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Many Spirits Inside of One

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"My name is Legion, for we are many."

Some people are victims of Demonic Possession or Grand Theft Me. Others have to struggle with the Enemy Within or even an outright Superpowered Evil Side. All those things are terrible in their own way but don't worry, it can always go From Bad to Worse. It's one thing when your body is taken by the lord of all evil himself, but when he invites his twelve best drinking buddies to join the ride, that's something else entirely.

This trope is what you get if you exaggerate Demonic Possession or Enemy Within. Instead of having one evil/antagonistic being taking over somebody, it's multiple ones. Somebody doesn't have just Jekyll & Hyde inside his head—it's Jekyll, Hyde, Steve, and Edmund. And Zoidberg.

The Trope Namer is a song by HammerFall, based on the famous biblical tale of Legion, man possessed by multiple demons, which is obviously the Trope Codifier. Contrast I Am Legion, another trope named after this tale (and a story in The Bible), which occurs when members of a group start referring to themselves as a group, rather than individual people, implying that they lost their individuality or at least see themselves as a community or partners.

Compare Mind Hive and Split-Personality Team, similar tropes involving multiple minds/personalities simultaneously inhabiting one body, but are more or less in accord with each other. Many Real Life multiples describe their experience this way rather than in mental-illness terms.

Likely to speak in the Voice of the Legion.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Battle B-Daman has Bull, a boy with three personalities: a calm one, a confident one, and an aggressive one.
  • Bleach:
    • Gillian Menos are the result of the hundreds, if not thousands of souls a Hollow devours overwhelming its mind and reducing them to mindless beasts driven by instincts. A strong enough soul, however, can dominate the others and take control as the "main" soul and mind.
    • Ichigo Kurosaki shares his body with the spirit of his weapon, Zangetsu, and his Superpowered Evil Side, Hollow Ichigo. It's later revealed that Hollow Ichigo is the true Zangetsu whose name was stolen, and the other spirit is a piece of someone else's soul trying to take Zangetsu's power for itself.
  • Digimon Adventure: It's heavily implied that this is the case with Apocalymon, the final antagonist, after the Digidestined and their partners destroy most of his body and he tries to blow himself up to destroy both the human and Digital world, ghastly entities are seen exiting his body as it begins to self-destruct. Which makes sense given he came into existence when the lingering resentment of extinct Digimon took on a physical form.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Father and the Homunculi all contain many human souls within their bodies, which act as fuel for their powers. In most of these examples, it's an inversion of the trope — the host is the evil one, possessing a lot of tortured souls within them.
    • Hoenheim has a massive number of human souls in them, but plays with the trope even further when he reveals that over his long life he's reached an accord with each and every individual soul housed within him. This means those souls are not constantly freaking out and move with him in a singular purpose of will, making him, in some ways, more powerful than Father or the Homunculi, who only use those souls as fuel.
  • In My Hero Academia, at least once in their lifetimes, every user of One For All experiences the Vestiges, a phenomenon where the residues of the wills of past users briefly manifest as silhouettes. It is a symptom of One For All's power increasing with every successive generation. The ninth and current One For All user, Izuku Midoroya manifests it on an unprecedented level. He can meet the spirits of previous users of One For All for advice and even access their original Quirks. In contrast, Midoriya's predecessor All Might, the greatest superhero of Japan, was ignorant of this rare ability.
  • Naruto:
    • The title character could give Sora a run for his money. For a start, he's the person-shaped can of a nigh-unstoppable monster. Then we find out that both his dead parents stored imprints of themselves in the seal, which triggered at separate points. The Waterfall of Truth briefly made his suppressed bitterness manifest into a split personality. Not to mention the time Itachi shoved his crow down Naruto's throat...yeah, it's kind of crowded in there.
    • By the end of the series, he's lost his parents, Itachi's crow, and his evil half, but gained the rest of the nine Biju, Hagoromo Otsutsuki, and Ashura, who was always there to begin with since Naruto is his reincarnation.
  • Jindai Komaki and Iwato Tatsumi from Saki. They are both Miko, and they each have nine goddesses that they tend together. Only one goddess can surface in a character in any given time, but their opponents can expect to essentially fight Komaki twice.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: Although for the most part, she actually only has one personality (the other one almost never comes up), in one chapter, this is done with Kaere. She's the fauxreigner Foreign Fanservice character and she splits into an entire United Nations' worth of personalities. Inverted with Kafuka, who happens to be one spirit within many bodies due to all the girls in class having one of her organs. Add another personality to Kaere's long list of personalities.
  • At the end of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuya finds himself the vessel of his counterparts Yuto, Yugo, and Yuri, which is justified as they were initially Zarc.

    Comic Books 
  • Doom Patrol: Crazy Jane has 64 personalities, some pleasant, some unpleasant, all with distinct abilities of their own. They live in a subconscious realm called The Underground, where they are housed in separate stations when not in control. "Crazy Jane" is merely the dominant personality that Kay Challis takes when interacting with others.
  • The Incredible Hulk: At the beginning, it was only Bruce Banner and the ruthless Gray Hulk, who turned green and then started getting constantly dumber until we get the most well-known version of the character, the Savage Hulk. Later a new Gray Hulk, a mischievous and selfish version of the first gray Hulk, joined them. Then the Hulks and Banner merged into Professor Hulk, who was later retconned to be a completely different personality altogether. Recently, the four of them have been joined by Green Scar—an intelligent, brutal warrior persona. There was a story revealing that Banner has a lot more Hulks in his mind, including such creatures as the lizard-like Guilt Hulk or the monstrous Devil Hulk, but the question of whether it's still in the continuity remains debatable.
  • Lucifer:
    • Jill Presto is host to the 12 Basanos.
    • A later story has a large group of demons holding a conference inside of a possessed man while the demon who "provided the venue" is making him run around the city at night doing increasingly terrible things.
  • She-Dragon from Savage Dragon combines this trope with Hearing Voices. The personalities never take over, but there are very distinct personalities and voices in her mind that speak out loud. As it turns out, they belong to beings on a counter-Earth.
  • Simon Dark: Simon is made up of the minds, and patchwork body bits of twenty-four dead teenagers, though he gives up two to their afterlives in order to save the life of a fatally wounded friend.
  • X-Men: Charles Xavier's son, Legion, once had multiple personalities with different superpowers. Then he got better, but as a whole was so powerful that he caused the Age of Apocalypse. He later came back, now having hundreds of personalities, each with its own unique power. Some of them are minds of dead people he drained, making him a combination of this trope and Mind Hive.
  • In the French series Zorn Et Dirna, Death Takes a Holiday (well, gets trapped in a Magic Mirror), so killing someone results in their soul being transferred to your body. The closest thing to actual death is achieved by having criminals kill people in vast slaughterhouses, accumulating souls until they in turn are killed by another person (Zorn and Dirna's mother is the dominant personality inside a huge male barbarian).

    Fan Works 
  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, Ever Memito is particularly susceptible to possession and can have numerous Ghost-types inside them at once.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Emily at one point starts speaking in demon voices as the demons say there are many of them in her and each one has possessed a different evil person throughout the history. Movie is Very Loosely Based on a True Story of Anneliese Michel, who was suffering from severe mental problems and had many seizures. She also believed she was possessed, specifically by Lucifer and several evil people throughout history, including Cain and Adolf Hitler.
  • In Ghost Rider (2007), when Blackheart gets his hands on the Contract of San Venganza and absorbs all the souls that were bound by it, he becomes this complete with the Voice of the Legion. It also makes him ludicrously vulnerable to the Ghost Rider's Penance Stare, which he was immune to when he lacked a soul, because now he has a thousand souls to burn with it. Oops.

  • ALiCE (2014): The only 'real' person is Michael, who may or may not still be alive, with Mickey representing a small part of himself that is still sane/pure, but the other characters are implied to be mostly autonomous and in some cases even actively working against Michael.
  • Animorphs:
    • Visser One is horrified when she first infests a human, comparing a human's ability to doubt and question their own decisions as "living with our own traitor in our heads". She thinks this is why humans frequently war against each other — they are practically at war with themselves.
    • Animorphs also gives us the Ellimist, who for complicated reasons ends up downloading many thousands of minds into his own brain. At first it almost drives him crazy; then it turns him into a sort of demigod. (He eventually goes even further, but for unrelated reasons.)
  • At the end of Children of Dune, Alia is overcome with the personalities of her ancestors within her and starts speaking with many voices.
  • Discworld:
    • The Truth has Altogether Andrews, a man with about eight personalities, of whom none are named Andrews. It's theorized that he was a medium who was too accommodating to lost spirits and ended up getting pushed out of his body. Subverted in that most of his personalities are nice. Except for Burke, who was only seen once and nobody wants to see him again.
    • There's also Tiffany Aching in A Hat Full of Sky who is possessed by a Hiver, which in turn gives her flashes of personality from its previous victims.
    • Subverted with Myria LeJean. The Auditors possessing her named this body expecting continued collectivism, but the form bestowed individuality upon whatever Auditor force(s) operated it, and at the end she changes her name to Unity.
    • A brief gag in Carpe Jugulum involving a man who had seven personalities, four male and three female. They used to fight for control when he had a drink and they all wanted to taste it, but mostly one was left in charge and the other six were at the back of his mind ... pairing up. He resented this.
  • In The Girl from the Well, the ghost called the woman in black is actually an amalgamation of hundreds of evil spirits into a single form.
  • Shades from the Inheritance Cycle are sorcerers whose bodies have been taken over by the spirits they command. The first one we meet (Durza) only has three spirits controlling him, but in the third book, we meet one who has twelve.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, necromancers, who specialize in downloading the recorded minds of the deceased into their own brains, eventually become this.
    Mallory: I've got a head full of so many dead people I suspect whoever I started off as should probably be counted as one of them.
  • John Dies at the End gives us Shitload, who is the host body of a hive mind.
  • Matthew Swift: Matthew shares his mind with the numerous entities known as the Electric Blue Angels, to the point that the first-person narration is constantly switching between "I" and "We".
  • Ravelling Wrath:
    • As the Farseer, Yali has access to the memories of all seventy former Farseers who died in the Otherworld. (Actually sixty-eight, after they discover that two of them were deliberately omitted!) They don't have independent consciousness, but Yali does clarify that the memories "feel like how the person was feeling at the time," meaning that Yali can get excited when one of the memories feels exciting.
    • Later, in the Stern God's world, Rinn has both the Blood God and the Stern God in her head at the same time, and the three of them all have different desires about what Rinn should do.
  • It's indicated that this may be the case with Randall Flagg in The Stand. After Tom is put into his trance, he talks of the New Testament references — Flagg's name being Legion and Jesus driving him into a herd of pigs once.
  • In the World of the Five Gods book The Hallowed Hunt, this turns out to be the situation of the Big Bad Wencel. Hundreds of years ago when their country was in the process of being conquered, the last Hallowed King underwent a sacred ritual to ensure that if he were to die, his consciousness would pass to the next male heir in his line to continue the fight. And the next, and the next, and the next... The consciousness that originally inhabited these bodies is swallowed up and added to the amalgamation. By the time the story reaches the present day, he's given up all ambitions beyond ending the cycle and dying once and for all. When we get a look at him through spirit vision, he's a monstrous abomination of hundreds of twitching faces vying for control.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Doctor in Doctor Who is something between this and Mind Hive, being an amalgamation of themself, the Other, and Zagreus.
  • Alpha and Echo in Dollhouse, who don't forget their previous implants.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O:
    • The main Rider is possessed by an Imagin... then another, and another. When suited, each possessor makes a different Den-O with a different weapon of choice. Though they're not all in him at once, any can take over at will. Hilarity Ensues (literal, non-ironic hilarity, that is) often.
    • When he uses Climax Form, Momotaros seems to remain the "default", but the other spirits are represented by pieces of armour. They can and do start arguing over how to go about things.
  • In a Stargate SG-1 episode, Dr. Jackson is possessed by personalities of multiple members of a spaceship's crew. Surprisingly, it's one of the rare examples when possession in the show isn't evil.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Kurlan believe that a person is made up of a group of individuals, each with his own voice. A Naiskos is a sculpture representing a person, which can be opened to reveal several little people inside it.
    • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Masks", Data is possessed by an alien probe, and takes on the personalities of various figures from the mythology of an extinct civilization. Mainly an excuse to let Brent Spiner act his nuts off.
    • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Infinite Regress", Seven of Nine manifests the personalities of the people she had assimilated as a Borg drone.
  • After Castiel swallows the Leviathans in season 6 of Supernatural, he starts hovering somewhere between this trope and Mind Hive.

  • Russell, the drummer from Gorillaz, is this, overlapping with Soul Jar. The other spirits contained within Russell are his friends, who were killed in a drive-by shooting.

  • In The Adventure Zone: Ethersea, some citizens of Founders' Wake are Brinearr, which are coral robot bodies inhabited by souls of the deceased. However, operating these bodies is too taxing for a single soul, so multiple souls take residence in a single body. In most cases, the personalities and minds of the dead fuse together into a brand-new individual person, a sort of in-universe Composite Character. However, in some rare instances, it's more of a Split-Personality Team situation, with the individual souls each maintaining a little more autonomy and control.

  • The Bible: This occurs several times in the New Testament:
    • Jesus encounters a violent demon-possessed man who identifies himself as "Legion, for we are many". If taken at face value as a reference to a Roman legion, that would indicate about five thousand demons inside one individual. Jesus exorcizes the demons and sends them into a herd of pigs, which they destroy.
    • There's another New Testament reference — St. Matthew XII, xliii.–xlv.:
      And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first.
    • Of the little the Bible says for sure of Mary Magdalene, one thing is that Jesus drove seven demons out of her.
  • Some Gulf Coast Native American peoples, including the Karankawa, believe that their holy people harbor many spirits inside one body.
  • Possession by multiple spirits is a core element in Korean shamanism, which is claimed to be a close descendant from Siberian shamanism. In a ritual, the shamans invoke multiple spirits to possess them one after another, so that they can borrow multiple powers to accomplish a goal. Somewhat frightening to see in real life.
  • In Shinto, a shrine can be built to venerate multiple deceased individuals at once, if there was something that connected them when they were alive. The kami (loosely, 'deity') of this shrine is a singular entity that represents all the deceased. One of the (many) reasons that the Yasukuni Shrine is berserk-inducing for Koreans is because it honors the war dead of Imperial Japan, which included enlisted soldiers from then-conquered people, including Koreans— the clergy of Yasukuni refuses to take down the Koreans registered in the shrine, citing that they are part of the kami of Yasukuni.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Mutants & Masterminds character Moodswing, from the Super Unicorn META-4 universe chronicled in Crooks and in the 1E Player's Handbook, is a Chinese psychic who currently carries the minds of six other psychics in his head, his powers varying depending on who is in control.

    Video Games 
  • In BioShock, this is a side effect of using plasmids. ADAM samples Genetic Memory, so using too much or too often leads to one "seeing ghosts" (a.k.a. memories of the past users). In BioShock 2, the Big Bad, Sophia Lamb, decides to intentionally invoke this on her daughter. She plans on filling Eleanor with all the ADAM in Rapture so Eleanor will cease to exist and instead be a perfect Utopian who only works for the common good and with every skill and talent ever in Rapture at her command.
  • Platinum the Trinity of BlazBlue is a Magical Girl with a rather unpleasant female personality (Luna), a nicer male personality (Sena), and one of the six heroes (Trinity) sharing the same body.
  • Magyar from Brawlhalla was originally 100 elite knights Back from the Dead, but whenever one of them was killed, his soul would join one of his still standing comrades to keep the army just as strong. Over years of wars, they ended up as a single knight formed by 100 souls.
  • In the Diablo series, the Prime Evil (as opposed to the Prime Evils, which are merely the three most powerful of the Great Evils) is the embodiment of all seven Great Evils in one being. The original Prime Evil was Tathamet, from whose body the Burning Hells and the original Great Evils sprang, but in Diablo III, Diablo is reborn as the Prime Evil, and the reason he is able to be dominant over his brothers in this form is that Adria used Leah, her own daughter by him by means of his last host, as his vessel.
  • Exdeath from Final Fantasy V is a living tree with many evil spirits sealed inside him. The release of these spirits combined with the power of the Void are what cause him to transform into Neo Exdeath at the games' end.
  • Guilty Gear XX has Zappa, a polite and friendly Aussie who's perfectly normal on the surface (save an eccentric taste in wardrobe) except for the fact that he's the unknowing host to a grab bag of crazy ghosts including a spectral sword, a few dozen wisps, a hellhound, and an armor-clad lightning spirit. The most powerful and malevolent of his "guests" is S-Ko, who readily takes control of him whenever he attempts to interact with other people. Unlike S-Ko, the weaker spirits are loyal to Zappa, often comforting him whenever he is depressed or sad.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Sora habitually invites other people in, although he usually isn't consciously aware of doing so. By the end of Kingdom Hearts II, he's renting out space to Ventus, Xion, and Roxas, and Kairi was also in there for most of the first game. Most of his tenants are fairly nice people, but all but two of 'em were trying to kill or suppress him at one point or another, intentionally or not.
    • The villain of the series, Xehanort, is this as well, notable in that, for most of the series, he's the hijacker, with the proper owner body being Terra. It counts as this trope because Terra took in Master Eraqus as a passenger shortly before Xehanort did his thing.
  • Turel from Legacy of Kain is possessed by several hundred hylden ghosts when you find him in Defiance. They later move on to Raziel to inspire him to go through with killing Kain.
  • O. Dio from the Western Chapter of Live A Live. He's actually a horse possessed by the vengeful spirits of a regiment that got wiped out, taking out their hatred for humanity on an old west town. The horse returns to being a horse after O. Dio is defeated.
  • Legion from Mass Effect is a single body inhabited by numerous operating systems. Despite seeming very similar, they were split evenlynote  when deciding whether to kill or convert the Geth heretics, hence why they delegated the heretics' fate to you.
  • The Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion pack Mask of the Betrayer gives us One-of-Many — an amalgamation of several hundred spirits. He is governed by the worst of these — and as a result, he is a twisted monster who keeps tempting you to do evil and add additional spirits to "the many".
  • According to its Pokédex entries in Pokémon, Spiritomb is composed of 108 souls, trapped over 500 years.
  • Portal 2 reveals this to be the case with GLaDOS, the other voices in question being the personality cores you destroyed in the first game.
  • Uta Bloody Valentine a.k.a. the Rabbit Killer of The Secret World is revealed to have started out as one of these: having assimilated her twin sisters in the womb, she was born with two additional personalities rattling around inside her head. With three identities struggling for control of her body, Uta spent most of her childhood in and out of mental hospitals — up until Lilith found her and gave her sisters bodies of their own.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the Sith Inquisitor eventually learns the Force-Walk technique, allowing them to bind Force-ghosts, willing or not, to themselves in order to augment their powers. Unfortunately, binding too many spirits ends up causing them to suffer a Heroic RRoD, forcing them to find a cure.

    Visual Novels 
  • in Slay the Princess you start the game with two voices, distinctive personalities inside your head. Voice of the Hero acts as rational and compassionate one, while the Narrator is trying his damnest to, well, slay the Princess. In Chapter Two you get a third voice, which one depending on your actions in Chapter one. In Chapter Three it is possible to get a fourth voice.
    • Some forms of the Princess the ghost ones - the Spectre, the Wraith, the Gray - can possess your body, becoming one more being inside your head.
    • And then there is The Moment of Clarity where you get every single voice from every single route, all at once
  • By the end of the Umineko: When They Cry series, you can count at least four different personae that are within Yasu's body. Basically, s/he is more or less confirmed to be Shannon, Kanon, and Beatrice. However, if you count all of his/her imaginary friends who don't actually take control of his/her body, the number of people in there easily jumps into the double-digits. It's a stinking party in his/her head. This is a slight variation on this trope, though, since these are all simply Yasu's personae and not actual people.


    Web Original 
  • This happens to Brutaka from BIONICLE in the web-serials when he falls into a vat of Antidermis. This is the substance from which the Big Bad's species, the Makuta is born, and it contains the spirits of the unborn Makuta. Thankfully, they are all good by nature, and to Brutaka's species, Antidermis even works as a Fantastic Drug. Thus the spirits do not corrupt Brutaka, he receives Powers via Possession, but his mind is totally overwritten, and his body becomes deformed.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon features the Mob, who are usually interpreted as thousands if not tens of thousands of arguing, bickering, complaining Voices, all hijacking the same bodies. Most of them want to beat the game, but some want to sabotage the others' efforts, and others still generally want to win the game but want to dick around along the way. Amongst those who want to win, there are constant arguments over strategy, team choice, gameplay style, and all sorts of other things, with the result being chaos. When they actually work together, though, there is literally nothing that can stop them.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Avatar is normally just one reincarnated person with the ability to use all four elements. If that person accesses the Avatar State, usually through an Unstoppable Rage, they contact the spirits of every single Avatar before, channeling thousands of spirits through one mortal body. It's a little bit scary. The catch is, if an Avatar dies in that state, the Avatar cycle will end.
    • After season 2 in The Legend of Korra, Korra's link to her past lives is severed after Raava is temporarily slain. Even after they are reunited, it's just her and Raava. The Avatar State is arguably even scarier now, since bereft of the influence and experience of its past human incarnations, it's been reduced to its most primal savage state.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Judgement Day", Two-Face develops a third persona: Judge, a ruthless vigilante who punishes criminals. Both the Harvey Dent and Two-Face personae are unaware of Judge's existence. It also seems that Judge doesn't know that he shares a body with them, since he's ruining Two-Face's plans and tries to kill him.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "Demoncism", Tom thinks that getting one of his "inner demons" removed will help with his anger issues, while Star thinks it's a bad idea as one of Pony Head's exes had previously had this done and became an Empty Shell who is always cheerful about everything. He goes through with it anyway, only to find that it didn't make a difference because it removed one of thousands. This ends up becoming useful in a later episode where the characters face a threat that can steal souls and leave people in a lifeless state, but he avoids this fate because he has so many of them.
  • Blitzwing from Transformers: Animated has three personalities — a cool, calm tactician with ice blasts, or more awesomely, ice missiles; a rowdy, battle-loving hothead with fire blasts; and a cackling, non-sequitur spouting Talkative Loon who can use either of their powers. He's also got two vehicle modes: Icy uses jet, Hothead uses tank, Random uses either.

    Real Life 
  • Traditional spiritual practitioners ("shamans") deliberately foster the ability to house many spirits within them, in a hosting, Willing Channeler sense.
  • A milder version (which may have been Flanderized to this trope) is when people have inner conflicts and don't know what they should do. Like Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: "Two souls alas! dwell in my breast."
  • Modern neuroscience backs this up. As an experimental treatment for severe epilepsy, some people have had their corpus callosum severed, to prevent seizures from swamping the entire brain. This leaves the two halves of the brain, left and right, intact but unable to "talk" to each other. Result: the patients exhibit some fascinating behaviors that almost seem to indicate two different people living in their heads. (It is, however, limited to two.) There have been a fascinating case study of a man with severed corpus callosum trying to beat his wife with one hand and protect her (from himself) with the other. The implication is that we all have two people in our heads, but they work in such close tandem that we rarely notice... See Julian Jaynes' book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. CGP Grey has an interesting video where he—or rather, they given these "two people" circumstances—describes it.
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). A person with this condition may have just one other personality ... or several. Real multiples may experience themselves this way as not a disorder but closer to a Split-Personality Team.

"E Pluribus Unum."