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Supernatural Floating Hair

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And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!

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.

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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    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.
  • In So I'm a Spider, So What? "D" is a goddess of death who prefers to assume the form of a young teenage girl. If she stops actively suppressing her true nature, her hair can start floating around her.

    Comic Books 
  • Kaiju Dayz: Big Mama is mostly reptilian in appearance, save for her massive mane of hair that drifts about as though underwater.
  • A signifier of Legion's mutant powers is how all of the straight hairs on his head point straight up and resists restyling. Some covers of his solo comics parody it by depicting him as a paintbrush or a stick of dynamite.
  • Silver Surfer: Black: The primordial dark god Knull's hair floats like he's underwater, emphasizing his otherworldly nature and overwhelming power.

    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 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, likewise due to his death underwater.

  • 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.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: Nahadoth, the God of Chaos and Darkness, commonly manifests as an inhumanly beautiful man or woman with pale skin and floating black hair that merges with the shadows around him/her.

    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.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theme Parks 

  • 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.
  • All of the possessed humans in LEGO's Hidden Side theme gain floaty, wild hair and/or beards from the ghosts taking over them.

    Video Games 
  • In Dead by Daylight, the Spirit and, to a lesser extent, Oni killers both do this.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ghost-type Pokémon 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 Pokémon Malamar is a vaguely humanoid upside-down squid, and its waving tentacles invoke undulating hair because of its unusual body plan.
    • Fighting/Ghost Pokémon Annihilape has fur that seems to flow upwards, along with a few wisps of fur that outright floats above its head unattached from its body, sustained by its sheer rage.
  • 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.
  • Badeline from Celeste normally has the same hair as Madeline—that is, normal hair—but in chapter 6, after Madeline tries to leave her behind, she completely loses her cool and her hair goes crazy. It stays up like that for the boss fight as well.
  • Genshin Impact: The intro of the game has the protagonists, Aether and Lumine, encountering the "unknown god" who refers to herself as "Sustainer of Heavenly Principles". As part of her divine power, the ends of her hair floats up to different directions.

    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.
  • The Luminary of Light in Apricot Cookie(s)! has hair that floats, but only in the alternate plane where she grants magical girls their powers.
  • In Mob Psycho 100, the most recognizable sign that Mob is either close to or in the middle of one of his emotional explosions is that his hair goes from a plain bowl cut to a wild mess of undulating spikes. It's also prone to fluttering when he uses his psychic power in a controlled but showy fashion.

    Western Animation