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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 exertion is hard to show. Sure, you can have a character sweat, strain, and clutch their head as veins swell on their brow. But when a character with Telepathy or other Psychic Powers pushes them to the limit, or when a character is under mental intrusion or attack, or on the losing end of a duel with another psychic, nothing quite exemplifies the terrible intensity of their mental state like a thin trickle of blood oozing from their nose.

Exactly how much damage this implies varies from place to place. Subtle cases can have a single drop; exaggerated ones can leak Blood from Every Orifice.

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. Blood from the ears is even more worrying, because it's a highly recognisable sign of head trauma.

An early example of the trope was the 1984 film adaptation of Firestarter, in which it's 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.

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. For a psychic trope that may result in such, see Dirty Mind-Reading.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In After War Gundam X, ex-Newtype Jamil Neet starts bleeding from the ears while attempting to communicate with another Newtype, Tiffa Adil.
  • 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. However, it's unclear whether this affects all shifters or just those that possess the Attack Titan, as it's only shown happening to Eren and Kruger.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 who is the hero's right-hand man, this might not be a bad thing, per se. 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.
  • Knight Hunters: 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Nighthead Genesis: Naoto gets a nosebleed in class after being overwhelmed with his powers.
  • 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.
  • An example that was caused by pure mental exertion rather than actual supernatural powers, but at the climax of Summer Wars, the hero Kenji is forced to decipher a 2056-bit encryption in his head in only 20 seconds in order to divert the satellite that's threatening to crash down on the heroes' location, a feat so monumental he starts bleeding from the nose from the sheer strain on his brain.
  • A common occurrence in Psyren. Psychicers commonly have nosebleeds after they either develop or exhaust their abilities.
  • In Uncle from Another World, anyone who recalls a memory that has been magically wiped will have blood pouring out from their nose.
  • 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.
  • In Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, this happens a couple of times when Meiko Otsuka and others with her telepathy power overexert themselves.

    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.
  • 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.
  • Max Lord from Justice League of America has a small nosebleed whenever he used his metahuman "push" ability. In Justice League: Generation Lost, Max pushes 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 has to constantly replenish his blood supply from the massive hemorrhage this gives him.
  • In 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.
  • Marvel Boy/Justice from New Warriors gets nosebleeds when overusing his psychic powers.
  • In an issue of 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.
  • X-Men:
    • Jean Grey and Rachel Summers both experience this occasionally. 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) subverts 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, is particularly prone to this as a younger man whenever he uses his powers on a notable scale, thanks to the instability that 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 remains, to an extent, after the instability is fixed, though only when he's maintaining cosmic-scale power-usage.
    • In God Loves, Man Kills, a brainwashed Professor X psychically attacks Storm and Cyclops, almost killing them — they're left unconscious, with blood trickling out their noses.
    • In Emma Frost, the eponymous character constantly gets severe nosebleeds as her abilities awaken.
    • Sophie, one of the Stepford Cuckoos from New X-Men, suffers a psychic nosebleed before her death while using Cerebra (the upgraded version of Cerebro). This is a combination of several factors; she isn't a strong enough psychic to control Cerebra and is 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 leads to her death.
    • During the X-Nation arc, Magneto suffers a severe nosebleed along with severe sweating and convulsions as a result of the strain involved when he locks onto the Breakworld missile (which is several light years away at the time) and brings it back to Earth to rescue Kitty Pryde.

    Fan Works 
  • In Abraxas (Hrodvitnon), 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.
  • Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Stephen gets one of these when his psychic powers get activated in Psyren.
  • Better Bones AU: Goosefeather gets nosebleeds when experiencing visions to underscore how painful they are to him.
  • 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 that Harry and Voldemort's psychic fight didn't really look like much from the outside aside from this.
  • 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 nosebleeds or even concussions that can put him down for extended periods of time.
  • 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 the 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 Origins, an unscrupulous asari experiences this. Disruptor blast 1, biotic barriers 0. The encounter is ultimately fatal even though she doesn't end up vaporized.
  • 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.

    Film — Animated 
  • Batman Ninja: Batman discovers that 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 hypnotized 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.
  • This happens to Jenkins in Starship Troopers: Invasion 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.
  • While not due to psychic efforts, near the end of Summer Wars, Kenji's nose starts to bleed due to 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.
  • Manchester Black suffers this at one point in Superman vs. the Elite.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Army of Frankensteins, every time that Alan sees through his Frankenstein's eyes, he gets a splitting headache.
  • 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.
  • In The Butterfly Effect, Evan starts to get nosebleeds after he has several blackouts. Each blackout (i.e., each use of his power) causes worse and worse damage to his brain. This is caused by his 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 that he 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.
  • 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.
  • This is shown to happen to the three guys from Chronicle whenever they overuse their powers. It also seems to work like a Psychic Link between the three when something happens to one of the others.
  • The Big Bad of The Dark Tower (2017) 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 does, in fact, thwart his plans.
  • In one scene of Dune (1984), several Bene Gesserit (psychic witches) cry blood when Paul drinks the Water of Life.
  • In Fantastic Four (2005), Susan Storm a.k.a. the Invisible Woman suffers a nosebleed when she forms a force field around the ensuing "supernova" her brother Johnny Storm a.k.a. the Human Torch creates to defeat Dr. Doom. This also happens on the Brooklyn Bridge when she first discovers her force-field abilities by containing another (unrelated) fire. In the DVD cast commentary, Jessica Alba mentions that she liked the idea, since it shows how much she's pushing herself.
  • 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.
  • In the first film adaptation of Firestarter, Andy has this happen to him whenever he uses his mental domination powers.
  • 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 presents 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.
  • Akan, the Big Bad of Hardcore Henry, has telekinetic powers and is prone to bleeding (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 them.
  • 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.
  • In Let the Right One In, something similar to this happens when vampires enter without being invited. Well, it's more that they start bleeding from... everywhere.
  • 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 Modern Problems, Max 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.
  • In Pacific Rim, using the mental link without a partner or on a Kaiju brain causes aneurysms, shown as this.
  • At the end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, a security guard watches Alice via security camera while she's trying to escape. She abruptly pauses, looks straight into the camera, and psychically crushes the guard's brain — his nose bleeds as he dies.
  • 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.
  • 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 Valentine, whatever is killing the victims leaves all of them with nosebleeds after they die.
  • 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.

  • In Abarat, 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.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): In the final grueling lead-up to graduation, defending against a Dungeon wave, Donnelan the mage is so wrung-out and exhausted with constant combat spellcasting that he is bleeding from his eyes. He reports it to the centurion, and gets...a five-minute rest.
  • 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 Deathstalker, Espers and the Maze People have this happen rather often, when pulling off big time abilities.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in The Merchant Princes Series, as Psychic Nosebleeds are 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: This 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.
  • In The Ring, characters experience a nosebleed whenever the Curse's influence grows particularly strong.
  • 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.
  • This happens in The Shadow Speaker when Ejii tries to search Dikeogu's mind.
  • The Witcher:
    • Visenna gives herself one after overexerting herself healing Geralt in Sword of Destiny.
    • In Tower of the Swallow, Joanna Selborne a.k.a. "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 it's justified because that's his way of powering the Blood Magic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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, black-socketed 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 hypothesizes 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.
  • In Carnivàle, Ben Hawkins gets one after he uses 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.
  • Firefly: It's never made clear whether the nosebleed is due to Psychic Powers or something else, but the "Two by two, hands of blue" assassins have a Brown Note device which causes a progression of symptoms like this: your nose bleeds a little, your nose bleeds a lot, your mouth bleeds, your eyes bleed, you die.
  • In Fringe, if an Observer "reads" somebody, it can be fought. Symptoms include nosebleeds, bloody eyes, permanent brain damage, and death (but they might be kept from reading the person).
  • Heroes:
    • Telepathic cop Matt Parkman in the first season.
    • Angela Petrelli in the second season when she (unsuccessfully) resists Matt's mental assault.
    • Peter Petrelli in the second season finale.
    • Hiro Nakamura, plus a psychic ear-bleed, a burst vein in his eye, fainting, and a brain tumor!
    • Some other characters as well, such as the Haitian and Eric Doyle. Here's a list of all the examples.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In the third episode, there's blood pouring out of Lestat de Lioncourt's ears after he employs his Psychic Powers to force a few dozen soldiers to leave his house, which is extremely taxing for him.
  • Kyle XY does this when he overuses his powers. It happens more often to Jessie than it does to Kyle.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Late Night with Conan O'Brien when 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.
  • In The Magicians (2016), Eliot gets a nosebleed when he accidentally uses magic for the first time.
  • In the season premiere of Scrubs season 8, Dr. Cox gets one of these while trying to resist an infectious smile in one of JD's Imagine Spots. It's more a battle of wills than psychic, but it 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: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "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 "The Reckoning", 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 nosebleed.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Warlord", the titular villain takes over Kes and starts using her psychic powers for his own evil purposes, like putting his minions in their place. This trope ensues; given that the aliens on the receiving end have more than the usual number of nasal orifices, it gets rather bloody.
  • 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 and so does Terry Ives when communicating with Jane. By the third season, people start getting worried about Eleven's health after she's been using her powers a lot. In one scene, a large pile of blood-stained tissues establishes that she's been using her powers continuously for some time.
  • This happens to Sam from 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.
  • Just about everyone who had been Touched by Vorlons in Taken does this. In fact, the series ends with the super-psychic girl giving all her fellow abductees nosebleeds to push out the small transistors that the aliens have placed in their brains, preventing future re-abductions.
  • Threshold has Molly 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.
  • Anna from V (2009) gets psychic eyebleeds when she uses her bliss on a human.

  • 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This is a very popular trope with spellcasting characters in 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • In Beyond: Two Souls, Jodie 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.
  • 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.
  • Life Is Strange: Max begins experiencing nosebleeds after extended use of her ability to rewind short segments of time. She's also prone to sudden fainting spells if she pushes herself too far. Although she frequently reminds Chloe that her mysterious powers could stop working at any moment for all she knows, she never considers the possibility that they're damaging her health.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Not quite a nosebleed, but 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.
    • In the Leviathan Downloadable Content 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: Snake Eater. 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).
  • 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 that "My nasal passages are about to receive a visit from Uncle Flo."


    Web Original 
  • 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.
  • 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 okay, Vegeta?
    Vegeta: Yes, just... just an aneurysm out of sheer stupidity.
    Nappa: Wow! Didn't think you were that stupid, Vegeta.
  • 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.
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, this is one of the dangers of having your mind read by a Sword.
  • Ryan George parodied and lampshaded the concept in a short video — which includes a rather disturbing aversion.
  • 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. To add to the yuck, the position of some of the nostrils means that the afflicted aliens are at risk of bleeding INTO THEIR EYES.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):



Brenner observes Eleven as she crushes a soda can with her psychic powers. The effort causes her nose to bleed.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / PsychicNosebleed

Media sources: