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Luke: I can't understand how we got by those troops. I thought we were dead.

Ben: The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

When characters possess powers or some kind of Phlebotinum that allow them to escape the attention of guards, to improve their stealth, to erase their tracks and to help them maintain The Masquerade. If especially strong, can function as a Compelling Voice that can control minds. If it only affects the Weak-Willed, but affects them strongly, it's a form of Charm Person.

See also Perception Filter, which is more passive. Sometimes overlaps with Psychic Static, which is also more passive.

Can be used to justify The Guards Must Be Crazy.

Not to be confused with the Philadelphia-based hip-hop group.

Examples:


Anime and Manga


Film

 Watto: "Mind tricks don'a work on me. Only money."

    • Qui-Gon pulls one on Boss Nass, saving Jar Jar Binks' life and getting them transport.
    • Also subverted in Return of the Jedi by Jabba the Hutt; explained in the Expanded Universe as Hutts, one and all (but particularly the successful ones like Jabba), having the opposite of a weak mind.
    • In the Expanded Universe, there are Hutts who are Jedi Knights. One wonders if they can affect other Hutts... or if they can't use that power at all.
      • In the Star Wars d20 RPG, Hutts are a playable race (anything is); one of their racial abilities is a huge bonus to rolls to resist mind tricks. Toydarians, too.
    • Twileks on the other hand get a penalty to their will, due to Jabba's twilek majordomo.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan uses this to get rid of a guy trying to sell him death-sticks. (According to Wookieepedia, the guy really did go home and genuinely rethink his life as he was told to, though after a while he fell back into his old ways.) During a conversation with Padme, Anakin again clarifies that the trick only works on the weak minded.
      • Although he might've just fudged the truth in order to flirt with the Senator.
        • To quote A New Hope: "The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded."
      • The Clone Wars animated series confirms this though, as when interrogating the Duros bounty hunter Cad Bane, he is easily able to brush off a single Jedi's attempt. It takes a second Jedi joining in for him to notice it, and a third for him to really start feeling the effects. In the end, he still manages to resist, though doing so nearly tore his mind apart.
      • In one case a Jedi padawan does this to a Trandoshan who resists it, then Chewbacca slugs him and it works.
    • In Star Wars: Clone Wars, Yoda uses it on Padmé's security chief, who takes on Yoda's speech patterns. Padmé sees through it, but agrees with Yoda's request anyway.
    • In a Star Wars Legacy comic, the imperial princess reveals herself when she tries to use such a mind trick on Cade Skywalker, a former Jedi. He pretends it works, and then leaves to go check who she is and how much the bounty the Sith placed on her is worth.
    • On the Star Wars Weekends event at Hollywood Studios, two Stormtroopers are located on top of the entry to the park. At one point, one of them uses the trick by saying "these are not the tourists you're looking for".
  • The Men in Black have the Neuralizer for this purpose, with, strangely enough, only three settings: days, months, and years.
    • The Neuralizer used on Tee in the second movie had an "hours" setting.
  • Spoofed with Skipper the penguin on Madagascar: "You didn't see anything."
    • Although he could've just been attempting to intimidate them into keeping silent...
  • In a scene cut from the original US version, but present in the international ones, Austin Powers hypnotizes a mook played by Christian Slater. First with "Everything seems to be in order!", then with "I am going to go across the street and get you some orange sherbert!" and "Here, have a piece of gum!". Turning this into a Brick Joke, as Austin and Vanessa are escaping from the Collapsing Lair, the mook returns with the sherbert.
  • Morganian Sorcerer Maxim Horvath uses it on a clerk in The Sorcerers Apprentice, which is promptly lampshaded by his sidekick to hilarious effect.
  • In Un amour de sorcière (Witch Way Love), Morgane (Vanessa Paradis) tricks a shop owner this way to let her go with a free bill. Justified as her baby magically colored her banknotes, making them useless.


Literature

  • Used in Turning Point by Lisanne Norman
    • Various forms of this trope appear through most of the sequels. The main characters are exceedingly strong telepaths, after all.
  • The wizards of Harry Potter have Muggle-Repelling Charms on all the magic locations, and Memory Charms for when that doesn't work.
  • Similarly to the above example, Fang from the Maximum Ride books can make himself blend in so much that people have to focus really hard to notice him.
  • Corran Horn, at a point where he's unaware of his Jedi heritage, succeeds with a nonverbal version of this in the X Wing Series, making a searcher pass him by. After he learns of his Jedi heritage, he later tries it again more conventionally, and fails miserably.

 Stormtrooper: "Come with me so I can check you out."

Corran: "I don't need to go with you."

Stormtrooper: "You don't need to go with me?"

Corran: "I can go about my business."

Stormtrooper: "You can go about your business?" [shakes head] "Your business is my business, void-brain."

    • Jorus C'baoth's version of the Mind Trick isn't nice enough to distinguish between the weak-minded and the not. When he says that he doesn't have time for this, everyone, with the exceptions of Commander Thrawn and Senator Palpatine, gives way and looks back on what they agreed to with frustration. In a rather nice bit of quiet characterization, a young Anakin Skywalker is impressed.
      • His clone is, if anything, worse, since his Mind Trick apparently works by tearing apart the mind of the target and rearranging it to suit. He does this to a general, and it's... well, Mind Rape at its finest. This extreme version apparently takes time, but the end result is that the general is reduced to nothing but an extension of C'boath's will who instantly drops dead when cut off from C'baoth's mind. He doesn't go as far with Captain Pellaeon, but the readers still see that while Pellaeon's mouth is agreeing, his thoughts are resisting in vain. The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook states that Pellaeon's willpower was permanently eroded by this.
        • Although considering that this is Gilad Pelleaon, this is still akin to eroding a few centimeters off the face of Everest.
  • In The Dark Tower, the turtle gives bearers the power of persuasion and can even heal constipation. The heroes don't appear to mind losing it very much.
  • In the Wheel of Time series, this is the signature power of the Gray Men, who are people that sold their souls to the Dark One, they act as assassins for the Dark One. They look so "ordinary" that people find it hard to notice them.
  • The heroes of M.K. Wren's Phoenix Legacy trilogy had developed the modulated-frequency stimulus or mod-stim device, which pulsed light and/or sound to induce "synergistic resonances with a subject's brain waves" resulting in a sort of high-tech hypnotism. It was very effective for, for instance, making guards forget they saw a Phoenix agent walk right past them into a secured facility.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune uses a version of this called the Voice, taught only to Bene Gesserits (and Paul Atreides). It was probably the main inspiration on the Mind Trick.
  • In the Discworld novels, Death has this power. Not only is he unnoticeable, he also can make people around him receptible to suggestion. Susan inherits all his abilities, and finds them very useful in her career as a schoolteacher.
    • The witches in Discworld (some of them, anyway) can also make their presence either incredibly strong, intimidating or persuading people to go their way and ignore any uncomfortable inconsistencies in what they said, or almost nonexistant, effectively turning invisible to all but the most attentive individuals.
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson also has the ability to talk or threaten almost anyone into doing almost anything. On a good day, he can even make Ankh-Morpork citizens want to be nice.
  • The fairy mesmer in Artemis Fowl.
  • In The Day Watch, Vitaly uses a simple Other trick to get a bag full of American dollars past customs. The scene plays out very similarly to the Trope Namer.
  • The Action Heros Handbook claims that even normal people can pull off something very close to a Jedi Mind Trick with a combination of Refuge in Audacity and clever psychological manipulation.
  • Sent up in Proven Guilty when Harry has to deal with Detective Sergeant Greene in the aftermath of dealing with the three fetches:

 I lifted my hand with my thumb and first two fingers extended, the others against my palm, and moved it in a vaguely mystical gesture from left to right. "That isn't Rawlins."

Greene blinked at me, and his eyes blurred in and out of focus. The distraction derailed the train of thought he'd been laboriously assembling. It wasn't magic. I've taken head shots before. It takes a while for your brain to start doing its job again, and the vaguest kinds of confusion makes things into one big blur.

    • Actually entering someone else's mind to alter what they're perceiving is considered Black Magic in the Dresden setting, no matter what your reasoning. One can create veils, which simply hide objects or people from view, which is perfectly kosher, but actually altering what the individual's mind perceives is bad mojo.
  • Some characters in Percy Jackson and The Olympians can manipulate the series's Weirdness Censor to make things appear differently to mortals.
    • In The Heroes of Olympus, some children of Aphrodite can "charmspeak", and it's hinted that children of Hermes have similar powers.


Live Action TV

 Matt: *holds up a wallet* This is a Secret Service badge. You're going to let us through.

Random Guard: Of course, go right ahead.

 Dracula: I knew you'd come.

Buffy: Why? Because I'm under your thrall? (suddenly comes back to herself and pulls out her stake) Well, guess again, pal.

Dracula: Put the stake down.

Buffy: OK. (instantly puts it down, then looks at her hand in surprise) Right. That... was not... you. (sounding unconvinced) I did that. I did that because ... I wanted to. (Dracula watches her)

Buffy: (looks around nervously) Maybe I should rethink that thrall thing. (whimpers a little)

    • Also done on Xander, where it was so effective he turned into The Renfield after a few seconds hypnotizing. In the continuation comics Dracula picks Xander up as a thrall again, though the two eventually become sort of friends.
    • He also tells a Slayer to "save her questions until he's finished", in response to which she spends the next several panels while the others talk standing dazedly murmuring "I will save my questions until later...letting people shows respect...I have an inquisitive mind. But interrupting people is rude."
    • But parodied a season later in "Flooded." A demon seeking Buffy's death demands magical help from the three loser friends Warren, Andrew and Jonathan, but with no powers to offer, Warren instead gives the demon Buffy's address and phone number, which he accepts. His friends are impressed anyway.

 Andrew: What are you, some kind of Jedi?

Warren: The Force can sometimes have great power on the weak-minded.

    • Also (magically) used by Willow on a cop in a season 7 episode in order to convince him that she and Giles are with Interpol.
    • The Dracula episode is notable in that after her brief death at the hands of the Master in the season 1 finale, Buffy is normally immune to such hypnosis.
  • Babylon 5 lets Psi-Cop Bester allude to this in an episode where he and his team are chasing a runaway Telepath.

 Bester: "...spark misleading hunches..."

  • Booth from Bones quotes this trope word for word when describing how he thinks Sweets will fire Daisy.

  "Nah, Sweets is a lot tricker than that. He'll use some Jedi Mind Trick to make her think she fired herself."

  • May have been used in older seasons of Doctor Who, possibly more than once. The psychic paper has a very similar effect, even down to not working on the strong minded (ie. Shakespeare). In recent seasons, it seems to happen every other episode.
    • The new series' TARDIS also uses a Perception Filter in order to prevent bystanders from wandering inside to make a phone call. It doesn't always work, however.
      • In "The Sound of Drums", the Doctor uses the same technology in order to allow himself, Martha and Jack to slip past the Master's guards. It works on them, but the Master sees literally straight through.
      • Prisoner Zero also uses a perception filter in "The Eleventh Hour". The Doctor refers to the space it covers as being the bit 'at the corner of your eye' that you don't want to look at - although it turns out you can if you try.
    • The Silence. You lose memory of them as soon as you look away.
  • Torchwood's Retcon drug fulfils the track-covering criterion.
  • A couple of times on Star Trek: The Original Series, Spock escaped from a locked cell by hiding beside the door, and telepathically convincing the guard that he'd escaped. The guard rushed in to check, and the good guys jumped him.
  • Lampshaded in Lost, when Jack helps Shannon through an asthma attack, Hurley calls it for what it is, "a Jedi moment."
  • Matt Parkman and Peter Petrelli use a tag-team version of this in Volume 4 of Heroes to gain access to a government building and get information about the operation hunting them down.
    • Sylar's gesture when cutting off people's skulls is similar to the hand gesture the Jedi use when using Jedi Mind Tricks.
  • In Forever Knight, the vampire Masquerade would be shot to pieces without this ability. Some people are naturally immune, but it doesn't seem to be due to strong-mindedness so much as a biological quirk.
  • This is Joanna's power in Eastwick.
  • QI has a segment about Oscar the Hypodog, a dog who was allegedly able to hypnotize people. He supposed got loose in Edinburgh, and people were told to look for him but not to look in his eyes.

 Phil Jupitus: Presumably, when he's running around Edinburgh, someone thought they'd found him, and they'd go, "Hah! It's Oscar the Hypnodog!" (waves hand) "I'm not the dog you're looking for. I'm a Pomeranian."

  • In Chuck: Jeff and Lester try to use this on Morgan and Casey when they track them down to offer them their jobs back, and it actually works on Morgan for a second.
  • The Magoi from Sanctuary are abnormals that make up for their physical frailty with psychic powers. They can't directly control people, but they can alter their perception of reality to make them see what the Magoi want them to see.
  • Played for laughs in a fake commercial on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s, which purported to advertise a hypnotist's show on Broadway. Every theatre-goer asked about the performance stared blankly into the camera and recited the same line in the same dull monotone: "I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I'm going to see it again and again."

Radio Dramas

  • In what may be the Trope Maker, The Shadow's radio incarnation had the ability to influence the mind's thoughts and perceptions, and he used this sometimes to persuade other characters into doing what he wanted, much like the Jedi.


Stand Up Comedy

  • There's a Star Trek-related comedy bit in which Ben Kenobi beats out Mr. Spock and the HAL-9000 computer on Jeopardy!, by invoking this trope on Alex Trebek.
  • One of The Great Luke Ski's dialogue pieces, "You Might Be A Trekkie", contains the following sequence:

 "If you've ever attempted the Jedi Mind Trick at the drive-through window...'

Fast food clerk: That'll be $13.27, sir.

Customer: You won't be charging me for this food.

Clerk: I.. won't be charging you for this food.

Customer: And don't skimp on the french fries.

Clerk: And I won't skimp on the french fries.

Customer: And you'll throw in some extra Beanie Babies. Thank you, drive through.

Clerk: Thank you, drive through!

"...you might be a Trekkie."

 "If you've ever had the Jedi Mind Trick attempted on you at the drive-through window!"

Another clerk (Watto's voice parody): That'll be $14.51, sir.

Customer: These gift certificates will be fine.

Clerk: No, they won't.

Customer: These gift certificates will be fine.

Clerk: No, they won't! What are you, waving your hands like you're Ronald McDonald, get out of here!


Tabletop Games

  • In Mage: The Ascension a background, Arcane, is made especially for that. It improves stealth, and makes people's memory of you blurry.
  • In Exalted, the Sidereals have a permanent version of this. Their Arcane Fate makes it easy for them to take on any identity, as long as it isn't a specific person. They are also generally forgotten swiftly, and magical creatures can have difficulty remembering the details of an encounter (often, they remember nothing more about the Sidereal than "some Sidereal" or "an agent of destiny"). Its mixed blessing, as, while it makes it easy to disguise themselves, and hard to track down, they also can't form powerbases in Creation, as non-supernatural entities will lose memory of them if they don't meet daily. And they can't turn it off.
  • In GURPS the college of Mind Control spells includes a low-level "Daze" spell. A dazed guard will look and act normal, but will not notice anything going on around him until the spell wears off, even if an intruder walks right by.
  • In the Star Wars D20 RPG, the Mind Trick force power has been expanded to allow you to create a momentary distraction, make an unreasonable suggestion seem reasonable, and cause the target to run away from you at top speed while screaming, among other things.
  • The Shadowrun Adept power "Compelling Voice" allows the user to force someone to obey a simple command. Uses range from the sensible ("Drop the gun!") to the sadistic ("Shoot yourself!") to the silly (*walking into a crowded shopping mall with a megaphone* "Everyone! Strip!").


Video Games

  • The Stone Mask of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask makes Link effectively invisible to minor enemies by rendering him "as boring as a stone." You obtain it from an unfortunate soldier who put it on and then collapsed from exhaustion... but couldn't get anyone to help him because of the mask's effects.
  • In Second Sight, one of the powers the protagonist, John Vattic, unlocks is "Charm". This calms people down, allowing him to stop allies panicking (only useful in one mission, where he has to escort an ally from a mental asylum, or more usefully generate a Somebody Else's Problem field. This makes him essentially invisible (but guards still turn their heads to look at you, they just don't care). Obviously the effect doesn't work on machines, and if its used on someone who's attacking you then the feedback drains your Psi bar.
  • The various Jedi Knight games naturally allow you to use the Mind Trick. Its effectiveness varies depending on how far along you are in the game from providing a brief distraction to one enemy to convincing an enemy that you're on his side and his actual allies are bad guys for several seconds. There is also a cheat that allows Kyle to use the Mind Trick to outright possess someone for some time.
    • As per the "only on the weak-minded" clause, the mind trick is mostly useful on non-Force-capable Mooks. Force-wielders and strong enough non-Force-wielders will shrug it off, or even laugh it off.
    • Desann, the Big Bad of Jedi Outcast, will even say "Do you think me weak-minded?" if you try it on him.
  • Knights of the Old Republic has the "Force Persuade" (unlocked by having the powers "Affect Mind" or the stronger "Dominate Mind"), a Force-powered More Than Mind Control way of convincing people to do certain things you want them to do, usually ignoring technicalities to allow you to get away with virtually anything. Like the Jedi Mind Trick, it's not always successful, and has a lower chance of succeeding if the person you're pulling it on has a high mind or will stat compared to your Force stat.
    • Much of the dialogue written involving it is some of the most utterly chilling in the game.
    • The sequel possess a power explicitly called "Mind Trick", but this one just distracts the target enough that you can sneak by them without having to use stealth.
    • Canderous actually lampshades this, by commenting, "I'm always amazed how many people that works on. The galaxy must be filled with weak-minded fools," when you cheat your way out of a landing fee.
    • If you pick Jolee to get you out of prison on the Leviathan halfway through the game, he uses the Force to trick the guards into giving him a separate cell, leaving only one man to watch over him, and then tricks that one into letting him out and locking himself into the cell instead.
  • In sequel to The Force Unleashed, Starkiller has the ability to mind trick Mooks. This will cause him to either betray his allies, or, if all alone, will cause him to commit suicide by jumping into the nearest danger, and the results can be quite funny.
  • Parodied in universe in Empire At War: Forces of Corruption:

 Stormtrooper: "Look, this one thinks he's a Jedi. Tell me, why won't I need to see your identification?" (Urai Fen de-cloaks behind him).

Tyber Zann: "Because you'll be dead."

  • The Placate power used by Stalkers in City of Heroes makes a hostile enemy turn docile just long enough for another Assassin's Strike (or to run). It even has the hand-wave animation.
    • And one of the kidnapped people that you can "rescue", Dr. Stephen Fayte, seems to use this on both his captors and the player character(s) to convince everyone that he is "merely a gifted surgeon, and nothing more."
  • Parodied in Armed and Dangerous (published by Lucas Arts):

 Rexus: You don't need to see our papers.

Guards: ...We don't need to see your papers.

Rexus: Good. Now, you... uh...

Guards: We... uh...

Rexus: Uh... uh... quick, what should I say to them? I'm running out of power!

Guards: Quick, what should he say to us? He's running out of power!


Web Comics

 Grater: You will lie down and take a nap!

Guard: Huh?

Torg: *Hits guard over head with large rock*

Guard: I will lie down and take a nap *passes out*.


Web Original

 Mai: You don't need to see their identification.

Kemo: I don't need to see their identification.

Mai: These aren't the breasts you're looking for.

Kemo: These aren't the breasts I'm looking for.

  • One of the powers of Vanessa Jackson, codename Vox, in the Whateley Universe. Also used by supervillainess Obsession in "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl" to lead several SWAT teams to their death.


Western Animation

  • Averted by Fry in Futurama, who is immune to the brainspawn's idiocy inducing powers due to his superior, yet inferior mind.
  • Irma in WITCH has this as one of her minor powers. Cornelia has a similar power in the comic.
    • Himerish also does this to some guards near the end of the 4th saga. Subverted that it only works to stall them for a little while.
  • The Men in Black have the Neuralizer for this purpose. While its stated purpose is to erase memories, the ability to write new ones, seen more in the movies than the show for the most part, could make it quite the Mind Control tool in the wrong hands, by making someone "remember" a really good reason to do whatever it is you want them to do and forget you were there in the same stroke.
  • Oberon in Gargoyles directly copies Obi-Wan to gain entrance to Xanatos Tower.
    • Unlike the Obi-Wan example, the victim translates the order into his own words.
  • An episode of Teen Titans has the Titans chasing a villain with a magic remote through a bunch of (parodies of) TV shows and movies. When they come to the Star Wars Parody, Beast Boy attempts this, swiping Raven's cloak to complete the Obi-Wan look. It fails miserably.
    • That's because he tried it on droids.
  • Lampshaded in Justice League Crisis On Two Earths:

 Supervillainess: "You don't want to fight me, you want to help me."

The Flash: "I don't want to fight you, I want to-- wait a minute, this is like the Jedi Mind Trick!"

Supervillainess: "This is not like the Jedi Mind Trick."

The Flash: "This is not like the Jedi Mind Trick."

 Danny Phantom: From now on, you're going to leave Danny Fenton and his family alone.

Guys In White: Why?

Danny: Because... he's not the ghost you're looking for.

Guys In White: He's not the ghost we're looking for...

 President's Advisor: "Hello Mr. President, people are still wondering if we found weapons of mass destruction."

Bush: (while doing the hand motion) "You have found weapons of mass destruction."

President's Advisor: "Uh no sir, we haven't."

Bush: "You have!" (Bush waves)

President's Advisor: "Hello there sir." (Waves back)

Bush: "You will bring me a taco."

President's Advisor: "Yes, sir!"

Bush: "Heheh, tacos rule."

    • And before that, there was:

 Bush: "You are not tired. You want to have a threesome."

Laura: "I'm not tired. I want to have a threesome."

Bush: (Into a phone) "Get me Condi."


Real Life

  • Two men at a train station in Britain actually got a free ride by telling the ticket inspector, "you don't need to see our tickets."
  • The power of suggestion is surprisingly keen. If two flavors of candy are offered but one is subtly emphasized, possibly by being pointed to or vocally named, many people will choose it for no other reason.
  • See that security guard there? No one's ever tried that "you don't need to see my credentials" trick on him.
  • Using Politeness Judo will make it seem like you can do this.
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