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Properly Paranoid

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"You're only paranoid when you're wrong."
Old Saying

Bob is convinced that there's someone, or a group of someones out to get him or someone else. He takes incredible precautions to protect himself. For his efforts, Bob is called paranoid, insane, a Cloud Cuckoolander, a Control Freak, a Conspiracy Theorist, or any of a host of other (most probably rude) names.

There's just one problem:

Bob is correct.

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There is someone out to get Bob and his family and friends — and they are using all sorts of devious devices and schemes that would succeed… if the person enacting the security lockdown weren't doing her job. Sadly, only Bob, the opposing forces, (and sometimes the audience) know that the full-body frisking of the girlfriend and the security questionnaires that nobody can pass clean are mandatory for survival.

If this doesn't make Bob look crazy or paranoid, it might overlap with Crazy-Prepared. For that extra dash of irony, Bob may turn out to be Right for the Wrong Reasons when the whole truth of the matter comes out.

Also, if Bob is ever wrong, if he's paranoid enough, he will soon be right.

See also Cassandra Truth and You Have to Believe Me!. Sometimes overlaps with Omniscient Morality License. Contrast with The Complainer Is Always Wrong and The Paranoiac, whose fears are generally proven wrong, and Improperly Paranoid, which is what happens when someone thinks he is being this trope but instead is letting his paranoia push him to (often conflict-enabling) conclusions. This is one of the ways through which The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The protagonist in Being Able to Edit Skills in Another World, I Gained OP Waifus is convinced that if he doesn't go to extraordinary lengths to keep his "Cheat Building" skill hidden, people will stop at nothing to enslave or execute him. He is proven right on the night of his very first day in the New World after trading a skill he custom-made for his first slave, Cecil Pharot, whom he planned to set free once he had finished questioning her about her knowledge of the new world he found himself in.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, Misaki is a paranoid mind-reader who assumes everyone is out to get her, and refuses to trust Mikoto due to her being immune to her telepathy. While sometimes this proves to be overkill (such as the entirety of the School Festival arc, where Misaki won't even ask Mikoto for help in rescuing Mikoto's own clone, who Mikoto already risked her life to rescue multiple times), she's proven right more often than not, such as anything involving Kihara. However, while she claims not to trust anyone she can't mind-read, there is one exception: She trusts Touma, the protagonist of the series, almost to a fault. New Testament volume 11 goes into their backstory together involving pre-amnesia Touma which culminates him suffering a serious injury protecting her and no longer being able to remember her.
  • City Hunter:
    • Ryo Saeba is this. First comes up during a job as the bodyguard of an actress, in which he tasted a cake that was to be eaten during the shooting to verify it wasn't poisoned, threw a rock on a path they were to walk on, and checked gun props by reflex: the cake wasn't poisoned, but that path was actually a minefield, and one of the gun props had live rounds inside (had someone pulled the trigger, it would have exploded). Other examples include the position of his home (a sniper can shoot at it only from one place. When a sniper did prepare himself to shoot at his home, he found Ryo's assistant there) and his Badass Longcoat (in which he hid, among a few things more fit for the Crazy-Prepared trope, a spare gun in case he was captured in spite of his incredible abilities. In one occasion he was captured).
  • Most of the Exorcists in D.Gray-Man are like this. Since Akuma look completely normal until they fill you full of bullets that dissolve you into a cloud of toxic dust, it's kind of understandable that they're a little on edge.
  • Death Note:
    • L was spot on in his deductions and all of his seemingly paranoid schemes were completely justified. In Another Note, Mello explains that the reason L doesn't go out much or interact with many people face-to-face is that L's life is perpetually in danger due to his line of work.
    • Light himself might qualify at times, but is more Crazy-Prepared.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Gohan may be a Half-Saiyan, but Chi-Chi was not okay with Gohan leaving to go to Namek for two months. While Chi-Chi may be unreasonable sometimes, she was rightfully paranoid with Gohan going to a potentially dangerous planet and leaving her alone for two months (she had not seen him for a whole year) to revive Piccolo, the same guy who blasted a hole through Goku and killed her husband in the Saiyan arc. And who followed that up by kidnapping Gohan to train him to fight against Vegeta and Nappa. She displays this trope throughout the series when Gohan goes up against the Androids and Cell, fearing for Gohan's health and well-being when he's fighting bad guys.
    • Frieza fears the Saiyans not only for their natural power and the legend of the Super Saiyan, but also for their inability to be fully controlled like his other henchmen. So, he decides to destroy them along with their home planet. Turns out, Frieza was right to fear them. Not only were the Saiyans planning to overthrow him, but a Super Saiyan was more powerful than him. His actual mistake was that he only killed most of the Saiyans, rather than all of them.
  • In Durarara!!, Shizuo maintains that 99% of all the weird crap that goes down in Ikebukuro is completely and utterly Izaya's fault, whether it be gang wars or hordes of knife-wielding zombies. Made-up-on-the-spot statistics aside, he's more or less right.
  • Every member of Section 9 (except maybe Togusa) in Ghost in the Shell. Their job is to fight terrorism, organized crime, and corrupt politicians in a failed state. As the Major is also a chessmaster, she's always prepared for everything. When things go wrong for them, it's because they weren't paranoid enough.
  • Played for laughs in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Sousuke, being a soldier brought to modern civilization to protect Kaname, will inevitably take something the completely wrong way and earn Kaname's ire and paper fan, like the time he obliterated a row of lockers because his locker was tampered with a love letter inside. One episode where he was proven correct was where he unwittingly protected the rolls he, Kaname and some of the others were selling from the gym teacher, who was trying to sabotage it.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure:
    • When the heroes of part 3 arrive in Egypt, they stop at a cafe, but Joseph warns them that they're in the heart of enemy territory so they need to be careful about what they eat or drink in case of poison. To that end, he instructs the waiter to give them bottled cola, insists on taking the caps off themselves, and even picks three specific bottles that he wants. Unknown to Joseph, the waiter is an enemy Stand user who was, in fact, plotting to poison them with the drinks they ordered.
    • Dio in his fight at the climax of Part 3 displays remarkable caution in fighting the Joestars despite his enormous advantage in Stand powers and physical abilities. Having watched their adventures so far, he's well-aware of the family's penchant for trickery and deception to lure their opponents into traps. Several times he passes up on seemingly golden opportunities to drain Joseph's blood, which turns out to be wise because Joseph had suffused his own body with hamon energy, which is fatal to vampires like Dio. Later, he's incredibly cautious approaching a prone Jotaro, thinking (correctly) that Jotaro's merely Faking the Dead to get Dio into punching range.
    • In Part 4, Hayato Kawajiri has his entire house under surveillance via hidden cameras and is constantly spying on his father, believing that he's been replaced somehow. He's completely right: His real father has been killed and replaced by local serial killer Yoshikage Kira.
  • Lupin III (Red Jacket): After Lupin was arrested for impaired driving and crashing into the large Christ statue along with Jigen and Goemon, Zenigata can't shake the feeling that something is off, knowing that Lupin was not the type to let himself be caught on such a minor felony. The chief of the Rio police department accuses him of worrying over nothing, but Zenigate remains unconvinced and goes to the cell to confirm his suspicions... which were right on the money, as Lupin and co. fooled the guards by using a pre-recorded film of them sleeping in their beds, while they were out and about.
  • In Naruto, Tobirama Senju is prejudiced against the Uchiha clan. While there are a few he holds in high regard (one of his apprentices was an Uchiha), Tobirama still has a belief that they're inherently evil unless they proven themselves to him. His mistrust in Madara was still completely valid. And decades after Tobirama's death, the Uchiha clan really did plot a coup against Konoha. The Uchiha clan's signature Sharingan powers are also detrimental to their sanity, with the loss of sanity tending to be greater with the strongest of the Uchiha. Tobirama was fully aware of this, and knew that very few Uchiha were actually capable of overcoming the condition known as "the Curse of Hatred" even if they wanted to.
    • However, this trope is also a Deconstructed Trope as it shows some of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy elements of this behavior: Tobirama's attitude toward the Uchihas began souring relations with them in the first place. In fact, during a rebuilding of the village, the Uchiha Clan compound was placed off far from everyone else to keep an eye on them. Ultimately, the coup plan was the result of the Uchiha feeling isolated from the clan and being suspected for the Kyuubi attack (which, while technically done by an Uchiha, was not part of them at all) was presumably the straw that broke the camel's back and led to the breakdown of communications that would lead to the plan of a coup. So while his suspicions were correct, him acting on those suspicions was what helped set the events in the first place.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Main character Amuro Ray is ridiculously paranoid about everything. For example, Bright is going to take the Gundam away, that new crewmember is a Zeon spy, the Neo Zeon fleet is a bunch of decoy balloons, etc. Thanks to the psychic-level empathic abilities that he possesses as a Newtype, he has never been wrong.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny Kira's faction got a lot of grief both in show and out for being antagonistic towards ZAFT because they believed it's leader was out to get them and was plotting something despite him coming off as a benevolent ruler. They ended up being right on the money, when towards the end of the show he announces a radical new plan that would let him decide the course of everyone's lives in both space and Earth. Thanks to the way he waged the war none of the Earth nations are in any shape to refuse because he got them to rely on ZAFT aid, and the two nations that can refuse are in range of his recently captured space laser.
    • Kira had good reason to be suspicious of ZAFT: Someone had sent a Hit squad after Lacus, and the evidence pointed to someone high up in ZAFT Command (Military trained, ZAFT equipment, attackers all Coordinators, had resources and power to order said attack).
  • Subverted in Higurashi: When They Cry. If it seems like people are trying to kill you, it's usually hallucinations. Regardless, becoming like this will only make things worse.
  • The world of Pokémon may be okay with letting kids run around unsupervised, but, in Pokémon Adventures, Sir Berlitz hired a pair of bodyguards to accompany his daughter on her journey to Mt. Coronet. Good thing too, as she becomes the target of kidnapping and winds up in the battle against Team Galactic. Too bad due to a mishap she got a pair of aspiring comedians instead.
  • Homura of Puella Magi Madoka Magica can come off as this. She's distrustful of her fellow magical girls and refuses to share any in-depth information she has with them while constantly trying to keep one of them, Madoka, from forming a contract. This paranoia proves justified, as Homura is a time traveler constantly going back in time to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and in those times she did share her secrets with others they either did not believe her or it backfired horribly.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions, Ryou Bakura finds it difficult to relax with his friends knowing Aigami can make people vanish, and could be watching them as they speak. Aigami is watching them as they speak.
  • In Goddess Creation System Xiaxi is frequently accused of or suspected of trying to seduce the person she's working for at the moment. While there's little grounds for this and she firmly rejects any advances, she actually is trying to win them over. She just doesn't care about actually sleeping with them or entering their household, meaning her goals are best served by not bending to their whims.

    Comic Books 
  • Frank Castle, tends tends to lapse into this more often than not. But given the countless perilous dangers he faces in his world, you can't really blame him. Plus, nine times out of ten, he tends to be right.
  • Watchmen: Rorschach, though an Axe-Crazy nut, plays a big part in uncovering the larger conspiracy that is unfolding around him. But in the end, he's wrong about why the Comedian was killed.
  • Runaways. The Pride: the only thing they do more than work behind each others' backs to take the others' chances at Immortality is prepare counter measures for the others planning to take their spots. At least until their children find out.
  • Batman:
    • The Dark Knight tends to get called paranoid by people he works with when he whips out his fifth spare Batmobile or his tenth secret identity or even a whole spare split personality in case of brainwashing. The problem is, they wouldn't have known he had them if he didn't need them right now. So any level of paranoid preparation that Batman appears to have is justified. When you have no superpowers and are regularly involved in JLA-level superfights, and have several dozen of the most horrifying psychopaths in existence all viewing you as their personal embodiment of Nemesis, there is no such thing as "too paranoid".
    • Batman constantly injects himself with various poisons and toxins. Since a lot of his major villains use poisons and toxins (including Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and the Joker), building up resistance to them makes complete sense.
    • Then there is pretty much the beginning of Batman: No Man's Land where despite the costs and no prior history of earthquakes (as Gotham is built over solid bedrock) Bruce instructed every Wayne owned building to survive a 9.0 earthquake. Sure enough a earthquake hits at 8.3 leveling every building aside from the ones owned by Wayne Enterprise. Too bad he forgot about Wayne Manor and the Batcave (albeit because he couldn't protect Wayne without risking the construction crew discovering his identity
    • In Death of the Family, funnily enough, the Bat-Family seems to be this about Joker knowing their identities, while Batman of all people is not being paranoid enough about it (Batman argues that he understands that the Joker doesn't care about their identities)!
  • For Better or for Worse: the creator attempted to make Straw Feminist Therese seem like a bad person because she was suspicious of her husband's friendship with his ex from high school. Since said husband mooned over said ex constantly and they ended up getting married, Therese ended up falling into this trope.
  • In Supergirl storyline Girl Power, the Girl of Steel is being spied on by Lex Luthor's henchman Noah Kuttler alias Calculator. Suddenly she turns towards the camera. Noah is sure that she has seen him, but Luthor chides him for his paranoia, reiterating Supergirl can't be aware of him... even though she is.
  • Saxon Kenchu in Candorville describes himself as this, but within two panels it's partially subverted, as he admits he's even more paranoid than a Dhampyr outcast needs to be. Lemont thinks he's Axe-Crazy and delusional, which would be a full subversion—but he's completely sane, and the story he's telling is true.
  • According to Spider Jerusalem, a paranoid is just someone in possession of all the facts. And in a world where bacteria-sized surveillance cameras fill the air and an Ax-Crazy President wants him dead, Spider's right.
  • In the Archie comic issue "Golf Wars", Dilton gets suspicious of their twin competitors in a mini-golf tournament with cheating after they managed to get a hole-in-one with a windmill hole (which he cited was an extremely difficult hole to get through, especially on the first try). The others think that they are simply good golfers. However, he was actually spot on: The twins used remote controlled golf-balls with the controls disguised as watches, and decided to test out his theory to see whether it was applicable by developing a makeshift radio signal blocker, which it was applicable. However, afterwards, he learned that not only were they using remote controlled golf balls, but they in fact also paid off one of the judges to claim that they were getting hole-in-ones, although he was unable to warn his friends because Moose accidentially knocked him out when preparing to putt the ball. Eventually his friends (more specifically Jughead) caught on and realized that their "hole-in-ones" were very suspicious at the final hole after they retained their balls despite their supposed "hole-in-ones" (as the final hole does not allow the ball to come back), with Dilton regaining consciousness just in time to implicate them and the judge in question for cheating, resulting in their being permanently banned from the sport.
  • Marvel's Thunderbolts team has the Ghost, a character who wears a suit that allows him to become invisible and intangible. He also has trust issues, hygiene issues, issues with authority, issues with women, serious issues with Iron Man...and he is also completely paranoid. It comes in handy, as when they are about to go on a mission and he reveals that someone sabotaged a parachute so that the person wearing it would be conveniently killed without arousing too much suspicion.
    Ghost: I found it when I triple-checked the equipment. I always triple-check the equipment.
  • Diabolik has Ginko, who, after the first stories taught him that Diabolik can do almost anything, started taking precautions worthy of Batman. Some people call him paranoid, only to learn that those precautions are barely enough. Point in case, the very first story: upon discovering Diabolik's empty car near a field with multiple scarecrows, Ginko shoots the scarecrows expecting Diabolik to fall out of one of them, but when it doesn't happen he leaves... At which point a pained Diabolik leaves the scarecrow he was in nursing the arm where Ginko shot him.
    • Most evident in Diabolik's Treasure. After Diabolik had disappeared he continued taking his anti-Diabolik precautions, as he suspected the thief was lying low for some reason. Even his most devoted followers started calling him paranoid... While Diabolik continued faking being dead awaiting for the man who had stole his favourite treasure to feel safe enough and start selling it, allowing Diabolik to find him. Ginko's grin when that man is found killed by a knife and near the remains of two Diabolik-made masks is a silent 'told you so'...
    • Diabolik himself is one (to a level that makes Batman seem overly trusting in comparison), and so is his lover and accomplice Eva Kant. They walks around with dozens of gadgets and tricks on their persons and car, have placed various devices to help escape on all the major roads and many of the minor ones, and Ginko still managed to catch them on multiple occasions. He never succeeded in keeping them in long enough to have Diabolik executed (even if sometimes Diabolik is walking to the guillotine when he escapes or is saved), but he still managed to catch them.
      • The top of Diabolik's paranoia is found in Shameful Accusation, where Diabolik, using a chance occasion, hypnotically conditions Ginko into letting him go when told an activation phrase, in case Diabolik finds himself unable to escape a lone Ginko and Eva has already been captured, with the added bonus of getting rid of Ginko for good due the accusation being born by Diabolik and Eva being the only one who know why Ginko would let them go and say they weren't Diabolik and Eva. Given the situation's sheer improbability, Diabolik didn't expect to have to use this prepared trick soon... And said it out loud after having to use it in the very next caper. And it fails to get rid of Ginko for good: Ginko's replacement was smart enough to ask him for a few pointers and managed to catch Diabolik with his pants down, and found evidence of Diabolik's trick (who was so absurd that, when told, Ginko Face Palmed).
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Deconstructed with Red Alert. He's incredibly paranoid, and frequently sees a psychologist, he's also right a lot of the time, he correctly guessed that Momus was a Decepticon, and he believed the institute was messing with people's thoughts, in the present he investigated sounds which people thought were in his head and discovered Overlord on board. However, his paranoia is also his undoing, as the Momus and the institute incident came back to bite him, when the institute has him brainwashed to lead the investigation to take Momus down because of his snooping. When he finds Overlord, he's too paranoid to tell anyone about him fitting since the ship's captain is in on it, and tries to kill himself, leaving everyone unaware until the monster gets free and kills 4 people. Then in The Transformers: Titans Return, it turns out the reason for his paranoia was because long before the war ever started, Sentinel Prime used shadowplay on him to turn him into a Manchurian Agent, something he was subconsciously aware of the whole time.
  • In PS238, a Muggle named Cecil is convinced that something supernatural is happening with some of the kids at his school because he actually has the metahuman power of being able to sense of other metahumans near him. His only mistake is thinking that they're aliens instead of superheroes (and even then, it was because someone purposefully misled him).
    Ms. Kyle: ...[Tyler]'s only made one friend aboveground, and that child is a conspiracy nut.
    Spell Siryn: Yet the conspiracy he sees is real.
    Ms. Kyle: Okay, I'll give you that...
  • Empowered: ThugBoy and his gang of minions-for-hire once specialised in secretly ripping off the supervillains who hired them. Then they tried to rip off the amoral, depraved, Pyro Maniac Willy Pete; he was the only survivor, with the catapult nightmares to show for it. When the now reformed Thugboy is brought in to help advise WP's capture, he warns them not to take the "goddamn fire elemental" lightly. They do.
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: As Marh points out, Danvers never trusted him when she thought he was human. As Carol retorts, she didn't trust him because she thought he was a flake, not an alien spying on mankind.

    Fan Works 
  • Loyalty Features Ninja!Spies. Everyone knows Sakura is a spy. She wonders why they don't kill her.
  • The Odyssey Played with. To avoid possible sabotage by Jael, he not only sleeps in his friend Saery's closet, he also hires a sorcerer to impersonate him for the day prior to the duel.
  • Embers: Zuko is commonly regarded as paranoid by the Gaang and other people he comes across, until they see more of what's going on and start hoping he's paranoid enough.
  • In Fever Dreams when L notices Light acting just a little bit oddly he has special security cameras installed everywhere at taskforce HQ (passing off the mass installations as him just being his regular paranoid self and installing more normal security cameras for the hell of it). These special cameras are tracking eye movements in the off chance that Light is interacting with a presence that only he can see, such as a Shinigami. The cameras show that Light keeps focusing on what appears to be empty space on a regular basis and with this evidence L is able to prove that Light is either mentally ill or Kira.
  • In Harry Potter Junior Inquisitor, when Harry notices that someone tried to break into his quarters, he thoroughly searches said quarters before attempting to contact Amelia Bones to let her know. Unfortunately for him, after failing to break in Moody waited outside and grabbed Harry when he left. Moody does note that Harry was much smarter than Albus gave him credit however.
  • Harry from Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, being a rationalist, had always prepared for unexpected contingencies. When it becomes clear that there actually is something going on, he goes into full blown conspiracy theorist mode. It eventually reaches a point where he spends almost all of his time hidden under his invisibility cloak, even when talking to his friends. Of course Harry's paranoia is dwarfed by Alastor Moody's, who, like all characters in the story, has been upgraded drastically from canon. Even those precautions don't seem to be enough to protect them from the dark wizards.
  • The only quality Rei has, and keeps from the original Sailor Moon series, when she enters the Code Geass universe in the Code Mars Trilogy. Whenever she has suspicions about Zero being behind something she's often right, such driving the leader of the hotel jacking to suicide and blowing up the JLF boat to cripple Cornelia's forces.
  • The Twilight Child: Rainbow Dash remains convinced for months that there is something up with "Midday Eclipse", a supposed disgraced accountant from Canterlot, and tries to prove it long after everypony else has stopped caring. When the truth finally comes out, Rainbow's only comment is to call herself an idiot, which might have something to do with the fact that Midday told her exactly who she was some weeks prior.
  • Code Geass Cornelia of the Defection has Cornelia quickly figuring out Lelouch has some sort of hypnosis or mind control after noticing how many times someone doesn't remember doing something after interacting with Lelouch or Zero. Particularly damning is that she had recorded her first conversation with Lelouch and notices a section that she can't remember. Furthermore, upon realizing that Lelouch can only use Geass once per person, she orders him to Geass Euphemia to do something trivial so he doesn't accidentally Geass her later.
  • "Shakedown Shenanigans": Downplayed. Taurik thinks Eleya's being paranoid by insisting that the Bajor be 100% operational before leaving dock, calling the fiasco at the start of Star Trek: Generations a very-large-number-to-one occurrence. Eleya's sort of right, but the Bajor technically didn't need to be the ship that responded to the distress call from the SS Azura. Eleya was just stressed and wanted to shoot something.
  • In the Robotech/Babylon 5 crossover A Different Kind of Contact series, the Centauri hold a number of strange beliefs, such as the Vorlon being behind the creation of telepaths, the mysterious alien Haydon possibly being their main god the Great Maker, and an unknown race being out there to try and destroy the Younger Races through proxies. They're right about telepaths and the unknown race attacking the Younger Races through proxies, and given his history of messing up with alien races Haydon may well be the Great Maker.
  • Sudden Contact: Mengsk has justification after surviving four separate assassination attempts in a single day.
  • The Witch of the Everfree:
    • When Sunset feels like she's being followed, she assumes she's just being baselessly paranoid, but casts a scanning spell anyway. Turns out she was completely right, leading her to turn around and decide she actually wasn't being paranoid enough.
    • Twilight manages to correctly predict both Discord and Nightmare Moon's returns, even if nopony believes her about them.
  • After capturing two of Harry Potter's crew in The Havoc Side of the Force, the bounty hunters hired by Gardulla the Hutt change vehicles several times and eventually take shelter in a fortified bunker lined with traps and a door that'd take a week to hack through or a lightsaber to cut through. The bunker also has numerous well trained guards and a panic room for Gardulla. But as Harry put it, none of that matters if he's already in there with them.
  • Advice and Trust: Ritsuko thought that Unit-00 went berserker because it hated her and tried to kill her. Later on, Rei confirmed that the Humongous Mecha wanted to kill Ritsuko.
  • Once More with Feeling:
    • In chapter 17 Shinji was forced to talk to SEELE. Before that meeting his mind came up with all kind of bad scenarios and disastrous outcomes (including SEELE saying they knew everything before putting a bullet in his head). His paranoia was, of course, justified: Khiel figured out that he was up to something.
    • When she was bathing in the hot springs, Asuka was almost sure that the penguin was eyeing her. Since the aforementioned bird was Pen Pen, she was pretty right.
  • In Mass Effect: End of Days, someone calls Batarians paranoid after learning they keep their classified documents on a completely separate network. Another person notes that the Alliance did try to access the documents after all...
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse:
    • One of the minor plot threads in the first season is Applejack's paranoid insistence that she and her family have a sacred duty to single-handedly ensure that Ponyville never goes hungry, and that therefore anyone trying to compete against her wants Ponyville to starve. This is always presented as just plain ridiculous until Zecora unleashes a curse that ruins most of Ponyville's farms and only the massive Apple family food stockpiles can keep the town fed until the next crops come in. The mayor even tells Applejack that she should feel free to say "I told you so".
    • During "The Return of Tambelon", shortly after things go wrong, the Element Bearers run into a local of the Ghost City. Trixie is reluctant to trust him, on account of their previous encounter with Zecora in the Everfree Forest. In very short order, he turns out to be working with Grogar. Of course, the readers know this from the off.
  • In the beginning of The Death Of Princess Luna, Luna is very frustrated by Celestia's refusal to allow her to leave the palace unescorted because of the possibility that some extremist who hasn't forgotten Luna's past as Nightmare Moon would try to hurt her. When the Princess of the Moon sneaks out alone, she's lured into a trap by some extremely well-prepared ponies who not only manage to keep the magically powerful Alicorn contained for a whole month and fool nearly everypony — even Celestia herself — into thinking that she was killed by a beast, but would have for all purposes managed to sacrifice her to permanently destroy "Nightmare Moon" if not for the Mane Six and Spike.
  • Harry Potter in Dodging Prison and Stealing Witches has a habit of checking if anyone is listening in to his conversations with Hermione and Daphne by having one of them speak a secret covered by the Fidelius Charm that he's the Secret Keeper of. If anyone is around who doesn't know the secret, they'll choke when they try to talk. So far the group has found a spying house elf and Daphne realized Hermione was an imposter with this method.
  • In Raptor Harry Potter makes quite clear that John Hammond needs to beef up the security on the carnivore pens, especially the velociraptors. While herbivores will likely avoid fences upon realizing they're electrified, carnivores might test them again if there's prey on the other side (especially during a power outage). And velociraptors are not only vicious and intelligent, but man-sized so unlike most carnivores they can enter buildings.
  • A fair number of Buffy the Vampire Slayer stories have even citizens unaware of vampires and demons instinctively take precautions including never going out at night alone, closing their business before sunset, and not having a welcome mat. While not being foolproof, each significantly decreases their odds of being eaten by a vampire.
  • Selina Kyle aka Catwoman in Marry the Knight makes a point of staying on the top floor of her hotel and replaces every plant within ten floors of her with plastic replicas. This helps save her life when Poison Ivy comes to kill her.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Supergirl looks around using both X-Ray and telescopic vision before opening a suitcase containing anti-Kryptonian weapons. As she says, "I can’t afford to open this without making a check first."
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Giovanni suspects that Proton might be growing too ambitious for his own good. A sidestory reveals that Proton is running projects behind Giovanni's back, so he might be onto something.
  • All Guardsmen Party: The guardsmen's paranoia has saved them a great many times. It's shown to great effect in The Xenotech Heresy: the Guardsmen's paranoia allows them to counter the machinations of the Eldar and Mechanicus.
    • After the events of Discount Spaceship, the party has a unanimous paranoid hatred of servitors, declaring them daemon-possessed spies at the drop of a bolter shell and commissioning Twitch to make overkill anti-servitor traps for their barracks. It turns out that the Mechanicus was indeed attempting to spy on the group with cleaning servitors during The Xenotech Heresy, only failing because the party killed them all with extreme prejudice.
    • Twitch, the explosives expert, is a full-on paranoid, especially when Orks are involved (as they triggered his paranoia in the first place). This gets to the point of having short-fuse grenades taped to the inside of a top-of-the-line security door, setting up redundant detonators, keeping shaped charges on his back-plate to keep people from sneaking up on him, and booby-trapping his own weapons (when Twitch says not to touch his stuff, it's for your safety). This would normally make him a bit too paranoid, but each time this comes up it saves the rest of the team.
      • According to Shoggy, the DM allows Twitch's player to roll for paranoia and leaks him spoilers based on how well he does, which the other players are only privy to through Twitch's in-character interpretation. Consequently, the revelations that the mystery box was "full of Orks" and the Tyrannid "ghosts" were caused by the comatose Zoanthrope becoming possessed by a Daemon resulted in "I told you so" moments.
  • After Jaune is spotted streaking in his Grimm form by several students in White Sheep, Remmy the parasite inside him insists Jaune get rid of anything that tie him to his Grimm form, including the boxers he was still wearing. Not long after, Cardin tries to prove Jaune is the human-Grimm by pulling his pants down to show they wear the same boxers. Thanks to Remmy's advice, Jaune's secret is kept safe and Cardin gets detention for sexual harassment.
  • Both Jaune and Blake are suspicious of each other in In the Kingdom's Service due to parts of their introductions not making any sense. Jaune claims he plays videogames on his laptop but Blake notices he doesn't press nearly enough keys for that to be true. Meanwhile Blake says her father works in construction, which has Jaune wondering how her father afforded such an expensive weapon as Gambol Shroud for her and where she learned to use it. Given that Jaune is a spy and Blake is a former terrorist, both are correct to suspect each other, though neither is actually a threat to the other.
    • After Jaune refuses a suicidal order and leaves the VSS, he and Blake are certain they will come for him with Blake telling Ruby "Don't let them take him" before she passes out from her injuries. VSS agents disguised as medics try to kidnap Jaune mere minutes later.
  • Weight of the World: Canada is suspicious of the Atlesian Knights and soldiers of Atlas, though he does not know why. He insists on not trusting them, avoids them whenever possible, and carries a weapon on him whenever there's a chance he may run into them. Atlas is responsible for America and Canada's abduction and the Atlesian Knights massacred the people of Westwind during an attempt to retrieve the twins after they escaped. The Knights also turn on the citizens of Vale during the attack on Beacon.
  • Infinity Crisis: Lampshaded in Gamma Relations. While fighting a mind-controlled Captain Marvel, Jane notes Tony's idea to have the Avengers train to go against each other was right after all.
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: Ned Stark was so paranoid about someone finding out Lyarra's true parentage that he discouraged and then ended all her music lessons and never confirmed or denied the rumors that her mother was Ashara Dayne. Despite all his precautions, however, people found out anyway by Spotting the Thread.
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    Films — Animated 
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, Alvin believes that the neighbor Mr. Talbot is a werewolf, but Dave and Simon (the latter playing along regardless) brush him off… though Simon very readily justifies this with a record he kept of everyone that Alvin thought was a werewolf, mummy, vampire, or she-wolf, which had practically everyone in town. But for once, it turns out that Alvin was right all along, considering that Talbot is the werewolf that bit poor Theodore and turned him into a were-munk.
  • In Cars 2, Sarge gets the idea that Miles Axlerod may be lying about the safety of the alternative fuel, so he swaps it out with Filmore's organic fuel, which ends up saving McQueen's life.
    Sarge: Once big oil, always big oil.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2, Stoick is completely right in claiming that Drago Bludvist is beyond reason and that he will turn his dragon army on Berk.
  • In Recess: School's Out, TJ Dettwiler tries to tell everyone in town that there was suspicious activity going on at the school, yet his parents and the police never believed him, and his friends felt doubtful at what happened after stealing one of their crates and Prickly apparently leaving the school (It Makes Sense in Context). Turns out, TJ was actually very sound in his suspicions, as the school had actually been taken over by an extremist group led by the former Secretary of Education and former principal of Third Street Elementary, Phllium Benedict, that was trying to eliminate summer vacation.
  • Disney's Robin Hood has this with Trigger the vulture, one of the Sheriff's lackeys. When a blind beggar comes up to the gallows where he and the Sheriff are, and he and the other vulture, Nutsy, start carelessly saying that they're going to hang Friar Tuck at dawn. Only Trigger is suspicious of him…which is justified, since the beggar is Robin in disguise. Early the next morning, an hour before dawn, Trigger continues ranting to the Sheriff about how he knows that there's going to be a jailbreak. The sheriff dismisses it as paranoia, even as Robin Hood and Little John infiltrate the grounds. He gets his vindication the hard way an hour later, when he tries to warn the Sheriff again, and it turns out to be Little John in disguise.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rear Window (and its newer equivalent, Disturbia): guy stuck in house becomes increasingly convinced his neighbour is a murderer. Guess what?
  • In the HBO movie Safe House, Patrick Stewart plays an old man who is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. He tells his caretaker that he used to be a DIA agent and people are out to get him because He Knows Too Much, so he insists on elaborate security precautions bordering on the ridiculous. Until the end, it's unclear whether his paranoia is justified or if he's just a crazy old man. As it turns out, they really are out to get him.
  • The Mel Gibson movie Conspiracy Theory features an obsessive-compulsive paranoid conspiracy theorist... who turns out to be mostly right, though he's more remembering than speculating.
  • Bril in Enemy of the State. Understanding since he used to be a spook himself.
    • Also lampshaded by the film's tagline: "It's not paranoia if they're really after you."
  • Pick a character from Burn After Reading. Any character. Although they're frequently paranoid about the wrong things.
  • The Thing (1982), by John Carpenter, features a shape-shifting alien capable of infecting and duplicating every living thing. The characters are right about not trusting each other, and try to come up with a way of figuring out who is the thing and who isn't, but generally are unable to do so until Nightmare Fuel time sets in.
    • Though played straight for most of the film, it's horrifically subverted in the case of Clark. He seems to be the most likely candidate for being infected as he was alone with the initial Thing for quite some time, and doesn't have an alibi for most of the cases of sabotage that one or more infected has been behind. In the end, it's later proven that he wasn't one of the infected... after MacReady has already shot him through the skull. Childs makes sure to point out that MacReady screwed up royally in that respect. (Although, in fairness to MacReady, Clark did try to attack him.)
  • Freeze Frame, a British film, where the main character films everything he does, 24/7/52, after been accused (but acquitted) of multiple murders. It finally allows him to prove himself innocent in the end. It stars Lee Evans (a comedian) in a serious role.
  • Bryan Mills from Taken looks like a stock Overprotective Dad until his warnings turn out to be too true.
  • Chance warns the others about being sent to the pound every chance he gets in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Sure enough when they encounter the people searching for the lost girl, Chance is wary of them for this reason. Three guesses where the people drop them off, and the first two don't count.
  • In Bowfinger, a movie star prone to paranoia is driven to even wilder hysteria when a small film crew shoots a dramatic movie starring him without his knowledge. His Scientology-like counselors fruitlessly try to calm him down until they discover the film crew and note "Well, I guess it's true; it's not paranoia when someone's really after you."
  • In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cameron doesn't want to leave his dad's prized Ferrari at a garage in the care of a sleazy-looking attendant. He does so only after some persuasion by Ferris. It turns out his worries were absolutely justified as the attendant and his friend take the car on a joyride only seconds after they leave, adding dozens of miles onto the car.
  • The President's Analyst, soon after taking the title job, worries for his own mental health when he thinks he's seeing Men In Black following him everywhere, and has a nightmare that his girlfriend is a spy. Turns out he's right on both counts.
  • Horrible Bosses: Harken's paranoia throughout the film that his wife Rhonda might be cheating on him is portrayed very unreasonably and dumbfounded. In the end, however, this is proven correct when Rhonda gives Kurt a blowjob in the bathroom during Harken's surprise birthday party.
  • Strange Days reveals that the extreme misfortunes and frequent assassination attempts following the main characters around stems from a death squad operating within the LAPD designed to target undesirables, including a prominent rapper-slash-social activist who was recently assassinated. When one character dismisses this as paranoia, a Properly Paranoid one rebuts that "it's not a question of whether you're paranoid, it's whether you're paranoid enough." The other characters spend the rest of the movie in a state of deep paranoia about this. Except it's a complete lie; the rapper was shot by two trigger-happy cops who merely screwed up a traffic stop, most of the other events of the movie are the result of various other plans and gambits crashing into each other chaotically, and the Properly Paranoid character was in on it the whole time and made up the whole 'death squad' thing on the spot to distract from his own wrongdoings.
  • In The Phantom Menace, the Jedi council is reluctant to take Anakin Skywalker on as an apprentice. They probably should have followed that instinct. On the other hand, it was also, in a way, their shutting him out that caused him to turn to the dark side.
    • Star Wars Palpatine was always fearful of his apprentices turning on him . Hence why he does things like grooming young Jedi and Sith to be future apprentices in case his current one got out of hand. And purposelessly placing his strongest apprentice Darth Vader into an outdated limiting life support suit despite having the tech and budget to give him a much more current life support suit. Later Vader offers to overthrow him with Luke's help so the pair can rule the galaxy together, so the Emperor was not really wrong.
  • Marvin in the film adaption of RED believes he was being used in some secret government mind control project. It turned out that he actually was being fed LSD for decades. And that's just the beginning of the list. Literally EVERYTHING that Marvin becomes paranoid about is either true or becomes true over the course of the film.
  • Bob Lee Swagger in Shooter. Religiously, obsessively protective of his guns, which turns out to be what clears his name when he is framed for an assassination. Taking the firing pins out of his rifles when he puts them away would be just as effective at preventing accidents or unauthorized use, but Bob goes the extra mile and replaces them with custom-modified pins that will not fire. The only reason for this would be to fool someone who was deliberately trying to frame him, and who would know to check the firing pin. Which means he planned for that exact scenario. Bob has good reason for his paranoia; he's been back-stabbed before.
  • In the Halloween series, others viewed a young Michael Myers as a disturbed boy. Loomis viewed him as a monster just waiting to strike. Guess who was right.
  • In Galaxy Quest, when the crew of the NSEA Protector goes on a planet to search for beryllium spheres to repair the ship, one of the crew members, Guy, panics when he sees the planet's residents. Naturally, the crew dismisses this as paranoia because he once played a Red Shirt on the show who died in an episode before the first commercial. In a hilarious turn of events, Guy is proven right.
    Guy: Sure, they're cute now, but in a second they're gonna get mean, and they're gonna get ugly somehow, and there's gonna be a million more of them.
    Guy: Did you guys ever watch the show?
  • Sarah Connor from the Terminator films. She even gets institutionalized for this, but it turns out there really are killer robots from the future after her.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon movie, Jerry Wang is convinced that everything is a Decepticon. He is later killed by his computer, which then turns into the copy machine, and poses variously as a TV, stereo, and pink Bumblebee.
  • Tremors: Though not a straight example, having an underground shelter with Wall of Weapons and ammo, supplies and a power generator in case of World War III served Burt Gummer well when his town got attacked by large subterranean carnivore reptiles.
    Earl: Guess we don't get to make fun of Burt's lifestyle anymore.
  • I, Robot: Del Spooner (played by Will Smith) doesn't trust robots, believing that they are not as safe as the Three Laws of Robotics are supposed to make them. He is therefore the only person in Chicago who doesn't get one of the new NS-5 model robots. When the NS-5s stage a Zeroth Law Rebellion, Spooner is naturally the only human capable of effectively fighting back. It was his Properly Paranoid and bigoted attitude that allowed Dr. Lanning to pull a Batman Gambit on him to save the day, kicked off by Dr. Lannings own death.
  • In The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent doesn't try anyone of Gordon's unit which is made of many corrupt cops. Two of those cops would help Joker to kidnap Dent and Rachel.
  • Played with in The Departed. Mob boss Frank Costello and the police captain that is investigating him both assume that the other has planted a mole in their organization. They're both right. However, both miss out on catching the moles, and neither realize that each side has more than one mole at work.
  • Yello Dyno of Tricky People apparently has a habit of patrolling the mall and accosting anyone he even suspects of being a "tricky person". The one time we see him doing this in action, he turns out to be right.
  • The Tom Hanks black comedy The 'Burbs is all about this trope. Hanks' character is convinced by his friends that the creepy neighbors on their block are actually serial killers. They repeatedly try to find ways to expose them, but all they succeed in doing is to continue making fools of themselves. Then at the end the suspected neighbors confront Hanks, and it turns out his friends were 100% right.
  • In 28 Days Later, after an attack by the Infected leaves Mark with an open wound and covered in blood, despite his protests that it's his blood, Selena says she can't take the risk and immediately hacks him to death with a machete. Since it takes only a single drop of blood to become infected and the person will turn in 30 seconds, Selena has a very good reason to be so paranoid.
    • Naomi Harris has said that she believes the reason for this is because Selena had to kill her entire family after they got infected...including her younger brothers and sisters.
  • Marty, the resident stoner of The Cabin in the Woods, is convinced that something strange is going on and that there are puppeteers running everything. His friends ignore him. At first. Later, when one of his friends admits that he was right, he says he wasn't. What he'd uncovered was much bigger.
  • In Saving Private Ryan, Reiben is against letting their prisoner "Steamboat Willie" walk free, in case he's picked up by the Germans and "thrown back into circulation." Which is not only what happens, but the ex-prisoner also fatally wounds Miller.
  • The protagonist in Take Shelter sees himself as this when he begins digging up his backyard to expand their storm shelter. Everyone else thinks he's gone nuts.
  • Basil from The World's End. He's a conspiracy nut who drinks from a crazy straw so "they" can't get his DNA. "Not so crazy now", when it turns out his entire town is infested with blanks.
  • In The Hobbit, Bard is the Only Sane Man who recognizes that Smaug could and would bring destruction to Lake Town, reminding them what had happened to Dale, but he is ignored out of common greed. Smaug flies off to destroy Lake Town at the end of the second film. Later on, he tries to place the last Black Arrow on the large crossbow in case Smaug does come, but is stopped by the Master.
  • In Split Second, the Chief is initially wary of Stone being a paranoid menace, since he carries around a Hand Cannon and several other guns at all times. The very next scene involves him and the chief discovering that the heart of the killer's latest victim was delivered right to Stone's desk at the precinct.
    Stone: Paranoid, huh?
  • Patriot Games: Professor Jack Ryan is leaving work when he notices a young man that looks like Sean Miller idling nearby. The man casually walks away as he notices Ryan looking at him, but Ryan is clearly unnerved, even more so when he hears a car engine starting up. And with good reason—as he continues to walk down the street, the audience sees that both the car and the man are now following him. Luckily, Ryan quickly notices this too and is able to disarm the man—the woman driving the getaway car is unfortunately able to escape—and foil the attempt on his life—revenge for Ryan having foiled an assassination attempt made by these people several months earlier. The interesting subversion is that Ryan had been warned about the possibility of this by his CIA contacts—it's he who didn't want to believe that the group would go to such lengths to kill him.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: Every single one of Aunt Josephine's fears and phobias previously waved off as ridiculous by the children (including the stove bursting into flames, the fridge crushing one flat, and the door-knob exploding and a fragment getting in one's eye) come true after she disappears. Every. Single. One.
    Violet: [as the door-knob is superheated, and about to shatter] No way.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Joe Brody's obsession with his wife's death has left him more than a little nutty, but he was still right about the cover up.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Senator Kelly is concerned about mutants that can enter the mind of others or walk through walls. As it turns out, Mystique has been impersonating his aide for a good long while.
    • X-Men: First Class: On multiple occasions, Erik warns Charles that humans will turn against mutants. At the end of the movie, he is proven right, as the United States and the Soviet Union unite forces to launch an attack on the group of mutants who has just saved their lives and prevented World War III.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Upon learning that someone who might be Magneto is in their midst, the Polish police who come to arrest him intentionally leave their badges and guns behind, using only bows and arrows in order to prevent him from using metal against them. Unfortunately, they were not quite paranoid enough, as he instead uses the locket with his parents' photos in it that Nina has to kill them all.
  • Gavin from Disturbing Behavior, a seemingly drug-addled teen is convinced there is some kind of mind control conspiracy going on in Cradle Bay but is rebuked by Steve when he claims he is next. Not only is he 100% right, but they also get him.
  • In Enchanted, Robert is rightly suspicious of the fact that people keep trying to give Giselle free stuff. These "people" are actually Nathaniel, who tries to slip Giselle poison apple in some form or another from the moment he's first able to get to her in New York.
  • In Primer, second act, none of what we see is actually the first timeline. This means there are time travelers from alternate futures running around doing who-knows-what.
    Aaron: What's worse? Thinking you're being paranoid or knowing you should be?
  • On The Conversation Harry Caul does everything in his power to keep his privacy intact, to the point that he keeps his office phone unlisted (and he makes calls through public phones if he needs to contact someone) and it's a serious, relationship-shattering Berserk Button if anybody asks him too many questions about anything (especially personal info). Then it turns out that the company that hired him to record the titular conversation made a very thorough dossier on him even before he was hired and there is absolutely nothing that they don't know about him and there is absolutely no place that he owns that they can't break into to steal from him or place a bug.
  • Yello Dyno from Tricky People apparently has a habit of patrolling the mall and accosting anyone he even suspects of being a tricky person. The one time we see him doing this in action, he turns out to be right.

    Music 
  • Paranoid by Black Sabbath.
  • "I Think I'm Paranoid" by Garbage.
  • "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell.
  • The last verse of Nirvana's "Territorial Pissings":
    Just because you're paranoid
    Don't mean they're not after you
  • Hardanger Fiddle players can fit the trope, especially when they become obsessed with keeping their instruments at their absolute best. Consider that this instrument has eight or nine strings, and the effort of fine tuning can take several minutes. And then there is a number of other things to remember. A classical worst-case scenario is people fiddling inside the fiddle to adjust the small piece of wood between the outer walls. When they do this every time, they fit the trope perfectly, but they are also considered a bit on the pathological side. Somebody even made an evening prayer to prevent them from going down that path.
  • Geto Boys hit song, "My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me", is about how the street life has made the members of the group paranoid. The music video shows that all of their fears are in their own mind.
  • In Bruce Springsteen song Murder Incorporated, dealing with hitmen of organized crime:
    Out on the street your chances are zero

    Podcasts 
  • Dice Funk: Rinaldo.
    Leon: I don't trust people who aren't suspicious!

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Rocky Romero's message to the opponents of Forever Hooligans.
    "Collecting titles, we beat legends. Paranoia all around when you're in our presence."

    Radio 
  • In the series 2 finale of Undone, the protagonist takes a pill to make her paranoid enough to work out the plots and counter-plots surrounding her half-sister's wedding, just in time to stop them.

    Sequential Art 
  • Gahan Wilson did a one-panel comic for Playboy which shows a psychiatrist asking his patient "When did you first become aware of this imagined 'plot to get you,' Mr. Potter?" ...while crooking his finger at two grinning black-cloaked assassins who are creeping in through the office door.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anyone who is not this in Warhammer 40,000 should be, because the entire universe REALLY IS out to get you.
    • The treatment of psykers is among the most brutal in fiction: they are hunted down and shipped off to Terra in ships crewed by blanks (extremely un-psychic Humanoid Abominations, from the psykers' perspectives), were their potential is tested. If they're too weak, they're used to fuel the God-Emperor's spirit to keep the Astronomican lit, if strong enough, they get to enjoy Training from Hell (Not Hyperbole) and a lifetime of fighting the many, many horrors and evil creatures the galaxy has to offer. And even after all that, they're viewed with contempt, mistrust if not hatred by their superiors and the soldiers they fight alongside. All of this is entirely justified: an untrained psyker has no defense against the daemons of the Warp, and those who escape the Black Ships are basically time bombs until they're murdered by suspicious civilians, fall to Chaos, explode into a portal that lets daemons pour through, or any combination of the above.
    • There are people stupid enough to hire Chaos forces, Dark Eldar or orks as plausibly-deniable mercenaries, and are still surprised when they find themselves betrayed by the biggest Always Chaotic Evil / sadist pricks / Omnicidal Maniacs in the galaxy.
  • Dark Heresy, the roleplaying game of Warhammer 40000, is a game system where Paranoia is a talent; it grants bonuses and you have to pay XP to acquire it. To contrast, in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay it's a crippling mental disorder.
  • As the name implies, this is completely justified in Paranoia. The skill High Alert / Focused Paranoia / Scam Radar isn't about asking if there's a threat — there are loads of them all the time — but which one is most immediately relevant.
  • Chaotic Evil creatures in Dungeons & Dragons — as well as anyone living close to them — usually are leery to the extreme.
    • The Drow are justifiably paranoid about their enemies and as such tend to get killed by their friends. Conversely, if one spends too many time looking over the shoulder at one's allies... according to Drizzt Do'urden, "Those who watch their backs meet death from the front." Even technically Chaotic Good followers of Eilistraee tend to be very jumpy, as most of them are ex-Lolthites and know what to expect all too well. Any non-disguised Drow outside of their territory—above ground or below—usually are attacked on sight, without asking for their purpose or something, by almost anyone else not too busy running away, which usually is a Properly Paranoid reaction as well.
    • Dispater, one of the Archdukes of Hell, is paranoid and cautious in the extreme. He never leaves his impenetrable fortress, has both halves of his court spying on each other, and even the way he fights is more defense then offense. The thing is, in Hell everyone is out to get you, (even Asmodeus has people plotting against him, but he is aware of every plot) so he's smart for doing all of that!
  • A way of life (or perhaps the only way of life) for the Mages of Mage: The Awakening. Personal information can be used as an ingredient for more powerful spellcasting, so Mages take great pains to make sure that they leave no hairs anywhere, that their old clothing is either properly disposed of or burned, and that no one ever, under any circumstances, discovers their real name.
    • Changelings, meanwhile, are refugees from the hellish domain of god-like entities. They're fully aware that their former captors can leave near-perfect imitations of the people they've taken, that they have agents operating on this side of Arcadia, and that — while mercurial — many of them would very much like to get their property back. Much of their society is based around institutional structures that effectively throw up cloud cover for the Gentry.
    • Judging by the fluff thus far, demons operate like this as well. They're former agents of an all-encompassing occult superintelligence that plays with causality the way a child plays with blocks. They know their former boss has agents in all facets of the world, and that said agents are looking for defectors so that they can be reintegrated (forcefully, if necessary) back into the God-Machine. Also, they and all their kind have such perfect control over their emotions, they can tell lies that no supernatural power can discern as falsehoods. There's a reason most of their local institutions are modeled after spy rings.
  • In Adeptus Evangelion (Think Neon Genesis Evangelion by the way of Dark Heresy). You can take Paranoia as a strength. Not a weakness, a strength.
  • In Amber Diceless Roleplaying, this is used as an example of how the PCs have no chance whatsoever of defeating any of the NPCs from the original series. Benedict cannot See the Invisible, but his Implausible Fencing Powers are so well-honed that he can anticipate an attack by invisible people and kick their asses anyway.
  • In the Illuminati card game, the Paranoids are one group you can control, and give you protection against all attacks except natural disasters.

    Visual Novels 
  • It's actually kind of funny when you go back to replay Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and realize that von Karma was paranoid enough to retrain a parrot, on the off chance that somebody *coughcough* might cross-examine her. Guess what happens.
    • However, while the parrot was retrained to not say the most incriminating thing, Phoenix managed to use the other things it says to link the owner to DL-6.
  • Ivan, much to Gian's surprise as Ivan appears to be the opposite at first appearance, from Lucky Dog 1 turns out to be incredibly paranoid about the people around him — he's forced his men on a number of occassions to eat the food they bring in case it's poisoned. This is because, when he was younger, somebody he was close to set him up and he almost died, and he doesn't feel completely welcomed into the mafia. As it turns out some of the people betraying the mafia were his own men and his overly precautious nature saves his and Gian's lives on multiple occasions.
  • In Fate/stay night: Ataraxia, Sakura has no way of knowing that Rider really is attracted to Shirou, but she fears Rider will 'steal' him away anyway.

    Web Animation 
  • Flaky might come across as being irrationally nervous and the character has a boatload of phobias in Happy Tree Friends, but considering what usually ends up happening to the HTF gang, and the somewhat unusual delivery mechanisms of said fates, her fears seem rather justified... but unfortunately her caution rarely pays off due to Finagle's Law being in effect.
  • DSBT InsaniT: In 'Untamed and Uncut', Asia is worried that Lisa is going to come up out of nowhere and ruin everything as usual. She ends up being partly-right.
  • RWBY: Unlike most of the world, Ironwood knows about Salem; he knows about the Relics and the Maidens, and the threat that's facing the world. He knows who was behind the fall of Beacon Academy, and he knows the other three Academies are in danger. However, his decision to cut off Dust trade with the rest of the world to cut off supply to the villains drives Jacques up the wall, given that it cuts into his business profits. Ironwood has obtained intel that Haven is the next target, and he doesn't trust Haven's headmaster to deal with the matter properly. He's also still angry over Beacon's fall, feeling Ozpin never listened to his advice. He therefore decides to seal up Atlas, preventing anyone from coming or going and implies he'll take control of the entire kingdom if he has to. Jacques points out this is extreme, echoing Glynda's earlier observation that Ironwood struggles to trust people. Unbeknown to them, Ironwood's instincts about Haven are correct: the headmaster is in league with Salem.

    Web Comics 
  • In Narbonic, after Dave goes mad, Helen tells him that the nice part of going mad is that "You realize you weren't paranoid after all."
  • In Sam & Fuzzy, Malcolm has various crazy cryptic rants about a conspiracy involving the hunter in white, the corporation that kills to control the message, the man with two faces and space gophers. They all turn out to be a true (even the space gophers) and a result of his hairstyle accidentally picking up secret transmissions from Sin records
  • Homestuck has this in the form of Beta Bro Strider. This character takes some actions that are absolutely horrifying to those around them, and even now with the information we have they are still considered excessive force, but to see the motivation they have knowing that Bro was being tortured by Lord English's presence in Lil Cal his entire time with Dave makes you think.
  • Lord Shojo, ruler of Azure City in The Order of the Stick. Best summed up by this:
    Shojo: Paranoia? I rule a city where I have to fake senility just to avoid being assassinated. I took Improved Paranoia like 5 levels ago.
    • Also, Haley. Her father raised her to trust nobody but family, and while this made it difficult to open up to her new friends within the Order, it also helped her identify whether or not new people they meet were Evil or not.
  • Schlock Mercenary, in wide range. Lieutenant Shore "Pi" Pibald, paranoid to the point of insanity — or "as irrational as his namesake" — though fortunately, in a mercenary company of violent sociopaths, this isn't a bad thing. However, he's intelligent enough that he's been correct about his suspicions on at least three notable occasions.
    Narrator: It's a good thing he's not in therapy. This would undo months of progress.
    • Kevyn does not expect much good surprises from the Universe or people, either. As he said to another Mad Scientist:
    Kevyn: I went straight for the most reckless, potentially-deadly activity I could imagine. It looks clever, but it's actually paranoid pessimism.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Riff spends a good chunk of the comic paranoid that Aylee will revert to her "primal instincts" and go on a killing spree. While this paranoia is unusually assholish for Riff, the inventions he's made out of his paranoia have ultimately saved the group multiple times.
  • After discovering that they are werewolves, the main cast of Cry Havoc (with the exception of Hati) become paranoid that the Vatican and Aesir churches are out to get them, this even goes so far that they tactically sweep and clear rooms they enter, carry multiple weapons on them at any time, and plan on how to kill their only allies should they be surprised.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Jack believes that the Court tracks students through their food. Naturally, even a student quite disillusioned with the Court asks him why they would do it in such a ridiculous way. Jack's right.
  • One xkcd comic has the character announce "I know you're listening" to empty rooms, on the off chance he's right.
  • One mezzacotta character says this is why you humans cannot be allowed to leave Earth.
  • You don't need enemies to be properly paranoid. Florence of Free Fall is an engineer specializing in nuclear power plants and space ship engines. She considers four independent fully-redundant safety systems an absolute minimum for anything important. She developed this habit contending with nothing worse than Murphy's Law. Considering how destructive a nuclear or space ship catastrophe can be, it's good to be that paranoid.
    • Considering that Murphy's Law is one of the most destructive forces in the universe...
  • Everything involving the Rash Illness in Stand Still, Stay Silent.
    • Are buzzsaws on a train really necessary? God, yes As for why... [1] WARNING- Nightmare Fuel ahead.
    • The official guide for clearing land:
    • In the prologue, Iceland for closing its borders and the two families from Sweden and Finland who deliberately decided to spend the worst of the outbreak in an isolated area. The other future groups of survivors either already lived in an isolated place or got stuck in one such area due to the massive closing of borders with only a few hours of warning.
  • Narrowly averted in Plume - Aricon, terrified of assassins, went to such lengths in order to prevent his murder, Corrick started to daydream about killing him.
  • Of a sort in We Are The Wyrecats. Bryce's gradual loss of reality resulting from his brain tumor causes him to react with extreme paranoia at times, but given the conspiracies surrounding him and his teammates, his paranoid outbursts would almost seem reasonable coming from a healthy person.

    Web Original 
  • The characters in The Last Stage by Nat One Productions exhibit this trope throughout the story by necessity.
    • Cell leader PATRICK makes sure that his teammates are really themselves every time he meets them again by spraying them with dangerous chemicals that have the added benefit of showcasing whether or not someone has been affected by the paranormal.
    • The entire crew constantly are checking for tails, making sure their hotel rooms aren't bugged, and are actively suspicious of almost every person they encounter out in the field.
  • Whateley Academy is actively trying to instill a form of this attitude in its students. As staff members have been heard to state outright, the point of the school isn't so much to produce superheroes or — villains — or even provide a formal education (though it does that, too) as to train young mutants to survive in a world in which many people are out to get them.
    • Phase is paranoid, and rightly so. He grew up in an ultra-wealthy family, and so has spent his whole life watching for conmen, hucksters, golddiggers, false friends, you name it. He bought a high-end utility belt after only a couple weeks at Whateley Academy. The one time he wasn't wearing it (because the powers testing guys insisted on experimenting on it) he really, really needed it.
    • Except for Gunny Sergeant Bardue, whose behaviour is less Properly Paranoid and more simply Jerk Ass. He beats up a young student for demonstrating how his illusions work because the illusion, which was quite clearly only an illusion, resembled an antique pistol. He later hurls a car at a student that has no mutant ability, with the intent of forcing her latent mutation to manifest. Not only is the manifestation of a mutant power actually none of his concern, it may have been a life-destroying change for the student, such as if her power manifested by turning her permanently into a monstrous form. And that's assuming that she had a latent mutation that would react to, and be able to defend against, a car hurtling towards her. What an Idiot!!
  • In Marble Hornets, Alex starts constantly filming himself midway through producing his student film. After J watches the tapes, he starts filming himself as well. What they find is disturbing, to say the least.
  • Gaia Online, true to form, has at least three known examples.
    • G-Corps Labtech 957, several of whose numerous conspiracy theories about the place are eventually revealed to be true. He'd even stashed a bigass shotgun for the Zombie Apocalypse.
    • Johnny Gambino sent his son Gino into hiding the night before Halloween 2k7's vampires came looking for them both.
    • Gambino, again, went to his friend Edmund with concerns about his security force being absent early in March 2010. Edmund dismissed him as paranoid and told him to go home and get some sleep. Cue vampire assassin...
    • The entire population of the Gaia universe refuses to attend Louie's Halloween party in 2011, on the basis that Halloween festivities in Gaia tend to end badly. Naturally, there's an outbreak of lycanthropy at the party.
  • Invoked by Gordon Freeman in episode 28 of Freeman's Mind. While his paranoia does allow him to accurately predict enemy strategies and avoid traps, he proceeds to delve into the absurdly paranoid... including telepathic owls.
  • The Salvation War reveals that tinfoil hats actually work against demonic mind powers.
  • The Nostalgia Critic becomes paranoid that his allies will seek to oust him as President of Kickassia. He's right, but it's only after he threatens them with twenty tons of dynamite!
    • Subverted with the Nostalgia Chick, who he never really notices making several thinly-veiled assassination attempts for her own ends.
  • Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons: Minerelle becomes terrified by, and obsessed with, a figure named 'Alfonso de Tambor' who she happens to read about in an old book. It increasingly becomes clear that her paranoia over him is completely irrational. Until he shows up, by which time she's forgotten who he is.
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Jane senses that something is off from the moment she came to be Adele Rochester's tutor. In episode 13, her suspicions are confirmed as far as the strange happenings in the house go, though she doesn't know the mystery yet. However, it's also the episode when she admits that Mr Rochester is all right, and she expected him to be horrible — neglectful or abusive to Adele and possibly to herself.
  • Markiplier is horrified by mannequins and suits of armor. Any time he walks into a room where either or both are present, he will freak out. Unless, of course, the angel statue is somewhere around.
  • The Flying Man: Mike is afraid that the murderous vigilante will crash their arms deal. Rob tells him not to worry. Guess who shows up?
  • In Worm, when the insects around a police station so much as move strangely, the cops take it as a sign that the Skitter is spying on them, and freak out accordingly. As the reader knows, she is.
    • Turned Up to Eleven when dealing with the Simurgh, where it's literally impossible to be paranoid enough. Whatever plan you make to counter or contain her influence, she has already forseen and accounted for.
  • In the Creepypasta, "Psychosis", the protagonist becomes increasingly convinced that everyone but him has been abducted and replaced by shapeshifting monsters assuming their identities, and that he's next. It certainly seems like it's all in his head and that he's just going crazy, and the ending confirms that he is in fact wrong. Everyone is being controlled by Puppeteer Parasites instead.
  • In the Red Panda Adventures, the Red Panda enlists in the army to help the effort against Hitler. He's assigned to a group of superheroes called the Home Team, led by Colonel Fitzroy. Fitzroy reveals that there are files detailing his and the Squirrel's identities, prompting them to go around replacing originals with fakes of their own making. Each fake is even made different so that if copies turn up they'll know where they started from. When the Nazis launch an attack on the Secret Identities of the Home Team's super members, the Squirrel is able to get a lead on who's responsible because one of the fatalities was Colonel Fitzroy, who shouldn't have been targeted since he wasn't one of the superheroes but was named as the Red Panda in one of the fake files.
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, Lord Vyce is determined to hunt down and kill the Entity, despite Linkara's insistance that he killed it. And "The Sleepwalker" arc reveals that Vyce is indeed right, as a fragment of the Entity has possessed Linkara since its defeat. However, he loses the "Properly" part when he once again thinks it's still alive, even after witnessing the Entity kill itself again.


Alternative Title(s): Proper Paranoia

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