Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Body possession, a popular trope in fiction, has its intriguing premise of someone inhabiting the bodies of others.

Fiction is a fascinating material that can be inspired even by the most unusual occurrences. We might typically get scared of body possession tropes we see in media. However, there are fun and exciting ways that they can be used. And it is up to the author to use them wisely.

Whether used for humor, drama, or suspense, body possession tropes are an excellent way to attract readers. Especially those into supernatural and thriller stories. If you’re a writer venturing into a different type of readership or an experienced supernatural author. In that case, it’s not too late to try these highly recommended tropes.

The Classic Body Swap

This is one of the most recognizable body possession tropes. It depicts the result of magical or scientific situations that are often dramatic. This trope is often explored in popular cult classic films like Freaky Friday, where the body swap is used in a comedic way. Furthermore, it brings challenges of adapting to a new physical form.

Supernatural Possession

In this trope, a character becomes inhabited or possessed by a supernatural entity or spirit. You might recognize it as a ghostly presence, a demonic force, or a divine being that enters a living body. Additionally, the host grapples with losing control and struggling to regain agency over their own body. Supernatural possession stories often delve into themes of good versus evil, inner conflict, and the battle for dominance.

Time-Traveling Consciousness

A unique twist on body possession tropes involves a character’s consciousness traveling through time. Moreover, they also end up inhabiting the body of someone from the past or future. It’s one of those body possession tropes seen in stories like Psychic Redemption: Spiritual Quest for Truth by David W. Stewart.

Forced Body Swaps

Body possession tropes like this use characters that are unwillingly thrust into new bodies. They feel desperate to return to their original forms because they’re forced to possess someone they don’t like. This trope contains themes of loss and strength to overcome anything, even the feeling of being taken hostage. However, it makes us question the nature of identity. Another theme seen in body possession tropes like forced body swaps is the lengths that one will go to reclaim one’s original self.

Inanimate Object Possession

Now, body possession tropes often portray living beings taken over by another soul. However, there are instances where non-living objects get possessed, too. It goes beyond human bodies and usually includes a doll, a painting, or a car. A character’s consciousness inhabits these objects and creates various challenges and perspectives.

Ancestral Inheritance

In this lesser-known trope, a character discovers that they can possess the bodies of their ancestors. They can connect with their lineage through a mystical bond or supernatural powers and experience life with them. Through the eyes of their ancestors, they can explore their roots and learn about the past experiences of those who came before them.

Collective Consciousness

Unlike traditional body possession, the collective consciousness trope involves individuals sharing a single body. Each person retains their own identity, thoughts, and memories. As a result, it results in a complex mixture of personalities. It’s one of those body possession tropes exploring themes of characters’ cooperation. Furthermore, maintaining individuality within a shared physical vessel is challenging.

Animal Possession

The animal possession trope delves into the notion of souls inhabiting the bodies of animals. It could happen through magical means or a supernatural bond. Moreover, characters navigate the world as creatures of different species. It’s one of those body possession tropes that highlight the connection of all living beings.


It’s one of those mystical body possession tropes that involves possessing others within the dream realm. Characters can enter the dreams of individuals and experience their lives from within. This trope allows exploring subconscious desires, psychological landscapes, and blurred boundaries between waking and dreaming realities.

The Beauty of Body Possession Tropes in Fiction

While body swaps and supernatural possessions are the most common supernatural tropes, there’s more to them. Underrated ones like those mentioned earlier offer fresh and uncharted territory for writers and readers alike. Their storytelling possibilities are endless, with self-discovery and character development as the common ground.

These body possession tropes are a great way to entice audiences into reading stories they might not be familiar with. Furthermore, it’s an excellent way for thriller or supernatural writers to stretch more of their creative muscles. That way, they discover that there’s more than just the typical supernatural tropes we see today.

Share This
Skip to content