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Supernatural Floating Hair

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You have a supernatural character. Maybe you're going for maximum scares and have made their body or face grotesque and frightening, but don't know what else to do with them. Or maybe you want them to look fairly normal or beautiful and want one strange element or effect. An easy route to go in either case is to remove Earthly gravity from their hair.

Although hair blowing in the breeze or flowing in water is often used as an image of beauty, particularly in advertising, the effect of someone's hair billowing and floating around them without any air or water currents to move it is strange and often frightening. The only explanation could be some otherworldly force or power, and it's usually not a good thing. Ghosts, witches, and other supernatural entities may have constantly-floating hair or just run an occasional supernatural breeze through it for a moment of drama, and this imagery is often used for fear, though it can be featured in lighter contexts for general magic.

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Given that longer hair is more dramatic when floating like this and the connotations of long hair to feminine beauty, this trope is usually a feature of supernatural women. For this trope to apply, the hair does not need to be in constant motion, but the hair must be in sustained fluid motion at some point, and not through natural forces. If the entire being is floaty, the hair must stand out within that. Not to be confused with Prehensile Hair, where the hair moves on the bearer's direction and serves as a tool, or Dramatic Wind, where the visual may be invoked but with natural causes. If it's being used to demonstrate possession of incredible power, then it overlaps with Power Floats. Compare to Anti-Gravity Clothing, where, for some reason, a piece of somebody's outfit refuses to obey gravity.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Uzumaki, one form of the spiral curse plaguing the town of Kurozu-cho is living hair which stands upward in mesmerizing spiral disks which consume the enemy of the person attached.
  • Devilish child Chizumi in Dissolving Classroom has a short bob hairstyle, but it still floats around her without explanation when she approaches Keiko in the first chapter.
  • Yubaba in Spirited Away wears her hair in a bun for most of the film, but when her hair is let down and she panics about losing her son Boh, her hair streams around her in the air.
  • Akiko from Metsuko ni Yoroshiku and I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying has a lock of hair that doesn't so much float as it does hang straight upwards in blatant disregard of gravity (as well as constantly wriggle as if it were a snake). The exact reason behind it is never specified, though it is almost certainly supernatural in nature given her superhuman strength.

    Films — Animation 
  • The three Ghost Children in Coraline have floating hair, but it's most visible on the long-haired Tall Ghost Girl.
  • The witch in ParaNorman manifests (in contrast to the town's Halloween Wicked Witch perception of her) as an electrical ghost, with hair that floats upwards and turns into lightning.
  • The First Ancestor in Mulan is a spirit who has both floating hair and beard.
  • Hera's hair in Hercules stands out among the Olympian gods' for its floating.
  • Moana villain Te Ka invokes this with her design, as she billows volcanic smoke from her head, which resembles streaming hair.
  • In Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, the Goddess of Discord, Eris, has hair that moves as if she is underwater.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), the ghostly librarian's startling transformation includes loose floating hair, and the ghostly woman in Stantz's dream also features this.
  • The ghostly titular entity of Mama has constantly floating hair.
  • The ghost of Josette in Dark Shadows has floating hair, perhaps in connection to her death in the water.
  • The ghost of Enola in Crimson Peak has very long hair that floats behind her.
  • The eponymous Lavagirl in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl has a constant breeze running through her hair, perhaps to imitate a lava flow or otherwise signify her power.
  • Capitán Salazar in Dead Men Tell No Tales, likewise due to his death underwater.
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    Literature 
  • The Haunted Hotel, from the children's book series A to Z Mysteries, features an alleged haunting from a ghost whose appearance features a halo of floating hair.
  • Rene Arroy from the Arcia Chronicles is a pirate captain who goes down with his ship at the end of book two, but is brought back along with his ship by a divine intervention, becoming the world's Flying Dutchman. Afterwards, he appears as pretty much any living human, except for his hair, which looks like it's being constantly ruffled by a strong breeze, even when he is indoors.
  • Chris Riddell's turn illustrating Coraline gives the Other Mother floating hair which increases in fluidity as she deteriorates throughout the book.
  • Victor Rivas' new illustrations for children's scary-story collection In a Dark, Dark Room features a flowing-haired ghost on the cover, a creepy girl with floating hair on the page opposite the table of contents, and the ghost in the titular story also has billowing locks.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Ancient Greek mythological monster Medusa may be the Ur-Example of this trope. While her hair was snakes, the image of writhing independent hair is perhaps most recognizable in depictions of the famous Gorgon.

    Theme Parks 

    Toys 
  • Monster High character Spectra Vondergeist, the first ghost character, is depicted with dramatic floating hair in everything but her physical dolls and the 3D-animated specials, where her hair is bone-straight and not the least bit floaty.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon:
    • Ghost-type Pokemon Misdreavus resembles a floating head with streaming hair.
    • Darkrai, a Dark-type legendary, has what looks like a single streak of floating grey hair on its head.
    • Dark/Psychic Pokemon Malamar is a vaguely humanoid upside-down squid, and its waving tentacles invoke undulating hair because of its unusual body plan.
  • Yo Kai Watch Yo-Kai Foiletta has some tendrils of floating hair.
  • The Shadow Queen, the demonic sorceress Big Bad locked away for most of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, has long tendrils of levitating hair that float behind her.
  • Haunt The House is a Flash game where you are a ghost possessing objects in your house to scare away living guests of an unwanted party, and you unlock more powerful scares for each item with the more people you frighten. The most powerful "Spook" option unlocked for the rag doll in the bedroom makes it scream and raise its arms while its hair streams outward.
  • The Banshee ghosts in the video game for The Haunted Mansion have floating hair as they attack with a ghostly wail.
  • In Warcraft III, Banshees (ghosts of massacred elven women raised and given voices by the Lich King) have hair that floats out in every direction, as do their clothes. Ghosts and Wraiths (who use a differently-colored model but can't speak) do the same.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
In Undead Friend, since she's a ghost and defies gravity, Mahalah's hair can be seen flowing in very interesting ways.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ghost of Northwest Manor in Gravity Falls invokes this via his beard of blue fire.
  • Princesses Celestia and Luna in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have ethereal undulating manes which signify their magical nature. Indeed, when lacking their magic, their manes don't so much as flutter. Nightmare Moon utilizes the flowing mane imagery for horror.
  • Spirits in Avatar: The Last Airbender such as Yue and the Painted Lady (the real one, not the disguise used by Katara) often have their hair floating.
  • In Teen Titans, Raven's hair sometimes floats when she uses her psychokinetic powers in the rare instances she doesn't have her hood up.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), when April's psychic powers reach its peak her hair blows about from the power.
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