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Missing Time

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As per procedure, she writes a report summarising everything she can remember. The gap in her memory is about thirteen hours. Then she adds her report to the extensive, complex map of Missing Time which the whole division maintains collectively. It is a map of holes, and the map is becoming large enough that very faint patterns are gradually forming. The outline of an enemy is becoming visible.
Quite simply— When a character's life seems to 'jump'. They are at work and then suddenly they are at home (or perhaps even right in the middle of some really weird, inexplicable, and/or disturbing event), with no memories of what happened in between and no context for what they are currently doing. Sometimes the memories will come back in the form of flashbacks. In essence, this is basically when a Smash Cut is treated as a diegetic event.

This can happen for many reasons— memory damage, aliens, trauma, possession, or multiple personalities, just to name a few.

Truth in Television, black outs, that is alcohol-induced amnesia, have let many people hear great stories about themselves after they woke up in completely different places for decades. Also occurs in those that have Dissociative Identity Disorder, waking up to find themselves in different places than they originally were doing something completely different from what they last recall.

What Did I Do Last Night? is the lighter and/or more comedic version of this trope, usually related to drinking too much (see also Binge Montage). See also Alternate Identity Amnesia, a supernatural cause for Missing Time.

Differs from other amnesia tropes in that only a few minutes or hours goes missing. Compare Time Skip.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Matsuri completely loses consciousness when the Gogyosen first start controlling him, leaving him confused afterward by the elapsed time he missed out on.
  • Anya in Code Geass suffers from this periodically, and has made it a habit of keeping a blog of pictures from her daily activities so she knows what she has been doing. This is revealed to be a result of Marianne actively possessing her body, during which Anya has no memories.
  • In Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel, Shirou starts suffering this after unsealing Archer's arm.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: Hayato has a brief one when he wakes up in bed without any recollection of the night before. As he later finds out, Kira actually killed him and undid the action after obtaining Bites the Dust.
    • Golden Wind: This is enforced with Diavolo's King Crimson, whose ability is to "erase" time. In this period, every action and event that takes place has no effect on Diavolo and no one else retains any memory of the time interval.
    • Stone Ocean: In her first encounter with MiuMiu, Jolyne attempts to land an attack, only to suddenly find herself back in a cell. To her surprise, she finds out that a few days had passed due to MiuMiu's Jail House Lock inflicting her with Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • In Lupin III: Sweet Lost Night, Lupin loses 12 hours, waking up in the middle of a busy street, with Fujiko complaining that he betrayed her. Half of the movie deals with Lupin trying to figure out what had happened in these twelve hours, and what to do if it happens again.
  • In Trigun, Vash the Stampede has a bit of a problem with this whenever his more high-level powers get unlocked, until he learns to do it on purpose. Since both this incidents involve psychic powers being used to make him blow up a city with his right arm, which transforms into a BFG for the purpose, it's unclear whether the cause of these gaps is the psychic trauma, the emotional trauma, the physiological trauma, or the combination.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: It is implied that this happens to Bakura whenever he gets possessed by his dark side. It's very obvious that this is the case when Yami Bakura suddenly relinquishes control during his duel with Yugi in the second season. Poor Bakura is completely bewildered, having suddenly woken up on top of a blimp with a bleeding arm, with apparently no idea how he got there and why. Also, this happened to Yugi during the early volumes of the manga whenever he got possessed by the puzzle.

    Comic Books 
  • In Animal Man #19, the title character, as he gradually approaches Medium Awareness, wonders why his life seems so episodic and fragmentary:
    What if we're just characters and not people? [...] A few months ago, or maybe it was a year or more, my wife was attacked and almost raped in the woods. There were four guys. What happened to them? [...] Why was there no trial? [...] Why is my life disconnected? One minute I'm at home, the next I'm in the Faroe Islands or in Paris and I think I remember how I got there but I don't really know.
  • CyberSix: If her withdrawal gets bad enough, Maura starts finding herself in alleys with a fix and only vague memories of whatever nasty thing she had to do to get the money for it.
  • Marvel's Voices: This happens to Silk in "An Unraveling Web": She starts suddenly jumping from moment to moment in her life without remembering the time in between. One moment she's fighting bad guys, the next she's at therapy, the next she's on a date, the next she's at dinner with her parents. She initially thinks a villain might be messing with her, but eventually concludes that these bouts of missing time are caused by overworking herself and takes her therapist's advice to step away from superhero work for a bit.
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics):
    • The aftereffects of issue #20 where Mega Man time travels. Although he loses his memory of the event, little thought is given to the problem since the real time loss was negligible (just enough for a short circuit) and didn't match the memory loss.
    • The main cast after the Worlds Collide story arc due to undoing the Cosmic Retcon. Mega Man has several hours of blank memory and his first thought is whether or not the world is okay, but otherwise he has no memory of the events that just took place. Dr. Wily feels like he's lost at least a month of memory and has a strange desire to stomp on eggs, but quickly drops the matter.
  • In Superman storyline The Planet Eater Trilogy, the Man of Steel engages a planet-sized mechanical world-devourer. During one space battle, though, the Planet-Eater blasts Superman back to Earth, simultaneously wiping his memories out. When he comes around, Superman cannot remember anything he did since he left Earth, and has completely forgotten about his battle against a mechanic horror.
  • Secret Wars (2015): The only evidence of the conflict is that everyone is missing eight months of time.

    Fan Works 
  • Dave in Brainbent experiences this, and in one particularly frightening instance cuts his hand while home alone and then loses time, meaning he could have bled to death and not even known it.
  • Soma Cruz in A Game of Cat and Cat doesn't notice that he's missing chunks of time, which are implied to be from Dracula possessing him. For example, he had a rooftop conversation with Leon Belmont right after a rainstorm; he returns to his dorm with a soaked jacket, implying that he was made to forget another.
  • Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily: Specter ends up with this after he learns he's got a lightning bolt denizen sharing his body and he keeps waking up after someone bludgeons him on the head. Even blacking out for a few seconds starts terrifying him.
    Specter: (panicked, looking at his shaking hands) Wh-what did I miss this time?
  • The Kakashi Way: During a discussion with Inoichi, Kakashi learns that he recently discovered evidence that Danzo sent his father Sakumo on a Suicide Mission, then orchestrated the social shunning and isolation that led to Sakumo being Driven to Suicide. Kakashi promptly blanks out; the only thing he's vaguely able to recall after coming back to himself is smashing through a wall with Chidori. Inoichi proves remarkably chipper about the affair, despite the fact that Kakashi can tell just by looking at him that he left him in quite the state.
  • Tinker Taylor Builder Nexus: Taylor doesn't have any memories of how she went from triggering in her locker at Winslow to waking up four months later in a badly damaged robot spider body in the Docks. About all she's been able to determine is that whatever happened with her trigger involved setting Winslow on fire.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Annihilation (2018): After entering the Shimmer, the expedition wakes up with no memory of what happened after they went in. They check their supplies and find several days' worth of food missing, indicating that they've lost that much time.
  • Evan in The Butterfly Effect loses time when he uses Mental Time Travel to go back to events in his childhood.
  • Adam Sandler's Click had this happen when the main character used his magic remote to "fast forward" himself past things he didn't like. He got put on autopilot while he did so.
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: People who are controlled by verse jumpers have no recollection of what happened or what their bodies have done between getting taken over and regaining control.
  • Mentioned in the beginning of Fight Club (Both book and movie). This is later explained in The Reveal.
  • In The Hangover, the main characters awake in the daytime after taking a group drink at night on top of a Las Vegas hotel. Finding out what happened, including finding the missing character, is the main thrust of the movie.
  • In Like Flint: While playing golf with the U.S. President, Z.O.W.I.E. chief Lloyd Cramden uses his stopwatch to time the President's golf swing. When he checks the watch, he finds that the swing took 3 minutes. His investigation of the missing 3 minutes leads to the discovery of a plan to take control of the minds of women all over the world and put a nuclear sword of Damocles in orbit around the Earth.
  • Inception: This is one of the signs you're in a dream; you can't remember how you got into a particular situation.
  • Thanks to copious drug use, Abe in Kid Detective (2020) frequently doesn't know what time or day of the week it is. This causes problems when he forgets that it is the weekend and thinks people will be at work, and instead finds them at home when he is snooping around their houses.

  • Bone Dance starts the plot with its protagonist, Sparrow, coming up from the latest of several inexplicable episodes of missing time. It eventually develops that one of a group of legendary Body Snatchers known as the Horsemen has been taking Sparrow's body for a ride.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): Whenever Sarah taps into her asura and becomes The Berserker, she will fight until there's nothing left to fight, then fall unconscious and wake without remembering exactly what she did. Since she fights out of fear, rather than actual desire for violence, and she knows that she's unable to tell friend from foe in her berserk state, this can be quite stressful for her.
    Anthony: [Hey Sarah. Welcome back to the world of the waking.]
    Sarah: [Wait! What happened!? Is everyone okay?!]
  • In Lois Duncan's Down a Dark Hall, the girls in the school are possessed by ghosts randomly, and they have don't remember anything that happens while possessed.
  • In Dr. Franklin's Island, the castaways try to keep track of how long it's been since the plane crashed and stranded them by cutting notches into a palm tree. Even after going through the Cave Behind the Falls and being imprisoned and subjected to a Slow Transformation, they try to keep count. Soon after being captured they're told how long it's been and their own count is off by a couple days, possibly because of when they were sick on the beach. It gets more off because for a good chunk of the transformation they were in and out of consciousness for an unknown time in the lab, and then as monsters sometimes they forgot to update the count of days.
  • One of the first things that clues the protagonists of False Memory off that something's wrong is small episodes of missing time. Eventually, they figure out that time was used by their psychiatrist to brainwash them, implanting phobias and using them as toys and tools.
  • Fear, the pulp horror story by L. Ron Hubbard starts with a professor who realises he's missing both his hat and memories of the past four hours. Despite warnings he investigates; it doesn't end well for him.
  • Feline Therapy has focal character Izzy transformed into a cat on their birthday, and unwilling to immediately return to normal. When their humanity is eventually regained, and memories of their transformation are foggy, they are informed that an entire year has passed.
  • In Galaxy of Fear, Tash once hits her head. Her memory of the past hour or so becomes blurry, so she has some doubt about her real identity.
  • This is apparently what Ginny's possession in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets looked like from her end, based on her account from three books later: "When he did it to me, I couldn't remember what I'd been doing for hours at a time. I'd find myself somewhere and not know how I got there."
  • William Prior of The Regeneration Trilogy spends part of the second volume suffering from PTSD-induced memory loss that's developing into borderline Dissociative Identity Disorder. One of the few fictional works to address the fact just how absolutely terrifying this must be from the sufferer's perspective.
  • Short story "Sign Among the Stars". Mike and Molly Carson are at a military Research Base when Battle Stations is sounded and "Emergency Plan X" is activated. They're told to go home and they start to do so, but then lose control of their minds. They wake up the next morning having no memory of what happened. They're told that Emergency Plan X involves broadcasting a hypnoray to all children in the area that mesmerises them and makes them go home as quickly as possible.
  • Star Wars Legends: In the X-Wing Series novel "The Krytos Trap" Corran Horn finds out he had been in Imperial custody for six standard weeks. Up until he finds out from computer records when the Imperials captured him, Corran is unsure of how much time had passed due to all the drugs, torture, and psychological manipulation Ysanne Isard subjected him to.
  • In the Star Trek: Millennium trilogy, it's revealed that neither Odo, Quark nor Garak can recall what happened the night of the Cardassian withdrawal from Terok Nor. It's a classic case of missing time. Quark is the only one who will admit it, though. His attempt to find answers irritates Odo and Garak, who refuse to discuss or acknowledge that they're in the same situation.
  • Under the Volcano is a stream-of-consciousness novel from the point of view of several characters. One of them is a severely sodden alcoholic, and his sections contain much confusion and some unexpected leaps in time.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novella The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. The title character experiences missing time every time he goes to work — everything between leaving home in the morning and returning in the evening is a blank. He hires a private detective to find out what it is he actually does.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Mat Cauthon stumbles into a town that has been inexplicably cursed with a very specific form of societal breakdown: everyone loses control over himself at sundown, kills other people and is killed, then wakes up in his bed with no memory of what just happened. Every. Single. Night. When people try to leave, or kill themselves, they just wake up in bed the next morning.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400: Kyle is so afflicted in Season Two.
    • In "Weight of the World", he goes to a fraternity party and has a few beers. The next thing that he knows, he is outside of a store with a broken window several hours later. He is promptly arrested but Tom "plays the NTAC card" and he is released.
    • In "Suffer the Children", he experiences another blackout while on campus with Danny and suddenly finds himself in his kitchen pouring a glass of orange juice. He ignores the advice of both Danny and his English professor Wendy Paulson to tell Tom what is happening to him as he does not want to spend any more time in quarantine.
    • In "As Fate Would Have It", he attends a concert with Danny. In the middle of it, he has another blackout. He finds himself digging a hole. After yet another blackout, he is in the corridor outside Wendy's apartment. She is unsurprisingly creeped out by his presence. When he tries to explain what happened the next day, Wendy advises him to seek professional help. In the final scene, Kyle throws a gun into a lake, revealing that he is the assassin of Jordan Collier. At the end of "Carrier", Kyle recovers all of his previously missing memories.
  • Happens to Sharon Valerii onboard the Battlestar Galactica, when her Cylon programming kicks in, leading to her sabotage the ship's water tanks without realising it.
  • Happens to Dr. Brennan on Bones, after she gets attacked by a criminal of the week and framed for murder. She believes it's some sort of mental effect naturally, while Booth thinks it's voodoo at work.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Happens to Donna in "Forest of the Dead" while she's stuck in a virtual reality. Though in her case, time really DOES jump: she experiences the cuts between different locations, and people just tell her that it's her memory playing tricks.
    • Unexplained skips are a frequently clue that a character has suffered memory alteration of some sort. It's particularly noticeable in Season 6 of the new series, when the Doctor and companions face off against the Silents, beings that erase your memory of them the instant you are no longer looking at them. This is played for copious Paranoia Fuel toward the end of the season, with characters abruptly realizing that they've moved, or fought, with no memory of having done so.
  • Eli Stone gets this in the first season finale, which is how he realizes he's in a coma-induced hallucination.
  • In Hannibal, Will Grahams starts losing time as his mental health deteriorates. He's even more disturbed to discover that during these periods he acts so much like he normally does that an entire team of experienced FBI workers didn't notice anything wrong the first time. It turns out the real reason is physical neurological damage due to encephalitis, but Hannibal makes him believe it's purely psychological.
  • House:
    • Happens to one of the vict—- patients of the week.
    • Happens in the Season 2 finale when House himself, while walking down a stairs, realizes he can't remember what happened between being in his office and walking down the stairs. Some have interpreted this as House gaining temporary Medium Awareness, as the show cuts directly from the office to the stairs; the interim is not depicted.
  • In Medium, Alison is possessed by a ghost which causes her to not have any memories while the ghost is in control.
  • Moon Knight: The first episode makes heavy use of this, as Steven Grant suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, and often loses several minutes - or even hours - when Marc Spector takes over. Every time Steven 'skips' forward, he's utterly terrified (it probably doesn't help that the skips seen tend to involve him being attacked by Harrow's cultists).
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: In "The Mole People", this is revealed to have happened to Crow, explaining (and ending) his amnesia about Mike and the others in Season 8. During one host segment, Mike points out that Crow had made all of the "ancient" artifacts he was digging up.
  • Once Upon a Time does this a few times thanks in part to several castings of the Dark Curse, which are often laced with Laser-Guided Amnesia.
    • The second half of Season 3 is built around this premise, with a second Dark Curse cast with the main cast having no idea what happened during the year they were back in the Enchanted Forest. The flashback B-plots often fill in what happened during this missing year before the endgame of the season reveals that Snow White cast the Dark Curse in order to reach Emma, but the Arc Villain threw in a forgetting potion to ensure they don't try to reach her in time.
    • In the season five premiere "The Dark Swan" the main characters travel to Camelot in order to find Emma in order to free her from the Dark One's power. They find her and promise to save her with Emma, determined not to succumb to the evil inside her, entrusting the Dark One's dagger to Regina in order to allow her to maintain control in case the worst happens. As everyone is led into the castle, they suddenly wake up back in Storybrooke with no memories from that point on. They find out six weeks have passed and Emma has fully embraced her darkness and regained the dagger, telling everyone else they failed to save her. The following episodes show flashbacks detailing what happened during the missing six weeks.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Inner Child", Anne Marie Reynolds loses several hours whenever the personality of her conjoined twin Marie, who died in the womb and was absorbed into her, takes control of her body. Marie's personality is contained in a second brain growing on her sister's spine.
  • In Quantum Leap and its Sequel Series, Quantum Leap (2022), this is apparently how leapees feel after they return from when a leaper had taken over. This is only really shown once in the original show, but in the second series it actually becomes a plot point in one episode.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In the episode "Future Imperfect", Riker gets infected by an amnesia-inducing virus and comes to 16 years later with no memory of the previous decade and a half, during which time he's become captain of the Enterprise, married, and had a son. Subverted when this turns out to be a Faked Rip Van Winkle orchestrated by a lonely alien boy.
      • In the episode "Schisms", Riker and others are sedated at night, pulled into an alternate dimension, operated on, and returned before morning, causing them to wonder where the night went, and why they're so tired. Happened to Data as well during the day, which helped the crew realize something was wrong — as an android, it should be impossible for him to lose track of time.
      • Happens again to the Crew of the Enterprise-D in Clues, they find that a whole day seems to be missing and Data is acting very strangely and disobeying orders.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise. The crew rescue Rajiin, an alien being kept as a Sex Slave. She tries to show her gratitude to the captain, only for this trope to happen instead. Turns out she's actually a spy who can physically scan a person, then remove memories of her doing this.
  • Supernatural:
  • Taken: Every time that someone is abducted by the aliens, they are returned to Earth hours or even days later with little to no memory of anything that happened in the meantime. However, some of them have vague impressions of what happened to them aboard the ships or have their memories recovered by hypnotherapy. Their stories give rise to all of the urban legends about Alien Abduction.
  • Treadstone: CIA agent John Bentley is captured by the KGB and subjected to brainwashing, but escapes. He's annoyed to be told that the CIA have told his mother that he's dead, as he was only in KGB hands for a week. His colleague informs him he was captured nine months ago.
  • The Twilight Zone (2002): In "Time Lapse", an orderly finds himself suffering repeated blackouts where another consciousness takes over his body and travels out of the state, acquiring a weapon to be used in an apparent assassination of the U.S. President. The other person is in fact a Secret Service Agent who was trying to stop a plot to kill the President, but ended up in a coma and discovered that he could project his mind into a nearby body.
  • Sometimes happens in association with UFOs and other phenomena in The X-Files. In the first episode, Mulder is ecstatic when he and Scully lose nine minutes while investigating alien abductions.

  • Dream Theater's song "Losing Time" mentions this, as it is about Multiple Personalities.

  • On the Threshold A common element in many episodes, including a box full of case studies of those who say they've experienced them. The narrator skeptically rejects most of these accounts and any UFO-related explanations for unclear reasons, but seems more open-minded on a few that don't fit typical flying saucer narratives.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Classic Traveller Adventure 4 Leviathan. While on a data sweep in the Outrim Void, a member of the Scouts found himself on his ship heading at full jump toward his home base with no memory of how he got there and burned out flight recorders. He was the victim of psionic humans who really like their privacy.
  • Unknown Armies has literal missing time. Using powerful magic can cause "glitches" in the fabric of reality. One of them causes a group of people to vanish for hours before suddenly returning, with no memory of any time passing. To make it even weirder, this never happens in front of people outside of the glitch; they only vanish when out of sight.

    Video Games 
  • The title character of Alan Wake loses a week after his wife's apparent death, during which he wrote the manuscript pages he finds around the gameworld, at the prompting of the Big Bad, who plans to make them come true.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: At Skopp City during a side-mission, after Ann located the missing suspect at a Missing Floor, she suddenly finds herself back outside and is told the suspect had already been taken into custody, despite having no memory of what happened beforehand.
  • Portrayed from the perspective of Prophet in the Crysis interquel novel, Escalation. This novel establishes that Alcatraz, the Player Character of Crysis 2 was effectively brain-dead at the end of his game, with the suit's backup of his personality becoming corrupted. Nonetheless, he remained partially in control even after the suit tried to integrate it's backup of Prophet, causing Prophet to black out periodically and wake up in places significant to Alcatraz's past.

  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Both the serial killer Genocide Jack and their split personality Toko Fukawa experience this. Poor kid. This becomes a plot point for the last trial, when Makoto realizes that even if Toko's memories of what happened to the world are gone, Jack might still know.
      • This occurred when Mondo killed Chihiro, even though they immediately knew what they had done from the body lying on the floor at their feet.
    • In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, the fourth chapter had everyone enter a virtual world. Gonta Gokuhara ended up mixing up two wires they had to plug into their headset prior to logging in, and so experienced this when everyone logged out after Miu Iruma was killed, having no memory of anything that happened while in the virtual world. They're very confused afterwards, especially when Kokichi Oma eventually reveals during the fourth trial that Gonta murdered Miu.
  • In the prologue of Heavy Rain, Ethan Mars suffers a head injury in a desperate (and unsuccessful) bid to save his son Jason from being hit by a car. This causes him to start having random blackouts that last for several hours at a time. The plot kick-starts when he awakes from one such blackout with an origami figure in his hand, and his other son Shaun nowhere to be found.
  • The Lion's Song: After Franz paints his models, he always blacks out afterwards and reawakens in his studio, late in the night, with no memory of what happened. After visiting Sigmund Freud, he discovers that he has been painting himself during his blackouts.
  • Master Detective Archives: Rain Code: In Chapter 4, Yuma comes across a phrase called "The Blank Week Mystery" that's related to Kanai Ward's Ultimate Secret, where everyone in Kanai Ward woke up one day mysteriously missing a week of time, and several people had mysteriously disappeared without a trace. The cause? Everyone in Kanai Ward was killed and replaced by their homunculus clone. The homunculi are defective, and go into a berserk frenzy when exposed to sunlight. In this frenzied state, they broke out of the facility where they were created and slaughtered their way across the city until Makoto created the rain cloud machine to block out the sun, restoring their sanity. The homunculi had no memory of their creation or rampage, and only had the memories of their human counterparts up to the point of DNA sampling, which was a week ago. As such, they thought they were the humans they replaced, and just picked up their lives where they left off, thoroughly confused by how they all seemingly fell asleep for a whole week and eventually deciding to just forget about the whole thing and make it a taboo topic to discuss. The people who "disappeared" were those who refused to participate in the mandatory city-wide "blood test" that was used as a pretext to get everyone's DNA. They were presumably killed along with everyone else, but had no homunculus to replace them.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Alluded in one instance when AI Colonel drops this in a conversation with Raiden.
    AI Colonel: Raiden, something happened to me last Thursday when I was driving home. I had a couple of miles to go. I looked up and saw a glowing orange object in the sky, to the east. It was moving very irregularly...suddenly, there was intense light all around me and when I came to, I was home. What do you think happened to me?
  • XenoGears: Fei constantly undergoes this when he loses consciousness after being taken over by Id, his Superpowered Evil Side, later awakening with no recollection of what he had done.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Happens in Brennus to the main character and his sister. Doesn't help that they forget that they've forgotten things, and need someone to talk about what they were doing to even realize they don't remember it.
  • Critical Role: Yasha Nydoorin has a gap in her memory between when Zuala was killed and when she woke up an indeterminate amount of time later at an altar to the Stormlord. The epilogue suggests she killed the leader of her tribe within that time, and the Campaign Wrap-Up says she was under Obann's control for the first time.
  • This happens quite frequently to the characters of Marble Hornets when they are exposed to elements of the supernatural. Most notable are Jay, who loses seven months of his memory after running at the Operator; Jessica, who also loses her memory around the same time as Jay; and Tim, who frequently wakes up in unknown places with huge gaps in his memory as a result of his masked persona taking over. The other members of the Marble Hornets cast also get this, to varying degrees.
  • In Pact, Duncan Behaim uses this on Blake, resulting in a "missing" chapter with just a redirect to the next one.
  • This occurs to First Lieutenant Werner Waltz in Six Chances when he is temporarily overridden by pirate captain Maria due to their Psychic Link. Unfortunately for him, he was in the middle of preparing for an execution when it happens and when he comes to the prisoner he is supposed to execute is missing. It can be read here.

    Western Animation 
  • Extreme Ghostbusters: Barry Sherman gets possessed by Morpheus as a focus to eventually manifest a physical form on Earth. Barry has no memory of Morpheus possessing him.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb Halloween Episode "Night of the Living Pharmacists", victims of the zombification lose all memories of the minutes leading up to their transformations after they change back. When Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella turn back into themselves, they find that they can't recall anything further than building the vortex sprayer to cure the city. This includes Phineas and Isabella forgetting about her confession about her crush on him.
  • South Park: In "Imagination Land", when the boys escape from the attack while riding a dragon, they immediately wake up in bed with no memory of how they got back home. Only to later learn That Was Not a Dream.

    Real Life 
  • This is a common trait of many alleged UFO sightings, with witnesses reporting that several more hours of time passed than they remembered after seeing the object in question. This may lead them to believe that they were possibly captured by the UFO's occupants and then had their memories of the experience erased before being returned to wherever place they found themselves in.
  • Missing time can result from too much consumption of alcohol, use of drugs, or being under general anesthesia during surgery. The first two probably help explain the phenomena described above.
    • However, enough booze to make it happen is enough booze for alcohol poisoning to take place. Some people find the person they're asking "What Did I Do Last Night?" has wings...
    • Rohypnol can cause anterograde amnesia, especially if combined with alcohol. Which can be annoying if one is taking it for insomnia and a serious hindrance to the police investigation if someone slipped it to them.
  • This can also be an effect of hypnotism or other altered mental states.
  • Trauma to the brain can induce amnesia in retrograde (the inability to remember some events prior to the blow) or anterograde (the inability to form new memories) form. Both are forms of time elapsing without people having any memory of it. Severe anterograde amnesia can result in missing time from the time of the event until whenever now is. If new memories can't be formed, then you just woke up in the hospital five minutes ago... forever. Seems like And I Must Scream to us, but the sufferer would never know (think Dory from Finding Nemo).
    • One episode of Radio Labnote  features a conversation between a mother and daughter after the mother suffered some kind of bizarre brain "hiccup". The conversation is about 2 minutes long, and every two minutes, like clockwork, the mother restarts the conversation with the same question, has the exact same responses to the answers that she's given, and flows seamlessly from the "start" of the conversation to the "end" and back again. At one point the daughter points out that they've had the same conversation about 20 times so far, and the mother is dumbstruck...and then restarts the conversation.
  • A minor case of this can happen if you walk/travel to school/work and back home every day. While the things you do at school/work and at home are usually not the exact same every day, the walks/travels can easily be extremely similar from day to day. At a point, the walk/travel may be so ingrown of a habit that you some day realize "hey, I thought I only just left my home, but I'm already at work" because you did the travel with pure muscle memory (it is especially likely to happen if it's early morning and you're too tired to pay attention to your surroundings). This is because dissociation, while more commonly understood in the context of trauma, can also be felt when your brain thinks something is essentially too boring or too mundane to remember. You'll typically only distinctly remember a particular trip along that route if something unusual (like a car accident, seeing a pedestrian in weird clothes, etc.) happens to knock you out of "autopilot" mode.
    • A similar phenomenon can occur with Major Depressive Disorder, particularly over long episodes, where the general feeling of disconnection and exhaustion combines with MDD's other effects on memory to the point where whole days can become lost to the same kind of 'autopilot amnesia'.
  • Another minor example can happen when you're indulging yourself in a hobby or pastime. Once you start focusing on your hobby of choice, you lose your perception of the passing of time. You can't tell if you've been at it for five minutes or five hours until you look at a clock or out a window. This is why the user interfaces for a lot of MMORPGs include digital clocks synchronized to your system clock.
  • Absence seizures can also cause this effect, with the person looking up at the clock and finding that it's an hour later, with no memory of the intervening time because it was spent having constant absence seizures. Depending on the exact type of seizure, simple actions may still be performed, leading to someone recording a movie being aired on TV, carefully pausing the recording during each commercial break, and later having no memory that the movie even exists.
  • Dementia can present like this. In mid-late stages, sufferers may become agitated because they no idea where they are or how they got there, even if it's a place they've lived for decades. This happens due to a loss of short term memory, which causes the patient to not be able to recall travelling to the place in question, and degeneration of spatial awareness and recognition, which can cause a familiar place to look like an unfamiliar place. This is especially pronounced at night due to "sundowning".


Video Example(s):


The Goa'uld Takes Control

Major Kawalsky blacks out while the Goa'uld is in control of his body.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MissingTime

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