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Puff of Logic

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Patrick Star: [sitting by campfire] Hey, if we're underwater, how can there be a— [fire is extinguished]
SpongeBob SquarePants, "Life of Crime"

One of the nice things about reality is that a person's existence is not decided by consensual agreement, worship, or logic. In fiction that is not always the case and one can disappear in a Puff of Logic.

Maybe the characters live in a world where Your Mind Makes It Real, or they have Reality Warper powers, failing at logic can be fatal, or the author likes a good laugh. Whatever the case, a convincing argument can make anyone cease to exist and disappear. However, this doesn't necessarily erase the character's prior existence up to that point; see Ret-Gone for an instance when a character's entire past gets expunged as well.

Compare Centipede's Dilemma, Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress, Achievements in Ignorance, Reminder of Impossibility, Lampshade Hanging and Talking the Monster to Death. Contrast Self-Inflicted Hell, where a character is in Hell simply because he or she believes they are. Also contrast Clap Your Hands If You Believe, in which faith makes something work or exist. Can be the end result of a Logic Bomb. Super-Trope to I'm Not Afraid of You. Sometimes might happen immediately after a character has proclaimed: "This Cannot Be!" Also compare No Ontological Inertia, which is a (slightly) more realistic take on this trope. An Oxymoronic Being might be subject to this.

Often an illustration of The Power of Language.


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  • Skittles: In "Believe the Rainbow", three teens sit on a rainbow and enjoy their skittles. One teen asks: "Hey, what if this rainbow doesn't exist and it's just in our imagina-," and then the rainbow opens under him and he falls out of the sky, presumably to his death.
  • Wilkins Coffee:
    Wilkins: If you don't drink Wilkins coffee, you're not all there.
    Wontkins: Ah, that's a lot of... (disappears)
    Wilkins: In fact, without Wilkins coffee, you're no where.

    Anime & Manga 
  • This is how Gremmy does himself in in Bleach. Gremmy has the power to make anything he imagines real. He fights Kenpachi, who proves to be so scary that Gremmy starts thinking of him as completely unstoppable, which renders Kenpachi actually unstoppable. Then he tries to imagine that he was strong enough to beat Kenpachi, who he had already imagined to be unbeatable. The paradox of trying to be stronger than infinity causes him to explode.
  • This is the premise of Noein. Two competing potential futures are battling to influence the past and cause their rival to cease existing. The big bad is eventually killed by everyone refusing to acknowledge his existence.
  • In Hellsing, this is how the mighty Alucard met his demise. He absorbed the soul of Schrodinger - a Nazi catboy, who had the power to be everywhere and nowhere. Being anywhere in particular required him to be able to recognize himself, so when he lost self-awareness amongst the mass of souls within Alucard, he - and Alucard by proxy- vanished. Alucard only managed to come back by ridding himself of every soul but Schrodinger's, allowing him self-perception again.
  • In the prequel story to Fairy Tail a.k.a Fairy Tail Zero, one of Mavis's companions is a girl name Zera who she saved a long time ago when they were kids. Time passes, they meet the other future founding members of Fairy Tail and have an adventure. However at the end of it, one of them, Yuri explains to Mavis that Zera is just an Imaginary Friend Mavis conjured up by her powers after the real Zera died from her injuries all those years ago. Once Zera confirms it, she starts to fade away as Mavis was unaware of this until being revealed the truth of such.
  • The final arc of Fire Force allows this to happen with the seams of reality breaking every which way. In one scene, a side character and his mother have a straw debate on the nature of fanservice and self exposure. In the middle of the side character's speech, he mentions that as he's a named character and she is not, she has no safeguards for her existence. The mother then instantaneously disappears and nobody questions it.

    Comic Books 
  • In Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, the metafictional world of Orqwith disappears from reality when Rebis exposes the contradiction at its heart (based on a Raymond Smullyan puzzle):
    Rebis: I've come to ask the question. One of you must have the answer. Why is there something instead of nothing?
    Priest in Black: I am a liar and I do not know why there is something instead of nothing.
    Priest in White: I am an honest man and I do not know why there is something instead of nothing.
    Rebis: Tell me then, the Priest in Black, why is there something instead of nothing?
    Priest in Black: There is something instead of nothing.
    Rebis: Then you can't possibly exist.
  • Played for Drama in The Dreaming where the protagonist is a mysterious being named Dora who feels incredible anguish when someone utters the words "you're not real".
  • In the final issue of Suore Ninja (an Italian comic mercilessly satirizing the Catholic Church), The Pope has a bet with God with the fate of Earth, and bets he can prove that God isn't allmighty by having him create a rock he cannot lift, and claims victory when God successfully lifts it (if God can lift it, then he doesn't have the power to create something he cannot lift. Had he failed, then he wouldn't have had the power to lift something). God promptly points out it's a technicality, even if he decides to abide to the terms of the bet.
  • One Nodwick story sees the party 'defeat' a lich by smacking it in the head with a magic club that makes you smarter (called, the "Clue-By-Four"). The lich, realizing that its status as The Undead only prolongs its own agony and causes it to lash out on others thus making the universe a crappier place to live, promptly reasons itself out of existence.

    Fan Works 
  • Mentioned in Unfamiliar when Alex tries to dispel Louise's notion that she is incapable of magic.
  • In this fanfiction, when Jody Summer refuses to let Kirby and Villager continue down the race track since they're underage and don't have driver's licenses and need an adult who can drive to accompany them, Kirby summons a Warp Star and he and Village hop on and try to fly down the track. Jody shakes her head and objects, "And magical stars you can create out of nothing don't count either". This causes the Warp Star to shatter into tiny little projectiles and Villager and Kirby to drop to the ground and have to leave because there's (seemingly) no way to move on.

    Films — Animation 
  • In BoBoiBoy The Movie, Adu Du and Probe are thrown out of the Tengkotak spaceship and into the ocean. Probe comments on how well Adu Du is swimming, but Adu Du remembers that he can't swim, and proceeds to thrash and sink. Probe dives to save him, and Adu Du is grateful that Probe can swim. Wouldn't you know it, Probe suddenly can't swim either, and they both thrash in the water.
  • At the end of The Flight of Dragons, the main character defeats the Big Bad wizard by telling him magic is impossible. Without belief, magic doesn't work and knowledge of science is incompatible with belief in magic.
    • It also backfires on him, since, by denying magic, he banishes himself back to "our" world.
  • In Help! I'm a Fish, Fly defeats Joe by pelting him with semi-complicated questions, causing the fish to drink more and more of the Fish Antidote and become increasingly intelligent and more human-like. By the end, Joe becomes something out of a H. P. Lovecraft story and Fly hits him with "Can a human breathe underwater?" and Joe has just enough time to bark out an indignant "OF COURSE NO-!" before he gasps his last.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, thanks to Time Travel, Lewis defeats the Big Bad simply by saying "I am never going to invent you."
  • Similar to the above example, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part has Emmett defeating Rex by deciding he won't become him.
  • In The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, The Pirate Captain boards a ship only to find it's a ghost ship. Once he realises the ship isn't solid, he falls right through it.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Old joke:
    Two men are standing on a skyscraper. Suddenly, the first one jumps down. The other one expects him to die horribly, but to his surprise, the first guy just bounces off the pavement, bounces a few more times, until he comes to rest. The second guy inquires how this is possible. The first guy explains: "It's all in your mind. You just have to think you're a rubber ball, and you will bounce just like a ball."
    "And everyone can do that?"
    "Yes, everyone, it's the easiest thing. Try it."
    The second man is curious and really makes the jump. All the time while he's falling, he thinks "I'm a rubber ball, I'm a rubber ball".
    Then, shortly before hitting the pavement: "But what if I was a tomato?"
  • Descartes walks into a bar, the bartender asks him what he wants, and he orders a beer. He drinks it, and the bartender asks him if he wants another beer. Descartes says "I think not", and disappears in a puff of logic.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • The Trope Namer, in which the Guide presents an argument against God's existence. As the argument goes, God refuses to prove his own existence, because "proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing." Man points out the Babel Fish as a "dead giveaway" - it's just too handy to have evolved naturally - causing God to vanish "in a puff of logic." The Guide then says that this argument has been universally rejected on the basis that it is profoundly stupid; just to start, the Babel Fish being made unnaturally doesn't mean God had to have made it. Of course, that doesn't stop in-universe writers such as Oolon Coluphid from cashing in on the argument.
    • The second book in the trilogy explains that if you are able to learn the trick of flying, the first thing anyone who sees you is likely to say is something along the lines of "My God, you can't possibly be flying" and it is vitally important not to listen to these people or they will suddenly be right.
  • In his Meditations On First Philosophy, Descartes actually ponders this by noting that if he wasn't thinking, then perhaps he would not exist. He goes on to state that, regardless of what else he may be wrong about, he must at least exist in the capacity of an entity that is capable of being wrong; if he doesn't exist in at least that capacity, then it's not his problem.
  • Discworld all over the place.
    • Belafon the druid with his flying rock in The Light Fantastic.
      Belafon sat down with his feet dangling over the edge of the rock.
      "Look, don't worry," he said. "If you keep thinking the rock shouldn't be flying it might hear you and become persuaded and you will turn out to be right, okay? It's obvious you aren't up to date with modern thinking".
    • As first seen in Reaper Man, the Auditors of Reality believe that because mortals have a finite life and that anything finite is insignificant compared to the infinite length of the universe, to develop a personality is to become mortal and thus die. Any time an auditor starts using the first person singular, you can bank on it evaporating in a blue flame very shortly. The narrative notes that this is flawed logic, but the Auditors self-destruct too quickly to catch on.
    • The genie in Sourcery. The characters wish to go someplace, so they all sit inside the genie's bottle for the ride. . . .while they are carrying it, so the bottle moves because it's inside the moving bottle. The entire setup is banking on the universe not noticing what they were doing, which backfires once one of the characters points out the conundrum. The Puff of Logic ensues.
    • In Feet of Clay, it's stated that the standard protocol for dealing with bogeymen is to throw a blanket over its head. The reasoning being that since you can convince a bogeyman you're not there by hiding your head under a blanket, the same logic can be applied to the bogeyman itself. Throw a blanket over the bogeyman's head and he'll be convinced that he isn't there and be stunned by the ensuing existential crisis.
  • In The Pedant And The Shuffly by John Bellairs, persuading hapless passersby that, logically speaking, they don't exist, is the wicked magician Snodrog's favorite trick.
  • In Fight Club, Tyler Durden disappears when Marla shows up to confront the narrator, the explanation being that Durden was his hallucination, and not hers.
  • Nightside:
    • Tommy Oblivion, the Existential Detective, can cause things like this to happen. On one occasion, he immobilizes a couple of ambulatory statues by explaining all the reasons why it should be impossible for them to move.
    • Hell to Pay has a literal example. Taylor points out to the newly created God of Creationism that Creationism doesn't believe in Evolution and that Creationism has evolved into Intelligent Design, therefore disproving itself.
      "Oh bugger," said Chuck, as he disappeared in a puff of logic.
  • In the Fengshen Yanyi, a certain Bi Gan was coaxed by Daji to have his heart removed. Thanks to Jiang Ziya predicting the whole thing, he was given a charm and some instructions to counter his death. Bi Gan carved his chest open, pulled his heart and then, walks out the palace without looking back. He manages to survive like that until somebody said that no one can live without a heart. He then collapsed and died on the spot.
  • The Dresden Files: Ghost Story has a non-fatal example. Harry, who is a shade, is riding in a car. It occurs to him that, as a ghost, he is capable of moving through solid objects such as walls. This causes him to wonder what's keeping him in the car — and as soon as he starts thinking this, he immediately slides through and out of the car. Ghosts in the Dresdenverse get most of their abilities through perception; since Harry had seen other spirits move through walls it became something he associated with them being able to do. Cars, on the other hand, he thought of as solid, because he rode in them often when he was alive. As soon as he started doubting whether or not it was, it ceased to be to his spirit form.
  • In the opening chapter of Bill Bryson's history of science A Short History Of Nearly Everything the author invites the reader to consider the molecular reality of their existence:
    "It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you."
  • In The Lost Years of Merlin series, Merlin has to deal with people using Anti-Magic, which only works if the magic user believes its effect is real.
  • In Mo Willems's Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct, the boy Reginald tries to invoke this, presenting everyone with his arguments and studies about dinosaurs being extinct, apparently hoping that if he can convince everyone, then Edwina will just disappear in a puff of logic. Edwina doesn't disappear and the evidence of Edwina being right there for them to see is more convincing to people.
  • In the 1951 short story Built Down Logically by Howard Schoenfeld, two students come to the conclusion that their lecturer can't possibly exist. He instantly disappears, very nearly naming the trope as he does so:
    No sooner had he uttered these words than Hooper disappeared. His body became opaque, then transparent. Then there was a puff of smoke, and he was gone, the fact of his existence wiped out by the logical thinking of the two students.
  • Journey to Chaos plays this trope for laughs. Eric has a Vision Quest and goes for over a week without eating or drinking anything. Once reunited with his team, The Medic says that he should have died by now. Eric pretends to keel over as a joke, leading to dope slapes and shouts of invoked Dude, Not Funny!.
  • In Larry Niven's short story "The Nonesuch", the human settlers of a planet inhabited by a telepathic predator solve the problem by convincing themselves (and future generations) that the creature does not exist. When the creature tries to attack someone who sees it and refuses to believe that it's real, psychic feedback causes it to disappear until the would-be victim moves on.
  • In the Goosebumps book The Haunted Car, the evil ghost possessing the car is destroyed when she realizes that she accidentally did a good deed by unknowingly saving the boy she was trying to kill. She had used mind control to force the boy to get into the car, but before she can finally kill him she sees that his house had caught fire and he would have been dead already without her actions.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: Godlings' power grows when they act according to their "affinity" and wanes when they act against it. When the God of Childhood learns that he's done something completely antithetical with childhood, fathering a child of his own, he starts Rapid Aging to death.
  • In Thursday Next, the Chrono Guard is able to use time machines despite having no idea who invented them or how they work by assuming that someone must have invented them at some point and then sent them back in time. When a thorough examination of every second of history shows conclusively that nobody ever invented time travel, all the time machines stop working.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Gilligan's Island had the title character manage to fly with fake wings. When Skipper points out this is impossible, Gilligan instantly crashed.
  • In the Bottom episode where Richie and Eddie are trapped on the collapsing Ferris wheel, God saves them from falling at the last moment. Then they remember that they're atheists, conclude that they must be hallucinating, and...
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the serial "The Mind Robber", the Doctor deals with the various monsters he, Jamie and Zoe encounter in the Land of Fiction by telling his companions to deny their existence. If everyone stops believing in these monsters, the threat is instantly removed.
    • In "Extremis" Nardole deliberately steps outside the range of a set of projectors to test whether or not he's part of the projection. He is. The subsequent rendering errors consume him.
  • A Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch
    • An apartment building built using the power of hypnosis. It would only remain standing as long as the tenants believed it was the best housing available. When interviewed, one of the tenants mentions that they used to live in a villa overlooking Nice. When the interviewer comments that the villa sounds much better, the tenant realizes it's true... and the building starts to shake. Fortunately, the man says "NO! NO! OF COURSE NOT!" Then the building changes back to normal, although some of the furniture (and the tenant) were a little shaken.
      Tenant: Whew, that was close.
    • Another Pythonic version of this trope was a short animation by Terry Gilliam of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker coming up with Descartes' "I think therefore I am." in a thought balloon. When a hand comes from off screen and deflates the balloon with a pin, The Thinker looks up briefly in horror, then disappears.
  • The final episode of Blackadder the Third has Prince George shot, then rising alive and well due to a Pocket Protector. When he attempts to show it off, however, he can't find it, remarks "Damn, must have left it on the dresser this morning", and promptly dies.
  • Done in the second season of True Blood in the case of the Nigh-Invulnerable ancient Maenad Maryann Forrester. It's revealed by vampire queen Sophie-Anne that Maryann's powers are directly tied to her beliefs, stating everything in the universe imagined itself into existence. Thus by believing in her god Dionysus and becoming a maenad she was immortal. In the end Sam tricks Maryann into believing her god has returned from her sacrificial ritual by shapeshifting into a bull and then impaling her in the chest. She is surprised when this happens, but rationalizes that if she is the final sacrifice for her god to come into the world, then she will accept it. She's shocked again when Sam morphs into his human form, questioning if there was even a god. This moment of vulnerability allows Sam to rip her heart out of her chest and crush it into the ground, finally ending her reign of hedonistic Mind Control.
  • Late Night with Conan O'Brien had superhero parody Captain Punishment whose job is to rid the world of people who make bad puns. When Conan points out that his name (Captian Pun-ishment) is itself an Incredibly Lame Pun, he explodes.
  • The episode "The Mission" from Amazing Stories. Here's the description:
    Directed by Steven Spielberg. A crippled WW2 bomber returning to base no longer has landing gear, and the turret gunner is trapped under the belly, facing an agonizing gory death when they land without wheels. He desperately draws cartoon tires (a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit) but is running out of time. The tires serve to safely land the plane, but disappear when the captain slaps him in the face to snap him out of the trance he's fallen into once he's safely out of the ball turret.
  • The Mark Steel Lectures profile of Rene Descartes (see above) includes a spot where Mark invites the audience to stop and think about whether they exist for twenty seconds (with "Life is But a Dream" playing behind) ended with a buzzer and the message "Stop Thinking Now!".
  • An episode of The Walking Dead has Rick have periodic telephone calls in an abandoned prison. A variation occurs on the final phone call, because once he discovers who his mystery callers are, the phone calls stop. How is this a puff of logic? Every caller was someone who was already dead, including his wife.
  • In the Supernatural episode "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" (S09, Ep01), Dean disappears after Sam accepts death because Dean represented the part of Sam's mind who wanted to fight death.
  • An episode of Scrubs has JD desperately hoping that a patient does not have cancer. When the good news comes in, the patient celebrates by taking a picture with all his friends. When JD points out to him that he hates posed for pictures because they're not real, the patient responds "Come on JD, you know none of this is real." At that point, JD is instantly snapped out of his episode-long fantasy.
  • The short-lived Australian sketch show The Comedy Sale had a sketch in which two women discuss their everyday lives. It becomes increasingly apparent that they are the antithesis of middle class Australians in the early 90s, and the sketch ends with them both remembering that they don't exist and promptly vanishing.
  • Played with in The X-Files episode "Field Trip". When Mulder and Scully realize they're experiencing a shared hallucination, everything melts away to reveal that they are in a cave and are being slowly digested by a unidentified substance. Back in Washington, an increasingly unlikely series of events unfolds and eventually Mulder posits that they never left the cave, pointing out when a person is unknowingly exposed to a hallucinogen, becoming aware of it doesn't negate the effect. The hallucination wears off shortly after when they are rescued for real.


    Newspaper Comics 
  • A duplicator story in Calvin and Hobbes ends this way. Calvin made a clone of his "good side" to do his chores and go to school for him. They got into an argument over Good Calvin having a crush on Susie, and the clone disappeared as soon as it got angry enough to have an evil thought (namely, beating the snot out of Calvin).
  • In Bloom County, Oliver Wendell Jones creates a math formula which explains the existence of everything everywhere...except penguins. Opus disappears, and then reappears when Oliver notices a mistake in the formula (he forgot to carry the two) and rewrites it.
    • In another strip, Oliver hacks into the IRS computers and erases all data pertaining to his father, so his dad won't have to pay taxes. His father is immediately erased from existence.
  • Doonesbury had two men, apparently identical twins, who were advocates for an unusual drug. In an interview, one of them says that one of its side effects was it that could "make your alter-ego visible". The other says "Wait - you're saying I'm only a side effect?" In the next panel, the first man says "the effects are only temporary," and the second has vanished.
  • The final daily U.S. Acres strip had Orson looking for it in a newspaper, realising it wasn't there, and immediately disappearing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Second Edition introduced a spell called Solipsism, which can create illusory objects that behave exactly like real ones — but only if you believe they are real. If you don't believe in it, you'll fall right through that bridge the cleric conjured. This is loosely based around the (Real Life) philosophy of solipsism, which posits that the only thing one can be sure exists is himself, and therefore one's perceptions define one's reality.
    • It also plays with this trope with the spell Shadow Conjuration. It summons quasi-illusory monsters that are as powerful as the real thing if you believe they're real, and one-fifth damage if you don't. Like all things D&D, it can be whored to ludicrous lengths. One prestige class specialises in shadow illusions. Layer enough "reality"-boosting effects, and you can create illusions more real than reality. Cue humorous conversations:
      "I cast a shadow fireball."
      "I make a will save to disbelieve."
      "Good. Take 150% damage."
    • 3.5E and Pathfinder add Shadow Enchantment, Evocation, and Transmutation, which work similarly with spells of the respective school of magic. One of the nastiest versions is Pathfinder's Baleful Shadow Transmutation, which works by tricking the target into believing it has been transformed.
    • The 3E Ravenloft description of Lamordia, land of mad scientists and skeptics, describes an optional phenomenon called the "Smothering of Reason", where Lamordians' prevalent disbelief in the supernatural occasionally causes spells to fail, magical creatures to weaken, etc.
    • The Fantasy Trip has a powerful Illusion spell. Illusions deal damage as though they were real, but can be dispelled by making a roll to "disbelieve", causing the illusion to vanish in a puff of logic.
  • The RPG TORG had the fantasy world of Aysle, where the local laws of reality stated that Your Mind Makes It Real to the extent that real people could cross a sufficiently convincing illusionary bridge.
  • Planescape, as a setting governed by Clap Your Hands If You Believe, has numerous examples of this. There's even an entire faction, the Sign of One (or Signers) that operate on this principle. According to in-universe rumor, particularly powerful Signers can disbelieve an annoying sod right out of existence.
  • The Illusion advantage in GURPS has an upgrade that allows it to cause small amounts of damage if the victim is convinced it's real. The GURPS spell Solipsism causes you to assume you're the only thing that's real and the guy swinging a sword at your head won't really hurt you.
  • Another solipsism reference, from Scion:
    • The Knack Solipstic Defense allows you to ignore an attack entirely by believing it isn't real - since you have Legend, an element of the divine, what you believe goes. The other requirement is being unaware of the attack.
    • Aten, sole avatar of Akhetaten, The Titan of Light (Having devoured all the other avatars, who were not worthy of existing compared to his glorious self) is a version of this. He is so certain of the fact that his existence is the only one, that he is immune to any source of damage from anything. Your only hope of defeating him is to first debate him in philosophy and theology.
  • The point of Mage: The Ascension, and to a lesser extent Demon: The Fallen.
    • You can perform amazing feats as long as you keep them believable, such as conjuring money from your wallet, or causing lightning to strike during a thunderstorm. If you strain disbelief too much, or simply don't care and go all-out, it might still work, but you have a pretty good chance of getting smacked around by the universe at large on the grounds that Magic Does Not Work That Way. This is true even if there's nobody watching.
    • The setting explains that the main antagonists, basically The Men in Black, came into power through a centuries-spanning Evil Plan of convincing the world at large that no, brooms can't fly, and that yes, you can heal people by injecting them with complicated chemicals. They have caused mythical creatures like unicorns to go extinct by making people stop believing them, and caused places like El Dorado to cease to exist by creating maps to prove they weren't there. Conversely, there are some areas in the world where people still cling to their old beliefs, and thus the effect is reversed. In certain secluded spots in the Middle Eastern deserts, flying carpets and genies are considered normal, whereas airplanes are considered "vulgar magic" and a violation of common sense, and stop working as a result. By now it is clear that there is absolutely no difference between Science and Magic. Science is just Magic that most people believe in, and therefore everyone can use. The various 'Mystic' factions are trying to reverse this trend by getting people to believe in their path, whether alongside Science or instead of it.
  • Mage: The Awakening, Ascension's reboot, does away with the Clap Your Hands If You Believe angle but contains several examples:
    • A certain Abyssal manifestation that amounts to a inescapable maze can be negated just by navigating it in a such a way to prove that it must have an exit and logical connections.
    • Whenever Muggles witness obvious magic effects, their intrinsic disbelief in the supernatural will slowly unravel the spell, due to the power of the Abyss enforcing the lie that magic isn't real.
  • Toon. Characters are able to pull cartoon stunts such as walking on air, sawing through a branch and have it remain hanging while the tree falls away, painting a door onto a wall and opening etc as long as it's funny and they fail the Smarts check. It is a rule of the game that these feats will work so long as the characters don't realize that they should be impossible. That's right, the dumber a character is, the more easily they can get away with violating the laws of physics and common sense. The space opera-themed chapter of the Tooniversal Tour Guide supplement mentions a planet that is so dependent on this principle that it's off limits to visitors for fear that they might bring its whole civilization crashing down by pointing out that it can't work.
  • In Genius: The Transgression, the inventions of Geniuses are literally powered by their creator's madness. If these creations are scrutinized by Muggles, these devices will stop working or malfunction as the laws of physics notice that their principles were disproven years ago.
  • In Macho Women with Guns, the Batwinged Bimbos From Hell can learn the "Distort Reality" skill; when they are attacked, they can focus their attention on something else (their nails, a run in their stockings, a cloud, etc) and since they've forgotten the attack, it can't hit. It will instead target one of her allies, who might not appreciate the gesture.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, this is the reason Tzeentch, Chaos God of Ambition, Change, and Hope (among other things), hasn't conquered the galaxy. While he is the Chessmaster of the Milky Way, he is the embodiment of a desire for change in the future. If he were to ever seriously complete any of his long-term goals in such a way that he was entirely satisfied with the outcome, he wouldn't be able to hope because his desire would be in the present. So he sets up his plans so that they sabotage each other, allowing him potential goals that he could theoretically reach but never actually will.
  • In Tales from the Floating Vagabond one of the Shticks, the Newton Effect, allows a player character to point out something they believe should be impossible (such as magic powers or mad science) and have it stop working.
  • Ars Magica 3rd Edition: "Reason" is a metaphysical power like the Divine, Infernal, Magical, and Fae Realms; this Magic Versus Science mechanic means that magic can be unraveled by the pure Reason of a laboratory or a devoted scientist. Because of how nonsensical this is in a world where magic is proven to exist through multiple branches of Fantastic Science, this was dropped in later editions.

  • A variant happens in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore. The Baronetcy of Ruddigore is cursed - its occupant must commit a crime every day, or die, dragged off by the ghosts of those previously killed by the curse. Then the current Baronet realises that suicide itself is a crime, and since not committing a crime is tantamount to suicide, this too counts as a crime. Therefore, none of the people killed by the curse should have died; as soon as this is realised, the former Baronets simply pop back to life, just in time to Pair the Spares with the female chorus.

  • This is how most illusion powers seem to work in BIONICLE - they can fool all five of your senses, even appearing to be completely solid, but if the victim ceases to believe in the illusion, it instantly fails. This is apparently true even for different species of illusion users.
    • During the Bohrok arc, Pohatu and Onua, the two strongest Toa Mata, struggle to break a rock wall to escape before the room fills with lava. However, they're unable to make a single chip in it. Lewa realizes that there's nothing the two of them are unable to smash, which means the wall cannot possibly be real. As soon as they stop believing the wall exists, they become able to pass through it. Sure enough, the projectors of said wall, the Bahrag queens, are able to create illusions at will. Several of the Toa again end up fighting false opponents, being helped by their teammates that can see which Bahrag aren't real.
    • In Time Trap, Vakama realizes he's been in an illusion for most of the book - the seeming alternate reality he'd somehow fallen into was in reality a plot by the Makuta to lead him to the Mask Of Time. Vakama breaks free when he throws a kanoka disc through "Nokama's" head, revealing her to be a disguised visorak. He actually had figured that the situation wasn't real a while before that, but decided to keep playing along with the illusion to find clues.
    • Even after having his powers massively boosted by becoming a Physical God, Makuta's illusions are still vulnerable to this - Axxon spent an indeterminate amount of time seemingly running through a vast desert chasing Brutaka's pained screams at the start of Reign Of Shadows, only to realize that even Brutaka couldn't have withstood Cold-Blooded Torture for that long, and that the sun never moved despite seeming like weeks had passed. He instantly wakes up from the illusion.

    Video Games 
  • Divine Divinity has a funny bit where the PC comes across two skeleton Mooks having a discussion. One explains how they don't eat because they have no stomachs, which leads to the other one questioning how they can talk without vocal cords. The first one agrees and says that, thinking about it, they shouldn't even be able to hold themselves together without muscle and skin. One of them remarks that realizing the truth would be quite unpleasant and the other agrees to drop the issue. Still, the seeds have been planted and they both collapse immediately after.
  • Planescape: Torment. Being set in Planescape (mentioned above), everything works this way. Several notable examples include:
    • The Nameless One recovering a memory in which an earlier incarnation manages to prove to a Sign of One devotee (a sect of solipsists) that he does not actually exist... Said man then disappears, much to the delight of the crowd who has gathered to watch the debate.
    • A very charismatic and wise Nameless One can, instead of recruiting Vhailor, either convince him that his Purpose-Driven Immortality is pointless or that he's restricting himself because the number of currently dead criminals outnumber the currently living ones. Successfully convincing him of either is enough to make him (literally) give up the ghost and die.
    • If the Nameless One gives his name as 'Adahn' frequently enough, a man named Adahn appears in-game. He only exists because the Nameless One's been claiming to be him, after a fashion, and if you point out as much to him... poof.
    • At one point, the current incarnation is able to do this to himself, literally willing himself out of existence if your WIS score is high enough.
  • In Flight of the Amazon Queen, you encounter a gorilla blocking your way. How do you get rid of it? By telling it that gorillas only live in Africa. The gorilla suddenly gains the ability to talk, mentions that his presence in the Amazon jungle makes no sense, and then vanishes into thin air. You later encounter the gorilla again, this time wearing a dinosaur costume, and get rid of him the same way.
  • In the first episode of Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse, if Sam looks at a readout on one of Mama Bosco's computers, he will say that according to these readings he and Max shouldn't exist. At this point both characters disappear for a few seconds before coming back, with Sam remarking that he must have misread the readings.
  • In Silent Hill, Lisa Garland disappears in a puff of blood when she realizes that she is the same as the other monsters around her.
  • Super Scribblenauts allows the player to summon various deities. It also allows you to summon an atheist who upon seeing a god will immediately start displaying the "thinking" icon and run towards it, causing the god to die on contact.
  • Dwarf Fortress occasionally does this to itself: Parameters to define how something exists in the world map are quite different from those used in the parts where the game is actually being played, and as soon as something from the former enters the latter, it gets subjected to reality. If this happens, best case scenario is a centuries old king dies from old age as soon as they step into your fortress, or a dwarf who lost his head years ago finally has death catch up with him. Worst case? You get a frame to watch the surrealistic scenery you embarked into before physics apply and your dwarves get swallowed by the collapsing earth.
  • The Bard's Tale Trilogy gives the Sorceror class the ability to summon illusions to fight with the party. These can inflict damage on the enemy, and any damaged inflicted stays inflicted no matter what subsequently happens, but if the monsters disbelieve the illusion it immediately disappears. This doesn't stop the Sorceror immediately summoning up another monster exactly like it - it seems Laser-Guided Amnesia stops enemies immediately realising this new monster is an illusion too.
  • In Touhou, it is heavily implied that this would be the fate of any supernatural being who nobody believes in any more, due to the setting relying heavily on Clap Your Hands If You Believe. In fact, the creation of the Great Hakurei Barrier was specifically for the purpose of defying this trope, and it would likely hit all of the supernatural residents of Gensokyo in full force should the Great Hakurei Barrier fall.
  • Undertale: One of the Temmies is allergic to themselves. They show no signs of this until they tell you about it, at which point they immediately break out in "hOIVS!".
  • Koudelka has Charlotte the ghost of a little girl who died in a fire after years of being tortured in the ruins of the Inquisitional dungeon the game takes place in, convinced hatred was all the world had to offer her. Completing a short fetch-quest prior to the final confrontation will see Koudelka in possession of the letters the Inquisitors were keeping from her, letters from Charlotte's mother explaining she gave her up to the Inquisition rather than see them kill her on the spot for "being born wrong" and hopes she is being treated well by the men of God even if they can never be together. Upon realizing she actually had someone who genuinely loved her, Charlotte poofs. She is not willingly moving on, the very concept of love confuses and scares Charlotte, but it means the foundation of her hatred is flawed and thus she fades away with it.
  • Arcanum: Science and magic work by exploiting and breaking laws of physics (gravity, thermodynamics, etc.) respectively, so machinery fails in the presence of strong magic and magic fails in highly industrialized environments.
  • One of Minecraft's rules is that you can only sleep (in a bed) at night. The Nether and End alternate dimensions don't have time, so if you try to sleep there, the bed explodes. With a force stronger than TNT, and far less work to set up.
    • Another Minecraft example: most blocks are not affected by gravity, but a few (most notably sand, gravel, and flowing water and lava) are. As such, if you try to place one of these blocks in midair, it will immediately fall (or flow) down. However, the game's terrain generator is under no obligation to place these blocks on top of non-gravity-obeying blocks, meaning that newly-entered areas of the map will often (especially in desert or gravel beach biomes) generate with sand overhangs, water and lava blocks that stay tidily in their source locations and do not flow downhill, and the like. Unlike the Dwarf Fortress example above, the game does not apply gravity to these blocks until the locations corresponding to said blocks are "updated", usually by placing something on the block or breaking an adjacent block. At which point gravity is applied and the whole thing collapses onto the terrain below / the area is suddenly flooded with water or lava (when a block falls or flows due to gravity being applied, this updates the adjacent blocks, causing them to fall, and so on until there are no more unsupported gravity-obeying blocks). Notably, walking on (or swimming through, for water and lava) these blocks, riding horses on them, shooting arrows into them, etc., does not update them, meaning that it's perfectly possible to enter such an area and not notice anything wrong until the player tries to place a torch for illumination / navigation and the whole area collapses into a buried cavern. The same thing happens if gravity-obeying blocks are placed in midair using a third-party map editor, which can be used (especially in multiplayer) to create pitfall traps.
  • This is a hazard of time travel in Fate/Grand Order. One of Mission Control's tasks is to prevent the cosmos from "correcting" your presence in eras prior to your birth, which is why they panic every time the connection lags or drops (which is often).
  • The concept of "CHIM" in The Elder Scrolls is an ascended state giving one godlike powers. The process of attaining it, however, is one that most who attempt it do not survive, as they tend to accidentally will themselves to stop existing in the ensuing existential crisis that naturally comes with realizing that they're just a character in a video game, and therefore aren't real. If they don't panic at this and do survive this critical moment, however, they'll soon after realize that this means they have access to modding capabilities and console commands.
  • Baba Is You:
    • Forming a rule in the form of "X is not X" makes the affected object instantly vanish.
    • Giving the same object two mutually-destructive properties, such as Hot and Melt, Open and Shut, or You and Defeat, makes it melt/unlock/defeat itself and disappear.

    Visual Novels 
  • Vanishing in a puff of logic is a consuming peril for the witches in Umineko: When They Cry, who are largely only as real as they can convince other people they are. Witches are therefore continually performing horrendous deeds in order to be recognised, while trying to undercut the reality of their rivals. At one point a witch uses magic to disprove her own existence, which has a result like reality Dividing By Zero.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater
    • Red Mage tries to fight a tyrannosaur and claims he was born to hunt dinosaurs. The tyrannosaur says this doesn't make sense because dinosaurs are extinct. Red Mage retorts "Then explain yourself," and the tyrannosaur goes pop-eyed and spontaneously combusts.
    • It doesn't always work out for him though - Red Mage tried fighting a giant much earlier on by pointing out that a creature that large could have never evolved and violates the Square-Cube Law, and therefore the giant doesn't really exist. The giant makes some weak counter arguments, and then crushed Red Mage with his club.
    • He uses similar reasoning in a later strip to deny the existence of 'Megahedron', his supposed avatar of the gods, claiming that it is really just a figment of his own imagination. His reasoning was that, if Megahedron was a figment of Red Mage's own mind, then he'd be smart enough to be able to convince him of his existence, a task at which he had so far failed (Megahedron's own suggestion). When Red Mage conceded that point, he went on to say that since Megahedron had convinced him with that argument, then that means that Megahedron is a figment. The only problem with that (which RM is too busy ignoring Megahedron to listen to) is that by that logic, Megahedron did not convince him. So that should convince him, which should not convince him, which should and oh dear, I've gone all cross-eyed.
    • He encounters a similar situation during his trial for class promotion. He encounters a monster who keeps outwitting him. He "defeats" it by admitting that he has failed and cannot beat it; the whole purpose of the conflict was to teach him humility. As soon as the monster leaves, however, he assumes that he subconsciously outsmarted the ordeal and learns absolutely nothing.
      • This occurred immediately after the encounter with the tyrannosaur at the top; upon being told he faces the ordeal of Pride, he declares that he lacks arrogance, because that would be a flaw. He expects it to be over, here, same as last.
    • Inverted in another instance. One encounter against a bone dragon has him repeatedly cast the Haste spell, hyper-accelerating the monster so fast that it begins to redshift, crumbling to dust in a matter of seconds... Until Red Mage says that Haste doesn't actually stack in intensity, only duration, and the dragon goes back to savaging the party.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta attempted this three times... twice in canon and once as a side-story. The first In-Canon attempt failed miserably, while the side-story one succeeded. The second time in canon, the victims did it to themselves accidentally.
  • Stickman and Cube did this in the early "Cube Disappears" arc, which ended up creating the comic's first recurring villain.
  • This is how Bun-bun exorcised the ghost of Ayn Rand from Kiki in this Sluggy Freelance. She didn't believe in the supernatural, obviously, so how could there be a ghost of her? The guest comic is courtesy of Bruno the Bandit creator Ian McDonald, who loves this trope.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • #585: Vaarsuvius attempted to use his Common Sense to aid in the Banishment of an enormous devil which was in clear violation of the Square-Cube Law. Didn't work. The fact Vaarsuvius is a magical elf who was flying with no physical means of propulsion at the time did not help the argument.
    • Another comic (#321) has the team's horses and riding dog disappear when Elan points out that they shouldn't be there. Only Durkon's pony, who had every right to be there, remained.
  • In The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Wonderella beats WHITE SPACE this way:
    Wonderella: You are blue.
    WHITE SPACE Oh dear. * pop*
  • In PVP, Scratch Fury succeeds exactly where Red Mage failed in this strip. He does it again, to a chimera this time, in this strip. This time, however, it doesn't go off until he corrects an error in his equation.
  • It occurs in this Sverd Shelgr strip, though it's more of story mechanics than true logic.
  • El Goonish Shive: Melissa attempts to deny a portly dragon its ability to fly, only to find that "'The Flight of Dragons' rules don't apply" in her Verse.
    • Justin comes across a comic that claims that it "doesn't have a social agenda" while "bringing back good, old fashioned heroes versus villains". George notes that that sounds like a social agenda which causes a paradox and the comic disappears in a flash of light.
  • In Goblins, one of the alternate universe Minmaxes tries this on the Universe using some Insane Troll Logic.
  • In Dr McNinja, the good Doctor is knocked out at his parents' house, and his family is kidnapped. When he awakens, Doc discovers that the (cooked) turkey they were going to have for dinner is now walking around and talking. He correctly surmises that this is a hallucination brought on by his injuries and guilt over endangering his family. After he leaves to go save them, the turkey continues to move and speak for a few seconds, before realizing that it can't do so when no one is around to hallucinate it. It promptly falls over, inert.
  • Happens here in Scenes from a Multiverse. A mystic goat said 'there is a high probably that I myself do not exist'. When a reporter asks him what would happen if that were proven true, he disappears.
  • One strip in Melonpool had Sam the dog writing a letter when Roberta comes by and talks with him, asking how a dog can write a letter with no thumbs. Almost instantly his handwriting becomes scribbles and he looks at her in annoyance.

    Web Original 
  • Bung Chronicles:
    • Most mythological deities ended up dying permanently due to existing by belief and people no longer believing in them.
    • In 'Her(bivore)', this is weaponized by Bung and Marina against Ares after the latter wreak havoc in the mortal world.
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum take Bleeprin, a mixture of aspirin and bleach, to ease the pain of working with bad fanfic. The Board Constitution contains a clause which reads thus:
    Please refrain from reminding the agents that this is chemically impossible. They already know that, and they don't care. However, if you remind them of this, it may stop working. Then they would have to kill you.
  • In this parody of Kingdom Hearts known as Kingdumb Hearts, Goofy asks if The Heartless have no hearts, how can they live. Right after that, Maleficent, Riku, and Kairi all fall over dead. It happens again in the sequel when Will Turner manages to kill a skeleton by bringing up its lack of muscles.
  • In Eddsworld, the three main characters get a car and get it to fly by "using the Z-Gear of course". It goes up to very trippy music in which Edd and Tom start dancing in the car. Matt then shouts "how can a car fly?" The music slows to a stop, then the car then falls down to land on top of a plane. This trope is then inverted when the pilot wonders whether his plane can fly. Then this continues and when the car gets there, several planes are now below them (each having doubted their flying capability).
  • 5 Second Films gives us an example in the form of a mailman working on the wrong day.
  • TomSka's sketch "I Don't Know" has characters who each lose a certain skill as soon as they need to use it, or someone asks if (or states that) they don’t have it. The most direct example is near the end:
    Big Jimmy: You little rat! You think you’re gettin’ away with this, huh? Do you even know who I am? Do you have any idea?
    Agent: Do you?
    Big Jimmy: Wh— No... (disappears in a puff of existential crisis)
  • In the CollegeHumor spoof "Professor Wikipedia", a student asks Professor Wikipedia to tell everyone his knowledge about her. Another student points out that she's "not notable" even though she edits the yearbook, and she vanishes into nothing while screaming.
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum: One mission involves Agent Whitney encountering a Mary Sue in the middle of having sex with a monster that's made out of fire. Once Whitney reminds the Sue exactly what she's doing, she ignites on the spot.
    Whitney: (W)hen I pointed out that she was basically fucking a guy made of fire, she screamed and burst into flames.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The horror behind SCP-946 is that it can do this - potentially on a massive scale, like changing the laws of physics.
    • SCP-3088 (a phenomenon where a small town's laws became more like laws of physics) was neutralized when the town's Knight Templar mayor passed a law (that the MTF team the Foundation sent to investigate the anomaly were to be expelled from town for being troublemakers and trying to get him voted out) that directly contradicted a previous law (that no one in the town could leave). The paradox resulted in the entire town and its people (except for the mayor's house) vanishing off the face of the Earth.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged, this is how the Bottomswell is defeated. During the fight, Cloud wonders about the monster's visible gills, reasoning that it should need water to live. Cue monster disintegration and Cloud's confused Lampshade Hanging.
    Cloud: Did... did it forget that it needs water to breathe?
  • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Alucard is defeated in a similar manner as in the original series, but for a different reason. In the original story, Schrödinger needed to be able to perceive himself to exist, and suffering a Loss of Identity in the millions of souls bound to Alucard robbed him of that. In Abridged, he is only everywhere and nowhere when others can't perceive him. If someone truly comprehended Schrödinger's existence, it would have to settle on "here" or "not here". By consuming Schrödinger's essence, Alucard fully observed Schrödinger, and as the proverbial coinflip went, he ceased to exist.
  • At the end of the Scott The Woz episode "Shovelware Variety Hour: Round Three", Scott declares that whoever contributed to the Wii's shovelware problems by buying these obviously terrible games "should disappear." He then pops out of existence.
  • Minilife TV: In "1-800-MINIDIAL", The Armless Guy calls Chris and Ian's hotline for help after he got eaten by a cartoon whale in the previous episode "STORY TIME!". When Chris asks him how he was able to call the hotline without any arms, the call hangs up.

    Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • An episode of Histeria! has the kids annoying René Descartes ("I Think, Therefore I Am") so much that he can't think. As soon as he realizes this, poof!note 
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the Itchy & Scratchy Show skit "My Bloody Valentine", Itchy gives Scratchy a "valentine" by ripping out Scratchy's heart and handing it to him. It doesn't seem to bother him at all until he gets home and sees a newspaper headline reading "YOU NEED YOUR HEART TO LIVE." He promptly drops dead.
    • Abe Simpson goes backstage during a theatre show in Branson featuring various celebrities commonly thought to be either dead or washed-up singing about how they are neither. He's shocked when he sees one of them:
      Abe: Tennessee Ernie Ford? Now I know you're dead.
      Tennessee: No, you just think I'm dead!
      Abe: No, you're dead. I was your biggest fan. Look, I clipped your obituary. [takes it out and shows him]
      [Tennessee takes one look at the obituary, then gasps and turns to dust]
  • Chowder.
    • Truffles shows up in one episode after being absent, asking if this is any of her business. Chowder replies "No. You're not in this episode." and she vanishes.
    • Chowder becomes so smart that he realizes that he is in fact in a cartoon. The show is promptly 'canceled'.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo": Older Candace is spying on Young Phineas and Ferb in a tree. When she remembers it's a holographic tree she immediately falls through it. Later, the Bad Future version of Candace disappears after Phineas points out she'd be gone after the two Candaces undid that future.
    • Done again in "Sleepwalk Surprise" when Doofenshmirtz see his dream demon while awake. When asked about it, the demon disappears.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In the musical episode "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey", a gnome takes the Girls' powers to take the evil out of the city. Later, they regained them after learning that the gnome was feeding off the wants of the people to thank him from that point on and forcing them to worship him. They fought him later, winning by singing about how everything needs its opposites and chasing him off the edge of a giant vine. He then went into a non-singing speech saying "As I descend to the Earth, and I view the universe above me, I realize that life revolves, evolves... and dissolves, completely around the opposites. Therefore, I conclude... that I cannot... exist, in my Utopian... mind." When he hit the ground, all the lines became white and the colors became black, and he exploded.
  • El Tigre: In "A Fistful of Nickels", Frida defeats a skeleton reanimated by Sartana of the Dead by pointing out there was nothing holding it up, causing it to collapse.
  • Futurama
    • Bender attempts to invoke this with the Robot Santa. "Come on, everybody! He can't hurt us if we don't believe in him!" It doesn't work.
    • Bender is on the receiving end of this in "Crimes of the Hot", after the crew is incapacitated by a cloud of toxic chlorine gas:
      Bender: Hahahaha, lightweights — Oh wait, chlorine! (instantly rusts, then falls over)
  • In the Super Secret Secret Squirrel episode "Quark", a sub-microscopic supervillain named Quark plans to flatten North America by "pulling out the bottom atom" of everything to make it all collapse, to make room for his own amphitheater (Canada) and a parking lot for it (the US). Secret Squirrel shrinks to subatomic size and lures him onto a dictionary, then points out the dictionary defines a quark as "a hypothetical subatomic particle". Secret manages to make the villain doubt his own existence enough that he vanishes into thin air.
  • Invoked in a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon where he was playing hide and seek with the nerdy little male chick. Foghorn hid in a shed, the chick scrawled some equations on a piece of paper and then found Foghorn in a different location. Foghorn goes crazy, pointing out that he was hiding in the shed, at which point the chick shows him the equations and Foghorn is forced to admit that "figures don't lie". Foghorn and the chick walk over to the shed, and Foghorn stops as he is reaching to open the door, saying "No, I better not look; I just might be in there".
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batmite succeeds in getting the show cancelled for a darker one, but Ambush Bug points out that the mite is too silly a character for such a dark show, resulting in Mite being erased from existence.
  • In Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers, Foxglove is victim to this in her only episode. She arrives to save Dale from falling. Dale didn't know bats like her can carry anything/anyone her size. She ends up remembering this before they start falling into a trash dumpster.
    Dale: I didn't know bats could do this.
    Foxglove: Do what?
    Dale: Fly when they're carrying so much weight.
    Foxglove: Uh oh!
    Dale: What?
    Foxglove: We can't!
    Dale: Oh...
    • Her being oblivious to this trope was crucial in foiling her former master Winifred's plans.
      • At the end of the episode, Dale carries Chip while using makeshift wings. Foxglove reminds him of the logic of carrying anyone their size and falling ensues.
  • South Park has an episode (involving a Tooth Mafia) where Kyle began questioning the existence of everything after having learned that the Tooth Fairy is not real. Near the climax, Kyle began questioning if he would cease to exist if he didn't keep thinking about his existence, and then promptly vanishes into thin air because he stopped thinking about his existence. He got better.
  • The Danger Mouse episode "Once Upon a Timeslip" has DM and Penfold in the Mk. III motorcar having been transported to medieval England through a microphone quirk and the show's announcer. When Penfold brings up the fact that there were no cars in the Middle Ages, the Mk. III suddenly vanishes, leaving our heroes to plummet to the ground.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Garfield and Friends, during a U.S. Acres segment. Orson points out that, in the real world, if you stepped off a cliff, you'd fall into the chasm the exact moment your feet stepped into thin air - whereas, in a cartoon, if you do the same thing, "you don't fall until you realize you're falling".
  • Similarly, in the Arthur episode "To Beat Or Not To Beat", Francine puts on a football helmet, flaps her arms, and flies in the air. And then...
    Arthur: Francine, stop it! You're going to get hurt! Kids can't fly!
    Francine: They can't?
    Arthur: No! It's impossible!
    Francine: Oh. (screams and falls into a pile of leaves)
    Arthur: Don't you hate it when you have to burst someone's bubble?
  • Like the above two, a Powdered Toast Man bumper from The Ren & Stimpy Show has two children flying after eating powdered toast. PTM then flies past them and tells that they children can't fly, after which they start plummeting down.
    Powdered Toast Man: It may have Vitamin F, but Powdered Toast sure doesn't make kids any smarter!
  • In a Robot Chicken sketch parodying Back at the Barnyard, Bessie points out the inaccuracy of Otis, a male cow, having an udder, which he counters with other inaccuracies such as that Abby can't have blonde hair and that cows can't walk on two legs ("Our knees should explode under this much weight!"). As soon as he says this, all three cows' knees give out and they lie on the ground in pain.
    Otis: Fantasy looks pretty good now, huh, you judgmental bitches!
    • In the skit which shows the consequences of Pinocchio becoming a real boy, Pinocchio is told by Geppetto his catheter infected him with Staphylococcus and he's been a boy for 1 day only. And that's when he starts to die from his Staph infection.
    • Another sketch has Junkyard Dog trying to intimidate a couple of boys, only for them to point out he's been dead since 1998, which leaves him disappointed and sent off to heaven.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Countdown," a bunch of Gumballs and Darwins end up time traveling to the prehistoric age. The most recently arrived Gumball and Darwin come in to watch the others fight. When the fighting changes history, Gumball and Darwin travel back and tell their duplicates that they shouldn't exist because it would create a time paradox. The others go "Oh yeah" and promptly vanish.
  • A bumper on The Beatles has Ringo flapping his arms and flying. When John comments that it's impossible, Ringo suddenly plummets and lands on his head.
    Ringo: (to John) You and your education.
  • Subverted in the Looney Tunes cartoon "A Coy Decoy", Daffy Duck falls for a wind-up female decoy duck. At the end, Daffy is snuggling up to the decoy. Porky comments to us that nothing could possibly come of this relationship, with Daffy responding with a "Hmph!," swimming off with the decoy and four wind-up baby decoys in tow. The fourth decoy stops and razzes Porky with "You and your education!"
  • In one episode of Cro, the modern day storyline is Dr. C and Mike are trapped on a raft in the middle of a saltwater tank by a voracious school of piranha. At the end of the episode, Phil saves them by getting a biology book and pointing out to the piranha that they are, in fact, freshwater fish. Realizing this, the piranha promptly go belly-up.
  • Weaponized in the Teen Titans Go! episode "Knowledge" when the Titans pilot a submarine into Starfire's body to reverse her newfound intelligence before her swollen brain makes her head explode. They battle Starfire's newly-sentient brain, who repels the submarine's missiles by pointing out that most missiles never reach their intended target and renders its lasers ineffective by pointing out that modern lasers aren't advanced enough to be used as conventional weaponry (despite this being a superhero cartoon where laser weapons have been repeatedly shown to exist).
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In "Dexter's Wacky Races", Dexter's Dad shows off the modifications he made to his car to make it go faster, including partially dismantling it. A variation in that reality kicks in before it's pointed out.
    Dad: And most important, I removed all extra weight from the vehicle, including...
    (the car slows to a stop)
    Mom: The gas tank?
    Dad: ...Right.
  • DuckTales (2017): In the episode "A Nightmare On Killmotor Hill!", a unicorn from Webby's dream was left alone. When he questioned how he can still exist without anyone around to dream him into existence, he instantly disappears, without any sound or visual effects accompanying his sudden nonexistence.
    Unicorn: Wait, if nobody is around to dream me into existence, don't I-[disappears]

    Real Life 
  • Frequently occurs in dreams when the dreamer becomes semi-lucid and realizes something that's happening in the dream is impossible, such as talking to a person who is dead in real life and suddenly becoming aware of that fact, at which point the "person" will often disappear or the dreamer will wake up.
  • A type of mental health therapy works on this basis: in "logic-based therapy" a patient is taught to recognize the illogic of the thought patterns that lead to depression, anxiety or phobia, thereby eliminating the problem.


Quark is hypothetical

Secret explains to Quark that he's a hypothetical subatomic particle, therefore making him a outdated theory that doesn't exist, causing him to explode.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / PuffOfLogic

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