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Common Sense. So rare it's a goddamn superpower.

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened."
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope

Often used in stories featuring cosmic villainy. In the immediate aftermath of a noteworthy event, there will be a brief (usually no more than three panels) cut-away to an easily recognizable character from the same fictional universe. The character will then remark that his super-powers or Applied Phlebotinum sensors indicate an event of great significance has taken place, although he does not know what that event might be.

Note that the sense itself is referenced on the Spider Sense page. This trope here is the USE of that sense (or something that works just like it).

Compare The Force Is Strong with This One (a character who can sense another character's Power Level), Seers.

Examples of My Significance Sense Is Tingling include:

Anime & Manga

  • In Dragonball Z, many of the characters have the ability to sense when things are going badly. But for a truly massive event, like an attack that might have killed the main character, they cut to New Namek (another planet) and have the Elder say that things are looking bad.
  • The ending of Tokyo Mew Mew.
  • At one point in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, Noel and Coco suddenly sense that Lucia and the others are facing down Michel all the way in Antarctica. What's more, their powers seem to reach that far to help out, even though it depends on their singing voices — we've heard of carrying, but this is ridiculous.
  • In X 1999, the Dragons (the people involved in determining the outcome of the Apocalypse) can innately sense when a kekkai has been raised or broken... which is tantamount to knowing that a battle is going down.
  • In the penultimate episode of the first season of Sailor Moon, the title heroine is able to sense when Sailor Mercury dies; she bears witness to the other deaths but this one she wasn't present for.
  • Ranma One Half
    • In one early chapter, Kunô has a vivid daydream of giving "The pig-tailed girl" (a.k.a. Ranma in female form) a very passionate kiss. Cue cut to Ranma shuddering violently, and responding to Akane's question of what's wrong with, "Dunno, just a sudden chill".
    • Similarly, in the late manga, both Akane and Ranma feel a sudden sense of something being wrong when Lime of the Musk Dynasty throttles Ryôga to the brink of death.
    • This may possibly be the explanation for how Akane heard Ranma's declaration of love (which is equally implied to have been merely thought, rather then spoken) in the final chapter.
  • In Code Geass, those who possess a Geass Code or are in the Sword of Akasha can sense others with Geass powers.
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam series has Newtypes who do this with special senses. it's mainly the main characters and main villains who do it though.
    • In Gundam Seed, during one of the last episodes, Kira inexplicably senses Rau Le Creuset is attempting to destroy the Archangel and heads off to save his friends. Strangely enough, Kira had not demonstrated such an ability before.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, it seems that Hohenheim (as well as all of the Xingese characters who can feel chi) are able to feel shifts in alchemy around Father, much like a "disturbance in the Force". like when he temporarily turns off all the alchemy in central
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, during the final part of the Magic World arc, everyone with any magical skill sensed Negi turn demonic from every range possible.
  • Elie pulls this in Rave Master at the end of Sieg's fight, though it's mainly just to tease that one of the manga's "best liked" characters may have died.
  • In Bleach, the shinigami have the ability to sense when someone else is fighting, doing badly in a fight, or about to die, by "feeling" their Reiatsu (or spiritual pressure, if you want). Often said shinigami are a good couple of miles away from the fight (or whatever else may be happening), and more often than not, in a position where they can't really go and help out.
  • In the manhwa Yureka, Ah-Dol down right says the Trope's name in the Demon King Quest arc. At least in the translation anyway...

Comic Books

  • In the Marvel Universe:
    • Spider-Man is the serial perpetrator of this trope. Whenever something cosmic goes down, his Spider-Sense goes apewire.
    • Doctor Strange is a similar barometer for Big Events in the magical world.
    • Uatu the Watcher shows up and stands around ominously whenever the writers feel the need to add cosmic weight to an event. Used by genre-savvy villain Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series to identify the start of hostilities. He knows it's about to go down because the Watcher has appeared in space by his temple.
    • Single-issue example: Wisdom #5 comes at it from both ends, with the fairy and the alien both sensing a "change in the worlds".
    • In the original Dark Phoenix story, when Jean initially goes crazy in Central Park and easily whups the X-Men, about three or four panels show the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and the Silver Surfer reacting to the massive outpouring of bad energy.
    • Something very similar was caused purposely by the Silver Surfer in the early stages of Atlantis Attacks. And an even more similar stance happened in the mid-1970s Avengers story that featured Michael Korvak slaughtering Starhawk.
  • In The DCU:
    • The Joker ceasing to laugh has been used as a sign that something really bad is happening.
    • And The Phantom Stranger will always be drawn to the scene of any universe-altering calamity.
  • Parodied in the underground comic Normalman.
  • The Sandman occasionally has Destiny turning the pages of his book and looking troubled. One of these, in issue 5, is the first time we ever see Destiny (in The Sandman, at any rate).
  • Parodied in Gold Digger. Future-Gina-from-the-past uses a technique that prompts this reaction from a HUGE amount of people. Said technique, using the force of time itself? Millenium Pimp Slap! (She uses it to smack her bitch up!)
  • Hellboy
    • In Hellboy: Seed of Destruction, when Rasputin begins waking the Ogdru Jahad, the action briefly cuts to a group of aliens from another dimension who exclaim that "It's moving! Its Readings Are Off the Scale!"
    • Another Hellboy story has a Flash Back to Hellboy, aged 2, being persuaded to eat a pancake for the first time. Cut to Hell, where a bunch of high-ranking demons react with horror. "He has eaten the pancake." "Truly this is our darkest hour." (It's never explained just why eating a pancake is so significant. Word of God is that the scene isn't entirely canonical, and is just supposed to be funny.) It actually is explained (though a little Fridge Brilliance might help) since the eating of the pancake makes Hellboy too happy with leaving Earth as it is to fulfil his destiny and destroy everything. Of course, the fact of the matter is, the whole thing just falls under Rule of Funny anyway.
  • In the Emerald Fallout arc of Guy Gardner: Warrior (which preceded Emerald Twilight in Green Lantern), Guy receives a vision of Oa's destruction, and of Hal Jordan killing Sinestro, after his yellow power ring began to malfunction.
  • Happens very frequently in Elf Quest. Savah and Suntop pretty much embody the trope, Dewshine had her moment when Scouter and Tyleet Recognized, and Pike knew when Skot died.

Comic Strips

  • In one Baby Blues comic, Daryl decides to throw out Zoe and Hammie's Whistling Monkey Cowboy Band video casettes because they have lost interest in them. Or, not entirely- when dropped in the bin, Zoe rushes to Hammie's bed in the middle of the night and says "I sense a disturbance in the force."
  • Parodied in Zits. Meanwhile Jeremy has just received a credit card, in another room of the house, his father suddenly remarks : "I sense a disturbance in the Force".

Films — Animation

  • Kung Fu Panda 2 has Master Shifu sensing Po being shot by Lord Shen's cannon. Also at the end, Po's biological father senses his son is alive and well.

Films — Live-Action

  • Star Wars
    • Naturally, Obi-Wan Kenobi's famous line in A New Hope after the destruction of Alderaan, quoted at the top of the page.
    • Although he doesn't say anything, Yoda is visibly weakened and suffering as he feels the Jedi forces being gunned down.
    • Also in Star Wars, the protagonists — Force-sensitive and non — tendency to "have a bad feeling about this".
    • It was also inverted in Return of the Jedi when Han Solo has a funny feeling that he's not going to see the Millennium Falcon again — but the ship goes on to survive (narrowly, and more due to test audience results than anything else) the destruction of the Death Star.
  • Seen in the Mystery Science Theater 3000-featured movie Puma Man. The main character will often grab his forehead when he "senses danger." Just what you want in a superhero — when he senses danger, he gets a headache. Not to mention he only manages to do so once or twice out of the several times he's attacked.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • In the Peter Jackson version of Return of the King, immediately after Frodo puts on the Ring and the Eye turns to Mount Doom, the movie cuts to Gandalf. His expression is one of utter despair; it isn't clear whether he knows exactly what's happened, but he obviously knows how bad it is. He knows that Frodo has fallen to the ring and alerted Sauron of his presence.
      • He may have sensed it through his possession of Narya (and the One Ring's mastery of it).
    • And the scene in Two Towers in which Legolas is commenting that "something stirs in the East," just before Pippin tries to use the Palantir and draws Sauron's attention to Edoras
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy has dreams that indicate major evil in Sunnydale.
  • In one scene from Babylon A.D., kooky Precog and the film's resident MacGuffin Aurora declares, "They're all dead." A split-second later, a television screen displays a news report on how the peaceful church of women she comes from was blown up by a missile.
  • In the Highlander, immortals can sense the nearby presence of their kind.


  • The Riftwar Cycle: Jimmy the Hand has what he calls his "bump of trouble" whenever something big is going down, or while in the presence of magic.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, this of course happens quite often with Jedi and non-Jedi alike.
    • One of the more notable occurrences is in the novel The Last Command, where Grand Admiral Thrawn thinks something is wrong with his race of secret death commandos, but can't for the life of him figure out what. They've turned against the Empire, and one of their number assassinates him in the end.
    • Any time an inhabited planet is destroyed, it creates a "wound in the Force" which is instantly sensed by any Force-Sensitives, trained or not. In Death Star, mildly Sensitive Warrior Poet Nova Stihl wakes up screaming as Despayre is used to test the Death Star out, in the narration saying that it was as if he'd heard a million people cry out, all at once, as they were killed. Later he passes out with a Psychic Nosebleed when Alderaan is destroyed. In the Jedi Academy Trilogy a star is forced to go supernova, taking out Carida, and in I, Jedi Corran, while recovering, thinks that "disturbance" is far too mild a term.
  • In the Warhammer 40000 novels, Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM's palms have a tendency to tingle or itch whenever he's about to head into some new "bowel-clenching terror." Apparently, this is his subconscious telling him, "I know something you don't, and you're better off this way."
  • Harry Potter
    • Harry's link to Voldemort's mind allows him to determine what Voldemort is feeling during times of high emotion, anger, happiness, etc. However, since Voldemort is usually far away and the visions are not always clear, this ability is often useless, with only a few exceptions. On one occasion, it is even less than useless when Voldemort plants a fake vision in Harry's mind to lure him into a trap.
    • This is also subverted when it comes to the Horcruxes. Dumbledore guesses (correctly) that Voldemort cannot tell when a Horcrux is destroyed, although Voldemort tries to assure himself (after starting to catch on to the heroes' efforts) that surely he would magically sense if they succeeded in destroying any of his Soul Jars.
  • In the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel Millennial Rites, the transformation of half of London into a Low Fantasy Cosmic Horror Story setting is detected by a blond haired man in a dirty trenchcoat in a Dublin pub and a thoughtful man levitating in a voluminous blue cloak in a New York brownstone.
  • Inverted in K.H. Metzger's Skye Sparkler, where the title superheroine has a "trouble sense" that tells her when (and approximately where) something bad is about to happen.
  • The Wheel of Time
    • This composes almost an entire book. One character does something epic and earth-shaking, and the next book is mostly composed of reaction shots of people all over the world sensing it.
    • Later, several channelers get an Obi-Wan Kenobi-style horrified reaction to a "balescream" when The Chosen One uses his +9001 Amplifier Artifact to balefire things out of existence in exactly the same way that nearly destroyed the universe during the last war.
    • Mat has a constant sensation of "dice rolling in his head" which stops at appropriately important moments, but he has no idea what to expect. On one occasion the dice stop when he walks into a room, and he flips out and wonders if one of the Forsaken is going to burst from the fireplace or something. Made hilarious on a second read when you know that 1. the dice stopped because one of the women in the room is his future wife, and 2. Incidentally, one of the other women in the room is one of the Forsaken.
  • The One Ring and the Palantírs in The Lord of the Rings give their owners some knowledge to the thoughts and actions of the Dark Lord Sauron, at the cost of being at risk of being detected themselves. And Sauron himself can see the entire world with his Eye, but only one place at once, and he must know where to look.
  • Tortall Universe: Alanna of Trebond sometimes felt her nose itch when magic was occurring nearby. Just before the only time her Goddess appeared to her in person, she had an outright sneezing fit.
  • When Senna of Everworld throws open the gateway she instantly feels all the gods of Everworld, as well as Merlin and the nameless force between the worlds, turn around and notice her.
  • Time Scout's Ianira Cassondra's clairvoyant trances are powerful enough that she can almost see the face of a blandly bland Master of Disguise.
  • In the Polish book series Opowieść Piasków (eng. Story of the sands) by Krzysztof Piskorski descendants of the gods can sense each other presence and power level, and are affected by whatever happens to their godly parents. When most of these gods are killed, their descendants all over the world wake up screaming. Some of them go mad or even die from the pain.

Live-Action TV

  • Doctor Who: The Doctor, and in fact all Time Lords, have the gift of being able to sense the timelines. Though this is only vaguely defined, the Doctor is shown to have instinctive knowledge of when time is fixed or in flux, and has been shown to have an almost physical reaction to time being subverted. For example, Captain Jack, as a fixed point in time, makes the Doctor extremely uncomfortable, even to look at him, until after they spend a year in captivity by the Master, and in the Water of Mars, after his whole Time Lord Victorious speech, he sees flashes of the timeline changing.
  • Scrubs's The Todd has one of these for, er, well:

 (in the doctor's lounge, Carla and Elliot kiss)

(meanwhile, in the cafeteria...)

The Todd: Something wonderful is happening.

(Later in the doctor's lounge)

Turk: And for the love of God, honey, no more girl-on-girl kissing demonstrations.

(cut to the cafeteria)

The Todd: Something horrible has happened.

  • Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series has an Obi-Wan moment in "The Immunity Syndrome", where he senses the shock and terror of 400 Vulcan crewmen who were eaten by a giant amoeba. But then again, Vulcans are usually somewhat telepathic if the plot demands it.
  • Farscape: Thanks to the neurochip Scorpius implanted in Crichton's brain (and the neural clone that developed from it), Scorpius can sense when Crichton is reconstituted after being crystallized in "The Peacekeeper Wars" and where he is. Crichton is not amused.

Tabletop Games

  • Mayfair's DC Heroes game actually includes a specific superpower, "Awareness", which is essentially a distillation of this effect.
  • In Nomine has the concept of Disturbance — since angels and demons aren't supposed to be on Earth, it causes a supernatural "noise" whenever they break something, hurt something or kill something that belongs to the physical world. This Disturbance can be heard by other celestials and "aware" humans, who can try to track the noise down to its source. Likewise, using Essence, Songs, and several kinds of Attunement (various supernatural powers) also sets off a Disturbance. And if several of these events happen nearby in time and space, it creates a series of ever-louder "echoes." Big battles with lots of property damage can be heard by a celestial in the next county.
  • In Mage: The Awakening all mages possess an "Unseen Sense that allows them to realise when any supernatural power is used in their presence (with the possible exception of powers that are supposed to conceal). Mage: The Ascension has the Awareness ability that does the same thing (Alertness is for noticing normal things like someone sneaking up on you).
  • In Warhammer 40000, Psykers can sense when a Tyranid swarm is invading their world... by going insane and dying. Untrained ones can also sense Chaos by becoming demonically possessed.
  • In White Wolf's Vampire games (Both Masquerade and Requiem), elder vampires tend to become sedentary... so when they move, it tends to be a big deal. From the New World of Darkness sourcebook Chicago:

 Elders rarely move to Chicago, because elders rarely move, because Kindred who move rarely survive to become elders. Thus, when one shows up, people notice. It's not just the Harpies, not just the courtiers, not just the hooked-up Invictus Ventrue political hacks. Any Kindred who talks to any other Kindred is likely to hear rumors, no matter how half-baked, or illogical. No matter how faded the truth may be from cycling through Chinese Whispers, every Kindred with even the faintest fear of his own kind will hear: something big is coming.


An elder can sneak into Chicago and conceal her person, but she can only mitigate her impact, not hide it.


Video Games

  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy spoofs the Jedi's fondness for this trope:

 Luke Skywalker: I sense a disturbance in the Force.

Kyle Katarn: You always sense a disturbance in the Force, but yeah, I sense it too.

  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Atton has a habit of saying "I have a bad feeling about this", which is eventually picked up on by the player character:

 Exile: Would you stop saying that?

    • Then the game itself suggests that you should listen out for when he says it — "it's advised that you save your game". The in-game explanation for this is that Atton is a bit of a rogue, and as such he has sense for when bad things are about to happen around him. That and he's one of several force-sensitive companions of the Exile.
    • The first game averts it when you're captured by the Leviathan, and Saul tells you about the Sith attacking Dantooine. Bastila points out that it's a sign that the Dark Side presence in the area is much stronger than she initially thought.
  • Takes the form of hearing mysterious voices in Drakengard. These voices convey all sorts of information: what seals have just capitulated, what genocidal atrocities are taking place, whenever a person in a pact is in danger. Y'know, things of that nature.
  • Unlike the other two Ancients in Eternal Darkness, Xel'lotath knew exactly what happened when her Guardian colonies were blown up. Justified, considering what she is...
  • This is the entire point of the Grey Wardens in Dragon Age as it is nearly impossible for Darkspawn to get the drop on them since they know exactly when a Darkspawn is approaching and from where. Unfortunately, it works the other way around too.

 "My Warden senses are tingling!"

  • Shine Hausen of Super Robot Wars Original Generation. This Rebellious Princess is known for being the strongest user of this trope her family's ever produced, the reason why the Divine Crusaders captured and used her in one their Humongous Mecha. When the sequel rolls along, Shine gets to pilot her own custom unit and her powers are used as means to invoke a Combination Attack with Latooni Subota.
    • Actually, there are several characters who exhibit this trope. Many of the characters from the Alpha series (such as Ryusei, Bullet, Aya, and Kusuha) are Psychodrivers, and are usually shown to getting "Bad Vibes" whenever something "untoward" is amiss. Radha Byraban also displays this trope, though it's due to her heightened sense of awareness rather then actual TK powers.
    • Badass Normal Kyosuke Nanbu tends to show this trope as well, but this is credited to his sharp instincts rather than any sort of mystic power.
  • Spoofed in Monkey Island 2 Le Chucks Revenge, when the Voodoo lady's powers sense that a small voice shrieked in terror and was suddenly silenced, when Wally was kidnapped.
  • Ninian and Nils in Fire Emblem Elibe. Nils upgrades to Seer when Hannah the witch is Put on a Bus..

Web Comics

  • Played for laughs in Kevin and Kell. When Bruno told Corrie that Ralph Dewclaw is her father, Ralph sensed "a great disturbance in the Force".
  • Something Positive plays with this: when long-time friends Aubrey and Jason get together, the comic cuts to Pee Jee saying the original Star Wars line. Davan, however, mistakes her ominous pronouncement as being aimed at his cooking.
  • Used straight in Megatokyo when Meimi felt that "something very sad" had happened to Miho. And, she's back.
  • The Order of the Stick fits pretty well here too, even if the examples are somewhat... ridiculous on occasion.
    • By Belkar. Yes, that Belkar. See here and here. The second one is the more serious example.
    • Elan too, sometimes, as a result of his Genre Savviness.

 Elan: ... Hey, did anyone else get that foreboding feeling just now?


 White Mage: Did you feel that?

Black Belt: What?

White Mage: A great disturbance in the Order. As if a million voices cried out to say, "Oh shit."


 Sarah: I sense a disturbance in my love life.

  • Immediately after Captain Tagon got killed:

 Obi-Wan: I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if thousands of Schlock Mercenary readers emailed the author in anger, and their emails went unanswered. I fear something terrible has happened to a major character.


Western Animation

  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
    • In Feeling Pinkie Keen, Pinkie Pie is shown to have nervous twitches just before something significant (and often damaging) is about to happen. She refers to this as her Pinkie Sense. It has subsequently appeared in The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well and It's About Time.
  • Taken to an extreme in the Justice League episode "The Balance", when after the underworld is taken over by Felix Faust, Dr. Fate and Zatanna go catatonic and have to be submitted to and strapped onto their beds in the medical ward. And Jason Blood/Etrigan half transforming. Used as a catalyst to get Wonder Woman to help her less-than-favorite person.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 finale: When Zhao kidnaps the Moon Spirit, Aang and Yue (the Moon's backup Soul Jar) clutch their foreheads in pain:

 Yue: I feel faint.

Aang: I feel it, too. The Moon is in trouble.

  • Spoofed in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. When he ate a nibble of and expressed his disgust for Gary's snailfood, the CEOs felt it. Considering he repeats the action several times (It Makes Sense in Context), one wonders if they weren't passed out by the end of the episode.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: One good thing about Ma-Ti's Heart power — it apparently never turns off (as long as he has his ring), giving Ma-Ti a sort of permanent Spider Sense to know whenever something extremely bad was going down.
  • Perhaps subverted in the first episode of the original Transformers cartoon, when a couple of construction workers come upon a facility mangled by the Decepticon, and one of them says, "Somethin's wrong... real wrong." And then Ravage leaps out at them, chasing them away.
  • The Fairly Odd Parents
    • Spoofed when Chester gets in his teeth broken just after having his braces removed, miles away his dentist says "I sense a great disturbance... in my wallet!"
    • Also spoofed when Timmy is turned into a girl and hangs out with Trixie to find out the perfect birthday present to get her. The two get along so well, Trixie rips up a picture of her "old best friend". A second later, far away, said girl screams in pain and clutches her chest.
  • Parodied in the Futurama episode "Crimes of the Hot". Just as Nixon sets in motion a plan to permanently shut down all robots, Professor Farnsworth sullenly comments, "Oh, the Jedis are going to feel this one."
  • The Simpsons
    • In an episode, Homer says that the Simpsons are going to Africa. Cut to a stereotypical African village, where a man shudders and says to another: "A great evil is coming..."
    • In another episode, Homer invites a pair of carnies to come live at their house. Cut to Lisa and Marge:

 Lisa: Why did you just shudder, Mom?

Marge: I don't know...

    • In another episode, Marge's sister Selma wants to adopt a Chinese infant. Being unmarried, she puts Homer's name on the form as her husband. Cut to Homer, eating in the cafeteria at work. He visibly cringes and declares:

 Homer: I just felt a chill go through my very soul...

Lenny: Yeah, the sloppy joes will do that to ya.

  • In an episode of Storm Hawks, Junko reveals that he has a significance sense (specifically, a nasal allergy) specific to Murk Raiders... just in time for it to go off. At the end of the episode, when asked if he has any more allergies like this, he informs them that yes, he's got one for sky sharks. Then he sneezes.
  • Another spoof in Codename: Kids Next Door, episode "Operation: C.A.K.E.D.-F.I.V.E.": when the orbital ice scream storage of the KND is destroyed by Father's Death Star Cake, Numbuh Five falls to her knees and says it:

 Abby: Something just happened. It's as if million of gallons of ice cream just... disappeared.

  • In Wakfu season 2 episode 24, when a portal opens from Rushu's World and an army of Shushus swarms the Purple Claws Island, Master Goultard immediately feels it although he's in another part of the world.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, "Whatcha Doin'" is Isabella's Catch Phrase, and she's quite determined to keep it that way. In the Christmas Special, when Candace says it to Jeremy over the phone, the show cuts to Isabella at her house, squinting and shifting her eyes suspiciously.
    • Also, when Candace quickly stacked some cans so her mother would see what Phineas and Ferb built in that episode, Doofenshmirtz, who held a cup stacking record until then, felt it being broken.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: At the beginning of Season 3's main plot, it's implied a nightmare warned Uncle about Daolong Wong breaking into Section 13.