Follow TV Tropes



Go To

"Nothing will remain of you: not a name in a register, not a memory in a living brain. You will be annihilated in the past as well as in the future. You will never have existed."

Damnatio memoriae: the systematic removal of all evidence of a character's existence, either through mundane conspiracy or a little bit of Applied Phlebotinum (e.g., Laser-Guided Amnesia). The purposes for doing so vary. This is more commonly done in enclosed or isolated areas, where it's easier to track evidence. This can lead to characters tracking the shreds of evidence the hiders left behind. Often any shred of evidence they find will disappear when they show someone. If they dig too deep or get too involved in their search, there's always the danger that they too will disappear depending on the circumstances.

Damnatio memoriae (Latin for "damnation of memory") often relies on the fact that history is Written by the Winners, and of course, the winners would always like to remove evidence of opposition against their otherwise tyrannical rule as a warning for others and to perpetuate their power. It is also done for other purposes, such as literally condemning questionable acts done by the person in his lifetime to deter possible future offenders.


This effect isn't always someone's deliberate decision. History is largely reconstructed from the records of the time, and will have gaps of information when those records do not exist or get destroyed — e.g. in ancient times, when very few people wrote, and most documents are now lost (paper, papyrus and similar materials do not last forever). Another typical example is the people that were largely ignored during their lifetime and did something that gave them a place in history, as the records about an average Joe are fewer and harder to locate than those of public figures. A man whose historicity is very complicated is Jesus; see Historicity of Jesus in the other wiki (which is, in short terms, what we know about Jesus outside of The Bible).

See also I Have No Son!, where a child is disavowed by his/her family; Expendable Clone, where clones aren't given person status (or it's revoked upon discovery they're a clone); I Was Never Here, which is requested on one's own behalf; and Name Amnesia, for characters who accidentally or intentionally un-person themselves. Compare Ret Gone, where the affected person is literally erased from existence, and It's a Wonderful Plot, where they are not, but it's shown what the world would be like if they were. Contrast Invented Individual (who never existed but is made to appear that they do), Death of Personality (when someone ceases to exist from their perspective), the Outlaw (whose existence isn't covered up but no longer exists legally) and The Spook (who actively works to keep themselves unpersoned). If the unpersoning is executed poorly, it may lead to the Streisand Effect (see Herostratus under Real Life — History). When this happens because of meta reasons, for example, if there are copyrights or other laws involved and someone cannot use a certain character anymore, or because the writers have just opted to write them out with no explanation, see Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. When Gods Need Prayer Badly, this is a good way to kill them. When there is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity, this is often the best punishment. Not to be confused with a UN person.


In-universe examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass:
    • In Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2, the Emperor (who has the power of creating Fake Memories with his Geass) erases all knowledge of Nunnally vi Brittannia a.k.a. Nunnally Lamperouge from Ashford Academy, replacing her with Rolo Haliburton, now Rolo Lamperouge. This even includes Lelouch, who for a year is convinced that Rolo is his brother... until C.C. restores his memories.
      • Code Geass: Oz the Reflection adds to this by introducing Clara Lanfranc, who was the first Geass Cult spy/"substitute Nunnally". She came into conflict with the Zevon twins and was killed, leading her to be replaced by Rolo, with the Emperor erasing everyone's memories of Clara.
    • After Lelouch successfully topples Britannia, the first thing he does is mind-control the nobles that supported Charles to forget he ever existed, and the second thing is to burn every scrap of history involving the Britannian royal family.
  • In the end of the Clow Card arc of Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura is threatened with something like this should she fail: no one will actually be gone except Yukito in the anime, who disappears with Kero, Yue, and the Cards, but everyone will forget that their most beloved person ever meant anything to them. This includes a Les Yay moment when Tomoyo Daidouji cannot remember Sakura at all, despite being her best friend, meaning HER most beloved person ever is Sakura herself!
  • Happens to Aichi during Season 4 of Cardfight!! Vanguard. All memory of Aichi's existence has been wiped from everyone's (except Kai's) memory. Kai sets out to find Aichi, help Aichi's friends remember him, and discover what happened to him. It turns out that Aichi had himself sealed away to prevent the seed of Link Joker (Which had been inside of him since the end of Season 3) from taking control of him. He erased the memory of his friends himself for that end.
  • This is the whole plot/premise of Madlax. Friday Monday from seems to be able to do this to people, such as one poor detective who got too close to the truth. Eventually even he forgot who he was as well as everyone who once knew him.
  • Happens in Yu-Gi-Oh! to the Pharaoh, or 'Yami Yugi' as he's known. When he was king he sacrified his life, name and memories to seal away the Shadow Games and Zorc, effectively wiping himself from history except in vague records. Upon first release 3,000 years later he seems to have adopted the identity of a dark avenger, since his magic is all he knows about himself. A theme of the series is his quest for a separate identity, as even Yugi's friends still refer to him as the other Yugi or just Yugi after learning of his past life.
  • Suou has this happen to her in the second season of Darker Than Black, as her family is killed/forced on the run, her house is wiped off the map, and all of her friends (excepting the also fugitive Nika) have had their minds wiped of her existence.
  • Johan Liebert from Monster is notable since the one who is removing the evidence of his existence is himself. He also did the same to General Wolf. All because the poor sap at one point asked him "how he felt".
  • In Shakugan no Shana, a large amount of people have had their power of existence consumed and turned into torches. When a torch's flame dies out, they disappear completely, and no-one ever remembers they existed.
  • One Piece:
    • The prison Impel Down has six levels. The sixth level of the prison — reserved for those who are most dangerous (whether to society or simply the World Government) — does not officially exist; the same could be presumed of its inhabitants. Which is why several of them escaping was covered up.
    • The Donquixote Family member Sugar has this as a side effect of her Devil Fruit power. The main power of her Hobby-Hobby Fruit is that it turns people she touches into toys that she can then place under her total control. The side-effect is that all memory of her victims are erased from those who knew them, though physical evidence still remains.
  • Tiger & Bunny has a variation on it: neither Wild Tiger nor Kotetsu T. Kaburagi were stricken from record and memory, but any indication that they're the same person was. Thus, it becomes much easier for Maverick to frame Kotetsu for the murder of Samantha Taylor and have him hunted down by all of his former friends, whose memories were altered to believe Kotetsu is a murderer. Fortunately for the victim of this plot, Maverick overlooked a few key people - among them Kotetsu's former boss, and the judge who is secretly the vigilante anti-hero Lunatic - who retain their memories and are able to help unravel the plot.
  • Bleach:
    • Rukia had artificially created an existence for herself as a transfer student when she was hiding in the World of the Living. As a result, Soul Society removes all traces of Rukia's existence from the World of the Living when she's returned to Soul Society, including wiping human memories. Only those with spiritual pressure remember her.
    • Tsukishima's death undoes his power and all his effects. His victims also forget all about him, even his very existence and despite remembering everything else.
  • The characters in Another adopt this as a survival tactic. A curse regularly kills a particular class's students (and their immediate family members) year after year. The one common trend is that there always seems to be an extra person each year and Laser-Guided Amnesia / Fake Memories prevents anyone from identifying who it is. One response, is to choose one student and make them an Un-Person in the hopes that will make the curse think everything is correct. It has about a 50% success rate.
  • Suicide Island: Any attempted suicide patient who consents to being put on the titular island will be considered this by the Japanese government. The island is apparently isolated, and there seems to be little chance of getting off it in the first place, even if the characters wanted to. Furthermore, the characters find themselves handling a number of issues coming from both themselves and the island to even worry about the outside world!
  • In Gundam AGE, this is The Reveal about the Unknown Enemy: they are the descendents of an attempt to colonize Mars that failed when the planet's properties started killing people. Instead of evacuating them, the Federation erases all records of it so that they don't have to admit to such an enormous blunder. It backfires. Ohhh, does it ever.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico this is also The Reveal towards the Jovians - they're a bunch of humans who wanted to live their lives through the Show Within a Show Gekiganger III and ended up getting chased out by the Earth Federation all the way to Jupiter. When they came back for revenge, they lied and called them alien lizards.
  • A minor case occurs in Eyeshield 21 when a character returned to America to find the real Eyeshield 21, everyone seemingly didn't recognize the name or refused to speak about said person. It turns out that Mr Don filed charges against Yamato that didn't exist and had him expelled from Notre Dame.
  • Implied in Vampire Princess Yui. Once Yui leaves her home after the death of her grandmother and last relative, Miyu and Larva erase the memories of her remaining friends (Kyouko and Shouji) so they won't remember her.
  • Played with in Fruits Basket. Everyone from outside the Sohma family who has found out about their secret must have their memories of such a fact and of the respective cursed Sohma member deleted, to not let anyone find out about the curse. This includes: Yuki's pre-school friends after a girl trips on him and accidentally triggers said curse, and Momiji's German mother after she rejects him and falls into illness. Tohru is the only exception, and the manga explains that there's a huge reason behind it: Akito and her mother Ren bet on what would happen if she stayed around the Sohmas while knowing about their curse: will she be able to stray them away from Akito's grip, or will they stay by Akito's side even if it's through fear?
  • This happens to Fuko in CLANNAD, who simply disappears out of everybody's memories after her sister's wedding. She reappears in ~After Story~, even though Tomoya doesn't remember they ever met.
  • At the end of Serial Experiments Lain, Lain removes others' memories of her (former) self.
  • In Di[e]ce, all records of Kazuki and Haruki's existences are erased when they get sucked into the death games known as di[e]ce. Only the players that serve them acknowledge/remember them.
  • Black Zetsu of Naruto erased all evidence of Kaguya's existence as part of his Long Game.
  • In How to Make an Invisible Man, becoming "invisible" doesn't just mean nobody can see you. It means nobody can see you, hear you, notice your presence, or even remember you, even if they are family, friends or lovers. You even disapear from the photos where you were. Your existence is erased from the world. But even with that, Kana keeps a vague, residual feeling of having lost something; her bond with Shinji is just that strong.
  • Pokémon:
    • Porygon has become something of an Un-Pokemon as far as the anime is concerned. The only episode to feature Porygon as "Pokemon of the week" is infamous for having triggered seizures in a number of viewers; as a result, it was dropped from the schedules and never exported outside Japan. Since then, Porygon and its evolutions have, at most, been glimpsed fleetingly and have never been mentioned by any major character. Which is incredibly unfair by the way, because it was Pikachu that caused the seizures, but since Porygon was the 'Mon of the week, he took all the blame.
    • Lorelei eventually met a similar fate due to using a Jynx in her only episode, "The Mandarin Island Miss Match". As of the current DVD print run, she doesn't exist in the anime at all as far as TPCI is concerned.
  • This ends up happening to Sakuya in Tenchi in Tokyo. With her purpose complete, Big Bad Yuugi recalls her (as she's actually her shadow) and everything about her is erased from pictures, memories, everything... except for Tenchi and his friends, which makes the poor kid panic.
  • Implied during the finale of Tokyo Ghoul. The chairman of the CCG has several files on his desk, one of which bears the picture and personal information of protagonist Ken Kaneki. The file has been stamped with the word "ERASED", suggesting some sort of cover-up concerning his existence. In the sequel, :Re, Sasaki discovers that no files on the case exist.....with the exception of a single, misplaced draft report stashed deep within the archives. When he tries to find out more about the Investigator that authored the report, he is told the Investigator's cause of death has been classified and is completely inaccessible.
  • In K : Return of Kings, it is revealed that, as part of the plan to force Weismann to come down from his airship, the Green Clan did this to Tooru Hieda, the boy who's body the Colorless King stole in season 1, which is why not even Scepter 4's surveillance systems could identify the culprit in the video that shows the Colorless King in Tooru's body committing a murder.
  • Shokugeki no Soma: The Big Bad of the Central arc, Azami Nakiri, was banished from Tootsuki and the Nakiri family for the abuse he put his daughter Erina through. Almost everything referencing him was removed from the school (which was not a small feat — Azami is a very accomplished chef) and those who know of him (such as Hisako's parents) refuse to speak of him. After seeing the effects his abuse had on Erina, it's not hard to see why.
  • This happens to Madoka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. She traded it for a happy afterlife for corrupted magical girls.
  • This is done as a reward in Crest of the Stars by the creator of the "Abh Hell." Though the Abh as the whole don't believe in an afterlife they created a living hell as a place of torture for their worst enemies. The opening narration of one episode recounts the meeting of the Emperor who commissioned its creation, offering the creator any reward they desired. Knowing full well the magnitude of the horror they have made the unnamed creator's only request is to be erased from history, a request the Emperor grants.
  • Kaoru's grandfather in Ai Yori Aoshi tries to do this to Kaoru after he was adopted as the Hanabishi clan's heir. After his mother passed away, his grandfather ordered the complete destruction of all personal effects that ever proved that she ever existed. Kaoru managed to hang onto a small necklace charm that contains a piece of her placenta when he was born. All he has left of her is that charm and his memories of her.

    Comic Books 
  • Any character or event from a joint venture comic book crossover would fall into this. If, for example, Superman meets Spider-Man in a crossover event by DC and Marvel, they should better try all the things they may want to do together in the comic book of the crossover, and close all the plot directions that they may open. Once it is done, goodbye, Superman will never appear or be remembered in the Amazing Spider-Man comic book, and Spider-Man will never appear in Action Comics either.
  • During the brief period of time Spider-Man's enemy the Vulture was a young man due to use of stolen technology, he was determined to do this to himself, and delete any evidence that his Adrian Toomes identity existed. (The experience had caused Toomes to go off the deep end in the process.) Unfortunately, this plan included murdering every person who knew about it (Spider-Man included). He offered to help fellow criminal the Owl (who was having quite an identity crisis at the time and could have benefited from such) do the same, but the Owl eventually decided against it and broke off their partnership.
  • Max Lord did this to himself with his Psychic Powers. Anybody sees a photo of him? They see someone else. They are asked about anything from his past? Whatever it was, they don't remember him. When confronted with what the man did? They blame someone else. The reformed JLI has been shoved into confrontations with the biggest guns of the DCU as a direct result of this, and they still couldn't prove anything... until Batman came back, and he wasn't around at the moment of the mindwipe... Amusingly, about halfway through his master plan, Wonder Woman, who Max wanted revenge on, was herself Un-personed in an unrelated plotline, and only Max could remember she ever existed. He noted the irony of this.
  • In a weirdly Meta Fictional case, the DCU actually has a realm of this, with Comic-Book Limbo, where characters go when nobody remembers them and they're not written about in stories anymore. Grant Morrison introduced this as an actual place in his Animal Man run, and later revisited it during Final Crisis in the Superman Beyond tie-in.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen universe makes use of this trope extensively, outright stating that an incredible number of "fictional characters" are in fact Unpersons, including Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo, and Fu Manchu. The third book increases their ranks a great deal, going so far as to imply Lovecraftian horrors are Unpersons.
    • Lovecraftian Horrors were involved in the supplementary material for volume 1.
  • Batman becomes (or always was?) this in Batman: Year 100 as James Gordon III tries to find any information about him. Arkham Asylum and the Bat's vaudevillians all exist and are widely-known... but Lieutenant Gordon can only find 3 witness reports from wildly different periods of a strange cloaked figure who was once famous enough to attend charity functions. He later burns all the evidence after reading his grandfather's secret laptop, proving the Gordons are ALWAYS hardcore about protecting Bruce Wayne... whatever he is after over a century of crime fighting.
  • A Daredevil villain called the Mauler was an accountant who wanted revenge on the CEO who'd kept him from receiving his pension due to an accidental erasure of his work record. He tracked the guy down in a suit of Powered Armor and, instead of killing him as Daredevil had expected, destroyed all proof of his legal identity. Then corporate security shot him down.
  • A real-world cross-media example originating in comics: Live-action and animated adaptations of Alan Moore's comic book work routinely include no credit for him, at his insistence. He regards adaptations with horror. He only made such an insistence because Hollywood burned him over an earlier adaptation deal.
  • In The Sandman story "August", Caesar Augustus calmly tells Lycius that, if he gave the order, Lycius would disappear sometime during the night, and the next day, no one would dare to mention that he even existed in the first place.
  • In early issues of X-Factor, Mr. Sinister did this to Cyclops' estranged wife Madelyne Pryor — records were altered, people who knew her disappeared, etc. It was never clear exactly why he bothered, since Cyclops knew perfectly well that she'd existed, and the whole thing was infinitely more suspicious than a faked death would have been.
  • Rom the Spaceknight, a toy by the Parker Brothers, was promoted by giving a licence to Marvel Comics to publish a comic book about him. It was published from 1979 to 1986, and interacted with the other characters of the Marvel Universe. But, as Marvel does not have the license anymore, Rom is now completely off-limits. He is not around the Marvel universe, but he isn't either mentioned in flashbacks, found in alternate universes, or other similar tricks. Rom simply does not exist. Consider for example Avengers 221 (Rom is in the first column, second row), and the parody of that cover made for Secret Invasion, in New Avengers 42 (Rom was replaced with Jocasta)
  • This was done hilariously in Civil War towards Howard the Duck. When he attempts to register for the Superhuman Registration Act, he's told that he's such a legal quagmire (which is true in real life; long story) that the government's decided to just pretend he doesn't exist. Howard's overjoyed at this, mostly because he doesn't need to pay taxes anymore.
  • In Secret Wars (2015) a number of characters suffer this throughout the various titles:
    • In Spider-Verse, the Spiders (Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider-UK, Spider Man India and Spider-Man: Noir) suffer this, Gwen especially according to local history, she's supposed to be dead.
    • None of the domains have a counterpart of Reed Richards. Fitting since the god of Battleworld is Doctor Doom, who notes that he spent years searching Battleworld for a version of Richards to no avail.
    • And apparently, despite existing in most domains, there are no files or official documents of Jane Foster to the point of nobody being able to identify her when a serial killer begins to hunt her versions down.
  • The Retroactive Cannon (or "Ret-Can") from Dan Slott's She-Hulk is a powerful weapon from the Time Variance Authority's arsenal that bombards an individual with anti-temporal rays, unraveling them backwards through time and erasing them from all reality.
  • This is the horrific fate of The Gibborim's sacrifices in Runaways. After the beast devours a person's soul, their being is slowly broken down such that all memory and proof of their existence is wiped from reality.
  • The underground comic "Dopin' Dan" has a strip where the title Army private is being run through a typical bureaucratic procedure, but the girl at the desk can't find his papers. After a lengthy search she concludes "I guess you don't exist" and he happily goes along with it...but his sergeant doesn't, ordering him out of bed the next day.
  • In Nightmares & Fairy Tales, the Beauty and the Beast chapter has Beauty's father giving her to the Beast to save himself. He then tells her younger sister that Beauty was ungrateful and ran away from and thus should be forgotten. When the sister later expresses concern for Beauty's well-being and begs her father to forgive Beauty and try to find her, he hits her for not listening to him.
  • One of the past Witchblade bearers in Switch, Zala, had her name erased from history out of fear that other bearers would imitate her tyrannical example.
  • During Secret Wars II, the Beyonder does this to the New Mutants, the only connection still to the team is a bond Kitty Pryde had to Magik.
  • The Sentry's origin relies on his un-person-ness being dropped. His nemesis, with the help of a few others, erased any records, knowledge or memory of the Sentry from the world, including the minds of his closest friend Reed Richards and other fellow heroes whom he had teamed up with and helped in various instrumental ways.
  • One issue of Mickey Mouse Detective have Mickey take on a case of a missing husband. The only proof of his existence is the words of his wife, as all records of him were erased and his apartment (where Hayden lived with his wife) occupied by an elderly woman who claimed that she always lived there. Turned out that Hayden had a very complicated life, juggling jobs to make ends meet and during his work accidentally broke vial that contained a strain of very deadly desease. Seeking help he visits the doctor who happened to be a good friend of mayor and mayor fearing the mass hysteria/panic and possible outbreak made him this.
  • Wonder Woman supervillain the First-Born was subjected to this in his backstory. After being exiled from Mount Olympus shortly after his birth, he tried to take revenge on his parents for abandoning him. He founded an barbaric kingdom from the peoples he conquered and rose an massive army to lay siege to Olympus itself only for the gods to destroy it with a tidal wave. Zeus imprisoned his son beneath the earth and practically erased all remnants of his existence, including his kingdom. Until the First-Born re-emerged 7,000 years later, only four people knew his existence: his parents Zeus and Hera, and his uncles Poseidon (who sent the tidal wave that destroyed his army) and Hades (who took the souls of his warriors to his realm).

    Fan Works 
  • Stephanie Brown's subplot in Angel Of The Bat is focused heavily on the events and fallout of the Batman miniseries War Games in which her death was faked. In particular, the fact that she feels like Batman considered her such a failure he tried to cover up the fact that she ever existed. These arguments ranging from her not being given a memorial in the Batcave to the fact that he claims to have believed she was still alive, but never acted on the belief to try and find her. Word of God is this this was intended as a huge Take That! regarding DC's own treatment of the character.
  • Ambience: A Fleet Symphony:
    • The Battle of Baltimore was left out of official records by the Feds, leaving almost all the dead undocumented.
    • In chapter 108, following Suzukaze's dishonourable discharge from the fleet, Sanford deletes all records of her and officially forbids any discussion of her existence.
  • In The Bridge, after the Xilians blamed Controller 011 and Praetorian Guard 094 for Kaizer Ghidorah's rampage against their planet, they erased all records of the two from history.
  • In The Bridge: Humanity's Stand, Titanosaurus is angry at humanity after a Mad Scientist mind-controlled her. Zilla later informs her that after the scientist was stopped and arrested, he was imprisoned and all of his records and research was destroyed, and nobody is allowed to mention his name. Titanosaurus considers that more horrible than anything she can think off and drops her vendetta.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Certain beings like the Alicorns, Draconequi, and those Immune to Fate can still remember beings who have suffered a Ret Gone. However, for his heinous crime, Havoc and Entropy's eldest son was erased and cannot be mentioned by name. Anyone who knows about him refers to him as _____ or D___t.
    • Venus killed the murderer of her son Cupid, then asked Pandora to erase the memory of the murderer's name and appearance from everyone's mind, including the killer herself. All anyone knows about the murderer is that she was a Pegasus filly.
    • Shining Armor mentions the Hooviet Empire erases records of enemies after killing them.
    • While recounting her origin story, Queen Chrysalis mentions that her predecessor, Queen Cocoon, erased the records of the previous Changeling rulers. Chrysalis herself thought that was stupid and made a point to not erase Cocoon after killing her, so that her people could learn from her mistakes.
  • Long-Term Memories: Garnet is not only missing, everyone except Steven, Connie and Amethyst either forgot about her existance or remembers her getting killed in Fake Memories that Spinel planted in their heads.
  • Integration: Pony Cinch was revealed to be just as obsessed with her reputation and legacy as her human counterpart was. She was eventually assassinated and her killers erased her legacy that she cared so much about by removing all records of her. She was so disliked that nopony cared when she was killed or tried to find out who did it, not even her own daughter Fleur.
  • In a rare case, Background Pony has a character un-personed while still alive and well. The main character's un-personing is a curse—anypony who interacts with her will completely forget the interaction shortly after. And she's not the only one with this curse… but how was she to know that?
  • Hell is a Martial Artist: After he's adopted by Hild, reality is rewritten so only those closest to Ranma remember him. Anything that involved him is changed, such as Cologne thinking she and Shampoo came to Nerima simply to open their restaurant and send money back to their village. It says volumes about his relationship with her, that Nodoka is one of the ones to forget Ranma.
  • Sam & Mickey's "Family Reunion", and several videos released after it, reveal that no one in Mattel's domain must speak of Tutti and Todd. The video with their names in the title explains who they were, and the last anyone ever saw of them.note 
  • Sometimes if a character gets married and has kids with someone who isn't in the Fan Preferred Pairing of a fandom, angry fanfic authors will write an Alternate Universe scenario where their canon spouse is erased from canon, giving the preferred partner biological parentage of the canon child. (Either that, or the other canon parent is Flanderized into an abuser, letting the preferred partner rescue them and take them into a safer home.)
  • In Cellar Secrets, Ryuuko, who, due to being the secret, is a legal version of this, as she wasn't born in a hospital, thus she wouldn't have been registered or have a birth certificate. However, as we find out in chapter 21, Souchiro had obtained a delayed birth certificate for her, making this not to be the case. Later, it turns out that she's more than this, she was also Legally Dead, as, while she had paperwork, she didn't have a social security number and Ragyo, on a population survey, stated that she had died at birth. Thankfully, this wasn't hard to sort out.
  • The Outside implies that Satsuki, to a fair degree, has made their mother, Ragyo, to be this, as, she hid any photos of Ragyo in them and the letters she was sent, erasing almost whatever trace she could from her and Ryuuko's lives, out of upset for her leaving. However, this case is odder than most, considering that Satsuki did tell Ryuuko why she left ("Mom and Dad had a big fight") and, while she didn't remember her too well, Ryuuko knew she had a mother, so Ragyo wasn't completely un-personed.
  • This is used in the 13th drabble of the Shadow/Maria collection When Fall Comes Around. GUN doesn't have Maria Robotnik listed under the casualities of the ARK massacre because they don't want the public to know a child was killed. This enrages Shadow.
  • "Name Erasure" and Exile are the worst punishments a cat can have in Warriors Redux. They involve cats being chased out of their Clan and never mentioned again:
    This is the worst possible punishment for a living cat, reserved for traitors and criminals whose plans could have killed someone (or were intending to). The leader will forcibly erase the cat’s name and declare them dead to the Clan before a patrol chases the cat out of the territory, with the order to kill them should they try to return. The cat will never be discussed or mentioned by name again, and if brought up by the neighbors, will be referred to as “the rogue” in past tense. It works just fine - since Clan cats are suited only to living in groups, the cat might as well be dead anyway. Without their name being honored by their family, they are refused from entry into StarClan.
  • In Karma In Retrograde, Endeavor removed all evidence of his wife's presence from his home and office after he institutionalized her for pouring boiling water on Shouto's face. He did the same thing when Touya disappeared, but was unable to erase the scorch marks Touya's Quirk left on the ceiling or the few pictures Fuyumi hid away.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, Ivan Ooze plans to do this to Zordon after he wins:
    "It will be as if Zordon of Eltar never existed!"
  • Flightplan: A woman's daughter disappears, and the other passengers and crew claim that the woman boarded the plane alone. To be fair, most just aren't that attentive, rather than actively malicious. Keyword being "most".
  • Capricorn One has the bad guys try to remove all traces of NASA technician Elliot Whittier. They move someone else into his apartment and she pulls out rent receipts to "prove" she has lived there for years. However, they are unable to change every phone book in the city, so the astute reporter finds Whittier still listed as living there.
  • In Men in Black, new secret agents have all records of their prior lives destroyed... at least until retirement/resignation/dismissal, where they're promptly neuralyzed and given their old life and previous history back with a bizarre tabloid Hand Wave that they just came out of a long coma. Although in the series it's shown they don't erase people's memories of them; on two separate occasions an old acquaintance of J's recognized him as James Edwards.
  • In 300, Xerxes threatens to do this to all of Sparta if Leonidas doesn't bow down to the King of Kings.
  • Quoth The Heavy Amon Göth in Schindler's List:
    "Six hundred years ago when elsewhere they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Casimir the Great - so called - told the Jews they could come to Krakow. They came. They trundled their belongings into the city. They settled. They took hold. They prospered in business, science, education, the arts. With nothing they came and with nothing they flourished. For six centuries there has been a Jewish Krakow. By this evening those six centuries are a rumor. They never happened."
  • This is the premise of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes, which deals with the experiences of a young woman who receives a knock on the head boarding a train and subsequently passes out. When she comes to and looks for the kind lady who tended to her in her injury, she finds that no one on the train remembers the woman existing. When she insists that the woman was real and searches for her, things begin to take a sinister turn.
  • In Eraser, the participants in the Witness Protection Program acquired a new identity and had all the fixings of their old one destroyed.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, as in the novel, Hermione does this to herself in order to protect her parents from Voldemort's forces coming after her. Word of God stated that she later reversed the spell, but it still shows the length she goes to protect her family.
  • In the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, after it became known that Freddy Krueger grows more powerful based on how much he is feared and by how many people know of him, the town of Springwood prior to the events of Freddy vs. Jason tried to erase all knowledge of his existence and his murder spree to spare their children. But anyone who already came in contact with Freddy was put in Westin Hills Asylum and kept on Hypnocil permanently. There's even a ward for those who were put in comas from overdoses of the medication. Summarized in the remake: "Freddy Krueger never existed."
  • In the ending of Pan's Labyrinth, Big Bad Captain Vidal, accepting defeat, asks Mercedes to at least tell his newborn son what time he died, but Mercedes coldly tells him that she will make sure that Vidal's son will never even know his name before her brother Pedro shoots him dead.
  • The Dark Knight Rises has Selina Kyle chasing after a computer program that will wipe her identity off of every database in the world, allowing her to erase her extensive record of larceny and disappear off the grid. Batman gets hold of it and uses it as a bargaining chip to get her to help him take down Bane.
  • In Skyfall, Silva tries to get M to say his real name once he's captured. M retorts that his real name is listed on the memorial wall of the MI6 building he attacked, and she'll have it struck off.
  • Wing Commander has the pilots intentionally do this with their fellow pilots who have died, so they won't lose morale when their buddies/lovers are killed. They aren't dead; they simply never existed.
  • This was a plot point in John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness, where the Mad Artist Sutter Cane writes the protagonist's partner Linda Styles out of existence so that only he can remember her. That's assuming he's not just crazy.
  • Happened to Anton Vanko in Iron Man 2, which was why Tony didn't know about his involvement in the creation of the Arc Reactor.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, this happened to Hela when her ambition became too much for Odin, who had decided to settle down after conquering the Nine Realms while she wanted to conquer more of them. It got to the point where all images of her were plastered with more peaceful imagery depicting her brothers. When she escapes her imprisonment and returns to Asgard, she is irritated to learn no one there knows who she is.
  • In The Heat Mullins' family effectively treats her like this after she arrested her brother Jason to the point that the family photo in their house is folded down to obscure her face. The only one who doesn't seem to feel like this is said brother, and at the end of the movie she and the rest of the family reconcile.
  • In the Apocalypse film series movie Tribulation, Tom Canboro's brother Calvin doesn't remember their sister Eileen (a Christian who was Caught Up in the Rapture) and has her image removed from all family pictures that were taken. Also a fellow police officer who was a Christian was removed from any records of him prior to the Rapture.
  • In When Darkness Falls, after Nina is honour-killed by her family, they destroy all photos of Nina and disavow her.
  • In The Net, hackers erase a woman from reality. With hacking. They're able to pull it off so thoroughly in part because she's a recluse who has little face-to-face interaction with other people, preferring the convenience and anonymity of the internet.
  • The 1950 film So Long at the Fair, which is based on the legend of "The Vanishing Hotel Room". Jean Simmons plays the woman whose mother disappears and Dirk Bogarde plays the obligatory male hero who helps her solve the mystery.
  • In the Ally Sheedy comedy Maid To Order, she plays the daughter of a wealthy philanthropist (played by Tom Skerritt) who has been magically unpersoned from her father's life when her carefree hard-partying lifestyle wears thin on his patience with her, and thus she has to seek employment as a maid in order to regain any respect.
  • Happens twice in The Ten Commandments. First Seti chooses Moses as his heir and states his name will be on all buildings in the empire while Ramses' will be nowhere. When Moses is revealed as Hebrew, Seti reverses the situation and orders Moses' name wiped from everything and makes it illegal to speak his name.
  • An interesting variation happens to Henry Hill in GoodFellas when he goes into witness protection. In a sense, he had been something of an Un-person for most of his life.
    "It was easy for all of us to disappear. My house was in my mother-in-law's name. My cars were registered to my wife. My Social Security cards and driver's licenses were phonies. I've never , voted. I never paid taxes. My birth certificate and my arrest sheet, that's all you'd ever have to know I was alive."

  • A classic urban legend (occasionally couched as a lateral-thinking puzzle), usually referred to as "The Vanishing Lady" or "The Vanishing Hotel Room", relates the story of a mother and daughter, on holiday in Europe, who checked into a hotel late one night and booked separate rooms. The next morning, the daughter complained of not feeling well and told the mother to go out and enjoy her vacation. When she returned, the daughter's hotel room had a different occupant and the hotel owner and staff refused to acknowledge the existence of the daughter, telling the mother that she had checked in alone and bringing out the hotel registry (where guests signed in) to demonstrate that only one signature existed. The mother eventually discovered that the daughter had come down with a fast-acting disease and had died, and the hotelier had covered up her stay because he feared that having an illness and death under his roof would cause travelers to stay elsewhere (whether the mother or anyone else got sick afterward is left to the reader's imagination). The story is frequently set during the 1889 Paris Exposition with the mother and daughter portrayed as British tourists.

  • Machinae Supremacy's The Wired is about this, due to being inspired by the ending of Serial Experiments Lain.
  • This is commonplace in bands and music ensembles when members who were with the band before they hit it big, leave or are kicked out prior to the group becoming famous.
    • Iron Maiden has gone so far as to in many a Greatest Hits Album have singer Bruce Dickinson on all tracks, even in songs originally performed by his predecessor Paul Di'Anno (helps that band leader Steve Harris developed some Creator Backlash with Di'Anno's albums) and his not-very-popular replacement Blaze Bayley (though Dickinson has denounced fans who like to pretend Bayley's era of the band never happened and has made several of the songs of his era songs regulars in the band's set list).
      • You can't blame them if you know Paul's reputation for violence (including against women and audience members), the fact he is banned from the US, and the fact he claimed benefits even whilst touring the world, and went to prison many times. Upon leaving the band, Rod Smallwood actually made him sign over his rights to the songs so he wouldn't get royalties for them, instead getting one large payoff. Di'Anno spent most of the money on drugs and alcohol.
  • In all biographical material sanctioned by Devo, the band was formed by Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale, who were classmates at Kent State. Wikipedia and the only (unofficial) book on Devo tells us that a third co-founder, Bob Lewis, was edged out before their first major label release, and as a result took legal action over his contributions to the band's concept and aesthetic. The only real acknowledgement of Lewis comes in being credited on older songs like "Be Stiff."
  • One particularly infamous example is the 2002 "remasters" of Ozzy Osbourne's first two albums. In an effort to avoid paying royalties to Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake (the original bassist and drummer), the rhythm tracks were rerecorded by Ozzy's current bassist and drummer, Daisley and Kerslake's names were removed from the songwriting credits, and they were completely removed from the photos in the liner notes, all without any indication that the albums were anything but straight reissues. The move caused massive backlash, and the subsequent Bark at the Moon reissue contained Daisley's original bass track (Kerslake had left the band by that point).
  • Ever since Dave Holland's arrest for having sex with a minor, Judas Priest prefer to pretend he was never in the band, including editing him out of band photos from that era.
  • Country Music group Gloriana was in the middle of recording their second album A Thousand Miles Left Behind when Cheyenne Kimball left the group for reasons only really known to her. They ultimately re-recorded the tracks that originally had Kimball on them (including the first single, "Wanna Take You Home"), and omitted a song she co-wrote from the track list. This will happen frequently when a musician leaves, since intellectual property is involved and there can be legal and economic reasons to Unperson someone.
  • The 2003 Greatest Hits Album for the country band Lonestar has only one mention of bassist John Rich (who was fired in 1998): specifically, as the co-writer of the #1 single "Come Cryin' to Me". All the pictures show only the most famous four-man lineup of Richie McDonald, Keech Rainwater, Dean Sams, and Michael Britt. But Rich has nothing to worry about, as he's well known as a songwriter and producer, and one-half of the duo Big & Rich.
  • When Blondie were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, Debbie Harry tried to have two founding members of the band, Nigel Harrison and Frank Infante, excluded from the ceremony. She was tactfully informed the induction was for all members of the classic lineup, and whether she liked it or not, Harrison and Infante were part of the Blondie who were being honoured.
    • There was a similar controversy involving Heart on their induction into the Hall. The Wilson sisters agreed - very grudgingly - that the induction was for the original line-up of the band which included the Fisher brothers, with whom they had had a major falling-out. Roger and Mike Fisher were allowed to rejoin the rest of the original members on stage for one song, agreed to be a blistering version of "Barracuda". But that was it; they quietly stood down for two current band-members, practically anonymous sessions musicians, who filled in for the rest of the gig. Fans present noted the quality of music played soon stopped being "blistering", and became merely "average".
    • Another controversy happened in the late 90s, when Fleetwood Mac singer and guitarist Bob Welch was the only major member of the band to not be inducted, despite him effectively being the "leader" of the band during the bridge period between their blues-based years and superstar Nicks/Buckingham era. His relationship with the band soured in the mid-90s and for a long while, he believed Mick Fleetwood had arranged for him to be excluded from the band's Hall of Fame list of inducted members. When he finally buried the hatchet with Fleetwood, he discovered this wasn't the case at all and suspected that the Hall of Fame's board had removed him from their inductees list because they didn't like his solo music. He opined that if he had been on better terms with Fleetwood in 1998, he would have made a better case for why Welch should be in the Hall.
    • Gram Parsons was not inducted as a member of The Byrds despite being one of the band's most famous members and often being credited as the inventor of the country rock genre. The thinking behind the exclusion may have been that he would be inducted as a solo artist in due time or because he was in the band for just six months. Despite nominations in 2002, 2004 and 2005, he hasn't made it in and hasn't been on the nomination ballot in a decade.
    • Surprisingly subverted in the case of Kiss. When only the original four members of the band were inducted in 2014, many suspected that leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley had arranged for the exclusion of well-liked replacements such as Bruce Kulick, Eric Singer and the late Eric Carr. Then news came out that it was actually quite the opposite: Simmons and Stanley had actually fought with the Hall to include those members and when they were rebuffed, the band refused to perform.
  • While on the Hall of Fame, a minor case revolves around who is listed as an inducted member regarding bands. Sure, there's no problem streamlining a Revolving Door Band, specially regarding members who are borderline footnotes, unpopular replacements or reminiscents of a Dork Age. But some musicians reacted badly upon their exclusions.
  • When searching allmusic, you can find stray mentions to Bryan Adams, but not his own pages - because he's such a Reclusive Artist that he asked the site to take them down.
  • Even though Gary Glitter was an important and significant artiste in the seventies' glam-rock scene, try finding any radio or TV station that will acknowledge this, after his convictions for child sex abuse. Glitter has effectively been airbrushed out of 1970's music history, and nearly every playing of his crowd anthem Rock and Roll Part 2 in a stadium or arena is always a Suspiciously Similar Song so he doesn't get performance royalties from the original song.note 
  • Megadeth's Dave Mustaine always gave the impression just him and Dave Ellefson formed the band, but eventually mentioned in his book the names of several ex-members of Megadeth before he settled on a touring lineup. Early on, Dave was seriously considering hiring somebody else to be a lead singer, and tried out a few, one of whom actually suggested the name Megadeth for Dave's band. Mustaine felt that most of the auditionees were too glam metal for the band, and eventually just decided to sing himself.
  • The Plasmatics: Guitarist Richie Stotts was a co-founder of the band, but after the release of "Coup d' Etat" he was edited out of band videos and not referred to by name in a 2006 compulation DVD of the band.
  • This is what In Extremo's Spielmannsfluch is about. Two musicians come to the court of a king, and the queen falls in love with the younger musician. The king then kills the young musician, and the old musician curses him with the Spielmannsfluch (the musicians curse), causing every musician, poet, writer etc. to never mention the king or any of his deeds.
    • It's based on the ballad Des Sängers Fluch (The singers curse) by Ludwig Uhland, which has the same plot.
  • In recent ABBA documentaries, the importance of manager Stig Anderson - who wrote most of the band's lyrics up to 1979, used his business savvy to promote and market the band worldwide, and was generally considered the "fifth member" of the group - has been downplayed to the point that he is rarely mentioned at all. Depending on who you believe, this is either because of Stig's falling out with the band before his death or it's part of Benny and Bjorn's sinister plot to take over the world.
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent a lot of time not only telling the world about peace and love, and how much in love they were... But also how no other women had ever existed in John's life.
    • John's first wife, Cynthia Lennon, was portrayed as a dead weight he had been forced to marry in a shotgun wedding. They had been together for ten years, but after John started using drugs they divorced. He later claimed to never have written love songs about her and that their marriage was rushed because of her pregnancy. This extended to incivility after his death. Lennon's first wife and their son were pointedly not invited to the funeral rites. They still do not know the secret location where Yoko interred or otherwise bestowed the ashes and cannot even pay private respects there. Julian Lennon had to fight Yoko for years to be acknowledged as a son with a right to some part of his father's estate.
    • John's girlfriend for eighteen months, May Pang, got a worse treatment. In 1972, Yoko Ono told Pang she should have a relationship with John. Pang refused at first, but accepted afterwards. John moved with May Pang, and in eighteen months produced three records (including his most successful solo work, "Walls and Bridges") and reunited with long time friend Paul McCartney and estranged son Julian. Still, when John went back to Yoko, he called his time with May "the lost weekend". It had been a very productive weekend, on musical and personal accounts.
  • A number of outsider musicians have done this to themselves, to varying degrees, some prominent examples being The Residents, free-jazz pioneer Sun Ra, and reclusive singer-songwriter Jandek.
    • Jandek is a particularly unusual case: While the man himself has almost certainly been identified, his musical collaborators prior to his live debut in 2004 remain unknown. Take into account that this man has been making records on a yearly basis since 1978...
    • Technically outdone by The Residents (active since at least 1969), but the identities of (most of) the group members has been all but public knowledge since the late-'70s, and co-founder and lyricist Hardy Fox admitted his membership with the band shortly before his 2018 death.
  • Kerry Katona left Atomic Kitten just before their single 'Whole Again' became a huge hit, reaching number one in the charts. Her replacement, Jenny Frost, joined the band within days. The music video was reshot, replacing Kerry with Jenny. Their album was also reissued with Jenny's vocals instead of Kerry's.
  • Parlophone Records has almost completely erased The Beatles from the label's history. This was right after Parlophone broke off from EMI during that company's sale to UMG, whilst keeping the Beatles' recordings. The website mentions the group only once in their "About" page, and current Beatles albums reissues only retain mentions of Parlophone in the packaging for reproduction purposes. Despite this, Parlophone's YouTube page continued to host the music video for "You Got to Hide Your Love Away," from the film and studio album Help!, uploaded years before EMI's collapse, for a number of years, before UMG began taking down Beatles videos from the site.
  • Van Halen gave this status to their third singer, Gary Cherone, and Un-album status to Van Halen III.
  • Similar to the Gary Glitter example further above, no music station will screen/play any song by Lostprophets after singer Ian Watkins's paedophilia conviction.
  • On Your Mark, a music video animated by Studio Ghibli, was pulled from a Blu-ray box set of Ghibli films after one of the performers for the song used in the video was arrested on drug charges. In late 2014, Walt Disney Japan reconsidered their stance and re-added the music video in subsequent box sets.
  • After Kenji Yamamoto, the composer for Dragon Ball Kai, was found to have plagiarized other composer's works, his music was pulled from reruns and future DVD releases in Japan, replacing his music with Shunsuke Kikuchi's own works that were featured in Dragon Ball Z. In North America, Funimation rereleased Kai in box-sets, this time replacing all of the music with Kikuchi's own. This even extended to re-releases of the video games featuring Yamamoto's music.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In The Bible, God declares this punishment on three Israelite dynasties within the 1st Book of Kings, beginning with Jeroboam I and ending with Ahab, for turning the nation against him and towards idolatry following their split from the House of David.

  • The power of the voidfish in The Adventure Zone: Balance. It subsists by eating information. This can be done by simply tossing it a piece of paper with writing on it, and afterward whatever was written will be removed from the collective memory of most planes of reality, with its name and any relevant details being impossible to understand—speakers will simply sound like static.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In a case of "too expensive to keep" instead of falling out with the person, many Jesse Ventura commentaries are cut from recent DVDs. That said, there actually was a falling out between WWE and Ventura over video game rights in 1990. The next year, Jesse sued WWE over home video royalties that were withheld from him. He won almost $900,000 in back royalties and walked away with a court decision that significantly increased his royalties for subsequent WWE video releases. When WWE began releasing WCW footage as part of compilation DVDs, Jesse's commentary (unless absolutely necessary) was muted, resulting in many cases where Tony Schiavone would be heard on commentary in between periods of silence.
  • Chyna (Joan Laurer): Thanks to a large number of reasons, such as general backstage conflict (Chris Jericho's second book paints her as difficult to work with), being on the bad side of the heirs to the WWE throne Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (Chyna and HHH dated, and at some point around their break-up, HHH dated, then married, Stephanie, and Chyna was let go from the company), and her stint in pornography, WWE erased much of her existence. They'd have had more success if she didn't do so many firsts in WWE, such as first woman to hold a men's title, first female to compete in the Royal Rumble, first woman in the King of the Ring. The situation started to mend, with WWE darling Trish Stratus and HHH saying Chyna definitely deserved a spot in the Hall of Fame, and she is featured prominently in the Triple H documentary on the formation of D-Generation X and their convincing Vince McMahon to hire her. As of January 2015, they even included her in a WWE Vintage episode on bodyguards. After her untimely passing in 2016, Stephanie McMahon joined in stating that a Hall of Fame induction for Chyna is warranted.
  • WWE tried, and did a pretty good job of this, after Chris Benoit's murder of his family and suicide. You can find examples of this in's title history section where articles on Benoit's championship reigns have been deleted - Benoit is still listed in the title histories, but you can no longer see the summary of the title win. As far as archive footage goes, the WWE will no longer show Benoit matches or segments, unless Benoit's just a background figure, and will mute any audio referring to him. On DVD, if the match features Benoit but needs to be highlighted (such as the first 'Money in the Bank' ladder match on an Edge DVD), they cut it down to highlights and either completely edit Benoit out of the match, or acknowledge that he was in the match but not show his in-ring performance. VERY rarely, WWE has included Chris Benoit footage in full-length matches released on DVD, but with edits made. For example, in the 2010 Elimination Chamber collection DVD, Benoit's EC match from New Year's Revolution in 2005 was shown in its entirety, but when the commentators said anything positive about him, they were muted and replaced with crowd noise. For the 2013 War Games collection, the Four Horsemen's entrance is cut from the 1997 match, which was the nWo (Kevin Nash/Syxx/Konnan/Buff Bagwell) vs. the Four Horsemen (Ric Flair/Benoit/Steve "Mongo" McMichael/Curt Hennig). In the 2013 Money in the Bank collection DVD, the same methods used in the two aforementioned DVDs were implemented again, as well as the use of a wide-angle camera instead of a close-up in the climax of the first MITB match at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, which showed Edge rushing in to cost Benoit the win, likely to telegraph what would happen and lessen the heroic effort Benoit showed in the match. Even in the documentary the company did on their history, despite going over many other dark periods of their company (like the steroid scandal of the 90s), Benoit is never touched on. While in line with their usual M.O. with Benoit, given that this was a history of the company, omitting the Benoit tragedy is fairly jarring. Perhaps the most glaring omission of Benoit's history is his victory from the #1 position in the 2004 Royal Rumble. Shawn Michaels is the only other man to do this, and thus, is the only one credited by name as having done so. (The commentators will occasionally mention that two men have won from the #1 position without mentioning Benoit or the 2004 Royal Rumble.) When WWE Network launched, it was announced that footage of him would appear, with a disclaimer appearing before the relevant shows. His name, however, doesn't exist in the network search engine and his matches are not pinpointed in the scrolling bar of the shows. To some people, this particular unpersoning is a sore point, as during his career, the business exploited and potentially exacerbated his obvious mentally unwell state, a state which may have played a part in the murder-suicide.
  • Chris Hero was one of the men who shaped Chikara, but after he left in 2007, those in charge of the promotion decided to do their best to forget about him and make sure no one else reminds them of him. Fans get around this by instead talking about Kassius Ohno, the ring name he uses on WWE's NXT developmental brand.
  • Vince McMahon tried to invoke this with CM Punk after he left the company after winning at the Money in the Bank PPV, and taking the WWE Championship with him. This only lasted one or two weeks as he came back after they had held a tournament to crown a new winner. Then when Punk legitimately quit the company in January of 2014, WWE went full force with the unperson treatment. His absence has only ever been acknowledged twice (both times in his hometown of Chicago) in the half a year as of this writing that he's been gone. They even did the classic editing out of photographs with his likeness removed from the Summerslam 2013 poster on the WWE Network and hilariously a post it note covering his face on a poster in the background during an Ultimate Warrior documentary. At the 2015 Royal Rumble, the announcers falsely credited Seth Rollins with being the longest survivor of the previous year's titular match, although Punk actually outlasted Rollins. WWE even went so far as to erase him from a comic series shortly after his June 2014 firing (which was not announced to the public). He isn't completely scrubbed from the WWE, being noted in several documentaries in the WWE Network and his videos are still available there and on the WWE's YouTube channel. It's more like they're ignoring his part in their history rather than erasing it, much in the vein of Brock Lesnar, who faced similar treatment when he left for the NFL. When Lesnar came back, all his accomplishments were promptly noted, even name-dropping the UFC, which the WWE steadfastly ignored until then. Punk would probably go through similar treatment if he ever got back on good terms with them again.
    • Punk's wife AJ Lee faced some fallout from this same instance. During the time that he had left but she still wrestled, fans chanted Punk's name during her matches, until Punk requested they chant his name at wrestlers that suck instead. By the time of her retirement, she held the Divas Championship for a record 295 days, 79 days longer than the previous record. During and after her retirement, Nikki Bella beat that record by six days, holding the championship for 301 days, at which point she lost it. Some fans suggest the timing of this was to further remove any mention of either Punk or his wife.
  • Currently being done to Hulk Hogan, who was engaged in legal troubles with pornography, but more for being caught on tape ranting against black people, using racial slurs. WWE, after firing him, removed all mention of him everywhere except the WWE Network, whose footage is still there for the world to see, though Hogan-centered programming like Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling are gone. More here. Triple H has said in an interview that he leaves the door opened for a potential return, if he makes amends. In July 2018, Hogan was re-instated into the Hall of Fame, so a return seems to be on the horizon.
  • Not even two months after the above Hogan example, Jimmy Snuka is now having this done to him as well. He was arrested for the death of his girlfriend in September 2015 (She died in 1983, and Jimmy Snuka was the prime suspect in her death, but no charges were filed. However, the case was never closed, and 32 years later, Snuka was finally arrested for the crime) and, much like Hulk Hogan, the WWE was quick to terminate his contract and remove any references to him from their website. This serves as a bit of an issue, as Snuka's daughter Tamina Snuka is currently a diva in the WWE and uses a lot of his mannerisms when competing, including his famous splash, though they ditched her surname and she was never really a big player, getting start-stop pushes. After the case against him was dropped in January 2017, and he passed away not long after, an article about his passing was posted on the WWE website, Repersoning him posthumously.
  • For some reason Randy Savage never returned to WWE after the Monday Night Wars ended and was rarely acknowledged or celebrated on-camera. (There was a rumor going around the IWC that this banishment was because he had sex with Stephanie McMahon, and that she may or may not have still been a minor when this happened). After his death in 2011, he was acknowledged far more often, and in early 2015, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
  • Enzo Amore got this treatment after he was released in January 2018 for failing to inform the company about an ongoing police investigation against him in regards to possible sexual assault. You know it's bad when the company pointedly doesn't wish you well in your future endeavors while announcing your release. They completely removed his profile page from the website, and he isn't even listed on their alumni page (for context, even the above CM Punk is on that page). They even removed his face from the truck graphics, which are rarely ever updated. He's on the fast track to being Benoit'd at this point, and in this case, many don't blame them.

  • The Big Finish Doctor Who audio "Neverland" introduces us to a world of Neverpeople, which is a mix of this and government-sanctioned Ret Gone. Being Time Lords, they didn't have to just settle for this trope; Gallifreyans were thrown into the Oubliette of Eternity for crimes of "treason" (they knew too much) and erased from Time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia
    • Alluding to this trope, when the Fifth Edition was thrown to Canon Discontinuity, it was officially declared an un-product.
    • In the second edition's post-MegaWhoops period, there were still information terminals hooked up to The Computer's old personnel database, but due to data corruption, a few clones weren't recognized: the terminals would glitch and cough up random unrelated data instead, both a blessing and a curse.
    • The XP edition supplement The Underplex had DELETED citizens. All records of them were wiped from computer data banks (including those of the Computer itself) as a result of error, revenge, system failure or bureaucratic idiocy. It also happens to Troubleshooters who are out of contact for too long.
  • In Shadowrun people without a System Identification Number (SIN) cannot legally make purchases, sign business contracts, or vote, they're not even considered citizens. Lacking a SIN also makes it much harder to track one's criminal activity so the majority of Shadowrunners are SINless but also use one or more fake SINs. Editions that use character advantages list SINner as a disadvantage, and there's a SINless advantage where one not only lacks a legit SIN, but any attempt to register a legal one for them (like when a SINless person is convicted of a crime) is erased by mysterious forces.
  • Often attempted to varying degrees of success in Warhammer 40,000, when the Inquisition or other Imperial agencies try to sweep some information under the rug. Nobody's sure what happened to the 2nd and 11th of the original Space Marine Legions, only that all records of them have been scrubbed, "order designation unknown," and likewise the Space Marine chapters of the so-called "Cursed Founding" got this treatment after breaking out in severe mutations. The Imperium has tried to erase all references to the Horus Heresy to hide the fact that Space Marines can fall to Chaos from citizens, but depending on the planet Horus may be completely unknown or commonly referenced as a bogeyman. This is either due to GW's relatively low standards on canon, or because it's hard to eliminate every trace of someone from countless sprawling data-crypts spanning the Imperium.
    • Games Workshop's actions regarding the Squats are eerily similar to this trope. The official stance is that the Squats never existed, and to reinforce this the publishers have removed all mention of the Squats from publications and ceased distributing any works where the Squats played a significant role. When the GW website was active, so much as mentioning the Squats would get you banned and the thread you posted in deleted. Ask questions about Squats at GW-sanctioned events and they'd have security remove you from the event. GW really, really did not like the Squats. It was nearly two decades before things finally relaxed, and the writers were allowed to give Squats an in-canon send-off (eaten by Tyranids). They were even referenced in the 6th Edition Rulebook.
    • The Soul Drinkers chapter was obliterated from all historical records after they were judged to be heretics and traitors, an action that actually hindered the efforts of those seeking to bring them to justice, because they had no records to work from. In the end, this was revoked and those members who helped repel a Chaos assault led by Soul Drinkers who genuinely had fallen to Chaos were posthumously restored to the records.
  • The "Zeroed" advantage in GURPS, available to secret government operatives, The Men in Black and the like.
  • Vampire: The Requiem: Back during the days of Rome, it turned out a clan was suspected of working with the strix. The clan was wiped out down to a man, and all references to their name stricken — they are only known as the Traditores (or "traitors").
  • In Exalted some advanced Sidereal charms are capable of killing someone so thoroughly that they were never actually born.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Revoke Existence, which does this to artifacts (machinery) and enchantments (long-lasting effects). Even the flavor text fits this.
    • Door to Nothingness reads, "All memory of your existence will be wiped from reality. You will die, and no one will mourn."
  • In the Nentir Vale D&D setting, Asmodeus erased the name of the god that he rebelled against from history. Very few people know the god existed, those who do know him only as He Who Was. This is because Asmodeus feared what would happen if someone said the slain god's name even once.
  • Iron Crown Enterprise's Cyberspace cyberpunk RPG. Blanks are people who have either never had a file on them (born without being documentated) or have had their file deleted from all databases. They don't have to pay taxes and are hard to track down, but if caught they are subjected to "thought reorientation" (brainwashing/mindwiping).
  • Last Unicorn Games' Star Trek: The Expanded Universe supplement All Our Yesterdays: The Time Travel Sourcebook has the Disadvantage "No Past". It's usually caused by either a character coming from outside of civilization or all of their records being deleted. It could also be caused by a time traveler altering the timeline and erasing the character's personal history or if the character is from an alternate timeline. The character is difficult to track down or identify and is thus a valued espionage operative. They also have all of the disadvantages of not having their existence acknowledged: can't own property, doesn't have any rights, etc.
  • BattleTech has a meta-example. When designing many the game's earliest Humongous Mechas in 1984, the FASA Corporation contracted outside art companies or simply licensed the designs from existing mecha shows, primarily Macross. Long story short of a messy lawsuit due to licensing confusion in 1994, FASA was no longer able to use artwork - either original or licensed - of these mechs. While these "unseen" mechs still existed In-Universe, they could not be depicted in artwork or produced as miniatures for the wargame; all publications with artwork of these mechs had to be taken out of print and edited. After a number of clumsy attempts to get around this, the designs were completely replaced/reworked (via Retcon) in 2015.
  • In the Pokemon Trading Card Game, this ended up being Kadabra's fate after Skyridge due to a lawsuit from Uri Geller. There hasn't been a Kadabra card since, with this sometimes extending to Abra and Alakazam as well. The most egregious example of this is in Mysterious Treasures, which has Abra and Alakazam, but skips over Kadabra. That set's Abra even has an attack that lets you search your deck for Alakazam and put it onto Abra, thus negating the need for a Kadabra card altogether.

    Web Animation 
  • Civil Protection: The characters, two members of the Dystopian police force, mention how their captain doesn't shout at people he doesn't like. He just stares at them and they disappear a few days later.
  • Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction:
    • The Red Team "deletes" the Blue Team from the Command database, allowing them to achieve "victory". While this doesn't directly affect most of the Blues, it prevents Church from proving his identity when it comes into question.
    Church: Alright, great, that's fantastic. Now I can't prove him wrong, and I don't get a paycheck.
    • This also prevented the Epsilon unit from being detected by the UNSC, as Caboose was the last one to have it, and because the Red Team "deleted" the blues, the UNSC had no knowledge of them.

    Web Comics 
  • In It's Walky, it is revealed midway through the story that the Government Conspiracy that employs the main characters is frequently infiltrated by an even shadowier conspiracy who edit their records and memories and then vanish again. If anyone has to be killed: "Well, they never existed."
  • The Eastern Gods and the First World of The Order of the Stick were completely destroyed by the Snarl. The surviving gods don't tell anyone about them lest they get the bright idea to try and harness its power. Similarly, the Paladins of Azure City traveled the world to purge all mention of the Rifts. Given Girard's bitter comment to Soon regarding Kraagor, there is a hint that the memory of their dead friend would be part of this purge.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, the founders of the Court attempted to erase all evidence of Jeanne's existence, to hide their guilt in killing her, and the fact that it was her ghost stalking the banks of the Annan. They succeeded, with one exception: Diego kept a record of her in secret.
    • It later turns out that they actually killed Jeanne's forest elf boyfriend, who is also written out of existence by the Court. Even Diego's secret record mostly ignores that "detail," probably because Diego was jealous of him. Jeanne herself died of grief.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Earth is part of the Nemesite Empire but is a nature preserve, and the Nemesites regard humans as "wildlife". Jean takes offense at this, and Voluptua points out that, considering what citizenship in the Empire would entail, their unpersonhood is actually a blessing.
  • The hyenas of Digger use this as their ultimate punishment, even worse than 'mere' death. One's name is eaten and one is cast from the tribe and theory.
  • In the backstory of Homestuck, on planet Alternia, a troll known only as The Signless or The Sufferer led a revolution much more subversive than any the war-torn planet had seen. When the Sufferer was killed, all record of him was stricken from history, and it was made illegal to speak or write of him, even in private journals. However, his movement went underground and secretly kept his memory alive.
  • Downplayed in The Dragon Doctors. Mori is revealed to have genetic engineering in her backstory chapter, and as a child she was exiled from her home country and her family name was obliterated magically so that nobody, not even she herself, can remember it. "Genetically engineered people have no family" was Thoria's rule.
  • In Silver's time in Sonic the Comic – Online! this happens to Sonic who is replaced in the history books by Tails.
  • In Cucumber Quest, Rosemaster has the ability to tamper with certain people's memories, and her method of choice for dealing with anyone who's not affected by her powers is to remove them from the scene and make everyone else forget that they were even there (and erase them from the website's cast page and banner, for good measure). She first targets Nautilus and Commander Caboodle; she's willing to leave Peridot alone, but ends up un-personing her as well to prevent her from revealing Rosemaster's MacGuffin Delivery Service.

    Web Original 
  • Channel Awesome isn't in the habit of keeping its former producers' content on their web site, so really anyone who leaves automatically becomes this. However, there are at least three occasions where the site did this purposefully:
    • Daniel Rizzo, a.k.a. That Aussie Guy, was an early personality at Channel Awesome who was fired after slutshaming Lindsay Ellis during the filming of the TGWTG Year One Brawl and inappropriately editing pages on Channel Awesome's Wikia site, among other "issues, ill-advised actions, and other various events." As a result, Rizzo's videos were abruptly taken down from Channel Awesome without much fanfare and the wiki only briefly mentions him.
    • Brad Jones was forced to do this to Jerrid Foiles, first in 2012 (under circumstances similar to Rizzo's dismissal from Channel Awesome) and again in 2014. Despite making limited appearances between those dates, Jerrid disappeared again and his characters have either vanished or have been killed off. However, Brad has clarified that he is still friends with Jerrid, he has just stopped making appearances. It ultimately ended in 2017, as Jerrid eventually started appearing in the Midnight Screenings again.
    • Brad also did this to "Angry Jake" Norvell in early 2015 after Jake stole his girlfriend. Jake's characters were either discontinued or replaced, while Brad and the rest of Team Snob cut ties with him.
      Brad: [announcing Jake's firing on Facebook] The term "dead to me" may be overused, but it serves a purpose sometimes.
    • Obscurus Lupa was fired rather controversially in early 2015 from the site (allegedly over being out of the house while CA management was trying to contact her), which caused her boyfriend Phelous and Andrew Dickman to quit in protest. Within five minutes all of their content was removed from the site (in Phelous' case, videos that dated all the way back to 2008) with the exception of a few crossover appearances. Made worse by the fact that fellow long-time contributors Lindsay Ellis, Kyle Kallgren and Smarty also left around the same time and were all given a "farewell" period to say their goodbyes to the site. Lupa was the first of many ex-Channel Awesome employees to state her case against the site in this document which calls the management out on how they operated.
    • In 2018, four years after his suicide, it was revealed that Justin "JewWario" Carmical was a sexual predator who assaulted at least two women, and that one of those attacks was the previously-undisclosed reason he had been let go from Channel Awesome shortly before his passing. After these crimes came to light, former Channel Awesome producers took down Crossover collaborations with Justin, excised or replaced his Cameos in their videos, and removed JewWario hats that had been prominently placed on their sets in tribute to him. MarzGurl, who had made the movie Farewell, FamiKamen Rider in Justin's memory, averted this by deciding to keep that movie online for "historical purposes", while stating she would have never made it if she was told about Justin's true nature and adding a disclaimer to the movie making it clear that it no longer reflected her opinion of him.
  • In season 2 of The Guild Bladezz deletes Tink's online gaming character Tinkerballa, removing permanently from existence her gold, reputation and "two years of [her] life". She even phrases it as "I don't exist anymore."
  • Fine Structure has "informational weapons" that can destroy specific kinds of knowledge, both in living brains and in recorded form. That could prevent everyone from ever remembering or perceiving a person again, even if he were standing right in front of them. This was done to Thomas Muoka. The effect was so strong that it even encompasses the guy who did it, and the reader of the story, so it's even impossible for us to learn what he did to deserve it.
  • SF Debris has as a Running Gag the idea that Jonathan Archer was considered such an embarrassment that he was wiped from Starfleet's history books. For unknown reasons, he was also wiped from the Klingon history books, and those who know the truth flatly refuse to speak about him.
  • Following his departure from Game Grumps, JonTron was not mentioned by Arin or any of the new Grumps — all of whom were apparently good friends with him — in their newer videos, and almost any mention of him was done so in a roundabout way so as to not say his name or include his involvement. While speculation abounds as to whether he had a falling out with the rest of the cast or not, Arin's only official mention of Jon was to say that it's not out of disrespect or to ignore his contribution, but because Arin feels talking about Jon on the show unintentionally drags him back to it and stops all of them from moving on. As of Episode 109 of Arin & Danny's Pokemon FireRed series, however, Jon has been mentioned occasionally by name, more than a year and a half after his departure.
  • The Hyacintho Mental Collective from Void of the Stars will wipe the memory of any citizen who wants to leave it. Finding someone in the Triarian Collective who hasn't had their memory wiped or altered is all but impossible.
  • Looking up The Best Page in the Universe on a computer that's on display in an Apple store will net you a redirect to a MacBook Pro ad or a 404 error. Maddox had a field day with this, making the guess that the ban is due to his anti-Apple posts (especially his anti-iPhone post).
  • Speaking of Maddox, the final episode of his abruptly cancelled podcast "The Biggest Problem in the Universe" was recorded without his co-host, Dick Masterson, who is also not mentioned once throughout the episode, including the ending where Maddox thanks every single person who's contributed to the show. Over the next few months, it was revealed that personal issues that had been brewing for many months had come to a head and resulted in an ongoing public feud.
  • Noob:
    • The first Wham Episode can be summed up as this trope happening to one of the top players as part of what seems to be a Revealing Cover-Up. The webseries and novel versions make it quite clear that anything done by the player's avatar never happened, up to having a character actually say something along the lines of "[That avatar] not longer exists. Actually, it has never existed.".
    • The webseries all but confirmed that this happened to Spectre's first avatar after he retired, probably thanks to the hacker trying to drive people off MMORPG in the present day being his former teammate.
    • According to the novel version, the Fictional Video Game's gods did this to the Syrial continent in addition to freezing it in time and surrounding it with a Perpetual Storm. This is the reason for which no version of the story ever mentions the people who became the Order before the installment introducing the faction.
  • Played for Laughs with Rooster Teeth. After Ray Narvaez Jr. left Achievement Hunter, they go out of their way to act weird around Ray's name being used for kicks, usually playing him off as some no-named wanna-be or mysterious player they have friended. In all honesty, he's still on good terms with the group and shows up from time to time on their podcasts.
  • TomSka had done this with one of his earliest and most frequent collaborators, Christopher "Bing" Bingham, in 2014, removing his name from credits, subtitles, and video titles after a falling out. It was later revealed on Tom's Tumblr page that this had been Bing's request, as he no longer wanted to be associated with Tom or his channel after their falling out a year prior, and after a talk with Tom in 2018 where they addressed this, the credits and subtitles were restored

    Western Animation 
  • The episode of Batman: The Animated Series series "What is Reality?" has the Riddler erasing all of the records of his existence as Edward Nygma, including birth certificates, drivers licenses, employment records and so on.
  • In the Double Dragon cartoon, the Shadow Master intends to destroy the Dragon Dojo (the Dragon Warriors have been banished to the Shadow Mural, and the Lees are in another dimension), saying that once it occurs, "it will be as though (the Double Dragons) never existed."
  • DuckTales (2017): It appears this has become the fate of Della Duck following the adventure that caused Scrooge and Donald to part ways; one time, when some junk mail addressed to her was delivered to the mansion, Scrooge bought the post office and the carrier never came back. The only traces of her existence are a photograph owned by Donald, an old painting in Scrooge's garage, and a secret room in the McDuck archive that can only be accessed by a blood relative.
  • On Gravity Falls, this was the fate of Quentin Trembley, the 8th and 1/2 President of the United States. He was kicked out for being utterly looney and all evidence of his brief term was erased from history. Trembley eventually founded Gravity Falls itself (after plummeting to it on a horse), but his role in it was covered up in order to ensure that he was completely erased from history. He was replaced by William Henry Harrison as the official 9th US President (which is incredibly ironic, considering that Harrison died barely even a month into his term), and they made waste-shoveling village idiot Nathaniel Northwest the founder of Gravity Falls.
  • Kaeloo: If Smileyland is destroyed and someone is given the task of creating it again, anyone who they don't think of/don't want to be in it will be erased from existence. In Episode 105, this happens to Ursula when Quack Quack tries doing it (since he doesn't know her), and almost happens to Kaeloo, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat when Stumpy decides to do it since he's sick of their constant mockery of him.
  • Happened to Ron in one Kim Possible episode after he angered a hammy supervillain called the Mathter (yes, really). It was relatively easy for Wade to fix, however.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: "Total Eclipsa The Moon" reveals that historical documents have been significantly altered to cover up the existence of Eclipsa's half-monster daughter Meteora.
  • Steven Universe: After Pink Diamond's shattering, Yellow Diamond embarked on a campaign of information suppression to remove her from public consciousness. However, this is a more benign example, in as much as such an act can be, as Yellow Diamond did not do it out of spite, but rather to avoid having to deal with her grief.
  • Transformers:
    • In the end of the Transformers Animated episode "The Elite Guard", Powell takes control of Sumdac Systems from Sari under the assumption that he found no evidence that Isaac had any offspring.
      Sari: Are you saying I can't prove I'm Isaac Sumdac's daughter?
      Powell: I'm saying you can't even prove you exist.
    • An episode of Beast Machines has Megatron destroying statues of Cybertronian historical figures and wiping the archives, turning all of the planet's history up to that point into "nothing more than a rumor". The reason this isn't listed as a Propaganda Machine is because there was no one left to be told anything at that point.
  • Meta-example with The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. The ending credits give both Otto Messmer (the creator of the whole Felix the Cat franchise) and Joe Oriolo (who revived the character in the late 50's and kept the series alive from then on) credit as the creator of Felix the Cat, while Pat Sullivan, who owned the studio that made the original cartoons, but had virtually nothing to do with creating the character or drawing the cartoons, and falsely took credit for creating Felix in his lifetime, isn't mentioned at all.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In Season 6, the Big Bad promised he would remove all knowledge of Voltron, Princess Allura, and King Alfor after he wins. He loses gloriously.
  • In one promo for Cartoon Network, Yogi Bear arrives at the studio for work, but forgets his ID card. Much to his confusion and frustration, everyone, including Booboo and Ranger Smith, acts like they have no clue who he is.

Alternative Title(s): Erased From Existence, Damnatio Memoriae