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Mental Time Travel

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"My machine allows your mind to inhabit a body in the past."
H.G. Wells, Warehouse 13

A form of Time Travel where you don't physically go back in time. Instead, your body goes back to where it was in the state that it was, but you keep your memories from the future. The advantage is that, if done correctly, it neatly sidesteps many of the logical conundrums and paradoxes associated with time travel. The disadvantage is that your range of times to travel to is limited to the time your body can function for these purposes, a few decades at most.


A common variation is that the time traveler isn't going back to their own body, but to someone else's, maybe sharing their consciousness and having mental conversations or maybe a full Grand Theft Me. This gets around the disadvantage of the destination being with a few decades of the starting point, while still avoiding some of the logical problems with paradox.

Depending on what point the writer is trying to make, it sometimes turns out that you can't actually change anything in the past, and are forced to live through all your mistakes again.

The line between this and sufficiently powerful Seers (who approach the problem of bringing knowledge of the future to the past from the other direction) can be blurry.

"Groundhog Day" Loop stories often (but not always) use this mechanism. Also see Peggy Sue fanfic. Unstuck in Time is usually a version of this.


More effective with a Ripple Effect-Proof Memory. Contrast with Intangible Time Travel.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Hitsugaya becomes trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, forced to repeat the same fight over and over again. Every time he kills his enemy, the loop resets to his original starting point with his memories of previous loops intact. After too many loops, he becomes paralysed. While the "time travel" is actually just a drug manipulating his memory and spatial awareness, the paralysis it causes is very real. Due to being an enslaved zombie, fighting on behalf of Giselle, Hitsugaya ends up fighting Mayuri, who's known for infecting his enemies (and allies) with weird concoctions For Science!
  • Hanagaki Takemichi in Tokyo Revengers. He becomes his middle-school self rather than who he is in the future, leading to some confusing and embarrassing situations when the past has changed since he was last there.
  • Basically how Shunsuke's power works in Charlotte. He uses it repeatedly to figure out ways to protect other ability-users, though it comes with the additional drawback of degrading his eyesight.
  • EDENS ZERO: It turns out this is the true power of Rebecca's Ether Gear Cat Leaper, which allows her to use a Time Rewind Mechanic in order to avoid danger. What makes this a notable spoiler is that she wasn't even consciously aware she had this power for nearly a decade of her life, instead interpreting her future experiences as more "gut feelings" that saved her from life-threatening situations. She only successfully pulled her first true Mental Time Travel with Ripple Effect-Proof Memory after becoming aware of the power thanks to outside forces.
  • ERASED has Satoru able to jump back in time to prevent some kind of tragedy, although he doesn't really have any control over when it happens.
  • The plot of Full Metal Panic! centres around "The Whispered", people with Psychic Powers that allow them to receive information from the distant future. This is how they can have various bits of supertech, most notably Humongous Mecha, being built in an otherwise Present Day setting.
  • Rika and Hanyuu in Higurashi: When They Cry, though they're not always able to keep all of their memories.
    • Most of the cast, actually, they just drop more memories.
  • In Konpeki no Kantai, when Isoroku Yamamoto's plane is shot down in 1943, he wakes up in 1905 on the cruiser Nisshin just after the Battle of Tsushima. He uses his knowledge to prevent Japan making the mistakes it made.
  • Zeff does this to himself in the first chapter of The Mage Will Master Magic Efficiently in His Second Life.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: This is how Homura's "Groundhog Day" Loop ability seems to work.
  • Combined with standard Time Travel in Reborn! (2004). After the Vongola return to the past, the Arcobaleno send the memories of the future versions of the non-time travelling characters to their present versions.
  • The Time Leap machine in Steins;Gate allows for this.
    • Rintaro Okabe does this regularly thanks to "Reading Steiner"
    • In Steins;Gate 0, Okabe time leaps to the future, instead to the past, using the Amadeus program.
  • In The World God Only Knows the Goddesses send Keima and Elsie to the past. Keima returns to his kid body but he and Elsie keep all the memories of the present. In an interesting twist, his younger self actually inhabits his older body; the minds were literally switched. The goddesses decide to try and use this opportunity to imprint young Keima with affections for their hosts.
  • In Cleopatra, Queen of Sex, a trio of astronauts have their consciousness transferred into bodies of ancient Egyptians. Well, two of them do - the third gets stuck as a pet leopard.
  • Rat/Nezumi from Juni Taisen: Zodiac War has an ability that's a variation of this: they get to experience up to 100 potential futures branching from a single point in time, and then they go back to the branching point and can choose any one future they like to become real. The tradeback is that they become chronically fatigued as a result. Their ability also does not guarantee a good outcome for them, as shown when they attempted to confess to a crush by using their ability, but was rejected in every single timeline.

    Comic Books 
  • In the original Days of Future Past storyline in X-Men, Kitty Pryde travels back in time by switching minds with her younger self.
  • Alex Robinson's graphic novella Too Cool To Be Forgotten has the main character Andy Wicks relive a portion of his high school years during hypnotherapy.
  • Professor Carter Nichols invented "time-travel hypnosis" in Golden Age and Silver Age Batman stories, although the stories were always vague as to whether the subject actually travelled in time or not. He inevitably returned in Grant Morrison's Batman.
  • Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen perceives all moments of his life simultaneously, though his ability to comprehend the full story they form seems to be limited. He also claims that he can't change the events he observes: "I'm just a puppet who can see the strings."
  • Done into the future by Cyclops and Jean Grey during their honeymoon, thanks to their time-displaced alternate universe daughter arranging to have cloned bodies made for them. Their own bodies spend a few minutes lying comatose on a beach, while they spend ten or more years in the distant future, raising Cyclops' time-displaced son by Jean's clone to become a warrior capable of defeating Apocalypse.
  • In the Marvel Universe, time traveling by magic often seems to work this way, with Doctor Strange or some other magician sending the traveler back in astral form, to temporarily usurp the body of someone from that period. Both Spider-Man and Spider-Woman have gone on missions to the distant past this way.
  • Marvel's modern-day Black Knight Dane Whitman is prone to this, having repeatedly had his consciousness hurtled backwards in time into the body of a medieval ancestor who previously carried the name.
  • In the final story of The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius, the titular character's prototype time machine essentially works like this by overwriting his past self with his current self cell by cell. It only had a range of 18 minutes, leaving him just barely enough time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, and he mentions that the only time he tested it previously he had a heart attack.
  • Red Dwarf Smegazine: The plot of "Time After Time" has Kryten attempting a mind-swap on Lister with his younger self in the past so that he can try to prevent the radiation leak. This naturally fails and Lister is sent time-traveling to different more stressful moments in his timestream.

    Fan Works 
  • Star Wars fics involving time travel are surprisingly common, and a high percentage of them involve various characters being sent back to Set Right What Once Went Wrong after dying.
    • Likewise, there are so many Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfics with this as a premise that some fan-sites have 'time-travel' as a category, an example being the Echoes Of Beljoxa where Buffy and Spike are sent back in time by Willow in order to prevent the rise of the First Evil.
  • Doing It Right This Time: Shinji, Asuka and Rei's minds were sent back in time to three months before the beginning of the Angel War (and later they find out they are not the only returnees). Asuka jokingly suggests they pretend everything was just a prophetic dream or something, and theorizes Kaworu has something to do with their return.
  • The Bridge to Terabithia LDD-fic, A Life Rescued, starts off in the not-too-distant future, where a now-adult Jess Aarons, volunteering to be part of a mental time-travel project, realize he can use this opportunity to send his mind back to several decades ago to prevent the childhood incident which killed Leslie Burke from even taking place. It doesn't work as perfectly as expected, though (Temporal Sickness, for starters, making him throw up on Mr. Burke when trying to find Leslie) and there's a bunch of hiccups along the way which took several chapters (1 until 5) to fix.
  • Once More with Feeling: When Shinji decides in Third Impact to 'go back', Lilith takes a different idea of what 'go back' means. She inserts a steel rod into his back to make up for his complete lack of a spine, then sends him back into the past. Shinji then wakes up in his fourteen-year-old body, staring at the payphone he was trying to use right when Sachiel attacked at the beginning of the series.
  • The Second Try: After spending over six years surviving in the post-Third Impact world, Shinji and Asuka wake up one morning to find that mankind has returned, they are in their younger bodies and living in Misato's apartment again, and only they have any memories of what has happened, and what is happening again. Upon waking up, Shinji right away notices his body feels "different", and among other things, his face skin is soft again.
    He didn't finish the sentence. The last remains of sleep vanished instantly as he saw it.
    Her hair. Her long, flowing hair.
    And it wasn't just that. Her face, what he could see of it in the dark, seemed more round and soft, her cheeks not as defined; her body as well was shorter and slimmer, the muscles on her bare arms that had been toned from strenuous work with the garden and the machines seemingly faded...
    She was young.
    She didn't look much older than on the day they had met so long ago.
    His mind was racing, trying to comprehend such an impossibility, but none of the thousands of thoughts could give him an answer he liked. He literally jumped out of the bed, almost throwing Asuka aside, as he unbelievingly took in the surroundings. A small and tidy room. He could make out the shape of a cello case in one corner, the familiar silhouette of a S-DAT player on the desk near the bed.
    This wasn't their bedroom at home, this was his old room in Misato's apartment – but without any dirt and debris, without any sign of destruction at all.
    But it wasn't just everything around him. His body, too, felt different as though changes that were supposed to come slow enough to adapt to had been made instantly. He may never have had as distinctive and hard features as his father, but reaching up to his face, he also could only feel smooth skin, not even a hint of stubble.
  • A remarkably high percentage of AU fics for Harry Potter are like this. Usually it's Harry that does the rewind, sometimes the 'Golden Trio', occasionally Ginny to mix things up, and at least once it was the Trio, Ginny, Neville, Luna, Sirius, and Lupin, and maybe a few more in addition.
    • After the seventh book there were fanfics with Snape going back to the "Snape's Worst Memory" scene right after his death. Usually with the purpose of him getting the girl.
  • The Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Days Of Future Smurfed" has Empath flashing between his present-time self and his future-time self at various points in time after he received visions of the future from his great-grandson Traveler. During his "visits" he sees Papa Smurf die, then he sees Smurfette die, then he sees the Smurf Village destroyed by an earthquake and Brainy die trying to save his works from perishing.
  • Hogyoku ex Machina contains this form of time travel for Aizen and Ichigo. However, due to the nature of how they go back, Ichigo keeps all his power-ups from the final battle, while Aizen does not. This has advantages and disadvantages for both of them.
  • In the Mega Man Zero fanfic 'Mistress Ciel by Archaon, Ciel uses this to go back in time to make things better.
  • This is the underlying concept of BairnSidhe's Bodies in Time.
  • The Life Is Strange fanfic Letters From Tomorrow does a twist. Max already had this power in the main game (though she didn't use it much), and the fic takes the perspective of present!Max being occasionally taken over by future!Max, who will take actions and leave notes intended to lead to a better future. The exact future future!Max is from is unclear, but she is utterly ruthless and amoral—her first act was to brutally murder someone in public, use that as a distraction to steal something, then rewind time so that no one remembered the murder but the stolen object was still in her possession. She also set up a fatal accident for Victoria so that her present self could save her and earn her trust.
  • The Game of Thrones fanfic The Raven's Plan does this to an unspecified but considerable number of people in the entirety of Planetos. Originally, the remnants of an alliance between the Starks, Lannisters, Targaryens, wildlings and such were making a Last Stand against the Others, but the situation became so bleak that they resorted to some sort of ritual on the Isle of Faces with this trope in mind. It was only meant to affect a select few people, but the ritual went awry and countless people, nobles and peasants alike, carry memories up to when they died in the course of the original story when they all awaken prior to King Robert's departure for Winterfell. This leads to such events as: Ser Jaime, Ser Barristan and Sandor leaving King's Landing with the entirety of the capital's Lannister contingent, King Robert killing the High Sparrow when the latter tries to jump start the Faith Militant and Daenerys immediately taking Pentos when she cottons on that the Unsullied there also remember the past, among many others. A few people, such as Petyr Baelish, Cersei Lannister and Euron Greyjoy were deliberately prevented from having this done to them while others like Mace Tyrell and Viserys Targaryen were among those randomly spared. Melisandre doesn't have her memories either, but this is because the act of being what is essentially a surge protector for the ritual rendered her brain-dead.
  • Karma in Retrograde has a variation. When Dabi is hit with a deaging Quirk, he's reverted physically, mentally, and emotionally to his sixteen-year-old self as Touya Todoroki. From Touya's perspective, he suddenly jumped five years into the future where Shouto is the same age as him, Endeavor is the number one hero, and All Might is a retired, shriveled husk of his former glory. The last thing he remembers is calling home to speak to Shouto while studying for one of Midnight's exams before waking up in the warehouse where Shouto and Dabi were fighting.
  • Played with in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Arceus sends Ash's consciousness back to the day he began his Pokémon journey to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, but things get garbled in the transition creating an entirely new timeline. And one of the first things Ash notices when he wakes up is that he has physically aged up instead of down, unlike most cases of this trope. His Pokemon can also do this, but unlike Ash they tend to end up at the power and evolutionary level they had at the time of arrival, meaning that all of them have to retrain themselves.
  • The Sword of Justice and the Shield of Time has Homura accidentally doing this to Sayaka due to holding her hand while she activated her shield to turn back time, not expecting her powers to drag Sayaka back with her and merely meaning it as a gesture of affirming her newly awakened desire to get a Golden Ending where Everybody Lives. Thankfully, Sayaka had become a staunch ally, so she managed to adjust rather quickly once she tracked down Homura for answers.
  • Been There Blown That Up has Tony and Nebula go back in time to 2012 with their future memories. Needless to say, the two of them have a hard time explaining the events of the future in Avengers: Infinity War.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe fanfic Born of the Same Impulse has Dr. Strange use the time stone to send himself and Tony back to five years before the climax of Avengers: Infinity War to change the future and stop Thanos from winning. However, while Tony managed to prevent the Age of Ultron and Civil War from happening, he cannot immediately get over the emotional hurt and trust issues that arose from those aforementioned conflict, and this adds another source of drama since he cannot really open up to his teammates about his pain, when the events that caused them has been undone.
  • How time travel seems to work in A Student Out of Time. In a direct nod to Zero Escape, a person's consciousness is able able to swap places with another version of themselves along the timeline, as happened with Hajime Hinata and Yoruko Kabuya. The only way to detect that someone is a time traveler is to follow their tachyon trace, which maps out both where they'd been at any given moment in the previous timeline and where they are in the new one.
  • This trope is heavily deconstructed in Fighting for the Future. Weiss' memories up to Volume 7 are time traveled to before the start of the series, but they end up completely overwhelming the then eight-year-old Schnee. This caused her to try and arrest her father for crimes he had yet to commit, and was subsequently thrown into a mental asylum for her troubles. In addition, by the time the story starts she has trouble recalling some of the less important memories and has trouble discerning her memories from reality.
  • Thor himself isn't sent back to the past in If I Could Start Again, but rather his mind after he killed Thanos in Infinity War is sent back to his pre-coronation body after he picks up the Time Stone from the gauntlet (later speculated by the Ancient One to be the result of Thanos creating a link between the Time and Mind Stones moments prior to Thor's arrival when he used Time to undo Mind's destruction).
  • Z To A opens with Peter and Wanda being sent back from two years post-Avengers: Endgame to the Battle of Leipzig Airport (Captain America: Civil War) by the remnants of the Infinity Stones. Each Stone choses one key individual to send back in a similar manner, with the other four heroes sent back being Tony, T'Challa, Fury and Thor (each chosen because they had particular contact with key Stones).
  • Flashback (MHA) has Eri do this, going from a Bad Future to when Toshinori Yagi was about to pass One for All to Izuku. Thing is, Izuku from the main timeline had passed One for All to Eri during the Bad Future to enable her to go back...and it was still with her when she arrived in the past.
  • In Ranma's Sudden Wedding, Ranma finds himself jumping to random points in his timeline.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Your Name, the big Reveal is that Taki and Mitsuha were actually three years apart, which is part of the reason their attempts to meet face-to-face (or at least to speak to each other via cellphones) always failed. The other part is that Mitsuha died when a passing comet destroyed her town.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Assassin's Creed (2016) protagonist Cal Lynch uses the Aminus to relive the experiences of his ancestor, spectating the past behind his ancestor’s eyes.
  • In About Time Tim can send his mind back into his past self. It's only one way though.
  • By studying the alien language in Arrival, Louise acquires the ability to incarnate into her future self. Knowledge gained during those experiences later help her solve the crisis in the present.
  • In the 1933 film Berkeley Square starring Leslie Howard, a man of the 1930s switches minds with his identical ancestor in the 1780s. It was remade in 1951 as The House in the Square, starring Tyrone Power.
  • The Butterfly Effect Evan finds that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he travels back in time, and he is able to "redo" parts of his past, thereby causing the blackouts he experienced as a child. There are consequences to his choices, however as he continues to do this he realizes that even though his intentions are good his actions have unforeseen consequences.
  • The timeloop in Edge of Tomorrow works like a "Groundhog Day" Loop, where the primary object traveling back in time is information in the hero's mind, while everybody else' memory is reset.
  • Galaxy Quest featured the Omega 13, a machine that sets the universe back 13 seconds ("just enough time to correct one mistake") while allowing a particular person to keep his or her memories.
  • Groundhog Day: For Phil, Groundhog Day begins each morning at 6:00 A.M., when he wakes up in his room in a Victorian bed and breakfast. His clock radio is always playing the same song and it is always February 2nd. His memories of the previous day are intact, but he's trapped in a seemingly endless time loop, repeating the same day in the same small town.
  • In Hot Tub Time Machine, everyone takes the appearance of their younger selves with the exception of Jacob, who was conceived on the day the group travel to.
  • In His Fathers Shoes features a pair of magical shoes from a gypsy, which allow Clay Crosby to go back in time — and briefly experience life as his father, Frank, when he was Clay's age.
  • La Jetée employs a form of this, with the time travellers going to periods on their memories (but they don't go to their past bodies).
  • The ending of Jumanji, After finishing the game where Everything Is Trying to Kill You the two protagonists return to when their bodies when they first started it, 26 years earlier.
    • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle reverses the perspective. The main story focuses on four teenagers who get sucked into the game in 2016, where they meet Alex who's been stuck in the game since 1996. Yet when they escape, Alex is returned to 1996 and the events caused by his being sucked into the game in the first place never appeared to have happened, despite the main characters, who were returned to 2016, clearly remembering the old timeline.
  • In the movie Next, Nicholas Cage's character has a power somewhat like this. He has two minute long precognition, but what he sees are merely possible futures. It's difficult to explain but a few examples should do a trick. He 'tried out' different approaches when hitting on a girl. He saw that casually beating up the girl's stalker ex boyfriend (who was present at the time) would prompt the girl to just walk away, but letting the guy punch him in the face would win the girl's sympathy, so he let this happen. He can also dodge bullets or search a huge area in almost no time using his ability.
  • Retroactive has a machine that reverses time for a set period up to an hour while allowing one or more people to keep their memories. It also preserves the video on a VHS tape at one point.
  • Santo en El Tesoro de Drácula features an odd variant. The movie's heroine, Luisa, travels back in time to 19th century Mexico, where she inhabits the body of a young woman (identical, from the audience's perspective). But the details are a bit muddled - for example, her body seems to disappear from "the present".
  • The hero in Somewhere in Time is able to cross time through the means of self hypnosis.
  • In the movie Source Code, Jake Gyllenhaal's character performs a virtual version of this, taking over the body of an anonymous, doomed man in a simulation of the minutes before his death in an attempt to find out who planted the bomb that doomed him.
  • The girl in the film Split Infinity doesn't go back to a younger or older version of herself, but to a different person, her late great aunt. A.J. Knowlton's time travel method? She fell out of a hayloft to go back to 1929, and rode a homemade amusement park to get back to 1992. One that a bunch of kids had ridden earlier. One may assume that Sam prefers the technological route...
  • Discussed in The Time Machine (2002).
    Über-Morlock: We all have our time machines, don't we. Those that take us back are memories... And those that carry us forward, are dreams.
  • In Trancers both the bad guy and the cop chasing him go back in time, but must inhabit the bodies of distant ancestors. This movie also has people killed in the past with their "present day" descendants vanishing - but are still remembered.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: 2023 Wolverine's mind gets beamed back in time into his younger self's body in 1973. Also goes in reverse when Past Charles has a conversation with his future self by way of Logan's mind.
  • Star Trek: Generations: When Kirk and Picard exit the timeless Nexus to stop a villain's actions (which had inadvertently put Picard there in the first place), only the latter captain experiences this (instead of Help Yourself In The Past), while the former travels physically to the same location.

  • Black Vein Prophecy ends with the hero Maior confronting the spirit of his evil father, Benzieval the sorceror, where Benzieval will force Maior to re-live what happened two centuries ago, getting imprisoned as a child and becoming a Human Popsicle before his awakening in a mausoleum later on. Maior ends up outsmarting Benzieval and breaks the curse, escaping from Benzieval's trap and leaving the villain permanently trapped in the past for good.
  • The Princess Wei Yang: Thirty-six-year-old Wei Yang time-travels into the body of her thirteen-year-old self.
  • Caspian and the Keepers in the second entry of Astral Dawn accomplish this by travelling through time as ethereal beings. They also take temporary residence in physical bodies along the way.
  • Medusa's Web features a form of mental time travel anchored by mysterious sigils called "spiders". Anybody who looks at a particular copy of a spider can travel to any other time that it's been looked at — in the future as well as in the past — and stay there for a few minutes in the body of the person who looked at it then. Variations include riding along in another person's body, being able to take partial or full control, or even completely swapping places with the mind at the other end. Some people deliberately try to learn about the future by looking at a spider with the intention of keeping it safe until later and then looking at it again to provide a waypoint for their past self to visit; the novel showcases several ways this can go wrong, of which one of the less dramatic but more ominous is the one that's been increasingly happening... people looking to the future and seeing nothing.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Starting Over begins when the 20-year-old protagonist suddenly finds himself a 10-year-old again, reliving Christmas exactly as it was back then, while still remembering his first life.
  • Timequake, also by Vonnegut, features the entire world — and, it's implied, the entire universe — being mentally sent back 10 years and completely unable to change anything until that period is over.
  • Replay, by Ken Grimwood.
  • The Time of Achamoth by M.K. Joseph.
  • The Power of Un: A boy meets a mysterious stranger who hands him a giant calculator-like thing and says it's for going back in time and making sure that — wait, dang it, the guy disappeared before he quite finished the instructions. And the boy isn't impressed by the odd machine. But his flippant attitude turns serious when his little sister ends up getting hit by a truck, and he figures out how to use the device to replay the day so he can save her. Of course, it's not that easy...
  • H. P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time twists this trope by combining it with Grand Theft Me: the protagonist has his body stolen by a researcher from a Starfish Alien civilization that flourished on Earth millennia in the past, and spends several years living in the researcher's body while the researcher uses his to learn about the twentieth century.
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney, and its sequel Time After Time. Born in the Wrong Century, the protagonist goes back in time mentally by imagining himself to be in The Gay '90s and surrounding himself with items from that period until he becomes temporally dislocated. Partly averted in that he does not travel back into his own memories, but that of an alternate self.
  • The plot of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps novel The Cuckoo Clock of Doom is based around a cuckoo clock which causes the protagonist to jump back to earlier points in his life starting with the previous day. The problem is that it keeps going further back in time with no sign of stopping, probably erasing him from existence eventually.
  • in Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe, Germain possesses a powerful bit of magic that can rewind time, but only for seven seconds (and it can only be used once).
  • Terry Pratchett's Thief of Time has an entire species who use this ability regularly: "The Yeti is able to save its time at a certain point, and then venture forth knowing that if it dies, it can just resume its life from the point it saved at with the knowledge it acquired before death. It is effectively a highly evolved, albeit slightly painful form of foretelling." This is, in all likelihood, a direct reference to saving in video games.
  • This is how Charles Wallace time travels in A Swiftly Tilting Planet: he is able to enter the minds of people in the past and, though he has very little control over what they do, he still influences them in tiny ways. The fact that he has a time-traveling unicorn helps a lot.
  • "Unsound Variations", a short story by George R. R. Martin has an antagonist who utilises this repeatedly and obsessively to wreck/steal the successes of his former college buddies.
  • Used by Tolkien in The Notion Club Papers, combined with mental space travel (astral projection). The effects of time passing at a much more rapid rate means that the traveller in question looks down on what he initially thinks to be some sort of fetid anthill, but turns out to be his home city of Oxford through the ages...
  • The book A Gift of Magic by Lois Duncan has a main character who has (among other powers) the ability to look into the past. It comes in handy, because her grandmother had the ability to look into the future, allowing the two of them to "meet" on the day the grandmother died.
  • H. Beam Piper's first published story (1947), "Time and Time Again" (no relation to Jack Finney's book): The main character, dying in World War III in 1975, awoke in his thirteen-year-old body in 1945. Being a trained chemist with the scientific knowledge of 1975, he'd have an advantage going into the chemical industry; he also had quite a good memory for horse-race winners. He planned to build a fortune and use it to prevent the war he'd died in by, among other things, getting his father elected president in 1960. Two of Piper's later stories, set in the '60s, imply that he was successful in that part, at least.
    "All right, son, I'll do just what you tell me, and when you grow up, I'll be president...."
  • In the Haruhi Suzumiya novels, this is true for Yuki Nagato and only for Yuki Nagato. In the "Groundhog Day" Loop short story Endless Eight, everyone's memories get reset, although they start experiencing déjà vu. Apparently, Yuki is not affected by this because time is not an obstacle for her.
    • This isn't the first time either. When Kyon and Mikuru travel to three years ago, Yuki from that time effectively downloads the memories of her future self, becoming her future self in the process. However much sense that makes.
  • For King And Country, by Robert Asprin and Linda Evans, features what seems to be a Terminator Twosome of an IRA agent traveling back to Arthurian times to change history in Ireland's favor or simply punish England, and a British soldier trying to stop it. They go all the way back to around 500 AD or so and share the bodies of people close to King Arthur. It seems like a Stable Time Loop and/or Tricked Out Time, but the ending is a little ambiguous. Meanwhile, in the Future… their bodies remain in a comatose state while they are in the past.
  • In the Russian novel Cube with Blurred Edges by Vladimir Ilyin, this is the only possible method of Time Travel. Originally used exclusively by the special forces-like Harders with brain implants called Iscapes, which throw their consciousness back a few seconds at the moment of death (how death is determined is not clear). To an outsider, it looks like a Harder is impossible to kill, as they look like they can dodge bullets and have a sixth sense. In reality, the Harders are just using the foreknowledge to avoid the same deadly outcome. Later on, a rival organization obtains an Iscape and builds a similar-functioning device called a Regr that works by thinking of the time you want to go back to. This is one-way, however, as the timeline is changed by this action. They then start selling the devices to the general public and eliminating anyone who tries to investigate them (easy when you can always go back to fix a mistake). The knowledge of the original timeline quickly fades if any changes are made.
    • The protagonist (a Harder) starts suspecting the existence of these bootleg devices when a space liner explodes. While it looks like a typical malfunction (and it is), he does find it strange that a full third of the passengers have cancelled their tickets several days before boarding. It turns out they all have these devices.
      • He also finds out that a Harder was on the same flight but managed to survive. The Harder reveals that he spent countless iterations trying to stop the explosion. Eventually, though, his traumatized mind forced him to board an Escape Pod moments before the explosion. He ends up having his Iscape removed and committing suicide.
    • A member of the rival organization is a criminal psychiatrist who has installed a static version of the Regr device in order to try to rehabilitate criminals in the most direct way possible. After convincing them not to do it, he sends them back to a few minutes before the crime that got them to him in the first place. If successful, he only has a vague notion that he helped someone, no longer remembering the details. If not, he remembers that he tried before. He normally gives a criminal three tries before giving up and handing him back to the justice system.
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's A Lord from Planet Earth, the main character finds himself on an alien planet in the middle of an invasion. He is given a pair of Seeder artifacts with an unknown function. During the first confrontation with the Big Bad, one of his new friends is brutally killed, and the Big Bad is an inch away from slicing the protagonist open. In desperation, he breaks one of the pencil-shaped crystals and time freezes, while he hears a voice telling him of a "temporal event" of some sort. He then finds himself several hours prior with full knowledge of things to come. The only difference is he only has one artifact left. He also finds that it's pretty difficult to try to change things, as the universe keeps trying to maintain continuity. He does manage to save his friend (twice, by using the other crystal) and alter the final fight with the villain to strike him while the Big Bad is moving in for the kill. Also, physical time travel is possible as well.
  • We Are Tam by Patricia Bernard features a form of mental time travel that allows a person to visit other times if somebody in that time period is their genetic double.
  • Sherman Alexie's novel Flight has the protagonist inhabiting various people's bodies, ranging in time from the Indian wars to present day.
  • In Eric Norden's novella The Primal Solution, an elderly Jewish scientist - a Holocaust survivor who had lost his entire family - discovers a means of mental time travel, which enables him to project his mind into the past and take over the body of the young Adolf Hitler in the Vienna of the early 1910s. Resolved to force Hitler into suicide, the vengeful professor can't resist humiliating him first and forcing him to drink sewer water in front of surprised passersby, before making him jump into the Danube - but in the moment before drowning, Hitler regains control of his body and returns home shaken. The Professor is trapped inside Hitler's mind, but is able to "hear" him think "The Jews? Why did the Jews do this to me? I have never harmed them!". Able to access Hitler's memories, the trapped Professor suddenly realizes that until this moment the young Hitler had not at all been an anti-Semite and was in fact on good terms with some Jews. Only because something inexplicable had entered Hitler's mind - something which totally hated him and was implacably bent on his destruction, and which identified itself as being Jewish and acting on behalf of all Jews - did he become the genocidal Hitler known to history. Never daring to tell anybody of this presence in his mind, for fear of being considered insane, Hitler would gradually develop the idea that only by killing all Jews would he be free of that haunting presence. In short, the very act intended to avert the Holocaust ends up being its direct cause.
  • Used by Allan Quatermain to visit past lives in The Ancient Allan and Allan and the Ice Gods.
  • In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, Ziantha is sent back by the artifact into the body of Vintra, entombed with the corpse of Turan — which is revived by another mind sent back. After they hunt for the artifact's other element, Ziatha is sent back again into the body of D'Eyree of the Eyes. She apports the other eye back to that time, and they return to the tomb, which allows her to apport them both back.
  • The premise of Future History is the protagonist suddenly receiving memories from her own future and trying to figure out why.
  • All You Need is Kill. The protagonist is trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where he gets killed in battle, then wakes up 30 hours before his death. He's later told that he's not actually going back in time, but when he dies a tachyon pulse of his memories to that moment are sent back in time, and he perceives the events that led to his death as an extremely detailed dream. The alien invaders he accidentally got the power from have been using it to adapt to all human strategies; he uses it to become a One-Man Army by learning from experience over and over in the course of a day.
  • The Star Rover by Jack London has the hero placed in a straight jacket as a punishment in San Quentin Prison. He wanders through space and time while confined.
  • After the prosecution of the boyfriend for the rape-murder of his girlfriend is abandoned in Vengeance and Beyond, the boyfriend, his attorney, and others who aided the boyfriend's freedom are sent back into the girlfriend, to experience the crime. This prevents the murder although not the brutal rape, and brings the actual rapists to justice.
  • Household Gods: Nicole is sent into the body of her ancestor, Roman woman Umma, in the 2nd century. Her body meanwhile is in a coma the whole time.
  • The Night Room features teenagers who are being shown their ten-year high school renunion via virtual reality.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 12 Monkeys primarily uses physical time travel, but Season 2 reveals that drinking tea made from the leaves of the Red Forest (the Eldritch Location created by paradox time storms) allows the mind of the drinker to leave the physical constrains of time. In the season finale, Cole, stranded in 1959 after failing to prevent the murder of a Primary and subsequent paradox in 1957, uses this method to go back into his younger self and prevent the murder and paradox, restoring the timeline.
  • In season 3 of Babylon 5, Sheridan becomes Unstuck in Time and travels forward in time 20 years, when he sees the devastating effects on Centauri Prime of his victory over the Shadows. Delenn takes the opportunity to warn him not to go to Z'ha'dum, but doesn't explain why he dies (sort of); after returning to his own time he figures that the devastation was caused by his taking that advice, and therefore if he goes to Z'ha'dum, he can save Centauri Prime. It doesn't work - time is fixed (sort of) in the B5 universe, but time travel is so rare that even the ancient races don't really know how it works.
  • Canadian comedy Being Erica is about a woman offered the chance by a supposed therapist to go back and change a long list of bad decisions that have led to her life being a dead end.
  • This is premise behind Best Friends Whenever, following a lab accident best friends Shelby and Cyd, gain the power to travel into their past or future bodies, by touching each other and thinking of a date/event.
  • An episode of Charmed (1998) has Paige going back into her younger self to re-live the day her adoptive parents died.
    • An earlier episode had Phoebe switching places with her past self, an evil witch in the 1920s.
  • Cinderella Chef: Jia Yao, a modern woman, time-travels into the body of Jin Xuan, a woman in Imperial China.
  • Do Over, a short-lived 2002 sitcom about a man reliving his school years.
  • The Eternal Love: Xiao Tan, a modern woman, time-travels into the body of Tan Er, a woman in Imperial China. They end up Sharing a Body.
  • The Flash (2014) has an episode where The Flash accidentally does this, though he only goes back about a day. It's also debatable if it's mental, since Barry clearly sees another version of him running by, except his past self fades away. Possibly a case of Never the Selves Shall Meet. In fact, physical time travel is not only possible but serves to create the show's 'verse by having the Reverse-Flash travel back from the future and kill Barry's mother, resulting in a new timeline.
  • Go Princess Go: Zhang Peng, a man in the 21st century, time-travels into the body of Zhang Peng Peng, a woman in Imperial China.
  • Kamen Rider Double gives an interesting twist on this with the Yesterday Dopant, whose power causes people to do whatever they were doing exactly 24 hours ago because they think they're doing it right now. This is demonstrated first when it causes a man to leap to his death by making him think he's diving into his swimming pool; later on, it sets up a fight with the hero so that his actions can be used to attack someone the Dopant wants to murder.
  • Lost has a few characters that become Unstuck in Time. The most notable example is Desmond, whose consciousness keeps jumping back and forth between 1996 and 2004.
    • This one is also unique, because unlike normal (when we follow someone who jumps back into their life) we're following Desmond's 1996 self as he jumps into his 2004 self and back.
    • And then all of the survivors on the island become unstuck. Good for them. However, this version was physical time travel, not mental. Except for Charlotte before she dies. Her last words to Daniel are her first words to him when she met him as a little girl. Yeah, I know.
      Charlotte: I'm not allowed to have chocolate before dinner.
  • Curtis' power in Misfits is to mentally travel back to before something he feels guilty about. While this is problematic when he's trying to break up with his girlfriend and keeps feeling guilty about it, it's certainly one of the more useful powers.
  • Moon Lovers and Scarlet Heart both use this to transport the protagonist to the past (the Goryeo era in the former, the Qing Dynasty in the latter). Scarlet Heart doesn't explain how this happened, while Moon Lovers comes up with a convoluted explanation involving eclipses and near-death experiences.
  • Odyssey 5, a short-lived 2002 sci-fi series about a group of astronauts who witness the Earth exploding while on a mission, and are sent back 5 years by a Sufficiently Advanced Alien in order to prevent it.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "Falling Star", technology exists in the future which allows people to transfer their consciousnesses back in time and occupy the bodies of people from the past. This allows future historians to view historical events from the perspective of those involved. Security precautions exist which prevent the time travelers from making their presence known to the host but they can be overridden. When necessary, the time travelers can also take control of the host bodies.
    • In "Joyride", the aliens send Colonel Theodore Harris back in time to September 16, 1963 with all of his memories of the intervening 38 years intact.
  • Quantum Leap is a variation, where the protagonist time-travels into other people's lives. In the episode "The Leap Home, Part 1," though, Sam did leap into his sixteen-year-old self. He was distressed to find out that he wasn't allowed to help his own family with his knowledge of their futures, and that when he tried to do so, they just thought he was crazy. He could also only travel within the span of his own lifetime, apart from a few exceptions.
  • Though Stargate SG-1 usually goes the physical route, they had the obligatory "Groundhog Day" Loop episode with O'Neill and Teal'c which was entirely mental. However, after the end of the loop, they discovered that the rest of the universe was operating normally, while Earth and a few other worlds were stuck in the loop. From the outside universe's perspective (and that of O'Neill and Teal'c), Earth was stuck in that loop for several months, so time travel was only local.
  • In the Sleepy Hollow episode Awaking, Katrina time travels back to 1781 to make sure her husband dies after his confrontation with the horseman so she doesn’t need to abandon her son. Once she arrives back in the past, she takes control of her past self who is still pregnant.
  • Someday Or One Day: This is the main premise of the plot.
    • By listening to an old Walkman that plays Wu Bai's "Last Dance," Huang Yu Xuan's consciousness goes from 2019 to 1998, and lands her in Identical Stranger Chen Yun Ru's body.
    • Li Zi Wei's consciousness goes from 2003 to 2010 and lands him in Wang Quan Sheng's physical form in the same manner, and he travels from 2017 back to 2003 in the plane accident that kills Quan Sheng's body.
    • Psycho Psychologist Xie Zhi Qi uses the Walkman to travel to his brother's body. Unlike Yu Xuan and Zi Wei, he is able to be woken up by outside stimulus.
    • In the final episode, Yu Xuan takes the cassette out of the broken Walkman and puts it in the car player while thinking of Zi Wei, traveling back to Yun Ru's body by accident.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: Emperor Georgiou meets a mysterious figure named Carl, who sends her back to the Mirror Universe, just before Captain Lorca's attempted coup and given the chance to change her past, similar to what Picard went through in "Tapestry" below. Georgiou realizes that she has changed too much to return to her old way of life, and in the end Carl is revealed to be the Guardian of Forever, and gives her a chance to time travel someplace new and find a new life somewhen else.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In the episode "Tapestry", Picard dies and to his horror is greeted by Q in the afterlife. After admitting that he regrets a lot of his brash actions as a young man, Q sends him back to the incident that gave Picard his artificial heart so he can change things.
    • In the series finale "All Good Things", Picard finds himself continuously shifting between three seperate timelines, one in the "present", one several years ago when the Enterprise was just launched, and one 25 years in the future when Picard is mostly retired.
  • Star Trek: Voyager has an episode where Kes starts at the end of her life with no memories and progressively hops backwards through her life. The only consequence of this is to help the then present day Voyager avoid a deadly enemy. Other than that, it's a giant Snap Back and Reset Button.
  • That Was Then, a short-lived 2002 drama about a man reliving his school years.
  • In Travelers the Benevolent Conspiracy sends it agents back in time this way. The process tortuously kills the original person. Usually they only take over the bodies of people who were supposed to die in order to minimize unintentional changes (Travelers do not get the memories of their host so replacing a person part way through their life would mean them not doing things they were supposed to). Travelers convicted of treason are also executed by having their minds overwritten with a new Traveler.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Static" featured a bitter, regretful old man who was able to pick up nostalgia-inducing radio signals from twenty years in the past. In the final scene, he discovers that he is a young man in that past again, with a chance to try again.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Time and Teresa Golowitz", Bluestone's mind is sent back in time to the body of his 16-year-old self in October 1948.
  • Warehouse 13:
    • H. G. Wells's Time Machine is a pair of armchairs with headbands and some electrical contraption. It works by sending the (up to 2) users' consciousness back in time into specific bodies for no more than 22 hours 19 minutes (she has no idea why that is the limit), during which time the owners of the bodies in the past black out. Helena mentions that the machine makes use of the gestalt phenomenon. Also, since changing the past is virtually impossible, time travel poses no risk to the body owners (unless they were meant to die during this time). The time travelers, however, run the risk of being lost in the ether, never finding their way back. The machine was only used three times. In fact, all uses happened due to Stable Time Loops. HG knew she was somehow there the night of her daughter's death by the killer's description of another person's fighting style. She knew kempo, but her maid (whose body she inhabited) did not. Pete and Myka travel back because of a recording they made to themselves in the past, and solve a case. Rebecca needed to go back to initiate her relationship with Jack. Unfortunately, she does not make it back. But then again, she wanted to die..
    • Ferdinand Magellan's Astrolabe also has this effect for the user, although it can only go back 24 hours and can have some nasty side effects. One of the more famous users of the artifact was Maximilien Robespierre, which resulted in the Reign of Terror costing the lives of tens of thousands of people. Additionally, the artifact actually travels back in time with the user and disappears from its hiding place. According to Brother Adrian, using the artifact will release an unspeakable evil. In a twist, the evil turns out to be an evil split personality of the person using the Astrolabe. In Artie's case, he perceived his evil side as Brother Adrian attempting to force Artie to use the Astrolabe to undo the time change. The real Brother Adrian was trapped in an Artifact painting in Vatican. Eventually, Artie completely snaps, kills Leena, and tries to destroy the world to force the Warehouse agents to let him use the Astrolabe. Claudia is able to save him, but he never gets over Leena's death.
  • The main premise of the Japanese drama series Time Taxi is a man who drives a special time taxi to help people by rewinding them back to the desired time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. However, the passengers still have to pay a fee, depending on how far back they want to go (for example: 30 yen to rewind the time to 1 hour ago, 60 yen for 2 hours ago, etc.).

  • Journey into Space: In Journey to the Moon / Operation Luna, the presence of the Time Travellers causes Jet's mind to travel back in time to his childhood in Edinburgh when his great-uncle Hector was tutoring him about The Moon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Most time-travel abilities in Dungeons & Dragons work like this, although there are exceptions such as an epic spell that grabs a version of you from about six seconds into the future.
  • A LARP game called Nepenthe featured time-travellers with the "jump into someone else's body" variant. They came from a post-apocalyptic future destroyed by the mysterious Nepenthe, and jumped back to early in its creation, ending up in the bodies of a bunch of D&D players at the gaming convention at which the LARP was sent. Nepenthe turned out to be a highly-addictive Virtual Reality game.
  • Vajra Enterprises soon-to-be-released rpg End Times is all about this. The player characters find they can project their minds ten years into future and learn of an upcoming apocalypse. They switch back and forth between the present and future to prevent it (whatever it may be). Problem is that these apocalypses actively work to thwart them, even sending back powerful, in-human Hunters. Player characters may also have to deal with the remnants of other apocalypses defeated by past generations of time travelers.

  • Emily from Our Town is transported into her body on one of her birthdays in an attempt to experience life again after she dies in childbirth.

    Video Games 
  • This is your primary power as a eponymous achron in Achron. Do note that all other players can do this too, so be prepared for some very interesting multiplayer battles...
  • The second Prince of Persia trilogy allows you to rewind up to ten seconds. Near the end of The Sands of Time, the Prince uses it to kiss a girl without her knowing it.
    • Warrior Within also has physical time travel.
    • The film has this as well, with CGI effects showing the prince watching the events rewind from a third-person perspective. At the end, he rewinds time to just after the invasion of Alamut.
  • Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army has the Time Tourists visiting the Akarana Corridor, who prefer using this method instead of risking getting Unstuck in Time.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link can use the Master Sword to travel back and forth between his child and adult selves. Unusually for this trope, despite not actually physically travelling anywhere, he still managed to create two alternate branched-off timelines in the process.
  • In Sunless Skies, running a corpse in a Weft of Unravelling Time can cause a weird version of this: the careening through possible times can cause its mind can be reunited with it, resulting in a Revenant Zombie of sorts.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, this is a supernatural ability of Ellone. Those who travel back in time this way cannot affect the past, but they can watch events occur from a first-person perspective, and grant the people of the past all their modern-day powers. Ultimecia is the exception to this rule, being so powerful that she can fully possess the bodies of those who she inhabits in the past. This ability is the crux of her plot to cast Time Compression.
  • When the party goes to Shion's ruined home planet Miltia in the third episode of Xenosaga, it is revealed that the recurrence of the disaster is entirely mental and similar to an encephalon dive.
  • Many modern racing games have a Rewind feature that similar to the Dagger of Time in the Prince of Persia series, allows you to rewind time for a few seconds to correct a crash or bad turn and thus be less punishing on the player.
  • In Second Sight, there are moments where the psychic player character, John Vattic has flashbacks that allow him to change events in the past which in turn alter the present (for example, saving the life of someone who had died). Subverted when it is revealed that you're not traveling to the past at all. The "past" is actually the present and the "present" is actually Vattic seeing into the future.
  • Braid's rewind feature.
  • Radiant Historia involves you jumping through time to points where you already existed. While your body technically still ages as you go through time, you replace the "you" that would've been in that moment of time, so that paradoxes are avoided.
  • One ending of Shadow Hearts: Covenant sends Yuri back to the beginning of the first game looking exactly like he did in the original's opening cinematic, but apparently with all his memories of the future, while the other heroes are shuffled through time the regular way.
  • The astral projection ability in Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse could be explained this way.
  • The obscure 3DO First-Person Shooter Immercenary features an odd variant: the player's consciousness is projected into the future and directly into a virtual reality game in which much of humanity will eventually become trapped, in the hopes of shutting it down from within.
  • no-one has to die.'s TEMPEST machine. The way it works is actually quite different from other examples: Forward time travel works like normal, but travelling backwards destroys your body and takes your consciousness to any number of alternate universes.
  • Mabinogi invokes Mental Time Travel for many of the "RP" quests-the Player Character(s) experience the memories of other characters after placing items personal to those characters on dungeon altars. An early example is a party of three characters experiencing the memories of the Three Missing Warriors, which puts the players on the path to saving a Goddess.
  • Implied in the Roguelike The Consuming Shadow, where the main character retrains the experience he has gotten over the playthroughs, and sometimes mentions the he dimly remembers that he has seen or dreamt about similar things before. This being an lovecraftian story, he of course thinks it is a sign that he is going insane.
  • This is how Undertale justifies its save points; somehow or another, it's caused by determination. Most major characters have a little bit of Ripple Effect-Proof Memory, except Sans, who gets by just being Crazy-Prepared, and Flowey, who actually has full ripple-proof memory... because until you fell into the ruins, he was the one with this power. And at the end of a Neutral run, he turns the situation back around on you.
  • Randal's Monday: Done by Sally at the end of the game.
  • A Substory in Yakuza 6 has Kiryu talking with a girl named Miku who believes she did this jumping from 2017 to 2016. The story’s name is “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”?
  • In Episode 3 of Life Is Strange, Max is able to travel back into the body of her 13-year-old self by looking at a photograph of that day. This enables her to save Chloe's father, altering the past five years significantly. When that doesn't pan out as well as she hoped, she undoes it and swears not to use that power again. She does this for about half Episode 5 too, in order to save herself from Mark Jefferson.
  • In Katana ZERO the main character has precognition from a drug called Chronos. Any in-game deaths are just failed plans that the protagonist runs through in his head.
  • Harvest Town uses this as its premise. Unlike most other Farm Life Sim, whose main characters simply migrate to the town after inheriting a dilapidated farm, Harvest Town's protagonist starts as an aging individual who misses their home town after leaving it for the city years ago. After getting some sleep, the protagonist finds themselves back at their hometown as a youth. They immediately cancel their plans to leave, and restart a life in the town.
  • This is basically what the Framing Device of Assassin's Creed is. The Animus allows one to sift through genetic memories inherited from distant ancestors by reliving those memories as if you were really there and were your own ancestor. Most of the series had a "synchronization" mechanic which encouraged/required the player character to behave or complete missions in certain ways, such as not being allowed to kill civilians because of a general "don't harm the innocent" rule or even not being allowed to kill future assassination targets before you're supposed to because it conflicts with the memories, but this was relaxed in more recent games. It's also done away with the concept that one needs to be descended from a certain person in order to relive those memories—which was why the first player character Desmond Miles was needed—and instead only requires a genetic sample from that person. This came about as Desmond's death forced the Animus engineers to upgrade to allow samples to work instead, allowing anyone with a 2013 or newer Animus to view the memories of anyone whose genetic data is accessible.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins has the battles with the Afterlings that trigger Sagi to travel back in time and inhabit the body of a boy named Marno. The first time he goes alone, and the second time his entire party comes with him but, while they can still interact with Sagi and the world nobody else can see or hear them. It's eventually revealed that Marno and his friends became Malpercio and that the Ar End Magnus that contained Marno's spirit was used to turn Sagi into an artificial spiriter.
  • Dress Up! Time Princess combines mental time travel with the Portal Book that serves to transport the player character into the game's various stories, placing her within the role of the heroine of each story she enters. She retains the memories of the character she's assumed within the story, and frequently takes on elements of their personality as well, with the division between herself and the character she occupies often becoming rather blurry as she grows more and more invested in the events she's experiencing.
  • NEO: The World Ends with You: Main character Rindo's special ability is "Replay," which allows him to shift backward and forward in time. It's limited by the fact that he needs to stay within that day, and when he chooses to "Change Our Fate" (finalize the new timeline) he cannot use Replay again until the next day. And the old timelines leave behind remnants that are key to the Big Bad's plan.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Visual Novel Yo-Jin-Bo, the protagonist ended up traveling through time via a magical pendant and put her in a body of a princess.
  • Zero Escape:
  • The Phonewave (name subject to change) in Steins;Gate is eventually upgraded in such a way that it allows to send a person's memories back in time, effectively letting the person in question relive up to the past 48 hours since they used the machine while retaining the memories from the future. The mechanics of this are tied to Okabe's cell phone, so in theory, anyone who picks it can receive the memories, even if they didn't originally belong to the receiver. This is frequently used by Okabe to find a timeline where Mayuri and (later) Kurisu don't die, and once by a future version of Nae seeking revenge for her father's death. Notably, the process itself is shown to hurt like hell, with Okabe screaming in agony and describing the pain in creatively gruesome ways, at least the first couple of times before he gets used to it.
    • In the spinoff game Linear Bounded Phenogram, it is also used by Kurisu, Luka, and Mayuri in their respective chapters; Kurisu uses it to speak to Okabe before he becomes catatonic and encourages him to save Mayuri, Luka uses it to make Mayuri's last day fun and later to help Okabe regain his drive to save Mayuri, and Mayuri herself uses it in an attempt to find a way to save Kurisu without sacrificing herself.
    • Also used in Steins;Gate 0 when Okabe sees the death of Mayuri and Suzuha. Though he has to make it from scratch and without Kurusu, using only his knowledge and assistance from Daru and Maho. It's also used in a different path where Okabe ends up decades ahead of where he's supposed to be, still with the 48 hour limit for each time leap. He somehow ends up back where he was before, even when there are many situations where he shouldn't have been able to use it.

  • Narbonic has "Dave Davenport Is Unstuck on Time" (a Shout-Out to Slaughterhouse-Five), with Dave bouncing between childhood, middle age, and his teenage years. At first, it seems like he wasn't able to change anything; he angsts, and decides to have a cigarette. Then Mell asks, "Since when do you smoke?"
  • Bob and George, "All Good Things" (a Shout-Out to the Star Trek episode).
  • The "rewind device" in City of Reality uses this method to allow characters, in the story, to retry their actions until they get them right.
  • Used by Mizkit in Breakpoint City in an attempt to tarnish Ben's reputation in one arc.
  • In Girl Genius Othar Tryggvassen's twitter adventures had an older Tarvek send Othar's mind back to the point just before Othar rescued the woman who would become his wife after Othar left the island he's been living on with her and discovered that Europa was in ruins and the populace had been wiped out to ensure things went differently this time around.
  • In The Dreamer, Beatrice travels back in time to the The American Revolution when she's asleep.
  • The final strip of Arthur, King of Time and Space reveals that the world hasn't been transforming around Arthur all this time, his consciousness has been shifting to other incarnations.
  • The premise of Rebirth. Noah wakes up in his younger body several years in the past, right before the apocalypse hits all over again.

    Web Original 
  • The episode "Uncommon Cold" of Human Kind Of has Judy go back and forth between sitting in her high school classroom and inhabiting the body of her future self at various points in time whenever she sneezes, thanks to a sudden cold. Her future husband isn't exactly pleased by this, as one of these moments is him trying to say goodbye to his family on his death bed.
    Judy: Oh, God! Is this our ugly little slug?
    Husband: Oh, goddammit, are you sixteen again!? Go home!
  • In Spes Phthisica, this is all that is possible. Information (in the form of dreams, images, messages...) can travel back in time, but not physical objects.
  • Season 17 of Red vs. Blue has the main characters who caused a Reality-Breaking Paradox in the previous season trapped in a "soft time" singularity reliving their memories in a loop, and feeling familiarity in the process. The other protagonists who were absent during the paradox are able to jump into this singularity (nicknamed "Everwhen") and possess their past selves, hoping to fix things back then.

    Western Animation 
  • Code Lyoko's Returns to the Past.
    • Although Jérémie retaining a picture taken before one of them caused massive speculation among the fanbase.
    • Also the fact that it can't retcon out someone's death.
  • South Park:
    • The show parodies this with Eric trying to induce a temporal coma so he can travel back into the past and learn about the Founding Fathers. By dropping weights onto his head. Notably, this averts the limit to one's own life; apparently, a Cartman-body just magically generated in the past when Cartman's mind needed it. (Or it was All Just a Dream, the episode was kind of ambiguous.)
    • This is also how the "Go God Go!" two-parter ended, with Cartman (having been stuck in the far future) being transferred back in time to "fuse with his past self."
    Blavius the Talking Sea Otter: Don't worry, my son. When you return to your time you will merge with your other self. It's all very Zen.
  • The Batman features Francis Grey, who discovers he can "turn back the clock" 20 seconds, allowing him to relive his past and relearn his mistakes. He discovered this power through his obsession with time
  • Inverted in Rugrats, during the Poorly Disguised Pilot for the spinoff, All Grown Up!. Granted, there is no logical reason why what they did should have worked, suggesting that it may have been All Just a Dream, but it was way too consistent with the actual plot to discount. At the end, the babies emerge from the closet they fled into at the beginning of the episode (apparently only moments later), and Tommy says, "Well guys, only ten more years until Angelica is nice to us."

    Real Life 
  • You mentally time travel into the future at an incredible speed of 1 second per second.
  • The general human ability to contemplate the past and future — in the form of (for instance) memory and planning — is also called "mental time travel" or "chronosthesia". In a sense, that usage of the term is the inverse of this one: the body remaining in the present while the mind "goes" to another time.
  • The peripheral, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and other parts of the unconscious brain react to situations significantly faster than the conscious brain can even tell what's happening, let alone respond. Usually the few milliseconds of delay are imperceptible, but during extreme danger or skilled competition that puts instinct behind the wheel, one may feel as if they're reliving something that has already happened in which they knew exactly what to do. In fact, a study on decision making proved that the brain activity associated with committing to an action might occur up to several seconds before a person is conscious of the fact that they've decided anything.


Video Example(s):


Maxine "Max" Caulfield

Max discovers that she has a form of Mental Time Travel which uses photos of herself as a focusing point. Just after Chloe went on a rant about how her father's death ruined everything in her life and just when she happens to be looking at a photo from that very day.

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Main / MentalTimeTravel

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