Halloween Was Once So Dangerous That Some Cities Considered Banning It

Halloween Was Once So Dangerous That Some Cities Considered Banning It

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As the Louisville Short Line chugged its way through Newport, Kentucky, the passenger train’s engineer peered out into the dark night of October 31, 1879, and saw something truly frightening—a body lying across the railroad tracks. Pulling on the brake with all his might, the engineer halted his iron horse in the nick of time and jumped out of the locomotive. As he rushed to the lifeless figure, the train operator quickly discovered why it wasn’t moving. It wasn’t a person at all, but a stuffed figure placed there by 200 boys hiding along the tracks, who started to howl with laughter at their Halloween trick.

Although the juveniles had threatened his safety and that of his passengers, the engineer did not utter a single admonishment. After all, he engaged in similar antics when he was a boy. Such things were to be expected on Halloween during the Gilded Age when the ghoulish holiday was free of candy and full of pranks, vandalism and even violence.

When immigrants from Scotland and Ireland brought their Halloween traditions to the United States in the middle of the 1800s, they celebrated as they did back in their homelands—not with costumed children going door-to-door for sweets but by pulling pranks.

“In Ireland, boys would carve spooky faces in turnips to scare unwary travelers, and they would tie strings to cabbages and pull them through fields to scare people,” says Lisa Morton, author of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween. “The Scots had one really obnoxious prank where they would pull up a cabbage stalk, get it smoking and shove it up to a keyhole at someone’s door so that when that person came home, they would find a house filled with this noxious-smelling vapor.”

Across the American countryside in the latter 1800s, common Halloween tricks included placing farmers’ wagons and livestock on barn roofs, uprooting vegetables in backyard gardens and tipping over outhouses—be they occupied or not. In some regions, so many gates were taken off their hinges or opened to allow livestock to escape that October 31 was known as “Gate Night.” A teetotaling Protestant minister in Steubenville, Ohio, awoke after one Halloween to discover his front porch decorated with beer signs and towering pyramids of beer kegs. The advent of the automobile delivered further opportunities for mischief such as removing manhole covers from streets, deflating tires and erecting fake detour signs to confuse motorists.

“At first, the pranking was pretty innocent and limited to rural places,” Morton says. “But as metropolitan areas expanded, kids took the pranking into cities and it became more destructive with setting fires, breaking glass, and tripping pedestrians.” Boys ran through city streets splattering people with bags of flour or black stockings filled with ashes. One year, youths in Kansas City waxed streetcar tracks on a steep hill causing a vehicle to slip and crash into another streetcar, seriously injuring a conductor.

After a spate of Halloween destruction in 1902, the Cook County Herald expressed the frustration felt by many residents of Arlington Heights, Illinois. “Most everybody enjoys a joke or fun to a proper degree on suitable occasions; but when property is damaged or destroyed it is time to call a halt,” the paper intoned. “We would advise the public to load their muskets or cannon with rock, salt or bird shot and when trespassers invade your premises at unseemly hours upon mischief bent, pepper them good and proper so they will be effectually cured and have no further taste for such tricks.”

Some Americans did take up arms against the Halloween tricksters—with fatal consequences. When pranksters in Tucson, Arizona, stretched a wire across a sidewalk to trip passers-by in 1907, one pedestrian thrown to the ground drew a revolver and shot dead one of the jokesters. That same year, newspapers reported that a woman in Logansport, Indiana, was literally scared to death when her heart stopped after her daughter answered a knock on the door and screamed when a group of boys “thrust a grinning pumpkin lantern” in her face.

The malicious violence and looting connected with Halloween only grew worse during the economic free fall of the Great Depression. Morton says that by 1933, the holiday had become so destructive that cities were considering banning it. “Many of the cities were smart enough, though, that they thought that while banning might not work, they might be able to buy these kids off,” she says.

READ MORE: The Great Depression Origins of Halloween Haunted Houses

During the 1930s, civic and religious authorities, community organizations and neighborhood families began to program parties, carnivals and costume parades on Halloween to keep kids out of trouble. “There’s not a lot of money during the Great Depression so people pooled their resources and staged house-to-house parties.” Morton says. “The first house might give out costumes such as a white sheet to be ghosts, or soot to smudge on kids’ faces. The next house might give out treats, the next might have a basement set up as a tiny haunt. This starts to morph into kids getting dressed up and going house to house trick-or-treating.”

In the midst of World War II, youngsters took pledges to support the soldiers and sailors abroad by not engaging in Halloween vandalism. Children in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, vowed to “back our fighting men by observing Halloween as they would want me to. I will share in good, clean fun and merriment, fight against waste and damage!”

While Halloween itself grew tamer as trick-or-treating became part of the American culture in the 1950s, the mischief didn’t disappear completely. It just moved to the night before Halloween. “Kids wanted both the trick-or-treating and their pranking, so they moved it to October 30, although it seemed to be a Midwest and East Coast thing. It didn’t really make it to the West Coast.”

In parts of the Northeast, October 30 became known as Mischief Night. It was called Goosey Night in parts of New Jersey. Harkening back to the old Scottish pranking tradition, it was even known as Cabbage Night in some locales. While the vandalism was usually along the lines of soaping windows, spraying shaving cream, throwing eggs at houses or tossing toilet paper over trees and bushes, it took a truly dark turn in Detroit and other Michigan cities such as Saginaw and Flint, which were set ablaze in what became known as Devil’s Night.

During the 1970s and 1980s, arsonists turned the Detroit night sky a Halloween orange by setting fire to trash cans, dumpsters and abandoned buildings. The destruction peaked in 1984 when more than 800 fires were set across the city in a three-night arson spree. Detroit responded by instituting dawn-to-dusk curfews for unaccompanied youths under 18 and mobilizing a city watch. With garden hoses at the ready and vigilant eyes, more than 30,000 volunteers participated in neighborhood patrols in 1990.

Thanks to these continued efforts, the number of fires around Halloween in Detroit have steadily decreased to near-normal levels on what city leaders now call Angels’ Night.

15 Perfectly Safe Things That Were Once Considered Dangerous

Lead paint in kids' rooms. Smoking. Flammable pajamas. It's easy to name items that are more dangerous than we realized. But some things people once considered dangerous aren't harmful at all.

1. Dancing

Safety dance? More like deadly dance. In its 1926 article “Death of Girl, 17, Laid to Charleston Dance,” The Washington Post reported on a girl who perished after dancing the Charleston. The paper interviewed the girl's doctor, who blamed her death on the “extreme physical exercise” of this classic dance move, which he said was “particularly dangerous for young women.”

But potential “inflammation of the peritoneum” wasn't the only thing to be concerned about when flitting across the dance floor. Even the most traditional of dances could do serious damage and lead to all sorts of evil. “The high kick, displaying bare legs and arms of our little girls in the presence of even small boys, cannot honestly be said to tend to beget in those children the highest sense of modesty, purity so greatly prized in our women,” a Dr. Waldron told a local ministerial association in 1925 his remarks were quoted in The Pittsburgh Courier article “Flays Teaching of Dancing in Public School: ‘Display of Bare Legs is Hurtful’” [PDF]. “The folk dances become the way and door to the dancing school the dancing school is the feeder to the dance hall and public ball room and these inturn [sic], load to the brothel,” the doctor said. “Statistics show from one-third to two-thirds of the prostitutes in our large cities come from the public dance halls and ballrooms.”

While few are currently concerned about the risk of death by dancing, there are still associations between promiscuity and certain dance styles. Some schools have rigid rules about what's allowed at school dances—especially when it comes to the distance between partners—and other towns have gone full Footloose, outlawing dancing all together, either for religious reasons, the crime rate at nightclubs, or like one town in Wisconsin, for just a short-lived promotional stunt.

2. Competitive Sports (for Girls)

According to 1920s wisdom, if a girl wants to stay desirable and get married, she must refrain from practicing competitive sports. “Too many athletics threaten to rob girls of their chief appeal to men,” warns a Victoria college headmistress in “Says Athletics Harm Girls: English Woman Warns Students Not to Lose Appeal to Men,” an article published in The Washington Post in 1922. “The modern girl is trying to do too much at football,” she continues. “Her charm, balance and poise will all be lost, and her dignity lowered if she endeavors to emulate man too closely.”

Worse still, if she participated in sports in high school, she risked wearing herself out, ruining her chances for future happiness. “Must I continue through my life half enjoying living just because I gave too much of myself to competitive sports, to win a few medals which lie unnoticed and tarnished in a box?” asks a married woman in the 1931 Chicago Daily Tribune article “Competitive Sports are Dangerous for High School Girls.”

It wasn’t until World War II that women’s competitive sports gained greater acceptance. After women proved their strength by joining the workforce or enrolling in military service, “organizations for women in sport began to increase as sport became more competitive and intercollegiate and interscholastic competition spread.” The Civil Rights movement in conjunction with Second Wave feminism also aided in the growing presence of women’s competitive sports.

3. Licking Stamps

Back in 1916—when snail mail was the norm, and before stamps evolved into stickers—The New York Timeswarned against the dangers of stamp licking. “Aside from hygienic reasons, it is dangerous to lick postage stamps on the ground that the stamps are bacteria-laden and under favorable conditions might easily convey pathogenic types especially colon, diphtheria, and tubercle bacilli,” said the Philadelphia scientists who conducted the study.

A mere four years later, J. Diner and G. Horstman—two members of the American Pharmaceutical Association—disproved this theory. A 1920 article in The Boston Daily Globe quoted the study originally printed in American Medicine, saying, “The hygienic reason that people should not lick postage stamps is certainly sound. Nevertheless this practice is scarcely to be construed as a potential danger compared with eating and drinking which are so essential for sustenance but are responsible for a large measure of bacteriological contamination of the oral cavity.”

On that note, Seinfeld fans may wonder whether Susan could have actually died by licking all those cheap wedding invitation envelopes. Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S., says no. “In general terms, most envelope glue is produced from gum arabic, which comes from tree sap,” he explains in a piece for The Huffington Post in 2011. “It is safe for humans and is also used in some other things we eat (M&Ms, gumdrops, etc.). The glue can also be more petroleum-based, as we can see by this answer from someone in the UK post office. But either way, it would appear that the glue is indeed safe. This goes the same if you ingest it, or if you cut your tongue while licking.”

4. The Color Purple

In the early 1900s, an interior decorator would never choose the color purple. A Boston Globe article from 1903—titled “Dangerous Tints: Some Colors Will Drive a Person Mad if the Eyes Are Continually Looking at Them”—called it "the most dangerous color there is":

If purple walls and a red tinted window surrounded you for a month with no color but purple around you, by the end of that time you would be a mad-man. No matter how strong your brain might be it would not stand the strain, and it is doubtful if you would ever recover your reason.

That wasn't the only color to avoid. Scarlet could push you into a murderous rage, while blue “excites the imagination and gives a craving for music and stagecraft, but it has a reaction that wrecks the nerves.” Meanwhile, “Solitary confinement in a yellow cell … will weaken any system and produce chronic hysteria,” and “sheer dead white, unbroken, will destroy your eyesight.”

But according to color expert Kate Smith, purple has the power to calm the nerves, improve the mood, and even inspire creativity. Why else would Harold choose a purple crayon?

5. Dungeons and Dragons

D&D came under fire in the 1980s when suicides and murders were loosely linked to the game. A few years ago, Mental_Floss compiled a list of complaints against the fantasy role-playing game, including ones that mention cults, witchcraft, Satan, and murder.

One mother was concerned by the amount of time and attention her kids and their friends devoted to the game. “They're always planning what they will do the next time. Kids have lost jobs, flunked out of school. They totally confuse reality and fantasy," she said. "It (the game) becomes their god."

6. Hanging onto Straps on Public Transportation

Ladies feeling under the weather in 1912 could blame public transportation. Not because there were germs lingering on the poles, or floating through the crowded street car, but because holding on to the straps—now replaced with rods—was “a frightful strain upon [your] internal organs,” according to the unnamed but "prominent" physician interviewed in 1912 for the Chicago Daily Tribune‘s “Strap Hanging Dangerous for Women.” According to the physician, "Women do not have the strong shoulder muscles that men possess, and while men use only their arm and shoulder muscles to steady themselves, women are obliged to use all the muscles in their bodies for the same purpose.”

Lillian Russell, the author of the piece, even made it a political issue, saying, “It is high time that women were granted the rights of suffrage, for without suffrage they have neither seats in the cars nor the votes to protect themselves against such a horde of so-called men.”

Hanging on straps might no longer be considered dangerous for ladies, but seating on public transportation can still be a contentious and gendered issue. At least there are taxis.

7. Where's Waldo? and other children's books

It’s hard to find Waldo among the crowded pages of a Where’s Waldo? book, let alone notice every detail hidden among the illustration. But once a kid in Long Island found a woman’s partially exposed breast on the beach page in the first book of the series, chaos—in the form of overly-concerned parents—ensued. The woman's breast, described as “about the size of the lead tip of a pencil,” caused the book to be banned from that town's school library in 1993. Other children’s books that have been pulled from the shelves include A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig, and—in an unfortunate mix up—Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.

8. Gum

Your mother might have told you never to swallow your gum because it would stick in your gut for 7 years. That might be a good way to scare a child into throwing their chewed gum in the trash, but this claim is entirely false. Yes, the gum isn’t broken down like other food, but it’ll still pass through your digestive system at a normal rate. That being said, it’s still not a great thing to do.

9. Sitting Too Close to the TV

Before TVs had flat screens, hundreds of channels, and crystal clear imaging, they were clunky and emitted radiation that could potentially worsen the viewer’s eyesight after prolonged exposure. However, in 1967, a “factory error” caused some defective General Electric televisions to emit 10 to 100,000 times the amount of radiation health officials deemed acceptable. GE recalled the TVs and updated their new models with a leaded glass shield surrounding the tubes inside the television to solve the problem.

Radiation isn’t something to worry about anymore, but you can still strain your eyes if you spend too much time staring at a screen—so with our iPhones and our computers and all of our other devices, television is the least of our problems.

10. The Tomato

Paired with the wrong platter, a tomato had the power to kill. When European aristocrats became sick and died after eating tomatoes, the fruit was dubbed the “poison apple.” It was later discovered that the tomato itself wasn't deadly—but its high acidity caused it to “leach lead” from the pewter plate, resulting in lead poisoning. But the tomato’s reputation was set.

The tomato’s sad tale continued when the Green Tomato Worm invaded tomato patches across New York in the 1830s. Personal accounts of encounters with the worms resulted in rumors about how poisonous they were. It was believed that Ralph Waldo Emerson thought they were “an object of much terror, it being currently regarded as poisonous and imparting a poisonous quality to the fruit if it should chance to crawl upon it." The worm turned out to be totally harmless, people’s fears eventually subsided—and the tomato became a garden and salad staple.

11. Tea

In the 19 th century, if an Irish peasant woman were drinking tea, it meant something else was being put on the back burner—something far more important, like her domestic duties. According to Dr. Helen O’Connell, a lecturer at Durham University, and author of “'A Raking Pot of Tea’: Consumption and Excess in Early Nineteenth Century Ireland,” published in Literature and History journal, “Drinking tea was thought to threaten traditional ways.” A tea break among women could lead to them plotting a rebellion or engaging in political discussion, and publicly distributed pamphlets warned against the dangers of the drink. Now we just consider it a nice alternative to coffee, which was also once considered dangerous.

12. Clothes

“If the doctors are to be believed, the wearing of clothes is more dangerous to human life than their utter absence would be,” wrote the authors of the 1901 Boston Daily Globe article “Don’t Wear Clothes: That is, if You Would be Entirely Healthy …" The British doctors who were consulted for the piece advised against wearing cotton and linen as well as garters and waistcoats, which they argued “are a permanent menace to life and health.”

Their reasoning is partially accurate—the body does breathe through both the lungs and the skin (despite what all of those internet myth sites will tell you), and there are some fabrics that are less “breathable” than others—but “nonporous clothing” isn’t quite as “disastrous” as they seem to have thought.

Today, we know that cotton is one of the better fabric options available to us some synthetic materials can cause rashes and skin irritation. However, there have been recent articles about the danger of some clothes—not because their “clammy surface . imparts any variety of cold, up to and including pneumonia,” but because some dyes include toxins as a result of polluted water near the factories [PDF].

13. Writing Letters

Just a glance at a person's tweets, blog posts, and status updates can be enough to tell you everything there is to know about their problems. But oversharing isn’t a new epidemic caused by the Internet. In 1898, Amelia E. Barr wrote a chapter called “Dangerous Letter Writing” in her book Maids Wives and Bachelors in which she said “Young women are proverbially fond of playing with edged tools . And of all such dangerous playthings a habit of promiscuous, careless letter-writing is the worst for in most cases the danger is not obvious at the time, and the writer may even have forgotten her imprudence when she has to meet the consequences.” Barr credits cheaper postage for the impulsive way girls wrote overly sentimental letters and sent them off immediately.

In a highly prescient passage, she writes,

The abuse of letter-writing is one of the greatest trials of the epoch . Every one cries out, and insists upon your listening. They write events while they are only happening. People unknown intrude upon your time and take possession of it. Enmities and friendships thousands of miles away scold or caress … For a mere nothing—a yes, or a no—idle, gushing people fire off continual notes and insist upon answers.

Letter writing may no longer be considered dangerous, but thanks to cell phones, computers, and all other communication enabled gadgetry, it's definitely still a nuisance.

14. Public Toilets

Are you a hoverer or a toilet seat cover user? There's very little need to be putting in that extra effort when using a public restroom, because despite what you might have heard, it's impossible to contract a sexually transmitted disease just by sitting on a toilet.

Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science and health reporter at The New York Times, attributes the fear of contracting a venereal disease from the toilet seat to an age old excuse. In response to a reader's question about the dangers of toilet seats, he explained that the STD myth was probably a result of cheating partners refusing to admit their infidelity when their partners angrily ask them about why he or she " suddenly has symptoms of syphilis, gonorrhea, pubic lice, or any other unpleasantry." Instead of coming clean, the unfaithful partner can easily say “I have no idea, dear—I must have gotten it from a toilet seat. " and then move on without an argument.

Non-sexually transmitted diseases like various flesh-eating bacteria, the norovirus, or E. Coli are carried through vomit or feces, both of which are visible and thus avoidable. And far as other germs go, as long as the skin on your rear end and thighs is fully intact—thick skin works as a barrier—there's almost nothing to be worried about.

That's not to say that there aren't germs on a toilet seat—in fact, there's an average of 50 bacteria per square inch on one's surface—but compared to a cutting board, a kitchen sponge, or your cell phone, toilet seats are cleaner. Just something to think about the next time you stick your iPhone next to your pillow.

15. Air conditioning

The invention and subsequent increase in accessibility and affordability of air conditioning in the 1920s and '30s brought a general sigh of relief to homeowners and office workers used to sweating through the summer months. But in Washington D.C., some government officials didn’t give the new technological addition to the Senate chamber such a warm welcome. In May 1929, John E. Rankin, a Democrat from Mississippi, filed a complaint about the chilly air temperature in the chamber, saying, "This is regular Republican atmosphere, and it is enough to kill anybody if it continues."

Rankin was wrong. In fact, according to a 2013 study, since 1960, air conditioning has cut heat-related deaths by 80 percent. "The likelihood of a premature death on an extremely hot day between 1929 and 1959 was 2.5 percent," and has since dropped to less than 0.5 percent.

How and Why Did Halloween Start?

According to the old Celtic calendar, October 31 was the new year’s eve. The first day of November was regarded as a point of time in which summer and harvest came to an end conceding position to winter. In the old times, when technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today, seasons had much more impact on human lives. Winter was feared for its cold and death it always brought upon the arrival. Bad harvest could often lead to starvation of many due to a lack of food which was extremely hard to obtain. Summer, on the other hand, was a time of plenty. It is the reason why the passage day had special importance and had to be observed in a particular manner.

Why Is Halloween Frightening?

Old celts believed that on the night of 31st October the veil between our world and the afterlife is the thinnest. That’s why they were convinced that, once a year, ghosts, spirits and other abominations were able to come amongst the living and integrate their influence into streams of events. It is the reason for Halloween being wrapped by the atmosphere of frightening and threatening. Ghosts were often accused of stealing and damaging crops as the winter’s worst nightmare was to face the depletion of food. But besides strings of negativities, their presence could be used to extract some advantages as well. It was believed that being close to the entities from the other side helped Druids and Shamans with predicting the future.

Why Do People Wear Masks on Halloween?

Old Celts Dancing Around Bonfires To Celebrate Ancient Halloween – Samhain

Druids and other prominent Celtic priests had to pay respect for their predictions. They would light large bonfires around which tribe members would dance and offer sacrifices. Crops and animals would be given to the sacred flames in attempts to please deities. Fortelings of survival and plentiful future had large psychological impacts on tribes reliant upon the harsh and volatile nature of this world. The will to please the gods was so strong that it is even assumed the human sacrifice was a feature of rituals in the oldest ancient times. According to some claims, in the beginning, virgins would be burned to provide a weak winter and rich harvest in times that were to come. While paying respect to deities, all mass assembled around bonfires wore animal hides and masks. The reason for this was the presence of ghosts. Celts believed that covering their faces was going to prevent spirits from recognizing and following them to their homes. A similar custom was present in the culture of old Slavic tribes that inhabited the Balkan peninsula. However, instead of masks, they wore black clothes when attending funerals for the same reasons Celts masked themselves when dancing around bonfires.

Origins of Trick or Treat

Despite being widespread and practiced, little in numbers are people that know what is the meaning of trick or treat, its origins or when did trick or treating started. Ancient times and Celts dancing around bonfires are considered for the cradle of this tradition. However, the social phenomenon of one party of people going from one house to another and expecting treat dates to 9th century England. The Christian custom of Souling implied poor people visiting residences of a rich. There, they would be given pastries known as soul cakes. In return, poor folk had to make a promise that they were going to pray for the souls of homeowner’s dead relatives. In Scotland and Ireland, people heading to their neighbors had to sing some songs or implement another kind of trick before receiving a treat. It is very likely that this custom was the foundation of the famous ‘Trick or Treat’ exclamation. Treat would consist of nuts, fruit, or coins. The term trick or treat itself wasn’t used until the 1920s when it was adopted in America. The first mention of trick or treating in print was on November 4, 1927 in an article written by one Canadian journalist:

“The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder by the word ‘trick or treat,’ to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing.”

The beginning of world war two rapidly decreased the newly created tradition because sugar was strictly rationed. However, after the war, it scaled on the national level for good.

[Laughs] I guess it’s dueling anecdotes. But, first of all, it’s not one breed, it’s four. There’s the American pit bull terrier the American Staffordshire terrier, which was the American Kennel Club conformation breed that branched off from the American pit bull terrier when folks wanted AKC legitimacy and didn’t want to be associated with the American pit bull terrier riff-raff. There’s the Staffordshire bull terrier, which has been a conformation breed since the 1930s and the newer breed called the American bully, which was derived from the American Staffordshire terrier in the 1990s.

Secondly, there’s no science that bears that idea out. When people say, “Oh, these dogs are bred for fighting,” it’s true that the original breed, the American pit bull terrier, which originated in 1889, was developed for fighting. But the three other breeds that are lumped into this category have always been dog show conformation breeds. They don’t have that heritage. The fact that they get lumped in is part of the problem because we’re basing things on what they look like and not necessarily what they are. [Meet the United States' most popular dog breeds.]

Alena Kuzub/Getty Images

There were 905 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2019, including 20 murders.

Here, anti-gun-violence activists protest outside of the Smith and Wesson headquarters in Springfield.

Scared of Pit Bulls? You’d Better Be!

P it bulls drove my family from the Bronx. My pregnant wife and I had moved to Bedford Park, off Mosholu Parkway, late in 1997. Though the neighborhood had rough edges, we got used to it, at least for a while. After our son was born, however—and as spring blossomed, and we ventured outside more often—we found ourselves growing ever more frightened of dangerous dogs. Pit-bull owners had converted the little park in front of our apartment building into a dog-training ground, where they goaded their animals into attacking one another or taught them to hang from tree branches to strengthen their jaws and their tenacity. Not surprisingly, when the dogs were running wild, the neighborhood's young mothers gathered up their children and fled. Seniors cowered together on a few benches. Like the mothers, owners of small dogs waited until the park was pit-bull-free before taking them for a walk. The park had been lost as a public space, impoverishing the neighborhood.

The dogs had taken over more than the park. Walking down 204th Street or past the gone- to-seed low-income housing abutting the Metro-North Botanical Garden stop, we regularly ran a gauntlet of thugs flaunting spike-collared pit bulls, bespeaking a world of anarchy and dread. As a friend and I walked home one spring night, we saw three stocking-capped toughs slouched against a chain-link fence, barely restraining a thick- necked, snarling pit bull. My heart raced, until I noticed two young cops walking in our direction, just beyond the bad dudes. My relief was short-lived. "It's a full moon, and dogs go crazy in the fooool moon," one of the thugs howled wildly, as he let the pit bull lunge to the end of his leash at the cops. A confrontation seemed imminent, but the two officers nervously crossed the street to avoid it. "I guess we know who won that battle," my friend glumly noted, and we crossed the street, too.

After a rash of unsettling incidents—including a tornado of eight unleashed pit bulls swirling across the park and the savage mangling of our neighbor's small mutt by another loose pit bull—we decided this was no place for a baby, and we left. We had learned that intimidating dogs can impair a neighborhood's quality of life and give the sense that no one is in charge every bit as much as drug dealing, prostitution, or aggressive panhandling.

T hough dog advocates would dispute it, our fear was justified. According to the Centers for Disease Control, dogs bite 4 million to 5 million Americans every year. Few attacks are fatal (25 in 1996), but serious injuries—everything from a gash in the arm requiring a few stitches to severed hands and fractured skulls—continue to rise and now stand at more than 750,000 annually, up nearly 40 percent from 1986. Dog bites are one of the top causes of non-fatal injuries in the nation.

Children are the most frequent victims, accounting for 60 percent of the dog bites and 20 of the 25 dog-bite fatalities in 1996. Dog attacks are now the No. 1 reason that children wind up in hospital emergency rooms. Incredibly, nearly half of all American kids have been bitten by the age of 12. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that more than $100 million gets spent yearly treating dog bites in the nation's emergency rooms, and U.S. insurance companies paid out $250 million in dog-bite liability claims in 1996.

Pit bulls and pit-bull crosses (not always easy to distinguish) have caused more than a third of the nation's dog-bite fatalities since 1979 and a comparable proportion of serious injuries. The rising number of attacks, and the unease pit bulls and other dangerous dogs cause in public spaces, have spurred many municipalities to crack down with legislation ranging from muzzle laws to bans on pit bulls and certain other breeds.

N ew York City, with a million dogs, conforms to these national trends. In 1997, the Department of Health reported 7,075 dog bites in the city and some 1,000 complaints about frightening dogs. Gotham police and other authorities had to round up 892 biting dogs in 1997, 200 more than the year before. Of these, 294—33 percent—were pit bulls or pit-bull mixes, though they make up only an estimated 15 percent of the city's dogs.

Recent pit-bull attacks in New York City have hit the headlines. In one horrific incident a little over a year ago, four unleashed pit bulls swept, barking and growling, through Richmond Hill, tearing at anyone in their path, as screaming passersby took cover on top of cars or fled indoors. Two of the enraged animals rampaged through a supermarket on 135th Street before police shot them to death. Powerful tranquilizer darts downed the other two dogs. Three people were seriously injured in the frenzy. Other recent attacks were no less violent. In late 1996, three pit bulls mauled an 85-year-old Bronx man to death. In 1997, two pit bulls severely injured a 12-year-old Brooklyn girl, and other attacks left a seven-year-old Queens boy with a bone-deep wound to his leg, and an 11- year-old Queens boy with a shredded arm. Pit bulls can inflict such terrible damage because their massive skulls and powerful jaws give them almost super-canine biting power.

Pit-bull-inflicted injuries in New York City will almost certainly spike up because of a senseless new federal law ending a 60-year official ban on animals in housing projects. The New York City Housing Authority long looked the other way as project residents took in pets. But two years ago, after tenants barraged a newly installed quality-of-life hotline with dog-related complaints, ranging from organized dog fighting to pit-bull attacks on other pets, the authority launched a campaign against vicious animals in public housing. Intimidating dogs had many residents, especially seniors, living in a "state of fear and terror," as authority spokesman Hilly Gross put it. Though ambiguous wording in the federal legislation may allow the authority to retain some restrictions, the new law invites disaster by permitting lots of pit bulls within biting distance of lots of children and old folks.

P it bulls are also wreaking havoc on the city's public property. As Manhattan Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe observes, "Some pit-bull owners train their animals to fight by having them lock their jaws on rubber swings in children's playgrounds, which very quickly destroys the swings." The cost to taxpayers: $250,000 annually. "Perhaps more ominously," Benepe adds, "these owners have started to use young trees to train the pit bulls."

Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, aware of the property damage and sensitive to complaints from "terrorized" parents, joggers, and senior citizens about roving canines in city parks, now is enforcing the city's leash law, requiring owners to keep their dogs leashed between 9 AM and 9 PM , unless they are using one of the city's dog runs. The new campaign, targeting Central and Riverside Parks, issues $100 fines for first offenders and doubles the penalty, up to $1,000, for each subsequent offense. So far, despite howls from some pet owners, spot checks show the percentage of unleashed dogs down dramatically, as owners have gotten the message. Mail to the Parks Department has run three-to-one in favor of strict enforcement.

S tern's initiative follows closely on the heels of the Giuliani administration's proposed new dangerous-dog legislation, announced earlier this year. The mayor's proposal jacks up fines for owning a vicious dog, makes it easier for the city to label a dog dangerous, and requires pit-bull owners to purchase $100,000 in liability insurance before they can get a dog license. Predictably, the proposal has enraged dog owners.

According to New York City Health Commissioner Neal Cohen, the city needs the new law because of its high number of dog-inflicted injuries. The existing dangerous-dog law, on the books since 1991, has been ineffective in practice, because it requires the Department of Health, which adjudicates dog-bite cases, to prove that a dog wasn't "provoked" before it can label the animal dangerous and require it to be muzzled or impounded. As Cohen observes, "It is almost impossible to define what a particular dog subjectively perceives as a `provocation.' " The law also requires lengthy hearings before the city can take action. As then-Corporation Counsel Paul Crotty complained after a pit- bull attack in 1997 killed a Queens man, "It's a dopey law that puts the emphasis on protection of due-process rights of dogs . . . rather than on the protection of people."

But those priorities are just what dog advocates want. Lisa Weisberg, vice president of government affairs of the ASPCA, testified against the new law, arguing that its "proposed elimination of a hearing process to fairly and adequately determine whether or not a dog is truly dangerous is extremely disturbing and deprives a dog owner of his/her due process." In fact, dog advocates often embrace a strangely askew, doggy-centric view of the world. Gordon Carvill, president of the American Dog Owners Association, is a case in point. When I described to him the fear my wife and other young mothers in our Bronx neighborhood had about using the public park when pit bulls were on the loose, he defended the dogs. "Some people are afraid of any kind of dog—you know that," he admonished. "Dogs know when someone is afraid, and they're apt to be more aggressive." So the mothers are the problem.

Carvill seconds Weisberg's objection that the city's proposal threatens the due-process protections of pet owners. But the law's biggest defect, he says, is that it singles out a specific breed, in its requirement that pit-bull owners buy liability insurance. (The city's desire to regulate pit bulls is in seeming conflict with a 1997 state law, similar to those 11 other states have passed, that bars breed-specific local legislation.) For Carvill, all dogs are created equal different breeds don't have different hereditary characteristics. "There is no dog born in this world with a predisposition to aggression," he firmly states.

B ut he's wrong, and dead wrong if we're talking about pit bulls. All men may be created equal, but not all dogs. Says Katherine Houpt, director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Cornell and author of Domestic Animal Behavior: "Different breeds have genetic predispositions to certain kinds of behavior, though that can be influenced by how they are raised. The pit bull is an innately aggressive breed, often owned by someone who wants an aggressive dog, so they're going to encourage it."

Pit bulls have been bred specifically to be aggressive. They're descended from the now- extinct old English "bulldogge," a big, tenacious breed used in the brutal early- nineteenth-century sport of bull baiting, in which rowdy spectators watched dogs tear apart an enraged bull. Victorian reformers, concerned about the coarsening effect bull baiting had on its devotees, banned it by the early 1830s, but enterprising bull baiters merely migrated to an equally bloody sport: organized dog fighting.

As Carl Semencic, author of several informative books on guard dogs, and a big pit-bull fan, describes it, the bulldogge owners made a striking discovery: "a cross between the bulldogge and any of the game [i.e., brave and tenacious] and relatively powerful terriers of the day produced a game, powerful, agile, and smaller, more capable opponent in the dog pits." These bull-and-terrier crosses became renowned for fighting prowess and soon were the only dogs used in organized dog fighting in England and later in the United States. To preserve the bull-and-terrier's pugnacious traits, the dogs were bred only to dogs of the same cross. Thus was born the pit-bull terrier, "the most capable fighting dog known to modern man," Semencic enthuses.

Though breeders, realizing the pit bull was an attractive dog when it wasn't scrapping, bred a less feisty version—the American Staffordshire terrier ("Pete" of the old Our Gang comedy series is a well-known representative)—the pit-bull terrier is first and last a fighting dog. Its breeding history separates it from other tough dogs like Doberman pinschers and rottweilers, which have been bred to guard their masters and their property. Pit bulls are genetically wired to kill other dogs.

T he pit bull's unusual breeding history has produced some bizarre behavioral traits, de- scribed by The Economist's science editor in an article published a few years ago, at the peak of a heated British controversy over dangerous dogs that saw the pit bull banned in England. First, the pit bull is quicker to anger than most dogs, probably due to the breed's unusually high level of the neurotransmitter L-tyrosine. Second, pit bulls are frighteningly tenacious their attacks frequently last for 15 minutes or longer, and nothing—hoses, violent blows or kicks—can easily stop them. That's because of the third behavioral anomaly: the breed's remarkable insensitivity to pain. Most dogs beaten in a fight will submit the next time they see the victor. Not a defeated pit bull, who will tear into his onetime vanquisher. This, too, has to do with brain chemistry. The body releases endorphins as a natural painkiller. Pit bulls seem extra-sensitive to endorphins and may generate higher levels of the chemical than other dogs. Endorphins are also addictive: "The dogs may be junkies, seeking pain so they can get the endorphin buzz they crave," The Economist suggests.

Finally, most dogs warn you before they attack, growling or barking to tell you how angry they are—"so they don't have to fight," ASPCA advisor and animal geneticist Stephen Zawistowski stresses. Not the pit bull, which attacks without warning. Most dogs, too, will bow to signal that they want to frolic. Again, not the pit bull, which may follow an apparently playful bow with a lethal assault. In short, contrary to the writings of Vicki Hearne, a well-known essayist on animals who—in a bizarre but emotionally charged confusion—equates breed-specific laws against pit bulls as a kind of "racist propaganda," the pit bull is a breed apart.

Pit-bull expert Semencic makes a more sophisticated argument as to why pit bulls shouldn't be singled out for regulation. Pit bulls, he says, were bred not to be aggressive to people. "A pit bull that attacked humans would have been useless to dog fighters," he contends "the dogs needed to be handled by strangers in the middle of a fight." Any dog that went after a handler was immediately "culled"—that is, put to death. But Semencic's argument assumes that the culling of man-aggressive dogs is still going on—which it isn't. As Robin Kovary, a New York-based dog breeder and pit-bull fancier, acknowledges, "Once the word got out, 20 years ago or so, to youths who wanted a tough dog to show off with, the breed passed into less than responsible hands—kids who wanted the dogs to be as aggressive as they could be." Geneticist Zawistowski gives the upshot: "Irresponsible breeders have let the dogs' block against being aggressive to people disappear. They've created a kind of pit bull with what I call `undifferentiated aggression.' " A Milwaukee man learned this the hard way in January, when he tried to break up a fight between his two pit bulls and had one forearm ripped off and the other so badly mauled that doctors later had to amputate it.

Y et Kovary is at least partially right when she says, "It's the two-legged beast, not the four-legged one, we have to worry about." One needs nature and nurture to create a truly nasty dog. Raised responsibly, the pit bull's good side can come to the fore. "Pit bulls can be playful, intelligent, athletic, loyal, and useful in sports," Kovary explains. But pit bulls have become enmeshed in the brutality of underclass culture, magnifying the breed's predisposition to aggression. "In the wrong hands," Kovary warns, "pit bulls can be bad news."

Abundant evidence of owner irresponsibility is on display at the Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC), a nonprofit shelter that opened in late 1994 in the heart of Spanish Harlem, to take over New York City animal control from the ASPCA. Pit bulls are its biggest problem. More than 60,000 animals, half of them dogs, entered the shelter last year. According to CACC official Kyle Burkhart, "more than 50 percent of the dogs are pit bulls or pit-bull mixes—a huge percentage." That works out to 40 or so pit bulls a day, most of which have to be put down because of their aggressiveness. Waiting in the CACC's lobby, I got a firsthand look at the pit bull as a standard-issue accessory to underclass life: toughs in baggy pants and stocking caps paraded in and out continuously, negotiating to get their impounded dogs back or to adopt new ones.

Three distinct classes of irresponsible—or, more accurately, abusive—owners are the source of the CACC's flood of pit bulls. First are the drug dealers, who use pit bulls, or pit-bull crosses, as particularly vicious sentinels. New York City cops had to shoot 83 dogs to death in 1997, most of them pit bulls guarding drug stashes. Burkhart showed me a few such sentinels in the center's dangerous-dog ward. Lunging against their metal cages, these pit bulls were the most ferocious animals I'd ever seen: pure animal fury. "This one would bite my head off if he had the chance," Burkhart said of one Schwarzenegger-muscled dog, brought in from a police raid on a crack house. Intimidated, I kept as far from the cages as I could. "Some of the pit bulls coming in will actually have their vocal cords removed in order to surprise someone lurking around a crack house," Burkhart noted.

Dog-fighting rings also fill the CACC with abused animals. "Sometimes a raid on a dog- fighting ring brings us 20 or 30 pit bulls at a time," Burkhart tells me. The rings, moving clandestinely throughout the state, stage battles between pit bulls, sometimes to the death, as cheering spectators wager on the outcome. The dogs the CACC receives from the raids will often be missing ears or will bear deep scars from their battles. Manhattan Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe isn't surprised at the savagery: "We regularly find dead pit bulls in the parks on one occasion, we found eight pit-bull carcasses dumped in Riverside Park. They'd been killed fighting other dogs."

It's an unsavory crowd that participates, whether as trainer or spectator, in the blood sport, says ASPCA humane-law-enforcement officer George Watford. "The trainers preparing a pit bull for a fight throw a rope over a branch with a bag tied at the end inside the bag will be a live cat," Watford explains. "You'll see a dog hanging from the bag, and it'll be a cat he's killing inside it, giving the pit bull the taste for blood." The spectators are just as bad, Watford says: "When we raid a ring, not only will there be shotgun-armed lookouts, but we'll search people and find drugs and weapons, and we'll always find people wanted for rape, murder, robbery charges."

Finally, the CACC gets pit bulls owned by teenagers and gang members—"young punks," Watford calls them—who raise the dogs to intimidate. "It's a macho thing," Watford says. "These punks will get into the typical park scenario, a `my dog is tougher than your dog' thing, in which they let the dogs fight." I recalled a Bronx mother screaming at two teen lowlifes fighting pit bulls in the park in front of our apartment building. The teens, sporting military fatigues and shaved heads, ignored her and went on with their barbarous fun. Typically, these teens lose interest in their brutalized—and usually unneutered—dogs and let them loose, swamping the city with stray pit bulls.

W hat should New York City do about its dangerous dogs? One possibility: ban the pit bull, as England has done. Unfortunately, thanks to the 1997 state law nixing breed- specific legislation, such a ban would entail a difficult battle for state permission. And if the city bans the pit bull, what's to stop thugs from shifting to other breeds that can be made into weapons, such as the Canary dog or the Dogo Argentino? Outlawing them all would be an extremely divisive policy.

What about the city's idea of forcing pit-bull owners to buy pricey insurance policies? It makes little sense. Given that a paltry 10 percent of the city's dogs have licenses, only the law-abiding minority of pit-bull owners—not the louts who terrorize park-goers—are likely to comply with the new requirement, assuming it can get past the state objection to breed- specific laws. Moreover, those who wanted to comply would have a hard time finding an insurer. Though homeowners' policies generally cover dogs, few insurance firms will issue one to someone with a dangerous animal. Much sounder are the city's proposals to eliminate "provocation" as a defense for a dangerous dog's behavior and to pare away legal protections for dangerous dogs. As Cornell's Katherine Houpt underscores, "If a dog has bitten someone, we should consider it dangerous until proven otherwise. Who cares if a child has poked it with a pencil?"

The city's best course would be to require the owners of all dogs weighing more than 40 pounds to keep them muzzled in public, as Germany does with potentially aggressive breeds. A muzzle law is not unduly harsh to the dogs. As for its impact on owners: sure, it might diminish the thrill a tough gets as he parades his pit bull down a crowded sidewalk and nervous pedestrians give him a wide berth. And that would be all to the good.

As Mayor Giuliani and Police Commissioner William Bratton discovered when they prosecuted nuisance crimes like public urination or public drinking and helped restore civic order, Gotham can do a lot of good simply by enforcing laws already on the books, as Parks Commissioner Stern is doing with the leash law. New York makes little effort, for example, to ensure that its dogs are licensed, though the law requires it. The Canadian city of Calgary, which had a problem with dangerous dogs in the eighties, halved aggressive incidents through strict licensing enforcement: it let officials keep computerized records of complaints against individual dogs and impound them or require them to wear a muzzle if they posed a clear threat to the public. Eighty percent of Calgary's 100,000 dogs now have licenses 90 percent of New York's 1 million dogs don't. The city should step up licensing enforcement.

These measures would strike a prudent balance between the enjoyments of pet owners and the city's responsibility to protect its citizens and keep its public spaces from going to the dogs.

Deadliest Dictator Regimes in History

Maoist Catastrophe

Between 1946 and 1976, China suffered under the rule of Mao Zedong, a communist revolutionary who founded the People’s Republic of China. He ruled with an iron fist and led a great cultural revolution, also referred to as the “Great Leap Forward.” Mao proclaimed far-reaching land reform by converting large tracts of land into agricultural collectives for communal use. Private farming was prohibited and by 1958, private landholding was also illegal. Rural residents were forced into these collectives, and anybody who did not abide was prosecuted. The government taxed harvests and bought crops at fixed prices in order to stockpile grain against future famines. Millions of farmers were forced into iron and steel production to industrialize the nation. The Government forced several changes such as planting practices in an attempt to increase yields, but it resulted in disastrous declines of growth. Between 1959 and 1961, China suffered a great famine. The government did not evenly distribute grain, promising more to urban centers and only harvest surplus to rural workers. During this time, approximately 36 million people died. Mao was unpopular in cities and launched a political strategy, the “Hundred Flowers Campaign”, to increase his popularity. He requested ideas from urban residents concerning his policies and was met with extreme criticisms and protests. In response, he imprisoned anybody who did not agree with the communist approach. His time in power, known as the “Maoist Catastrophe,” caused a total of 47,263,517 deaths.

Nazi Holocaust

The second deadliest dictatorship in history occurred during the Nazi Holocaust under the power of Adolf Hitler. During this time, an estimated 13,674,790 people were killed. Hitler was preoccupied with the idea of a “pure” human race and in his mind, this did not include any person of the Jewish faith. Once the chancellor of Germany, after the death of the president in 1933, Hitler nominated himself to the position. The Nazi Revolution had lasted for six years before World War II began. Anyone against their political, racial, and religious ideologies was sent to concentration camps that were set up across the country. During the first year of the movement, some 27,000 people were housed in these camps. By 1939, Nazi forces had invaded Poland, creating Jewish ghettos where Jews were forced to live in overpopulated conditions filled with poverty, hunger, and disease. People from these fenced in neighborhoods were later shipped to concentration camps where they were worked to death or killed. People with mental illness and physical disabilities did not escape persecution and were also killed. The German occupation spread throughout Europe, rounding up anyone who was not of “Aryan” descent and sending them to Poland. Mass killing experiments were under way, and the entire movement was based on murder and destruction. Germany surrendered during World War II on May 8, 1945, one week after Hitler’s suicide.

Stalinist Terror

Another deadly dictatorship occurred in the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952 under the rule of Joseph Stalin. This movement was similar to the Chinese Maoist Revolution in that it was an attempt to move the nation away from agricultural practices and into industrialization. Farmers who did not cooperate with the collectivization of farmland were killed. Millions of individuals died as a result of famine brought on by mismanagement of crops. Millions more were sent to forced labor camps where they were killed. In the late 1930’s, he initiated the “Great Purge” campaign in order to get rid of anybody he felt was a threat. In 1939, Stalin signed a non-aggression agreement with Hitler, promising to keep out of German controlled areas. He then invaded various countries throughout Europe. Two years later, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union. By 1949, he had exploded a nuclear weapon, established several communist states in Eastern Europe, and in 1950, initiated the Korean War. His period of power resulted in approximately 13,038,405 deaths.

Other deadly dictators and the number of their victims are listed below.


But a slightly less typical Rottweiler attack was also in the news. Jenna Allen, 31, of Plainfield, Connecticut, was on June 6, 2017 found guilty of reckless endangerment, possession of a nuisance dog and failure to comply with dog licensing requirements for the December 3, 2014 mauling of home health aide Lynne Denning. Denning had been left with her elderly patient, five Rottweilers, and a golden retriever.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bonnie Bentley told the court that “some of Allen’s dogs had previously killed two cats and a pair of puppies and injured two people, including a home health aide who worked in Allen’s home before Denning,” reported John Penney of the Norwich Bulletin.

Allen was on August 4, 2017 sentenced to serve 60 days in jail, but appealed and was released on bond.

(Jeffrey Sloan photo)

A Nineteenth-Century Precedent

The May 1933 book burning in Nazi Germany had a precedent in nineteenth century Germany. In 1817, German student associations (Burschenschaften) chose the 300th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses to hold a festival at the Wartburg, a castle in Thuringia where Luther had sought sanctuary after his excommunication. The students, demonstrating for a unified country—Germany was then a patchwork of states—burned anti-national and reactionary texts and literature which the students viewed as “Un-German.”


  • Bakugan:
    • The Ability-X Cards, which force an unstable super-powered evolution on the Bakugan they are used on. In return, the amount of power can become so great that it drives the Bakugan insane, and if allowed to grow even further, can cause the Bakugan to explode.
    • The Bakugan Linehalt was imprisoned during his early life due to being last of the Dark Bakugan, a tribe that possessed an ability known only as the forbidden power, but he had no idea what the forbidden was actually was or how to use it. When he finally unlocks the forbidden power, it turns out to be an uncontrollable World-Wrecking Wave that the user can't stop once they have activated it and he would have unwillingly destroyed the planet he was on if he hadn't been stopped by Dragonoid Colossus intervening. He refuses to ever use it again until he figures out that it can also be used to heal, turning it into a World-Healing Wave.
    • Train can only use railguns five times per day. In the final battle, he squeezed out a sixth shot, resulting in him unable to perform it anymore. He's not worried, though, since he has already taken care of the Big Bad.
    • Sven's eye ability makes him very tired after using it, which limits him as well, though his ability isn't near as badass.
    • Ichigo's fight with Byakuya woke up his inner Hollow enough for it to want to begin taking over his soul. The more he used his power, the stronger the Hollow became. He eventually learned how to master the hollow, which increased his power in battle. However, it could still take over when he was very close to death, resulting in a truly ghastly outcome for everyone involved. Only when he learned Final Getsuga Tenshou, which was another example of this trope that destroyed his power after use, was his Hollow fully mastered.
    • In his battle with Mayuri, Uryuu activated Letzt Stil, considered the last resort of the Quincy. His grandfather had taught him the technique with the stipulation that he should never use it until he found something he was willing to give up his power to protect. Uryuu chose to use the technique prematurely, found out that It Only Works Once, and lost all his spiritual powers. His father Ryuuken turned out to have an even more forbidden technique that could restore Uryuu's powers, but it was a very brutal process. In the Thousand Year Blood War, we learn that there is a way to obtain Letzt Stil powers without the one-time-only drawback, but it is forbidden to traditionalists like the Ishidas as unethical.
    • Certain Kidou are forbidden. Tessai was exiled with Urahara for using a forbidden Kidou that manipulated space-time. Yamamoto used a forbidden sacrificial Kidou, trading his left arm for a massive pillar of fire in an attempt to kill Aizen as an atonement, he never re-grew it.
    • Captain Komamura's clan has the Human Transformation Technique, which turns them from anthropomorphic wolves into full humans with a power boost. It requires literally giving up your human heart, and when the technique runs out, leaves the user as a full non-anthropomorphic wolf .
    • Goku first learned the Kaio-Ken from Kaio-sama/King Kai, a technique that amplifies all of the user's abilities far beyond their natural limits (not just strength, but vision, taste, hearing, etc). On top of that, it can be stacked, applied multiple times to further multiply its effects up to 20 times. The downside is that it places severe strain on the body, risking severe injury or even death the more it's used. Kaio-sama/King Kai warns Goku to never do more than double it. Vegeta proved to be the Godzilla Threshold where Goku used it at triple capacity, which hurt like hell, and then quadruple during the Beam-O-War. After that, Yajirobe made him scream in agony just by patting him on the back. By the time he fought Freeza, he was strong enough that he could use the lower levels without any strain, but Freeza was strong enough that he had to multiply it by twenty &mdash the maximum. Not only was it not nearly enough to win, it also left him exhausted and defenseless.
    • Thats not even mentioning the Super Kaio-Ken, which was seen only once during his filler arc battle again Paikuhan/Pikkon (though it is mentioned again in Dragon Ball Super). This technique is so dangerously impractical that it results in instant death if used while alive, and Goku can't even use it again, even while dead. This anime-only usage was the last time it was used in Z, as the various Super Saiyan forms had superseded it in nearly every regard, and combining the two was only practical while dead.
    • Tenshinhan's forbidden technique is the Kikoho/Tri-Beam, which will kill him with overuse or otherwise exhaust him to the point of being unable to fight. The attempt that killed him was an attempted Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Nappa that didn't work (mostly because Tien had also lost his right arm and a lot of blood, thus a lot of his strength) and the attempt that drained him to the point of exhaustion was using it over and over in the stronger Shin Kikoho/Neo Tri-Beam format to keep 2nd Form Cell from chasing after Android 18.
    • The Mafūba/Evil Containment Wave is the technique Master Mutaito used to seal Great Demon King Piccolo. It requires so much ki that it kills the user, as it did to Master Mutaito when Piccolo comes back, Roshi tries it unsuccesfully and dies as well. It turns out age and the low amount of ki most humans have may have been a factor Tenshinhan survived trying to use it, although it still left him completely defenseless.
      • The Mafuba is brought back (like many old attacks and characters) in Dragon Ball Super in an attempt to seal an immortal god, Future Zamasu . None of the characters even mention the possibility of it being lethal and it in no way weakens the character who used it (except in the manga). It's likely that it was fatal for the Muten Roshi back during Dragon Ball either had too low Ki, he was too old and frail despite his expanded lifespan, or a combination of the two. It was more likely the former as, when the Muten Roshi is brought in for the Tournament of Power, he pulls it off three times in a row, then two more times later on before he decides to quit. Despite being over 20 years older, his ki had increased greatly, matching that of base form Goku.
      • The "Devil Bat Ghost" technique causes tremendous strain on the user's knees. Hiruma orders Sena to seal the technique from view Sena originally thinks it's to stop the competition from seeing it, until he breaks the order and finds out firsthand.
      • The "Devil Bat Dive" is a rarely-used two-point conversion technique that requires the runner to leap over both lines, spin, and fall into the end zone, carrying significant risk of injury. Most teams don't bother and just kick the extra point. It's rarely used in real life for the same reason.
      • Summoning the Celestial Spirit King is this. The Celestial Spirit King is the most powerful spirit a celestial mage can summon, so powerful in fact that just his appearance counts as an attack! To do so requires a ton of prerequisites, these include:
        • Having a very high magical energy threshold, usually sufficient to be able to summon and maintain three Celestial Spirits at once, a feat considered even by the spirits to be dangerous for most Celestial Wizards. After the summoning is done the user, if not outright killed by summoning the King due to magical exhaustion, will still be physically incapacitated due to the strain the summoning magic causes.
        • The Celestial Spirit user has to sacrifice one of the Twelve Golden Keys to the Zodiac. These keys are super rare as only one key can be in existence on the planet at any time. While the keys do regenerate in time, there's no controlling where it might end up and since the contract is broken, it's up for grabs.
        • The User has to have a strong emotional bond with whatever key they sacrifice. Otherwise the summoning will completely fail! Lucy was in such an emotional state that right after summoning the king her response by one of the demons as to what she had done is to cry uncontrollably and not answer!
        • Even if the summoning IS successful the King is under a very strict time limit. Typically only about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the mage's magic power and his emotional state is directly tied to the mage's emotional state. So if the mage is incredibly upset or angry the king might very well go on a berserker rush against his opponent. This is exactly what the Celestial Spirit King does in response to Lucy being so upset.
        • A subset of the Shinobi arts are called the Kinjutsu &mdash literally "forbidden techniques". For one reason or another, they cannot be taught or used by the commanding shinobi. Some fatally harm the user, like the Shadow Clone Jutsu, which creates perfect Doppelgangers who take an equal portion of their user's chakra, which is eventually fatal if too many are created at once and/or the sheer backlash the user suffers if too many are killed at once a version of this is Naruto's Signature Move, although Naruto has a superhuman chakra reserve and a Tailed Beast that can handle it. Others are considered unethical, like the Edo Tensei, which resurrects the dead at the cost of another Human Sacrifice. Edo Tensei is particularly powerful (effectively giving you a Nigh-Invulnerable army of The Undead), which increases the temptation to use it, only for the user to find that at its most powerful, its creations might escape from the user's control . Just using a kinjutsu is not a crime however (only the effect may be), and a few are taught in the course of the plot. So they are not so much "forbidden" but rather "regulated". For example, the Shadow Clone Jutsu can normally only be safely used by Jonin-level shinobi.
        • Initially, Sasuke's Chidori is only supposed to be used twice at a time. The third time he used it, he would have died if he didn't have a cursed seal which nearly took him over. Since then, he increased his own chakra capacity to the point that he can spam it without any ill effects.
        • Kakashi had two forbidden techniques: Raikiri, an enhanced Chidori that requires a Sharingan to be used effectively and Kamui, which sucks anything he looks at into another dimension. Both are limited by chakra capacity, and the second one deteriorates the eyesight of said eye. He figured out how to increase his chakra capacity (and taught Sasuke how as well).
        • Naruto gets his Wind Style: Rasenshuriken, in the second half of the manga. It's so powerful that it causes widespread cellular damage to the arm he executes it with, including the chakra pathways. The damage is microscopic, so healing jutsu can't repair it, and Naruto's own Healing Factor is so overworked that it reduces his lifespan. Tsunade tells him not to use it again. Then he masters his Sage Mode and perfects it to the point that he can throw it and nullify the risk to himself.
        • Kurama is essentially a Superpowered Evil Side at deeper levels, he also shortens his lifespan. Naruto winds up befriending him, which allows him access to his full power without having to physically transform.
        • Tsunade's regeneration jutsu shortens her lifespan as well, due to the Hayflick limit.
        • Lady Chiyo's clan dabbles with using chakra "strings" to control life-size puppets (and in some cases, assist a human by adding their reflexes to the subject's). They began work on Kishou Tensei, a jutsu to truly breathe life into puppets, but stopped when they discovered it had a nasty side-effect of (you guessed it!) killing the user. It turned out Kishou Tensei could heal almost anything, including otherwise lethal injuries and even death. Unfortunately, to do so, it used the life energy of the user, along with their chakra, so using it even in the normal way would be highly taxing for the body. And if they used it to revive someone who died, they would die in their stead. Chiyo winds up using it to resurrect Gaara after his death due to Shukaku's removal.
        • Those with the Rinnegan can use a similar and jutsu to Kishou Tensei, but much more powerful, Gedō: Rinne Tensei/Outer Path: Rinne Rebirth. It is capable of resurrecting large groups of people at once, at the cost of the user's life. Nagato used it to revive those he killed during his assault on Konohagakure, dying in the process.
        • Pain has been shown to have an incredibly powerful version of his Shinra Tensei/Almighty Push that takes off years of his life, but can destroy an entire city in one blast. And he uses it on Konoha. Nagato, on the other hand, is an Uzumaki, which means he has his clan's longevity , so he can use it with reduced risk.
        • The Shiki Fujin/ Reaper Death Seal summons a Shinigami, who takes both your soul and your opponent's and forces them to fight forever in its stomach. The Uzumaki created a mask that allowed one to free the consumed souls, but it required its wearer to commit Seppuku to do so.
        • The Mangekyou Sharingan is an enhanced version of the Sharingan that grants all manner of nifty new powers like Tsukiyomi, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Kamui and Kotoamatsukami, but each use of said techniques causes the user to slowly go blind (which eventually removes the ability to use said techniques entirely) and rapid and continued use accelerates the process. Sasuke only had his for a matter of days at most before his constant and reckless use almost blinded him literally. The only ways to avoid this are to upgrade to the Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan, which requires obtaining a close relative's Mangekyou Sharingan to replace your own, as Madara and Sasuke did, or have Hashirama's Senju cells to regenerate the deterioration, which is what Obito relied on with his remaining eye.
        • Izanagi allows users to cast genjutsu on themselves that can briefly override reality. As a tradeoff, the eyes used to cast the genjutsu will be permanently blinded. The only workaround to this seems to be possessing the incredible regenerative properties of Hashirama's Senju cells, as Madara was only able to restore the sight of his sacrificed eye by incorporating said cells and awakening the Rinnegan. Also, combining Izanagi and Senju cells extended its duration up to a whole minute per eye . Because of this, the Uchiha declared it a Kinjutsu, along with its counterpart, Izanami, which trapped its target in a Stable Time Loop until tey accepted the outcome they were trying to avoid. Even Edo Tensei-revived shinobi aren't immune to the blinding, as Itachi showed
          • To further elaborate on the Izanami, while the Izanami was developed as a direct counter to the Izanagi (and Sasuke even said it was stronger than it), having a genjutsu that could be escaped from with relative ease during a combat situation was considered too dangerous. Which is why it's forbidden
          • In general, any ability gained by Devil Fruit is a dangerous technique. While some have specific drawbacks, they all share one: the user permanently loses the ability to swim. Considering that this is an Ocean Punk series, that's a potentially lethal side effect. Many pirates are aware of this and use the stuff anyway.
          • Trafalgar Law's Devil Fruit, the Op-Op Fruit, allows the user to perform an "Immortality Operation" on a single person. It grants the target eternal youth, but it costs the user his own life.
          • The Alabasta arc introduces Hero Water (or Fatal Elixir), which massively increases all the drinker's physical abilities for five minutes before killing him.
          • The Skypeia arc introduces the Impact Dial, which absorbs any force that strikes it and deals it back to the attacker, but also causes a great deal of pain to the wielder's arm. Its cousin, the Reject Dial, multiplies the counter-force by ten. Wiper, a character intent on killing the Big Bad of that arc with the Reject Dial, uses it three times and escapes alive despite massive damage.
          • Luffy's "Gear" techniques are his Super Mode, and they all qualify.
            • Gear Second allows Luffy to use his legs as a pump to accelerate the blood flow around his body, dramatically increasing his strength and speed. It would kill a normal human, but Rubber Man Luffy can handle it, although it does affect his lifespan. Luffy's a Determinator, though, so that doesn't stop him that often.
            • Gear Third is the next level up he blows air into his bones, which enlarges his body and makes him that much stronger. However, after only a couple of attacks, the effect would wear out, the air would leave his body, and Luffy would now be Chibi-fied and vulnerable. He learned how to avoid that after the Time Skip, which introduced.
            • Gear Fourth, where he inflates his muscles rather than his bones and augments his whole body with Armament Haki. This is much stronger than ever Gear Third, and he can even use it to fly. But like Gear Third, it has a time limit, after which Luffy becomes vulnerable and cannot use Haki for ten minutes.
            • To be more clear: post-Time Skip, just eating one Rumble Ball triggers Monster Point, but Chopper stays in full control the entire time. However, the form automatically deactivates after three minutes, after which Chopper is unable to move for a long time.
            • Ryoga Hibiki's "Shishi Hōkōdan" is a Ki Manipulation fueled by the user's depression and melancholy. Ryoga tries to increase its power by becoming even more depressed. Ranma tries this when fighting him but eventually sees the flaw in this strategy &mdash the winner of the fight will be happy enough to depower it &mdash and thus creates a much safer (but just as powerful) technique based on boundless confidence.
            • Genma developed two such techniques: the Yamasenken and Umisenken. Unusually for this series, they're both lethal and can be used for ripping out an opponent's heart, strangling him, or cutting him into itty bitty pieces. Genma was loath to teach Ranma anything about them, on the ground that they were far too dangerous he only acquiesced when he learned that Ryu Kumon was using the Yamasenken. Ranma duelled Ryu with the stipulation that if he won, Ryu would seal the techniques forever.
            • Parodied with Happosai's "Happo Fire Burst", which was sealed away for being too destructive. when he accidentally burnt up a recently-stolen brassiere with it. He unseals it to punish Soun Tendo and the Saotomes, when it turns out to be nothing more than a fancy name for throwing homemade firecracker bombs around (which is no less effective).
            • Kenshin fighting style, Hiten Misturugi Ryuu, has an ultimate technique that involves putting the user in significant danger. If you hesitate for even a moment, you either die or lose your leg. If you don't hesitate, you might still lose your leg. But overall, the style as a whole takes its toll on Kenshin, who winds up having to retire from swordsmanship for good . Shishio used this technique as well, and as he was in a full-body bandage, he died of heat exhaustion after 15 minutes .
            • Sanosuke's Futae No Kiwami becomes one over time due to its overuse. His hand injury was said to be even worse than the damage Kenshin suffered against Shishio. Though his hand never really heals, he finds ways to minimize the damage.
            • Sailor Pluto will die if she uses her power to stop time, and Sailor Saturn will die if she uses her power of destruction. They're forced to break this taboo in the various series &mdash in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal, Pluto breaks her taboo to stop Prince Demando from colliding the past and future Silver Crystals and causing a Time Crash while in the original anime, she breaks the taboo to allow Uranus and Neptune to enter Mugen Academy and reach Mistress 9 before their helicopter is destroyed in all three incarnations, Saturn uses her power to stop Pharaoh 90 and allow Sailor Moon to restore everything. In the manga and Crystal, Pluto ends up being reborn as Setsuna Mei'oh and returns to action during the Infinity Arc while the original anime her fate is left ambiguous and she sits out Super S Saturn is reborn as a baby in all three versions and doesn't return until the final arc with Pluto .
            • The anime gives us the Silver Crystal, which at full power equates to a Kamehame Hadoken and kills the user nine times out of ten. But they get one lash wish, which is usually enough to reverse it Moon got her normal life back and it was enough for her, Mamoru and the Senshi to be revived, even if with Trauma-Induced Amnesia until some time later.
            • Dragon Saint Shiryu is warned by his master never to push his fighting technique beyond a certain limit, lest he unleash the "Ultimate Dragon", basically sending himself and his opponent into orbit. Of course, Shiryu does end up unleashing the "Ultimate Dragon". But he doesn't die. His opponent Shura has a last-minute change of heart and manages to send him back to Earth with just a very well-timed kick. Seriously. That being said, the technique was never used again in the manga. In the next arc of the anime, Shiryu attempted it again as a last resort move, but stopped when doing so would destroy a MacGuffin that was needed.
            • Athena Exclamation is a technique so devastating, so powerful, it has the power to annihilate the Earth. Therefore, it was declared taboo by Athena's Saints. It consists of three Gold Saints focusing all their Cosmo into a single point, discharging a blast with the same power as the Big Bang itself. Naturally, it was used in the final arc. And once that taboo was broken, it was used twice more &mdash by two opposing trios of Gold Saints.
            • Using Tsubaki's Uncanny Sword mode takes a toll on Black☆Star's health. Early on, he can only maintain it for a short duration before passing out. At one point, the normally submissive Tsubaki refuses to use it out of fear for her partner's well-being. Eventually, he finds a way around this, at which point the mode apparently stops having a dangerous effect. Really, all it needed was for Black Star to listen to others (namely Tsubaki) in order to have a chance of working out the technique, rather than assuming it took only physical strength. Being a decent guy really, he manages it.
            • In the anime, Soul's black blood allows him to give his allies a power boost with Soul Resonance, but every time he uses it the madness gains more control of his body and mind (represented by the Little Ogre inside his mind growing bigger, until he's bigger than Soul and able to take over).
            • Industrial Illusions has the decidedly odd practice of designing cards "too powerful and dangerous to be used," requiring them to be sealed somewhere or guarded to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. They always fall into the wrong hands. (It's little wonder why the game is such Serious Business in this series.) Yugi himself seems to be the only one who recognizes the potential danger of these cards the first thing he says upon winning Osiris from Strings is, "I must be very careful with this."
            • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has the "Cyber Legacy", which Kaiser Ryō inherited. Normally, he and the other duelists in the Cyber-Style dojo (yes, the Legacy is apparently so powerful, you need to train in a dojo to properly duel with it) practice the normal Cyber-Style, but there's another set of cards known as the Cyberdark-Style that's sealed away from even the Legacy's heir due to its immense and dangerous power. Ryo learns just why it's so dangerous and forbidden the hard way.
            • In the real game, cards deemed too powerful are forbidden from official tournaments. Unfortunately, they're not always consistent as to what exactly is "too powerful".
            • In Tobot, Tobots X and Y are able to combine their powers to use an ability called the Combo Shield, which creates a protective barrier as suggested by its name. Using this power drains X and Y's energy quickly.
            • The "Demon Ball" technique in Bowling King. Its creator injured himself badly attempting to perfect it and was forced to retire from professional bowling.
            • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer prequel comics, there are dark magicks that the Watchers are forbidden to use. Someone does it anyway and gets revealed by Giles. But Giles had also used a forbidden technique to reveal the guy, which is why he gets put through a torturous test that either drove everyone else who took it insane or killed them outright.
            • When put into a situation where there's nothing around that he can manipulate with his magnetism abilities, Cosmic Boy can use the iron in his own body. This is understandably dangerous, painful and usually very limited, but he can usually find something else to use since villains tend to underestimate just how little he needs to work with.
            • In the Marvel universe, there exists a weapon called the Ultimate Nullifier which can Ret-Gone anyone or anything the user chooses. But if the user doesn't visualize the target properly, then the user is erased. This is possibly the only weapon that can truly defeat Galactus. (Possibly. He is known to be afraid of it, at least. Whether any mortal would actually be capable of perfectly visualizing Galactus is dubious. However, in his, and its, first appearance, he worried more that Reed would unmake the whole universe trying, and he immediately decided to leave Earth alone.)
            • The Human Torch of the Fantastic Four can release a blast of nova-intensity heat, which was very dangerous to do in his earlier days (one issue even stated that releasing it at maximum power would instantaneously kill every living thing in the same hemisphere of Earth as him). Later subverted as he learned to control it better, making collateral damage no longer a serious problem.
            • The Mighty Thor supporting character Beta Ray Bill is a cyborg whose body was built with safeguards to prevent his internal reactor from overloading. By releasing these safeguards, he can multiply his power by many times. The drawback is that after a few minutes of this, his reactor will reach critical mass, with explosive consequences.
            • Downplayed by Nightcrawler of the X-Men he can carry someone else with him while using his mutant ability to teleport, but the strain is, in his words, "murderous", both to him and the passenger. Doing it more than once would likely kill them both. However, this lessens as he learns his powers better. The first time he did it, he screamed in agony and he and his passenger were incapacitated for some time. Now it's something he easily does, though it leaves the passenger disoriented. One of his favorite techniques is to grab an opponent and make several jumps, leaving his opponent to suffer while he remains unharmed, though he still must take care not to exhaust himself when doing this. A sufficiently tough opponent can be left unharmed while the strain of multiple jumps continues to add up and do him more harm than the enemy
            • A Growing Affection has a few:
              • Naruto's original technique, the Blood Clone Jutsu uses blood to form clones almost as tough as the creator, that return any leftover chakra to the original when the technique ends. But the amount of blood required means that anyone without a healing factor would pass out creating more than one Blood Clone. Naruto creates a stronger version that has Sakura and Ino heal him and give him plasma pills so he can make a small army of blood clones.
              • Breaking the Souhi is not unlike the retributive strike below, it (according to lore anyway) instantly reduces the temperature of everything in a five-kilometer radius to -100 degrees (Fahrenheit or Centigrade not specified), including whoever breaks it.
              • Wielding dark magic is this - even if you're capable of avoiding the corrupting effects, it has a price, even if you're as skilled and powerful as Albus Dumbledore, who had to delve into the very depths of the Dark Arts to defeat Grindelwald. He refuses to elaborate on just what that price was. And even sociopathic necromancer Gravemoss refuses to pay the price for unleashing some of the stuff in the Darkhold.
              • In the sequel, Harry using his inner Phoenix fragment qualifies as this on several levels, mainly because it's insanely volatile. Unless you're incredibly careful, With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, and you end up becoming the Dark Phoenix , as he does at the end of Forever Red. Plus, there's the fact that it weakens the already very fragile fabric of reality and risks unleashing Surtur, the original Dark Phoenix .
              • Spiritus reveals to Brandon that as an Energy Channeller he may be able to perform Total Absorption - which would consume the enemy's aura (and by default, is totally fatal) and may even take a hit on his sanity to the point of unleashing a Superpowered Evil Side.
              • Rikuto of the Long Island Elite Four apparently knows many of these but must restrain himself from using because, well, he can't kill all of the base's most promising battlers whenever they fight him.
              • Izuku views Human Fusion as this. While an incredibly powerful technique, it has many downsides. It's Cast from Stamina, with even more stamina being drained when using taxing techniques/abilities like One for All, its Mental Fusion aspect risks revealing personal information and secrets to all component partners, all injuries endured during the fusion will be split amongst every component partner, and it's very unpredictable, as the fusions are entirely his or her own person. Unless Izuku has merged with the component partner before, whichever Quirk the resulting fusion has will be completely unknown until he or she figure it out themselves. As a result, it's best used as a last resort. Aizawa actually praises him for this view, because it shows that he won't be a victim of Crippling Overspecialization, which can be fatal for a hero.
              • Multi-person fusions. While they are more powerful (enough to rival All Might), they drain even more stamina than the standard one-person fusion, especially from Izuku. Using a multi-person fusion for more than once a day can cause potentially fatal exhaustion to him .
              • The Book of Ages is graduated from I Thought It Was Forbidden to this. It's rumoured that if the Book is damaged, or if too many inconsistencies are made when its reality-warping power is put to use, the fabric of reality will be destroyed. In The Ultimate Evil, the former risk becomes a reality when the Book gets burned , though Valerie and Shendu fix it before it's too late .
              • In The Stronger Evil, Natalie fears this regarding Valerie's Other-derived powers.
              • Jade taking on Tarakudo's mark, the same as in canon, in the first story. In the second story, she takes on the mark despite knowing the dangers in an attempt to command the Shadowkhan to turn on Tarakudo. A pity she didn't count on Tarakudo speeding up and forcing her transformation back into her Superpowered Evil Side.
              • In Blades of Glory, the Iron Lotus is a figure skating technique developed by the coach in his "wild youth", but only one country was crazy enough to try it &mdash North Korea. The only attempt resulted in the woman's head cut off by the man's ice skate (as impossible as this sounds). According to the coach, the only way for the technique to be performed successfully is by a pair of two men.
              • Shows up early in The Fast and the Furious (2001): Brian, in his first drag race, uses his nitrous too early and is in danger of losing the race. In desperation, he uses a second nitrous burst, still loses, and severely damages his engine as a result. No one in the entire series of movies ever uses nitrous twice, except for this one instance.
              • Ghostbusters: The Proton Packs fire a stream which can snag a ghost like a lasso. But the device is very unstable, and if the proton streams met, it would cause a "total protonic reversal", leading to all life coming to an end simultaneously and every molecule in the user's body to explode at the speed of light. They're forced to use it to end Gozer's threat at the end of the first movie. Thankfully, all it does is cause a big boom and cover New York in marshmallow, because seemingly all the effects remained on the other side of the portal.
              • In Highlander: Endgame, the unbeatable sword technique is unbeatable, if both duelists simultaneously block each other's weapons behind their heads as if locking them in place. Even with centuries of sword practice, the results of this technique cannot be avoided. The two combatants cannot simply disengage from combat, slowly making sure their swords are not aimed at each other's necks. It simply cannot happen.
              • In Inception, the "Mister Charles" routine is treated this way. It amounts to an Investigator Impersonation, and Cobb's associates are afraid to let him use it. If it goes right it will help them out of a bind, but if it goes wrong it will be very bad, and Arthur implies this has happened to them in past jobs.
                • Cobb regards the titular concept of "Inception" this way.
                • The Last Jedi reveals that Astral Projection is one such technique for all Force users. As Kylo Ren notes, it's an extremely powerful ability, but the physical strain it causes (especially if done over large distances) is so tremendous that it will likely kill the user. In the climax, Luke uses it to distract the First Order and ensure the Resistance escapes sure enough, the strain of projecting himself across several light years for an extended period of time kills him, causing him to become one with the Force.
                • The Rise of Skywalker introduces a technique called "lightspeed skipping", a series of brief jumps that Poe uses to pull a Hyperspeed Escape from the First Order. It works, but the Millennium Falcon is on fire when she returns to the Resistance base.
                • Although not illegal, a gunsmith in Stephen Hunt's The Court Of The Air warns Oliver that multi-shot firearms are called "suicide guns" for good reason in their world: bullets are made of glass and explosive tree sap, not metal and gunpowder, so loading more than one round at a time poses a very high risk that the shock wave from your first shot will rupture your second bullet's sap-chambers and make the weapon blow up in your hands. In the concluding battle, the Court wolftakers reveal that they've licked this problem by cushioning individual cartridges against such shocks and thus, developed glass-bullet machine guns fed by rubber ammo-belts.
                • Cradle Series: The Blackflame Path, a sacred art stolen from dragons, which was used to build an empire. In a world where Asskicking Equals Authority and everyone challenges everyone, no one challenges the Blackflame sacred artists. Not only is it focused on offense to an insane degree, but the flames are not designed for humans they slowly eat away at mind and body, resulting in the imperial family slowly dying out without any outside intervention at all. When Eithan admits that he plans to train Lindon in this path, Cassias starts screaming .
                • Death magic in Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion causes both the target and the caster to die as their souls are borne off to the Bastard's Hell (when it works at all). Luckily for some so affected, not only is the Bastard's Hell more of A Hell of a Time than a Fire and Brimstone Hell, but they don't always stay there, as some of the other gods may take them up. This also means while unsuccessful attempts or research are regarded as attempted murder (at least) and dealt with by temporal authorities as such, successful attempts are not prosecutable &mdash not only because there's nobody left to prosecute, but also because if it works, it's considered divine intervention.
                • The Dragaera series has "Elder Sorcery", which involves the direct manipulation of raw chaos, and the practice of which is a capital crime by imperial edict. Those who research and practice it do so mainly out of curiosity or the search for knowledge, since elder sorcery has long since been supplanted by the much safer and easier use "normal" sorcery, where the energy of raw chaos is first filtered through the Imperial Orb before being used. However, there are some circumstances where normal sorcery doesn't work, forcing the characters to resort to elder sorcery.
                • The Dresden Files:
                  • A wizard's death curse. Put simply, the wizard, knowing they are about to die, draws up all their power and unleashes it in an extremely powerful spell, usually a curse on whoever was killing them. This leaves no energy to keep the brain or heart working, so the wizard dies immediately on casting.
                  • Hellfire, which is demonic power that enhances spells but only available when your soul is corrupted by a Fallen Angel. Soulfire, Hellfire's divine counterpart, uses the stuff that comprises your soul as the power source. Use too much Soulfire without giving yourself time to recover and your soul literally evaporates into your spells, killing you (and maybe then some). It's not so much forbidden as simply not available to most people have access to, however.
                  • Any sort of Black Magic qualifies for human wizards and practitioners, as every time you break one of the Seven Laws, you corrupt your own psyche enough that breaking them again seems easier and easier to justify. Prolonged usage can progressively turn even the best-intentioned Black Magic user into a gibbering psycho. Plus, the White Council is very likely to cut your head off if they find out what you've done - it's their experience that not turning into a mass-murdering Big Bad after you perform one of these seven acts is rare enough to make getting out the ax before you can get started their first resort. The Council has one enforcer, known as the Blackstaff, whose namesake weapon insulates his mind from the effects and is thus free to perform any magic he sees fit in the line of duty.
                  • Casting spells inside a ring of fire, is forbidden for anyone affiliated with the White Council who is not a Warden. Doing so isn't considered black magic, but it amplifies the power of any spell cast to dangerous levels, as well as the effects of any mistakes made during the casting, making doing so extremely dangerous.
                  • A set of three spells is known as the "Unforgivable Curses" their use lands an automatic life sentence in Azkaban. This is mostly due to their power one brainwashes, one tortures, and one just kills. It's almost impossible to use them without really, truly wanting the consequences, meaning that their use proves the user's malice.
                  • The use of Horcruxes is so forbidden that it's hard to find any information on how to make one because it involves fracturing the soul, and doing that involves murdering people.
                  • The drinking of unicorn's blood grants one life, even when one is all but dead, but at a terrible cost: that one lives a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches their lips.
                  • Fiendfyre is an incredibly powerful fire spell capable of destroying even Horcruxes, but it is also extremely difficult to control. When Crabbe used it against Harry and his friends, the only person he killed with it was himself and the soul fragment in the Horcrux.
                  • The use of "balefire" is forbidden by the magic users of the world, and when people use it anyway, they're exceedingly careful with it. Balefire doesn't just obliterate its target, it goes back in time to do so, with all the potential paradoxes that implies. Entire cities and their recent histories disappeared from the face of the earth before the mages, good and evil, decided that maybe gratuitous use of balefire wasn't such a good idea. When Rand begins using it for more than a minute, it is seen as a sign of his rapidly deteriorating mental state impacting his judgment, though he is technically correct that balefire is the only way to ensure enemies such as the Forsaken are not resurrected by the Dark One.
                    • In the last book of the series, so much Balefire has been used the world itself starts falling apart, with cracks in the ground leading to nothingness.
                    • One episode of Angel reveals that if a vampire has their heart surgically removed, they're unkillable for a certain amount of time but eventually die. The episode focused on a vampire Driven to Suicide after Angel killed his girlfriend, who got the surgery in the hope of taking Angel with him.
                    • The bonehead maneuver in Babylon 5: Opening a jump gate within an existing jump gate, resulting in a massive explosion of energy that the ship who triggered it is highly unlikely to survive or outrun. The heroes only use it because it was the only way they could think of to shake the Shadow ship trying to kill them. Doubly dangerous, as this destroys the jump gate, leaving the system inaccessible to non-jump drive equipped ships until a (very rare) construction ship drops by to rebuild the jump gate. On this occasions the planet was already deserted, and the heroes had the additional motive of rendering it inaccessible to grave robbers.
                      • Sometimes, a deathbed scan is the only way to get critical information. However, telepaths don't like doing them since many describe the experience as having part of them go with the departed. Those that have done four or five are described as being dead inside. Bester has gone on record doing eight.
                      • And of course, the enjoining spell that the Scoobies use to defeat Adam. Giles' knowledge, Willow's magical strength, and Xander's heart, all combined with Buffy's super strength and resilience into one nigh-invincible Slayer, complete with Voice of the Legion and Golden Eyes Of Doom? Cool. Being stalked and almost killed by the First Slayer in your dreams afterwards because the spell disturbed her spirit? Less cool.
                      • In a rather borderline case, Stannis uses this via Melisandre's shadow assassin which consumes his own energy. After using it, Stannis is noticeably aged and Melisandre refuses to do it again because it could kill him.
                      • Daenerys, lets Mirri Maz Duur cast a dangerous spell to keep Khal Drogo alive . It goes horribly right.
                      • We learn why exactly warging in humans is strictly forbidden among the wildlings. There is a reason why Hodor can only speak 'Hodor'.
                      • There is an experimental treatment for the fatal skin disease greyscale that has been forbidden for the risk it carries both for the maester administering it (since one slip up could get themselves infected) and the patient (since the cure is basically being skinned alive).
                      • Kamen Rider Stronger: Yes, it's Older Than They Think: long before form changing became the norm, the first Rider to do it has Charge Up, generated by a device implanted Shigeru's body. If he doesn't disperse the extra power in one minute, it will explode, blowing him to very small smithereens. Needless to say, he's never failed to finish the fight and execute his Finishing Move within the time limit. Meanwhile, Tackle has the powerful Ultra Cyclone attack. Using it while already dying from poison finished her off .
                      • Kamen Rider 555: The Rider Gears run on Orphenoch DNA. The members of the Ryusei School were experimented on, the villains attempting to make new Orphenochs, so they can all activate it, but full compatibility isn't guaranteed. The Kaixa Gear's side effect: enjoy turning to dust once you de-transform or after a certain amount of time has passed. One use, you die, period. The Delta Gear's side effect is addiction, making you go Ax-Crazy in pursuit of getting to use it again at any cost. In both cases, transforming at all is the forbidden technique until they finally find their way into the hands of their main, compatible users. (Even then, using the Kaixa Gear starts to take a little more out of a Kusaka every time, with characters warning him not to use it.)
                      • Kamen Rider Blade: King Form causes Kazuma to pass out the first few times he uses it. However, even once he gets the hang of it, the problem is that it slowly turns you into an Undead, one of the monsters of the series.
                      • Kamen Rider Kiva: The Dark Kiva armor is typically used by the Big Bad and would prove lethal to any human who tries. A major character has no choice to use it to battle his even-stronger monster form, at the cost of his life.
                      • Kamen Rider Double: Twin Maximum, in which Double activates two Maximum Drives at the same time, temporarily taking his power up to 200%. Each of his battle modes is powered by two Gaia Memories. You activate the Finishing Move by placing one of them in that mode's weapon (for weapon finishers) or the side slot on the belt (for physical finishers.) Doing both at once is NOT recommended, as demonstrated when Shotaro impulsively uses it in one battle, which lights him on fire and severely injures him . In the final battle of the series, Double's Super Mode is powerful enough that he can combine the Xtreme and Prism Memories' Maximum Drives without ill effect . Also, the Fang Memory drives the user dangerously feral, but Philip was able to get control of it in one episode.
                      • Kamen Rider OOO: This time, the suit changes in thirds! Three of a kind gets you a Set Bonus, but side effects may include injury and insanity. The Super Mode comes with an even bigger risk: much like Blade King, OOO Putotyra takes the user one step closer to becoming more like the monsters whose essence powers it. Also, its first few uses make it so uncontrollable that Eiji has lost the ability to tell friend from foe and attacked his teammates. Unfortunately, it has the tendency to activate on its own.
                      • Kamen Rider Gaim: A character who has made a Face–Heel Turn and gone off the deep end is given a Super Mode capable of keeping up with that of the hero. The problem is, it drains the life of the user, and the inventor told him point blank that using it would probably kill him. (In practice, its power level turns out to be as advertised, but whenever it sucks more energy from the user, the user is wracked with enough pain to barely able to stand, let alone fight. If not for the fact that the hero didn't want to harm him, using it would probably get him killed by an opponent, even a weaker one, before the life drain became fatal.) Oh, and the hero's super mode makes him more like the monsters, but this doesn't seem to come with any lack of control or turning into a monsterous form like in OOO.
                      • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: If you haven't had the compatibility surgery, trying use a Gamer Driver at all will wreak havoc on your body. Meanwhile, Proto Gashats (basically, the Super Prototype of the Transformation Trinket, comes with powers the main ones don't have) harm the user a little more each time "fortunately," the Big Bad creates a Super Mode that lacks the side effect and heals him from his past uses of his normal mode. Also, Drago Knight Hunter Z is an emergency weapon for when the risk of going berserk is not as bad as whatever is already going on. However, the secret to controlling it is that it's based on a four-player co-op game each of the Riders is supposed to wear part of the armor.
                      • Kamen Rider Build: The Blizzard Knuckle amps up your attacks with ice power. It can be used to transform, if you don't mind dying. Also, there's an upgrade that can be applied to any hero or villain using the Hazard Trigger that increases your strength at the cost of dying if you are defeated in your new form. Major characters have been lost to both of these. Speaking of the Hazard Trigger, its "makes the user go insane" factor is no joke. It takes full control of Sento and drives him to kill with its first use. The other insanity-inducing power-ups, including this very series' Sclash Driver, are something that never drives the user as nuts as originally expected and is controllable in the end, but Hazard will turn you into a merciless killer and remains a weapon of last resort for a long time. (Eventually, new armor that can control it is created.)
                        • To further elaborate on the danger of Hazard Trigger, it gets more power out of the emotion-based Rider system by overstimulating the user's brain, which inevitably ends in a state of mindless rage in a matter of minutes.
                        • On a lesser example, magic could be used as part of a ritual to save someone who was mortally wounded, or even allow a barren woman to conceive a child, but this required another life to be sacrificed to sustain the life that was being saved.
                        • The Dark Curse (the spell which kicks off the events of the series) is one of only a few reliable ways of traveling between worlds. However, even most of the villains in the Enchanted Forest are too afraid to use it since activating it requires killing the person you love the most. Regina's desire for revenge on Snow White pushes her to the point of using the spell in the flashbacks of the first couple episodes. This is something of a variant because, rather than being dangerous for the user, it's dangerous for those around them however, it may still count as Maleficent implies that the actions necessarily will result in permanent psychological damage.
                        • There's also the time spell Zelina creates in the Season 3 finale. Magic users in Oz discovered the secret to traveling through time, but repressed the knowledge because of how dangerous it was (when Emma and Hook inadvertently use it, they nearly pull a Marty McFly and prevent Snow and Charming from meeting this could have caused Emma, and quite possibly all of Storybrooke, to cease to exist had they not rectified the situation). Like her sister, Zelina's desire for revenge pushed her to take such action.
                        • Subverted in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Enterprise Incident", where Spock appears to kill Kirk using a powerful Vulcan technique called the "Vulcan Death Grip". In reality, this was part of a plan devised by Kirk, Spock, and Bones to infiltrate the Romulan ship, which involved Spock becoming a Fake Defector Spock actually only used a more intense version of the more familiar Vulcan Nerve Pinch to render Kirk unconscious and make his vital signs undetectable, claiming he had killed him to win the Commander's respect. There was actually no such thing as a "Vulcan Death Grip". (They were counting on the Commander to not know that, as Kirk later told Nurse Chapel.)
                        • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The First Duty" involves a maneuver called the Kolvoord Starburst, which involves five ships flying at each other, then opening their plasma vents and evading at the last moment. Done correctly, their engines ignite the plasma and the resulting trail forms a star with a burst from the center. Done incorrectly, you get one or more exploded ships. The last time it was attempted a century earlier, all five cadets were killed. Turns out it was attempted again, and once again it ended in a crash four of the cadets managed to get out this time, but there was still one fatality.
                        • There's also warp speed saucer separation. This is because the moment the saucer leaves the stardrive it immediately starts losing speed. If they don't pull the stardrive away in time, they would crash.
                        • Ultraman Zero's most powerful form, Shining Zero, is extremely powerful as it can warp reality, reverse and control time and space, vaporize spirits and non-corporeal beings, and even undo black holes, but it also puts a lot of strain on Zero, burning through his stamina in seconds and forces him to rest after a single use.
                        • Ultraman Z: The D4 Ray is a powerful beam capable of vaporizing entire hordes of Kaiju and leveling city blocks, but it endangers its users and can leave dangerous dimensional cracks that if unchecked will eventually destroy the planet itself.
                        • Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy: Ultimate Shining Zero in addition to being Awesome, but Impractical has all the drawbacks of Shining Zero Up to Eleven. As such when Zero tries to fight Tartarus with it, he ends up defeated quickly as his energy runs out after a single Beam-O-War with Tartarus.
                        • A fair few wrestling moves involve both the opponent and/or the wrestler themselves landing on the ground, with the victim of a given move sometimes landing on their head Suffice it to say that even accounting for Kayfabe, wrestling is extremely dangerous.
                          • Many regular folks (mostly kids) who haven't received proper training have tried out wrestling moves on each other and either seriously injured or killed the unlucky recipient, and as a result the bigger companies have actively shunned "backyard wrestling" in all its forms.
                          • Speaking of the piledriver, an actual piledriver (not the tombstone version that the Brothers of Destruction use - that variant is ironically a lot safer to perform and receive) is something that WWE superstars haven't been allowed to use for over a decade due to Owen Hart using the move on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, giving him the neck injury that would eventually end his career (no offense to Owen). Come 2013, the fact that CM Punk used it at all, let alone on John Cena (who's had a history of neck problems), upped the "Holy Shit!" Quotient of the match they were in. Said match is now considered one of the best TV matches in RAW history.
                            • Speaking of the piledriver some more, there's an even more devastating variation of it known as Kudo Driver, the Vertebreaker to you WWE fans, considered one of the most dangerous moves in all of wrestling. It's like a piledriver except, instead of holding your opponent upside-down in front of you by their torso, you hold them upside-down behind you by their arms, with the two of you back-to-back. This means their arms are restrained and there's no way to use your legs to cushion the impact. Garbage Wrestler promotion FMW's second biggest star Megumi Kudo invented it, where it was still one of the tamer ways to end a match there. Unsurprisingly, WWE banned it in 2003, but it's still used by wrestlers in other, more reckless promotions, such as by Mariposa on Lucha Underground.
                            • Booker T's Harlem Hangover (a top-rope flipping Guillotine Legdrop) combined the wear and tear of aerial moves and legdrops. Back problems caused him to abandon the move after only a few years of use.
                            • banning the piledriver and its many derivatives is a stock plot in professional wrestling, especially in Memphis during the territorial era and Mexico City even after the territories fell. In fact the banning of the move is why there are so many derivatives of it, though just as common is the heel simply sneaking the move behind the referee's back (Paul Orndorff was especially notorious for doing it, Ricky Morton the most famous victim).
                            • At the 2007 Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton faced each other in a title match where Michaels would get disqualified if he used his finisher, the Sweet Chin Music. To even up the odds, however, Orton's championship would go to Michaels if he got himself intentionally disqualified or counted out. Orton won the match due to Michaels getting distracted trying to use the move but stopping himself, but then used it on him after the match was over.
                            • In 2008, Vickie Guerrero banned The Undertaker's then-recently-added submission move Hell's Gate. Her reasoning was due to it causing superstars to get injured and cough up blood. She would strip Undertaker of his World Heavyweight Championship for creating it in the first place, and the ban wouldn't get lifted until over a year later by Teddy Long.
                            • In 2011, Vickie would strike once again, this time banning Edge's spear briefly, and firing him for using it. One week later, Teddy Long once again lifted the ban and reinstated Edge.
                            • In 2012, after Sheamus accidentally hit Ricardo Rodriguez with a brogue kick instead of intended target Alberto Del Rio, Del Rio and David Otunga tried to push general manager Booker T to ban the move. Booker briefly banned it while investigating whether or not to ban it permanently, but shortly after pointed out that they should understand the risks involved in pro wrestling, and lifted the ban on the move.
                            • This is because the first Ganso Bomb was, in fact, an accident. Around eight minutes into Misawa and Kawada's January 1999 title match, Kawada delivered a spinning backfist to the back of Misawa's head with such force that he broke his right forearm and wrist. While Kawada continued to wrestle for fifteen minutes (he was booked to win the match, but he vacated the title the next night due to the injury), he was unable to lift Misawa all the way for a powerbomb, and the ganso bomb was an improvised solution.
                            • Pili Fantasy: War of Dragons: Learning the Tenth Bodhisattva Seal causes the practitioner to die seven days later as their internal organs are crushed within. This is incredibly inconvenient (aside from the obvious reasons) because it is the only way to save someone from the delayed death effects of the Illusory Fist attack. And a meat shield who will die is needed in front of the person they intend to save, at that.
                            • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Josephine has a special technique that transforms her into ice, constantly generates electricity, and boosts her other abilities by a significant degree. It's so powerful that, were she to use it, she'd likely die from the strain.
                            • The barra vasca style of javelin throwing. Originally stemming from a Basque martial art, it is basically throwing the javelin as if it was a discus. The barra vasca is an immensely effective style, and a new world record was immediately made. The Finnish javelineers got enthused about this style and pushed it Up to Eleven by soaking their throwing hands in soapy water, inventing the "soap style" with which the javelin flew well over 95 m. Needless to say, the accuracy of barra vasca style is appalling, and only some 10% of the throws ever got in the sector &mdash some throws even landing in the grandstand, endangering the spectators. The style was explicitly prohibited beginning with the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.
                            • Amusingly, many then standard pro wrestling moves such as any an all elbow strikes, headbutts and kneeing the heads of downed opponents were quickly outlawed in Shooto's formative years. There was an ongoing debate regarding punching the back of the head for fourteen years before it was officially banned too. In the wider mixed martial arts community branching out from Shooto, the debate is over whether to ban ankle locks or not. The fact that applying an ankle lock is a good way to be put in one is the only reason why debates exist.
                            • Fans of Japanese MMA are often surprised to learn soccer kicks, among the most effective and reliable fight ending tactics, are banned almost everywhere outside of Japan.
                            • Within elite gymnastics, there are a number of moves which are banned.
                              • On floor excercise, all roll-out somersaults note save for the simple dive roll, which is so easy it almost never appears in elite floor routines anyway are banned. These skills were banned for women in the 1980s after Russian star gymnast Elena Mukhina was paralyzed attempting one such skill the 2017 code of points also banned these skills for men.
                              • On women's uneven bars, all skills that involve standing on the bars, which were at one time relatively common, are now banned. Notable skills in this category include the Korbut Flip note a backflip from standing on the high bar , the Layout Backwards dismount note a backflip over the low bar from standing on the high bar , and the Mukhina Salto note a Korbut Flip with a full twist . The reason for banning these skills appears to be partly for aesthetic reasons note stepping up onto the bar often breaks the flow and rhythm of a bar routine much simpler and less risky skills, like the low-to-high jump, have been banned for this reason and partly because of safety concerns.
                              • In 1988, Julissa Gomez was performing a Yurchenko vault (a vault with a round-off entry) when her foot missed the springboard, which pulled her body downwards so that instead of going over the vaulting horse, she crashed headfirst into it, breaking her neck and leaving her paralyzed (she would die a few years later of complications from the injury). Following her accident, the international gymnastics board ruled that a "safety collar" mat must be placed around the springboard for any vault with a roundoff entry to prevent exactly this potential mishap note the safety collar doesn't give as good a rebound as the springboard, but it keeps the missed foot level with the springboard instead of creating the downward pull the subsequent vault would probably be very low in flight, but it would get the gymnast over the table . If a roundoff entry vault is performed without the safety collar, it's an automatic zero. An unusual example in that they didn't fully ban the skill, but rather banned doing it without the proper safety equipment in place. (Other changes to the equipment were also introduced.)
                              • Also in women's gymnastics, the Produnova, known as the vault of death, has a reputation for its high risk of injury. Unfortunately, because of its high value, some gymnasts will attempt it even if they know they can't get it around, which means they have a much smaller margin of error to avoid a catastrophic landing should something go wrong. Rather than ban the skill itself, the governing body decided to effectively ban people from doing it unless they can do it right &mdash as of the 2017 Code of Points, if the gymnast "lands on the feet [and] any other body part simultaneously", she only gets credit for a single front tuck (almost two and a half points lower in difficulty) in addition to getting the execution deductions for a fall, which makes it not worth doing the skill at all. This way, a gymnast who can actually land the skill consistently will still be able to do it, but a gymnast who can't won't put themselves in danger trying to do it anyway. This is another case where safety is likely only part of the reason, as there were also concerns about gymnasts exploiting the value of the vault to get into finals, even with a fall, over gymnasts doing better but simpler vaults.
                                • Its Yurchenko equivalent, the Yurchenko double back (a roundoff entry onto the springboard, followed by two flips in the air before landing), is considered even more dangerous. While the "Prod" could very conceivably result in spinal injuries if missing enough rotation, the chance is lower than in the double back note due to the mechanics of forward vs. backward rotation, an under-rotated front flip is more likely to end up with a gymnast landing flat on her back, which isn't especially likely to cause injury, but an under-rotated backflip has a good chance of landing on the head . There is as yet no official ban on the skill at the international level (probably in part because it has yet to be attempted in women's competition), but Marta Karolyi effectively banned the skill for USA gymnasts during her tenure as National Team coordinator: the first time she saw McKayla Maroney (widely considered the greatest vaulter in the history of the sport) attempt the skill at a national team training camp note almost certainly onto something much more forgiving than a regulation landing mat Karolyi very firmly told her to "Never do that again!!" and then chided Maroney's coach for allowing it, because she was so afraid that Maroney could be catastrophically injured. That pretty much precluded anyone else from trying it, at least until Karolyi retired following the 2016 Olympics (much to Maroney's disappointment, since she wanted to be the first to compete it internationally on the women's side). Apparently, however, the moratorium ended with Karolyi's retirement &mdash Simone Biles, the only gymnast in recent history who might match Maroney on vaulting, has been seriously training one in 2020 and 2021.
                                • The Backflip is a well-known example of a banned element within the sport, being outlawed in 1976 shortly after Terry Kubicka became the first and only skater to legally land the trick in competition. The trick's notoriety is largely thanks to Surya Bonaly, who after dropping out of medal contention at the 1998 Olympics, performed a backflip and landed on one foot as a crowd-pleaser, penalty be damned. The Backflip overall is a bit of an unusual example of this trope, as it isn't especially dangerous and it remains a staple of exhibition shows to this day most likely it was banned for being a highly atypical type of jump that also isn't exactly elegant to pull off in the middle of a routine.
                                • In Pair Skating, all lifts must be hand-to-hand, arm, body, or upper leg. This subsequently outlaws a range of dangerous lifts, such as those that involve the Lady balancing precariously on the Man's head, shoulders or back, as well as 'Headbangers' that involve swinging the Lady so that her head passes uncomfortably close to the ice. Like Backflips, these elements remain common sights at exhibition shows, but their risks keep them out of competitions.
                                • Blue Rose has Sorcery, generally banned in most kingdoms, to the point that legalizing the study of sorcery in Aldis has been greatly controversial. While arcana are generally legal in Aldis, sorcery allows an adept to directly harm, control or invade other individuals, mentally or physically, as well as create undead or summon darkfiends, and are considered crimes against all sentient beings. Trying to classify sorcery is tricky, as few arcana are clearly sorcery, and even those that are can be wielded for a period of time without any real damage to the adept if he is sufficiently resilient. Unfortunately, sooner or later, The Corruption takes hold, and the adept will either fall into the arms of Shadow, die a painful death and become transformed into a walking corpse, or try to cleanse himself even as corruption makes it harder. Many people who use sorcery are scrupulous enough to embrace the corruption that comes with it, but the temptation is always there for any arcanist, even those with the best intentions.
                                • Changeling: The Lost features Goblin Contracts, magical powers that are cheaper to buy than standard Contracts and have nice effects (open all the locks on a building, see the future, drain an enemy of all their Glamour). The catch? Well, they also have side effects that will likely screw you over (respectively, your locks fail the first time someone tries to break in, you go mad, you lose all your Glamour).
                                  • One particular Goblin Contract is "Call the Hunt" which has no real catch because it is its own catch it calls forth a hunting party of True Fae. If the changeling who uses it doesn't run away fast enough, he or she will likely be killed or, even worse, dragged back to Arcadia to be tortured once again.
                                  • There are also Exploits, incredibly unsubtle delays of power that can do anything from resurrecting the dead to causing rains of fire to kill somebody so hard, it erases their last action from existence. Every one of them requires a Compromise roll, which may not destroy the Cover, but can certainly damage it.
                                  • There exist two magic staffs in the game, the staff of power and the artifact staff of the magi which, while very powerful items in themselves, can be broken for a "retributive strike" which releases every spell inside the staff at once, centered on the caster. Given that the Squishy Wizard is the norm, anyone attempting this strategy had better hope that the 50% chance of getting sent to another dimension comes up.
                                  • There also exists an incredibly powerful dispel spell called Mordenkainen's Disjunction, which can destroy just about any magic effect, even those created by gods. If it is used for this purpose, however, the caster may permanently lose all his magic abilities and/or anger the effect's creator. And he is no slouch, believe us.
                                  • Complete Arcane has a 9th-level wu jen spell called Transcend Mortality, which you're not supposed to use except in desperation. It basically makes the caster Nigh-Invulnerable (and its casting is an immediate action, meaning it can be invoked right before an attack hits) and last for about one combat. However, once it expires, the caster instantly die and is disintegrated.
                                  • This is the point of the corrupt spells in the Book of Vile Darkness (and their Exalted Deeds counterparts, sanctified spells). They are notably more powerful than other spells of their level &mdash for instance, run-of-the-mill Blindness is a second-level spell, while Seething Eyebane, a corrupt first-level spell, causes the target's eyes to spew acid and explode &mdash but there is always a tax, sometimes permanent, on one or more ability scores. The most powerful of these spells is harmful even to prepare and has a very good chance of rendering the caster dead and/or permanently insane (if he wasn't already).
                                  • Something else mentioned in the Book of Vile Darkness is the Artifact of Doom called the Death Rock. Artifacts are always dangerous, but this one is worse than most its history does say that its owners tend to obtain great power and are able to conquer empires, but tend to lose the power at the worst possible time, and are usually overthrown in violent insurrections by their enemies. Here's how the Rock works: It gives the user incredible dark powers of necromancy, giving him the potential to raise vast undead armies. But it has a terrible cost once a week, it demands the user slay his closest friend or loved one, and claim him or her as a zombie slave. If he is unwilling or unable to do so, the Rock and all powers associated with it vanish. Clearly, all former users never realize that if you are willing to do this, you're going to run out of friends and loved ones very quickly (a lot of them will likely stop being your friends before you can use them as the required sacrifices) and be unable to make any new ones on the other hand, you'll probably make hated enemies very fast.
                                  • Prior to the 2nd Edition, Orcus was murdered by Kiaransalee, the drow goddess of undeath, who usurped his realm in the Abyss. However, in the Dead Gods module, he Came Back Wrong, becoming an undead demon named Tenebrous, possessing a spell called the Last Word that was so lethal, even gods were afraid to use it. This didn't stop Orcus, however. Despite the fact that it was literally consuming him from within, he used it in his campaign to restore himself to life killing several gods using it in order to reclaim his Wand, and regain his domain in the Abyss. (He succeeding in doing all that, but fortunately, failed in his ultimate goal: becoming a true god.) After gaining back his true form and position, he lost the ability to use it. (The gods have since taken steps to prevent anyone from using it again.)
                                  • From 3.5 edition's Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords, the Shadow Sun Ninja Prestige Class is a class of good-aligned warriors that accept the dark aspect within themselves and not reject it, allowing them to use the power of both sides. The final ability they learn, Balance of Light and Dark, lets their inner darkness run rampant, transforming themselves into a shadow form with a number of special immunities, causes negative energy spells used on them to heal instead of harm them, a bonus to Hide skill checks, and attacks made when in areas of darkness or shadowy illumination. It also grants the Shadow Sun Ninja the option to inflict negative levels with no saves allowed and heal a small amount of damage with every successful unarmed attack they make. note Improved Unarmed Strike is a prerequisite feat for the Prestige Class However, for every negative level the Shadow Sun Ninja inflicts this way, they also take a point of Constitution damage once their transformation ends. Low on Hit Points at the end of the shadow form? A character can drop dead from the sudden HP reduction due to CON lost. But wait, it gets worse. Hit 0 CON? The character doesn't even return back to normal, instead dissipating into an inky dark cloud. That starts a 1 to 4-day random time limit to bring the Shadow Sun Ninja back to life, and only the spell True Resurrection will work. Run out of time and then the Shadow Sun Ninja's body reforms as an NPC vampire, shifts immediately from whatever good alignment they were straight down to a champion of evil, has all of the Prestige Classes abilities, oh and they don't have the normal vampire's vulnerability to sunlight. Once this occurs, slaying the vampire still won't let the Shadow Sun Ninja be returned to life with any spell. The only way to save them at that point, is for their allies travel to the Iron City of Dis located in Hell and free their trapped soul being imprisoned there, which will instantly slay their vampire self if it still exists and restore them to life.
                                  • The Wish spell in 5e works like one of these use it to cast any spell of 8th level or lower? No problem. Use it to cast a 9th level spell or to cause any intended effect that the user wishes (and the DM deems appropriate)? This is the tricky bit. After using Wish in the latter way, any spell you cast until a long rest will do an unavoidable d10 of necrotic damage, as well as reducing your Strength stat to 3 for 2d4 days. The real kicker comes with the 33% chance that the player who cast Wish will never be able to cast it ever again, throughout the fullness of that character's existence.
                                  • Another 5e example: Evocation Wizards can "overcharge" their spells to maximize their effectiveness. Doing so once is harmless. Doing it again does a fair bit of damage, which increases drastically from that point on.
                                  • The Infernal Exalted get a good number of these, mainly because they're learning Charms that make them more like their Yozi patrons. Learn a Charm that gives you increased authority over lesser demons? That means greater demons are allowed to walk all over you. Learn a Charm that perfectly blocks Social attacks? That's because it turns all noise into wretched discord that makes you want to kill. Learn a Charm that allows you to communicate telepathically? Shame you can now only vocalize laughter for the rest of your days.
                                  • The game has a bunch of cards that are effectively this. You can't miss them, because they all inform you that you lose the game after a certain amount of time or if a certain condition is met. For example, Final Fortune allows the user a free turn at a cost and color that doesn't normally get it, but the user loses the game at the end of that turn if they haven't won yet. Lich and its variants protect you from dying through life loss, but kill you under other circumstances, such as an empty graveyard.
                                  • For Black, there is no technique dangerous or forbidden enough not to use. In story terms, it is the color that regularly makes use of death magic, bargains with demonic beings for power and paying the price for that power without a second thought Mechanically, many cards require either a payment of life points or the sacrifice of a creature upfront as payment, or repeated payments over time for upkeep. The logical extreme of this mentality is the "Suicide Black" deck, an aggressive deck that uses cards like Carnophage which are powerful for their mana cost but possess drawbacks that will kill you if you don't win quickly. It's referred to as "tearing your arm off and beating your opponents to death with it before you bleed out".
                                  • The best definition of this trope is the card Demonic Pact. Each turn, you must apply one of its effects, but you can't use the same one twice. These effects are draining a sizable chunk of someone's life, making an opponent discard 2 cards, draw 2 cards yourself and losing the game.
                                  • At least there are ways to turn that one to your advantage, like Prime Material Dragon. And the even worse card is Lucky Punch. This is also a Continuous Trap, and it lets you toss three coins once per turn when your opponent attacks. Get three heads, and you get to draw three times. (That's only a 12.5% chance, by the way.) Here's the catch: If you get three tails, the card is destroyed, and if it's destroyed in ANY way, you lose 6,000 Life Points. (Because it isn't considered damage or a Life Point payment, there's really no way to avoid it or convert it to Life Point gain.)
                                  • Nova blasts from BIONICLE, during which the Toa unleash all of their Elemental Powers in a massive explosion. Not only does it leave the Toa with no power left, depending on the type of element it can also easily kill anyone in a close (or even not-so-close) vicinity. As the Toa adhere to a strict Thou Shalt Not Kill code, the idea of a nova blast is unthinkable, and thus it is the ultimate Godzilla Threshold for a Toa. Only two nova blasts were ever initiated throughout the story's length: the first by Gali Nuva sank an entire island, and was only activated as a last resort to defeat a powerful Makuta after the island's evacuation while the second by Jaller was being charged up as a desperate attempt to buy one of his teammates enough time to undo the Great Spirit's death and consequent collapse of the universe, even if he would incinerate the rest of his team in the process (fortunately, this situation resolved itself before he actually had to release the blast, and he just barely got it under control before releasing it and consequently taking all of Metru Nui with him after his team was teleported there ).
                                  • In the Monster High franchise, Frankie weaponizing her body's electricity by swapping the bolts on her neck is shown to be this, as when she does it on her grandfather's rampaging robot she consequently suffers a Heroic RRoD. She gets better through The Power of Love.
                                  • The Chaos Dunk from Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is this for basketball, with the original one wiping out millions of people and getting B-Ball outlawed and is implied to kill Barkley and Balthios when Barkley uses it to kill Shadow Barkley
                                  • Battle Garegga lets you "reprogram" autofire by manually tapping the fire button for two seconds to "record" a new autofire pattern, and you can raise the rate of autofire this way. However, raising the autofire rate will multiply the rate at which rank increases over time, as explained here, and the rank increase rate cannot be reduced once you raise it, meaning that attempting to give yourself faster autofire in the early game can spell disaster in the form of ridiculously aggressive enemies later on. It does have its applications, but those are left to advanced players who seriously know what they're doing.
                                  • The Binding of Isaac allows players to pick up many upgrades and abilities at random, some of which are very, very powerful. But there are many with heavy, even potentially crippling costs.
                                    • Ipecac changes one's tears into a strong explosive attack, at the cost of making them charge slowly and be able to hurt the player. In an added bit of irony, range up effects or upgrades actually make Ipecac harder to use, as maxed range makes the projectile detonate far from the player. This means they'd need to hug the opposite wall just to have a hope of hitting a target in the middle of the room.
                                    • The Suicide Bomber vest allows the player to use unlimited explosions, with the downside being they also take the damage. Because, you know, they are detonating bombs strapped to their chest.
                                    • The Devil Rooms usually hold a number of power items, and while they vary from room to room they're relatively consistent. The problem comes from having to sacrifice heart containers to receive them. Not hearts, heart CONTAINERS. The player literally sacrifices their life for power. And that's not counting many of the items they get from the devil rooms have their own disadvantages.
                                    • In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, it's stated that if anyone outside the Belmont clan uses the true power of the Vampire Killer, it will drain their life force and eventually kill them if they overuse it. When the whip's power is unlocked in game, it can be used as much as you want with no negative consequences gameplay-wise, but it's likely that it would simply take longer than the few days the game seems to take place over for it to take a serious toll.
                                    • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has the Dominus glyphs Dominus Anger and Dominus Hatred are direct attack glyphs that are incredibly powerful but take off a solid chunk of your HP, while Dominus Agony massively increases all your stats at the cost of constant damage over time. Unless you use a healing item at some point, prolonged uses of these glyphs by themselves will kill you. The Dominus glyph union outright kills everything in the area &mdash Shanoa included. ..unless you're using it at the end of the final battle, when Albus lets his soul be the sacrifice instead.
                                    • Lugonu's self-banish causes permanent damage to HP and MP.
                                    • As does Borgnjor's Revivification.
                                    • Most necromancy is partially cast from HP.
                                    • High-level summonings can break free and turn hostile at random, and those that can't will instead inflict nasty stuff like sickness and intelligence loss on the caster.
                                    • Downplayed with mid-level summonings, most of which have a chance to be hostile.
                                    • The Bosmer have a much more well-documented technique known as the Wild Hunt where they call upon the power of their patron god to turn into horrifying, berserk creatures that kill and consume everything in their path. However, the transformation is permanent, and changed Bosmer are so consumed by their hunger that they will literally eat each other if no prey is readily within reach, meaning that Wild Hunts usually end with a "cannabalistic orgy" (as described by one In-Universe writer) once the affected Bosmer kill and consume every other animal or person they can find. Bosmer are deeply ashamed of using the Wild Hunt, to the point that it is only used in the most dire of circumstances and there are only two documented instances of it happening in recent Tameriel history to its credit, however, both uses achieved the desired goals.
                                    • Final Fantasy IV:
                                      • The sage Tellah is seeking the ultimate magic spell, Meteo(r), so that he can seek revenge on Golbez (the game's Big Bad) for the death of his daughter Anna. Sure enough, Tellah eventually learns the spell from his repressed memory, and uses it against Golbez, killing himself in the process. Other, more youthful mages, as well as an eternal precursor, can cast it without side effects. In gameplay terms, this means that he never ends up getting the required amount of MP to cast it.
                                      • In the DS remake, thanks to the New Game+ mode the game has, you can easily subvert this: while the items to raise your max MP wouldn't normally be accessible until after his death, they can be carried over from your previous playthrough and indeed, using one on Tellah will allow him to cast Meteor as many times as you want with no ill effects.
                                      • Louisoix uses a powerful imprisoning spell that is fueled by the aetheric power of numerous prayers in an attempt to rebind the Primal Bahamut before he causes more damage throughout Eorzea. However, the spell is so powerful, it drains every last ounce of aether within the caster using it and while Louisoix didn't use the spell fully as Bahamut broke free, it was enough to end his life as he stopped Bahamut. Papalymo, one of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, does this to seal away a brand new Primal temporarily, dying in the process. It ends up being a Senseless Sacrifice since the new Primal, Shinryu, ends up escaping anyway to the point that Omega has to be used.
                                      • In the game's lore, White and Black Magic are treated as this. The overuse of both schools of magic during the War of the Magi led to the Sixth Umbral Calamity, seriously draining the planet of its aether in the process. As such, both White and Black Magic are considered forbidden arts under Eorzean law, with very few exceptions ever allowed. The Padjal of the Black Shroud can safely use White Magic, since they are keyed into the elementals, and any who practice White Magic without their blessing is considered an outlaw. Black Magic, meanwhile, is outright banned because those who practice it often cause widespread death in their wake, with the Player Character being given a pass because they are the Warrior of Light. The disastrous results of the abuse of White and Black Magic also gave way to Red Magic, which is a more Downplayed take on this trope: instead of drawing aether from the planet, Red Magic uses the aether in the caster's body. Overuse of Red Magic won't endanger the planet, but it can imperil the user's life, hence the Red Mage's use of special crystals to amplify the effects of smaller amounts of aether.
                                      • Y'Shtola has this with the Flow spell. It's a dangerous teleportation spell where the user and anyone caught in it is scattered into the aether. It's not until midway through Heavensward that she's returned from it, but now having Prophet Eyes. Thancred ended up Naked on Arrival in the Dravanian Forelands, though now he can no longer use even the basic spells like Teleport or Return, rendering him an utter muggle. Minfillia ran into the Flow spell so she could become one with Hydaleyn. The second time she used it was in Shadowbringers to escape Vauthry's general, Ran'jit, and it was only thanks to Emet-Selch pulling her out of the aether this time that a crisis was averted.
                                      • The Ruby Weapon in Shadowbringers has "Oversoul". When activated, Oversoul grants the Ruby Weapon a power boost on the scale of a primal, but at terrible cost: the pilot is absorbed into the Weapon's core and forcibly transformed into a clone of whoever's fighting data is in the Weapon's data banks &mdash in the case of the Ruby Weapon, Nael van Darnus. And what's worse. the pilot was one of Gaius Belsar'sadopted children. Throughout the Sorrow of Werlyt storyline, the pilots of the Weapons know that piloting one win or lose is a suicide mission against the Warrior of Light, especially since the pilots are Gaius Belsar's adopted sons and daughters.
                                      • In gameplay, there is the invincibility abilities used by the Dark Knight and Gunbreaker tank jobs, "Living Dead" and "Superbolide" (respectively). "Living Dead" allows a Dark Knight to survive otherwise fatal damage with just 1 HP while granting them invulnerability, but if their HP is not completely recovered within ten seconds of entering this "Walking Dead" state, they will die automatically. "Superbolide", meanwhile, grants immediate invincibility for eight seconds, albeit at the cost of reducing their HP to 1, leaving them in a very vulnerable state if they cannot get healed quickly.
                                      • Channeling the darkness is this for most characters. Riku and Terra pay heavy prices for its uncontrolled usage, getting them both possessed by the Big Bad in the first Kingdom Hearts game and Birth By Sleep, respectively. However, in the sequels, Riku manages to tame the power.
                                      • In addition, many of the Kingdom Hearts villains themselves cannot control the darkness, with some such as the Tremaine family and Hans paying the ultimate price for using it. Maleficent actually appears to Hades and cautions him not to delve too deep at one point in the story. Ironically, she delves too deep and is slain at the hands of Sora and company (though it should be noted that she had her heart forcibly opened to the darkness by Ansem she follows her own advice). Hades, while defeated in the Hades Cup, does not die, being a god, and reappears in Kingdom Hearts II not at all worse for wear.
                                      • The spell Zettaflare shows up. Previously in Bravely Default, it had only ever been used by a final boss being fueled by the power of an evil butterfly. Donald Duck can cast it on a spur of the moment at the cost of knocking himself unconscious for a while. Goofy indicates he's done this before.
                                      • In those games, the Dark Chips are extremely powerful, but that permanently reduce your max HP by 1 with each use. Also, each use drops your Karma Meter, and enough uses will disable Soul Unisons.
                                      • Battle Network 5 also has Chaos Soul Unisons, which allows you to use a Dark Chip as your charged shot for one round of battle without any of the permanent negative side effects. However, there is a noticeable chance (game-breaking glitch notwithstanding) that the charged shot will fail and backfire, instead summoning an invincible shadow copy of Mega Man to join the enemies and attempt to beat the crap out of you. Also doubles as Difficult, but Awesome, as enough use of Chaos Unison trains the player to be able to use it multiple times in succession without being knocked out of it without Pause Scumming, meaning the player can continue charging even if they're being pressed. Shadow Chaos, Knight Chaos, and Magnet Chaos are particularly deadly upon being mastered.
                                      • There's also the Darkova spell, which transforms the user into a massive, powerful Cerberus. The former king of Titania used it once to try and fend off enemy forces and went mad with power, ravaging Titania for seven days until he was finally slain by his son. Ingway finds out how to use it, and it similarly comes back to bite him as soon as he does.
                                      • And then there's the move "Struggle," which is a rather weak move that damages the user by 1/4th of its max HP. Chances are, you're only using it four times before you die. And that's a base case scenario considering that it's a move that only becomes available when all your other moves are out of PP, odds are it'll do even less than that.
                                      • Focus Punch is extremely powerful but at two costs. 1. It takes one turn to power up, leaving it open for attack. 2. If your pokemon is hit while powering up it "loses focus" and can't attack.
                                      • And, of course, the classic Hyper Beam and all of its variations. It has 150 base power but also renders the user immobile on the next turn.
                                      • There's also Curse and Belly Drum, where the user sacrifices half its total HP in order to have the foe lose 1/4 HP every turn or maximize its Attack, respectively. If the user uses the former when they have less than half HP left, they faint the latter fails when the user is at half HP or less.
                                      • As of Generation V, there's a move called Final Gambit, which causes the user to deal its current HP to the enemy at the cost of fainting. It's also commonly suggested as the best move for Shedinja.
                                      • And then there's moves like Overheat and Close Combat, which, while powerful cause Stat drops to the user and leave them vulnerable to opposing attacks.
                                      • Similar to his anime counterpart, Shadow the Hedgehog can gain an extreme power boost whenever he removes the bracelets from his arms. Unlike the Sonic X version, however, it doesn't appear to drastically drain his energy. He only used this power once in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) to save himself, Rouge and Omega from Mephiles the Dark, who used two of the Chaos Emeralds to create an army of clones of himself.
                                      • Although not typically portrayed as such, Super transformations can be this, ESPECIALLY for those who aren't experienced with it. It grants the user invincibility, immeasurable physical and magical enhancement and the power of flight, but it's also tied directly to how many rings the character has on hand. If they burn through their rings, they de-transform and, due to thesituations in whichthe form is typically used, they're pretty much dead. Even when the environment doesn't present an immediate risk, using too much energy at once not only bleeds through the character's stock of rings insanely fast but leaves them on the brink of exhaustion before they even get the chance to de-transform. Shadowand Sonic have both experienced this and almost died anyway after neutralizing the threat at hand. Furthermore, characters such as Tails and Mecha Sonic are so inexperienced with Chaos power that they need not only the Chaos Emeralds, but a secondary source (In Tails' case, the Super Emeralds and in Mecha's case, the Master Emerald) to even transform in the first place.
                                      • Averted when, upon killing enough people with the eyelander, the Demoman becomes second in max health only to the Heavy and in speed to the Scout (or a Soldier with the Escape Plan at maximum effect).
                                      • A more appropriate example is the Equalizer. It's possible for a Soldier to do huge damage when wielding the melee weapon and at low health. Obviously while powerful, using the weapon this way is very risky, as a casual shot could kill the soldier. Oftentimes cornered soldiers with no rockets use this tactic as a last resort.
                                      • Similarly, the Escape Plan increases the Soldier's speed when wielded as the user's health decreases, allowing the wielder to catch up to a Scout when at less than 20% HP. It also applies a Damage-Increasing Debuff to the user when wielded that persists for a few seconds after being wielded.
                                      • A sillier example is the close combat Ullapool Caber. Is it a giant log that takes health of the user when you swing it? No. It's a stick grenade, that you whack people with. It only works once, and you sure as hell are going to feel it if you don't have any bonuses because it explodes in your face. Despite the fact that you are dead if you come across another enemy, it's quite deadly, and can be useful as a last resort or for OHK Os with a critical charge.
                                      • The Boston Basher for the scout is possibly his most powerful DPS weapon, having no damage penalty or crit penalty while being able to inflict bleed damage. However, any attacks that make absolutely no contact will instead hit you, inflicting full damage and bleed on you. On a crit, this can kill the wielder in one hit (although not instantly, but the bleed will do him in if he doesn't find a medkit). If combined with the Crit-a-Cola, this can turn the user into a whirlwind of pain, so long as they never miss.
                                      • The Conniver's Kunai was designed with this in mind it lowered the user's health so low that a glancing hit from any weapon was strong enough to kill the wielder. This is especially problematic because the class that uses it, the spy, is often in the midst of combat and very likely to get glanced even if the opponent doesn't know he exists. The perk comes that upon a successful backstab, the user gains all the health of the person he just killed. Skilled Kunai users can chainstab through an absurdly large amount of people that they can effectively tank sentries while this happens, which also helps that they also wipe out entire teams with this kind of a maneuver.
                                      • Exactly how forbidden to make it is left up to the player, though, and affects the outcome of the plot.
                                      • Joshua uses his Jesus Beam attacks to get himself and Neku out of a battle with a Taboo Noise. Though not dangerous in itself, he held back this power until this moment to conceal his identity as the Composer, and used this power in the sight of a Reaper, thereby drawing suspicion to himself.
                                      • Late in the story, Kitaniji orders all the Reapers to wear special "O-Pins", which Uzuki gleefully describes as granting "unchained power". Kariya points out that there's probably a good reason the chains are normally kept on. Subverted as Konishi managed to figure out, Kitaniji lied about what they do. There's no power boost at all, they're just part of his Assimilation Plot.
                                      • Hanekoma later proceeds to revive Minamimoto as a Taboo Noise He reveals this himself to the player in the secret reports .
                                      • In the Fate scenario of Fate/stay night, Saber comes under this limitation because using her Noble Phantasm requires all the mana she's currently holding to activate (and her flawed summoning means Shirou can't provide her with any), and she ends up facing at least three enemies that require &mdash or at least seem to require &mdash the use of it to defeat.
                                        • In Heaven's Feel, projection (more specifically, projection using Archer's arm) becomes this for Shirou. While it puts a strain on him in all three paths, this path specifically gives him a clear limit on usage, and overuse will kill him. Which it eventually does.
                                        • Furthermore, each Servant has a power known as the Broken Phantasm &mdash willingly breaking their Noble Phantasm. This renders the servant without their proof of heroism (which for many of them is their weapon) but also inflicts massive one-time damage on whoever the Phantasm is shattered on. Archer, who can create Noble Phantasm duplicates, routinely uses this technique to compensate for the fact that his duplicates are weaker than the real thing.
                                        • 8-Bit Theater:
                                          • HADOKEN. Although not considered forbidden, Black Mage is only able to cast that spell once a day, and it makes a cute little nuke-sized crater wherever he aims it.
                                          • Spells that drain the net amount of love from the universe with each use and require the sacrifice of orphans to gain in the first place tend to have a bit of a social stigma against them. Black Mage seems to find an excuse to use it nearly every day. but then again, this is Black Mage.
                                          • Also, the Ice-9 spell, which was purely theoretical until Red Mage used it to defeat Kary, the Fiend of Flames. No one had ever cast it up to that point because it would put everything in existence on ice. Thankfully, RM had a Bag of Holding which contained both Kary and the spell.
                                          • "No, you fool! Don't you realize if you initiate that attack, it will be the last thing you do. Fiesta smacks some sense into you."
                                          • There are several different levels of it in the Whateley Universe. Phase has a technique (using his disruption-light level on someone) that runs the risk of corrupting their Body Image Template if they are an Exemplar or Shifter, and turning them into something grotesque he avoids it on moral grounds. Fey has some spells powerful enough that the energy drain will destroy entire ecosystems around her, which is way worse.
                                          • Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra:
                                            • While it's not really forbidden, lightning redirection (a Firebending technique where you internalize lightning and shoot it in another direction) is extremely dangerous, to the point where even teachers of the move refuse to practice it with their students. First, you have to catch the lightning, which is just as dangerous as it sounds. While internalized, the lightning must be carefully controlled so it doesn't travel through vital organs. By the end of the series, only three characters know the technique, and only Iroh is skilled enough to avoid the dangers consistently.
                                            • Bloodbending, supposedly the ultimate technique of waterbending, which involves moving around the blood in a living body and making that body do whatever you want it to do. Like the Osmosian example above, it is shown that it is detrimental to the Waterbender's sanity, making them Ax-Crazy and power-driven. To elaborate, Hama was bent on getting revenge after discovering the technique, Katara almost lost herself while trying to avenge her mother, in which she almost lost control while mercilessly bloodbending the Fire Nation's Guards. Unlike the first two, it's apparently quite easy to learn, at least for a master it's mostly a matter of being willing to do it once you learn it's possible. Later on in The Legend of Korra, it's revealed that bloodbending has since been outlawed completely and for good reason, as it turned out a mob boss learned the technique and used it to effortlessly control people whenever he liked. Even more disturbingly, this is also the source of Amon's ability to remove someone's bending .
                                            • Energybending, a technique from before humanity first bent the elements, also carries the danger of mentally and spiritually destroying those who attempt to use it on others if their willpower isn't strong enough. This nearly happened to Aang when he used it on Ozai.
                                            • In another episode, Flash and Luthor get their minds swapped, and Luthor!Flash is able to run rings around the rest of the League on the Watchtower, in part because he's willing to use superspeed power tricks (such as vibrating objects enough to shatter them) that Flash normally avoids as too dangerous.
                                            • Since Tikki represents creation and Plagg represents destruction, combining the Ladybug and Chat Noir miraculouses is said to be able to allow the user to make literally anything happen - hence the Big Bad's desire for them. However, Master Fu says that there is an equal and opposite reaction from doing this, so even the most well-intentioned attempt will come at a very high price.
                                            • The Miraculous have an effect on the body of the user, so there are circumstances under which even 'proper' use can be unsafe. The damaged Peacock Miraculous takes an increasing physical toll on its user, and is implied to be the reason for Adrien's mother's coma. Also, when Marinette borrowed a large number of Miraculouses for one of her more complicated plans, she tries to take a step and nearly passes out even though they weren't active.
                                            • The most dangerous technique of all: The Kwamis using their power on their own. It turns out that the human partners are Power Limiters, and the most impressive uses of the heroes' and villains' powers are a very small fraction of what the Kwamis can do - indeed, the Kwamis trying their hardest to hold back as much as they can when using their powers still generates much greater effects than the most extreme feats of the Miraculous' holders. On one occasion, Plagg creates an expanding wave of destruction that causes everything it touches to begin to tear itself apart. He tells Ladybug to use her World-Healing Wave in a hurry, suggesting that even he can't stop it. Now do you think Master Fu is exaggerating when he blames Plagg for wiping out the dinosaurs?
                                            • In The Transformers, Elita One turned out to have the power to freeze time , but as Alpha Trion had warned her, using it drained her Life Energy to a near-fatal level.
                                            • Also in Transformers: Generation 1, Megatron has the ability to draw anti-matter from black holes and pretty much blow up all of his surroundings. It was used about twice in the Marvel comics, where it was explained he didn't often use it because he was liable to kill himself too.
                                            • G1 again, Windcharger can create magnetic fields capable of ripping apart even the strongest of metal structures. It burns him up very rapidly though.
                                            • In Transformers Cybertron, Vector Prime would greatly tax himself reversing time by a few minutes, and eventually die by using his time/space powers to get the team through the rift separating Gigantion from the normal universe.
                                            • Backfired with the destruction of HMS Invincible at Jutland. The Dangerous Forbidden Technique, in this case, was the bypassing of safety protocols designed to prevent flashdown of a detonation in a turret from reaching the magazines, and it was done to increase the rate of fire. But Invincible was pounding the crap out of the German SMS Lutzow, so why not? Why not, indeed. The mist that was hiding her cleared, just long enough for the critically damaged but afloat Lutzow note At the end of the battle, Lutzow was too badly damaged to withdraw and was scuttled. , along with a second German battlecruiser SMS Derfflinger, to get some solid hits in the right place, and Invincible was blown in two. At least one and possibly both of the other British battlecruisers lost that day went up for the same reason. The fact that British ships of World War I used more volatile gunpowder than their German counterparts didn't help, either.
                                              • Similarly, many tanks have manually- or power-operated doors separating the ammunition locker from the turret, to keep a strike that penetrates the locker, or an onboard fire, from cooking off shells and killing the crew. Sometimes these doors will be disabled or removed to increase the rate of fire, but it's obviously not an approved practice.
                                              • Though eight nations are declared to have nuclear weapons (and one is suspected) most nuclear powers refuse to consider using nuclear weapons unless someone else does first. Nowadays, the worry is more about the dangers of non-state actors (ie. terrorists) using them instead, which MAD is essentially powerless against.
                                              • Even nukes aren't necessarily as repellent as biological warfare. At least a nuclear weapon only destroys its targeted area, however horribly use of biological agents as weapons poses a very real risk of infecting everyone the contagion touches, be they enemy, ally, innocent bystanders, or one's own side.
                                              • Recreational drugs in general, actually. The more intense a drug's effects are, the more likely it is to cause harm if not moderated, along with the need for more strict moderation. And the more intense effects you experience, the more curious you'll get for even stronger experiences. Though just because an experience is weak doesn't mean the damage is light: air duster as an extreme example. Alcohol is an aversion, though: drinking more after getting buzzed actually decreases the euphoria and eventually can cause severe depression and rage.
                                              • Likewise nitrous oxide injection called ''Ha-Ha-Gerät'' in the Luftwaffe, which acts as a chemical turbocharger. It will boost the performance, but long periods of use will seriously damage the engine.
                                              • This is the effect of pushing the engine past its rated limits. What's on paper is what the manufacturer has safely determined the engine will go up to without dying sooner than how long it's expected to last. You could always push an engine harder, but doing so wears it out faster. Sometimes much faster, if the strain you put on the engine passes what its structural integrity can handle, causing it to tear itself apart or burst into flames.
                                              • In modern military aircraft, afterburners can certainly count in some cases. The way they work is by taking raw jet fuel from your tanks and spraying it directly into the VERY hot exhaust section of the engine. This, in turn, adds up to a sudden burst of power from the engine which will get your aircraft from just barely scratching the sound barrier to moving twice the speed of sound in the span of a minute or so depending on the aircraft. This comes at a price, however. Normally, afterburner use is relegated to take off, or on a bolter note When a naval aircraft misses all of the wires and needs the extra power to get back in the air . These short bursts normally don't do much damage to the engine, but using it too often (as in the case with most dogfights), can shorten the life span of your engine, meaning it'll have to be changed out once you return to base. However, use the afterburners too much, and you won't even have to worry about that, because your aircraft will eventually clunk into the ground with not even a drop of fuel left in the tanks.
                                              • However, this only applies to certain kinds of bees. While not wasteful of their stings, other bees CAN live after stinging. (It's also worth noting that this only occurs in (a subset of) those insects that are scientifically classified as bees other types of stinging insects, though they are often referred to coloquially as "bees", are not true bees and do not have this limitation.)
                                              • This only applies to vertebrates, however. Bees can sting *insects* with impunity as their stingers have no problems with exoskeletons. They just get stuck in fleshier victims. Their (lack of) aggression has more complicated evolutionary origins and depends largely on the individual species.

                                              Video Example(s):

                                              Watch the video: The Origins Of Halloween (May 2022).