Follow TV Tropes

Following

Weirdness Magnet

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/505042-c_28_super_copy_5329.jpg
So now I'm being kidnapped by a bug-girl from outer space who's investigating the death of the New Gods, which has something to do with the fact that I just started inexplicably acquiring random superpowers for the 147th time. Must be Wednesday.
"Strange and bizarre things happen to you with alarming frequency. You are the one with whom demons will stop and chat. Magic items with disturbing properties will find their way to you. The only talking dog on 20th-century Earth will come to you with his problems. Dimensional gates sealed for centuries will crack open just so that you can be bathed in the energies released...or perhaps the entities on the other side will invite you to tea. Nothing lethal will happen to you, at least not immediately, and occasionally some weirdness will be beneficial. But most of the time it will be terribly, terribly inconvenient."
"Weirdness Magnet" disadvantage, GURPS
Advertisement:

For some reason, the character is always standing at the corner of Strange Street and Bizarre Boulevard, in the town of Uncanny Valley. They run into situations or creatures that most people don't even believe in, much less have to deal with on a regular basis. Through no fault of their own, they constantly suffer through the effects of the paranormal and supernatural. Alternatively, the character may not think of the weirdness about them as particularly strange; after all, this sort of thing happens to them all the time. However, if something starts getting surreal on the show, chances are, they're at the center of it.

Often seen in comedy, especially when the writers get lazy and don't even bother to Hand Wave their plots anymore. Also used egregiously in Sci-Fi and fantasy series, with the chain of weirdness catalyzing in the Pilot, and each specific occurrence resolved at the end of the episode. Bonus points if, at some point, one of the characters brings it up and asks, "Why does this kind of stuff keep happening to me/us?" or notes that that "ever since [the events of the pilot happened], you've been a magnet for the freaky", often resulting in I Just Want to Be Normal.

Advertisement:

If the events surrounding the character are possible, just staggeringly unlikely, then they're a Coincidence Magnet. If they are related to mysteries they are a Mystery Magnet. The title is reserved for those who draw the outright impossible—involving monsters, aliens, magic, Psychic Powers, Time Travel, etc. Weirdness Magnets are also more likely to be explicitly noted by characters. If a Weirdness Magnet is the focus of external forces that causes things to happen around them, then they're a Cosmic Plaything. If there's something literally about the person that makes them attractive to the Supernatural, they're Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious. If the Weirdness Magnet is a location rather than a person, it is either a City of Adventure or a town where nothing exciting ever happens. In anime, Tokyo is particularly vulnerable. In the US, New York is the place to go for excitement. In general, Earth tends to get more than its fair share of craziness. In any case, it may be justified by a Magnetic Plot Device.

Advertisement:

Alternately, they may have a gift or power which draws attention, because Magic Is a Monster Magnet.

Magnetic Medium is a specific, character-based version of this trope, where the character draws the weirdness in because they are capable of sensing the weirdness in the first place. Or perhaps the weirdness came first and they merely became alert to it out of self-preservation.

Some characters tend to be more prone to this than others: like the Unfazed Everyman, Cosmic Plaything, Unlikely Hero, and Recurring Extra. The Only Sane Man is often one of these as well. Often, it's because they have a Clingy MacGuffin, in which case these people consider themselves to be Blessed with Suck. If it goes on long enough, expect the character to start getting chummy with some very diverse "people", even picking up a Monster Roommate. This trope is one of the causes of the Superhero Paradox.

The original Trope Namer was the Blue Devil comic book published by DC in the 1980's, where the main character's status as a Weirdness Magnet is noticed (and explicitly named) within the series. It was later adopted and popularized by the GURPS RPG.

Not to be confused with Strange Attractor.note 


Example subpages:

Other examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • Samantha in Safe Havens, while not so strange herself, keeps meeting and befriending bizarre characters. During the cast's middle and high school days, they were part of the "other" clique, which was basically designed to be this, to give people who didn't fit into or was too weird for any of the 'cooler' cliques to join. Predictably, Samantha was one of the more normal members.
  • The entire plot of Liō, but being who he is, Liō embraces weirdness.
  • Bloom County (and Outland and Opus and, well, anything by Berke Breathed).
  • Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes is this... at least in Calvin's imagination... we think.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Monster In A Box. Spalding Gray complains that it seems like weird people are always attracted to him.
  • Acknowledged by Max Bialystock in The Producers.
    They come here, they all come here. How do they find me?
  • In Ghostbusters, Ray and Egon go over the schematics of the apartment building where Dana lives and figure out that it was specifically built as a portal to another dimension.
  • Acknowledged by Peter Parker in Spider-Man 3 after encountering Sandman for the first time.
    Where do all these guys come from?

    Music 
  • The protagonist/narrator of Ookla the Mok's song "Stranger In The Mirror" (about a fellow who discovers someone else looking out at him from the other side of his bathroom mirror one morning) appears to be one, or at least thinks he is; he complains "things like this are always happening to me", and says "after that Newcastle incident I thought I'd seen it all". In the bridge he lists some of the other things that's experienced:
    There was that time that shopping mall devoured my Aunt Sue,
    And then my veterinarian turned to stone ...
    That was the same week Adrian Veidt removed my intrinsic field...
  • Jim White's "Still Waters" describes such a man; he loses a girlfriend due to a late-night ghostly visitation; after a fight with sailors he curses their ship, which sinks the next day; he first feels compelled to keep silent when he hears a lonely old man singing a hymn, but later finds the man's hanged himself and now feels compelled to sing for him.
    Still waters run deep in me, and I've got this crazy way...
    crazy way I'm swimming in still waters.

    Print Media 
  • Fortean Times is a repository of stories and accounts of alleged Weirdness Magnets (both places and people) around the world.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS provides the page quote with its disadvantage that turns you into this. Named Weirdness Magnet, of course.
    • Illuminated also tends to cause this.
    • Depending on the setting, the weirdness can reach absolutely batshit levels of bizarre. Illuminati University, for example, is weird on its own. Taking Weirdness Magnet there means that you stand a good chance of having Shub-Niggurath invite you to tea, and then reveal that it (she?) is your character's great aunt.
  • In Scion, every single character has a "Fateful Aura" that turns them into this. No matter where they go or what they do, their own Legend draws things to them, forcing them to respond and thus increase their Legend. It is possible to tone down this aura and shed Legend dots, but characters can never be entirely free of it, and since Legend determines how powerful a character's Boons and Epic Attributes can get, shedding Legend may leave them ill-equipped to deal with the weirdness when (not if) it arrives.
  • Promethean: The Created has a similar effect. Prometheans' own Azoth (part of the divine fire of creation which sustains their existence) can be felt by other Prometheans as a call, and will also awaken any Pandorans they go near.
  • The Anchors of the Nobles in Nobilis suffer from this. However, they also have immunity from the Reality Warping magical powers of Nobles themselves.
    • Nobles themselves tend to attract oddness, especially in the form of Actuals and Excrucians, but it's less emphasised, especially since the average Noble responds to a day without weirdness by going out and either finding some, or making some.
  • The Gifted in Witchcraft have an innate tendency to be drawn into supernatural events. Since the setting is unabashed Fantasy Kitchen Sink Urban Fantasy this technically makes them Coincidence Magnets, but it looks more like this trope. And they're also Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious.
  • Changeling: The Dreaming has a flaw you can take called Chimerical Magnet. Three guesses what this does. Given that your character can die of boredom in this game if not enough weird stuff happens to you, it's uncertain how much of a flaw this really is.
  • Geist: The Sin-Eaters gives this to one of the five character types. All of the types are sensitive to ghosts who died by particular means, but the "Forgotten" (victims of what might be considered death by Weirdness Magnet) find such ghosts are actually drawn to them.

    Theatre 
  • In 13, Evan. He ends up involved in a Betty and Veronica Love Triangle between the Brainless Beauty Kendra, the Jerk Jock Brett, and the Alpha Bitch Lucy, is forced to arrange a date between Archie and Kendra, or else Archie will Ruin his Bar Mitzvah.
  • The idols of Tsukiuta have gotten used to all the random supernatural things that happen to them - usually, but not always, because of Shun, the Demon Lord of the group. By the fourth stage play, Lunatic Party, they react to being Trapped in Another World like it's nothing.
  • From a series of Team StarKid productions, the town of Hatchetfield.
    • In The Guy Who Didn't Like Musicals, Hatchetfield is ground zero for a zombie apocalypse triggered by a meteorite containing an alien substance that assimilates it's victims and forces them to sing.
    • In Black Friday, Hatchetfield mall is the location of a riot of shoppers trying to get an extremely marketable doll of an Eldritch Abomination, and while there are other riots at other malls all across America to the point the President has to get involved, Hatchetfield is where Wiggly, the extradimensional evil behind the dolls, intends to be born onto Earth.
    • And if a musical zombie apocalypse and the shopping event from hell wasn't enough, there's a third production set in Hatchetfield in the making. Nerdy Prudes Must Die.

    Visual Novels 
  • Noted in Tsukihime to affect Shiki quite drastically. His Mystic Eyes of Death Perception are a bizarre anomaly and tend to attract others. So far, he's run across the last remaining True Ancestor, the most powerful seat of the Burial Squad in the Church, his sister is a super powerful half demon, Nero Chaos incident, Roa, SHIKI, Sion, Walachia (who showed up precisely because Shiki has these kinds of incidents), Len and the Kagetsu Tohya events. Almost all of the above females are also in love with him for some reason. Aozaki Aoko is not, but she showed up simply because his eyes are so weird without even knowing that herself. This is clearly the real reason that Shiki will not live long, not the eyes themselves.
    • Aoko explicitly tells Shiki, as part of her warning for him to exercise good judgement in using his Mystic Eyes, that "Special powers attract other special powers."
    • To be blunt, this is a Nasuverse thing with the male lead. Shirou and Mikiya, especially Mikiya, tend to simply attract people with odd/fantastic powers and abilities. And like Shiki, most of the people Mikiya attracts tend to be women — including a girl who shares Shiki's name and has the same powers he does.

    Web Animation 


Top