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Psychic Glimpse of Death

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"As Admiral Pike was dying, I joined with his consciousness and experienced what he felt at the moment of his passing: anger, confusion, loneliness... fear."

The moment when a character dies and someone else is there, not just physically (most of the time) with them, but actually inside their minds when the moment comes. The method does not matter: whether through Telepathy, magic, technology or some other means, these two minds have been connected at the moment of death.

What would one feel from another's dying mind? Reflections on their life? Feelings of fear, regret, acceptance, peace? And how would that affect the one who lives? How would they go on after having glimpsed what lies beyond? Often they will be changed dramatically, and may have trouble reconciling what they experienced with life going forward or may gain a new appreciation for life, depending on their outlook and whether or not the experience was traumatic.

May be possible between Mindlink Mates, Mental Fusion, or with a Psychic Link. May overlap with Seeing Through Another's Eyes. Contrast Synchronization, where the link would actually prove fatal to both parties if one dies; and Psychic-Assisted Suicide, where telepathic control is used to force someone to kill themselves. Not to be confused with Foreseeing My Death, which is about glimpsing one's own death in the future.


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    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl (2000): A rare non-telepathic version of this occurs in Cassandra Cain's origin. She had been raised going through Training from Hell, which allowed her to read body language as easily as other people read writing. However, the first time she killed someone, that ability let her see what death was like, describing it as "terror, then... nothing." This traumatized her so much that she ran away for years and vowed to never kill ever again.
  • X-Men:
    • Jean Grey's telepathic powers first kicked in when she and a friend were in a car accident and her friend died, causing her to experience the death mentally. That led to years of therapy with Professor Xavier.
    • The minor villain Mr. X (not to be confused with Xavier) had his telepathy awaken in a similar manner, but he never received any help from other telepaths and developed an addiction to the sensation, becoming a Serial Killer.
    • In Professor X's first confrontation with the villainous mutant Amahl Farouk, Xavier apparently blasts Farouk's astral form apart in a Battle in the Center of the Mind, causing the latter to slump over dead in his chair. Xavier says that he was in Farouk's mind when he died: "It was like a guided tour of hell." Unusually for this trope, it is later revealed that Farouk is not so dead after all, being a psychic Eldritch Abomination possessing a human host.

  • In Brainstorm, one of the inventors of a technology that records complete sensory experiences has a heart attack while working alone at night, and records her own death. Her colleague later peruses the recording and "lives out" her demise, nearly dying himself when he's tempted to follow his late co-inventor's experience all the way to the afterlife.
  • Pacific Rim opens with Raleigh piloting Gipsy Danger with his brother Yancy, which means they're in the drift, the mental link between the two pilots that enables them to control the Jaeger's systems, when Yancy is torn out of the Jaeger while they are still drifting, giving Raleigh a brief flash of his brother's moment of death.
  • Scanners: After Kim Obrist decides to trust Cameron Vale, she takes him to meet her friends, a group of friendly fellow scanners. In the safety of their hideout, they establish a Psychic Link among multiple people, something they describe as frightening but thrilling. Unfortunately, they are not as safe as they think: Big Bad Revok sends Mooks to pursue Vale, and they gun down most of the scanners while their consciousness is linked. Obrist screams in horror, and her pain sets off a telekinetic Angst Nuke that knocks out several gunmen. Only she and Vale make it out alive.
    Kim Obrist: [with a Thousand-Yard Stare] Now I know how it feels to die.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: When Harrison attacks the meeting of Starfleet brass in the aftermath of his London bombing, Captain Pike is mortally wounded. As he lays dying, Spock Mind Melds with him right up until his final thoughts cease. He later describes what he felt to Kirk and Uhura.
  • X-Men: First Class: Toward the end, Erik manages to get Shaw's Psychic Block Defense helmet off, allowing Charles to psychically freeze him in place. With Shaw now helpless before him, Erik uses his powers to push a coin through Shaw's brain, killing him. Charles, in another location, screams the entire way through.

  • In Animorphs, Jake's body is possessed by a Puppeteer Parasite alien and his friends have to tie him up and wait for it to starve in order to stop him from endangering everyone else. Jake feels everything the alien does the whole time it starves to death, including the moment of its death, and glimpses something terrifying right as it dies, which is later revealed to be Crayak.
  • A Desolation Called Peace: Teixcalaanli starfighter pilots suffer the experience of each other dying through the haptic feedback and networking technology they use to coordinate their swarms. Concerningly, that shouldn't be possible with the technology they use, and nobody knows how they're picking up on each other's thoughts and feelings.
  • Abaddon's Gate, book 3 of The Expanse adds a twist - not only does James Holden experience the death via a Ghost Memory, the death he experiences is that of a Hive Mind. When Holden interfaces with the Ring Station's systems to find out what happened to the ring network left behind by the protomolecule masters, the Station relays the information to him as a lived experience. The station's creators experienced an individual's death as a loss of self - no bigger an incident than when a human cell dies. Then the Precursor Killers ramped up their campaign to the point where the protomolecule masters had no choice but to shut off their network and split their hive mind into a thousand pieces.
  • In The Heaven Makers by Frank Herbert, investigator Kelexel travels to Fraffin's World and discovers that Fraffin is violating the Alien Non-Interference Clause and abusing the native inhabitants of the planet — the humans of Earth. Fraffin prevents his escape, denying Kelexel access to Immortality Inducer medical treatment in order to force cooperation. However, Kelexel does the unthinkable, something none of his race have done for eons: he decides to die. He seems willing to atone for his people's involvement in Earth's abuse, but also because it is sure to expose Fraffin. Their people are all joined by a technology called "Tiggywaugh's Web" — not a Psychic Link, but a system that keeps their bodies in subconscious Synchronization and protects their immortality. Kelexel knows that when his death is felt by every one of the decadent Abusive Precursors, it will shock and horrify them to their core. It works: as soon as he dies, Fraffin's scheme is over.
  • The climax of the last novel of the Hyperion Cantos, The Rise of Endymion, is Aenea broadcasting her torture and death to the whole of humanity (well, except for the tormentors themselves).
  • The Psi Corps Trilogy portrays Alfred Bester's rise through the Corps to become the Psi Cop known on Babylon 5, including several death bed scans, which he kept volunteering for to see what was on the other side, possibly losing the best part of himself in the process.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Sword and Sorcerer arrangement between Warders and Aes Sedai (respectively) includes a low-level Psychic Link that transmits their emotional and physical states. It's incredibly traumatic to the survivor if one of them dies: an Aes Sedai is left emotionally devastated for months, while a Warder usually makes a berserk Self-Destructive Charge and needs long-term rehabilitation if they survive their rampage.
  • In White Night, Harry asks his apprentice Molly to try to connect with the body of a recently deceased woman to try and witness her death firsthand. Harry asks this knowing it won't be a pleasant experience for Molly, but she's better at mind magic than he is and they have no other clues. In a mixed blessing, Molly discovers this woman was killed by a vampire of the White Court, which consist of Succubi and Incubi, and thus died while in the throes of passion. Molly experiences that, too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: In the fifth season episode "The Paragon of Animals", Lyta does a "death bed scan", trying to get critical information out of a comatose Ranger before he dies and it's lost. Right after she finds what he knows, she sees him standing at the end of the bed. He makes a Last Request not to let his death be in vain then goes to where a glowing portal opens before stepping through it. Later Mr. Garibaldi finds her and hears what it's like, that at that moment, it pulls at you and part of you actually goes through with the dying person, never to return. It's also suggested at one point that the villainous telepath Bester's sociopathy may be related to doing it too often due to curiosity about the afterlife.
  • The Black Mirror episode "Black Museum" features a doctor who is fitted with an implant that lets him feel what his patients are feeling, to aid with diagnosis. When he gets a US senator ostensibly undergoing a heart attack, he delays defibrillation so he can get a proper reading on what's going on — only it turns out that the patient has actually the victim of a new and exotic poison, and dies while the doctor's still connected to him. The doctor experiences every last sensation of the man's death, right down to the last synapse switching off. This not only knocks him unconscious, it fritzes his implant so that he starts feeling other people's pain as pleasure, and develops a sadomasochistic addiction to it.
  • The television adaptation of The Expanse depicts Holden's experience of the protomolecule masters' deaths in much the same way as its literature counterpart, though with the added benefit of seeing how Holden felt as he experienced it.
  • The Veil: In "Vision of Crime", George Bosworth, aboard a ship 150 miles away, "sees" the murder of his brother Hart in a vision that swirls around in a bowl of water and knows that Albert most definitely isn't the killer.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Ghost legionnaires are undead soldiers who can possess the living like standard ghosts, but doing so forces their victim to relive the legionnaire's last moments on the battlefield. This experience deals psychic damage to the victim, but may also allow them to exploit the ghost legionnaire's Achilles' Heel - attacks similar to those that originally killed the undead.

    Video Games 
  • Cyberpunk 2077 lets V experience death from a gunshot wound to the head via "braindance" (BD): a technology for recording and playing back every sensation of a person for a short time. In Act I, Judy and Evelyn familiarize V with BD investigations by having them solve the murder of a random store robber... recorded from the perspective of said robber. Having not been warned of the contents, V is rather distraught by the experience and needs several moments to convince their body and brain that that death was not, in fact, theirs. This foreshadows V's own (temporary) death by gunshot to the head at the end of Act I, and Judy's optional Sidequest Sidestory later on has her and V bust a whole underground recording studio for snuff BDs, as there is apparently a sizeable market for this trope in Night City.
  • Collecting the right items in Dark Fall: Ghost Vigil and placing them where Ollie and Thomas died will trigger alarming visions of their death-experiences.
  • Detroit: Become Human: If an android dies while another android is connected to their memory bank, the other android will experience their death like itís their own. In-game, this will happen if Simon shoots himself on the rooftop while Connor is connected to him.
    Connor: I was connected to its memory. When it fired, I felt it die. Like I was dying. I was scared...
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Godwoken player characters can communicate with the dead and sometimes even share their memories, which can give them a few first-hand experiences of being killed. One burn victim's final memories are powerful enough to set the Godwoken on fire.
  • In Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, after injuring or defeating ghosts, you can perform a "Fatal Glance", which allows you to see how that ghost died.