This is about anyone being told that they are part of a secret society. Often, they are also invited to join the society because they belong there.
This trope can be used for Muggles who know too much in order to keep them quiet about the society. Though often, this is used for people who already are part of The Masquerade but don't know it, or those who know they are "special" but don't know where they actually belong, or used on those pesky Supers running about with no one to keep them in check.
Normally a part of Fantastic Recruitment Drive. Related to I Am Who?, for when a character learns of his secret parentage. Subtrope of Broken Masquerade. Compare also Expositing the Masquerade, where the character being introduced is not necessarily a part of The Masquerade but finds people who can tell him of it, anyway. Also compare with Killed to Uphold the Masquerade and Join or Die. See also Tomato in the Mirror, for when a character sees with their own eyes a revelation about themselves.
- Every prospective member or ally of the J-Team ends up being welcomed into the odd world of We Are All Pokémon Trainers at some point.
- Lovehammer Inc has the Ordo Praetorian, an unofficial and illegal group of Inquisitors quietly spying on the Legio Astartes to monitor their loyalties. Most have no idea there's an official but secret Ordo Praetorian using them as a cover.
- The film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code has cryptologist Robert Langdon unearth ancient genealogy research that detective Sophie Neveu is a descendant of Jesus Christ, and is under the protection of the Priory of Sion, which is the 21st century form of The Knights Templar.
- The first Hellboy begins with Agent Myers being brought in to the BPRD, a paranormal investigation unit. Downplayed in that his FBI skills don't do him any good against the various monsters and ancient evils they meet up with. He was only brought in to keep tabs on the title character.
- Men in Black: After NYPD officer James Edwards chases down an alien criminal, Agent K considers his attempt to arrest the perp to be good enough to recruit him into the Men in Black organization. Though, as the third movie reveals, this also closes a time loop where, in 1969, a younger K met and worked with a time-traveling J from 2012.
- Normal, affable beagle Lou discovers there's a whole Cold War ongoing between Cats & Dogs, including espionage a la James Bond. Butch the retriever acts as Lou's liaison into the canine underworld operating under the noses of clueless humans.
- This essentially happens to Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its sequel when he accidentally gets pulled into Newt Scamander's hijinks. After a required mind-wipe fails to stick, he essentially becomes Newt's Muggle Best Friend.
- Invoked in the Ciaphas Cain series. When fast-food vendor Zemelda Cleat witnesses a battle between an Amberley Vail and an alien species she is not supposed to even know exists, said Inquisitor promptly recruits her right on the spot - much to the surprise of Cain, who immediately assumed she would be Killed to Uphold the Masquerade. It is strongly, strongly implied that Amberley would have immediately done just that if Zemelda had refused, however...
- Harry Potter:
- The Dark Is Rising series novel The Dark is Rising. On Will Stanton's eleventh birthday all sorts of amazing things start to happen. Later on he meets a man named Merriman Lyon who explains that both he and Will are Old Ones, powerful magical beings who serve the Light and oppose the Dark.
- In The Mortal Instruments, it's brooding, experienced love interest Jace that first demonstrates Clary's Shadowhunter capabilities. Later, Hodge Starkweather expounds on them.
- At one point in Honor Harrington, President Pritchart discusses (and lampshades) this trope while talking about Mesan Deep Cover Agent families.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, at age twelve, Percy discovers he's the son of a Greek god, and has to go to Camp Half-Blood to learn skills he'll need to fight off the many monsters who will want to kill him. A lot of other demi-gods discover this at a much younger age, or never make it to the camp alive.
- Rolitania: Samuel is introduced to the world of Espers and time-travelers by none other than the Queen of Rolitania.
- Dora Wilk Series: Dora introduces Witkacy to the magicals' world.
- The Vagina Ass of Lucifer Niggerbastard: Griswalda explains Lucifer's role in the Prophecy, which Lucifer was previously unaware of.
- Contradicted at first, when Griswalda says, "You two can be a gay fucking fellowship or some shit.".
- Later on, one of the Dyke Queen's footmen reveal that the Fellowship is mentioned in the Prophecy, thereby counting them as a secret society.
- It is possible that Griswalda has not read or heard the full Prophecy Of The Vagina Ass.
- It is also possible that he forgot the mention of the Fellowship within.
- On Grimm Nick is a Grimm and when he comes into his powers, his dying aunt did not have much time to explain to him what that entails or teach him about the world he is about to become part of. It is up to Monroe, a Blutbat Wesen, to become Nick's mentor in Wesen matters. Later on Nick brings in his Muggle partner Hank and fiance Juliette into the Masquerade because they are put in danger by not knowing what is really going on.
- In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Connors actively try to keep the Masquerade up because they're afraid that they'll cause unpredictable Butterfly of Doom problems and because they know that many people will Go Mad from the Revelation about the horrible future. Notable exceptions and subversions include:
- Sarah repeatedly advises Ellison to stay away from the whole Time War situation. This backfires on her when his desperation to do something causes him to become The Dragon to Weaver, whose true nature and motivations he is ignorant of.
- In "Goodbye To All That", Derek Reese kills the Terminator sent to kill Martin Bodell in front of Bodell, to set up a Stable Time Loop and force Bodell to become the soldier Derek remembers him being in the future.
- Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines: One of the most unpleasant examples. The player character hooks up with someone in what is supposed to be a one-night stand. Then, they end up turned into a vampire. Then, other vampires show up to kill the sire, and drag the PC to a trial to determine whether or not they are to be killed. After getting out of a death penalty by the skin of their teeth, the PC has to spend their time proving their worth to the other vampires.
- Happens to the Player Character at the start of The Secret World. After being chosen as one of many of Gaia's secret protectors, the player's powers go haywire for a couple of days before they can control them. Right after they get them under control, one of the three big factions (The Templars, the Illuminati, or the Dragon) sends a recruiter to bring them into the fold. The first two go through a recruiting pitch, with the Templars offering the player safety and a purpose in protecting the world, while the Illuminati offer money, power, and veiled threats if you don't come along. The Dragon... just outright kidnap you.
- This has happened several times throughout the Assassin's Creed series. Any person discovered to have eagle vision, a genetic trait from the Isu precursors, is unknowingly a subject of great importance to both the Assassins and the Templars and, sooner or later, will find themselves a part of the secret war.
- Assassin's Creed II: Ezio Auditore was the first known instance, being raised in an Assassin family without knowing his heritage. After his father and brothers are publicly executed, he discovers his family's Assassin gear and operates alone for a while before being formal inducted into the Brotherhood.
- Assassin's Creed: Unity: Arno Dorian had a similarly unfortunate upbringing, the son of an Assassin, Arno is adopted into a Templar family after his father is murdered with the rare intent on welcoming him to their side of the masquerade. It doesn't end up happening and Arno is recognized by Pierre Bellec after being thrown into the Bastille for murder, who brings him back to the Assassins.
- Shaun Hastings wasn't supposed to know about the Assassin-Templar war, but his penchant for looking into conspiracies led him to Abstergo Industries (the modern day Templar Order). Because Templars are fond of killing people who find out about them, Shaun is kidnapped to be executed. It's Assassin Rebecca Crane that rescues him and promptly recruits him to the side of the Assassins.
- Weregeek starts with Mark being chased by a Hunter of Monsters, before stumbling into a vampire coven meeting where he receives his welcome to The Masquerade... by being turned into a vampire himself. Then it turns out, that it's all just Deep-Immersion Gaming: the hunters are just regular bullies, and the vampires are a bunch of geeks LARPing Vampire: The Masquerade. Still, The Masquerade takes place IRL, as well, as the geeks have to hide their geekdom from Normal People, and Mark (a repressed geek himself) is welcomed to the geek subcultures for real this time.
- In Skin Deep, humanity is filled with "Unturned" fantastic creatures, who were descended from an ancestor who owned a human-disguise medallion, and are covered by a semi-permanent version of the same spell that keeps them human all the time. Getting a medallion of their own breaks the old spell and reveals their true species. For some (like Jim), getting a medallion and being Turned is a normal part of growing up; for others (like Michelle), it comes as a rude shock.
- Played with in the South Park episode "Ass Burgers", in which a support group for Asperger Syndrome that Stan joins turns out to be a society of cynics who think their view of the world as shit is what the world actually is, and what everyone else sees is dubbed as an "illusionary world", which is part of a plot involving aliens or whatever (they're not sure exactly what). They send Stan out on a crazy mission to liberate everyone from the so-called illusion they live in, getting him drunk in order for him to reenter the "illusion". They also claim that Asperger's doesn't exist, because why would it have a name that could easily be made fun of?
- In Jacob Two-Two, Jacob is admitted into Library Ninjas after he starts doing mundane volunteer work there, partially because he's the only kid left who takes reading seriously.