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A real-world atypical neurological condition is presented as the result of something supernatural. Bonus points if it doesn't occur naturally at all.

Strange conditions spark the imaginations of writers, leading them to imagine otherworldly forces behind them. Just as Most Writers Are Male, so are most writers neurotypical, and this trope sometimes extends to the point of Unfortunate Implications.

In some uses of this trope, all cases of a particular neurological or psychiatric condition are the result of supernatural circumstances, and you can't have one without the other. Other times, a given condition can be caused by something supernatural, but the same condition can also develop without the involvement of the paranormal. For example, in Percy Jackson and The Olympians, being a demigod isn't the only cause of dyslexia and/or ADHD.

This trope can potentially overlap with Go Mad From the Revelation, if a character ceases to be neurotypical as the result of tangling with the supernatural or learning Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. However, most of the time their condition is played as a side effect of an ongoing supernatural connection instead.

Can overlap with The Soulless in regard to sociopathy. See also Mad Oracle and By the Eyes of the Blind. If the character gets something useful out of their supernatural connection, it's also a case of Disability Superpower.

Examples of Neurodiversity Is Supernatural include:


Literature

  • In Dexter in the Dark, all sociopaths are possessed by beings implied to be the children of Satan.
  • In Harry Potter, the Dementors are evil creatures connected with depression, and it's implied that they cause it in Muggles, who don't see magical things and attribute it to scientific causes.
    • This Troper thought it was more just that they were based on J.K. Rowling's experiences with depression (according to Word of God), not that they were supposed to be the In-Universe cause?
  • In the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, demigodhood causes dyslexia and ADHD.
  • In A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane, Darryl becomes autistic in an attempt to withdraw from the sensations of being malignantly observed by the Lone Power. It's portrayed very differently from the experiences of real-world autistics, though it looks similar from the outside.

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel generally portray soullessness as being sociopathy to the extent that an early Angel episode implies normal human sociopaths are people born without souls.
  • In Doctor Who, there appears to be a link between Vincent Van Gogh's madness/depression, and his ability to see invisible aliens. Which one causes which is somewhat unclear, though.
  • In an episode of Eli Stone, the strange actions of an autistic child are a way God communicates with Eli.
  • In Eureka, Kevin's autism is the result of a mysterious supernatural force never quite explained.
  • Heroes presents synesthesia as a superpower. Though the power is later shown to be more of an ability to manipulate sound, its introduction has it as simply sound-to-color synesthesia.
  • The sixth season of Supernatural had Sam missing his soul, which was treated as sociopathy.
  • In The X-Files:
    • In the episode "Fallen Angel", it's implied that aliens are responsible for Max's epilepsy.
    • In "E.B.E.", Mulder suggests that Gulf War syndrome is the result of alien encounters.
  • In Touch, Martin's son Jake appears autistic (though the doctors never could diagnose his disorder). He also has the ability to see complex connections between different people in the world and tell his father how to use those connections to help people.

Tabletop Games

  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: If a human child fails to become a wereraven (because their magical spirit egg was stolen before their first transformation) they tend to become autistic suddenly (despite autism spectrum disorders being congenital in real life).
  • Kult: Schizophrenia is actually the ability to see behind the veil covering mundane reality. Mental illness in general is one of two roads to supernatural mojo (sainthood is the other one, but power-wise they're mutually exclusive).

Real Life

  • Some people involved with the New Age belief system believe children with autism, ADHD, and other disorders are indigo children, children with indigo auras sent to heal the world.
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