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Agent K: We do not discharge our weapons in view of the public!
Agent J: Man, we ain't got time for this cover-up bullshit! I don't know whether or not you've forgotten, but there's an alien battle cruiser that's about to—
Agent K: There's always an alien battle cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that's about to wipe out life on this miserable little planet. The only way these people get on with their happy lives is that they do. Not. Know about it!

The setting, the geography, etc. should somewhat resemble the viewer's. The newspapers will have the same headlines, the cities will look the same on the surface, etc. But... hidden below it all, what's really going on is far different. This trope is a tool of the writers to engage Willing Suspension of Disbelief and ensure Plausible Deniability.

At its most basic definition, whatever supernatural or extraordinary groups in the series, often an Ancient Conspiracy (or at minimum Monsters Anonymous) of some sort, must hide their existence from consensus reality, and anything is permitted to maintain this: Laser-Guided Amnesia, Brainwashing for the Greater Good, even shaping the natural laws to make themselves Invisible to Normals. If a whole secondary society exists secretly adjacent to the mundane world, that's a Wainscot Society.

The in-setting reason for this, when one is provided, is usually some version of "society in general would object to said group's very existence", more or less plausible according to the writers' skill. The real-life reason is typically that the story is intended to be set in "our" world, and the streets of Anytown USA might seem a bit less familiar if they were filled with vampires and witches and the like who were making their presence obvious. The Masquerade makes it easier for the fans to imagine what it feels like to live as a "normal" person in the setting.

Sometimes, especially in more cynical series, Bystander Syndrome or The World Is Not Ready are used to explain why the Masquerade persists, even if the heroes don't necessarily want it to continue. On the other end, maintaining the Masquerade usually requires morally gray or outright black choices, like discrediting or killing the Crazy Survivalist and Agent Mulder trying to expose it. Even if the character protecting the Masquerade doesn't turn evil doing it, he's likely to end up isolated. The tensions of their role usually engender a bad reputation and kill off their love life.

People who discover the masquerade have several choices that present themselves to them, potentially including:

Real-life technology advanced from 2000-2010 or so to make Plausible Deniability much more difficult for modern authors than 20th century writers. Cell phones went from "punchline for comedians to mock rich bankers" to "item nearly everyone has, worldwide", and they have cameras. Rather than beg the local tabloid to publish a crazy story about how Billy was eaten by a werewolf, the witness to some masquerade breach can merely upload the cell phone video of Billy getting devoured to YouTube, with no potentially subverted intermediaries to convince. As a result, this trope has been increasingly ignored or subverted, although it is still a mainstay of the Urban Fantasy genre.

One variant seen occasionally is wherein the public is deceived with wrong conspiracies — everyone knows that some hidden group is secretly ruling the world, but the real conspiracy uses fake conspiracies to distract the public from the scent. The Men in Black may even spread true rumors with the intent that a Crazy Survivalist will deny them. Without enough evidence to unravel the conflicting stories, the general public only gets a general idea that something is up, and might wrongly blame nonexistent vampires for things that the Illuminati did.

Other times, it seems like the Masquerade is so paper thin that anyone with two brain cells to rub together should see through it, yet the world at large remains oblivious. If that happens you know you're dealing with an Extra-Strength Masquerade. If there is no reason for magical beings to maintain a Masquerade (whether they are so powerful that Muggles are no threat, or friendly enough that there is no need to hide), if in fact it would make more sense for magical folk not to have a Masquerade, then you have the Masquerade Paradox. Taken even further, if the Masquerade is broken in front of the general public with any regularity and yet the public never seems to acknowledge it, then there is likely a Weirdness Censor facilitating that it remain masked. In addition, some Masquerades have a Masquerade Enforcer, wherein reality itself, or some equally invincible force, punishes those that try to go public. Usually though there's Safety in Muggles, with warring factions inside the Masquerade refusing to go into war in the open. Covert warfare, though...

If the Masquerade does manage to get blown wide open for everyone, The Unmasqued World may result. If the masquerading beings aren't remotely human looking, they will have at least one means to pose as human.

The word "Masquerade" appears with this meaning in the 1958 Robert A. Heinlein novel Methuselah's Children, as the code-name which the extremely long-lived Howard Families apply to their efforts to conceal their longevity from ephemerals (the short-lived three-score-and-ten-years majority of the human race). A later example appears in the Tabletop RPG game Vampire: The Masquerade, published by White Wolf Games since the early 1990s (and its short-lived TV series spinoff, 1996's Kindred: The Embraced). "The Masquerade" referred to the necessity for vampires to hide their existence.

Not to be confused with Masquerade Ball, the short-lived (1983-84) television show Masquerade 1983, the Webcomic Masquerade (2011), the Discworld novel Maskerade, George Benson's song Masquerade, the book Masquerade (1979), or the film Masquerade (2012).



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ah! My Goddess, it seems to be a combination of Masquerade and Weirdness Censor that's Up to Eleven.
  • In AR∀GO: City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator, The Fair Folk and other "mythical" creatures most definitely exist, but the majority of humans are completely unaware of them.
  • Assassination Classroom: Aside from Asano Sr., the rest of the school (and the world) has no idea that Class 3-E is harboring the culprit who blew up the moon, and the ongoing attempt at his assassination is a total secret. It's been stated that the government is willing to wipe the memories of anyone unable to uphold this secret.
    • When the students accidentally injure an old man while trying out their free running skills in a public area, Karasuma, Koro-sensei, and the students end up going to a lot of trouble compensating for his work as a cram school teacher which he misses while recovering in the hospital, thus preventing him from leaking their secret.
    • Played for Laughs when Yuuji notices a large number of sketchy looking customers (Lovro, "Red Eye", "Gastro", "Smog" and "Grip") at Class 3-E's school festival cafe. Nagisa tries to come up with increasingly ridiculous excuses to hide the fact that they're all professional hitmen.
      Yuuji: Why does he ("Red Eye") have a gun? Maybe we should call the police...
      Nagisa: WAIT! He's...Y-Yoshioka-san from the local hunting club.
      Yuuji: "Yoshioka-san"? He doesn't look like a Japanese guy!
      Nagisa: H-he changed his name because he likes Japanese anime so much...
  • Bleach:
  • Since he can't persuade her not to come to school, Sakura tries to get Dokuro to maintain a Masquerade in Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan. This lasts about ten seconds — when asked to introduce herself, she forgets completely and just says she's an angel. No one has a problem with this, and it saves them the trouble of explaining her visible halo.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • The series has an interesting case of this. Academy City is well known as a city filled with people who have esper powers. However, there are several societies of people with magical powers who keep themselves hidden from the public, sometimes using barriers to make them Invisible to Normals. When people do witness them, they often assume they are espers. Several magic users attack Academy City, including involving the city in full-scale wars, but the average Academy City citizen is oblivious to this or thinks the attackers are espers from rival organizations. Touma Kamijou often has to save the day without any support from his Academy City peers, and occasionally gets Arrested for Heroism since the police don't understand the real reason why he was in a certain place. Later in the series, Touma decides to tell some of his friends the truth to get some backup, but it takes a while to convince them that magic is real.
    • During the British Civil War arc, the Queen grants superhuman power to every single person in the United Kingdom for a single night. After, Knight Leader points out that this will be a bit hard to cover up. The Queen just shrugs and says they don't need to worry about it; without an official statement, the people won't know what to think. Even if they do figure out it was magic, there's not actually a law saying people can't know about magic.
  • Code Geass has the Geass Directorate, which naturally hides Geass. Also, in a bizarre use of this trope, the vast majority of the world is left unaware of the political turmoil and the Zero Requiem towards the end of the series, which makes this a rare Masquerade set up by the good guys.
    • On the surface, Ashford Academy is just a high school for the upperclass Brittanians in Area 11. But the entire school compound is wired with surveillance, and an extensive underground headquarters has been set up underneath the school by the military. The hot PE teacher is actually an undercover baron, several of the students have been implanted with false memories, while another student is actually a superpowered assassin masquerading as a younger brother to the protagonist, who is unknowingly the legendary, mind controlling, and supposedly dead terrorist leader Zero.
    • Even in season 1, the Academy served as a sanctuary for an exiled prince and princess, who's mother was an imperial consort backed by the Ashford Foundation.
  • The monks in Corpse Princess go to considerable lengths to hide the existence of Shikabane, apparently to prevent muggles being hurt in the crossfire.
  • In Darker than Black the existence of contractors is kept secret from the general population with the use of memory erasure devices.
  • The most effort put into maintaining the masquerade in Day Break Illusion is Sephiro Fiore's base officially being a fortune telling school. Since the monster attacks look exactly like accidents to normal people, this is really all that's necessary.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, the existence of the titular demons and slayers are completely unknown to the general population of Japan, the setting being the Taishō Era, early 20th century, has made Japan a little less inclined to take their folklore too literally, and with non-government officials being outlawed from freely carrying swords centuries ago, the slayers have to carefully patrol more urban locations where officials would question and likely apprehend them for carrying weapons around.
  • In D.Gray-Man, the holy war and the existence of akumas is kept secret from the general population. Only the Black Order supporters who acknowledged it by being directly confronted to it (relatives killed by akumas or who have joined the order) are aware of it as well as the gouverments that make sure the local authorities give free pass to everything to the exorcists.
  • Digimon LOVES this trope, and Broken Masquerade almost as much.
    • In the original Digimon Adventure and its sequel, the kids try to conceal the fact that they have Digimon from their families. The same thing happens in both seasons: it works fine until about forty episodes in, when all hell breaks loose and the worlds start overlapping bringing them front-and-center. Gennai does a good job rebuilding the Masquerade on a worldwide scale the first time, but the kids are met with considerably less success when they try to re-pull the wool over their parent's eyes (they try, but their parents have better memories than they think). As for attempting it worldwide the second time...well, whether they tried to rebuild the Masquerade or not, the epilogue shows that with the original children fully grown, everyone on the entire planet not only knows about the Digital World, but has his or her own partner.
    • Digimon Tamers does this too, both by the Tamers and by Corrupt Corporate Executive Yamaki, head of a Weirdness Censor organization. They succeed in covering up the emerging Digimon for about half of the season, until the Attack of the 50-Foot Pig, Vikaralamon. Yamaki's failed attempts to destroy it result in him being fired, and subsequently making a Heel–Face Turn. If there was any hope left of rebuilding the Masquerade, it was obliterated when the D-Reaper came to Earth; it had taken over an enormous portion of Tokyo before the Tamers finally managed to get rid of it.
    • Justified in Digimon Frontier. The Digital World and the real world remain separate, with only a handful of humans aside from the series' heroes aware of it in much detail, because according to the Digital World's history logs, Digimon will eventually destroy the human world if they're ever allowed to enter it. And the heroes almost fail to uphold the masquerade; the Big Bad, in his One-Winged Angel form, actually manages to emerge partway into the real world before they drag him back and destroy him.
    • Subverted in Digimon Data Squad, when Masaru attempts to hide Agumon from his mother and sister. However, both he and Agumon fall off the roof in front of them within five minutes. When Masaru wakes up he finds that not only is his family completely unfazed, but that his mother had invited Agumon to have dinner with them while he was KO'ed. This reaction is explained around episode 11, when Masaru's mother reveals that she knew about both the existence of Digimon and DATS (her husband created the organization), and realized pretty early on that Masaru's involvement with them was almost inevitable.
  • Dragon Ball is totally inconsistent on this.
    • In the original series, Supernatural Martial Arts were widely known to exist (albeit in a less powerful form than they would become later), and in the first two sagas of Dragon Ball Z, an alien invasion wrecks large areas of the Earth. However, after the Frieza Saga, humanity suddenly forgets about the superhuman powers of the Z-Fighters (who by now can wreck entire planets), Mr. Satan pops up with a reputation as an invincible fighter despite the fact that he'd have been a weak tournament adversary even by the standards of the original series, and nobody believes in flight or Ki Manipulation. The heroes largely ignore this, but a Weirdness Censor ensures that nobody credits the heroes' deeds as possible even if they should know better.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Zeno holds the Tournament of Power, where ten champions each from eight universes will compete in a battle royale, and if all a universe's champions are eliminated, that universe and all of its inhabitants will be erased from existence. While the inhabitants of the other universes are informed of the Tournament and cheer their champions on, the inhabitants of Goku and friend's Earth are not, and remain completely oblivious to almost getting erased.
  • Engage Kiss: The existence of demons and people possessed by them in Bayron city are covered up, with alternate explanations given for any incidents involving them.
  • Fruits Basket to an extent, hiding the Sohma curse.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, everyone has a mask. It's more of a Government Conspiracy than a Masquerade.
  • Despite the fact that the existence of Time Travellers, ESPers and Aliens in Haruhi Suzumiya is technically hidden, sometimes it seems as though you can't move for students at North High who turn out to be one of the three. Then again, the three such who are in the SOS-dan have all told Kyon that the school is heavily infiltrated by agents of all three groups. This is more evident in the books than in the anime, where only one character outside their group turns out to be one of these.
    • One character, Tsuruya, has laughed about how badly Kyon and company cover their activities, but has stated she's not going to push the issue. It's implied that she herself is hiding a plethora of adventures; if so, she's a lot better at avoiding detection.
    • Tsuruya has a 600 year old titanium-cesium jar buried in the mountain behind her gigantic home that she didn't know about. And since the only other Genki Girl in the series happens to be a reality-warper, it's a pretty good sign that Nagaru Tanigawa has big plans for her.
  • Kamichu! is exactly the kind of show you'd expect to have a Masquerade, which is why it's so startling that it doesn't. By the end of the first episode, everybody knows Yurie has become a kami (minor god), and no one has trouble buying it. Such gods are all around according to the Shinto faith, but they don't usually reside in people. However, there's only so much room for doubt after a typhoon with Yurie's face on it appears.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl averts this both by having the Human Alien and his Spaceship Girl prominently broadcast that they were aliens, just crash landed on Hazumu, and made a Gender Bender putting Hazumu back together. This gets lampshaded when the aliens start living in Hazumu's room, and she tries to hide them, only to find her parents already know and not only don't care, but are already serving them breakfast.
  • Magic in Kaze no Stigma, supposedly a secret between mage families and various government agencies. Stretches disbelief in the modern setting, considering the demons the mages are hired to exterminate and the occasional reckless mage. A giant flaming statue commanded by an heiress with the high ground fighting a demon down a city street — and the occasional collapsing hotel — can not be that easy to cover up.
  • Lyrical Nanoha keeps Non-Administrated Worlds such as Earth out of the Masquerade through Phantom Zones that shift non-mages slightly out of place/time so magical battles and strange occurrences will be Invisible to Normals. There doesn't seem to be any harsh consequences for people learning about the Masquerade, though it helps that the only Muggles that have learned about it are friends and families who are willing to play Secret-Keeper.
  • Megazone 23: Despite appearing like an idealized 1980's Japan... the world is actually in a drifting colony ship far in the future, with an AI trying to keep its inhabitants blissfully unaware, productive, and not panicky.
  • The mermaids of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch keep the Masquerade going with an elaborate story (true or not) that a breach of the secret will turn the offending mermaid into seafoam. (This is likely based on the fairy tale "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen, in which mermaids turn into seafoam when they die.)
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid has dragons who have never needed to maintain a masquerade because they never come to Earth. As more and more dragons visit (or come to live with) the protagonist in the human world, it becomes necessary to lay down some ground rules... more for the protagonist's convenience, or to prevent major cities from being destroyed and she gets blamed for it (as at least two of the dragons literally lives with her), than out of any concern for what humanity can or cannot be allowed to know about.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid does this with mermaids attempting to hide their existence. Given all the weird stuff that goes on, one would think that no one would care about mermaids.
  • Mages in the Nasuverse (Tsukihime, Fate/stay night) generally have to keep themselves hidden, and teach their arts in secret. While everything in the universe is stronger than a measly human, things like vampires still do the same, apparently because human beings are too far-reaching (the Church is rather devoted to wiping out bloodsuckers). The canon explanation for this is because systems of Magecraft actually draw on a limited "amount" of power — the more followers a system have, the lower the amount an individual can actually pull out. So really, they're keeping it secret just so they can keep the power to themselves.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi, a world with similarities to Harry Potter, has as the first defense to magic a simple worldwide spell that prevents muggles from noticing anything really obviously weird. Things like Negi flying on his staff are written off as nobody looking up. However it is possible for magic to be figured out or noticed, in that case the person suffers a bout of forgetfulness. Any mage who does break the Masquerade is threatened with punishment (such as being turned into an ermine). This especially comes up in the second series, Negima?!, when two "observers" threaten Negi every single episode as more and more students become aware of him (and hiding this fact becomes increasingly difficult). The school being an Elaborate University High with oddities like the World Tree and a huge dungeon for a library helps in dismissing the few scattered reports of magic as just part of the package, as does humanity's natural inclination to dismiss the illogical.
    • An arc about midway through the manga deals with a conspiracy to irrevocably reveal magic's existence. By replacing the spell that forces people to drop their built-in Weirdness Censors while spreading enough evidence to convince them that Magic is real.
    • And the hero angsts about possibly not being right for about half of it and eventually just accepts that he's probably the bad guy in this arc. He does have the good point that if it was worth being turned into an ermine from his point of view, the villain would have just told him that at the beginning.
    • The 80-years-in-the-future sequel UQ Holder! has the masquerade fallen and magic made open to the public. While not quite all the stuff is out in the open, casting a spell (or using an ap to cast a spell) no longer raises more than an eyebrow and a minor comment.
  • The ninjas from Ninja Shinobu-san no Junjou have to keep them being ninjas a secret, otherwise they would not be ninjas. However, while Shinobu and Kazama are persistently claiming they are not ninjas, it is really obvious, which is Played for Laughs.
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! uses this trope with a heavy dose of Rule of Funny: Nyarko will erect special barriers to keep Muggles from seeing her battles with horrible monsters, but will gladly proclaim to all and sundry that she's Nyarlathotep the Crawling Chaos, never hiding the existence of her pet shantak-bird or any of the other clues that the Cthulhu Mythos beings are just aliens.
  • Ojamajo Doremi lampshades it with reason — if someone calls witch a witch, she will turn into a frog. So obviously, you can't reveal who you are.
  • Omamori Himari has this more as a side note. The "Public Safety Division 4" usually keeps things secret in Japan and works together with the Onikiri-Yaku/Demon Slayers, other nations are stated to have similar groups.
  • Subverted in Pom Poko, where the Tanuki desperately attempt to save their habitat from the bulldozers by scaring the developers away. When that doesn't work, one group breaks the masquerade to try to openly fight the human, and lose. Meanwhile, another group decides to arrange TV coverage; they publicly reveal themselves to plead their case to save their home, and that move succeeds in getting public opinion on their side (to some degree).
  • Pretty Sammy: Magical Project S subverts this trope as Sasami hides the secret she is the magical girl Pretty Sammy and that there is a magical kingdom on the moon, however in the last episode it's revealed that everyone knew about her identity and the magical world, but played along because they knew she wanted to keep it secret.
  • The Magical Girls of Puella Magi Madoka Magica don't try very hard to maintain the Masquerade; it's more that with everything relevant being Invisible to Normals and/or taking place in a Phantom Zone, it'd be considerably more work to explain what's going on than let people make up explanations. It’s also deconstructed, as the Masquerade is not implemented to protect people, but to keep them ignorant- the true purpose of the Masquerade is to hide from the public the atrocities of the Incubators, who are psychologically torturing little girls into becoming Eldritch Abominations and letting them loose to kill innocent people so they can collect the despair to be used as energy to power the universe. If people found out what was going on underneath their noses, they’d be pissed, to say the least.
  • Rosario + Vampire has two overlapping masquerades. First, there's Youkai Academy, a school that teaches monsters to coexist peacefully with humans and hide their identities. Then there's Tsukune, a human who accidentally enrolled and has to hide the fact that he's human from everyone. Except his closest friends. And the headmaster. And the Big Bad. And every plot-significant character. Further subverted in that he eventually loses his muggle status.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • At the end of the canon, only a handful of non-senshi knew their civilian names, so it's an example of the masquerade working. Well, at least until Sailor Galaxia blows it up in the Grand Finale. Alongside with the entire population of the Earth. Don't worry, humanity gets better in the end.
    • Codename: Sailor V, on the other hand... well, it may as well be a masquerade itself that the parents don't know...
  • MegaCorp MBI uses their control over the capital to maintain the secrecy of their plan for the Human Aliens in Sekirei, manipulating the media and using all manner of excuses to keep muggles away from sites of expected battles. Ashikabi are warned about keeping the plan a secret, with various threats about being "dealt with" if they slip up. This leads to hilarity as Minato attempts to explain his growing harem to his landlady. It turns out to be a Mutual Masquerade, as everyone else living at Izumo Inn knows about the existence of the Sekirei already.
  • Shakugan no Shana has battles that stop time, but the collateral damage must be fixed with energy taken from peoples' lives, and the heroes always have make sure to fix everything. Thankfully, almost anything can be fixed, including the muggles suspended in time sustaining lethal damage.
  • The Roppongi Club in Speed Grapher usually covers up everything that goes awry and might expose them by either buying off people or killing them, but this starts getting harder and harder to pull off when Tatsumi Saiga enters the picture.
  • In Summer Time Rendering, the shadowy clones that have been murdering people and taking their place for centuries are nothing more than a local myth called the "Shadow Sickness" to the residents of the island. The Hishigata Clinic has been enforcing this secret for generations by fabricating the victims' causes of death, diagnosing witnesses with Capgras Syndrome, disposing of people who try to poke their noses in too deep, and feeding their corpses to Haine.
  • In Super Dreadnought Girl 4946, it's revealed that every major war for the past century or so has been a cover-up for a war against giant alien monsters.
  • Tenchi Muyo!:
    • The OVA series reveals that the Japanese government is in on the fact that aliens live on their planet. It's explained that the Great Seto Bridge's destruction was covered up as a meteor crash, but Noboyuki and his assistant had to let them know that it was because of Ryoko's awakening and Ayeka's arrival.
    • Katsuhito also employs one on himself to throw off suspicion to the fact that he doesn't age the same as everyone else and so Ayeka can fall in love with Tenchi and not him.
  • The World of Narue has a lot of masquerade maintenance of the alien variety in it. It's difficult because most aliens (and whole alien battleships) are fugitives and the occasional alien terrorist attack happens as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Absalom makes it clear that many members of British high society are at least partially demonic after a pact between the British crown and Hell that ended with several marriage alliances.
  • Clean Room shows the struggle between literal demons afflicting humanity and Astrid Mueller, one of the rare humans who can see through their stealth technology/ability. Much human suffering is driven by demonic possession For the Evulz.
  • Doctor Strange frequently will go out of his way to prevent the world at large from learning about magic, to the extent that he will use his magic to perform Laser-Guided Amnesia on people to keep them ignorant of it. Oddly enough, most normal people believe Strange himself to be a charlatan pretending to use actual magic and finding the feats he and other sorcerers perform to be impossible despite the fact that Superpowered beings capable of feats equivalent to magic are well known to the public.
  • Fables has the various fairy-tale and mythological beings of the book living in the middle of New York City, and disguised from normal humans, called "Mundies". Nonhuman fables (Three Little Pigs, Billy Goats Gruff, Etc.) who can't afford magical disguises live on a massive upstate park called "The Farm". They are found out by a reporter who notices that all the property in Fabletown has been owned by the same people for hundreds of years and draws the conclusion that they're vampires. They scare him into silence by using Sleeping Beauty's curse to put him to sleep and setting up a photoshoot with the perpetually young Pinocchio to blackmail him into keeping his mouth shut. Then Bluebeard kills him.
  • Hoax Hunters is set in a world where magic and monsters are real, but unknown to the general public. That last part is due to the efforts of, duh, the Hoax Hunters, who investigate incidents, cover them up, and use their TV show to say it was all a hoax.
  • Proof depicts every manner of cryptid as real, which is covered up by the joint US-Canadian organization known as the Lodge. They mostly capture cryptids who are causing trouble and house them in their huge nature preserve (if possible). Oh, and the Lodge's top field agent is Bigfoot, though he goes by John Prufrock, or Proof, these days.
  • Route 666 follows the adventures of Cassie Starkweather when, after the traumatic accidental death of a friend, she (re)gains the ability to see and talk with ghosts. However, she can also see the true forms of monsters pretending to be normal people. When escaping from an insane asylum run by said monsters, she kills a few of them. Unfortunately, after death, they revert to normal human form. This means she is not only being pursued by the monsters as an enemy to their conspiracy, but by the law as a psychopathic killer.
  • The Ultimates: There are at least 11 alien species living on planet Earth. S.H.I.E.L.D. knows it, but prevents it from becoming public knowledge.
  • The miniseries Wanted has an almighty Legion of Doom of allied supervillains who exterminated all superheroes on Earth in 1986, and keep the world under a delusion that they never existed, as well as covering up all the horrible crimes supervillains can now commit for fun.

    Fan Works 
  • The Force Is Not A Quirk!: Several lies are told to the general public to protect the Jedi and their companions, with more coming up as the story progresses.
    • The Force is registered as an Emitter type for Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Ahsoka, while Padme and Rex are listed as having quirks that have minor effects on their internal organs. That's the first of many cover stories to mask their alien origins.
      • Chapter 47 reveals that a theory of Quirk Similarity Syndrome exists, due to close relationships and environmental influences; Anakin is almost certain that the theory only exists because of Nedzu, who created it to help reduce suspicion on them.
    • For the sake of public perception and politics, Padme presents the idea to All Might that he introduce her to the public as his daughter. And thus, Star Might is born.
    • When Obi-Wan finds Eri, Principal Nedzu is in complete agreement with him that she must never return to her previous handlers, which is only re-emphasized by her Quirk and her being Force-sensitive. To protect her, they craft her a new identity, and to Obi-Wan's chagrin, the result is her becoming Eri Kenobi, with her mother being Midnight.
  • Heroes of the Desk: The reason for the existence of SPEAR in this Heroes of the Storm fanfic. The usual In-Universe justification for the masquerade is a Cryptic Background Reference related to the Roman Empire, though involvement by SPEAR-like agencies in the past has been mentioned in the context of feudalism, whaling, the Salem Witch Trials, and something related to the Catholic Church.
  • Hell and High Water has an interesting variant wherein local law enforcement have been the ones covering up all the magical activity that has being occurring for the past few months, while having little-to-no understanding about the nature or origin of it. Learning that everything is coming from an alternate dimension doesn't surprise police captain Lightspeed Barrage, who has come to view these incidents as minor annoyances more than anything else, though she is relieved that she now knows who to blame (as well as contact if they stumble upon a magical incident first).
  • The Night Unfurls: Reconstructed. Everything related to Yharnam, the Old Blood, the Great Ones, and almost anything Bloodborne is hidden from the Eostian populace. However, it's not a case of the supernatural actively hiding their existence, but rather a case where the supernatural is located in a remote, inaccessible location (Yharnam) instead of being some hidden society within the kingdom of Eostia. Those who have, or eventually gain some knowledge of them are tight-lipped about their origins. Kyril sees this as a Dark Secret to be buried forever, while the few people who eventually gain some tidbits of it are Welcomed to the Masquerade, certainly not interested in exposing it. Both the Rad Arc and the Leaping Lizards Arc see the actions of an Evil Sorcerer threatening to break the masquerade as a result of delving into the Eldritch Truth. The consequences are laid bare, with the fortress city of Rad twisted into an Eldritch Location, its citizenry mutated from the sorcerer's sick experiments. What's worse is that this is not the first time where the supernatural is subject to much misuse and exploitation that ultimately doomed a region beyond repairnote . All in all, Kyril's efforts in concealing the secrets of Yharnam, hence the existence of the masquerade, is meant to prevent a repeat of history, which makes a hell lot of sense.
  • There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton: The supernatural world and the world of mankind were initially seperate from each other, with various organizations like SHIELD keeping it hidden while barriers like the Mist prevented humanity from seeing it. It becomes a case of Broken Masquerade when The Battle of New York clues the Earth as a whole into the fact that aliens exist, and the existence of enhanced individuals. It's downplayed, as their existence was somewhat already known in examples like Captain America beforehand as well as the "mutant boom" that occurred in the 60s and 70s, but it's noted a few times that people are becoming more open to the supernatural existing as a result of the battle. For example, the Mist that hides the Olympians from normal mortals is becoming less effective, which isn't helped by how Percy couldn't help but defend civilians during the battle while the Avengers were busy. Zeus is worried to the point of seriously considering revealing the existence of the Olympians to the public at large so they can at least do it on their own terms.
    • On a smaller scale, there's also the ongoing coverup carried out by the Glitch Techs to hide the existence of Glitches. As they're well aware that the general public would most likely panic if they learned that video game characters are coming to life and rampaging, and probably lash out against the video game industry in Misplaced Retribution, video game companies keep the Glitch Techs sufficiently funded so that they can counteract the Glitches and undo any damage they cause, including wiping people's memories of it.
  • Thousand Shinji: Second Impact changed humanity, turning all newborn children in psykers. There's an alternate dimension linked to the physical universe called the Warp where the emotions and feelings of all living beings spawn gods and demons. Main character Shinji was trained since he was a children by a Chaos sorcerer. He, Asuka and Rei are Chaos Gods' followers endowed with Lovecraftian Superpowers pretending be normal teenagers and keeping the existence of the Warp, the Chaos Gods... secret. And neither of their enemies figured out their secrets until it was too late for them.
  • The Vampire of Steel: In this Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover, Supergirl wants to call the Justice League in and wipe all vampires off Sunnydale. Buffy talks Kara out of it, explaining the Gang needs to keep the existence of vampires a secret.
    Buffy: Okay. All right. Let's admit defeat. Let's just go ahead, call in the troops, and let them raze Sunnydale. I have enough of a time keeping my own activities a secret, Kara. Do you honestly think we can keep the lid on things when the Justice League come to town?
    Supergirl: Start making sense.
    Buffy: I am! Do you know how strong most people's sense of denial is? In some cases, it's the only thing that keeps them going. Look. What do you think would be the effect when people all over the country learn that vampires really exist?
    Supergirl: They already know a lot of evil things exist, Buffy. Super-villains, criminals, alien enemies from dozens of planets.
    Buffy: True enough. But supposing they learn that there are really things out there in the night that want to kill them, suck their blood, and make them like a recruiting poster with Dracula pointing at ‘em and saying, "I Vant You"?
  • Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation: In this Superman fanfic, the House of El goes to considerable lengths to hide their existence in the belief that humans would never accept the existence of several hundreds of superpersons living among them.
    George: Alan... Alan... Just how stupid do you think the average man is, boy?
    Alan: (sighing) I don't know, Uncle George. You tell *me*. How stupid *do* I think the average man is?
    George: Pretty damn stupid, Alan. For over five hundred years there's been a Superman. Since the Prime Superman of the Twentieth. Everyone knows that. Don't you imagine that the general populace might— just might, mind you!—have figured out that, by the simplest laws of genetics and mathematics, there *has* to be more than one of us?
    Alan: Of course, they know, Uncle George. Most of them. When they think about it. Which isn't often. Uncle George, don't *do* this. Please. Listen to me. As long as we don't rub their faces in it ... as long they see only one of us, a hero, they aren't threatened. It's easy for them to ignore the fact that there have to be others. They can even accept the existence of a Superboy. Or a Supergirl. But ... Rao's flames! There are over two hundred of us here! They'd never accept that! Never! You have to think of the Family!
  • A Is A: Due to the clandestine nature of those invoved in it, members of the Multiversal Task Force have to enforce their masquerades in their own universes for fear of what would happen if the truth were revealed. From Stargate Command still trying to keep their world unaware of the war with the Goa'uld, to Amestris trying to conceal the truth of Father's actions and the remnants of his conspiracy still operating in Amestris, to Sunset Shimmer and her friends trying to keep the truth from the local school board.

    Films — Animation 
  • Barnyard: Played for Laughs. While the animals don't speak to humans in English (or any human language), it's made clear that the animals really are speaking English and it's not just their noises being translated.
  • The Brave Little Toaster: All appliances are alive and intelligent beings. For some unexplained reason, they never want their "masters" to catch them talking or moving about, with only functionally communicating machines (such as TVs) being allowed to communicate with them, and only indirectly.
  • Charlotte's Web: The barn animals talk to each other and Fern. When Fern tells her family about the Talking Animals, they think she is lying.
  • Chicken Run: The chickens pretend they don't understand English so they can eavesdrop on the humans. When they finally execute their escape plan, they drop the act and start talking to humans.
  • Shrek: Donkey attempts this to evade being sold by his owner to Farquaad goons by refusing to talk, with the intention of making his owner look crazy in the eyes of them and deny her from selling him. It doesn't last long as he ruins his façade after convincing the guards that he was a normal donkey.
  • Tarzan: An ambiguous example as it's not clear whether the gorillas and elephants are Talking Animals that pretend to be normal animals around everyone except Tarzan, or Tarzan just Speaks Fluent Animal.
  • Toy Story: The toys drop or freeze in place when humans or animals approach. This is apparently a societal norm, as they treat breaking cover on Sid in the first movie as a desperation move. Compare this to Jim Henson's The Christmas Toy, in which toys are animate when humans are not looking at them. Any toy caught out of place is "frozen forever" and cannot reanimate. This creates a Plot Hole when you realize Buzz did the same thing even when he didn't realize he is a toy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Adjustment Bureau: Apparently, very few people have been told about the existence of the titular bureau.
    Richardson: You've just seen behind a curtain you weren't even supposed to know existed.
  • In Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, ghosts are only invisible to the living because the living won't see the strange or unusual. Those who can see the ghosts (such as Lydia), are only able to do so because they themselves are "strange and unusual."
  • In the Blade Trilogy, vampires hide from humanity. In the 1st film, Deacon Frost wants to break the Masquerade and rule humans in the open. In the 2nd film, the vampires have beefed up their Masquerade a bit just to hide from Blade. Also in the 2nd film, they promptly show Blade their new security measures. No wonder they had to bring back Dracula... Drake is disgusted with the Masquerade. In a twist of fate, it's a human weapon that kills him.
  • Cats & Dogs has the humans unaware of a secret spy war between our feline and canine companions. Dogs are usually agents trained before they are set up to be given to their owners to protect them.
  • In the DC Extended Universe, superpowered beings have been active for a while — Wonder Woman was active in WWI, for example. However, the general public are unaware of this until the events of Man of Steel, when General Zod and his fellow Kryptonians arrive and Superman publicly reveals his existence to stop them. Even then, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shows that while the existence of extraterrestrial life is now public knowledge, most of the public are unaware of the non-alien metahumans in their midst, although Suicide Squad (2016) reveals that the US government are aware, and even have several metahumans in captivity.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, the adults of Springwood have established a Masquerade concealing the existence of Freddy Krueger from the town's young people, to deny him the fear that allows him to harm people through their dreams. Those already aware of Freddy's existence are drugged with Hypnocil to prevent them from dreaming, and are confined in a mental hospital, cut off from the outside world.
  • While the masquerade is tightly enforced in the Harry Potter books, the films throw it out without a second thought to fit in action scenes of wizards flying through London along the Thames without Disillusionment charms or other forms of concealment.
  • In the first Hellboy film (in contrast with the original comic books) the existence of the supernatural is a carefully-guarded secret. As far as the public knows, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense does not exist, Hellboy is just an urban myth, and Hitler died in 1958. Then in the sequel, Hellboy goes public.
  • In Highlander, the existence of Immortals is unknown to the general public, and one Season Finale of the series is based upon a specific threat to reveal their existence to the world.
  • In Independence Day, President Action says that the Roswell Incident never really happened, only to be told by one of his advisors, "Uh, Mr. President, that's not... entirely accurate".
  • Jack Frost (1998): After scaring Sid, Jack pretends to be a normal snowman around everyone except Charlie. He eventually drops the act and talks to Rory.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, one is enforced on Earth through liberal use of Laser-Guided Amnesia technology so that the Terrans don't notice when things get out of hand among the aliens.
  • Kiss of the Damned: Discussed by Xenia and the other vampires while talking at the party. She's resentful of having to live in the shadows, but another vampire notes if humans knew about them they'd be slaughtered.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, both witches and witch hunters hide from muggles.
    • Axe and Cross enforces it on witches, because if they were to be left unchecked, there'd soon be another Witch Queen wannabe out to take over the world.
    • Kaulder's immortality is hidden by oft changes of false identities. 37th Dolan lampshades the fact that in digital age, this is becoming harder and harder to pull off.
  • The Matrix: humanity isn't ready to be told that they're all living in a simulation and their bodies in the real world are being farmed for electricity.
  • In the Men in Black movies and cartoon, the existence of alien life is kept secret because The World Is Not Ready, and justified it with the (quite reasonable) claim that if humans knew about aliens, they would do stupid things out of fear, because The World Is Always Doomed.
  • In Plan 9 from Outer Space, whether or not the aliens want to maintain a masquerade, the government is trying to cover up the aliens, and the civilians or the government are aware of the aliens apparently changes from line to line.
  • In R.I.P.D. spirits are visible to mortals, but usually stay disguised so as to avoid attracting attention, which neither side wants. A big stink is raised when Nick and Roy chase an undisguised dead-o in public in the middle of the day.
  • Society: The eponymous "Society", which claims that it's been around since the dawn of civilization. Turns out that the elites are actually ravenous, mutating, people-eating monsters.
  • Terminator: From the second movie onward, Cyberdyne has been covering up the fact that they've been reverse-engineering their own time-traveling robots for profit and that Sarah Connor was right all along. However, the Terminators/Skynet give no fucks about keeping their existence secret, and Sarah has been actively trying to expose it. Also overlaps with Weirdness Censor for Doctor Silverman, in multiple movies.
  • Downplayed in Thor. The Marvel Universe doesn't become fully unmasqued until the battle of New York. So when the big guy goes around announcing to anyone who'll listen who he is and who's his daddy, everyone just assumes he's delusional/drunk. It's only under the arrival of compounding evidence—e.g. the Destroyer, Lady Sif and the warriors three, the bifrost, the self-propelled hammer, and the return of Thor's magical armor—force The Reveal.
  • In The Tooth Fairy, the tooth fairies try to keep their existence hidden. What makes it weird is that they need the belief in tooth fairies to stay around, and apparently belief is waning. Why try so hard to cover up your existence if you need people to believe in you? Is it because proof denies faith?
  • They Live! has aliens in disguise as humans who secretly rule the world.
  • Transformers is an even better example than its animated counterparts listed below; the Transformers, especially the Decepticons, exist as robots in disguise because if they attract the attention of American's armed forces, our military technology can and will kill them. Starscream may be superior to any two or three human fighter craft, but we have lots of fighter craft to hunt him down with. The masquerade is two-way, however. A bureau of the US Government discovered Megatron and the All-Spark Cube many years before Bumblebee showed up, and so the US presidents and Sector 7 have been aware of the Transformers all that time, never informing anyone else. According to the Sector 7 comic books, the knew that Transformers were out there, but not that they were out here. As for why the various governments of the world AND the Autobots continue the Masquerade after the events of the first movie... that's never explained.
  • Undercover Brother. The general public has no idea that two secret groups are locked in a war over racism in the United States: The Man's organization, which promotes white supremacy, and the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D., which supports racial equality.

  • In the Philip K. Dick short story, "Adjustment Team", the story's protagonist stumbles into a world that is in effect behind the scenes of the observable world where omnipotent beings alter the flow of reality to fit some kind of ineffable design. He opts to subject himself to Laser-Guided Amnesia at the end of the story.
  • In the Alcatraz Series—Most of the world, known as the Hushlands, is controlled by Evil Librarians who use their control of information to teach all sorts of lies about history, economics, geography, physics, etc. The Free Kingdoms are continents that have not yet been conquered by the Evil Librarians, so they don't even appear on Librarian-approved maps. For example, one of the Free Kingdoms is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
  • In Animorphs, the existence of the Yeerks is largely unknown on Earth. There is one website devoted to Yeerks, but it is run by a Controller. Justified in that Yeerks tend to go for important people, and many people in the media are probably Controllers.
  • The series The Solomon Code posits that half-angel Nephilim are members of most of the world's ancient military orders, many of its major historical figures, and behind most of the major events. The UN has a specific multibillion dollar agency devoted to containing them. Of course it's all secret.
  • Area 51: Members of the Airlia, an alien species, have covertly been living on Earth for millennia and also manipulating humans to their ends unbeknownst to most aside from their minions.
  • The fairies in Artemis Fowl live underground to avoid humans, although it wasn't always so. Also, the demons in "The Lost Colony" used to live in Limbo.
  • The eponymous main character of The Automatic Detective stumbles upon one of these: aliens who believe the world isn't ready for them, and so have been deliberately introducing all manner of mutations into the human population, until they can eventually blend in with them.
  • In The Caster Chronicles the Caster world and its secrets are completely hidden from the rest of the world and Gatlin, a town where "Nothing changes". Many mortals themselves are involved, including the librarian, the main character's house mother, the main character's own deceased mother, the town mailman, and eventually the main character and his best friend as well.
  • Lilliputians living among humans, such as The Borrowers or the Main Characters of the Nomes Trilogy, are often shown keeping their existence a complete secret from humanity. Of course, small size helps a lot with this.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, Greek gods are raising hostage children in what appears to be a school; they are hiding this not only from the outside world but from the children themselves.
  • In China Miéville's The City & the City two cities are juxtaposed in space, yet every single citizen 'unsees' the opposite city which is right in front of them. However, they are allowed to cross the border and be a tourist in the other city, in which case they unsee their own city and see the other one instead. Unseeing is a deliberate act and you can 'see' the wrong city if you want, but you will immediately be 'disappeared' if you do (children are allowed some leniency while they learn the system). It is never clear if this is a masquerade created by the people who live each city or if there is some other cause.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Shadows In Zamboula", this is rumored of Aram Baksh, who has managed to keep himself from official notice but not Infallible Babble: he is said to be a demon in human form. (The truth is also something ugly.)
  • Present in Dance of the Butterfly, including keeping the reader on the hidden side of it until nearly the end of the first book!
  • Deliciously subverted in Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon. A character who's been taught to maintain the Masquerade his whole life goes bonkers when the heroine openly discusses the supernatural in a New York coffee shop. He asks her to pipe down and not discuss 'them.' The heroine proceeds to assume seductive pose in her catsuit and openly discuss the supernatural. The point being, it's New York, and people have been so inured by slasher flicks and horror films they aren't going to believe it anymore anyway. Specifically, she says "The only way they'd pay attention is if I stripped on the table top for them."
  • Devils & Thieves: The magical community, also known as the kindled, do their best to hide from those without magic, known as drecks; there are laws forbidding the use of magic in public, for example.
  • In The Doll People, dolls who have taken the Oath are made to uphold the masquerade. If they fail to uphold this, they are either placed in Doll State, a type of stasis where they can't move for 24 hours, or Permanent Doll State, where the stasis is completely, well, permanent.
  • Actually averted in the web-novel Domina. One of the first things the Reasonable Authority Figure does when he finds out the city is being attacked by super-powered zombies is go on TV, explain everything, and warn people not to panic.
  • In Dora Wilk Series and its spin-off, Shaman Blues, the supernatural world keeps itself secret from the muggle one, mostly for the sake of convenience, which actually makes things inconvenient when there's supernatural trouble brewing in regular world.
  • In The Dreamside Road, the IHSA spent decades covering up any instances of “high strangeness”, whether it be paranormal abilities, classified weaponry, or UFO visitation. During their decline, however, this cover was blown and all of the above are common knowledge by the time the story begins.
  • The Masquerade in The Dresden Files doesn't have a name, but it's understood as an unspoken gentleman's agreement by most of the supernatural community, even with the people it's meant to keep out of the loop.
    • Most humans, derided and sneered at by all sorts of creatures as ignorant prey, are considered a sleeping giant. Especially in the modern 21st century, where numbers and technology are a great equalizer against the raw power of, say, vampires, fairies, and demons. While most entities take care not to be indiscreet, they don't have to try too hard, since most humans wouldn't like the implications that the safe, sane, rational world is a lie.
    • Chicago PD has a Special Investigations unit where they dump off all the weird stuff, and they simply handwave it off with rationalizing stories. Oddly, besides Karin Murphy, very few of the SI personnel seem to be aware of the supernatural world.
    • Whereas most of the supernatural world tries to keep out of the eyes of normal people, Harry actually advertises his status as a Wizard and assists the Chicago Police Department's Special Investigations branch in mysterious cases. Many people still think he's a charlatan or a stage magician (or his listing is a misspelling of "lizard"). Proven Guilty has a vampire tell Harry that he dare not threaten the Masquerade by acting against him in public. Harry comments that he's listed in the phone book, under Wizards.
    • Many supernatural organizations will invite straights into their ranks, but it tends to be a lifetime appointment. The Vampire courts are known to use humans when they need staff, but: the Red court tends to kill off their people, especially by accident or out of pique; White Court when they humans are no longer useful and they don't want info getting out; and Black Court vampires use varying levels of psychic domination, the most extreme being Renfields who go irreversibly if their master dies.
    • In one book, Harry specifically notes that involving the general public in supernatural conflicts would result in an escalation into global chaos. However, in a later book, when fighting an enemy faction that refuses to adhere to any of established rules, he seriously considers the option of getting the government to attack them under guise of them being terrorists (which is what they are anyways). Calling in mortals is seen as something of a "nuclear option" in the supernatural world. Normal humans may not know what's going on, but they can keep throwing bodies, guns, and potentially actual nukes at a problem until it goes away. Consequently most supernatural creatures keep a moderately low profile, though the mortals' Weirdness Censor means they don't have to try very hard.
    • The main reason given for why the supernatural world is hidden is a case of planet-wide denial. People are so freaked out by the supernatural that humanity as a whole will come up with any excuse they can think of to rationalize it away. This is aided by the fact that magic humans fry electronic equipment, leading to any video, audio, or even photographic evidence coming out blank, or glitchy to the point of being unrecognizable. One of the best examples is when Harry is escaping from a fight with his friend, a medical examiner, who has actually seen some weird stuff in bodies before, and has just seen something that is explicitly supernatural, and asks how people can rationalize stuff away. Harry asks him what he's seen, and he starts to rationalize it away. Harry lampshades, it making his point.
    • There's also a recursive Masquerade; some supernatural organizations fight in the Oblivion War, a long term, low conflict secret war against ancient evil gods and their followers. While the fighters in the Oblivion War can't destroy their opponents, they can be rendered powerless, trapped, and almost nonexistent ("consigned to Oblivion") by being forgotten about. Recruiting more people than absolutely necessary or sharing information is counterproductive, and they have no idea how many gods they've erased, because any record of them would let them hang on.
    • Battle Ground shows what happens when the Masquerade slips: even god-like entities get nervous about military intervention and the mortal governments do not hesitate to attack with major military force. The Fomor army attacking Chicago are completely slaughtered by a squadron of attack helicopters, and the possibility that the Librarians of Congress might show up has every major supernatural power in Chicago worried.
  • Eden Green has the parasite-enhanced main characters sneak around abandoned parts of their city to fight invading needle monsters, all while trying to stay under the radar of any government organizations that would love to capture them.
  • The Enchanted Files: In Diary of a Mad Brownie / Cursed, brownies are not allowed to show themselves to humans, aside from the ones they're bound to. Angus breaks this rule when he reveals himself to Destiny Carhart's teacher, Ms. Kincaid, to give her a chewing out over trying to convince Destiny that her Imaginary Friend, Herbert the Goblin, was never real.
  • In The Extinction Parade, a key way in which vampires uphold the masquerade is by hunting poor people, as it is easier to write their deaths off as street crimes gone wrong; killing people from the upper and middle classes is treated as Hunting the Most Dangerous Game due to Missing White Woman Syndrome threatening to break the masquerade, necessitating efforts to make their deaths look like accidents or crimes of passion. They eventually had to abandon Europe and North America and moved to developing countries like Malaysia in order to keep the masquerade going, as the ranks of the desperately poor that society wouldn't miss were growing ever thinner as those nations grew wealthier and more open. Of course, once the Zombie Apocalypse hits, all of that goes out the window as the vampires take the opportunity to go on a feeding frenzy — at least, until they realize that their food supply is getting destroyed by the zombies.
  • In an interesting subversion, in Gil's All Fright Diner the people of Rockwood are completely aware of the zombies, vampire turkeys, evil cults, and other supernatural occurrences that happen in and around their town — and are generally completely indifferent to it. This is apparently because the rising level of weirdness also causes people to accept the supernatural easier — the weirder things get, the less strange they seem. This all works out quite well for the two lead characters of the story, as no one is particularly freaked out or surprised to learn that Duke is a werewolf or Earl is a vampire.note 
  • H. P. Lovecraft:
    • Most of H. P. Lovecraft's work, and the Cthulhu Mythos as a whole, depends on a metaphorical 'veil' that shrouds us from any reality aside from the one right in front of our faces. Only the curious and academic seek to pierce it, and at their own peril. Justifying the veil varies according to its origin; the Mi-Go and Deep Ones are good ensuring they stay a secret for their own convenience and infiltration purposes, and the enormous time gap between now and the reign of Ancient Astronauts and currently-sleeping gods-monsters keeps them out of common knowledge. The investigators themselves, however, often find reason to destroy evidence of strange and powerful beings, not simply to avoid a panic, and certainly not to protect what they have found, but rather to preserve the sanity of civilization as a whole. "The Call of Cthulhu" says it best:
      "We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either Go Mad from the Revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
    • There's also an enforced masquerade, due to some beings, like that in The Dunwich Horror, being completely invisible under normal circumstances. But not intangible. Their hand is at your throats, yet you see Them not.
    • Most masquerades in Lovecraft's work are of a less esoteric kind, being simply actively maintained by interested parties from alien species who do not care to have mankind at large discover their presence to cultists who'll happily murder any outsiders found to know too much. The above quote gets mined quite a bit, usually leaving out the little fact that it's written in the 'voice' of the dead narrator rather than that of the author himself.
    • The Danish Cthulhu Mythos short story Tilfældet H.P. Lovecraft (The Case of H.P. Lovecraft) pulls a rather inserting twist on the usual Masquerade in Cthulhu Mythos stories. The main character, a Lovecraft fan, finds an encrypted blog written by his old friend, an esteemed Lovecraft researcher who recently committed suicide. The blog starts off being written as a project looking into some strange theories about Lovecraft's stories for an even stranger company. It eventually devolves with his friend's blog entries becoming more and more confused and rambling, and finally on goes to claim that H.P. Lovecraft never existed, that and he was just a fictional construct used as a pseudonym for a collective of writers headed by Robert E. Howard, who wrote stories based on the real Necronomicon which the group had in their possession.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter contends that it's "more convenient" if non-wizards (Muggles) don't know about it. The highest echelons of the mundane British government are aware of and work with the Wizarding World, as do the families of Muggle-born wizards and witches, though. One of the themes of the series is how the WW seeks to isolate itself from Muggles because they think of themselves as better, with only a few holdouts such as Dumbledore disagreeing. The Minister for Magic's interaction with the Prime Minister, for instance, consists largely of the MM teleporting into his office, telling him a few terrifying facts about what Voldemort and Friends are up to, and popping out again.
    • The masquerade is justified in that it started out to protect them in the Dark Ages when witches and wizards were persecuted (though the prosecution was more likely to harm muggles, due to lack of accurate knowledge on wizard behaviour, and wizards having, y'know, magic.) Fast-forward to modern day with more advanced weapons and technology. And many more Muggles. A covert SAS unit tasked with fighting Voldemort and other Dark Wizards would likely have worked very well, if any wizards had had the humility to even consider such a thing.
    • The Statute of Secrecy, making the masquerade formal, was instituted in 1692. Perhaps it was precipitated by the ongoing Salem witch trials. The date is important, though, for being around the beginning of the enlightenment. In the HP verse, what muggles traditionally think of as a gradual scientific rejection of the supernatural was actually caused by the WW's intentional retreat into secrecy.
    • Characters who pose a threat to the Statue of Secrecy are institutionalized. Dumbledore's family had to pretend his sister was sick when she actually suffered from being unable to control her magic after she got "attacked" by some Muggle boys who caught her doing magic while playing outside to keep her from getting sent to St. Mungo's. Neville's parents are in the same institution for similar reasons but they got tortured by Death Eaters while he was a toddler. Creedence from the Fantastic Beasts series has the French, American, and British Magical governments chasing after him because he similarly poses a threat to it as an "Obscurial".
    • The ever-pedantic Hermione recounts from wizarding history that no actual witches or wizards were harmed by the inquisitions, as they could magically protect themselves from things like being burned.note 
    • In the seventh book, Harry is reading about Godric's Hollow, and the formation of Wizarding communities, and it says something about them existing alongside "tolerant, and sometimes Confunded, Muggles", suggesting that there are Muggles who are in the know beyond just the government and immediate family members.
  • Hive Mind (2016) is a future setting that hides the truth about telepaths, namely that they are extremely rare and there aren't enough of them to detect everyone who's considering committing a crime. All of level 20 (security) knows the truth, along with some of level 1 and smaller sections of other levels. The masquerade is maintained through the efforts of the Nosies (non-telepaths in fake-telepath costumes) and liberal use of Laser-Guided Amnesia, keeping people on the straight and narrow through the belief that a telepath will spot any deviation.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom", the Snakemen disguise themselves as humans and usurp thrones.
  • Lonely Werewolf Girl has the masquerade being seen as both a help and a hindrance for the werewolf hunters. On the plus side it lets them kill any Werewolves they feel like, on the downside it means they have to be extra-careful in selecting their targets because "I thought they were a werewolf" is not going to cut it as a murder defence. It's not clear exactly what benefit the Werewolves get from the masquerade though, beyond it just being how they've always done things.
  • In Magical Girl Raising Project, the Magical Kingdom enforces the masquerade by careful use of mind altering magic, as well as producing various anime and manga of the magical girls' daily adventures for the public.
  • Magic for Liars has a paper-thin one: mages are born and futz around with intuitive magic as children until an adult mage recognizes their abilities. Mages keep their powers secret but the reasons are not made explicit (within the story non-magic Ivy is both jealous of her mage sister and blames her for not solving Ivy's problems with magic, which might explain the larger strategy).
  • Magic University: The magic world's kept hidden from outsides, something enforced with a Geas.
  • In Mail Fox Tales various superhuman beings had many different reasons to begin hiding their presence from humans, witch hunts, greedy followers, and many more. What cemented the Masquerade in place were the two World Wars. After all if humans do that to each other, what would they do to non-humans.
  • Uniquely subverted in the erotic werewolf novel Master Of Wolves, in which werewolves have two Masquerades: one to conceal their existence from humans, and another to keep vampires ignorant of their presence. The werewolf protagonist must eventually force his kind to "come out" to the vampires — creatures which they'd originally been created to keep an eye on, and exterminate if they became a bad enough threat to humanity — to avert a still greater threat to all three species.
  • The Mantically Aware in the Mediochre Q Seth Series. They know about the existence of magic, and have their own governments with their own extra laws regarding the use of magic. Revealing the truth to a mantically-unaware person is forbidden by law unless that person is a close family member (the first book implies that, at least, spouses and parents are allowed) or someone you are going to train as an apprentice. Anyone else who learns the truth gets a healthy dose of Laser-Guided Amnesia to prevent them from talking.
  • Subverted in the Mercy Thompson series, where some supernatural races have voluntarily abandoned their own Masquerades. The Fae had revealed themselves (although not all of their abilities and bad habits) before the series began, and the Were come out of the closet (with a fancy PR job) in the first book. By contrast, the Vampires haven't come out, for the obvious reason that it's a little harder to be socially accepted when you freakin' eat people.
  • Mermaid (2011): Mermaids used to regularly visit the surface and show themselves to humans, but as humans started traveling more by sea, this became increasingly dangerous. After a group of mermaid sisters were killed by fishermen, the Sea Queen banned interaction between mermaids and humans. Now merfolk are allowed to visit the surface only once, on their eighteenth birthdays, and they must stay out of sight of humans.
  • In The Mermaid's Sister, a half-faerie woman lives in a cottage on the mountaintop with her two adopted daughters, one of whom is slowly turning into a mermaid, and their pet wyvern. They have to hide all this from the rest of the world because they don't know what the townspeople might do to them.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, supernatural creatures and Shadowhunters protect their existence from Muggles. Also, a country apparently doesn't exist.
  • Front and center in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, where "London Below" is a grubby community of supernaturally gifted and afflicted people living in regular London (though mostly in the underground tunnels and other odd corners), who are completely unnoticeable to normal Londoners, most of the time. The hero, of course, is an exception.
  • Justified in Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch (Series). While the Others are powerful, human technology has progressed to the point where they would not be safe anywhere should humans at large find out about them. The novel Last Watch shows how easily Others can be killed using remote-controlled guns, which don't have an aura and have no malice. Luckily, the Others have a host of mind-manipulation spells that they're normally not allowed to use but can break them out in an emergency.
  • Vampire Elders and the human governments work together to keep the existence of vampires a secret from the world at large in Night Watcher. This might actually be more of a standard Government Conspiracy according to one mindscrewy revelation that may or may not be entirely valid ( i.e., that vampires are a 20th century military experiment gone useless).
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye books, fairies do not go out in public without illusions to hide them.
  • Present in the setting of Pact and its unconnected sequel Pale, where All Myths Are True and the various supernatural creatures are only kept from preying upon non-practitioners because practitioners have spent the past several millennia dealing with and binding Others into agreeing to follow the standard set by Suleiman bin Daoud, which prohibits them from preying upon normal people without a good excuse. On the practitioner side, the Masquerade is maintained by the ability of every practitioner to create a Perception Filter at will, with those that would want to reveal everything stymied by the functioning of the archaic system of Karma which governs practitioner morality-introducing someone into the supernatural means that any mistakes they make reflect on you, and they will make mistakes, which irritates Others and practitioners alike. Thus, letting too many people know leads to not only other practitioners trying to kill you, but the universe itself will twist and bend events to punish you.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, a group of Men in Black called the Eyes hide all existence of Eldritch Abominations called phantoms from the general public, mind-wiping or killing anyone who learns the truth and even making up cover stories to explain the destruction of entire planets. Captain Caldwell says it's because people would panic if they learned that an invisible, unkillable monster could rip the planet out from under them at any time. John Brenton, by contrast, says that the cover-up is because the Eyes are afraid of being called to account for the horrible acts they've committed in the name of protecting humanity.
    If word of what they were doing got out, it wouldn't be panic over the phantoms that tore the universe apart, it would be rage. Rage over what was being done to those poor girls, rage that they had made us murderers, too, without our knowledge.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, the Circle of Solomon goes to great efforts to keep magic away from Mundanes; the only reason The Tempest was not censored out of existence was that it was taken as fiction. This was to prevent people from trying to solve problems by appealing to supernatural beings, many of which demanded worship and some of which were evil. Success resulted in the Industrial Revolution.
  • In Rachel Griffin, the World of the Wise hides from the Unwary by means of Obscurations and Laser-Guided Amnesia. Learning this, one character asks how anyone can be sure that their "true" history hasn't been tampered with by someone else for the same purpose. They justify the practice by observing that the mundanes CAN get magic — by making deals with beings better left undealt with — and also because various magical dangers have agreed to leave mundanes alone as long as they are left alone.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, Rachel and Kirsty keep their experiences secret to prevent everyone from finding out about the fairies. They break this rule once with Rebecca Wilson, though she saw what was going on and keeps the secret as well.
  • In the Red Room series, this is the job of the titular organization to preserve. Subverted in the fact they admit, with the rise of social media and inter-connectivity of the world, it's only a matter of time before it ends.
  • Rick Riordan has a few of these going on:
    • The Camp Half-Blood Series:
      • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians the mythic world is hidden from mortals by the Mist, a worldwide Perception Filter maintained by the goddess of magic. Passively, it distorts perception so that hulking monsters look like stray animals and a duel with magic swords becomes a gunfight. Actively, it can be reshaped by certain demigods to pull off a Jedi Mind Trick or even create a fake parental figure.
      • The Heroes of Olympus introduces a second camp for Roman demigods, as opposed to the original series' Greek. In addition to hiding from the mortal world, the two camps and their inhabitants are hidden from each other by the Mist due to a history of civil war.
    • The Kane Chronicles features the House of Life, a society of magicians who conceal their activities and those of the Egyptian gods by altering the memories of Muggles. Interestingly, the two stories are set in the same universe as shown by the crossover story, but the plots never intersect because each is subject to the other's Masquerade and the gods, while aware of it, try not to interfere with each other.
    • The Norse pantheon gets in on the fun in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard with their own type of Mist, this time described as a sort of primordial haze left over from the creation of the nine realms. This time, the existence of multiple pantheons may not stay secret for long; Magnus is a cousin of Annabeth, a prominent demigod from the Percy Jackson series, and they're swapping stories by the end of the first book.
  • Rivers of London The masquerade is kept up not by deliberate cover-ups, but mainly by a combination of traditionally being discreet and just nobody having actually noticed yet. Between Peter and Tyburn's efforts, this may not last much longer. It's also suggested that the people on the fringes of the masquerade find their lives are simpler if they pretend they aren't; everyone in the Met knows what the Folly does, but they'd rather Peter didn't actually put it in his reports.
  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • As said above, the actual phrase "masquerade" appears in Heinlein's Methuselah's Children, in which the "Howards" conceal their long lifespans from the rest of humanity, mainly because their long lifespans come from a program of selective breeding. ("Hey, we live for three times as long as you! Sorry, we're just special, there's no way you can have this.") The novel starts with the consequences of an attempt to drop the Masquerade which has gone badly.
    • In To Sail Beyond the Sunset, we get to see the moment when the Howards' Masquerade started: a family reunion involving the heroine (seventy, but currently and convincingly giving her age as forty-seven) and five generations of her descendants.
      "You all know the efforts all of us are making to keep our ages optimized. You, Maureen, how old are you?"
      "Uh ... forty-seven."
      "Nancy? Your age, dear?"
      Nancy started to say, "Fifty-two." She got out the first syllable, bit it off. "Oh, shucks, Papa Weatheral. I don't keep track of my age."
      "Your age, Nancy," Justin insisted.
      "Let me see. Mama had me at fifteen, so— How old are you, Mama?"
      "Yes, of course. I'm thirty-two."
      Justin looked at my granddaughter Roberta, my great-granddaughter Anne, and my great-great-granddaughter Nancy Jane...
  • In Shaman of the Undead the existence of demons and magical world is hidden, and it's implied that wizards simply prefer not to have Muggles telling them what to do. Some normal people, such as police officers, are in the know, though, so that WON (magical police) can focus on work instead of cover-ups and fending off curious muggles.
  • In Touch (2017), the existence of powers and their workings is currently being hidden from the world at large.
  • The existence of vampires and werewolves in The Twilight Saga.
  • In Vampire Academy, vampires, both Moroi and Strigoi, hide their existence and that of their society from humans. The Alchemists are a human organization entirely devoted to hiding the existence of vampires from humanity at large.
  • Vampirocracy had a bad one before the vampires decided to take over the world. Fully half the population thought supernatural creatures were just myth. . . the other half could take college courses about them.
  • Inverted in The Vazula Chronicles, where wealthy and powerful merpeople hide the existence of humans from ordinary merpeople.
  • In Void City, there's a powerful spell over Void City which enforces the Masquerade by imposing obliviousness on all non-supernatural inhabitants. Other locations have various other methods of maintaining supernatural secrecy, such as mages tasked with erasing the memories of witnesses.
  • Done on a small scale with the Richards family in We Can't Rewind: since the "Freaky Friday" Flip that swapped the parents with their children is never reversed, the parents in their children's bodies still have quite the active sex life, and the step-siblings in their parents' bodies are now married to each other at a painfully young age and also sexually active, the parents and children decide they're just going to have to carry on with pretending to be each other, as outsiders probably wouldn't be too understanding of their family arrangement even in the more libertarian nation where they've settled.
  • Wicked Lovely gives the fey quite a good masquerade- they merely don glamours to appear mortal.
  • Young Wizards series:
    • A society where wizards practice the Masquerade is the exception, not the rule. Wizardry is practiced out in the open on most other planets, and cat wizards and whale wizards only have to hide their magic from humans, not other members of their own species. The Language of Magic has acronyms for "place where magic can be practiced out in the open" and "place where magic must be practiced in secret".
    • Wizards have a spell much more powerful than mere Laser-Guided Amnesia for maintaining the Masquerade. Let's say that a bunch of dinosaurs appear in the middle of downtown New York City and start eating the Muggles. To deal with this, a group of wizards will cooperate on a large spell which will search the Alternate Universes for a New York City whose downtown wasn't invaded by dinosaurs, then copy that version of downtown over their version of downtown so that the invasion never happened, up to and including bringing the dead Muggles back to life. However, this spell can't be used to bring wizards back to life, or non-wizards whose Heroic Sacrifice helped defeat the Big Bad, so Death Is Cheap is averted.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: Normal people don't know about magic in this setting, which causes problems for Knightcharm Academy, a magic school whose mission includes defending the normal world while also staying in the shadows. For instance, when a museum digs up a cache of powerful magical artifacts, Knightcharm can't just reveal that the artifacts are dangerous and confiscate them; they have to pretend the artifacts are normal museum relics and go through legal channels to obtain them, which gives a team from the evil magic school called the Scholomance a chance to steal them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Common in Alien Invasion series such as First Wave, The Invaders, Threshold and War of the Worlds (1988) all relied on the notion of the aliens being somehow able to always keep their presence secret from everyone but the heroes. In War of the Worlds, they suggest that this is a combination of alien powers of hypnosis and mass hysteria. In Stargate SG-1 the Stargate program itself is an ordinary government secret, but several alien invasions have been averted with the general public being unaware even when fleets of ships approach the Earth.
    • Several episodes of SG-1 make it clear that some reverse engineered alien technology has been making its way into the commercial sector, via the SGC and the Trust composed of rogue-NID agents and corrupt businessmen. One episode featured a prototype particle cannon being "developed" by the US military. In the 8th Season finale Moebius, which features an alternate timeline in which the Stargate program never existed, a video camera left behind by a time-traveling SG-1 from the main timeline is described as being more advanced that what was commercially available in the alternate timeline.
  • Most, if not all, Sit Coms that involve magical worlds do this. Examples: Bewitched, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Wizards of Waverly Place. Almost every Disney Channel live-action show since That's So Raven has had a Masquerade of some sort, except for The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spinoff.
  • The US Federal government created one in Alcatraz to explain the disappearance of all the prisoners and guards on March 21st, 1963 from the titular prison. According to the official record, the prison was shut down as a cost-saving measure, then all of the inmates were issued fake transfer orders, followed by fake death certificates.
  • In Being Human, the existence of Vampires, Werewolves and Ghosts is generally a secret. In Bristol (and implied elsewhere), the Vampire community has a relationship with the local Chief Inspector and the Coroner, to help cover up botched feeding attempts.
    • The premise of season one is that Herrick wants his faction to grow large and powerful enough that he can give up on the Masquerade and just rule humans directly.
    • The ending of season three suggest that another vampire faction wants to get that plan back on track since they are tired of having to hide from humans.
  • In the short-lived Birds of Prey (2002) (which was set in a very strange and dark version of The DCU), the existence of superheroes and supervillains was considered more or less an urban myth by everyone but those involved, although the degree to which it was necessary stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief almost to its breaking point.
  • Thanks to the Official Secrets Act, no one in The Bletchley Circle can talk about what they did during the war. They all claim they did "general clerical work".
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the main setting of the former gave its name to Sunnydale Syndrome. This was eventually subverted in Season 7 when the entire town pulls up stakes in the face of the coming apocalypse. The government also knew about the supernatural and kept it from the public, and occasionally tried to fight it or take advantage of it, with results ranging from ineffective to disastrous. The masquerade here is debatable, although partially because most people in Sunnydale get beaten around the head with just how many weird things occur. For example, in the Buffy Season Three finale, the entire graduating year bands together to fight off the Mayor and his hordes. It almost seems like everyone KNOWS, they just don't discuss it.
  • The Masquerade was in place for the Buffy spin-off Angel - but was broken for Los Angeles in Angel: After the Fall, and for the whole world in Season 8 (mostly due to Harmony exposing the existence of vampires). These are both comic continuations. In After the Fall, no one outside of LA knows what is going on there, since even the news is using fake footage. After the Reset Button some people have convinced themselves that it was All Just a Dream.
  • Charmed used this as well; one of the few laws that good and evil both live by is concealing magic from normals. Not doing so led to disastrous results in a few cases (which were usually able to be reversed, in some cases with help by Lawful Neutral entities called the Cleaners who could just erase things and memories from existence).
  • A Discovery of Witches: Witches, demons and vampires all keep themselves hidden from normal humans. Diana is always keen to assure others no muggles saw when she accidentally did magic.
  • In Doctor Who, the Torchwood Institute, while similar to the Men in Black, kept its work secret for a less altruistic purpose — its goal was to adapt alien technology to recreate and maintain The British Empire. In the Spin-Off series Torchwood, a splinter cell of the original institute claims that it is trying to prepare the human race for some unspecified point in the 21st century when humanity will have to confront alien life. For some reason, this means keeping aliens a secret. But also sometimes not bothering to cover things up. This has been lampshaded at certain points by the fact that, while Torchwood is theoretically a secret organization, even little old ladies respond to a car chase involving a fish-man with "Bloody Torchwood".
    • The Whoniverse as a whole had a Masquerade in contemporary Earth, but it's difficult to tell when it was broken, other than it being somewhere in the revival between "The Christmas Invasion" and "Last of the Time Lords". Series 1 (and a sleeper agent character in Series 2) of Torchwood is somewhere in the middle, where humans are getting more and more alien tech, but plenty are still in denial about aliens coming through the Rift.
    • The Whoniverse tends to do repeated Snap Backs with this. Things will happen that make it absolutely undeniable that Earth has been invaded by aliens, and subsequent stories in the next couple of years will acknowledge this... but then there will be a run of historical or "space" stories and the next time that there's a contemporary-Earth story nobody will have any idea that aliens exist.
    • One of UNIT's main duties is to cover up the near constant presence of aliens on Earth. In "Resolution," it's revealed that this has backfired big time when UNIT's budget came up for review. It's pretty hard to justify asking for a massive budget to fight alien threats when the general public (and most politicians) believe such cases are incredibly rare.
  • First Kill: Averted. While some monsters are able to stay hidden (some vampires are even prominent people, such as the Savannah District Attorney and other local wealthy families) the existence of vampires and other beings is public knowledge.
  • The vampires from Forever Knight had a faction called "The Enforcers" who either hypnotically erased memory of vampires in humans who discovered their existence or simply killed them.
  • Ghosted: The Bureau Underground keeps the existence of the paranormal secret from the general public, by concealing events and providing a mundane cover story once their agents neutralise the problem.
  • On Grimm, a sizable part of the population are wesen, humanoid beings with transformed animal or monster forms. Only Grimms and other wesen can detect them unless they're being deliberately threatening... or going out of their way to show a tiny amount of normal humans the truth, which is issued out on a need-to-know basis. Since wesen are naturally hidden from non-wesen, non-Grimm eyes, most people would assume anyone who told them the truth was crazy and/or become traumatized when presented with proof.
    • An episode deals with three wesen who rob banks who woge (show their Game Face to regular humans) as an alternative to using masks. Also, wesen who woge don't leave fingerprints or acceptable DNA evidence. The episode reveals the existence of the Wesen Council of Wallenstadt. The Council's goal is to maintain the Masquerade. This usually involves a very public execution of the wesen who try to break it. After being arrested, two of the robbers (they kill their partner before that) are perp walked through the precinct with the press taking pictures. Based on previous conversations, the robbers look like they're about to woge on national TV, when a hired gunman (human) jumps out of the crowd and shoots them both. The chairman of the Council is happy with the outcome (especially the televised coverage of the murders) and admits they have to do something like this every generation to keep the younger wesen in their place.
  • In the first season of Highlander it seemed odd that the police could miss so many headless bodies showing up around the city. The introduction of the Watchers explains it as the spin-off media of books and such confirms that there's an entire sub-section of the Watchers embedded in media and law enforcement whose job is to bury these beheadings as best they can so no one else can make the connection. It's also indicated they try to hide any past records that would make someone realize that a person alive today looks exactly like someone who lived a century ago.
  • Heroes involved several factions, such as the Company, which were involved with observing, controlling and if necessary eliminating people with abilities to prevent them from becoming a threat to society at large. In the second half of season three, the President is made aware of their existence by Nathan Petrelli, and a black ops group (currently led by Emile Danko) is set up to track down and lock up superpowered individuals. At present, though, the general public is not aware that they people with powers exist.
    • Except possibly in Tokyo, where Hiro and Ando are currently advertising a heroes-for-hire service in the phone book.
    • Also, while the Company and the rest of the not-so-Ancient Conspiracy is probably responsible for a good part of the Masquerade remaining intact, the main reason is that people with abilities don't usually want the world to know about themselves.
    • In the series finale, Claire breaks the Masquerade by demonstrating her abilities to a crowd of reporters. Had the show continued, the next volume would probably have dealt with the consequences of this action.
  • Kamen Rider uses this often with the race of monsters/cybernetic humans attacking in that season; they usually hide in plain sight in an attempt to make taking over the world easier when the time comes. Occasionally one or more of the lead characters will be of the same race, but continues the masquerade both because The World Is Not Ready and because he wants to live a normal life after he successfully stops his race's plans.
    • Justified in Kamen Rider 555; while the Orphenochs are a lot stronger and tougher than normal humans, they can still be hurt and eventually killed by a lot of bullets. They even explicitly point out that while there's a good deal many Orphenochs, there's a lot more humans, with a lot more guns and bullets then they could ever hope to handle.
    • At its root, though, this is why all of the earlier Riders — more often than not created by evil terrorist organizations — have to henshin. After all, what's the point of an overpowered cyborg agent if they're easily identifiable as such. Also, the Riders don't mind living a normal life while stopping said organization's plans.
      • Subverted somewhat in an episode of Kamen Rider Amazon. Amazon (that's his actual name) realizes that a scared girl is an agent of the enemy when she isn't frightened of his Beastman friend.
    • In spite of the mooks being called Masquerade Dopants, Kamen Rider Double lacks one. People know about the Dopants that have been running around Fuuto for at least ten years and refer to them as such. Double himself starts out as merely a rumor, but not out of Shotaro's hesitance to transform in front of people. Admittedly the identities of the Dopants aren't known by the public, but they understand what they are.
  • Lost Girl has a fairly robust masquerade. The Fae mostly keep themselves out of sight. Either they live entirely underground (the underfae), they participate in an all-fae black market economy, or they have positions that let them operate/feed in the human world. It helps that the vast majority of them can pass for human.
    • At least one human, Dr. Lauren, was deliberately allowed to know about the Fae, on some extremely harsh conditions. Kenzi, also human, doesn't give a damn about maintaining the masquerade, but does care about keeping her friend's secret.
  • The Magicians (2016): Magic is secret, and this secrecy is enforced through mind-wipes and illusions, but they don't go to an excessive amount of effort to keep it under wraps. Quentin mentions that there's a video of Bush accidentally casting a very minor spell that keeps getting taken down, and after the first time Julia is mind-wiped, Brakebills decides it's not worth the trouble of doing it again. It's implied that the main reason the Masquerade survives is simply because people prefer not to notice magic. Many high-ranking government and private officials are magicians, which keeps the civilian magicians from just doing whatever they want. It's to the point that perfectly ordinary banks are heavily warded against magical intrusions and have battle magicians on staff.
  • In Moonlight, the vampires are required to keep their existence hidden from the general public. A few humans can know, as long as they keep quiet. Any rogue vampires (usually newborns who haven't been taught to behave properly) must be "put down". There is also a team of leather-clad female Cleaners who are called in to clean up bloody messes left by careless vampires. In the series finale, they also act as executioners for a vampire who threatened to expose all LA vampires.
  • October Faction: Monsters and the supernatural are hidden from the world at large, not by magic but by the efforts of Presidio.
  • In The Other Kingdom, Astral must keep her powers and true identity a secret from the humans.
  • A standard part of the Power Rangers franchise, and it's a toss-up whether or not it breaks at the end of the series. Oddly, the villains always seem to know who the rangers are, so keeping their Secret Identities secret from the general public is likely due to some unwritten code.
    • It is written, actually, but only for the four incarnations of the Zordon era.
    • It's subverted with some incarnations, however; the more supernatural Rangers keep their identities secret, but the ones created by manmade technology such as the Lightspeed Rangers, the SPD Rangers, the Overdrive Rangers, and the RPM Rangers make no attempt to hide who they are from the general public. The Time Force Rangers are the exception to that rule, since they're from the future (though their identities ARE public knowledge in their own time).
  • The fact that witches exist is such a carefully protected secret in Sabrina the Teenage Witch that there's a terrible punishment for any witch who tells a mortal about her magic. If the mortal tells someone else, the witch is stripped of their powers and cast out. Unless they turn the mortal to stone within twelve hours.
  • Shining Time Station:
  • Siren (2018):
    • The merpeople have kept themselves from humans, as many were massacred in the past by human fishermen who had learned about them.
    • A group of people near Bristol Cove have merpeople ancestry, and have kept it hidden for years in fear of being persecuted if it's ever exposed.
  • There was never a Masquerade to speak of in Supernatural - for a while, it seemed like both hunters and a large portion of monsters just didn't bother to tell the general public the truth because it would be inconvenient for them. Then the leviathans came along, and their leader stated the golden rule to be "There's no such thing as monsters".
  • In Teen Wolf, Beacon Hills is currently in one, via the Argents, the Hales, and the Alphas, but with all of the murders and investigations and sightings, the masquerade is under threat of being broken by many individuals, individually.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles the limited temporal conflicts between individual time-travellers in the films have escalated into a full-blown Secret War with dozens of human and Machine time-travellers, from different potential futures and with additional factionalism and splits among both sides, all trying to Ret-Gone one another and generally change the future to their wishes. But everyone, without it ever being explicitly stated on the show, obviously agrees that a Masquerade needs to be maintained due to a combination of The World Is Not Ready and fear of unpredictable Butterfly of Doom effects.
  • On True Blood, the vampire community came out of the coffin about two years ago. Well, glad that's done with. Oh, wait. Sam is a shapeshifter who can turn into an animal, particularly a dog...but he's not a werewolf. Werewolves are also real. Nobody knows this. Nobody knows about the witches, fairies, were-leopards and minotaur-like maenads. Also, the main character, Sookie Stackhouse, is secretly a psychic.
  • In Ultraman Nexus, it is the duty of TLT to ensure that knowledge of the Space Beasts and Ultraman Nexus never goes public. Anyone who knows of them or sees them has their mind wiped by the organization's Memory-Wiping Crew, while their attack team, the Night Raiders eliminate the creatures. Ultimately revealed to be necessary because the Space Beasts grow stronger the more people fear them, so TLT's mind wiping ensures people are ignorant and thus unafraid of the monsters.
  • In the British series Ultraviolet (1998), the vampires code 5 keep their existence a secret so that human society won't wipe them out. The secret government agency that seeks to eradicate them also keeps it a secret to avoid creating a mass panic.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, the supernatural world in general, Mystic Falls in particular. Enforced by both the Founders Council and the Salvatore brothers. The ability of the good townsfolk of Mystic Falls to overlook the abnormally high body count and other weird goings on is truly impressive to the extent it may count as an Extra-Strength Masquerade.
  • Warehouse 13 is built on this trope (among others), coupled with The World Is Not Ready. When it comes to this trope, excluding the Muggles, we have 3 groups of people.
    • First, the employees, who are chosen for their potential and shown what lies beneath the Masquerade at the start, as seen with Pete, Myka, Steve, and to a lesser extent, Artie.
    • Second, those who know about the Warehouse but are not employed. This role is only given to the few Secret Keepers in the series and the season's Big Bad and their henchmen.
    • Finally, we have those who find out about the Warehouse through their own endeavors. There are two notable instances of this case so far. The first is Claudia, who sought Artie and the Warehouse in order to save her older brother, who an artifact victimized. Said brother is now a Secret Keeper working at CERN, while Claudia decided to stay at the Warehouse as an agent, and has been a main character since.
      • The second is Deb Stanley, a pharmaceutical researcher who looked too deeply into one of Pete and Myka's cases. She was adamant about using the knowledge of artifacts to create new, more powerful medical advances, but her motivation was due to a father who died of Parkinson's rather than greed. As such, she was trusted enough to be shown the Warehouse, and after seeing the Rod of Asclepius, and remembering the oath her father took to do no harm, she chose to become a Secret Keeper. She was last seen being asked by Adwin Kosan, an enigmatic man who is heavily implied to be the Warehouse's chief executive, if she wanted to join the Regents, the Warehouse's executive board.
  • The Worst Witch doesn't have a masquerade. But the spin-off Weirdsister College stresses it, pointing out that Cackles Academy was off in the countryside - whereas the college is in the middle of Cambridge. There is however an episode of the parent series where the girls encounter some boy scouts while camping and have to pretend they just attend a strict boarding school. Miss Hardbroom is not happy to have to pretend to be someone's Maiden Aunt.
  • Wellington Paranormal: Sergeant Maaka insists on only speaking of the paranormal in the "The She Wolf of Kurimarama Street" episode, shushing Minogue for saying "werewolf" in the briefing room and telling O'Leary not to say "zombies" in front of young Officer Parker in the "Zombie Cops" episode. On the other hand, Sheena's perfectly aware that werewolves exist in Wellington, citing her ex's lycanthropy as the reason she broke up with him.
  • The Conspiracy in The X-Files is a prime candidate. Not being known by the public means they can control it.

  • School Shock has double masquerade revealed later on: first of, the entire town Ah-Xuan lives in has been built for him to live there, as he is the Child Of Eden, and he is under constant surveillance. After he had several run-ins with military and renegade Vanguards and had a role in a particularly great event, in which he kidnapped his super soldier love interest and a mech to effectively flee out of control, he get his memories replaced and his school life is filled with Vanguards from the local military base, all pretending to be friends and family.

  • The Breaker (manhwa) has the murim-in, a secret world of superpowered martial artists. The government has agreed to keep the murim-in secret and not to meddle in their affairs while the Murim-in have agreed to not have their affairs affect the normal public.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The very few supernatural and non-human (pretty much is the same) beings in Anima: Beyond Fantasy have very good reasons to keep the masquerade and be under the aegis of an organization of them named "Samael", namely to stay alive in a human-dominated (part of the) world where are considered as demons by the Inquisition and hunted by the latter, and are supposed to be just legends. Presumably the same would happen with humans in those two other parts of the world where non-human beings rule.
  • In Continuum, Time Travel isn't made public knowledge until 2222 AD. As a result, it can't be made public knowledge until 2222 AD, ever, on penalty of frag or a visit by the Inheritors. Most of a spanner's job is preventing Narcissists from creating paradoxes, which would include causing one by revealing time travel to the public.
  • In Deadlands, both of the setting's dominant governments actively maintain the Masquerade. They do this because they've realized the Big Bads thrive on, among other things, fear...and if people knew about things like walkin' dead, they would panic. There are no supernatural safeguards to keep people in the dark, though, so basic psychology is used instead. The Agency relies primarily on elaborate deceit (and the fact that people don't want to believe); the Texas Rangers are known more for intimidating people into silence. ("Now show me where you didn't see Aunt Minnie crawl up outta her grave. I got some carvin' to do.")
    • Deadlands is possibly a Deconstruction of the Masquerade, as it has been argued (in-text) that the governments actually aid the Reckoners with their masquerade, as making the supernatural (and the fact that it can be fought and beaten) known to the public would rob them of much of their ability to generate fear. A mysterious creature that prowls the jungle and snatches people from fields is scary, but a tiger is just dangerous. Furthermore, it's also been suggested that their efforts to maintain the Masquerade often lead to them causing as much fear, doubt and suspicion as the ghoulies they put down in the first place. The Agency, which relies heavily on a Western variant of The Men in Black, is usually considered worse; the Texas Rangers openly intimidate people into staying silent, but at least they demonstrate the supernatural can be beaten, while the Agency acts in sinister, suspicious, paranoia-inducing fashions.
  • One of the jobs of the eponymous organization in Delta Green is to prevent knowledge of the general public about the unnatural, because it is real and it kills. The new standalone game states that part of the job is already done, even in the world of the internet and smartphones: Most manifestations are very rare by itself, occurs in private or isolated placesand have the tendency to kill most if not all potential witnesses; society is naturally skeptic about anything supernatural, and Delta Green itself suppresses the rest.
  • The Ascended keep an informal Masquerade within the junctures they control (1850 and the contemporary juncture) in Feng Shui. Since magic is a Bad Thing for the Ascended (as it's the only thing that can revert them to their original animal forms), they have a vested interest in keeping the existence of magic and the supernatural in general unknown or discredited to mere mortals.
  • In the Ravnica block of Magic: The Gathering, House Dimir is a guild of spies and information dealers led by an ancient vampire named Szadek, the Lord of Secrets. The original magical pact that the ten guilds of Ravnica all signed specifically forbids the other guilds from revealing the existence of House Dimir, so only the highest ranking guild officials and members of the Dimir itself know about the so-called 10th guild; the rest of the world believes the Dimir to be only a myth. House Dimir's agents covertly but actively encourage such a belief, so that the guild may accomplish its agenda in secret.
    • "In a space where there is no room, in a structure that was never built, meets the guild that doesn't exist." —Flavor text for Duskmantle, headquarters of House Dimir.
    • By the point of Return to Ravnica, the destruction of the magical pact and the death of Szadek has unmasked house Dimir, who have taken over the messaging and official information gathering business. There still appears to be a masquerade around, however: The Izzet League is researching something that their guildmaster is really interested in, and nobody outside the guild seem to know what.
    • On a lesser note but greater scale, the existence of planeswalkers and the planes of existence themselves is mostly kept secret. This is not particularly difficult, since planeswalkers are mostly interested in keeping their existence a secret, there are only a few hundred planeswalkers in the infinite multiverse, and most people who encounter one would just assume they were an exceptionally powerful mage. Some cracks show up on a few planes, but they are all localized. Ironically, the plane listed here twice is the only plane where the existence of planes walkers is commonly known. In the War of the Spark set, Nicol Bolas invaded Ravnica with his army of zombies, bringing almost every planes walker in existence with him.
  • Nobilis has a Masquerade enforced for pragmatic reasons. Exposure to the true reality of The Multiverse usually results in dementia animus (i.e. insanity).
  • The Origin: Metahuman abilities have only begun to crop up in the past couple years, and their existence is not widely known. It is, instead, considered the province of cheap tabloids and conspiracy theorists.
  • In Paranoia, every Player Character (and almost every NPC) is a mutant and a member of a secret society. These facts must be hidden from the other players and from the ruling Computer, as (barring registered mutants) they are grounds for summary execution.
  • German game Plüsch, Power & Plunder features living plushies having to hide from the "tramplers".
  • Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution:
    • Most of the conspiracies avoid revealing psi power to the public to maintain their own power. There's no unified organization policing this, however; smart independent espers keep a low profile because if they don't, they reveal their own existence to the conspiracies.
    • The Zodiac Order goes out of its way to reveal psi powers to the public, but while they have plenty of true believers, the public as a whole considers the whole thing to be fake. Part of this is because they mostly reveal their powers through a band and a religious organization for the purpose of attracting useful cannon fodder, rather than trying to disseminate scientific evidence of the existence of psi. ("Science" is something The Man does, anyway.)
  • The Small Folk preserve the secret of their existence from humans by dint of being very small and having some appropriate magical powers.
  • In Unknown Armies, hiding your mojo is central, since you'll either be beaten, tied up, and drowned in the nearest holy water fount, or killed by some seriously Big Bads called the Sleepers.
  • Depending on the Writer, the existence of all of the enemies of the Imperium in Warhammer 40,000 is kept from a populace in much this way to varying degrees. It's a slightly unusual instance, since the masquerade is conducted by the good (well, less bad) guys, to keep the population from realising just how crapsacky the world really is. In particular, only a select few not actively involved in combat against them realise the existence of the Tyranids and Chaos. Sometimes the Traitor Legions are a closely guarded secret, other times they are what a planet publicly dedicates its martial power to defeating. Sometimes. It really depends who's writing, and particularly on the setting, since we rarely see the non-combatants of the 40k 'verse.
    • The Imperium has a dedicated force meant to keep Chaos under wraps: the Grey Knights. While their main focus is in being a dedicated force in fighting Chaos Daemons, they also do what they can to keep daemonic activity as much a secret as they can. Partly because the fact that a full half of the Emperor's sons turned on him is meant to be a secret, and also that becoming exposed to Chaos is a good way of creating heretics and the damned, and make a liberal use of mindwipes or mass purges. Grey Knights are noted for stringent recruiting practices that makes sure that anybody who makes it through is pure and incorruptible, so they become a case of Good Is Not Nice/Soft at best and Pure Is Not Good at worst.
    • In a similar vein, any citizen who goes around talking about heretics or aliens can expect a very unpleasant visit from the local Inquisition or Imperial Church.
      • Recent parts of the Expanded Universe indicate that this might have become a Broken Masquerade at some point near the turn of the 42nd millennium-for the forces of Chaos at least-due to the Space Wolves preventing the Inquisition from executing Imperial Guardsmen who'd been fighting daemons.
    • The sheer scale of the Warhammer 40,000 universe helps maintain the Masquerade for much of humanity. Countless worlds have never seen an alien incursion, and might even regard the Imperium itself as a myth due to centuries of isolation. Basically all the dark things of the universe are just old stories, until they show up and start eating you.
    • The Tau Ethereals are running by hiding the existence of Chaos (and the reason Farsight rebelled against them), explaining all instances of Chaos as insane humans (technically, they're not wrong) and daemons as remarkably unpleasant aliens. However, since they also have little to no knowledge of the Warp, no psykers and naturally high Warp resistance, it leads to situations like the one where the Tau defeated a Slaaneshi warband led by a champion and believed they had defeated Slaanesh hirself (from the band's war cries), unaware of the difference in killing a Champion of Chaos and killing his patron god.
  • Warhammer Fantasy's Skaven take great pains to conceal their existence from humankind, presumably to aid in their attempts to undermine and enslave human society without anybody noticing until it's too late. What with regular massive incursions and devastating pitched battles to hush up, this usually involves such extreme measures as stealing back all surviving artefacts of Skaven manufacture, assassinating or discrediting witnesses by the thousand and conducting complex magical rituals every thirteen years to cloud human minds on a global scale. The fact that the Warhammer world contains untold other sinister underworld terrors and chaotic warbands that make no attempt to hide their existence makes things considerably easier, as does natural human superstition and gullibility. In the Empire and Bretonnia at least the Skaven are widely regarded as nothing more than a bad-taste myth put about by bored university students who should really know better. It should be noted, however, that the Skaven only seem to keep their existence a secret from human societies - the dwarfs, elves, orcs, lizardmen and others all seem perfectly aware of their existence following centuries of open warfare.
    • And even then it's not perfect- it turns out the higher-ups in the Empire are very much aware of the Skaven but actively aid in preserving the secret, as open warfare would be disastrous for them (they already have enough trouble fighting against Chaos, vampires, beastmen and Bretonnians), as it would unify the Skaven. The Skaven, currently believing themselves safe from Imperial attention, see no reason to escalate and thus concentrate on fighting for position within their own hierarchy.
  • Witch Girls Adventures has a fairly tame version. Nobody cares if individual humans learn something they shouldn't, so long as they can't prove anything, and witches can in fact operate openly in many parts of the world (mainly Asia and Africa). On the other hand, the world as a whole cannot be allowed to learn about the supernatural; use of magical powers to affect Muggle politics is forbidden (though it happens all the time, especially in the Middle East), and ever since World War II, the Witches World Council has been keeping the magical world hidden from mundane eyes through Laser-Guided Amnesia and toading inconvenient mortals.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • Nearly every supernatural group in the Old World of Darkness games (and by extension in Kindred) — not just the vampires — hides its existence from the "normals", even though collectively they not only control the world, but the fabric of reality. In some cases (Werewolves, Mages), this is because it's enforced by the laws of reality (breaking out the mojo in public either drives muggles insane or drives reality insane); in others, it's for pragmatic reasons (vampires need to be able to feed without the herd knowing). Even the supernaturals who have built-in means of covering up the magnitude of their powers keep a Masquerade on the grounds that there will always be someone who doesn't forget what happened. Some groups do reject the concept of the Masquerade; Demons and some more insane Mages (such as the Taftani, who believe that "coincidental magic" is cowardice) even believe in that rejection. Sabbat vampires, meanwhile, hold the Masquerade in contempt... but in practice they try not to make too big of a mess lest the full might of the police drop on their heads, with their greater numbers and modern tech. Their version is just less "don't get noticed" and more "kill all the witnesses".
    • In the New World of Darkness, all of the supernaturals have reasons for the Masquerade— vampires for their survival, mages because Muggles just cause magic to fall apart if they see it, Changelings are afraid that their old masters will notice and come calling, and Prometheans because they cause the Torches and Pitchforks reaction by their existence. As their oWoD counterparts, werewolves can't help the Lunacy (their "masquerade"); their myths say it was a curse.
      • The non-human aspects of changelings' appearance in the nWoD are normally hidden by a powerful illusion called "the Mask." They don't maintain a masquerade so much as they sometimes put out the effort to not maintain one.
      • Geist: The Sin-Eaters has no Masquerade-equivalent. None. There's nothing in the book even discouraging a group of Sin-Eater player characters from advertising in the Yellow Pages as a group of ghostbusters... except that perhaps no one would believe it.
      • The nWoD Hunters vary from Division Six, the Cheiron Group and Task Force VALKYRIE (whose job it is to keep the Masquerade intact, and all of whom are backed by something that isn't a normal human— a pack of mysterious aliens for Cheiron, vampires for VALKYRIE, and the Seers to the Throne for Div Six) to Network Zero, whose sole motive is to blow it wide open, and Null Mysteriis, who intend to do so as soon as they have a decent scientific explanation for all the weird shit that goes on in the World of Darkness. VASCU, meanwhile, operates openly, and there's a federal law requiring state police to call them if they discover a Serial Killer with supernatural powers.
      • The God-Machine, a giant malevolent force inside the CoD, regularly uses Concealment Infrastructure to actively hide its machinations, because those who tend to become aware of the God-Machine's projects usually become nuisances that monkeywrench its activities. This is even before The Unchained get involved — former servants of the GM can cause its operations the most damage, and because the plans of The God-Machine are so far-reaching and interwoven into reality itself, there's no telling what unintended consequences might spiral out of damaged or destroyed Infrastructure. This isn't even including Contagion, which happens when parts of the God-Machine actually get sick and stop functioning correctly. A Contagion creates a Weirdness Censor so strong that only a few supernatural entities can even see something is amiss — normal people in the area of a Contagion will carry on as if whatever screwed-up thing the Contagion is causing is normal, even if that thing is making people float, talk with the dead, or randomly explode.
      • Demons themselves, meanwhile, keep hidden because The God-Machine is actively hunting them, and unless they have a "cover" identity as a normal mortal they're easy for the GM to spot and send Angels after. Demons make pacts with mortals mostly because taking bits of their lives strengthens their cover and makes them difficult for the God-Machine to spot. If a demon makes a pact for a person's "soul," what they actually plan to do is completely take over the person's existence — when they call in a soul pact they annihilate the person's original soul and become them.
      • The Masquerade in the unofficial Genius: The Transgression, set in the nWoD, stands out because the Geniuses explicitly don't want one, and have no supernatural force protecting their existence. However, the nature of Inspiration enforces a masquerade whether they like it or not. This is because: 1) When normal mortals try and fiddle with a Wonder, it either breaks or goes on a homicidal rampage. 2) Whenever Geniuses try to talk shop to non-Inspired, it comes out as incomprehensible Technobabble (Called 'Jabir' In-Universe). 3) No matter how careful a Genius is, exposure to the Inspired world tends to turn people into Beholden or Geniuses, and that's just more labs to feed. Most Geniuses thus see breaking the masquerade as a massive hassle that just makes you look stupid at best and tries to kill you at worst, while those who do try to go public usually learn their lesson after the first few failed attempts.
      • The Masquerade in fellow unofficial game Siren: The Drowning is in the exact opposite situation as Genius; the Sirens themselves do want to stay hidden, for various good reasons up to and including a conspiracy that hunts them down because their flesh grants immortality, but their power is actively working against that goal. The Song, the mysterious phenomenon that empowers Sirens, wants to be heard, as it's trying to prevent a Bad Future. Because of this, any use of powers in front of mortals can cause Refraction, which forces a Siren into their Diluvian Form.
      • In the other unofficial Dragon: The Embers, the Oroboroi have a very good reason for the Masquerade— back when their existence was known to mortals, they almost exterminated them, and secrecy is the only thing currently preserving their now Dying Race from extinction. Much like for werewolves, their Masquerade is enforced by a supernatural effect called the Miasma, with an interesting twist: it doesn't technically makes Muggles unable to see them or remember their encounter, but should they try to talk about it to someone, they won't be able to give a coherent description of what they saw, or it will come out as sounding like they have seen a mundane animal instead of a fire-breathing reptile.
      • Played with in the unofficial Princess: The Hopeful. Much like in Genius there technically is no masquerade; Princesses have no rule against revealing the existence of the Light and Darkness, and can use their abilities in plain sight with no ill effect. In fact, there are even situations where this can cause positive things to happen. In practice, however, most of them do try to keep some degree of secrecy, for two reasons: First, this is still the World of Darkness, where magic is inherently terrifying to people who don't know about it, so carelessly revealing yourself as a supernatural being, even one of light and hope, isn't something you'd want to do. Second, and more importantly, using your magic too much in public or without the cover of your dual identity makes it easy for the All-Consuming Darkness to track you down, which usually results in malevolent creatures attacking either you or your loved ones.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed has an entire underground war going on between the Assassins and the Templar. The Templar write the assassins out of the history books at every chance they get. After all, History is Written by the Winners. Several times, it's shown that the Templars have a tendency to kill anyone who learns too much about them, and on at least one occasion, the Assassins themselves have been shown doing this as well.
  • In Control, there is a whole world of strange supernatural events, magical artifacts and people - like the eponymous Federal Bureau of Control - tasked with keeping them contained and hidden. They're so good at this that main character Jesse Faden was at ground zero of a supernatural event, and spent seventeen years trying to find evidence that it was real. She only finds the FBC HQ because a transdimensional being told her where to look.
  • The fourth game in the Desert Strike series, Soviet Strike, hints at this. Rather than a part of the Kuwaiti liberation forces or government endorsed strike team, the player finds themselves in spook territory, the pilot of a covert operation that uses false news broadcasts and cyber warfare to prevent military action from escalating. A canny player might be able to hazard a guess that the game's Big Bad was in fact their co pilot, who goes rogue, is apparently killed, then turns up later. The third and fifth stages, at the very least, indicate he was behind the events that took place to scare Mother Russia into playing along with the shadow organization.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • This is common for vampires. Many Vampires are able to blend in with general population of Tamriel. For many bloodlines, as long as they stay well-fed, they are indistinguishable from mortals of the same race. One bloodline, the Bonsamu of Valenwood, are completely indistinguishable unless seen in candlelight, which will reveal their true nature.
    • This is also the case for Lycanthropes. In their mortal forms, were-creatures are usually indistinguishable from any other mortals. This allows them to live and function within normal society as long as they aren't witnessed transforming. Some do retain traces of their beast form while in mortal form, however. Werewolves, for example, are sometimes known to have fur in their ears or have a "wet dog" smell.
    • Some liches are able to maintain a facade of humanity, be it with powerful Illusion magic or something else. Often, if they are slain in this form, they revert to their true undead form and must be defeated again.
  • Fallout 3's Vault 101 is an odd case. The vault was in originally in place to shelter people from the nuclear war raging overhead, but as generations passed, the motto became "Born in the vault, die in the vault." Eventually this led the people inside to believe that the outside world is completely uninhabitable. Your character quickly finds out that this isn't completely true.
    • In fact, the Lone Wanderer finds that they themselves were born outside the vault; you can find the room of birth in the Jefferson Memorial basement, along with James' journal entries from the time.
    • The Vaults were never intended to shelter people. From the very beginning they were designed as social or biological experimentsnote . Vault 101's specific experiment was that it was never supposed to open, hence why it was still occupied 200 years after the nuclear war that destroyed society. This might still count as The Masquerade since only the government knew of this. And it didn't become a completely sealed Police State until Amata's dad took over as Overseer.
  • The mobile app ARG Ingress story is partly built on this, claiming that the Exotic Matter Scanner program got leaked to the public, and presumed to be a mobile game. Eventually, the game outright claims it "isn't a game" to players. And that the two factions, Enlightened and Resistance, are using the portals and linking them to create mind-influencing fields to sway humanity over to their views.
    It's happening all around you. They aren't coming. They're already here.
  • In Magical Diary, people who are not witches and wizards are not supposed to know that magic is real. Maintaining the masquerade appears to involve an awful lot of mind-control - even on the families of the students. And on the students themselves, if they get expelled.
  • Moonrise: An entire faction named itself after this trope. The Masquerade faction will go to ruthless lengths to procure the player's loyalty to them.
  • Persona 5: The protagonist and his friends form a group known as the Phantom Thieves, in which they operate in secret from the public. Their heists involved traveling in a alternate reality formed by the cognition of the masses. As such, people in reality aren't aware about what is the actual cause of a change in a person's heart, not even the person the thieves target on. Some exceptions include Sojiro Sakura who finds out about it when he sees a calling card in Futaba's room, leading Joker to reveal that he and Futaba are Phantom Thieves. Averted if Joker finishes a Mementos request from some of the non-party Confidents, they'll figure out the player's identity as part of the Phantom Thieves.
  • Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney has two of these. The people of Labyrinthia believe in witches and are not too fond of them, as simply being found guilty of being a witch means you are burned to the ground. However, the people of Labyrinthia don't know who is or isn't a witch, thus the Witches' Trial is required. In addition, Labyrinthia itself is a masquerade, being created as an experiment by the company the Storyteller is a part of. The pages the Storyteller throws to the people when he parades are meant to provide Laser-Guided Amnesia to the people of who they originally were.
  • Pretty much a given for The Secret World, in a setting rife with massive conspiracies and all manner of secret monsters and organizations. unlike most settings, there's generally a very good reason why the secret world is kept hidden, as virtually everyone involved benefits from keeping most on mankind in the dark. The Templars keep things quiet because that makes suppressing incredibly dangerous occult information much easier, the Illuminati keep information suppressed to let them control governments and markets, and the Dragon keep knowledge suppressed so they can more easily manipulate their models of the universe. Even the antagonist forces keep themselves hidden, since its much easier to corrupt and manipulate people who are ignorant of their existence. However, as of the start of the game's events, they have decided to become more overt, and the truth of the world is becoming a lot more apparent and the secret societies are having serious difficulty hiding it anymore.
  • Thief's Keepers are both this and the The Watcher.
  • This is strongly implied to be a Justified Trope in the Touhou Project games due to two reasons: (1. The setting is a Fantastic Nature Reserve for monsters such as Youkai and The Fair Folk, and (2. the monsters can only exist as long as humans keep fearing them and keep believing in them as monsters. As a result, most humans of Gensoukyou are unaware of the fact that the setting is a nature reserve for monsters, that the monsters are (for the most part) harmless and pretty affable, as well as the fact that there's an agreement between the monsters and those who hunt them that no harm is to befall the human inhabitants of the setting. All of it for the sake of allowing the monsters the belief and fear they need to survive.
  • Most people in Vampires Dawn think vampires are extinct since the Holy Crusade. If you do anything obviously vampiric in public, the game will not let you progress until you kill all witnesses. In the second game, if you do that on an open street, bounty hunters will be put onto you. In addition, vampires have several abilities to help them stay unnoticed lore-wise, such as an illusionary aura that makes them seem warm to the touch, hides their fangs etc.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: As in the tabletop game, vampire society takes great pains to hide its existence from mortals, which is represented with a Masquerade meter that causes a Non-Standard Game Over if it falls to zero. It's penalized when the player character displays overtly supernatural abilities to Muggles or fails to kill (or otherwise silence) a quest NPC to Uphold the Masquerade, and restored when they work to suppress evidence of the supernatural.
    Smilin' Jack: We're livin' in the age of camera cell-phones, fuck-ups ain't tolerated.
  • Dragons in World of Warcraft can take on a humanoid form to interact with the sentient races of Azeroth, though initially they didn't tell anyone who they really were, and the disguise was used to twist events; for example Onyxia infiltrating Stormwind under her "Lady Prestor" guise. Now the practice is very well known, and dragons do it because it's more convenient to talk to a humanoid when you have a similar size and shape, instead of being a house-sized reptile.

    Web Animation 
  • Love of the S*n: The S*n wipes the memories of everyone who gets recovered so they don't cause a panic with their knowledge of the afterlife.
  • Magical Border Patrol has the Spirit World and the Seers who act as The Men in Black.
  • In Helluva Boss, demons who operate in the mortal world are supposed to keep their presence hidden from humans. Demons are expected to keep human disguises, and the fact that Moxxie, Millie, and Blitzo have been doing contracts on Earth without disguises is something Loona berates them for. Verosika also accidentally creates a giant sea monster by carelessly throwing away some demonic whiskey, which is bad enough that Blitzo uses it as blackmail against her.

  • In At Arm's Length, magic and magical beings are kept hidden from several mortal races including Earthlings. As part of the deal that allows Ally, Reece and Sheila to stay on Earth, they have to keep their background as Enchanters hidden from everyone, including their husbands. The main characters have issues with this policy, and are increasingly questioning the rationality of keeping the big secret in the face of increasing magical threats to Earth.
  • In Autumn Bay, the existence of the paranormal is not commonly known. This is largely due to the actions of a group of The Men in Black known colloquially as "The Shroud".
  • Blip employs this to run two plots in parallel: an Urban Fantasy one and a mundane Slice of Life one. The protagonist K's three gal-pals are a witch, a vampire, and a cyborg, and K herself is closely watched by both Heaven and Hell because she's Immune to Fate. She doesn't know any of this.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • It can't seem to decide if there's a Masquerade or not. On the one hand, clearly inhuman people like Hedge walk around in public, and aliens wear shirts with gems such as "Human" on them. On the other, people tend to accept any explanation, or are conveniently not around when people need to use magic.
      Guy looking at an alien wearing a hat that says "Homo Sapien": Hehe yeah! Cool! Gay pride yo! Yeah!''!
    • A later comic features Mr. Verres explaining exactly why his organization goes to such lengths to hide the existence of magic. Regarding a particularly fierce Monster of the Week:
      Mr. Verres: You know that man in the ambulance right now? The man capable of, and having already done, absolutely horrible things? There is NOTHING special about him. He's just an average jerk who, when younger, stumbled on a way to gain use of magic that almost anyone on the planet could use. You want a real-life, non-hypothetical example of why there's so much secrecy? It's lying in the back of that ambulance.
    • It also calls back to an earlier comment Arthur had made about the Masquerade: that the real secret has never been the existence of magic, but rather its accessibility — the common citizen may well know that there is such a thing as magic, and it is real, but they do not know that it is possible for them to get magical abilities themselves.
    • It is explained later on Magic itself wants to uphold the Masquerade and will change how it works for humans (barring a few certain individuals) if it does. It has happened before in the past and it is on the verge of happening again.
    • After one character causes a major event that breaks the Masquerade worldwide, the Will of Magic decides to gather a small group of Seers to discuss whether to do a complete overhaul of the system to rebuild the Masquerade, or make minor changes in order to accommodate for The Unmasqued World. After some discussions, it's determined that due to both technological advances and particulars about how the complete overhaul would work, it's completely impossible to maintain the Masquerade, thus Magic goes for the second option.
  • The biggest difference between the world of TCampbell's Fans! and that of Penny and Aggie, Rip And Teri, and Cool Cat Studio is that the fantastic elements of the latter (only seen in Cool Cat Studio) are still unknown to the general public. Occasionally, versions of characters from Fans! are seen in Penny and Aggie, never having been caught up in the supernatural weirdness (Rikk is a still-awkward grad student, Di in a formal private school, Meighan a Hollywood talent scout), and Charlotte turns up in Fans! as a Dark Magical Girl.
  • In Godslave, gods and their minions keep themselves a secret - Turner empties the museum before his fight with Edith and the police is seen waiting outside as if something (magic or money) was keeping them from interfering in the battle and witnessing magic.
  • Grrl Power has The Veil, a world wide illusion sustained by several magical obelisks. This covers up the appearance of werebeasts, vampires, aliens, and other assorted monsters, while their actions are kept secret due to rigorous internal policing. The reason supers weren't hidden by The Veil is because they weren't written into its coverage. That's because they could appear anywhere without need for a propagator to track and their abilities were so varied no one could pin down what they were until they were already outed. That said, supers got some Veil protection, enough so that not every super got national news coverage and a significant part of the population considered them an urban legend until ARCHON was established. And thanks to Deus inviting an Alari refugee ship to the country he owns, aliens are now public knowledge. It remains to be seen how long the others will remain masqued.
  • The concluded webcomic It's Walky! spends many of its plots detailing the fight between the main characters and the aliens that are just begging to expose themselves. And eventually they do, and life goes on as normal (to the point that a talking car showing up in the sequel comic, Shortpacked! merely results in a few raised eyebrows).
    • It does give our Main Characters considerable trouble though, as they now have to chalk up "good PR" among the responsibilities. They manage to pull it off, but not without being chewed on air about whether a bunch of angst-filled teens are adequate defense against the alien menace.
    • The RPG makes it clear that the Insiders on Earth maintained this until First Contact with the Celeste.
  • In The Kingfisher, supernatural phenomena are at least somewhat Invisible to Normals, and the Circle persecutes the Crowboys with the ostensible excuse of keeping vampires secret.
  • Last Res0rt subverts this by making it pretty clear that even average folk (well, those running around on the show, anyway) have a pretty good clue about the existence of Djinn, Vampires, and other Dead Inside, but their actual knowledge is limited and contaminated with Celeste propaganda, and the unwillingness of almost all Dead Inside to reveal what they actually know since an outed Dead Inside doesn't last long.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes lampshades this with the page image, depicting Margot baffled by suspicious population numbers while Mr. Superhero and Aggravated Aviator exchange Death Glares behind her back. The image is an edit of this strip but does not detract from the demonstration of this trope.
  • Leaving the Cradle: From the alien's side of things, it's standard protocol to avoid making contact with another species if they aren't space-faring, so as to not interfere with their culture and cause mass panic. Humanity is no exception, but it remains to be seen if it will stay that way after Gharr gets stranded on Earth.
  • In morphE, as per the New World of Darkness canon the story takes place within. Mundane people exposed to magic tend to go mad or dead. Or so Amical says after killing one.
  • In Paranatural, it's against the rules of the Consortium to reveal the existence of spirits to non-Spectrals. Hilariously, when newbie Spectral Max asks why, Mr. Spender awkwardly changes the subject. Given that the head of the Consortium, Boss Leader, is an enormous Troll, it's entirely possible that the Masquerade is in place solely to give all these Spectrals something to do with their time.
  • Sam & Fuzzy features a massive world Beneath the Earth called the Underground that's home to a Fantasy Kitchen Sink of supernatural beings, conspiracies and futuristic technologies the world is Not Ready for. The overworld inhabited by our heroes stays mostly normal, because the leaders of the Underground try their hardest to keep the lid on everything down there because they believe humanity couldn't handle all the weirdness and would try to exterminate them.
  • The Sanity Circus: The city of Sanity is undergoing an infestation of Scarecrows, a group of undying Eldritch Abominations. It also has a secret society of mages to counter these beings and similar, and another group of created-life Instrumen who target the Scarecrows in their own magic, vigilante way. And something terrifying seems to happen to every new Director to take office. The public know about none of these. And the people involved in each masquerade do not tend to overlap, creating layers on layers of secrets.
  • Upheld by the Everto, to hide the Everto in Shadownova, a group of normal humans (and a few Espers) who have decided they want complete control over everyone outside their own group.
  • In Shifters the majority of humanity doesn't know that Shifters, Vampires, or any of the other Veil Races exist due to the Conspiracy called The Veil.
  • Skin Deep is home to a secret culture of mythical creatures functioning under the unsuspecting nose of humanity. There is an assumed threat of The World Is Not Ready that is keeping the non-humans from breaking the Masquerade and exposing themselves to the human world.
  • Sluggy Freelance wavers back and forth on this. The World of Weirdness setting would seem to make any sort of Masquerade impossible, except that the average Sluggyverse citizen is gullible enough to believe even the flimsiest of excuses. This still doesn't explain why Aylee needs an elaborate disguise to hide the fact that she's an alien, but Bun-Bun (a talking, switchblade-wielding rabbit) can walk into a bar, order an alfalfa margarita, and not raise a single eyebrow.
    • It helps that the rabbit would slice off the eyebrow if it was raised...
  • Sorcery 101 is in transition: there was a Masquerade, but then the king of Lynnbria (who happens to be the protagonist's cousin) announced to the world that he's a werewolf. Most people think that he's crazy, and the magical organization Alpha Phoenix is trying to put things back under wraps, but once people get exposed to the supernatural they seem to accept it more easily than someone in our world would.
  • In Spare Keys for Strange Doors, although it is not particularly dwelled upon.
  • Most people in the fictional world of Tales Of Gnosis College seem unaware of the mad science going on in their midst. The mad scientists themselves take measures (not always successful) to keep their activities secret, and sometimes law enforcement itself hides the consequences of their activities for political reasons.
  • A usual plot point in Walking in the Dark in that humans don't know of the supernatural elements around them given the rise of the industrial age of the 1930s. The vampire council is trying hard to keep it that way as they don't want their kind to be further hunted. But it's made tricky due to a rebel group of vampires seeking world domination.
  • Welcome to Chastity takes place in a town where all the women have insanely huge breasts. The main character who just moved in the town with little to no knowledge of the place prior assumes that the townspeople are actively hiding the situation from the outside world, but her two roommates explain to her that nobody's trying to hid anything, it's just that "a town were all the women have gigantic breasts" too preposterous for most people to take seriously so the town only gets talked about in tabloids. Later on, however it's reveal that the reason the town situation isn't known to the rest of the work is because of a witch.

    Web Original 
  • In Angel of Death, the first of the seven conventions all liches are required to follow, the convention of public ignorance, forbids liches from allowing themselves, or the supernatural in general, to become public knowledge.
  • In Breeniverse series such as lonelygirl15 and KateModern, the Order of Denderah is a worldwide Ancient Conspiracy which uses various front organizations to hide its true nature from the public.
  • The general public in Chrono Hustle is unaware of time travel, something the TRD works hard to keep in place.
  • In Funny Business Jeannette keeps her Reality Warper powers a secret from adults, especially her parents, though she doesn't mind much if her classmates find out. The reason for this is that she once made her parents disappear during a temper tantrum when she was a toddler, and feels terrible about it now, and is afraid that her parents would hate her if they were to find out.
  • The protagonist in Hallowed Worldly is trying to break the Masquerade that, he claims, exists in Real Life. He frames his videos as attempts to get the word out to the ignorant public.
  • New York Magician: Unless they can See or Hear, people simply can't notice the supernatural events around them. Interestingly, when mundane people find out about the magical world, they usually take a very short time before coming to grips with it.
  • Paradise: In this setting, human beings randomly undergo a permanent Change into Funny Animals that only other Funny Animals can see—-to everyone else they appear to be their old human selves. Early on, Changed must pretend everything is normal, that they are still the human beings they used to be—-because if they are not able to keep their new differences hidden they will be committed to mental institutions, or worse. A group of cautious Changed formed a conspiracy, the Changed Network, to help newly-Changed keep their secrets; said conspiracy largely fell by the wayside as too many people Changed for them to be able to control. Eventually, the masquerade broke entirely as the "Reality Distortion Field" that kept the changes invisible began to fail.
  • The SCP Foundation keeps the existence of the paranormal a secret from the general populace, even though neither the Foundation nor (most of) its members are paranormal. The ostensible reason for this is the Foundation's mission to "protect normalcy", with a more practical reason being that keeping the populace ignorant of the paranormal in general makes it much easier for the Foundation to keep the populace from sticking their noses into dangerous paranormal situations, and also that people need to be unaware of the supernatural so they can have happy lives, which makes sense considering all the horrors they face.
    • There are many SCPs that even the people who work for the Foundation and deal with the paranormal on a daily basis are not allowed to know about their existence, only a select group of Foundation personnel have access to their files.
    • This is especially the case with memetic SCPs, where enforcing the masquerade is actually a requirement to contain them - because simply knowing about them is enough to cause them to manifest.
    • And even then, the Foundation occasionally has breaches of secrecy that result in a lot of death and destruction. Fortunately, they have the technology to recreate almost anything, including memories, and can usually get things back to normal and reestablish the masquerade with relative ease. If a breach causes irreversible changes to the world or to reality but leaves them intact, the Foundation simply rewrites human history to go along with the changes, then release powerful amnestics into the atmosphere to make people forget the old history. Examples of these occurrences include the creation of geological formations like the Marianas Trench and the Gulf of California, and even the very concept of color.
      • For irreversible changes that don't leave the world intact, they use SCP-2000 to reboot civilization from the year 2000 with no knowledge of what really happened before.
  • In the Whateley Universe, everyone knows there are mutants out there. But Superhero School Whateley Academy is kept secret from all the baselines in a giant conspiracy of superheroes, supervillains, and all major law enforcement agencies worldwide. Would you want to have those teenagers learning how to control their powers in your town? Still, there is a village of were-people in the Native American reservation just off-campus, and everybody knows there's no such thing as werewolves, right?
    • This is more in the nature of "Let's keep the exact location secret from the KKK equivalent so that the resulting conflict won't blow a Texas-sized hole to North-American continent." The Technical term is "Open Secret".

    Western Animation 
  • Angel Wars: To some degree, the invisible war between angels and demons is kept secret from humanity. When one demon goes on a rampage and causes collateral damage, his father calls him out on attracting unwanted attention, though the negative consequences of this attention for the demons or angels never gets touched on.
  • In Ben 10, Ben's Grandpa Max was a member of the Plumbers, whose purpose was to hunt down rogue aliens. They hid their existence from humanity and had a secret base hidden inside Mount Rushmore.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Animals are sentient, can talk to fellow animals, wear clothes and can be good or evil, they just hide it from humans and act like normal animals among them.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Danny must keep his ability to change into a ghost secret from everyone — especially his ghost-hunter parents, or else he will end up being hunted by the ghost-hunting government agency. However, he seems to have no problem with every single non-human recurring enemy he's ever faced retaining knowledge of his identity; only once or twice have any of them thought to actually use this against him.
    • Many fans have tried attributing the ghosts' lack of exposing his identity to many things, such as some sort of ghost laws Danny has no knowledge of (like the Christmas truce). The only one that isn't purely guesswork is the case of Vlad Masters (also a half-ghost, under the name Vlad Plasmius); he and Danny keep each other's Secret Identities secret because if one of them revealed the other's identity, the other would return the favor.
    • Though Danny sometimes uses that to his advantage; the first time they clashed, he said that if he got exposed, his friends and family would stick by him (and when he eventually does, they do), but Vlad would be in big trouble. Justified, as Danny uses his powers to help people, as seen in "Reality Trip" where after his identity is exposed he has help from his friends and people he saves (though they use a Reset Button to rebuild the Masquerade). Vlad, however, has no such allies...not to mention the fact that its revealed that most of his money was attained through misuse of his powers (e.g. robbing banks, possessing rich people). Ergo, if he were ever exposed, he would most likely be prosecuted.
      • In the series finale, both of these cases are explored; an enormous asteroid is on a crash course with earth, spelling doom for the entire human race if it wasn't stopped. Vlad, who at that point in the series had become mayor of Amity Park, sabotages many attempts to stop it. Then, with the whole world watching, he reveals his true identity and gives the world a Sadistic Choice: pay him $5 billion and name him ruler of the world, and he'll turn the asteroid intangible. Otherwise, extinction. They yield to his demands, but when he tries to follow through on his end of the bargain, he finds out that the asteroid is made of Ectoranium, the spectral equivalent of Kryptonite. With that, he's left with no choice but to exile himself from earth, knowing that he would be endlessly hunted if he ever returned.
      • Afterwards, Danny comes up with another plan. Since the Ghost Zone's survival is tied to earth's, he recruits the entire population of specters to turn the planet intangible. This also necessitates the nations of the world uniting together in order to create a rig that can be used to transmit the ghosts' intangibility throughout the entire world. After the plan succeeds, he is coerced into revealing his true form, but is hailed as a hero by the entire world regardless.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter must keep his titular lab a secret from his parents and most other characters; a recurring exception is Dee Dee (since she breaks through security every time)..
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • The first of "Da Rules" in The Fairly OddParents! is that a kid may never reveal the existence of fairy godparents, on pain of separation and memory erasure. While there were exceptions (such as revealing the existence to someone who also has a fairy godparent(s)), Timmy was skilled at using loopholes.
      • For example: Cosmo and Wanda got away with hanging around in crossovers by claiming they were "advanced computer programs".
  • Gargoyles kept this pretty plausibly at first: the existence of gargoyles is easy to hide because they're already near-extinct, and the few characters who do know about them all have different reasons for keeping their secret. The gargoyles don't want to reveal their own existence because the last time their existence was public knowledge, humans nearly wiped them out. Elisa doesn't want to reveal their existence because she's their friend. Most of the other humans who know are villains and also public figures. Xanatos needs to maintain the illusion that he's a legitimate businessman, not someone who uses black magic to commit corporate espionage, while the Pack still have reputations to maintain as actors, not as mercenaries who sold their humanity for genetic and cybernetic enhancements (provided by Xanatos, of course). Over time, however, the number of secret societies, fairy folk, genetically engineered aberrations, etc. ramped up, increasing both the scale of the masquerade being maintained and the number of different entities who might have a reason to break it. This culminated in the Season 2 Finale when the Hunters exposed the Manhattan Gargoyles' existence to the world once and for all.
  • Glitch Techs: Part of the job of the Glitch Techs is to keep the Glitch-based issues with Hinobi's game technology under wraps, erasing memories and resetting physical damage.
  • At the beginning of Gravity Falls most people in the titular town don't know about the supernatural shenanigans going on around them. Eventually it's revealed that this is due a Secret Society that gives anyone who sees something weird Laser-Guided Amnesia, believing that this is the only way for people to live in peace. Our heroes stop them, and through the rest of season two people seem to become more aware of the truth. By the series finale Gravity Falls is an Unmasqued Town, though they're still planning to hide the supernatural from outsiders.
  • Technically, this was the entire gimmick behind M.A.S.K, what with the face-concealing helmets and Transforming Mecha vehicles, but seeing as how both factions (and most of the organizations they work with/against) know each other's vehicles and Masks by sight (and don't use code names, and to varying degrees know each other's secret identities right off the bat), such deception doesn't work too well...
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): Lunella tries to keep her identity as Moon Girl and the presence of Devil Dinosaur a secret from her family and most of New York, with the only one who knows being her best friend Casey. The end of Season 1 reveals her grandmother Mimi was in on it all along due to being the original Moon Girl before Lunella.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • The show has this with O.W.C.A., the "Organization Without a Cool Acronym" (It Makes Sense in Context), an animal government organization which Perry the Platypus is part of. One of their rules is that they cannot have their agent identity revealed, which is a major plot point in Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension when Perry's identity as Agent P's exposed to the others. At the end, he's given the choice of either letting them know his identity, but being moved to another home or using Doofenshmirtz' Amnesiainator (which apparently worked because Doof didn't know he had built it) to erase his identity from their minds. They choose the latter.
    • One episode had Stacy use a loophole to avoid the memory eraser; the O.W.C.A. rules say that "the agent's host family" cannot be allowed to discover their secret identity, and Stacy isn't part of the host family. She does this because she doesn't have to rewatch a horror movie, although she also didn't want her friends to lose their pet. The series never did anything resembling a storyline with this.
  • Polly Pocket: Polly must keep the Pocket Locket's shrinking powers a secret from everyone, so they don't use its power for their own purposes; it is only known to her friends Lila and Shani, her grandmother Penelope, and baby brother Paxton. Her other friend Nicholas finds out midway through Season 1 and joins; by the end of Season 3, her parents and older brother Pierce are finally let in.
  • In both the Hanna-Barbera and The Hub versions of Pound Puppies, both the Pound Puppies network as well as the fact that dogs are able to talk are kept secret from humans. However, there is at least one person in each version who is aware, at least in part: the sweetheart orphan Holly in the H-B show, and the doting little girl Dot in The Hub's iteration.
  • Entirely Averted in Rick and Morty. While the regular world is basically ours and an entire universe of aliens and science fiction exists outside it, nobody makes much effort to hide the latter and the regular people exposed to Rick and Morty's adventures take them in their stride pretty easily.
  • Parodied many times in South Park.
    • The episode with the Okama Gamesphere...
  • Defied in Steven Universe. Not only do the citizens of Beach City know about Steven's powers, as well as the Crystal Gems, but they almost never bat an eye at it. In fact, several of the people (namely Connie, Sadie, Lars, Kiki, and the cool kids) have actually involved themselves in Steven's adventures. Though there was a time where Connie had to play this straight to keep her sword training a secret from her family, it eventually was discovered, and unlike all other cases of this trope where "normal" people get involved, they actually come to accept it. Justified given that the show is largely about accepting others. And of course, by the time of the Series Fauxnale, with uncorrupted gems joining human civilization, this trope is thoroughly kicked out the window.
  • Transformers: Most of the time when any Transformers show is set on Earth; the Autobots keep their existence a secret from humans (with a noteable exception being the original cartoon). This is where the "Robots in Disguise" Tagline comes into play, as they take the forms of Earth vehicles. Most shows tend to feature a select group of humans who are in the know and assist the Autobots, the fourth season of Transformers: Rescue Bots has the entire town of Griffin Rock keeping the Rescue Bots existence a secret from out-of-towners. At some point in every series, it's typically broken. Usually by a fight between the Autobots and Decepticons becoming too big and too blatant to cover up.
  • Vampirina: The Hauntleys must learn to fit in with human society while keeping their identities as monsters a secret from all humankind.
  • In X-Men: Evolution, the existence of the mutants is hidden at first because Professor X does not believe mutants will be accepted by the public yet. The existence of the mutants is revealed to the world at the end of the second season. And for a while, it goes about as well as Xavier had feared.
  • WordGirl: Becky must keep her identity as WordGirl a secret from most civilians on Earth besides her sidekick Captain Huggyface; even her adoptive family doesn't know of her true self.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Masquerade


Information Blackout

After the Grey obtained video of a parasite conducting a massacre, they began to conduct information blackout ops.

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Main / Masquerade

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