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Living Memory

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Picard: Guinan, what are you doing here? ...I thought you were on board the Enterprise.
Guinan: I am. I'm also here... Think of me as an echo of the person you know. A part of herself she left behind.

The flesh is weak compared to the mind, heart and soul, especially when in the throes of passionate emotion. Some places are especially malleable to psychic phenomena. Combine the two and you have the Living Memory, an echo of a person who either is still alive or has definitively gone on to a final reward (or punishment).

The Living Memory is a very strange "being" and similar to ghosts in a lot of ways. Physically they're usually intangible (though Your Mind Makes It Real can make them dangerous regardless), but some are in physical (though probably non-human) bodies. They may be fully sapient and can be reasoned with, a chunk of memories with a bit of personality, or just vinyl records on an endless loop. What they all have in common is that they are not the real deal, the original, just an eerie simulacrum... and some even realize it.

When characters encounter a living memory, it's usually a highly emotional encounter. The Living Memory may distress the character emotionally, try to attack them... or offer encouragement and absolution for past sins. Like we said, Living Memories are strange.

This trope has a few variants.

  • The character has a piece of their soul split off and haunt a person or location. This is especially common if the character "removed their dark side", in which case their Heartless will torment loved ones.
  • The Living Memory is inside another character's head due to side effects from a Mental Fusion. A good chunk of the Split Personality tropes may apply, for good and ill.
  • There's no soul or anything of the like involved, the place itself is a Genius Loci and is using the psychic/spiritual equivalent of a plaster mold of the Living Memory's original as a marionette, constantly replaying past events.
  • Due to Time Travel related shenanigans, a long dead character can still make the Special Guest Star spot without actually coming back to life.
  • The Virtual Ghost is an AI construct with the personality and memories of the character, or a (near) exact copy via Brain Uploading. NOTE: If the original it's based on is dead, then it's a Virtual Ghost and the example should go there.

Compare Ghost Memory, where someone's memories are implanted or transferred into someone else's mind. See also the Pensieve Flashback, where characters enter a memory as observers.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Seems to appear as well in Boogiepop Phantom, though given the amount of Mind Screw involved, it's difficult to assert with certainty.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the Noah clan survives by passing their "memories" to a new host every time they are killed. While only Wisely and the Millennium Earl fully recall the past 7,000 years, the memories do tend to cause emotional reactions to things that range from feeling recognition of the Noah's original name to crying when a Noah dies to urges to kill Exorcists while in their presence, not to mention causing them to... see things in mirrors. This is made for a stronger trope when Allen Walker meets the deceased Nea, the 14th Noah, in his head.
  • A particularly tear-jerking (although not without its heartwarming moments) story in Fragments of Horror has this as its central theme. In "Gentle Goodbye", the protagonist marries into a wealthy family who perform a ritual on their recently deceased to create an 'after-image', to give them plenty of time to say their farewells and accept their death. What she doesn't know is that she died on her wedding day, and she is really one such after-image.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry: One of the manga-only (and later, DS-only) Yoigoshi-hen takes place twenty years after the Great Hinamizawa Gas Disaster. Throughout the arc, various echoes of the main characters appear, showing varying levels of self-awareness, from Keiichi and Rena, who really looked to be nothing more than an echo of the memory of them racing to school, to Mion herself, who apparently was not only self-aware, but actually possessed Shion. She may have actually been closer to your traditional ghost.
  • Kikyo in Inuyasha; she Came Back Wrong from the attempted resurrection since Kagome wouldn't give up her whole soul, so while the Kikyo golem does have (most? all?) of her memories, she only has a fraction of her original soul, the part that carried all the dark emotions about Inuyasha's "betrayal". She's not psycho, but she's not really the original either.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: A pilot who uses a Psychoframe leaves an imprint of themselves in the system, meaning recycled frames can experience this. Loni's rampage through Torrington was caused by the imprint of the Shamblo's previous Federation-hating pilot.
  • Mononoke: The eponymous mononoke are spirits which fused with strong human feelings, and in at least one case, with the memory one person had of another one.
  • Naruto meets his dead parents this way, as they'd placed part of their own chakra into the Kyuubi's seal, but they only had enough chakra to last a few minutes. He later meets the Sage of Six Paths, who had used a more complete version of this to watch over the followers of his discipline.
  • Reborn! (2004) has an interesting version. The 'Will' of the previous Vongola Bosses lives on in the ring. Also, the fact that Yuni was able to summon the Will of Primo from the Vongola Rings (and subsequently the First-Generation Guardians) suggests that the Vongola Bosses probably weren't the only ones 'living on' through the Vongola Rings.
    Vongola Primo: Our hour was engraved on the Ring.
  • In Soul Eater, Stein gets a shadow of Medusa in his head, who taunts him about him getting mad.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bakura places a piece of his soul inside the Millennium Puzzle, allowing him to follow the rest of the cast in a rare villainous example played straight. This splits off into Epileptic Trees when you learn that Yami-Bakura is a bizarre fusion of the present Bakura, the original Thief King Bakura, and Zorc, living embodiment of all darkness, complete with his dragon willy.

    Audio Dramas 
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who Companion Chronicles play Tales from the Vault is a Scrapbook Story built from different recordings held by U.N.I.T., including a living memory of Zoe Heriot stored in an alien memory crystal.

    Card Games 
  • The colored spirits on every Artifact monsters' art in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG are said to be memories of the greatest warriors that once wielded them.

    Comic Books 
  • In Empowered, Mind████ psychically left one to Sistah Spooky to explain that she wasn't angry about their breakup. It was supposed to activate while she was still alive, though.
  • The Flash: Barry Allen's fondness for time travel made it possible for him to appear several times between his death and resurrection.
  • X-Men:
    • For a while, Rogue, who had wiped out all of Ms. Marvel's memories, had her talking to her in her head, and sometimes trying to take control.
    • Xavier had a copy of Magneto in his head after mind-wiping him. It later became Onslaught.

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked in I'll Be Home for Christmas. Jim learns about Guinan's echo (see Star Trek: Generations below) and recalls hearing from Spock Prime that he never found Kirk Prime's body, and theorises that echoes can leave the Nexus for a short time before disappearing based on his own research. He combines the three and realises that the Kirk Picard met might have been just another echo, meaning that Jim and Spock may have already succeeded with Jim's plan to retrieve his counterpart, which they can now implement without worrying about changing the original timeline. Essentially, the Living Memory would form the basis for a Stable Time Loop (or Tricked Out Time, depending on whether or not this is the first time the loop has run) - Picard enters the Nexus in the twenty-fourth century, learns about Kirk Prime's fate, joins forces with him, defeats Soran, watches Kirk Prime die, and informs Spock Prime of his passing, which provides a vector for the information to reach Jim, who pulls Kirk Prime out of the Nexus in the alternate twenty-third century before he meets Picard and dies and leaves behind an echo to assist Picard, thus restarting the cycle.
  • Peculiar Parasitic Phenomenon: The D13 Trouble No More stand can be used to create Living Memories of other people based on memories of that person within the stand user or the people around him. It's noted that if various people have conflicting memories that depict a person in wildly different perspectives (such as Kakyoin being remembered by Jotaro as a dear friend, but as a dangerous and cocky enemy by Manishu, the D13 user), can make for a more lifelike copy. It's shown those Living Memories are completely independent of the stand user creating them and are pretty lifelike in those cases, making comments about current going-ons due to looking into people's memories.
  • Story Shuffle 2: Double Masters: "Who's Afraid?" deals with what's basically ghost wolves, but are more Living Memory, as implied in the story, "my entitlement and anger and sheer ego were enough to actually form a spirit...", and author notes, "Insidious remnants of what once was seemed right up Sunset's alley. Which was apparently the one my shipping side hid in."
  • Total Trauma: A Split Personality variant. The backstory given for Mike's alter Chester is that he's an introject of Mike's grandfather, who raised Mike in early childhood before passing away and leaving Mike as a Foster Kid. Nowadays, however, Vito says Chester and Mike's relationship is "more complicated" than just representing their grandfather.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An American Haunting: Betsy being raped by John causes an embodiment of her innocence to manifest.
  • Cody, from Ghost from the Machine at least thinks the ghosts conjured by his machine are this, chewing out his neighbor for Loving a Shadow after stealing it so he can coexist with his dead wife.
  • Mal in Inception is literally Cobb's memory of his dead wife which has taken on a life of its own (her own?) in his dreams and any other dreams he enters. Said life generally involves sabotaging whatever Cobb's trying to do, in an attempt to make him commit suicide like she did, thinking that she was still dreaming and unable to wake up. The reason this particular memory is so powerful is the guilt Cobb feels for accidentally driving his wife to suicide.
  • The premise of The Stone Tape is that suitably traumatic events will be recorded and repeated by the environment witnessing it.
  • In Star Trek: Generations, an echo of Guinan is present in the Nexus, and helps Picard find Kirk so they can stop Soran from destroying an inhabited planet so he can get back to the Nexus.

Examples by author:
  • In the works of Tim Powers, particularly the novel Expiration Date and the Alternate Routes series, all ghosts are psychic echoes created during traumatic events. If the person survives, the ghost merges back into their psyche, but if they die, the ghost is left hanging around. In Forced Perspectives (the first sequel to Alternate Routes), the metaphysical paradox of a ghost not really being the person they believe themself to be is fundamental to how the threat is defeated.
Examples by work:
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Ghosts are defined as echoes of a person's dying moments — they don't know they're dead because they can't realize they're dead. Harry himself gets an eyeful of this in Blood Rites when a meeting with his unknown half-brother results in a pre-recorded vision of his dead mother.
    • The Denarian demons work similarly to this, being trapped inside their coins but able to grant their shape and powers to their bearer even if they don't have the actual coin. More specifically, Lasciel imprints a copy of herself into Dresden's brain when he inadvertently touches her coin. Harry promptly buries her coin inside an insulating magic circle and pours concrete over it, doing his best to protect himself from its corrupting influence. She freely admits that she's not actually Lasciel, just a copy that lives in his brain, but she's still able to grant Harry several useful abilities as much as he permits her to. The copy spends years tempting him to let her out of her prison before she finally dies absorbing a psychic attack.
  • Forest Kingdom: In book 3 (Down Among the Dead Men), the Beast, due to being asleep under the fortress for ages, is dreaming of what things used to be like. Its dreams allow it to conjure living duplicates of other monsters that lived in its time, which are sent to attack the main characters.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the person behind the mysterious attacks at Hogwarts turns out to be a living memory of Lord Voldemort from when he was at school. At first, he could only communicate via the diary he was preserved in, but once he got Ginny Weasley to trust him with enough secrets, he grew steadily more powerful. The entity referred to itself as an animated memory. Four books later, it turned out that the diary was one of multiple Horcruxes Voldemort created, although this was by far the most dangerous.
    • The many ghosts that dwell in Hogwarts may be this as well: some characters state they are souls that refused to pass on, but others (such as the notoriously cynical Professor Snape) describe them as magical "imprints" of the once-living person.
    • It's never explored in much detail, but the animated portraits of deceased persons seem to work this way. They have the personality of the deceased (or at least an approximation thereof), and at least some of their memories, but it's unclear whether they have free will or the ability to truly act of their own accord. (According to All There in the Manual, they are only as accurate to their originals as the magician-artist's understanding of the model was.)
  • In Jago, Anthony Jago's psychic powers leak and cause people's fears and obsessions to come to life. In some cases, this involves memories of the dead being animated, as with the woman whose abuser comes back from the grave, still bearing the wounds she inflicted when she killed him in self-defense. The paranormal researcher Susan also says that she's encountered a few ghosts in her time, and they've all been just external projections of memories of the deceased, either memories held by some still-living person or somehow imprinted on the environment.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • Not a character, but still effectively this trope. In House of Chains, while looking for his father Osserc, the mage L'oric is pulled into the living memory of the Raraku desert, where Osserc is hiding. The memory goes so far back into prehistoric times that the notoriously dry Raraku is a lush swamp there.
    • In The Crippled God, Silchas Ruin stumbles into a corner of the chaos between realms in which realms fold one upon another to such a degree that it leaves a stain on time itself. There he finds the reflections of gods whose mortal bodies are walking various realms. These reflections retain their originals' memories and personalities, but have taken on lives of their own, including planning to murder the Crippled God to siphon his power.
  • Matthew Swift: Robert Bakker's former apprentice inhales his dying breath and gains a Spirit Advisor version of him with it. It's unclear how much it's actually Bakker and how much is a creation of Matthew's mind.
  • Neuromancer hints at these being made by the eponymous AI from various characters, including the lead. They're supposedly "perfect", as in the whole deal.
  • Ghosts in Pact are soulless impressions of experiences of great emotion that have been left on the world, who fulfill this trope by forcing the memory of the event that created them onto others or simply playing through it over and over. You don't necessarily have to have died to generate them — at one point, Blake Thorburn, the protagonist, encounters several ghosts that he left in his Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Some, possibly all, ghosts in Rivers of London. Peter and Abigail have divided ghosts into three categories: "Loopers" just repeat the events that led to their death forever, "Simulacra" show a bit more ability to react to things, but it's superficial (they're compared to video game characters), and "Entities" are seemingly self-aware and capable of having a conversation, although Peter doesn't think they'd pass the Turing Test.
  • In The Sight, the Searchers in the Red Meadow are this — they are not actually dead wolves but manifestations of the memories of the living. This allows Fell to be among them, despite not being actually dead.
  • Solaris revolves around these, created by an intelligent ocean on an alien planet. Each represents someone that a specific human astronaut felt guilt towards — a child, a lover, and so on. Killing or otherwise disposing of them results in the creation of another one, which has no memory of the first one's fate.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Holocrons store interactive projections of long-dead Force masters, allowing them to share their wisdom. It's ambiguous whether they're more of an artificial intelligence, a Virtual Ghost, or an actual Force projection.
  • In Super Powereds, when Nick's memories are erased, his new personality is trapped rather than destroyed, and manages to partly reassert itself by sharing memories with Nicholas. Eventually, when his friends show their support, it is revealed that this was done deliberately and that by having his friends willing to risk death to protect him but trying to convince them not to, he passed the test to be allowed to return permanently.
  • A Tale of Time City has the Time Ghosts, which daily re-enact emotionally charged moments from the City's history. Due to the timey-wimey involved in the City's construction, this includes the parts of the City's history that haven't actually occurred yet.
  • Thousand Sons: In Ahriman: Sorcerer, Inquisitor Iobel dies while Ahriman probes her mind for the location of an important artefact, but her consciousness continues to exist within his mindscape as a sort of memory ghost with autonomy and self-awareness. Ahriman: Unchanged reveals that she is not the real Iobel, but a fragment of Ahriman's own psychenote  that has latched onto her memories and identity. It also reveals that she is not alone in there, as she encounters several other living memories while exploring Ahriman's subconscious.
  • The Insight version of Tobin's Spirit Guide shows poltergeists that happen ' cores manifest from a powerful emotion like love, sadness and anger and then evolve into a blind, violent rage, which causes them to violently torment the living and their descendants. It is shown that they are either Class 2, 3 or 5 noncorporeal telekinetic entities.
  • The Way Series: In Eon, Hexamon citizens can create "partials", which are (usually shallow) copies of a personality that can act independently, for use in dangerous situations or if a person is simply not available for some reason, and which can be re-integrated into the original person's memory once their task is complete. Partials are usually aware of their nature, but aren't bothered by it (presumably because the personality they come from isn't). It's considered mildly impolite to send one when you were expected to turn up in person. Also, once a citizen has used both of their state-allocated physical incarnations, they're stored as a Virtual Ghost in the City Memory, where they can still communicate with other people by digital means (and be reincarnated again if there's ever a need).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The poltergeist-like, noncorporeal embodiments/manifestations of the orphans' intense adolescent emotion and sexual energy as a result of Genevieve Holt's abuse in "Where the Wild Things Are".
  • In Doubutsu Sentai Zyuohger, Bunglay has the ability to read people's memories and create copies of living things from them. This power is often used to resurrect previously-defeated Dethgaliens, but it's occasionally been used to copy humans as well. The copies are not necessarily evil, but even if they believe themselves to be the real thing, they tend to play into the villain's plans anyway.
  • Farscape: "Harvey", the mental clone of Scorpius inside Crichton's head (and Crichton's clone in Scorpius's head).
  • In Fringe, the "mind meld" Olivia and John Scott go through leaves traces of his memories and personality in her mind, which occasionally surface and offer her useful information. A manifestation of John is eventually is able to guide her through enough of them to demonstrate that he wasn't a traitor and that their relationship was real, before her mind purges the last pieces of him from her consciousness.
  • The How I Met Your Mother episode "Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M." has Ted see and talk with his own subconscious in the form of his long-distance girlfriend.
  • Star Trek:
  • After Sam's soul is returned in Supernatural, he continues to see (and be tormented by) Lucifer, who had used him as a vessel when they were trapped in the Cage. It's explicitly a symptom of the horrific metaphysical damage to Sam's soul, a result of the Nothing Is Scarier torture that the real Lucifer did to Sam while they were trapped together.
  • An episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has Sarah, hallucinating from the trauma of a gunshot wound, imagine that Kyle Reese is with her, giving her advice and helping her to stay rational.
  • WandaVision: This is ultimately what Vision turns out to be. Wanda explicitly says that he's the fragment of the Mindstone in her mixed with her grief, hope and mostly her love.

  • Yureka: Some NPCs are truly the projected consciousness of coma patients onto the Net. Piri, for example.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Phantoms in Dungeons & Dragons before 3rd Edition are the soulless shells of creatures who died hideous or surprising deaths. They almost always recreate images of their death or what they were thinking most about when they died, like a 3-dimensional movie, at the same place, over and over. Variant phantoms may be sounds or smells. Technically "monsters", but without a rhyme or reason to their existence beyond accidentally scaring or warning a passer-by, and nearly indestructible (dispelled only via remove curse spell).
  • Shades in Ironclaw, they're insubstantial beings of living thought and emotion obsessed with something. Green and Purple mages are the only people who can effectively communicate with them. But there are also ghosts and phantoms which actually are spirits of the restless dead.

    Video Games 
  • Another Code: The Recollection version of Journey into Lost Memories has Ryan and Sayoko. Ryan is a construct created by the memory backups of the actual Ryan, who died fifteen years prior after being used as the first human trial for ANOTHER, a memory manipulation device. The memory backup developed its own consciousness within the liquid memory storage it was held in, continuing to age into adulthood and using ANOTHER to alter peoples' perceptions of reality. Prior to that reveal, it turns out Sayoko's own memory backup existed consciously with the necklace Ashley wears.
  • .hack:
    • In the first four .hack R1 Games, scenes from the anime series .hack//SIGN can be witnessed by visiting the frequent hangout, Hidden Forbidden Holy Ground, at certain points in the storyline. At the end of the game, AI Subaru, AI Tsukasa, and AI Sora will join the party. They are noticeably out of place chronologically in their behavior, and players familiar with other aspects of the .Hack Universe will know there's no possible way it's the real versions, who are still alive but simply not playing The World.
    • It can also be seen in the .hack//G.U. series with Azure Kite, Balmung, and Orca, who are recreated versions of heroes from the first series integrated into the system to find bugs and glitches. They lack personality of the originals, however.
  • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Jonathan fights the Whip's Memory which takes the form of Richter Belmont to unlock the Vampire Killer's true power.
  • Thanks to all the Time Travel and Dimensional contorting, by the end of Chrono Cross, Serge and co. run into three ghostly doubles of the main trio from Chrono Trigger... though for some reason, they all appear to be significantly younger than they were in Trigger, which has led some to speculate that they may not actually be related to the cast of Trigger at all beyond their visages.
  • In Dragon Quest VI, the main characters are all Living Memories, dream spirits of their true forms that were defeated by the Dread Fiend Murdaw. Once they realise this, they have to find their true selves, which in one case was turned to stone and, in the case of the Hero, is running around just as amnesiac as his dream-self was at the start. In addition, nearly everyone seem to have dream-world versions of themselves, which can manifest as ideal versions, painful fears, or even dreams of the past, returning to haunt them.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Dirge of Cerberus, Lucrecia's memories are stored as data inside Shelke.
    • In Final Fantasy X, the pyreflies create this sort of effect on the Farplane. It's not entirely clear whether these are the actual ghosts or what exactly. They don't talk and just kind of stand there. Only the dead (but not the Unsent) appear on the Farplane (Tidus is able to see his mom but not his dad when they first visit in the game).
  • In Guild Wars 2, the Fractals of the Mists are mini-dungeons of the Genius Loci variety, featuring events from the world's past. Characters of particular note are Dessa, who is in charge of the Fractals Project, and Arkk, her son, who's trying to destroy all the fractals to free themselves from the loop they're stuck in. They eventually realize they aren't the originals and reconcile after coming to terms with the nature of their existence, before the fractal loops again and returns them to their antagonistic relationship.
  • Halo:
    • Most smart AIs are created from the brains of dead people (as the process usually destroys the brain), but Cortana is the product of a cloned mind rather than a dead one. She and her creator, Dr. Halsey, often share many of the same attributes and opinions, especially regarding Master Chief John-117.
    • Forerunner AI 343 Guilty Spark was copied off the mind of a prehistoric human named Chakas, plus some other ones.
    • Halo 4: The Librarian may have been dead for 100,000 years, but she left helpful imprints of herself on Requiem.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Pretty much the entire supporting cast of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories are literal living memories of Sora's who are playing out (and being deleted) via Naminé's powers. Of special interest is the Riku Replica, a creation of Vexen's who is identical to Riku (albeit with more access to dark powers) and survives the end of the story in a (manga exclusive) gag ending.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Xion is a clone of Sora made entirely out of memories. As such, her tragic death causes everyone to forget that she ever existed in the first place.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]:
      • The characters native to the Worlds of Sleep are echoes of people who once lived in the Worlds of Sleep, even if they left those worlds before they fell into darkness. This leads to some confusion when Sora meets a Donald, Mickey, and Goofy who don't remember him. The Big Bad uses this to his advantage, confusing Sora and Riku about his true plan which involves making real copies of himself.
      • Also of note, everyone from The World Ends with You except for Joshua is this. Joshua explains that after their world fell to the Heartless, he journeyed to Traverse Town and put his friends back together with "piece of their dreams". This revelation helps Riku to figure out the Big Bad's plan before it's too late.
  • Memory of Alessa, a boss in Silent Hill 3. She tries to kill Heather, who is basically her reincarnation, in order to help her avoid the pain and horror of birthing an Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, Nero and Blanck end up as this in a DLC quest. Though they died in the main story, they appear after the final boss battle as mirages to help Red escape and they are eventually revealed to still be "alive" in Red's mind. Merveille even suggests that she will be able to create bodies for them to live in.
  • A Space for the Unbound reveals that Atma died at the river and only existed because he is part of Raya's memory.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has, at one point, "Zero" Beatrice speaking to her "former self", who has its soul and memories intact, meaning her personality is the same as it had been before her "death".
  • World of Warcraft:
    • In Wrath of the Lich King, Argent Confessor Paletress summons a "memory" of an enemy the players previously defeated.Examples The spell description for her ability implies these are the player's darkest memories, though they are nowhere near as strong as when previously faced.
    • In Legion, the ruined eredar capital of Mac'aree was abandoned after the majority of their race joined the Legion. Memories of the eredar who lived during that fateful time manifest as spirits that repeat the same events over and over again. Interestingly this includes not only those who died but many characters who are still alive.

  • In Homestuck, Brain Ghost Dirk is both this and a Tulpa, as he's someone else's memory of the real Dirk given form.
  • In Tower of God, the 'hidden floor' is a virtual reality populated by virtual copies of people who have reached it in the past. As such, it contains younger versions of several regular characters.

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • The Red vs. Blue: The Recollection trilogy focuses on the Alpha AI, a smart AI created from the brain of the Director of Project Freelancer, in the same vein as those featured in Halo (see the Video Games folder above). Because of the various torturous experiments performed on it, the Alpha was forced to separate its worst memories from itself, creating yet another AI that contains all of the Director's and the Alpha's most anguished memories. Meanwhile, the Alpha (who caused Identity Amnesia through its actions) ended up reliving much of the same life events (read: failures, most notably the frustration generated by pursuing a lost love) that defined the Director's life. The final series in the trilogy, Revelation, reveals that this process is a cycle, wherein the new AI will follow in the Alpha's footsteps and eventually fragment off those memories into yet another AI, which will fragment the memories again into another AI, ad nauseum. The Epsilon AI, the last in the chain thus far, believes it has finally figured out how to break the cycle. However, Word of God confirms that all on-screen events, with the exception of the Blood Gulch sequences in season 9, are real. The recursive cycle only occurs within the memory storage unit while Epsilon searches for Tex, who is also trapped somewhere inside it. Also, since the cycle of events begins well after Epsilon fragmented from Alpha, further fragmentation is not part of the process.
    • After the events of up to Season 10, Epsilon developed a habit of simulating the other Alpha fragments from his own memories of them, long after the original fragments are destroyed. He splits up different tasks between them during battle. Though they act more or less the same as their original counterparts, they are aware of just being Epsilon's memories, as the second Delta is quick to remind Epsilon of. In the Season 13 finale, Epsilon concludes that he doesn't have the processing power to help his friends out of a tight spot, and decides that his main "Church" self is just holding him back too much. He intends to erase this main self and give his memory buddies enough strength to save the day for him.
  • In Tall Tales, Matteson calls these "echoes" and describes them as people or events that, for whatever reason, are recorded in the nature of the metaphysical realm itself and play back sporadically. He and Alice interact with one directly during the story arc "Tree of Life".

    Western Animation 
  • The American Dad! episode "Poltergasm" involves a spectral embodiment of Francine's sexual frustration, which it was born out of.
  • The past avatars in Avatar: The Last Airbender are Living Memories to their future incarnations, and when the current avatar dies, they join the ranks of past avatars. Since the avatar is continually Reincarnated, there are hundreds if not thousands of past lives the living avatar can call upon for advice and to draw upon during the Avatar State.
  • In the Superjail! episode "Superhell!", all of the inmates' worst memories come to life during the climax to help destroy Superhell.