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Magnetic Medium

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If a show is about characters who can see spirits or ghosts — and have no other superhuman ability — the show can stay interesting only if they come in contact with them about Once an Episode. Now, one would think that, because usually even normal humans can sense these creatures a little ("Did anyone else get cold just now?", if nothing else), they wouldn't be all that common, or someone would have seen through the Weirdness Censor by now ("Why is it always so cold?"). Yet somehow, unfailingly, there these spirits are, every single week.

This is where the trope comes into play. If you're able to see ghosts or spirits, they're attracted to you (no, not like that). They, of course, may just want someone who doesn't ignore them, but don't count on it. They may want you to become a Willing Channeler (or if you're uncooperative, a Meat Puppet) and, in more unfortunate forms of the condition, will want to eat you. Though there doesn't seem to be that much logic behind it, being able to see supernatural phenomena makes you a grand, shiny beacon for it to flock to you. Because of this, it often overlaps with Unhappy Medium.

A very specific form of Weirdness Magnet. See also Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious and Magic Is a Monster Magnet. Not to be confused with Electromagnetic Ghosts, which can involve magnetic media.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Watanuki of ×××HOLiC is told the spirits that are after him for his power that enables him to see them by Yuuko in the first volume. There's a rather large and chaotic (offscreen) scramble for his eye in a volume, indicating that there's considerable power to be gained from actually eating him. In this case, it's revealed to be because he was actually created from Syoran's wish, making him someone who should not exist at all - the spirits (and other misfortunes) are drawn to him by himself in a subconscious attempt to erase himself.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Ayakashi mediums' high level of Life Energy draws the eponymous spirits to them, but also seems to be why mediums can see them. Other ayakashi-aware humans don't have the same level of "magnetism", but a flashback to Matsuri's childhood showed mischievous spirits take advantage of their visibility to torment people. One chapter has a malicious ayakashi waiting in the street for a human that could see it, because they're the only ones its powers affects.
  • Berserk: Guts borders this and Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious. The Brand of Sacrifice on his neck draws demonic spirits that want to eat him, but also lets him sense their presence. Anyone can see and fight these spirits - Guts's only advantage is being a badass. As the story goes on, Guts grows closer to Magnetic medium when he begins also sensing other supernatural creatures and passing through barriers designed to block Muggles without noticing, supposedly as a result of his prolonged contact with the supernatural slowly making him more supernatural himself.
  • Hollows in Bleach like to eat ghosts and occasionally living humans in order to feed off their spiritual energy. Since only people with lots of spiritual energy can see ghosts, those same people tend to become prime targets for Hollows.
  • Dark Gathering: Keitaro has a natural ability to see and sense ghosts that surpasses even Yoyoi. However, this sensitivity also makes him incredibly appealing to ghosts who will actively target him over other humans.
  • Dororo: Hyakkimaru is born without traditional senses because his father sells his body parts to forty-eight demons in exchange for power, but instead has a powerful sixth sense. This, naturally, makes him a target for spirits and monsters of all kinds.
  • Ghost Talker's Daydream: This is the reason Misaki can't live a normal life. She's had the ability to see spirits, since childhood, and it only became more acute as she grew older, thanks to being taught by her grandmother. So spirits are naturally drawn to her.
  • Because Hell Teacher Nube's titular character is such a powerful spiritualist and renowned exorcist, youkai and obake often show up on his doorstep to make his life miserable... even if they just need help or sanctuary. His students, on the other hand, have the preternatural ability to attract the attention of malevolent hauntings.
  • Mieruko-chan: The central premise is Miko seeing grotesque spirits everywhere and tries her best to avoid eye contact, as far as she's concerned they may start bothering her if they realize she can see them, or even worse, attack her. One chapter implies that it's actually her friend Hana's positive energy the ghosts are attracted to, though even without her Miko always encounters some.
  • Partially subverted in Mokke, since while Shizuru can actually see the spirits, it's her younger sister Mizuki who gets haunted or even possessed by them.
  • Ginko of Mushishi encounters a spirit ("mushi") every episode because it's his job to travel to places where they're causing mischief already, and he spends weeks of traveling between episodes to reach these locations. Mushi do indeed gather to Ginko if he stays in one location long enough, but that's used as a reason for him to keep moving after the job is done.
  • Takashi Natsume of Natsume's Book of Friends tends to attract Ayakashi that only he can see for a number of reasons:
    1. He's in possession of a book (the Book of Friends) that happens to contain the name of (and therefore the power to command) hundreds of Ayakashi. Many Ayakashi either want it for themselves, or simply want their names out of the book.
    2. He's a dead-ringer for his grandmother Reiko, who spent most of her adolescence single-handedly making just about every Ayakashi in the region her bitch (hence why they're listed in the Book of Friends). Since most Ayakashi aren't very in tune with human sex differences or the passage of time, those with a score to settle instead take it up with him.
    3. Nyanko-sensei (himself a powerful Ayakashi) claims that Ayakashi who are in trouble and have no one else to turn to will seek out humans who have a significant amount of Soul Power, and Natsume happens to be just such a human.
    4. He's Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious, due to having so much Soul Power.
  • In Venus Versus Virus, being able to see a Virus also makes you a target for them, because Viruses specifically are attracted to people who can see them.

    Comic Books 
  • PS238: Satori Deacon can see ghosts and other supernatural phenomena, and hates this because as soon as a ghost realizes it, she'll get bombarded with requests from beyond the grave.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender Fanfic Embers (Vathara), people who were attacked by spirits or deal with supernatural phenomena (shamans, benders, Dai Lee) on a regular basis, tend to attract spirits even more. This often leads them to become doom magnets as well. This means the lives of Aang (the main medium between humans and spirits), his friends (mostly strong benders and victims of the Avatar’s Weirdness Magnet zone) and Zuko (a strong bender and member of a family with massive bad karma) have a tendency to get complicated very easily.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Whoopi Goldberg's character in Ghost, Oda Mae Brown, attracted spirits because she could hear them. This is explained because originally she didn't know she had that ability until Sam showed up, and the ghosts began to flock to her when the word spread. Exactly who spread it remains a mystery for the ages.
  • Quite annoying to the main character of Ghost Town, as he can see them and hear them, and they want him to tie up their loose ends of life.
  • In The Sixth Sense, Cole Sear is frequently harassed by the spirits of the dead, whom only he can see and hear (and get mauled by, occasionally). Since he's only about ten years old, he is understandably freaked out by this.

  • Another necromancer/medium of sorts, in a teen series, really hated this, since not only could the ghosts notice that she could see and hear them (and vice versa) but they can physically interact with her too - which means that they can do her some serious harm, if they're unhappy.
  • In James Herbert's Ash (2012), Comraich Castle, lavish retreat of living threats to the reputation of well-connected clients, keeps, in its lowermost dungeon, several violently insane inmates, one of whom is the (so far as we know, fictional) unnamed, mentally and bodily disabled daughter of socialite Unity Mitford and Adolf Hitler. Around her gather light-draining spectral orbs, seemingly drawn by her psychic buoyancy to the brutal history of the castle, the depravity of several clients, and the monstrously evil career of her father.
  • One of the rules of magic in Discworld is that people who are magical tend to attract magic things. And, at least in some cases, to be more than usually susceptible to it once it turns up, as in Soul Music. Bad combination.
  • InCryptid: Laura Campbell is an umbramancer, which means she gains power from distance traveled, but the more powerful she gets, the more she's tormented by ghosts. She can even see ghosts that are actively trying to hide. Her mother sent her to college because of this, hoping that spending four years more or less in one place (rather than continuing her life as a nomadic Circus Brat) would slow down her power growth, and thus the number of ghosts that follow her.
  • The Mediator series is all about this. This trope applies to any mediator seen throughout the series, but especially main character Suze.
  • Sarah Monette's character Kyle Murchison Booth brought this down on himself as a consequence of raising the dead — the one thing you do not want to do as a citizen of a Cosmic Horror Story universe is draw that kind of attention to yourself.
  • In Pact, supernatural creatures are bound by the Seal of Solomon, preventing them from going after the innocent. People that know of the supernatural, though, don't count as "innocent" and are fair game for all kinds of spirits.
  • In Shaman Blues, Witkacy's aura is visible to ghosts and makes them come to him, although it's not supernatural compulsion as much as it is knowledge that he's a Psychopomp.
  • In Shaman of the Undead, the eponymous character has an Inner Eye which, if untrained, emits what ghosts describe as blinding light, beckoning them to her and causing her much trouble before she learns how to take it under control.
  • In Women of the Otherworld, ghosts can see a glow around necromancers, and therefore are able to tell who can see and hear them. As a result, they seek out and pester such people when they want something.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The short-lived series Dead Last justified this: the bearers of the Talisman are the only ones that can see ghosts... and it's their duty to resolve their Unfinished Business. Thus the ghosts flock to them in order to get some help off this plane of existence.
  • "Pac", from the Hulu series Deadbeat, is a medium who is hired to come to haunted sites, so the dead don't seek him out — but when they learn that he can help them cross over, they can become a major nuisance. (Bonus points that Pac is played by Tyler Labine of Dead Last.)
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt's character in Ghost Whisperer, Melinda Gordon, could also see them every week like clockwork. Apparently ghosts pass around information on who to go to for resolution. And are polite enough never to interrupt each other when one is already getting helped.
  • The titular character from Medium exemplified this trope. Her daughters, being mediums themselves, attract the attention of a few deceased folks themselves on occasion. Once she gets outed to the public several seasons later, she starts getting a lot of attention from the living as well.
    • Allison even lampshades this when she remarks that she hates going to hospitals—not because she's afraid of them, but because they're usually packed with recently-deceased spirits who want to speak with her. We see a shot of her walking down a hallway, and sure enough, there are about twenty ghosts (in one corridor) reaching out and calling to her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost has a Darkling Kith with the power to innately see ghosts. The book notes that, while this sounds like a situational power at best, the odd nature that Arcadia has on a changeling's fate means that ghosts are drawn to such a changeling, so having one in the motley means you'll be dealing with ghosts on a regular basis.
  • Shadowrun: Astral perception makes the perceiver vulnerable to astral beings. In a location where the spirits are hostile, or intended to be part of the security, viewing them will likewise draw their attention.
  • Sin-Eaters have death sight. Ghosts can recognize those who have death sight. Do the math.
  • Psykers from Warhammer 40,000 have a greater connection to the Warp, but are more likely to attract attention from the hellish beings that lurk there and are therefore more vulnerable to daemonic possession.

    Video Games 
  • Mages in Dragon Age are living weaknesses in the Veil that separates the physical world from the world of spirits and dreams. This attracts spirits and demons to them like moths to a flame. This is actually why they can use magic: they invoke the power of minor spirits and wisps that are drawn to them. According to the spirit made flesh Cole, said wisps are particularly eager to be used this way by especially gifted and powerful mages like Vivienne. He claims they dance around her, begging her to use them. One of the major dangers a mage faces, one that is often used as justification for quarantining/lobotomizing/killing them even if they haven't done anything to deserve it, is that more powerful and sapient spirits are also drawn to them because possessing a mage is one of the only ways they can interact with the physical world.
  • Joy from Murdered: Soul Suspect tries to avoid ghosts for this reason, unlike her mother, a professional medium. Sure enough, when she gets found out at a cemetery, she's immediately surrounded by pentering ghosts.
  • The Sith Inquisitor from Star Wars: The Old Republic is heavily immersed in the more mystical elements of the Force and has a bizarre affinity for running into Force-Ghosts on a regular basis. Lampshaded by the ghost of their ancestor, who explains that this is actually a rare gift, allowing them to draw out restless spirits and draw forth their emotions. He even describes their mere presence as being akin to an overwhelming pull.
  • An aspect of gameplay in The World Ends with You, as Noise (even the loose-cannon Taboo Noise) will only engage the player in battle if they "scan" them, i.e., actively look for them.

    Web Comics 
  • Within A Girl and Her Fed, all of the Agents (and a few others, like Mike and Hope) are more than capable of seeing ghosts, particularly famous ones. Some of them take it in stride, or manage to adjust. Others are justifiably concerned that so many powerful figures of the past want to be their friends... and this led to the breaking point for Abraham Lincoln, who went unhinged due to the presence of so many ghosts during a war.
  • Antimony of Gunnerkrigg Court is actually described by a ghost as "attractive... like a magnet".
    • She's VERY literally a Magnetic medium. Well... in training for the position of "Medium" anyway. (Medium here means "intermediary for communication between groups, some of which are otherworldly in nature" and Magnetic means... she's a Weirdness Magnet.)
  • In Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, Toni confronts Hanna about this, saying there's something really weird about him and she wants to find out what it is. Apparently she's never met so may supernatural creatures in such a short time span before, and she is a supernatural creature.
  • Mieruko-chan is about Miko, an ordinary Japanese schoolgirl who suddenly gains the ability to see spirits and ghosts. She does her best to live her everyday life and not attract the spirits' attention, even as she seems to see more of them every day.

    Western Animation 
  • Kaeloo: Lavanade has supernatural powers, and as a result she naturally attracts spirits to herself without intending to.