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René erases Sandra's memories.
|Originally held by:||René|
|Absorbed by:||Arthur Petrelli (deceased), |
Peter Petrelli (lost)
|Ability to:||Manipulate others' minds|
|Examples of mental manipulation|
Mental manipulation is the ability to manipulate upper brain functions, enabling the user to render others unconscious, erase their memories, and negate the use of abilities.
- René naturally possesses this ability. (One Giant Leap)
- Arthur Petrelli has stolen this ability from an unknown source. (Villains)
- Peter Petrelli replicated this ability from René, (The Fifth Stage) but later discarded it in favor of rapid cell regeneration. (Let It Bleed)
René can use his ability in at least three different ways: interfering with the abilities of other evolved humans, affecting human memory, and rendering people unconscious (The Eclipse, Part 2). The latter two abilities require physical contact. According to the Haitian, his own mental/emotional state affects the potency of his ability (It Takes a Village, Part 4).
Interfering with Abilities
René can interfere with at least some of the abilities of other evolved humans. Whether or not this interference is equally effective against all abilities is yet unknown.
Interference seems to be a largely passive ability, affecting all evolved humans in range without concentration or effort, even if the Haitian is unaware of their presence. He can, however, choose not to interfere with the abilities of particular evolved humans that he knows about. Also, his power does not operate when he is unconscious (One of Us, One of Them).
René's interference is not insurmountable; while Matt gets nothing but "static" when he tries to read René's mind, he can sometimes pick up a word or two from Noah Bennet in spite of René's interference. Individuals with very powerful abilities are harder for him to contain, forcing René to concentrate in order to keep their abilities suppressed and exhausting his ability over time (Our Father). Nevertheless, any ability that requires concentration is drastically limited within an unspecified radius of the Haitian, and he can neutralize even passive abilities with active effort.
The following abilities have been shown to be blocked by René's mental manipulation:
- Bliss and horror (It Takes a Village)
- Empathic mimicry (Four Months Ago...)
- Enhanced strength (The Sting of Injustice)
- Persuasion (Six Months Ago)
- Rapid cell regeneration (I Am Become Death)
- Sound manipulation (The Sting of Injustice)
- Space-time manipulation (One of Us, One of Them)
- Super speed (One of Us, One of Them)
- Telekinesis (Four Months Ago...)
- Telepathy (One Giant Leap)
Affecting Human Memory
René can induce a person to recall a set of related memories (It Takes a Village, Part 4). He can also selectively remove memories of specific events or periods of time. While he apparently needs to touch the subject to remove memories in a controlled manner, he has shown that he can seriously damage the memories of numerous people without physical contact (It Takes a Village, Part 2).
Erasing memories has harmful side effects. It has been associated with headaches and blackouts, as in the cases of Matt Parkman, Theodore Sprague, and Sandra Bennet. Multiple memory erasures appear to be especially harmful to the subject. René has erased portions of Sandra Bennet's memory "many times" (Fallout), and after the last occurrence, Sandra developed a subdural hemorrhage in the part of her brain that controls memory (Unexpected). Symptoms included headaches, facial tics, fainting spells, and intermittent amnesia so severe that she sometimes did not even recognize her dog or her daughter (Run!).
While extremely rare, it is possible to "heal" from René's memory erasure. After René had erased Peter's memory, Adam encouraged him to use his healing ability to recover the affected memories, suggesting that the brain is damaged. Peter needed to actively concentrate on healing the damaged parts for it to work however, as for some reason regeneration doesn't heal the damage automatically. (Four Months Ago...). Sanjog was also capable of restoring Piper's memory by manipulating her dreams (Different and the Same).
Arthur Petrelli has used this ability to erase Hiro's memories. Arthur's intention was to erase only those memories Hiro gained on his spirit walk, but due to Ando's interruption and Arthur's preoccupation with one of Usutu's paintings of an eclipse, he mistakenly erased years worth of Hiro's memory, leaving Hiro in the mentality that he was ten years old. However, for whatever reason, Arthur did not use this to block Hiro's powers as Hiro was able to teleport away. (It's Coming) Ishi Nakamura was able to heal Hiro's erased memory. (Our Father)
Determined to get Nathan back, Peter meets with The Haitian at the hospital so he can replicate this ability in order to be able to confront Sylar. Sylar was initially able to catch Peter by surprise and attack him using abilities while disguised as Nurse Hammer, although Peter probably didn't block him on purpose in order to catch him by surprise with this ability.
After finding drugs in Peter's bag, Sylar believes that his plan is to tranquilize him again and is caught by surprise when Peter uses this ability to block his powers. He tries to throw Peter across the room, but fails and engages in a physical fight with Peter which he loses. Peter pins him with a nail gun and then uses the ability to start erasing Sylar's memories in order to help Nathan regain control of Sylar's body. Although this attempt is initially successful in restoring Nathan's personality, Sylar proves too powerful for Nathan and eventually begins to overpower him. After Nathan falls to his "death", Sylar is able to regenerate as he's out of Peter's range. (The Fifth Stage)
Later, while rescuing hostages, Peter displays the ability to render people unconscious with this ability. He also inadvertently blocks Claire's ability when she accidentally cuts herself. Peter offers to turn off his power for her, but she has him keep it active so she can actually feel pain for the first time in a long time. Peter later discards this in favor of regeneration. (Let It Bleed)
The Haitian makes Matt forget he was abducted.
The Haitian leaves the villagers lifeless.
Arthur's strength becomes very difficult to suppress.
"He can make her forget?"
"He's really something. He's mute. When I asked him to describe his ability, he drew a picture of himself pulling memories like little grub worms out of someone's head. I wanted to put it on the front of my fridge. When he's done, make sure you thank him for saving Sandra's life."
"Memories, moments, hidden like jewels scattered in a muddy field. But I could find them. I could find them and show them to him, in all of their radiance."
"Don't you need to write any of this down?"
"Memory is not an issue for me."
"What the hell did you do?"
- Though he is with a detained Nathan Petrelli, René is either unable or unwilling to prevent Nathan from flying away. (Hiros)
- Though he is only feet from Peter Petrelli and Claude Rains, René does not prevent them from being invisible. (Unexpected)
- He never tries to stop Ted's radiation in Company Man. In the commentary for that episode, Bryan Fuller admits that they have "played fast and loose" with René's ability and says that they had considered including a line explaining that he cannot suppress Ted's ability.
- In an interview, writer and co-producer Aron Coleite said in regards to René's powers, "I think that it's more of an on-and-off thing. He has very good control of his ability. I think that he's able to turn it on and off. You'll find out that the Haitian has been using his ability for a while. He's adept at using his ability."
- Sylar has a flashback of Charlie and the Burnt Toast Diner (Road Kill). Artist Jason Badower theorized, "The graphic novel confirms Sylar has Charlie's memory... He was immune to The Haitian's 'Jedi Mind Tricks'." This leads to wonder if the Haitian ever tried to remove Sylar's memories. A preview for Godsend includes a shot of Sylar lying on the floor of his cell with Mr. Bennet saying, "He is to have no memory of Claire," but this line does not appear in any aired episode. Regardless, Sylar does not appear to have lost any memories.
- In an interview, Joe Kelly discussed René's first manifestation of his ability: "I figured that in his emotionally charged state, the Haitian's powers went 'off the charts' because he knew nothing about control. Since it had such terrible results for him, I think he'd instinctively be much more about control after that discovery."
- The Mozaic file refers to "neurocognitive deficit" (The Fix), which could describe the effects of the Haitian's ability. However, it has not been confirmed as to whether or not the file was referring to the Haitian.
- René's was able to prevent Peter from recalling his abilities and memories (Four Months Ago...). It is unclear if René can block Peter's ability to absorb abilities, or if he can only block the recalling of abilities Peter has absorbed.
- In The Kill Squad, Sean Fallon is engaged in a fight with Brendan Lewis and states that they need a "nullifier", specifically mentioning René by name. This suggests that mental manipulation is effective against plant manipulation, though this is uncertain.
- In Resistance, Future Peter says to Future Claire while disguising himself that he doesn't want to make her forget again. This could imply that he has mimicked the Haitian's ability, and used it to erase incriminating memories of his alleged "terrorist" activities.
- Although he removed all memory of his abduction, West Rosen was still able to remember Noah Bennet approach him.
- Heroes: Survival describes Miles Lecomte as having an ability called "memory theft", which seems to have some similar (and some different) aspects as the Haitian's ability.
- In Once Upon a Time in Texas, Company agent Lauren Gilmore jokingly calls the process of erasing memories "Haitianing".
- For the similar ability of being able to shut down the upper brain functions of other people, see neurocognitive deficit.
- For other uses of memory, see memory (disambig).
- For other uses of manipulation, see manipulation (disambig).
Please refer to Theory:Mental manipulation for fan-created theories and other speculation.