNIT operations from people who are not amenable to other forms of coercion.

    Comic Books 
  • Achille Talon: Spoofed at the end of La Traversée du disert. The lieutenant policeman who helped the escaped convicts regrets his betrayal when they attempt to kill all hostages. After Talon punched the wannabe killers, lieutenant tells his sub-lieutenant (who was taken as an hostage) he can now arrest him. Sub-lieutenant smiles and answers the many explosions made him a little amnesic. It's obvious he actually means "I forgive you".
  • Amulet: Gablian is fond of using memory wiping as a tool, either using the threat of it to get information, or extracting the information anyway if the target refuses, leaving them in an amnesiac state that can take years to recover from. He's also responsible for wiping most of Luger's mind, and Trellis mentions that there are several unexplainable gaps in his memory.
  • Astro City:
    • Part of the reason the Broken Man has no allies against the Oubor is because it erases any and all evidence it was around, including visual records.
    • This is why Beautie cannot remember her origins, because Beautie was ordered to forget, after her creator was shamed by her creation. Worse, if Beautie tries to remember or uncover her origins, she soon forgets her quest.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman: Black and White: In "Guardian", Batman meets the Golden Age Green Lantern, now retired, and there's a scene where he reminisces to Batman about his days as Gotham's guardian hero, referring to his sidekicks and his colleagues in the Justice Society of America by their real names; a moment later, he adds, "You'll forget all these names in a minute, by the way", and Batman does. (The fact that this is ethically a bit dubious may be deliberate; he goes on to explain that the reason he retired was that he was worried that being able to avoid effort and overcome any problems just by wishing them away was beginning to erode his morality.)
    • Blackest Night: When Maxwell Lord is resurrected, the first thing he does is to use his Psychic Powers to mindwipe everyone on Earth of all of their memories related to him except for his old Justice League International teammates and the Blue Beetle scarab. He goes even further to maintain the illusion by implanting Fake Memories such as Ted Kord committing suicide and Ice trying to murder Guy. This causes still-unexplained plotholes, as several people implied affected expressly would not be given the storyline. While it's unlikely that, for instance, Kilowog would bring Max up in casual conversation, or that an egomaniac like Manga Khan would give Lord a second thought, Wonder Woman was expressly described as immune to his powers, which is why she was able to kill him in the first place. She's affected like all the rest. However, this is due to the fact, at the time Generation Lost was going on, Wonder Woman was going through a Cosmic Retcon which altered everything about her.
    • Catwoman: In the 1950s, this was used as the basis for a Heel–Face Turn, in the same story that introduced her now-canonical civilian persona of Selina Kyle.
    • The Flash: The third Flash, Wally West, after years of having his identity public, enlists the aid of the Spectre to erase everyone's memory of his secret identity. People remember both The Flash, and Wally West, but not that they are the same person. They even remember having known his identity, but for some reason can't recall it. In an unexpected side effect, this initially affects Wally himself.
    • Identity Crisis (2004): It's revealed that one of the reasons the JLA has been able to keep their identities secret over the years is by having Zatanna strategically erase the knowledge from the minds of any villains who find out. The story was set into motion years before when they attempted to forcibly reform Dr. Light via this method, and it went horribly wrong.
    • Infinity, Inc.: In a Post-Crisis story, Golden Age Wonder Woman's daughter Hippolyta Trevor (Fury) has trouble coping with the fact that not only was her mother and her father General Steve Trevor gone from the mortal realm to be with each other for eternity on Mount Olympus, but that her parents no longer existed in the Post-Crisis DC Universe that emerged. To help Lyta out, her fellow member Brainwave Jr. used his telepathic powers to erase any memory she had of her Pre-Crisis parents, eventually causing her to go on a quest where she discovered that she was the daughter of Helena Kosmatos, who in the Post-Crisis DC Universe was the Golden Age Fury, and that she was adopted and raised by Joan Dale Trevor, the Freedom Fighter known as Miss America, and her husband Admiral Derek Trevor. (The cover of the issue makes it look like Brainwave Jr. was subjecting Fury to a bit of Mind Rape.)
    • Justice League of America: One adventure introduces a villain who strongly weaponizes this, named Mnemon. Created as a memory recording device of infinite capacity based on a miniature black hole, it went insane shortly after going online and stole the memories of everyone on its planet of birth. This caused said planet's destruction because people forgot how to maintain extremely power energy reactors, causing planetwide meltdowns. Repeating this across who knows how many worlds, it styles itself both as The Collector of memories and a Mad Artist whose work is planetary destruction. When the League innocently investigate it's presence in their solar system, it hinders their efforts by strategically stealing knowledge from under them. It makes the Atom forget how to enlarge himself, John Stewart what a lantern ring is, the Flash how to slow down and Batman how to communicate the problem entirely. When Superman shows up it tricks Wonder Woman into fighting him by stealing her memories of him. It's ultimately defeated by Batman's quick thinking and an Ear Worm stuck in Atom's head.
    • New 52: In Stormwatch (2011), the Martian Manhunter wipes the memories of superheroes he's forced to interact with, so they don't know about Stormwatch. When he leaves the team, he wipes all their memories of him. He implies he's done this sort of thing before, which may be considered a Fridge Brilliance Retcon as to why Stormwatch think he's also been a conventional superhero, but the heroes he contacted have never heard of him; he's already wiped their memories of his public career!
    • Red Hood and the Outlaws: In #19, Red Hood has S'aru remove every single memory of his that The Joker touched to let him start anew. Unfortunately, this is almost everything he remembers. By the end, he doesn't have the slightest clue who Arsenal or Starfire are.
    • Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade: Belinda flicks a "memory erasure pressure point" on Lena Thorul's head, which makes her forget all about Supergirl's secret identity. Supergirl refuses to believe it worked. The actual amnesia was caused by Streaky the Super-Cat's psychic powers.
    • In Superman (Phillip Kennedy Johnson), Lex Luthor uses "Project Blackout" to erase the identities of both Clark and Jon Kent's Superman from the entire world because Clark never told him his identity before the rest of the world. The way it's set up, if anyone affected by it is confronted by any evidence that the two are Superman, their mind will try to reject it, eventually causing the person to suffer a heart attack and die. Yeah, Luthor is that petty.
    • Wonder Woman:
      • Wonder Woman (1942): The victims of Hypnota's quickest and most frequent form of telepathically induced brainwashing do not remember any part of their own history, including names, unless it's necessary to complete Hypnota's orders, and find that they cannot remember anything from while they were under it afterwards.
      • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): The gods made sure Diana couldn't return to Paradise Island by removing the precise location of it from her mind, and altering her memories allowing her to believe the fake Amazons and gods she encountered during the New 52 were real.
      • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Any non-Amazons who end up inside the magical barrier around Themyscira lose their memories of anything which happened there once they leave. This affects Steve Trevor but enough interaction with Diana eventually brings those memories back.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • In Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge story "Forget It!", Magica uses a wand that causes anyone hit by it to start forgetting things related to words they hear after they hear their name, and uses it on Scrooge and Donald Duck in her latest effort to steal Scrooge's #1 Dime. Hilarity Ensues as Donald and Scrooge forget how to use doors, stairs, and even how to stand up and walk due to Magica's spell. It backfires when she gets away with the dime, but the malfunctioning wand makes her forget why she wanted it in the first place!
    • In Carl Barks' "House of Haunts", Scrooge was also given amnesia by the Beagle Boys by a blow to a specific spot on his head. This gave Scrooge the specific amnesia of forgetting everything that happened since last November. Tapping again apparently is a complete cure.
    • In the Paperinik (Donald's superhero alter ego) stories, Paperinik has candies that wipe memories, normally slipped to people who have somehow found out Paperinik's Secret Identity (notably, the first known victim is the candies' own inventor Gyro, who took them willingly upon being told by Donald. Other stories in which Paperinik has to tell him always end with him wiping out his own memory once again). The candies also reappeared in Paperinik New Adventures, when Angus has stumbled on the secret of the Ducklair Tower and is slipped one after he tells the other journalists the admittedly ridiculous ending of the adventure (that Paperinik and allies had caused to make him not be believed).

      The candies also exist in a form that also acts as a sleeping agent, and a powder that acts as the second type (first used when some scammers found out and were too smart to take the normal candies but not to not open the pocket that sprayed the powder on their faces). They must also be preserved well, or may have unintended effects (such as the time Daisy found out the secret and was slipped damaged candies, and forgot about Donald but remembered that Paperinik was her boyfriend). Emotional shock and blunt trauma have occasionally allowed a partial recovery.
    • Also from Paperinik New Adventures, Everett Ducklair has ray guns that cause this effect (and planned to use one on Paperinik to make him forget what he knows of his secrets, but ends up using it on himself to forget Paperinik's secret identity in gratitude for him saving his daughter), and the Time Police is prone to enact memory wipes on people who know too much and are believed can't be trusted with their secret.
    • In Double Duck (set in the same continuity as Paperinik New Adventures) the Agency has the Total Reset Button, a treatment that erases someone's memory of something that is used on former members that quit (they also make them record a video message to prove their identity and that they were paid for their job in case they must recall them in service) or people who know too much. The Agency can reverse it, but it's a difficult procedure that doesn't guarantee full results. Like with Gyro's candies, the memory may sometimes be partially recovered through emotional shock.
  • Hex Wives: Isadora's memory is erased by the Mother of Witches after she discovers the latter because Aaron threatened to harm her otherwise.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Damage Control: One issue has the company hired to repair damage to Xavier's School For Gifted Children from a super-battle. After the repairs were completed and the crew paid, Professor Xavier used his telepathic powers to erase their memories of the school's location and students.
    • Daredevil (Charles Soule): Matt has somehow forced everybody in the world to forget that he is Daredevil. He only allowed his best friend Foggy to remember.
      • It's revealed that after a fight, the children of the Purple Man decided to "help" Matt by using a machine to broadcast their powers worldwide, telling everyone to forget Matt Murdock was Daredevil and DD was a hero. Matt himself didn't realize it until he went to visit girlfriend Kristen in costume and she was thrown, asking him if he wanted to leave a message with Matt. He went to Foggy to unmask, which caused Foggy to remember but Matt decided it was better Kristen and everyone else didn't.
      • This leads to complications with those DD knows. Elektra no longer remembers so she thinks she was "cheating" on Matt when she was with Daredevil. And Spider-Man notices holes in his memory and forces DD to admit what happened (although not his real name).
      • This actually works out for Matt when Wilson Fisk is elected mayor of New York. When Fisk offers Matt the position of Deputy Mayor, Matt realizes Fisk no longer remembers he's Daredevil and accepts, thinking this is the best way to get in close to Fisk's real plans.
    • Doctor Strange: Strange does this on occasion, usually to help people recover their sanity after stumbling into something their minds couldn't handle.
    • The Eternals: A recurring theme. The Eternals of Earth are a million years old and there have been many mistakes, schisms and revelations in that time. The great machine edits their memories to address this when they’re resurrected (e.g. Eternals know the civil war referred to as the Titan Schism occurred — they just can’t remember which side they fought for, or why).
    • The Incredible Hulk: In The Incredible Hulk (1962) issue #5, Betty Ross is kidnapped by baddies and taken to their underground lair. Hulk goes down and rescues her (at the time, the Hulk was intelligent), beats the baddies and proves that he's not evil after all. During the tram back up the mine shaft it's revealed that Betty has forgotten the whole event due to stress. This is while she's still in the same room as the guy who just rescued her.
    • Iron Man: Following one of the times his identity was made public, Tony uses a villain's mind control powers to wipe the memory of everyone on Earth. Notably, Doctor Doom was able to retain the knowledge. When Tony asks him how, Doom simply shows him: he wrote it down.
    • The Sentry: The Sentry's backstory says that he erased the entire world's memory of his existence. Himself included.
    • Spider-Man: This is used to explain how Peter was able to rehide his secret identity after Civil War. In One Moment in Time, he convinces Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Strange to help him fix this. A combination of Strange's magic, Reed's nanobots and Tony's Extremis link allow them to erase everyone's memories of Spidey's identity... except for Mary Jane's, which Peter makes sure doesn't happen and Kaine because the spell thinks he is Peter. Peter later broke the spell, unwittingly, during Spider-Island, when he revealed he was one of the many who had spider powers. The knowledge of who he is remains wiped from everyone's memory, but now others can find out.
    • Following Doctor Octopus’s time as the Superior Spider Man, he is restored to his original body following a deal with Mephisto. While Octavius had full access to Peter Parker’s memories during his time as Spider-Man and after he transferred his mind into an altered clone of Peter’s body, a side-effect of his deal is that Octavius has lost his memories of Spider-Man’s personal identity; even when he has an opportunity to analyse Norman Osborn’s memories, Octavius finds that he literally cannot perceive any memories of who is under Spider-Man’s mask.
    • Thunderbolts: When they have to kill Songbird, Headsman, Ghost and Paladin betray and defeat Scourge and Mr. X and let her escape. Ghost then removes this even from Scourge's and X's short-term memory.
    • West Coast Avengers: Agatha Harkness removes the Scarlet Witch's memories of her children after it is discovered they don't exist, because the trauma is too much for her to handle.
    • X-Men:
      • In the early days, this was Professor X's role, wiping the memories of anyone the X-Men fought. And sometimes, anyone else who knew too much (like the Human Torch). Or sometimes for no readily apparent reason (like everyone in Beast's hometown).
      • X-Men: Deadly Genesis reveals that Professor X wiped the knowledge of an entire team of X-Men from everyone's minds. Needless to say, when one of them is revived after M-Day, he is unimaginably furious. And so are the rest of the X-Men when they learn about it.
      • Uncanny X-Men: This is one of the powers of the Genoshan Magistrate Wipeout, along with erasing mutant powers.
    • Ultimate X-Men
      • Iceman tried to impress a girl by talking her about the school, and everything that happens in it, exposing its secrecy. Xavier had no option but to erase it all from the memory of both.
      • Charles wipes Magneto's mind after the first arc to prove he can be redeemed. The Brotherhood eventually find him and restore his memory, and Magneto is pretty damn pissed.
    • Wolverine: Virtually all of Wolverine's character and most of his plot arcs are based around his adventuring past which he cannot remember — or remembers wrongly. Around the time his origin was finally revealed, it came to light that his Healing Factor works in a psychological capacity as well, and actually scabs over especially hurtful memories.
  • Nemesis the Warlock: When Nemesis and Purity are waiting in the time wastes, she regains parts of her memory that Nemesis had wiped from her mind. She was recruited by Nemesis to spy on Torquemada after wooing him with a love spell. Though the real reason he made her forget this is because he had also admitted to her that he's far more cruel than he has made himself out to be, having intentionally prolonged the war out of boredom.
    Nemesis: Just because Torquemada is evil, don't assume that must mean that I'm good.
  • Planetary: Before Planetary recruited him to become the third man, Elijah Snow lived in a shack in the desert with gaps in his century-spanning memory you could "chuck a nuke through". His work with the field team leads him to prod at these gaps and learn that the mysterious Fourth Man behind Planetary is him, and that The Four forced him to allow the memory blocks after they captured him and his team.
  • Richie Rich: In a comic book story, when aliens accidentally kidnap Richie Rich when he was in a suit of gold that they take along with a host of other things made of gold from a museum the Riches own and trade all that stuff for diamonds, they hit Richie with a ray of amnesia when they return him to his world and depart so that he would not remember where the diamond stuff came from or why the gold stuff was replaced by diamond stuff.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Comic: When Super Sonic was split off from Sonic, he completely lost all memory of what he was. He forgot that he was an embodiment of pure malevolent evil. He even lost his super-super-speed and world-destroying powers because he forgot he had them and became just a regular kid for a while. Of course, Super Sonic being normal is exactly as interesting as it sounds, especially since he was portrayed as a borderline loser, and it didn't last.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Sonic suffers a bonk on the head and loses all memory of who he is. Dr. Robotnik takes advantage of it and turns him against the Freedom Fighters.
    • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW): This turns out to be the reason that Eggman disappeared after the events of Sonic Forces. His defeat in that game rendered him totally amnesiac, and he ended up in a small village where he became a friendly mechanic named "Mr. Tinker". Doctor Starline eventually tracks him down and abducts him with the intention of restoring his memories, though this only happens when seeing Metal Sonic triggers them.
  • Tintin: Flight 714: At the end Kanrokitoff hypnotically strips everybody of their memories of what happened. Except for Snowy, but he can't tell tales...

    Comic Strips 
  • Mandrake the Magician has had parts of his memory erased several times, usually by well-meaning, but condescending aliens and time-travellers who thinks it's too dangerous to let him remember all the fantastic things he has seen. The poor guy's had a lot of amazing adventures that he will never know about.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Snow-White-Fire-Red", Asbjørnsen and Moe's "The Mastermaid", and The Brothers Grimm's "The True Sweetheart", the hero forgets the heroine because of magic. It is at least as old as "The Dove", a tale published in the Pentamerone (1634).
  • This trope also appears in a series of fairy and folktales classified in the international Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index as tale type ATU 313, "The Magic Flight". A subset of variants contain the episode of the "Forgotten Fiancée": after the hero and the villain's daughter return to his kingdom, she warns him not to be kissed by anyone, lest he forgets about her. However, he is kissed by a human (e.g., his mother) or licked by his pet dog (which counts as being "kissed"), and he forgets about his adventures and his helper/lover.

    Films — Animation 
  • Happens to Barbie, Ken and Raquelle at the end of Barbie: A Fairy Secret. When all is taken care of, Princess Graciella sends the three home, but to ensure the fairies and Gloss Angeles will be kept a secret, something Raquelle obviously struggles with, she has their memories of the adventure erased and altered, so they think it was all a dream.
  • Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget: The mind-control collars seem to suppress chickens' memories in addition to altering their emotions. Neither Frizzle nor Ginger remember who Molly is after they've been collared, or anything else besides that they love the villain and being happy at Fun-Land Farms. The effect wears off as soon as the collar is removed, leaving the wearer unable to remember what they said and did while under the collar's influence.
  • When Elsa in Frozen (2013) accidentally hits her sister, Anna, in the head with her ice magic, her parents bring them to a troll colony to save her. The oldest troll then alters Anna's memories of Elsa's magic so she won't remember her sister has powers "to be safe". The grown up Anna later learns of Elsa's powers and accepts them, but she never regains her old memories.
  • In Hotel Transylvania, Dracula tries to do this on Johnny and fails due to Johnny's contact lenses blocking the effect.
  • The Incredibles:
    • Literal example in Jack-Jack Attack, and explicitly shown in a cut scene from The Incredibles. Plays a little like Mind Rape, since Huph is trying to hold on to the original version of the events.
    • It proves to be not quite laser-guided enough at the start of Incredibles 2 when Agent Dicker does the same thing to Tony, after Bob had told him that Tony had inadvertently seen Violet in costume but out of her mask. Dicker removes Tony's memory of having discovered Violet's identity, but in the process also inadvertently wipes his memory of agreeing to go on a date with her that Friday, resulting in her getting stood up. This causes some conflict between Violet and Bob when she realises what happened.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, Sunset Shimmer's Heel–Face Turn is erased from the memories of everyone else at Canterlot High (including her best friends), who only remember her as the Alpha Bitch that she used to be. When Sunset uses her Touch Telepathy to peer into their minds, she sees her friends remember all of the previous events of the series, just not Sunset turning good. It was the work of the Memory Stone, an Equestrian artifact which can selectively steal any memories the user wants, with no way to block it. The stone was used by the Big Bad Wallflower Blush, who was angry at Sunset for still ignoring her even after reforming. Sunset has her own memories stolen twice: first losing her memory of confronting Wallflower in the yearbook room, and then losing all her memories of high school and the human world when she saves her friends from the same fate.
  • The final resolution of Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension: all the kids agree to have their memories of the day wiped in order to keep Perry. Isabella used this to give Phineas a Forceful Kiss, knowing she wouldn't remember. Though Perry kept a secret stash of photos on his digital camera.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: The movie's villain, Spinel, has a Sinister Scythe-like weapon called a "rejuvenator" that was apparently used by Homeworld to "reset" disobedient Gems, erasing their memories and reverting them to their original intended roles. The original Crystal Gems get zapped, which causes Pearl to become an obedient servant who bonds to "Um-Greg Universe" as her new master, Sapphire and Ruby to revert to their pre-Garnet roles as an aloof seer and her bodyguard, and Amethyst to revert to a child-like Blank Slate who randomly shape-shifts into other people and parrots what they say. It has no effects on Steven's memories, but it does cause him to start losing control of his powers. When Spinel gets hit with her own weapon, she goes from being a vengeful Monster Clown to a friendly, happy-go-lucky jester. Unfortunately, this means she doesn't know anything about the enormous injector-like device she brought along that's threatening to wipe out all life on Earth, from why she wanted to use it in the first place to how to turn it off.
  • Used in Wreck-It Ralph by King Candy to make everyone forget that Vanellope Von Schweetz is the actual ruler of Sugar Rush instead of a glitch.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Absolutely Anything: Neil wipes people's memories several times of the inexplicable things he does with his powers.
  • Discussed in The Adjustment Bureau. The adjusters threaten to reset David: "Your emotions, your memories, your entire personality will be expunged."
  • In The American Society of Magical Negroes, when Aren's budding romance threatens the existence of the society, he is threatened with having his memories erased if he continues.
  • The Beastmaster: Arklon is able take people's memories for his own use in the sequel.
  • The entire Bourne (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum) series of films have a protagonist who has amnesia induced by a psychotic break while on a mission. His amnesia could be organic as well as psychological, since it's implied that he and his fellow assassins are/were taking some sort of medication to supplement their conditioning, and he's obviously not taking it anymore. It could be why he can't recover any of his memories, despite his best efforts.
  • A strange mix of anterograde and retrograde amnesia is played for laughs in Clean Slate, where Dana Carvey's character has forgotten his entire past and forgets the events of each day as soon as he goes to sleep.
  • In Cypher, Applied Phlebotinum is used as a brainwashing tool in order to turn employees of a MegaCorp into unknowing corporate spies. Whilst they don't completely forget about their formers lives, the corp makes their new "fake" lives such a facsimile of the old one that they never notice.
  • The central premise of Dark City (1998). A man wakes up with no memories of his identity, but has lingering emotional resonance with certain people and places. How much of his personality is truly his remains a mystery — it's implied that his love for his wife is genuine, but at the same time, he's also driven to visit Shell Beach, a place everyone's visited but nobody can describe its location. It doesn't exist, until the end when he makes it exist. He finds his mindwiped wife there, and the movie ends before revealing whether her feelings toward him were genuine or induced.
  • One skillfully executed example is the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which concerns a company that can specifically erase your memory of a particular person, used (for example) when a subject wishes to forget a devastating love affair. The explanation of the process is mainly technobabble, but is believable and internally consistent, with some noticeable secondary memory loss.
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore: Grindelwald takes out Kama's memory of Leta, and then dissipates it.
  • The plot of The Forgotten revolves around the protagonist realizing that no one remembers that her missing son even existed (even her husband), except for her. In the end, she discovers that it's all a part of an alien experiment to test parental connection to their children. She's the outlier, who retains her memories, even when the alien manages to forcibly rip the memories of her son's life from her. Luckily, she still remembers being pregnant, causing the memories to come back. The alien is punished by his superiors for his failure, and her son is brought back, along with the other kids.
  • Johnny Mnemonic: When Johnny had his brain implant installed, only the memories of his childhood were removed.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, the space police and bounty hunters come standardly equipped with the ability to make people on the worlds they're visiting forget any of the things they see that are out of the ordinary, including inducing laser-guided amnesia and building back structures that were damaged in combat that the visitors were involved in. However, the fact that people that may have been killed during the fight wasn't brought up.
  • Invoked in the Korean Lost And Found 2008. After a car accident reunites her with her high school crush, the protagonist pretends to have amnesia so that he'll have to take of her. Her doctor lampshades it, saying she seems to have gotten "TV amnesia" that wiped her memory but left all her other skills intact.
  • In The Matrix Resurrections, Neo and Trinity are seen Back from the Dead, with no memory of the events of the original Matrix trilogy and living ordinary lives under the names Thomas Anderson and Tiffany, seemingly inside the Matrix. However, Thomas/Neo does experience flashes of his old life and has adapted them into a massively popular video game series. It's revealed that, indeed, the machines had revived Neo and Trinity and used them to power the next iteration of the Matrix, suppressing their memories of their old lives, but keeping the two of them close enough together as a way of generating more energy from them. By the end of the film, they've both unlocked their old selves and regained their powers (and then some, in Trinity's case). Smith is also shown to have become a victim of this as well.
  • The Neuralizer from Men in Black, also known as the "flashy thing". It can be set for a specific length of time and leaves the victim in a brief trance so a cover story can be planted to maintain Plausible Deniability. Agents are also issued special sunglasses to prevent accidental self-neuralization.
  • In Monster!, a town is trapped in a cycle where every three years the title Monster resurrects and is killed by Lloyd after it escaped from the franchise of movies he made, enforcing B-Movie rules on the town for the duration of its rampage. One aspect of this is that when the Monster is killed and the 'movie' ends, everyone in town except Lloyd loses their memories of its existence and the people it killed simply cease to exist.
  • Once Upon a Time (2017): Jumping off the Execution Platform erases Bai Qian's memories of being Su Su and marrying Ye Hua.
  • The Paycheck film features literally Laser Guided Amnesia (neurons destroyed with lasers), as a method to prevent engineers to trade out top secret technology after finishing their assignment.
    • It also appears to work flawlessly, but can only be used for erasing short periods of time (up to a few weeks). For longer periods, they switch to a chemical agent which is supposed to do the same job. It doesn't work quite as well, leaving behind pieces of memories.
    • In the original Philip K. Dick short story, this is basically what motivates the protagonist to have to seek out the company that hired him and a find a way back in, since the memories are literally burned meaning there's no way to co-operate with the police (who know he's been up to something illegal) and thus avoid prosecution.
  • In the 2009 film Push, there exist people called Wipers, who can temporarily or permanently erase memories, useful as there are other people in that universe who can read minds and memories. Wipers can wipe all memory up to a certain point, or try to wipe only certain memories relating to specific topic, but the accuracy of the wipe is determined by their skill. Pushers can do the opposite and convince someone that a specific event really happened, when it really didn't (then again, this is just a more effective means of something humans can already do perfectly well, since memory is a very pliable thing). They can also convince someone that something didn't happen, making them think that the real memory was imagined.
  • Replicas: William erases all memory of Zoe, his youngest daughter, since he was unable to save her along with the rest of his family and didn't want it to be traumatizing for them.
  • Happens to Alice and Spence Parks in Resident Evil (2002) as a side effect of being rendered unconscious by sleep gas.
  • The main plot of Spider-Man: No Way Home kicks off when Peter requests Doctor Strange use a spell to erase his public unmasking from the minds of the populace in order to restore Ned, May and MJ's regular lives. However, when Strange doesn't clarify that they would be affected by the spell too before getting started, it results in Peter interrupting several times to try and carve out exceptions, eventually causing the spell to go haywire. Strange contains it, but not before the fabric of reality is loosened enough that several characters from other universes are pulled through to theirs. At the end of the film, the corrupted spell escapes containment and nearly breaks open the multiverse completely; to stop this, Peter agrees to Strange using a spell that erases Peter Parker himself from the memories of the entire MCU, though Spider-Man remains known.
  • In Superman II, among many other superpowers that pop up out of nowhere, Superman is revealed to have the ability to remove specific memories with a kiss. This becomes a bit more disturbing in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, where he comes pretty close to using this power as a date rape drug.
  • Vamps: Vampires can compel people to forget specific memories with their hypnotic eyes.
  • In White Tiger, "Naydenov" cannot remember his true name, his military unit, his date of birth or where he went to school. He can remember how to drive a tank, though.
  • In The Wolfman (2010), it's not so much that he forgot, but rather Lawrence's memories were rewritten so that real memories of his werewolf father killing his mother were made to appear that she had killed herself with a razor.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine features quite possibly one of the most painful instances of this trope. An antagonist loads a gun with Adamantium bullets, knowing he can't kill Wolverine with them, but intends to give him Laser Guided Amnesia by shooting him in the head. He succeeds, wiping Wolverine's memory with no other side-effects. Wolverine's "memories don't grow back", but his ability to speak, read, walk, recognize police cars, hide from police cars, etc, do.
    • In X-Men: First Class, Charles uses a kiss goodbye to wipe out Moira's memories the last few weeks, and of where he and the newly formed X-Men are. This is notably against his current philosophy in the comics, but very much in keeping with his modus operandi in the comics produced in the early 1960s.

  • Infinity Game:
    • The previous DM erased all of Trishia's memories (which he created in the first place) and made her Dwarven Defender 00 (D.D.) so she could serve the next Game Master. When Long Wei, the new Game Master, keeps up his DM title so he can enter the game he created, he makes D.D. control the game and forget who the Game Master is so the game is fair.
    • At the end Long Wei does this to the rest of the team. As the RPG Society are trying to take over the alternative world with their previous game (so the players who were erased could come back — of course, doing this erases the current players, even if they're already dead) they froze the flow of time and the war between the them and Long Wei was slow, if he waited until after the war to bring them back to life and send them to the real world it'd be fifty years in the future. He hopes doing this will mean they aren't traumatised by all the events, but they're all vaguely aware something isn't right.

  • In the third chapter of's story, Black is rescued by the Sleepwalkers when his supervisor tries to erase Black's identity after he learned too much about his supervisor's operations. However, they were either too late or blanked out part of his memory, as he later can't even recall them ("Sleepwalkers?... never heard... what are they?") them and has trouble remembering his name later on.

    Myths & Religion 
  • What certain Christians believe God will do for those who are in Heaven to relieve them of the misery of seeing their loved ones suffer eternally in the Lake of Fire — that He will wipe away even the memory of those people so that those in Heaven will experience nothing but eternal joy.

  • The Adventure Zone: Balance: The voidfish has the power to erase people's memories of everything it eats to Cosmic Retcon levels. These memories can be restored by drinking its fluids, by dying, or when the voidfish beams the memories across the planar system.
  • In The Chimera Program arc of Cool Kids Table. November, aka Forget-Me-Not, from cannot be remembered by most people when they’re not looking at her. The main characters have some resistance to this, with the exception of Golden.
  • Edith from Interstitial: Actual Play can't remember anything about her past, with the only clue being the Gadget toy she held on to after being sucked out of her world.
  • Parodied in episode six of Mystery Show, when Starlee jokes about a conspiracy revolving around the Welcome Back, Kotter lunchbox, including witnesses having their memories wiped.
  • Tellie from Sequinox forgot most of the information it needed to tell the Sequinox girls because Caiden ran over it when it first appeared to him. It slowly regains memories, usually right after they could have been useful.
  • Welcome to Night Vale: It turns out Cecil can't remember anything of his teen years, including his internship at Night Vale Community Radio and his brother.

  • Journey into Space: This trope is given a Time Travel variation in Journey to the Moon / Operation Luna. Once they return to their own time, the Luna crew lose all memory of everything that happened after they saw the Time Travellers' fleet on the dark side of The Moon. However, both Lemmy and Doc experience a sense of Déjà Vu.
  • Our Miss Brooks: "Mr. Conklin is Honored" begins with Mrs. Davis relating her sister Angela's recent brush with laser-guided amnesia. Later, Mr. Conklin fakes a case of his own.

  • In The Caligula Effect Placebo, the Musicians have the ability to do this to others. 666 wipes Maya's memories twice, both times erasing whatever memories she had of her time thus far in Mobius. She leaves the Go-Home Club after the second time and pulls a Face–Heel Turn after her memories are restored. Also, Vani-Q gets his memories of 666 erased by Yves, but he eventually gets them back.
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Through the use of her telekinetic spear Severance, Harriet can affect the memories of others, either causing them to degrade or manipulating them.
    • One potential use of Jessica's Compelling Voice is ordering people to forget things. She's used this to make a group of boys forget that she had controlled them, and then again on one of the teachers when she comes across Zia using her psychic power.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The "Forget" spell as its most basic, and a whole slew of other memory-erasing or memory-rewriting spells from non-core books, like "Forget Past" (Oriental Adventure), "Otto's Tones of Forgetfulness", "Rary's Memory Alteration" (Greyhawk Adventures), "Modify Memory", "Memory Wrack" (Tome of Magic), "Brainkill" (The Complete Book of Necromancers), the psionic science "Mindwipe" (The Complete Psionics Handbook), etc.
    • Holy slayers (assassins) in Al-Qadim sometimes use a "Blade of Forgetfulness": everyone seeing it swung in a certain pattern suffers a complete memory lapse regarding everything that just happened and is about to happen (up to 3 rounds before and after). Not too hard to guess what sort of events tend to be forgotten this way, is it? Those attacked with such swords are very likely to shake off this effect, but usually this doesn't matter anymore.
    • The Dark Powers of Ravenloft do this to beings in the Demiplane of Dread quite regularly, mostly to preserve certain conditions. For example, anyone who takes up residence in the domain of Darkon will forget having ever lived anywhere else within a few months of doing so, and will believe that they and their ancestors have always been from there.
    • The Shadow that transports people, things and beings too monstrous to fall under the people category from undefined fantasy worlds to Earth in the Urban Arcana setting for d20 Modern as a side-effect also strips their memories of any details of those worlds — in effect, they know who they are, but not where they come from beyond Standard Fantasy Setting.
  • In GURPS Black Ops, the agents of "The Company" have a drug they can slip to someone who has Seen Too Much. They get what seems to be a nasty one-week case of flu, and forget what happened right before getting drugged. The Infinity Patrol from GURPS Time Travel have Eraser, which fits this trope even better — the drugged person blacks out for a bit, and wakes up without memory of the time immediately preceding the drugging. In Black Ops the existence of aliens and monsters must be kept secret, and the Infinity Patrol cannot let anyone know that parallel universes exist.
  • Jace Beleren from Magic: The Gathering is a mind mage, and inflicting amnesia is just one of his many mental powers. Just one example: Jace, the Mind Sculptor's ultimate ability wipes its targets' minds clean of all their spells, deleting their decks and blocking access to their hands.
  • Mages in Shadowrun can learn a spell called Alter Memory, which allows them to do exactly that: alter a single memory, including suppressing it entirely, although the subject can recover it either through willpower or magical help. The government of Tír Tairngire cultivates a fruit called laésal, which can be processed into laés, a drug that can erase up to twelve hours of memory upon consumption and that erasure is complete; it actually "formats" the physical storage of short-term memory in the brain. Leäl is a street drug derivative commonly used as a date-rape drug that removes up to two hours of memory. Cutting cocaine with leäl creates "pixie dust." Snorting it grants increased Charisma, Perception, and High Pain Tolerance, but also shreds your nasal cavities; fortunately, it removes the last few minutes of memory so you won't recall the agony.
  • Both Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem have a power called The Forgetful Mind as part of the Dominate Discipline. It allows the vampire to go in and literally rewrite a person's memories by telling them what "really" happened. It's usually used to protect the Masquerade; however, it's made clear that it only really works on more recent memories, and if the account isn't completely comprehensive, cognitive dissonance will ensue.
  • The new M-X-Saber Invoker who suddenly joined the X-Sabers in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG? He's actually Souza, but he lost most of his memories.

  • In Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Siegfried is drugged to forget that he ever met Brunnhilde, but remembers killing the dragon Fafner and all his other early deeds (closely following the plot first found in Völsunga saga). Later, Siegfried steals the Ring from Brunnhilde, but promptly forgets this.
  • Fuddy Meers: The condition that Claire has, wiping her memory clean every day. Interestingly enough, she can recall distant memories easily with a little help.
  • In Jasper in Deadland, drinking the water of the River Lethe erases your memories the more you drink.

    Visual Novels 
  • Three times in the Ace Attorney series.
    • Case 1 of Justice for All begins with Phoenix getting hit in the head by a heavy fire extinguisher, causing him to forget who he is as a convenient way to do the tutorial. He gets his memories back by the end of the case.
    • The fourth game has Lamiroir who has forgotten that her real name is Thalassa Gramarye and that she is the mother of Apollo Justice and Trucy Wright (formerly Trucy Gramarye prior to being adopted by Phoenix). She gets her memories back at the end of the game.
    • The DLC case of Spirit of Justice features a very serious example as a major plot point. One of the most important witnesses is Sorin Sprocket, the defendant's fiancé, who suffers from severe anterograde amnesia after being in a nigh fatal car crash that killed his sister. Because of this he meticulously writes down everything that happens in his notebook so as not to forget it when he wakes up the next day. When it's discovered that the notebook might have been tampered with he understandably panics, frantically flipping through the notebook trying to figure out which of his memories are real and which are fake.
  • In Aselia the Eternal - The Spirit of Eternity Sword before the story started Yuuto made a Deal with the Devil to save his little sister. The game starts when the devil in question (a sentient weapon) forces him to complete the contract and at the same time restores his memory of having made the deal. Later, Tokimi wipes his memory again when said sword is destroyed and he is rendered unable to fight.
  • A justified version comes from Another Code, where the Trace device has this as one of its functions as a memory control machine. The intent was for it to be used to help remove particularly traumatic memories from people like soldiers or victims.
  • A Star in Her Eyes: The Downer Ending has Lyra brainwash Clodius and make him forget about her accepting his confession.
  • Danganronpa:
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, 14 of the 15 students of Hope's Peak Academy lost their memories of the two years they spent together. This also erased their memories of "The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History" or "The Tragedy" for short. The only student who did not lose her memory was the mastermind behind The Tragedy and her twin sister, the secret 16th student. However, even though Toko lost her memories, her Split Personality Genocider Syo/Genocide Jack did not.
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the students were also subjected to the same memory loss like the previous cast, but also they're the members of Ultimate Despair who were given the memory loss on the hopes to undo the control Junko Enoshima placed on them.
    • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, all the students were (supposedly) ordinary people who wanted to become part of the Danganronpa show, and willingly accepted Fake Memories to become entirely different people. Though how much of this is true or false is open-ended.
  • In Duel Savior Destiny for the resolution of Mia Touma's route, she has her memories wiped at the end so that she doesn't have to bear the weight of events that occurred in her storyline.
  • In Fate/stay night, Heavens Feel route, Shirou gets a form of anterograde amnesia when he loosens the binding on Archer's arm. It becomes more typical retrograde amnesia later on.
  • In Nameless after a Deal with the Devil Nameless gains the ability to do this by ripping out the pages of the protagonist's diary. Fortunately, she gets better.
  • In Rewrite this is one of Shizuru's powers. In addition Kotarou starts the main story with this.
  • A sequence in the end-game of Spirit Hunter: NG has Kakuya wiping Akira's memories of Seiji and Kaoru, out of jealousy that he's closer to them than he is to Kakuya.
  • In To the Moon it is revealed that Johnny's mom made him take beta blockers in his childhood in order to make him forget everything before that, including his dead twin brother Joey, it is heavily implied that the reason for this was to mold Johnny as Joey's Replacement Goldfish in his mom's mind.
  • In the visual novel True Remembrance, destroying memories is used as a method of treating depression.
  • Shiki in Tsukihime had his previous memories of his life among the Nanaya clan magically erased by Makihasa after his incident with SHIKI. In fact, he doesn't even remember they existed for the most part and initially thinks of himself as SHIKI, the real son of Makihasa Tohno. Later, Akiha informs him that his memories cannot be replaced and that all records of his previous life were destroyed years ago. But he doesn't really care.

    Web Animation 
  • Elements of Justice: Coco Pommel was knocked out when a crime occurred, meaning her memories of the event are hazy. She remembers everything just in time to jump to Suri's defense when she's accused.
  • Love of the S*n: When objects get recovered, they forget everything about the S*n to maintain the Masquerade.
  • The Alpha AI introduced to viewers in Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction deliberately severed its memories from itself some time ago as a coping mechanism for the torture inflicted upon it by Project Freelancer. Those severed memories formed the Epsilon A.I., which merely "suppressed" them (after going insane for a period).
  • RWBY: Thanks to After the Fall, viewers now know that this is Yatsuhashi's semblance. He has the ability to remove memories as he sees fit, but rarely uses his ability due to a belief that memory is something that should be held dear.

  • Ansem Retort has Sora hit by this so frequently and so heavily that at this point his brain makes pumice look solid.
  • Several varieties of this exist in Blip: both witch spells and vampire breath are capable of erasing memories. K also has dream amnesia, where she regularly has lucid dreams, but can only remember them as she's dreaming.
  • In Bob and George, this is why some characters don't remember encountering their future selves.
  • In the Buildingverse both Aziraphale and Crowley (Girls Next Door) and Jareth (Roommates) can do this but in different ways (the former two mind wipe you the later manipulates your time perception the effect is quite similar) and success rate (Jareth failed once). Both comics played with and lampshaded the dubious morality of this.
  • Earthsong features this trope on any character arriving there, due to the transport process. They still have a "remnant," a memory of the last thing they did before being transported to Earthsong. The two known exceptions to this pattern are Nanashi, who remembers everything of her past life after having wielded the Sideran weapons, and Willow, who doesn't even have a remnant. Considering that Willow is Earthsong's Eve, she probably never had a memory to lose yet.
  • After Wanda finishes interrogating Jillian in Erfworld, the guard comments on the "fascinating" things he overheard and tries to ask a few questions. Wanda tosses some magic powder in his face and tells him, "You heard only the screams for mercy."
  • In Errant Story, when the elf Sarine has some emotional memories of her human husband and half-elf child come up one night, her human traveling companion Jon confronts her. Impulsively, she jumps him. The next day, when he awkwardly tries to bring it up, she casts a memory charm on him, leaving him deeply distrustful of her. He can tell that his memories were manipulated somehow, and whatever was removed, he assumes, must have been far worse than a one-night stand.
  • In Fleep, the amnesia is so laser-guided that the affected character doesn't even realize he has amnesia (at first). He walks into a phone booth in San Francisco; several years later, he wakes up inside a phone booth on a completely different continent — and with no memory of the intervening events, he thinks he's still in that booth in California.
  • In Freefall, Ecosystems Unlimited developed a number of devices to induce retrograde and anterograde amnesia in Bowman's Wolves. Justified as they created the species and specifically designed them to respond to the devices. A remote emits a sound that knocks the subject out and erases the last few minutes of her memory, while a drug paralyzes the hippocampus for several hours preventing the formation of long-term memory. Hilarity Ensues when Florence is given the drug and ends up wandering the E.U. facility with no idea what she's doing, trying to keep track of thoughts with sticky notes. Defied later by Henri Le Mer when it's suggested that he give one to Florence to keep the secrets she's learned at the South Pole hidden. He points out that one of the things she'd be likely to do upon realizing she lost a chunk of her memory is investigate what happened with her memory loss (which, unbeknownst to Henri, is exactly what she did in the above instance). He noted that simply ordering her to keep it secret (as Ecosystems Unlimited also programmed her to obey orders from recognized authority) would be more likely to work.
  • In Free Spirit (2014), a witch travels to Earth every 100 years to grant a random mortal's wish. Once she finishes granting the wish, and returns to her homeworld, the mortal and anyone else that the witch encountered forgets about meeting her.
  • Funny Farm: Mavis forgets two years of her life thanks to a time bomb subconsciously implanted by a cult hypnotist. Later, Boe gets short-term amnesia from an explosion, causing him to forget what happened just prior, including his realization of his love for Mileena. Eventually, he remembers that there was some sort of love confession, though the details are fuzzy. The trope's subverted when it's revealed that the apparent amnesiac is not Boe at all, but Orwell pretending to be Boe and using amnesia as an excuse to not remember specifics.
  • One of the more common side effects of ending a demonic possession in The Greenhouse, and so far it's never been clean. Liv can't remember her brother at all, leaving her completely unable to process the overwhelming grief she still feels for his death. Mica might have it even worse, since there are no pictures or other physical proof that Red ever existed, making her feel like she's losing her mind (the Cute Little Fangs she's developed due to Red's influence help a little). Both are tormented by an unusually dark form of Wistful Amnesia, as they're forcibly reminded that there used to be something extremely important to them that is now completely lost.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote removes the memory of Ysengrin's insane attack on Antimony from his mind, against his will. This apparently isn't the first time this has happened, by far.
  • Impure Blood. Why bribe them when you can just take their memories?
  • Early in The Kingfisher, Helen is used by Vitus as a one-woman Memory-Wiping Crew, giving Marc Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Jigsaw in Last Res0rt has a relatively realistic bout of amnesia surrounding how she became a vampire. To complicate matters, she then apparently proceeds to feed in her sleep, allowing her to go for almost three months before Daisy actually has the presence of mind to just TELL HER she's a vampire.
  • Leif & Thorn has characters forget the existence and appearance of the resident man-in-black type between encounters. She has to arrange for them to remind themselves that she exists.
  • Averted in Miamaska: Amity suffers a concussion and has memory problems of what happened for the next six days. She still has fuzzy memories of what occurred beforehand, though.
  • The Organization in Memorabilia has Laser-Guided Amnesia as one its of many futuristic sci-fi abilities. This leads to an Amnesiac Hero.
  • Mixed Myth actually came up with two clever explanations for why the Sphinx Tamit can't remember anything besides her name. Her first explanation is that, since she's immortal, she has to periodically remove her memories with magic to prevent being overwhelmed. It's eventually revealed that this isn't true, and that she's the Anthropomorphic Personification of Mystery, so she's cursed to be a mystery to herself—remembering her true identity triggers the magic that causes her to immediately forget everything.
  • In Mob Psycho 100, Mob gets hit with this after getting trapped in Mogami's false world, forgetting his psychic powers and his time with Reigen.
  • morphE begins with 8 normal humans waking up inside crates in the back of a truck. When they discuss their last memories the only interesting thing anyone can remember is that they were working on a missing person investigation and saw a bright blue flash.
  • Off-White has a self-imposed example. Iki deliberately forgot his life as Skoll, the sun chaser. It took a encounter with his brother Hati for him to remember.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Oracle has a charm on his valley that prevents supplicants from remembering anything of their experience there, other than the answer they received for their questions. Among other things this keeps it unknown that the Oracle is a mere kobold who is less than helpful to his customers. Roy (in ghost form) is able to bypass this when he is banished from the valley back to the afterlife.
    • Roy exploits this when being judged for entry into the Lawful Good Heaven and his treatment of the Oracle is brought up as a mark against him.
      Bureaucratic Deva: Dangling an oracle out of a window?
      Roy: Really? I don't remember that one.
    • Also, after his resurrection, Roy cannot remember well any of the time he spent in Lawful Good Heaven (though he remembers the pre-Heaven limbo).
    • Thor reveals to Durkon that the gods scrub the outsiders' memories every time they reset the world so they don't go nuts.
  • Sam & Fuzzy: As revealed during the "Noosehead" arc, Fuzzy lost all memories related to his own identity a few years prior to the start of the comic. He kept a lot of non-personal information and motor reflexes (as well as a lot of skills related to thievery and bluffs), but no clues as to his own identity. It's later revealed that this kind of amnesia can happen randomly to anyone who has their mind drained by a Tar Demon, as well as humans who get exposed to the Tar.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Petey (the A.I. of a space battleship) is ordered to "repress and deny" all instances of the "ghost in the plumbing" incident, so that he doesn't go insane an kill everyone on board.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the Harry Potter-style wizards have the Forgetyoubliviate spell for this. It's used to erase Torg's memories of Hoggelrynth, and one inadvertently erases everyone's memories of Millard Stoop.
  • In Spacetrawler, one of the ways the underground Mihrgoots hide their existence from outsiders is by erasing the memories of anyone who encounters them.
  • In The Spider Cliff Mysteries, characters forget that a single day occurred. This was self-inflicted.
  • In TwoKinds, Trace Legacy's is erased in a mysterious battle, and tries to regain his memories. He decides to stop trying because of what he finds.
  • As part of the brainwashing Chibi-Usa and Endymion went through in Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc, they forgot who Usagi even was. As far as they were concerned, she was merely an impostor, and Chibiusa had always been Queen of Crystal Tokyo.
  • In Witches Among Humans, Luz has no memory of exactly how she would up in the Human World.

    Web Original 
  • The TRD in Chrono Hustle use this to protect the timeline be erasing memories people shouldn't have. The TDD on the other hand use this to keep themselves secret, as well as whatever it is they are doing to the timeline.
  • On two occasions in Funny Business, Jeannette erases an event from her parents' memories. Both instances being rather traumatic for all involved, she rationalizes this behavior as being for the best, even though she doesn't like using her powers on other people.
  • The Agents of LISDEAD are all mind-wiped from their parents' memories, from the memories of all their parents' family, and from all the surrounding community and records. From birth.
  • In The New Narnia, after Tommy's adventures in Malacus, he would forget them as though they were regular dreams. As time goes on, he retains information about it until he remembers everything by the time he meets Charlie.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The Foundation makes extensive use of amnesia-inducing drugs, or "amnestics," which come in (at least) three different flavors: class A, class B, and class C. One erases just memories of the recent past, one erases memories of both recent and medium term past, and one erases pretty much all memories. However, the writers can't agree on whether or not class A is the least powerful or most powerful kind.
    • The Foundation also has a class of drugs called "mnestics" which do the opposite of what amnestics do; they provide resistance to many memory-erasing SCPs, allow for the recovery of some erased memories, and also provide resistance to many Perception Filters. The most powerful of these drugs, the Z-Class, will cause a person to be biologically incapable of forgetting anything for the remainder of their life (which can be measured in hours, as Z-Class mnestics invariably end up inducing fatal seizures within less than a day).
    • When being Necessarily Evil to save the world is taken to horrifying extremes, the personnel who Did What They Had To Do can ask to have their memories of what they did wiped.
    • If a Brown Note has only mental effects, there's a good chance the victim can be cured simply by erasing all memories of being exposed to the Brown Note.
    • The Foundation has SCP-055, "the Self-Keeping Secret". As soon as anyone walks out of the room containing SCP-055 they forget any facts about it; same goes for looking away from a photo of it. No one can even remember that they're in possession of an amnesia inducing entity: Foundation personnel will frequently come across the SCP-055 database entry, freak out about the fact that there's an unknown entity right inside their base, and then promptly forget about it.
      • In general, the Foundation has encountered enough anomalies like SCP-055 to have a term for them: "antimemes," ideas that discourage or prevent people from spreading them.
    • SCP-1655 ("Sorrow Tick"). When it bites a person, everyone that person knows suffers a very selective form of amnesia that applies only to the victim. They don't remember the person, can't sense them in any way, and if touched by the person they feel increasing disgust and discomfort.
    • Amnestics are so commonly used in the SCP universe that the third milestone entry, SCP-3000, is entirely based around their origin and what it costs to make them. SCP-3000 is a gigantic moray eel that rarely moves, and simply looking at it can slowly erode someone's memories. Upon devouring a human being, it secretes a compound that the Foundation uses to make amnestics, so they exploit it by deliberately feeding it D-Class personnel — something heavily objected to by the Ethics Committee, but ultimately the Foundation relies too much on the amnesiacs to stop doing it.
    • SCP-3933 is "Toxic Soul", a song by a Glam Rock band from the late seventies called Tyrannosaurus Flex. Listening to a recording of the song performed by the original band members has the unfortunate side effect of making listeners, even close family and friend, unable to perceive the band members, or even remember that they ever existed.
  • The reason Myosotis became The Trader of Stories — she has amnesia and wants to discover what she's forgotten and why.
  • Neither Juliana nor Shalise can remember how they ended up in Hell in Void Domain.
  • Worm:
    • Bonesaw of the Slaughterhouse Nine creates a plague which inflicts a form of retrograde amnesia. Specifically, a condition called "agnosia", in which a person technically keeps all their memories but is unable to connect them to what they see or hear. In other words, you could remember all the details about your father and your time with him, but be unable to recognize him if he was standing right in front of you. She uses it against the heroes and villains that have gathered to destroy the Nine as a final resort. The heroes and villains fall apart as while they remember they're fighting the Nine they can't recognize who's in the Nine.
    • Every parahuman sees a vision of two massive entities when they or somebody nearby triggers, though the content varies. Aside from Miss Militia they immediately forget what they saw or even that they saw it. This is a safety measure installed by Scion to prevent humans learning too much about the nature of the entities.
    • The Eden entity had planned to use this as part of her Long Game, removing any memories or thoughts that would make others suspicious of her.

    Web Videos 
  • Crossed Lines: Atlas' Story Arc revolves around trying to regain his memories of where he used to work before coming to the Waterdown Railway. He starts doing so in episode 5, when he goes with Zebedee and Ince Castle to the Masronry Bridge Railway.
  • When JonTron attempts to review Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Jacques immediately does a mind wipe on him to make him drop the review. It backfires since it only made Jon mistake it for a new Banjo-Kazooie game.
  • In the KateModern episode "I can't remember anything!", Kate realizes she has no memories of anything that happened that day, the 3rd of August 2007.
  • Nightmare Time: A clause of Miss Holloway's deal with the devil causes any memories of her backstories to be laser-erased from people's memories. When she tries to tell someone about her past, they remember everything before and after the story, it's just the period of time where they were hearing about her past that is erased.
  • The Operator seems to affect people this way in Marble Hornets. Sometimes it's a result of meeting him directly, other times it can happen just from being in the same area as him — Jay had completely forgotten being involved in the student film that started the plot. "Part 2" opens with the biggest example yet: Jay wakes up in a hotel with no memory of anything during the seven-month gap between entries.
  • "The Clone Saga" arc of Atop the Fourth Wall reveals that Dr. Linksano, during his days as a villain helped Linkara clone Spoony—then invoke Forgotten First Meeting by mindwiping Linkara to make him forget it.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan forgets his anniversary, then tries to avoid a fight by using CIA technology to erase the last 24 hours of Francine's memory. Unfortunately, an error results in her losing 24 years, reverting her to the wild party girl she was before she met him.
    • In another episode, we find out that Stan avoids unpleasant topics by going to a "marriage counselor" who uses hypnosis to erase Francine's memory of whatever she wanted to talk about. Eventually Stan ticks him off and he brings the memories back, kickstarting the plot of the episode.
  • In Carmen Sandiego, this is how the V.I.L.E. council deals with their agents getting discovered by the police: they quietly extract the agent, then wipe their memories of anything related to V.I.L.E. and send them back to the lives they had beforehand.
  • Archer:
    • In various episodes, primarily "The Man From Jupiter", Malory makes a threat of having someone wake up in a mental institution with total amnesia under a fake name if they do not do as she tells them.
    • In the episode Fugues and Riffs, Krieger has a drug that has wiped Cyril's memory of his own parents' name. And also the memory of the process of being drugged.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers had an episode where the Rangers were traveling in France and Dale suffered a blow to the head, whereupon he completely forgot everything about himself and his friends, including his affinity for Hawaiian shirts and practical joking. He was found by a French doppelganger for Fat Cat who turned him into his own personal super-soldier, Ram-Dale. Hilarity Ensues when he finally catches up with the Rangers and tries to kill them. In the end, another blow to the head restores his memory.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • Aelita has no memories of her life before the Supercomputer was turned back on and she woke up on Lyoko — including the fact she was human, thus she's believed to be an A.I. by everyone, including her. It is revealed at the end of Season 2 that XANA had stolen those memories, and uses them to link Aelita's life to the continued working of the Supercomputer.
    • In Season 1 episode "Amnesia", nanomachines created by XANA are causing memory wipes typical for this trope, affecting Ulrich among others.
    • Anyone freed from XANA's control forgets everything he did when xanafied.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, this is standard procedure for operatives that retire upon turning thirteen years old. (Referred to as "decommissioning".) This is not without justification, seeing as those who have refused the procedure and escaped (such as Numbuh Five's sister Cree) have become some of their worst enemies. The process can be reversed, however, as it was following Sector V's Frame-Up in "Operation: E.N.D." and in Operation: Z.E.R.O.. Another episode reveals that not every operative is decommissioned at age thirteen. Some, like Maurice, act as deep-cover agents who are still loyal to the K.N.D. despite not being kids anymore.
  • An odd combination with Time Travel in Danny Phantom, after the evil Danny from the future is defeated, Danny's Secret Identity is revealed, and the whole thing is prevented from happening. The people who already know Danny's secret identity seem to remember the erased events, but the ones who didn't don't. The events were only erased up until Danny took the test, it seems (Jazz is still outside the room, waiting to catch Dark Danny but stops when she sees it's the real one in there).
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • In the preemptive Grand Finale of Season 2, Dexter erases his parents' memories of his lab after enlisting their help in defeating a giant monster. Later, Monkey erases Dexter's memory of his superpowers after the latter witnessed them beforehand.
    • In an earlier episode, Dexter accidentally says that he has a secret lab, prompting Dee Dee to respond "Smooth move, Dexter. Now you'll have to erase Mom and Dad's memories...again!"
  • Captain Hero from Drawn Together appears to be able to do this by stripping unconscious bodies and violating them.
  • Jorgen Von Strangle of The Fairly OddParents! often uses this to erase kids' memories when they reveal the existence of their godparents. As the main character, Timmy Turner would never lose his fairies, so this is used to erase the memory of his friends and family in every episode that, for some reason, he is forced to reveal his fairies' existence (most of the times in an attempt to save them and defeat the Big Bad).
  • Parodied in Family Guy when Lois used the neuralizer on Chris when he doesn't stop saying "boobies" after the Griffins visited the nudist family's house.
  • Futurama:
    • Parodied mercilessly whenever Calculon and the cast of All My Circuits take the stage.
    • In "I, Roommate", Bender can do this to himself with the press of a button.
      Bender: I dunno. I have a lot of great memories in my old place. (presses button inside cabinet) And now they're gone!
    • In "The Why of Fry", Nibbler wipes Fry's mind clean of the Brainspawn incident.
    • "Fun on a Bun" introduces a "Forgettery" where clients can lose their memories of specific persons or events, Eternal Sunshine-style. It's not a foolproof treatment, since it doesn't erase the memories but disconnects them from the client's consciousness, meaning that they can be brought back with a sufficiently strong reminder.
  • Gargoyles:
    • In the World Tour episode "Sentinel," Nokkar uses his advanced technology to induce temporary amnesia in Elisa Maza, with the intent of erasing what he believes are her false memories of the gargoyles as her friends (she is told that her true memories will return in a few days). Elisa is then understandably freaked out by her first post-mindwipe encounter with Goliath. Fortunately, her gun wasn't loaded when she pulled it on him. This, in turn, is the key for Goliath figuring out that something is wrong with Elisa's memory, as she not only didn't recognize him, but she also didn't know her gun was empty, a condition that had existed for at least a month in-story at the time.
    • Puck's first appearance where he eventually reverses the entire city's human/gargoyle status. Everyone thinks their current body is the one they've always had, but all their other memories remain intact and our heroes quickly figure out something is up just by logical reasoning, like the former gargoyles remembering being able to glide and humans-turned-gargoyles insisting they can't despite having wings.
  • Generator Rex:
    • Rex has a chronic variety of this. He's lost his memory several times in the past, for reasons that probably relate to his powers. Why this keeps happening has yet to be explained.
    • In "Six Minus Six" Agent Six loses six years of memory saving Rex from a machine that was going to delete Rex's instead (because Rex apparently goes crazy if he resets, and if that happens Six has to kill him). It was never fixed via Reset Button. That means not only does he not remember Rex, Holiday or Bobo, but he doesn't even remember the Event that caused the EVOs (heck, he barely knows what an EVO is). He only stayed with Providence and trying to be the man he used to be because of Rex's unwavering trust in him, even as he was six years ago (an unrepentant, mercenary Jerkass).
  • Glitch Techs: As part of a "system restore", a blinding light causes a person's memories of the glitch and whatever happened during that time to be erased. Miko passing out before the mind-wiping process could be completed in the pilot episode results in her being permanently immune, and, as what happened with Five when he finds his wristband for the tournament in Mitch's truck shows, it's possible to trigger the wiped memories.
  • The Gravity Falls episode "Society of the Blind Eye" gives us a memory-erasing gun, which the titular society uses to erase anyone's memories of an encounter with one of the town's anomalies, because they think Ignorance Is Bliss. It's shown that whenever they erase a memory, one's thoughts can get a bit scrambled in general; Lazy Susan, after having her memory of the gnomes erased, apparently forgot which gender she was. Old Man McGucket erased his memory so many times that he eventually became the 'local kook' he is in the present. However, in "Weirdmageddon Part 3", the memory gun becomes the only thing that can destroy Bill Cipher... by erasing the current mind he's inhabiting. Memories can be restored by reminders of those memories, though this can take time.
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law gave this a Lampshade Hanging: After getting sprayed with "amnesia gas", Harvey wakes up and immediately comments, "What happened? I don't remember anything from specifically the past couple days."
  • Kim Possible avoided this in the episode "Clean Slate", in which Kim has amnesia, and is pretty much square-peg-round-hole moronic until they manage to restore most of her memories.
  • King: Anyone who falls into the "GeeIForget River"note " loses their memories. Cliff fell into it before the show began, and forgot all his memories of 4th grade.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness had the Fluttering Finger Mindslip technique, which Po learned and repeatedly used to erase the Furious Five's memories by a few seconds. Overuse of the technique caused the memory loss to become more severe until Taotie was able to convince the amnesiac Five that he was their master and Po and Shifu were their enemies, and Po had to acquire the antidote before their memories regressed to the point that they would forget how to breathe.
  • The Legend of Korra: After being eaten by a huge Dark Spirit, Korra washes up on the shores of the Fire Nation with no memories of who she is or how she got there. It took a spiritual healing session for her to remember her purpose and meditation in the Tree of Time to fill the rest of the gaps.
  • Lilo & Stitch: Literally invoked by Experiment 303/Amnesio, an experiment who shoots Eye Beams into people's eyes that causes people to become amnesic. The effects can only be reversed if someone says the password ("ʻohana", of course) within his earshot.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar, Dr. Blowhole uses the "Mind Jacker" on Skipper to erase his memories and have him stranded on a island. After some assistance from Alex, Skipper manages to save the others and turns the Mind Jacker on Blowhole, who ends up as a performer at an aquarium.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Happy Birthday Isabella", it seems like the OWCA has become more frivolous about using memory-erasing technology. Stacy almost fell victim to this.
    • Dr. Doofenschmirtz has used this as part of his schemes a few times:
      • The "Erase-What-Was-On-My-Mind-Inator" from "Tip of the Day", which was intended by him to make everyone in the Tri-State Area forget about an embarrassing video of him roller-skating into a toilet that had recently gone viral; however, anyone who hasn't seen it or is unaware for any reason will not be affected. As these things go, he failed to do so and instead made people forget what the plastic bits on the end of a shoelace were (except for Candace, who never bothered to learn it).
      • The "Forget-About-It-Inator" from "A Real Boy", intended to make the person it is used on forget about something that had happened in the last couple of minutes. This causes Doof to briefly forget who Norm is and think Norm is his son, and later repeatedly hit Linda as she is bearing witness to the giant toy popper the boys created, causing her to forget she saw it and (re-)see it several times.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: At the end of every Ninja's tenure, they're require to take the "Ultimate Lesson" in the Ninja Nomicon, where the Nomicon takes their collective memories and experiences away and into the book to help future Ninjas while also helping to protect the overall secret of the Ninja in general. Mac Antfee, the Ninja of 1985, is a perfect example of why this is necessary: on top of being a violent jerk who has the dubious honor of being the only Ninja to ever be fired from the job, the Nomicon's failure to mind wipe Mac when it had the chance resulted in him becoming so obsessed with reclaiming the Ninja's power that he spent all of his adult life trying to amass an army to help him do exactly that. Mac did try to move on after his first defeat at Randy's hands, but all it took was Randy reminding him of the powers he lost and finding out that Randy was the new Ninja for him to snap back to his previous mindset, proving that minding-wiping him was the only way he was ever going to be able to truly move on with his life.
  • Rick and Morty': Rick has done this several times to Morty, Jerry and even himself. Erased memories, or "mind blowers", can be color-coded and filed away for later review. They spend a whole episode watching these memories.
  • Samurai Jack: When The Scotsman discovers an amnesiac Jack working on a ship, he retraces Jack's steps to find out where and how he lost he memory. The search takes them to a lone island controlled by sirens who used a song to erase Jack's mind when he tried to fight them.
  • In She-Ra: Princess of Power, it's stated that after baby Adora was kidnapped by Hordak and taken away, the Sorceress erased the Eternia people's memories of the missing Princess; only King Randor, Queen Marlenna, Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress herself know the truth. But then, that's Magical Amnesia for you.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Spoofed in "Lisa the Skeptic":
      Burns: Fiddle-faddle, everyone knows our mutants have flippers. Oh! I've said too much. Smithers, use the amnesia ray.
      Smithers: You mean the revolver, sir?
      Burns: Precisely. Be sure to wipe your own memory clear when you've finished.
    • In "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind", Homer wakes up with no memory of only the night before because he drank a special cocktail that erased the last 24 hours from his memories so he could forget the planning his family was doing to create a surprise party for him.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "Friendiversary" has Squidward literally use an eraser to erase SpongeBob's memory of him from both his memory book and his brain so he doesn't remember him and finally get peace. Unfortunately, this also erases SpongeBob's memory of the combination to the safe in Mr. Krabs' office which contains the secret formula, because he attached it to one of his memories with Squidward; thus Mr. Krabs chews Squidward out for what he did and forces him to help SpongeBob regain his memory so he remembers the combination.
  • Teen Titans (2003) plays with this in its Grand Finale. Terra comes Back from the Dead and appears to have lost her memory, possibly a side effect from being brought back from her petrified state. However, it's implied that she's merely faking amnesia.
  • In TRON: Uprising, it's established that any program who loses their Identity Disc starts having a glitch in the form of temporary bouts of memory loss, and eventually becomes a "stray" — unable to hold any long-term or short-term memories, and even unable to have a notion of "self". Unfortunately for Beck, he has his Disc nicked in the episode "Identity", and is almost tricked into going with the Military before he gets his disc back.
  • In Villainous, Satanic Archetype Black Hat subjects the employees of his Evil, Inc. to this for reasons unknown. Demencia was created to be the Ultimate Life Form by Dr. Flug, but because of the memory wipes neither of them remember how they know each other or even exactly how long they've been working for Black Hat. In one of his research logs he tries to write down what he does remember, only for Black Hat to knock him out halfway through it and burn the page.
  • Happens in the Young Justice (2010) episode "Bereft", where villain Psimon psychically attacks Miss Martian, erasing her memories for the past six months and also erasing everyone's memories of the past six months too since they were all mentally connected with Miss Martian at the time. This leaves Superboy a mindless berserker, Artemis and Megan strangers to everyone else and Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad ignorant of the mission.

    Real Life 
  • Studies of a drug called U0126 suggest that it might actually be able to induce Laser-Guided Amnesia: see
  • A common side-effect of the so-called "rape drug" sedatives Rohypnol and GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is retrograde amnesia, covering the time span the victim was under the drug and usually a short while previous to ingesting it.
    • Likewise, imbibing heroic amounts of alcohol can induce retrograde amnesia — GHB shares many of the biochemical processes, but is far [more?] rapid in effect, which is why it's such an insidious thing to spike a drink with.
    • All benzodiazepines (i.e. drugs in the Valium family, of which Rohypnol is one) can potentially cause retrograde amnesia, but some more than others. Doctors and dentists sometimes deliberately choose Ativan (lorazepam) for its strong tendency in this direction, which makes it ideal for sedating patients prior to unpleasant procedures. Some things you'd be thankful not to recall in great detail.
    • Ketamine, an anesthetic drug used in veterinary medicine, causes amnesia from onset to awakening. This makes it very useful for use in animals (it's hard to treat an animal who has a subconscious aversion towards you after they've been under), but also makes it very illegal to handle without supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
  • Many severe accident victims lose memory of the accident as a result of the trauma. Memories don't quite form instantly, so if something happens to interrupt your brain's function (such as your head slamming into the pavement) the memory of the event will never have a chance to form in the first place.
  • And of course the whole repressed memory thing, where the mind blocks out painful memories so we're only disturbed on the subconscious level. Though the nature of this and even whether or not it exists is controversial. The serious research is being done here.
  • There was once an English footballer named Mills who spent the night in his rival player's house after getting hit on the head. He very specifically couldn't remember the events of the match in which the accident happened... or what team he played for. Everything else was absolutely fine. Fortunately, this didn't last long.
    • Daniel Agger of Liverpool got a nasty concussion during a match against Arsenal. He said he doesn't remember the match at all.
    • Same with the time when John Terry was knocked out after being kicked in the head against Arsenal (who seem to have a thing about causing head injuries) a couple of seasons back, he apparently couldn't remember anything that happened after coming out the tunnel for the second half.
  • Stephen King wrote Cujo during his drinking days. He vaguely remembers writing the book, but only the Broad Strokes of the process. He can't remember the specifics or how he came up with what he feels were the best parts of the story.
  • Unsolved Mysteries once had an amnesia story where a man shows up in a town with absolutely no memory of his past or identity. A man gives him a job, and a customer came in and realized that he was operating an old-style adding machine so efficiently that he must have worked on them professionally in the past, which they used as a first step in figuring out his identity.
  • A woman who had an accident and lost several years of memory, including that of her husband, was the inspiration for the film The Vow.
  • Due to being high as a kite while doing it, Carrie Fisher had no memory of taking part in The Star Wars Holiday Special. Similarly, Harrison Ford claimed the same during his interview with Conan O'Brien and appeared to be completely baffled when shown a clip of the special.
  • Likewise, David Bowie's cocaine addiction was so bad during The '70s that he retained little to no memory of recording his album Station to Station.
  • Michael Caine has a story about being Peter O'Toole's understudy during the run of a play called "The Long And The Short And The Tall" - they went out drinking after the last show on Saturday... and the next thing he knew, he was waking up, fully clothed, next to O'Toole in a strange bed, in the house of two women that neither of them knew, at seven in the evening on Monday, with no recollection of Sunday at all. They also later found out that they had been banned from a local restaurant and had no idea why, but apparently O'Toole convinced Caine that there were some things they were better off not knowing. It may not be a coincidence that Caine once said that "The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for twenty years."
  • In a darker example, Mick Foley does not remember the second half of his (in)famous Hell in A Cell match with The Undertaker due to the injuries suffered in that match.
  • There are several rare John/Jane Doe cases where the Doe in question is found alive with little to no memory of their previous life. Unlike in TV these cases involve a lot less fun mystery and a lot more homelessness and paperwork headaches. The most famous of these cases is probably Benjamin Kyle, who was identified in 2015 as William Burgess Powell.
  • Epileptics can sometimes remember up to the very moment the seizure begins, then have a blank during the seizure and for several minutes after. For example, they may not remember such acts as standing up from being trapped in a corner, or even painful actions such as having a nail snapped back into place. Sometimes the only reason an epileptic knows they have had a seizure may be because of these suspicious blanks in their memories.
    • A standard part of most First Aid courses is the warning that, when dealing with someone who has just had a seizure or is otherwise visibly regaining consciousness, you should stay out of arm's reach while talking to them, as a not-unreasonable assumption for someone who has just regained consciousness to find a stranger looming over them is that they have just been mugged by said person, particularly if they've never had a full seizure before (or if their unconsciousness was alcohol- or drug-related).
  • Combined with Implausible Deniability at a number of American Congressional hearings. Refusing to answer or being caught lying can have serious consequences, but it's more difficult to prove someone doesn't remember something. Consequently a number of to-remain-nameless officials over the years have gone before Congress and the nation and mysteriously forgotten what should be quite memorable actions, people they've met, things they've talked about, and policies of their own department. In some instances these performances would, if taken at face value, raise serious concerns about the mental competence of the individuals in question.
  • For the most part, this trope occurring due to psychological trauma is NOT Truth in Television, unless said trauma was accompanied by a head injury. Indeed, people with PTSD and the like usually suffer just the opposite problem: being completely unable to ever forget the horrible things that happened to them.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mind Wipe


Grandfather's defeat

After Sector V hits Grandfather with the Moonbase (which barely scratches the villain), Monty gives Nigel the signal to decommission both him and Grandfather, who declares Numbuh 0 out of his will. This restores both of the last two to their normal selves, frees everyone from their Senior Citi-zombie states, turns all the tapioca factories back into KND treehouses, and undoes all of Grandfather's changes to the planet.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / WorldHealingWave

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