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Psychic Nosebleed

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Cameron Vale ponders and bleeds.

"I, I must remind you that the, uh, scanning experience is usually a painful one, sometimes resulting in nosebleeds, earaches, stomach cramps, nausea."

Purely mental battles are hard to show with special effects. Sure, you can have the characters sweat, strain, or show veins swelling on their forehead. But when a character with Telepathy or other Psychic Powers pushes them to the limit, or when a character is under mental attack, or on the losing end of a duel with another psychic, nothing quite exemplifies the true state of affairs like a thin trickle of blood oozing from their nose.

Exactly how much damage this implies varies from place to place. Exaggerated versions of this include blood from the eyes, or eyes and nose simultaneously. Within nodding distance of Truth in Television, as rupture of the capillaries inside the nasal membranes is a recognized (albeit rare, and usually only seen in people already in poor health) symptom of dangerously high blood pressure, such as that caused by extreme emotional stress, physical strain, or — presumably — intense psychic effort. Sudden nosebleeds under stress have been known to precede strokes.


An early example of the trope was the film adaptation of Stephen King's Firestarter, where it was used in place of the original book's far-less-visible "tiny cerebral hemorrhages". However the first actual depiction can be found in the film Scanners (pictured above), which came out a few years prior.

Bleeding from the eyes or ears instead of or alongside a nosebleed could be considered variations of this trope. Blood from the ears in particular is a more worrying sight than a nosebleed, because it's a highly recognisable sign of head trauma.

Polite Dissent, a comics blog written by a physician, regularly provides examples of Psychic Nosebleed Zen, which the author has dubbed "epistaxis telepathica."

Sometimes overlaps with Deadly Nosebleed and may lead to Power-Strain Blackout if the psychic battle drags on for too long, or if the psychic pushes themselves to exertion. Only occasionally related to Blood from the Mouth.


For nasal hemorrhages that are more of sexual than psychic nature, see Nosebleed. And for a psychic trope that may result in such, see Dirty Mind-Reading.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In AKIRA, the new, weaker psychics developed and employed by the Big Bad Tetsuo tend to have this. Tetsuo, and the other more powerful psychics, won't get any such ill effects.
  • It's physical rather than psychic, but in Attack on Titan, this appears to happen to Titan shifters who transform too much or for too long. It's unclear, however, whether this affects all shifters, or just those that possess the Attack Titan, as we've only seen it happen to Eren and Kruger.
  • In Gantz, the psychics Sakata and Sakurai get a slight nosebleed when they use their psychic abilities. This is explained as using these abilities pushes their bodies past limits that just shouldn't be pushed, resulted in wearing out their insides in a process that's exactly like ageing: although they always appear to be the same age, their bodies are becoming that of old men by using these abilities. Of course, considering the Old Man character that's the Hero's Right Hand Man, this might not be a BAD thing, per se.
    • Oh, but it gets better. Later on, when Sakata holds back an enormous alien at the risk of his life to give Sakurai and Reita a chance to escape, he bleeds from the nose, mouth, eyes and ears. Ouch.
  • In Full Metal Panic!, Tessa has a massive nosebleed after melding her mind with Kaname's and helping her assume direct control over the Tuatha de Danann.
  • Naruto:
    • After using his Amaterasu Sharingan technique, one of Itachi's eyes begins to bleed profusely and becomes extremely bloodshot. After using Amaterasu and several other similar techniques repeatedly, Sasuke's eye bleed even more and are so bloodshot they look like they're about to explode.
    • While trying to trap the 9 tailed fox inside his Chibaku Tensei meteor, Pain gets a nosebleed from the strain of the technique.
    • When Inoichi telepathically communicates to an entire army of 20,000 at once he ends up getting a nosebleed.
  • In X/1999 Subaru Sumeragi has blood coming from his ears after going within Kamui to bring him back from his borderline Angst Coma after Fuuma's Face–Heel Turn and Kotori's murder.
  • A common occurrence in Psyren. Psychicers commonly have nosebleeds after they either develop or exhaust their abilities.
  • In Weiß Kreuz Gluhen, Shimojima develops a nasty nosebleed while Berger is using his Psychic Powers to force Shimojima to drive his car out of control. The nosebleed abates when Berger stops.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi when Haruna's artifact is used to defend from a massive attack on all sides, she is knocked unconscious and receives a slight head injury from the feedback received from her artifact.
  • In Gundam X, ex-Newtype Jamil Neet starts bleeding from the ears while attempting to communicate with another Newtype, Tiffa Adil.
  • Anemone from Eureka Seven has these, but it's used as an indicator of the abuse her job puts on her mind and body rather than actual psychic powers.
  • While not due to psychic efforts, near the end of Summer Wars, Kenji's nose starts to bleed at the immense effort of mentally decrypting a two-thousand digit key, entirely in his head, with only a few seconds left until the satellite drops.
  • In Night Raid 1931, Yukina suffers one after working with Shizune and her seer powers to show a strong illusion of an atomic bomb in effect to a crowd of people as a warning.
  • In Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, this has happened a couple of times when Meiko Otsuka and others with her telepathy power overexert themselves.
  • Batman Ninja. Batman discovers the Joker has lost his memory, restoring him to sanity. As the Joker believes himself to be a harmless farmer, Batman decides to leave him alone not knowing that the Joker has hypnotised himself as a Memory Gambit. On seeing the hypnotic trigger that reactivates his memories the Joker starts to bleed from his nose, so he smears the blood across his mouth to create the familiar Joker smile.
  • Nighthead Genesis: Naoto gets a nose-bleed in class after being overwhelmed with his powers.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman: In "Death of a King", it's established that the Sea Monster Topo is too intelligent to be influenced by Aquaman's telepathy. When Atlantis is attacked by Scavenger's army, the hero tries to summon Topo in a desperate effort to repel the invaders. Though he succeeds, the strain causes him to start bleeding profusely from his nose, then fall into a coma.
  • Max Lord, of the Justice League of America, had a small nosebleed whenever he used his metahuman "push" ability. In Justice League: Generation Lost, Max pushed his powers far enough to erase memories of his existence from everyone on the planet except for Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and Captain Atom. To do so, he had to constantly replenish his blood supply from the massive haemmorhage it gave him.
  • The Fantastic Four series has quite a few examples cropping up from time to time. Any character that suffers psychic stress seems prone to the Psychic Nosebleed. In recent times it happened in both the movie and the Civil War. For example we have Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman. Also, Marvel Boy/Justice also got nosebleeds when overusing his psychic powers.
  • Marvel's Voices: Indigenous Voices: Silver Fox's husband Trigo can look into a being's future by touching them, but doing so clearly takes a toll on his health, including starting large nosebleeds.
  • X-Men.
    • Jean Grey and Rachel Summers. Hardly surprising, since the second is the first's time-travelling daughter from an alternate future.
    • Cable (Jean's Clone's time-traveling son from this reality) subverted this on one occasion by bringing himself back from the dead without any problems. Usually, though, he suffers psychic nosebleeds when doing things like inadvertently mind-controlling a continent's worth of people, saving airborne continents from crashing after gravity comes back into effect, or beating up the cosmically-powered Silver Surfer in an attempt to burn out his own powers.
    • Nate Grey, Jean's artificial son from an alternate reality, was particularly prone to this as a younger man whenever he used his powers on a notable scale thanks to the instability his creator, his reality's Sinister, built into his genetics (he didn't want his Living Weapon hanging around after it had done its job). It remained, to an extent, after the instability was fixed, though only when he was maintaining vast scale power-usage.
    • In the Marvel Age we have Emma Frost. She constantly gets severe nosebleeds as her abilities are awakening.
    • In the 80s graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills, a brainwashed Professor X psychically attacked Storm and Cyclops, almost killing them—they were left unconscious, with blood trickling out their noses.
    • During the X-Nation arc, Magneto sufferred a severe nosebleed, along with severe sweating and convulsions as a result of the strain involved when he locked onto the Breakworld missile (which was several light years away at the time), and bring it back to Earth to rescue Kitty Pryde.
  • The villain Saturn Queen from the Supergirl comics.
  • Sophie, one of the Stepford Cuckoos from New X-Men, suffered a psychic nosebleed before her death while using Cerebra (the upgraded version of Cerebro). This was a combination of several factors; she wasn't a strong enough psychic to control Cerebra, and was on the mutant-power-boosting drug "Kick" in order to do so. Combined with her inexperience with the machine, it's somewhat unsurprising that it led to her death.
  • In an issue of Chuck Dixon's Team 7, a Russian telepath tries to use her Psychic Radar to track them through the Cambodian jungle. It doesn't work, due to a "greater power." She gets a Psychic Nosebleed for her trouble.
  • Ex Machina: Mitchell Hundred is a technopath who gets nosebleeds when he overexerts the use of his powers, such as when he forcibly landed one of hijacked planes during the 9/11 attacks.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, exposure to intense enough dosages of Ghidorah's Psychic Powers can have a Brown Note effect which can cause bleeding from orifices including the nose in humans. In Chapter 14, when Ghidorah violently makes psychic contact with Monster X, both of Monster X's heads suffer this trope with Blood from the Mouth and extreme seizures.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, an unscrupulous asari experiences this. Disruptor blast 1, biotic barriers 0. The encounter is ultimately fatal even though she doesn't end up vaporized.
  • Child of the Storm features multiple characters with psychic powers, so this ends up happening a few times.
    • Fred and George discuss the trope in the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, noting how Harry and Voldemort's psychic fight didn't really look like much from the outside, aside from this.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic The Lost World, Spock ends up with one of these after he managed to telepathically repair/heal a psychic master computer. Given that the other telepaths to try the same had either been killed outright or driven insane, Kirk is naturally horrified to find him bleeding and unconscious.
  • In Waiting is worth it, after Izuku was able to obliterate the giant robot in the entrance exam, he tries using his quirk to float himself to safety when he starts falling, only to be met with a sharp pain in his head. This strongly implies that even his abilities has a limit and can take a toll on him physically.
  • In Death God of New York, when Natasha first materializes spiritual ribbons on her own, she notices none of them are Nick Fury's even though he's in the next room. In an attempt to materialize his, she ends up getting a nosebleed before remembering Ichigo's comment that people can learn to suppress their spiritual energy to go undetected.
  • Green Tea Rescue: Izuku's Psychokinesis Quirk is quite useful when he's built it up, but overuse or attempting to lift something heavier than his current limits can result in heavy nose bleed or even concussions that can put him down for extended periods of time.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Mind Sifter, Commander Spock is subjected to the titular Mind Rape device. His Vulcan Psychic Powers allow him to resist, but the strain it takes is pretty much evident when, after the interrogation is over, he wakes up with his face wet from blood and tears.

  • In Boy 7 (2015) this is what happens to the young people in the social rehabilitation center when their memories, which were deleted by the company before, come back as some significant stimuli reaches the character.
  • This happens to Zorg in The Fifth Element when having a telephone conversation with the Big Bad, though weirdly it seems to be oozing out of the top of his head. And seems to have been corrupted to boot.
  • The movie The Butterfly Effect has the main character start to get nosebleeds after he has several blackouts. Each blackout (i.e. each use of his power) cause worse and worse damage to the main character's brain. This is caused by the main character's Ripple Effect-Proof Memory kicking in and the memories being physically written into his brain and co-existing with the older sets. After the first couple of times the main character fiddles with the past, he gets an MRI and the doctor notes that his brain has all the age-induced scarring of someone twice as old as him.
  • Dune (1984) involved a scene in which several Bene Gesserit (psychic witches) cried blood when Paul drank the Water of Life.
  • Scanners not only invented this trope, it pushed it farther than anyone has since, where it shows that enough psychic energy not only causes noses to bleed, but veins to pop leaks, eyes to bulge and even pop out, and, in one famous scene, an entire head to explode. There's also a scene where the psychic protagonist is explicitly trained to mess with the opponent's biological functions. After all, it's hard to stay focused if you're having a heart attack or worse.
  • In The Ring, characters experience a nosebleed whenever the Curse's influence grows particularly strong.
  • Shown to happen to the three guys from Chronicle whenever they overuse their powers. Also seems to work like a psychic connection between the three when something happens to one of the others.
  • In Fantastic Four (2005), Susan Storm aka Invisible Woman, suffered a nosebleed when she formed a force field around the ensuing "supernova" her brother Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch created to defeat Dr. Doom. It also happened on the Brooklyn Bridge, when she first discovered her force field abilities by containing another (unrelated) fire. In the DVD cast commentary, Jessica Alba mentioned that she liked the idea, since it shows how much she's pushing herself.
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse had this at the end. Security guard nosebleeds and dies.
  • In Let the Right One In, something similar to this happens when vampires enter without being invited. Well, more like they start bleeding from... everywhere.
  • In Firestarter, Andy has this happen to him whenever he uses his mental domination powers.
  • An Ur-Example appears in The Wizard of Gore to show that Montag had the morgue attendant hypnotized. It's later revealed that the attendant died from the experience.
  • Used in Valentine; whatever was killing the victims left all of them with nosebleeds after they died.
  • Pacific Rim: Using the mental link without a partner or on a Kaiju brain causes aneurysms, shown as this.
  • In the Chevy Chase comedy Modern Problems, he uses his new psychic powers to make someone else's nose bleed. Note that Scanners was released in January 1981 and this was released that December, making it likely this was a deliberate Shout-Out or spoof.
  • The Dark Messiah in Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice causes a man to bleed from his nose by carving a wooden effigy with a knife. It gets so bad that his entire face starts bleeding, and he dies.
  • The Dark Tower (2017). The Big Bad has a Compelling Voice that few have the power to resist. When a seer tries to do so, she starts bleeding from the nose to show the effort she's putting into it. Resistance Is Futile and she dies from the strain. Though dying from the strain did, in fact, thwart his plans.
  • In Lemon Tree Passage, Maya develops a nosebleed when the ghost light appears beyond the car, even though she doesn't see it. This appears to be a manifestation of unknown psychic powers (she has strange visions that no other character experiences), but it is never explicitly stated.
  • Akan, the Big Bad of Hardcore Henry, has telekinetic powers, and is prone to bleed, particularly from the mouth, when he overexerts himself with them. By the end of the movie, the front of his shirt is soaked from how heavily he uses him.
  • Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. After imprisoning Minister of Paranormal Warfare Carl Jenkins because he found out about her Evil Plan, Sky Marshall Snapp is giving a Rousing Speech on a live Fed Net broadcast when she suddenly starts bleeding from the nose. As she's obsessed with her public image, she's not happy and has her goons give Carl a good beating.
  • In Malevolent (2018), one of the indications that Angela is starting to come into her medium abilities is that she's started getting nosebleeds in the presence of paranormal activity.
  • In Freaks (2018), Abnormals bleed from one corner of their eye when they use their power in an intense manner. In extreme cases, they start coughing blood as well.
  • Three years prior to the Trope Maker, The Fury presented another Ur-Example. Gillian's unfamiliarity with her powers causes bleeding on people who touch her, especially if they're already injured in some way (i.e. a wound opens back up). At the end, she weaponizes her by-then enhanced powers to kill the Big Bad by making him explode.
  • Army of Frankensteins: Every time Alan sees through his Frankenstein's eyes, he gets a splitting headache.

  • In Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War Malingo suffers from this when Carion is interfering with his control over the glyph.
  • Aurora Cycle: Auri O'Malley gets these when she uses her powers as the Eshvaren's Trigger, or when the power takes her over.
  • An odd case occurs in Darkness Visible: Though venturing is not a purely psychic talent, there is a lot of mental strain involved, particularly the way that Lewis does it. When he pushes himself too far, the first outward sign is a nosebleed.
  • In Simon R. Green's Deathstalker series, Espers and the Maze People have this happen rather often, when pulling off big time abilities.
  • Despite the frequent use of Psychic Powers in Fingerprints, only one psychic nosebleed ever occurs: when a character attempts to use their power on a group of guards who are psychic-blocked. All of the psychics suffer other varying side-effects from overuse of their powers, though.
  • Christine Feehan's Ghost Walkers series has this happen as well as cerebral hemorrhages. But it's also said that the high numbers of hemorrhages and strokes in Shadow Game are anomalous.
  • In the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker books, those forced to perform the Weather Working suffer from this.
  • In King of the Water Roads this is often the first price exacted for spells. It starts with the thin trickle, but the more magic is used, it can expand to a steady pour, then to coughing blood along with the nosebleeds.
  • In a subversion of the trope, in The Merchant Princes Series by Charles Stross the Psychic Nosebleed is a common side effect of the dimension hopping powers of said princes. The subversion comes from the fact that it is a side effect of malignant hypertension and can be treated with beta blockers and other medication.
  • Nightside: Happens to John Taylor when he pushes his gift too hard, either by using it too many times in quick succession or by forcing his perceptions past some kind of mystical/psychic barrier.
  • In Perdido Street Station, the activation of Isaac's moth-baiting apparatus sends out such a powerful psychic blast across New Crobuzon that sensitives all over the city develop nosebleeds, two of them fatal.
  • In Rachel Griffin, one character is found "gushing" blood from intense mental stress caused by fighting against a magical compulsion. Overlaps with Deadly Nosebleed, as she passes out from blood loss and explicitly would have died without prompt treatment.
  • The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School:
    • Amy often gets nosebleeds during her early attempts to practice with her telekinesis, which become less common as she becomes more capable with it.
    • "Know-It-All" Knowles, whose Ability is rapidly memorizing and assimilating written information, starts bleeding from her ears when she tries to memorize the Great Big Book of Everything in one sitting.
  • Happens in The Shadow Speaker when Ejii tries to search Dikeogu's mind.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Death Star, a marginally Force-sensitive stormtrooper called Nova Stihl is hit hard by the destruction of the prison planet Despayre, the Death Star's first test. Nova woke up screaming and felt like he had heard a million people cry out, all at once, as they were killed. Shortly afterwards the Death Star destroys Alderaan. For that, Nova was awake, but he was knocked unconscious and woke up with a nosebleed and intense muscle tremors. Poor conflicted bastard.
  • Visenna gives herself one after overexerting herself healing Geralt in the Sword of Destiny book of The Witcher series.
    • In Tower of the Swallow, Joanna Selborne, nickname "Kenna", finishes giving testimony to the tribunal at the Citadel in Nilfgaard regarding her defection from Stefan Skellen's gang due to disaffection with his obsessive goal of capturing Ciri. Just as the judge is about to order the guards to take her back to her cell, she successfully uses her telepathic powers to have him order her released instead so she can be a free woman. She then surreptitiously wipes away her nosebleed, smiles and thanks the judge with a bow.
  • Penric gets a nosebleed from shamanic magic in World of the Five Gods, but justified in that that's his way of powering the Blood Magic.
  • Hoshi and the Red City Circuit: When Hoshi's navis malfunctions at night, dumping information from all over the city into her head, she wakes up with a nosebleed.
  • InCryptid: When Sarah uses her telepathy too strongly, she gets a nosebleed. However, Johrlac blood is clear, so it just looks like she has a runny nose.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Similarly, various psychic characters in The 4400 have had nosebleeds when using their powers.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The obvious source of Touched by Vorlons has Lyta Alexander, who winds up with bleeding eyes. Bleeding, black-socketed, empty eyes.
    • A variant: when Lyta forces Bester out of her mind in the fourth season, he reacts as if punched in the jaw. In another confrontation Bester hypothesises that Lyta can't take his entire team at once since she is sweating after pushing back two. She replies that if she pushes too hard she might pop someone's blood vessel and cause them brain damage. Posturing ensues.
  • When D'Anna uses the machine on the Algae Planet in the third season of Battlestar Galactica (2003), she experiences a psychic vision while her body has a nosebleed and then dies.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Blood Ties", Willow gets some of these after using a teleportation spell on Glory.
  • Carnivàle: Ben Hawkins got one after he used some form of astral projection.
  • In the Class (2016) episode "Detained", Charlie bleeds from the nose and eyes while mentally battling a homicidal alien consciousness possessing a meteorite.
  • Subverted in Cleopatra 2525 when a telepath spends six months deliberately inducing a nosebleed as part of her escape plan.
  • In Dollhouse, a device called the Disrupter gives this and a headache to anyone with the brain structure of a Doll, which comes in handy for The Reveal of Senator Perrin's origin.
  • It was never made clear whether the nosebleed was due to Psychic Powers or something else, but the "Two by two, hands of blue" assassins in Firefly had a device which caused a progression of symptoms like this: your nose bleeds a little, your nose bleeds a lot, your mouth bleeds, your eyes bleed, you die.
  • On Fringe, if an Observer "reads" you, you can fight it. Symptoms include nosebleeds, bloody eyes, permanent brain damage, and death. (But you might keep him from reading you.)
  • Heroes:
    • Telepathic cop Matt Parkman in the first season.
    • Angela Petrelli in the second season, when she (unsuccessfully) resisted Matt's mental assault.
    • Peter Petrelli in the second season finale.
    • Hiro Nakamura, plus a psychic ear bleed, a burst vein in his eye, and fainting. And now a brain tumor!
    • Some other characters as well, such as The Haitian and Eric Doyle. For a list of all the examples, see here.
  • Kyle XY did this when he overused his powers. Happened more often to Jessie than it did to Kyle.
  • Parodied in an episode of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, where a psychic guest loses copious amounts of blood while using telepathy. The psychic's spoon is indeed nudged, although he is now wearing a wet red shirt for it.
  • In an episode of Leverage, master manipulator Nate triggers a psychosomatic illness in their target of the week, causing Parker to marvel, "Did you just give a guy a nosebleed with the power of your mind?"
  • Lost:
    • This occurs whenever a consciousness becomes "unstuck in time" and is forcibly moved between the past and the future without a constant. Those suffering the effects of temporal displacement experience headaches, confusion, memory loss, nosebleeds, and eventually death by cerebral hemorrhage. A major character has died because of this.
    • Other examples abound on the show when characters willingly or unwittingly screw with the forces literally surrounding the island.
  • The first time Eliot from The Magicians accidentally used magic, he got a nosebleed.
  • In the season premiere of Scrubs season 8, Dr. Cox gets one of these while trying to resist an infectious smile. It's more a battle of wills than psychic, but still qualifies.
  • In Smallville, when Chloe telepathically connects with the crystal of knowledge using her Brainiac abilities to save Clark, she gets a nosebleed before collapsing.
  • In Stargate SG-1 Jonas Quinn gets a few of these while using precognitive abilities gained by the Goa'uld Nirrti experimenting with his DNA.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Warlord", the Villain of the Week takes over Kes and starts using her psychic powers for his own evil purposes, like putting his minions in their place. This trope ensues, and given that the aliens on the receiving end have more than the usual number of nasal orifices, it gets rather bloody.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • When Kira allows one of the Prophets to take her body to fight a Pah Wraith (in the body of Jake Sisko), the exertion gives her a Psychic Nosebleed.
    • In the episode "The Muse", Jake experiences a Psychic Nosebleed (twice) because an alien creature is stimulating his creativity in order to feed off his mental energy.
  • In Stranger Things, when Eleven uses her powers, her nose bleeds (when she really exerts herself, so do her ears). She gets them when exerting even a tiny fraction of the force she's capable of and generally ignores them except to wipe the blood away. Kali also does this when she creates illusions.
  • Supernatural: Happens to Sam on Supernatural when he uses his Psychic Powers to exorcise demons, first when he was learning how and later when he gets rid of an especially tough demon.
  • Sci-fi show Threshold has Carla Gugino's character getting nosebleeds every time she even remotely hears the alien signal - EVEN when she's talking on a phone to a friend on a quiet private plane, and neither the friend nor the audience can hear the signal being played on the plane.
  • Just about everyone who had been Touched by Vorlons in the miniseries Taken did this. In fact the series ended with the super psychic girl giving all her fellow abductees nosebleeds to push out the small transistors that the aliens had placed in their brains, to prevent future re-abductions.
  • Anna of the rebooted V gets psychic eyebleeds when she uses her bliss on a human.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In The Bible, Jesus is praying at the Mount of Olives just before His arrest, and His sweat appears like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Jacob suffers from mental strain whenever he uses his time looping power. This reaches its conclusion when he forces a fire-covered Michal into a short loop, the strain enough to cause a nosebleed. Irene fixes it up for him afterwards.
  • Gabrielle the witch from We Are All Pirates' Revenge bleeds from her nose (and sometimes even her ears) whenever she uses her psychic powers. Naturally, since the rest of the crew on the Zenpance are not magically inclined, they get worried whenever this happens, but she brushes it off.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000 nosebleeds are a 'secondary indicative symptom of proximal psychic activity'. Specific examples include:
    • Much of the fiction features serious psychic nosebleeds, taken to typical WH40K extremes. Dan Abnett's Ravenor trilogy, for example, has the loser of a high-level psyker duel get turned inside out, a language that causes considerable bodily harm and the speaker's mouth to shred, and a Blank whose nose bleeds continuously when a psyker keeps trying to get in his head.
    • Cadian Blood has the Sanctioned Psyker Seth who is hit especially hard by this sort of thing; one devastating attack he was said to have launched and melted an enemy tank to slag, but shattered his teeth and left him in a coma for a week. When in a trance, he is only peripherally aware that his body is convulsing, bleeding, vomiting... This sort of thing is common for nearly all human psykers, save those of the Astartes and most of the Inquisition.
    • As revealed in Betrayer, psychics and the Butcher's Nails did not get along well in the pre-Heresy World Eaters. Angron's proximity caused psykers to start spontaneously bleeding from the mouth, eyes, and nose, while members of the legion implanted with the Nails (Angron included) found the presence of psykers triggered excruciating migraines. Those members of the Librarium unfortunate enough to be implanted with the Nails themselves frequently suffered violent deaths, either from losing control of their powers, or simply getting turned inside out by raw psychic feedback.
  • Very popular trope with spellcasting characters in the Fantasy meets Cyberpunk roleplaying game Shadowrun, especially common with hermetic mages. Or, more precisely, not popular at all with player characters as such, but rather with their players. Considering that the use of one's magical abilities, psychic battles with spirits or astral combat between astral bodies can result in fatigue and even physical injuries, a magically active character can easily overexert himself into unconsciousness or death.
  • Hunter: The Vigil has the Vanguard Serial Crimes Unit, a task force of the FBI devoted to hunting down supernaturally-empowered serial killers and trained in the psychic arts. Each use of their powers requires them to take a small amount of damage, likely manifesting as a Psychic Nosebleed.
  • Psionics in most versions of Dungeons & Dragons has the possibility of nosebleeds (and much, much worse) when psionic attacks are attempted with low wis or against psionically strong opponents.

    Video Games 
  • Beyond: Two Souls main heroine will experience nosebleeds as well as other symptoms of transcendence.
  • In the demo for BioShock Infinite, your partner character Elizabeth can actually get a nosebleed from using too much of her psychokinetic powers as seen here. In the final game, Booker experiences nosebleeds when his mind tries to comprehend differences between what he believes about his experiences within the multiverse and what memories he's repressed.
  • Not quite a nosebleed, but in Mass Effect, biotics with lower-grade implants can suffer things like mental disorders and frequent headaches. Doctor Chakwas says that Kaidan's early-model implant port means he regularly has to deal with blinding migraines. Kaidan himself alludes to the potential for literal nosebleeds when biotics overexert themselves.
    • Played straight in the Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3. During Shepard's conversation with Leviathan, we see their nose begin to bleed, due to the strain of resisting Leviathan's attempts to control them.
  • Taken one squicky step higher in Metal Gear Solid 3. The Sorrow's eye bleeds and the lens of his glasses cracks when he uses his psychic powers to "test" Naked Snake (because he's really Dead All Along, and both are an allusion to how he died).
  • Life Is Strange:
    • Max begins experiencing nosebleeds after extended use of her ability to rewind short segments of time.
    • Max's ability to jump into photographs leads to several nosebleeds during Episode 5, where at one point she time travels - while simultaneously in the middle of time travelling.
  • Galerians draws heavily on Scanners for inspiration and makes frequent use of this trope. It's sometimes coupled with Tears of Blood when herculean mental efforts are underway.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse: While it never actually happens, if you have Max try and read the minds of the Sam clones outside the warehouse in "Beyond the Alley of the Dolls", he complains "My nasal passages are about to receive a visit from Uncle Flo."

  • Chloe from Angel Down mentions that using her powers causes a nosebleed, and cites it as the reason that she prefers to use a cane rather than her powers to get around.
  • Colin from Two Keys gets a major one of these with blood coming out of his nose, mouth and ears after having a Troubled Backstory Flashback brought on by Landon's psychic Mind Screw. It left him in trouble in the middle of a fight.
  • Dominic Deegan is prone to Psychic Nosebleed when he's been fighting titanic battles on the mental plane. See example here.
    • This could also be explained that Dominic Deegan merely slammed his face onto the desk while battling in the mental plane.
  • In Errant Story, garden-variety telepathic communication may or may not cause a nosebleed — hard to tell from what we've seen of it — but possession by a ghod, and the communication that ensues, definitely will do the trick.
  • Immense concentrations of evil can cause paladins to suffer from these in Goblins, along with near-crippling headaches.
  • Penny Arcade has this happen to Tycho when Gabe tries to hate him to death.
  • In Homestuck, noses aren't normally drawn, but Sollux starts bleeding profusely from his eyes and mouth from the immense exertion necessary to push a meteor quite a long distance away to the Green Sun that had recently been created. The stress is so bad that some of the veins beneath his skin burst as well.
  • In Awkward Zombie, Ness experiences a literal one when Sonic triggers an X-Bomb in Magicant, as seen here.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, this happens to Lalli when he summons his luonto.
  • Dylan from Raining Knives begins bleeding from the nose a moment before he begins being able to see his brother's ghost.

    Web Original 
  • There Will Be Brawl: Luigi and Ganondorf both suffer these—and more—at the hands of Lucas and Ness, the Butchers.
    • Luigi gets away with only the nosebleed. Ganondorf ends up bleeding from his eyes, ears, and mouth too.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged gives us this:
    Krillin: My turn my turn MY TURN!!!
    Nappa: [stops]
    Vegeta: Wh—... Nappa, what are you doing?
    Nappa: It's his turn, Vegeta. I have to wait for him.
    Vegeta: Uhh... uh... uhh!" (nose starts to bleed).
    Nappa: You OK, Vegeta?
    Vegeta: Yes, just... just an aneurysm out of sheer stupidity.
    Nappa: Wow! Didn't think you were that stupid, Vegeta.
    Vegeta: WAAAARGHHHHHH!!!
  • Dangerous Lunatics has this happen when Tyler gets electrocuted to the point of coma by Dr. Beatrix and Thurston, at the same time as he tries to use his power to leap out of his body. He partially succeeds, though.
  • SF Debris points out in his review of the Star Trek: Voyager episode, "Warlord," that massive mental powers often result in a nosebleed from either those using them or their victim. Most of the people on the receiving end of a possessed Kes' telepathic attack are Rubber-Forehead Aliens with six nostrils going up their forehead, so they have even more noses to bleed from. Yuck.
  • The Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society's Stephen gets one of these when his psychic powers get activated in Psyren.
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, this is one of the dangers of having your mind read by a Sword
  • Transolar Galactica plays with this trope in episode VIII: Ominous, when the ship's psychic Samson attempts telepathy with the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl that they've taken aboard. It ends up with his head exploding.
  • In Worm, overusing her ability gives Tattletale migraines.
  • Metamor City states that casting spells or using psychic powers causes blood to rush to the head, and the increased blood pressure can cause nasal membranes to burst.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens to Jenkins in the Starship Troopers: Invasion cartoon, hours after he's overexerted himself by making a brain bug ''explode''. It's used while he's alone to illustrate that he did more to himself than he let on to his squadmates.
  • Happens to Homer from The Simpsons. While undergoing lucid dream therapy, Bart and Lisa (or, rather, Homer's representation of their memory) start attacking the scenery to jar the blocked memory. Back outside, Homer receives a nosebleed.
  • Dr. Killinger in The Venture Bros. manages to induce this upon Dr. Orpheus by merely casually resisting his psychic assault until Orpheus overexerts himself.
    Dr. Killinger: Your powers vill not vurk on me, you silly-billy.
  • While not bloody, Niko in Galaxy Rangers has, on several occasions, exerted herself to the point of collapse. The first example was "New Frontier." While attempting to detect Eliza's location, the Queen intrudes into the vision and rather violently pushes back.
  • Manchester Black suffers one at one point in Superman vs. the Elite.
  • Happens to Gary in the Final Space episode "The Happy Place" while he's plugged into a Lotus-Eater Machine.


Video Example(s):


Gillian Bellaver

Gillian is unfamiliar with her psychic powers which causes people who touch her, bleed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / PsychicNosebleed

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