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Missing Reflection

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Vampires seldom reflect on the emptiness of their unlives. But think of the potential limbo victories!note 

"According to Elibori they cast no reflected image. Thus, for example, one cannot see them, nor can they see themselves, in a mirror. Nor in any other object serving the same water, windowpanes, etc."

A popular conception about vampires is that they cast no reflection in a mirror and often have an intense aversion to them. Genre Savvy characters may become aware of places that lack mirrors or contain several broken ones foreshadowing this trope.

The reason for why mirrors work this way is for multiple reasons. It has to do with the idea that mirrors reflect souls and because vampires don't have souls, they don't have reflections. There is also the old argument that blood suckers exist in two worlds, in the living and in the dead. But since it isn't fully in either one it will not be seen in a mirror. Alternately, many old mirrors were made with silver, a metal considered to have mystical or holy properties, and as such they would not reflect vampires; if a work uses this as a plot point, you might be able to expect modern mirrors (which use aluminum) to not have this property. As for the mirror-phobia, mirrors force vampires to confront their nature of existence as an undead, which is why many vampires do not like mirrors.

Depending on the setting, a Missing Reflection may take the form of not appearing on film and/or digital cameras, or being inaudible on telephone or recording.

Note that traditional vampire folklore doesn't necessarily include the lore about vampires and mirrors. In fact, the idea originated from Bram Stoker's renowned novel Dracula (1897) wherein Jonathan Harker notices the Count's missing reflection in his shaving mirror.

Sub-Trope of Glamour Failure and Sister Trope to The Mirror Shows Your True Self. Compare Casts No Shadow, which is to this trope what The Shadow Knows is to The Mirror Shows Your True Self. Not to be confused First-Person Ghost, which is characters lacking reflections (among other things) because of technical limitations.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chargeman Ken!: The Juralians do not reflect on mirrors or cameras even when they assume human form.
  • The doppelganger who appears in one episode of Ergo Proxy does not reflect on the water.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Joseph Joestar exploits the vampire Straizo's lack of a reflection during their fight: at one point, Straizo appears to have used his Eye Beams to pierce a hole in Joseph's head... yet Joseph seems unaffected. As it turns out, Straizo actually attacked Joseph's reflection in the mirror, a mistake he could only make because the mirror didn't show Straizo's own reflection (if you're wondering why his eye beams weren't reflected when they hit the mirror, they're actually made of high-pressure eyeball fluid, not lasers).
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Cameras can't capture the image of a cursed spirit. In Chapter 20, this is what first tips off Nanami that something's off about the 'cursed spirits' he and Itadori just fought - they're visible through his phone camera. Turns out, they aren't curses at all, but rather humans altered by Mahito's Idle Transfiguration.
  • Despite its female lead being a half-vampire and playing classical weaknesses for laughs, My Monster Secret actually avoids this trope. Until very late in the series, where Youko's vampiric nature begins asserting itself and she stops showing up in photographs — which causes her friend Mikan to realize that she's a vampire.
  • One Piece: When the crew meets Brook for the first time, Nami shows him a mirror and they discover his reflection doesn't show. They all immediately jump the gun and assume he's a vampire. It's later revealed that this is another side effect of Gecko Moria's shadow-stealing powers.
  • In Otherside Picnic the mirror cube Toriko obtains from defeating the kunekune turns out to reflect everything like a normal mirror except humans. Toriko jokingly suggests that the cube works like this because Sorawo, who perceived the kunekune and allowed Toriko to kill it, is a misanthrope. Sorawo isn't amused.
  • As a vampire, Touta Konoe from UQ Holder! lacks a reflection. It's what tipped off Kuromaru about his true nature.

    Comic Books 
  • In American Vampire, European vampires have no reflection while the American species have distorted reflections.
  • The second volume of the Confessions Of A Teenage Vampire graphic novel reveals that vampires can cast reflections if they concentrate hard enough. Unfortunately, Lily (the teenage vampire of the title) is distracted by the threat of the villain and forgets to do so. One of her classmates notices her lack of reflection and faints. When Lily realizes what happened, she wills her reflection back into place and convinces the classmate she was seeing things.
  • Titan's Doctor Who comics: In "The Silvering", the Eighth Doctor has to deal with evil duplicates from a world behind a mirror. They can be identified by having no reflection of their own.
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: Hans realizes that the Romanian soldiers his company are partnered up with are vampires when he notices that they have no reflections in the water.
  • Justice League Quarterly #1 introduces the Conglomerate, a Corporate-Sponsored Superhero team whose members wear jackets with sponsor logo patches and appear in print and TV ads... Except for resident supernatural expert Praxis, who is invisible to video and photography. When looking at candid photos of the team being recruited, Max and L-Ron don't know what to make of a picture of Booster Gold and Praxis having a drink — Booster seems to be smiling and laughing at the floating beer mug above the empty chair next to him.
  • Mélusine: Anearly strip has Melusine charged with babysitting a bratty vampire kid. At one point the kid escapes and runs down a hallway, only to be startled by the sight of Melusine running straight at him... then picking him up from behind (he was looking at her reflection in a wall-sized mirror).
  • In Peculia and the Goon Grove Vampires, one of the babysitters is taken to a bedroom to try and shake off a dizziness spell while talking with her charge. She at first thinks she's seeing things when the charge doesn't show up in a mirror she's standing in front of. But soon realizes she really doesn't have a reflection, to which the charge quickly bites and drains her.
  • In "The Wolf Doctor" in Rulah, Jungle Goddess #17, one of the symptoms of lycanthropy is that those who are infected stop casting a reflection. (Possibly the writer was getting it mixed up with vampirism...?)

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Played for Drama in Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus, A six-year-old Gloria's reflection got sanded by the Mirror Cops in the Chrome Car. And just like Tulip, it's completely gone. Present day Gloria has to pretend she has a fear of mirrors so no one finds the truth.
  • In No Competition, Judas the first vampire remarks on how hard it is to floss his fangs when he can't see them in a mirror.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hotel Transylvania
    • Used for a gag where Mavis practices a speech in front of a mirror even though as a vampire she has no reflection.
    • Used again in the second movie at Jonathan and Mavis' wedding when a picture is taken of both the couple and their parents. Naturally Dracula and Mavis don't show up in the camera film. However they do show up on digital photos taken with a smartphone.
  • Rudolph in The Little Vampire confirms this fact for Tony, that vampires don't have reflections.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beetlejuice: While the Maitlands are ghosts, they don't show up in mirrors.
  • In the Blithe Spirit 2020 remake, Elvira lacks a reflection, seeing how she is a ghost.
  • In Bordello of Blood, Rafe tries to confront Lilith at a bar where the encounter is shot from afar on a camera. Later in the film, when Catherine is looking over the footage following her dumping him from the case. She finds there's no image of Lilith on the film, making her realize that Rafe's claims of her being weird might have some truth to it. This likewise happens earlier in the film when Rafe takes some pictures of some dead bodies in a coffin as evidence. However since it was the body of a vampire Lilith herself killed. It doesn't show up in the picture when Rafe tries to show police it.
  • Vampires in Daybreakers do not have reflections themselves, but their clothes do. The vampires have adapted through the use of closed-circuit cameras, which can record vampires.
  • Dracula film adaptations:
    • In Dracula, Van Helsing observes that Dracula is not reflected in the mirrored lid of a box, and shows it to the Count, who dramatically slaps it away.
    • In House of Dracula, John Carradine's Dracula throws no reflection. Nor does the evilized Dr. Edelmann.
    • In Jess Franco's faithful 1970 adaptation Count Dracula, Dracula casts no reflection in Harker's mirror.
    • In Blacula, a photographer at a nightclub takes a picture of the titular vampire wooing a woman named Tina who bears a striking resemblance to his deceased wife, but it is not until after she goes to her workshop at her home next door to the club to develop the film does she realize the truth too late...
    • Count Dracula (1977): After Dracula's third attack on Lucy. Helsing goes to check on her, but looks at a nearby mirror and realizes he's too late to save her when she doesn't cast a reflection anymore.
    • In John Badham's Dracula (1979), staring Frank Langella as the Count, Abraham Van Helsing learns that Dracula is behind the attacks after learning he doesn't have a reflection. Afterwards, he and Jack Seward show Jonathan Harker the fact that the staked Mina Van Helsing (Jan Francis) has no reflection — they then cut out her heart to finally free her.
    • Two examples in Bram Stoker's Dracula
      • Jonathan pulls out a mini-mirror to shave only for Dracula to come visit in his room all of a sudden. Jonathan is startled by his presence since he didn't see him in the mirror. When Dracula sees it, he hisses and uses his powers to crack it.
      • During the scene with Jonathan and the brides who proceed to seduce him, at one point, the camera cuts to a mirror above their bed. Jonathan is the only one reflected in it while invisible forces pull at his clothes and cut into his skin.
  • Dracula 2000
    • In a flashback scene it's shown Van Helsing used this to lure Dracula into a trap. As Dracula could see Van Helsing in a disguised mirror but not himself, he failed to realise the vampire hunter was actually standing behind him.
    • In the present day, Dracula attacks TV reporter Valerie Sharpe and her cameraman while they are filming the crashed plane he was on. Initially the cameraman can't see him through the viewfinder, so when Dracula grabs Valerie and cuts at her neck a bit, all he sees is her struggling and the cut suddenly appearing, until he lowers the camera. Likewise when Valerie runs to their van, she sees her cameraman being tossed aside by an invisible force on her monitors.
  • The same trope of vampire lore was parodied in Dracula: Dead and Loving It, where a big dance scene ends up being ridiculous when seen in a mirror, particularly when Dracula is spinning the woman in the air.
  • Exploited during the ballroom scene in The Fearless Vampire Killers. Since vampires cast no reflection, a mirror was used as a trap to indicate who was human during the vampire ball.
  • Fright Night: Peter Vincent accidentally notices that Jerry Dandrige doesn't have a reflection, shocking him into grasping that Charley was right about Dandridge being a vampire.
    • The sequel Fright Night 2: New Blood: Variation, with vampires not showing up on cameras. In the intro, this leads to a girl being attacked in a convenience store looking she's being held up to the ceiling by nothing but thin air on the security cam.
  • Ghost Lab (2021): When Dr. Gla and Wee try to record video evidence of the ghost in the waiting room, they find that it doesn't show up on the phone they use.
  • The Hong Kong horror film HEX has a scene where a lady is revealed to be a ghost to an unwary labourer when he asks what is she doing in a house ready to be torn down. But then the worker noticed a tall mirror in the same room, and he's the only person reflected upon. Cue massive Oh, Crap!....
  • The House That Dripped Blood: In "The Cloak", the first indication Henderson has that anything is wrong is when he tries on the cloak in his dressing room and then discovers he doesn't have a reflection in the mirror.
  • In King of the Zombies, Samantha claims that zombies see nothing when they look in a mirror. She is therefore able to prove to Jeff that he isn't a zombie by showing him his reflection.
  • In My Best Friend is a Vampire, Darla's father is surprised to find that his daughter's date doesn't show up in the Polaroids he took of the pair. He assumes there's a weird malfunction with the camera.
  • In The Night Flier Dwight accosts Richard Dees in an airport bathroom. First Dees hears his footsteps and his fly unzip, then watches in the mirror as a stream of bloody urine appears from seemingly nowhere in the urinal behind him.
  • The Return Of The Vampire (1944), starring Bela Lugosi, shows the corpse of the vampire in a coffin and then a reflection that only shows the clothes.
  • Rise: Blood Hunter: The main character starts to realize that she has become a vampire when she wakes up in the morgue and goes to inspect herself in a mirror, which doesn't show her reflection.
  • Rockula: Main character Ralph is a vampire who has a reflection - which has a mind of its own and talks to him. His mother, however, lacks a reflection entirely. When asked how she applies makeup, she answers "Practice."
  • Tales from the Hood 2: In "Date Night", the vampire girls don't show up in the camera being used to film them. Their clothes, however, do.
  • In Vamp!, AJ reveals to Keith this trope is in effect after becoming a vampire. Later, as Keith is trying to leave town, he discovers Duncan has become a vampire when he doesn't see him in the rear view.
    • Note that this trope is foreshadowed when the club's strippers - vampires, all - are shown applying makeup to one another. They sit in pairs at two-sided makeup tables, and reach through empty frames where mirrors ought to be to apply cosmetics to one another.
  • Van Helsing provides the page image. A mirror reflects a person dancing, but not their vampire partner. Same goes for the other couple hundred people in the ballroom. Those paying close attention can see this Oh, Crap! moment coming.
  • In one segment of the anthology horror film Vault of Horror, a man finds himself in a diner where the staff and the menu are a bit... odd. He realizes too late why when he notices that he's the only person in the diner with a reflection.
  • In What We Do in the Shadows, the vampires have to help each other get dressed before going out on the town because their lack of reflections means they can't see what their outfits look like. Like all the other vampire tropes and references used in the movie, this is Played for Laughs.

  • Subverted in The Big Over Easy: Pursuing a suspect through the surrealist Castle Spongg, Jack is freaked out to discover he doesn't appear in a mirror, and even more so when his quarry does, but doesn't appear in the room. It turns out it isn't a mirror, it's a window to an identical but reflected room.
  • Weaponized in Vengeance of the Dancing Gods: a sneaky demon sets a "mark" on the master thief Macore: henceforth he will cast no shadow or reflection. Macore later uses this mark to slip into the wizard Ruddygore's treasure vault and initiate Hell's newest plan for taking over Earth.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: Soon after his arrival at Castle Dracula, Jonathan Harker observes the building was devoid of mirrors. When Dracula silently comes into Harker's room while he was shaving, Harker notices that Dracula, who is standing behind him, does not appear in the shaving mirror as he should have. The Count reacts violently and flings the mirror out a window. The missing reflection is the first solid evidence of his vampiric nature that Jonathan directly observes. Professor Van Helsing later notes that Dracula lacks both reflection and shadow; the latter is left out of most adaptations, possibly because of the practical difficulties it would create.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novella "Magic, Inc." the protagonists realize Ditworth is a demon when one of them notices him not casting a reflection in a mirror.
  • In The Nekropolis Archives, vampires look human, but cast no reflection or shadow.
  • In Kim Newman's vampire stories, the effect varies depending on a vampire's bloodline; some vampires have no reflection at all, while others have a vague or incomplete reflection. In "Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch", his recurring vampire character Geneviève is standing in a room with several mirrors, and simultaneously appears as a featureless silhouette in one mirror and a "smudgy column of vaguely woman-shaped smoke" in another.
  • The Night Flier: The vampire can't be seen through a mirror, most notably at the end when he manhandles the main character inside an airport bathroom and it just looks like he's being held up by thin air. This is also a Berserk Button for the vampire, who prefers smashing every mirror he sees.
  • In Snow-Walker, because by sorcery Gudrun and Kari are each other's living reflections, neither casts one in glass.
  • In Sphere, the title object reflects its surroundings, but not people. Norman the psychologist is the only one who notices at first, and has to clue his coworkers in since they're distracted by everything else alien about it.
    Norman: What worries me is that it's reflecting everything but us. I hate to be the one non-scientist who picks this up, guys.
  • In The United States of Monsters, vampires lose their reflection when they become Old Ones.
  • In the story "Cast the First Shadow", a man who Casts No Shadow, long persecuted for it, meets with a woman who similarly has no shadow — only to be revolted and turned away from her by the discovery that she also has the unnatural property of having no reflection.
  • Zig-zagged in The Vampire Files: vampires cast no reflection normally, but can become intangible and invisible to direct sight, at which times their reflections are visible as clouds of mist. It takes quite a few books for the vampire protagonist to discover this, as he's virtually blind when intangible and so can't see whether he's casting any sort of reflection or not.
  • Washio Sumi Is a Hero: Gin tries to take a photograph of a Vertex on her smartphone but it isn't visible in the photo.
  • Inverted in Sergey Lukyanenko's World of Watches. Vampires can glamour the minds of humans to hide themselves from sight. This does not work on Others, who can easily see through these mind tricks. The only way for a human to see a hidden vampire is to look at a reflection, as glamour only works in direct line-of-sight. Video cameras work fine as well.
  • Discworld:
    • In Reaper Man, one of Arthur Winkings, Count Notfaroutoe's many complaints about being a vampire is that he can't shave properly. Paul Kidby's illustration of the Fresh Start Club shows his face covered in cuts.
    • The Reformed Vampyre Diary and The Compleat Ankh-Morpork City Guide feature a solution to this problem in the form of the First Imp-Pressions iconograph mirror.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Being Human (UK)
    • In Season One there's a weird but tense scene where the three main characters are fooled into watching a vampire who has filmed themselves having sex and then feeding and killing a human... but only the human shows on the DVD (then the vampire's bloody footprints when she walks through the blood pooling afterwards).
    • It's established that vampires still appear in semi-reflective surfaces, meaning the special effects team don't have to get involved every time a vampire walks past a plate-glass window.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Vampires don't show up in mirrors (prompting Willow to ask Angel at one time, "How do you shave?"), although they can be captured in photos and video.
    • Averted when Ted comes Back from the Dead; he's shown next to his reflection in the window to let the audience know he's not a vampire. Turns out he's actually a robot.
    • In "Bad Eggs" while at the mall Buffy politely looks away from a couple kissing...and sees in the wall mirror that only the girl is visible.
    • One vampire actually makes sure to keep all mirrors out of their surroundings to avoid this. Unfortunately for him, this, along with the heavy curtains and slightly suspicious behavior, causes Cordelia, who has encountered vampires before, to figure out exactly what he is.
    • This is lampshaded when Wesley is impersonating Angel, where he screams at the sight of a mirror and insists it be covered (so it won't expose him by showing his reflection) while the people around him stand bemused and point out that they already know he is a vampire.
    • When Angel visits Pylea, he temporarily loses several of his vampiric weaknesses, including the lack of reflection. The novelty of having a reflection takes a while to wear off, and his friends start making sarcastic comments about how much time he's spending looking in mirrors.
    • When Angel suffers from phlebotinum-induced amnesia and doesn't know he is a vampire. Then he looks in a mirror...
      Angel: I'm invisible!
      Cordelia: No you're not.
      Angel: Oh. I'm a vampire. They're gonna kill me.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Vampires of Venice": The Saturnynians don't show up in mirrors. It is explained that the perception filter they use to appear human "manipulates the brainwaves" of whoever is looking at one, but it doesn't work on mirrors, which show them for what they are. The mind, however, is confused by the two being different, and compensates by simply not showing a reflection at all.
    • "It Takes You Away": The mirror-portal doesn't show the reflections of anyone standing in front of it when it's active, which is how Graham discovers there's something odd about it. When Ryan comes up and sees it as well, he suggests that he and Graham would know if they were vampires.
  • Zig-zagged in Forever Knight. Most vampires don't appear in mirrors, but Nick having a reflection was handwaved as being because of his progress toward humanity. In reality, budget issues prevented the editing out of every reflection.
  • In I Dream of Jeannie, Jeannie cannot be photographed in some episodes... but this rule is inconsistent, and she absolutely can be photographed in some other episodes.
  • In Kamen Rider Ex-Aid's net spinoff Kamen Sentai Gorider, protagonist Emu meets several slain Kamen Riders in a Closed Circle mystery. The room where they spend most of their time has a giant mirror, and none of the dead Riders casts a reflection — but Emu does, which makes them suspicious. This actually gives away real culprit: one of the Riders present is Kazuma Kenzaki (Kamen Rider Blade), who didn't die at the end of his series but rather turned himself into a monster (though he initially claims that's the same thing as being dead). When the real Kenzaki shows up, he casts a reflection just like Emu, exposing the impostor.
  • Played with in Moonlight, where vampires appear as blurs in old films, but show up perfectly fine on digital cameras and mirrors without silver backing. The explanation given was that the chemicals used to develop the film included silver, which destroyed the vampire's image. This is actually a problem, as a blurry photo only revealed that the photographer was incompetent, while a clear digital picture of a vampire with a Game Face feeding on someone is compromising evidence. It is not mentioned if the image is blurred in regular silver mirrors (which are still widely used).
  • Quantum Leap episode "Blood Moon" has Sam Beckett leap into the body of a madman who lives in a castle and thinks he's a vampire, in order to protect a young woman from being killed by the vampire cult. Throughout the episode, Sam scoffs at the existence of vampires, until just before he leaps out; he finally sees a mirror, only to find that he has no reflection.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "And When the Sky Was Opened", Colonel Clegg Forbes realizes that he is about to disappear when he sees that he no longer has a reflection.
    • In "A Passage for Trumpet", Joey Crown discovers that he does not have a reflection when he looks into the mirror at the cinema. It is later revealed that this is because he is a state of limbo between life and death.
    • In "Nothing in the Dark", Wanda Dunn's suspicion that Harold Beldon is Death is confirmed when he tells her to look in the mirror and she sees that he has no reflection.
  • Ultraman Tiga: Giranbo is a child-abducting monster that can shape-shift to human form to blend in. She doesn't have a reflection, which is how she is spotted.
  • Vampires in Ultraviolet (1998) have no reflection, neither can their image or voice be transferred by electronic media such as telephones or CCTV cameras. Even their fingerprints can't be recorded. The government team that's hunting them therefore use small video cameras attached to their weapons to confirm their target.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: In vampire Juliet's debut episode, there's a sight gag where she does her hair in her mirror that doesn't show her reflection.

  • Old Master Q has a comical take on the trope in one strip where he meets an old acquittance of his, Liu, late one night while randomly on a stroll. Master Q remarks that he haven't seen Liu ever since the latter had that illness some months ago, but just then they pass a glass storefront and Master Q realize Liu doesn't have a reflection...

  • In music video to "Diary of Jane" by Breaking Benjamin, the eponymous Jane realizes she's a ghost when she can't see her reflection in a room filled with mirrors.
  • In Michael Jackson's video for "Billie Jean", while Jackson being a vampire is not alluded to in the video, he's clearly supernatural to some extent given his ability to disappear and make everything he touches glow. This extends to him not appearing on film when the paparazzo tries to get a picture of him.

    Myths & Religion 
  • A common theme throughout vampire mythology explains that because they don't have souls, they don't have reflections, unless the mirror doesn't have a silver backing (vampires are weak to silver).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Curse of Strahd: Used as an Easter Egg in the character art. Below his stat block at the back of the book, there's a picture of Strahd von Zarovich. Looking at it closely will show a mirror to the left of the image, reflecting the glass of wine Strahd is holding but not the rest of him. The trope is not called attention to in the actual game, but it's implied by all the intact mirrors of Castle Ravenloft having been taken down and moved to one specific room that it still applies.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The lack of a reflection is one of the "standard" weaknesses that can betray a vampire. However, millennia of branching Vampire Varieties have allowed some vampires to regain reflections, and high-quality mirrors are rare and expensive enough in the premodern setting to make it a tricky thing to test.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade, the Lasombra don't leave images on cameras and mirrors. However, this only applies if the camera uses mirrors for imaging. It's noted that older Lasombra are starting to see their image for the first time in centuries, due to digital imaging - which means they usually end up having words with the ghouls they relied on to paint portraits, after realizing they don't look like that.
    • Zig-zagged in Vampire: The Requiem. Vampires typically leave blurry images in mirrors, photos, and films though they can usually make the image look normal by focusing their will. The Hollow Mekhet can't be recorded and don't show up in mirrors at all, because their reflections are off somewhere making trouble.

  • Tanz Der Vampire, The Musical of The Fearless Vampire Killers, uses the trope differently. As Herbert flirtatiously dances with Alfred, the latter realizes the Viscount von Krolock doesn't have a reflection as they pass a mirror. The effect is achieved by having a dance double for Alfred and none for Herbert in the "mirror". Later, Alfred tells Professor Abronsius that "Alibori's theory is correct" about the Missing Reflection, but by this time the heroes already have more than enough evidence that the Krolocks are vampires.

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate III: As a vampire spawn, Astarion lacks a reflection in mirrors. This is Lampshaded by him several times and is a bit of a sore spot, given that he's forgotten what he looked like prior to becoming a spawn 200 years ago.
  • The Binding of Isaac:
    • The Repentance DLC added an Easter Egg with this. Picking up the Charm of the Vampire will remove your reflection from pools of water.
    • Wraiths are enemies that can be found in the Downpour/Dross. They're normally invisible except for their reflections. However, when you enter the Mirror World, they become visible but leave no reflections.
  • In BlazBlue, Rachel Alucard doesn't cast a reflection in any reflective surface, be it a mirror, a water puddle or a really reflective floor, due to her being a vampire.
  • In Brain Dead 13, when Vivi looks in the mirror, she has no reflection (save for her lipstick), revealing that she is a vampire. Not like this wasn't obvious before.
  • In The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark, vampires do not appear in photographs, unless they're reverse-vampires (which lack or have reversed versions of most of the traditional weaknesses). At one point the protagonist finds a vampire's graduation photo, which shows a single ordinary-looking reverse-vampire standing in a row of apparently-empty graduation gowns and caps seemingly standing up by themselves.
  • In the Five Nights at Freddy's game, Ultimate Custom Night, two animatronics, Nightmare Fredbear and Nightmare, do not appear on security cameras. You will only be able to spot when they're coming after you when you see them appear at your left and right doors respectively. If you do not notice them or don't close the door on them in time, they will kill you.
  • When Aqua reaches The World Within in Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-, she has no reflection in the mirror she came through. When Aqua completes the first mirror room, a blurry, obscure reflection can be seen, becoming more and more clear until it is completely normal after completing every mirror.
  • Franchise/{[Castlevania}}:
    • When Reinhardt or Carrie passes through the Villa in Castlevania 64, they will encounter a villager who frantically begs them for help. However, in the room is a large mirror in which he doesn't appear, revealing himself to be a vampire. The protagonist notices the missing reflection in time to dodge the vampire's sneak attack.
    • The half-vampire Alucard also lacks a reflection, as seen in Julius Mode of Dawn of Sorrow. This trait is even carried over into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where Alucard appears as an assist trophy. He doesn't appear on the Wii Fit Studio stage, which has a giant mirror that reflects fighters, items and off course, assist trophies.
  • In The Sims 4, vampires don't have reflections in mirrors. Somehow this doesn't stop them from using mirrors the same way other Sims do — freshening up their makeup, trying on outfits, practicing speeches, calming down from potentially deadly emotional extremes, etc.
  • Stigmatized Property: The Player Character doesn't have any reflection in the mirrors in the apartment. This may have more to do with technical limitations of the game than anything In-Universe.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: A Lydian that's probably a ghost is therefore probably haunting the exit point of the Old Avishun Teleporter, looking at water. When interacted with, he says:
    Didn't...[pause] didn't I used to have a reflection?

  • In Daniel, a vampire appears in a mirror as a faint translucent silhouette. However, the vampire himself sees something unspeakably horrible in the mirror instead.
  • In Dracula: Ruler of the Night this is used when the hunters are trying to escape from Carfax Abbey, coming across an apparently kidnapped Mrs. Westenra (Lucy's mother) in the process. Jonathan, in trying to reassure her they'll keep her safe, catches a reflection off a metal surface and only see her clothing floating in the air. Revealing to his horror that she has long since been bitten and turned.
  • In Fangs And Frights, Nathan sees a sort of shadowy silhouette where his head should be, which seriously unnerves him.
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship: One strip has a gag involving a vampire mother and daughter having an argument.
    Elana: (wearing garish, smudged makeup) C'mon, mom! The other girls wear makeup!
    Vampire Mother: Elana, ze other girls can see vhat ze hell zhey are doing.
  • Zig-zagged in Vampire Bites, vampires can see their reflection but only during the day. Once night hits, their reflection fades. Though electronic devices like camera phones will still show them.
  • One xkcd strip compares refracting and reflecting telescopes, listing the flaws of each; the refractor is listed as being more expensive and less compact, experiencing chromatic aberration, and not being able to gather as much light as a reflector of the same size. The reflector's flaw? It can't see space vampires.

    Web Original 
  • In Spooky Month, Streber works at a haunted house attraction in vampire costume. To sell the illusion, he demonstrates his lack of a reflection with a convenient mirror. The trick is that the mirror is rigged, and Streber throws his green-lined cloak over his head when showing it to children.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: While she shows up on film many times, the title card for "Marceline's Closet" shows that Marceline lacks a reflection.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Carrie often lacks a reflection and doesn't show up on film, though this trait is frequently ignored depending on the needs of the plot. This is perhaps best demonstrated in "The Tape": the whole episode is a recording, and though her "introduction" just shows blank space, in several other scenes Carrie is clearly visible. In "The Drama", Carrie not showing up in a regular camera's picture causes her to retake it with a Magical Camera—which shows her along with several other ghosts that are Invisible to Normals.
  • Avengers Assemble has a hilarious moment where Black Widow, having been bitten by a vampire, attempts to escape from Captain America and Iron Man... and promptly knocks herself out running into a mirror because she didn't see her reflection.
  • Count Duckula: Hilariously done when the eponymous duck decides to redecorate the castle and one decorator hired does the place up in all windows. Since the duck is a vampire, he can't see himself in any of them.
  • Infinity Train: Tulip's reflection takes on a life of her own in "The Chrome Car", after which Tulip has no visible reflection in a mirror. When Tulip returns to Earth, she still has no reflection.
  • Kamp Koral: In "Scaredy Squirrel", vampire camper Kidferatu is invisible in his counselor photo, which only shows an ascot and hat.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina:
    • As the Briarwoods walk past a mirror on their way to their room at the feast, Delilah is visible but Sylas isn't, giving the first tell that Sylas is undead.
    • A later episode reveals this is also how Delilah first discovered that the Whispered One had resurrected Sylas by turning him into a vampire; she looked in their bedside mirror and realized his reflection was missing.
  • In The Legend of Zelda animated series episode "Doppelganger", Link is initially fooled by the evil fake Zelda that was created by a Magic Mirror secretly sent by Ganon and replaced the kidnapped original. But when they ride past a lake on horseback, he notices that only her horse has a reflection rather than her. He plays along to stage a rescue mission.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Kwamis, the fairy-like beings that are the source of the heroes' power, do not show up in photographs or video and cannot be seen by robots. However, Marinette gave the kwamis a cell phone for emergencies, and they do seem to be able to talk through that. One episode has Kaalki (and, more subtly, Wayzz) show up on Nathalie's tablet, but the tablet is connected to the eyes of a magical creature she created rather than a camera.
  • The Real Ghostbusters:
    • In "No One Comes to Lupisville", Egon notices that their "hosts" don't have reflections.
    • In "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Ghost?", Uncle Horace was scared when he sees his "reflection" in the mirror, seeing how he doesn't have one because he's a ghost.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Nothing in Rose's room shows up in photo. Steven takes a picture of himself there and it just turns out as him in a giant black void.
    • While Gems' Hard Light bodies are humanly visible in person and photograph, the Future episode "Growing Pains" reveals that only their gemstones show up on radiographs. Being a Half-Human Hybrid, radiographs of Steven show a skeleton and a gemstone.


Video Example(s):


Blacula [Missing In A Photo]

Scene from the 1972 film, Blacula. Blacula goes to a club to talk with Tina, who's the reincarnation of his dead wife, in the hope of wooing her. On his way out, a photographer of the club takes a picture of them just thinking them a cute couple. That is until she goes home and develops the film.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / MissingReflection

Media sources: