In Star Trek TOS, the Medusans were so ugly that the sight of them would drive any human completely insane. Even Vulcans, with their superior minds and physiology, could only gaze upon a Medusan with the aid of a red plastic visor.


It seems like being able to drive humans, bare-eyed Vulcans, and possibly other species insane on visual contact would be a huge military advantage.

Couldn't wars be waged where species such as the Klingons attack humans by unexpectedly showing them images of the Medusans on screen, hacking their computers with images of the Medusans, etc? Wouldn't it be possible for a terrorist to attack by displaying a giant projected image of a Medusan in the downtown area of a city with millions of people?

How is it that such a potentially cheap and devastating weapon was never exploited?

  • 3
    Interesting idea. Perhaps the use of Medusans in this way is banned, like biogenic weapons are. Mar 10, 2016 at 7:35
  • 2
    hey....um...you enemies....could you look into this little box here for a sec?
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 6, 2020 at 19:08
  • Visibility from that visor looks a little... inhibited. It seems like the bottom silver strip is right at eye level...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 6, 2020 at 20:24

2 Answers 2


The implication is it's not simply the appearance of a Medusan that causes madness, it's the act of looking directly at a real one in front of you.

Quoting from Startrek.com

While noncorporeal, Medusans still have a physical form, which when viewed by humanoids is said to be so ugly, that it will cause madness in the viewer

We can assume that a picture of a Medusan would be repulsive but not actually result in the sort of patented insta-madness that would make them into a potential weapon.

  • +1 (as usual :), BUT doesn't the name medusan imply that some kind of rapid effect—even if not insta-madness™—would result (at least in some species)?
    – Lexible
    Nov 7, 2018 at 18:44
  • 1
    @Lexible - The presence of a Medusan seems to cause insta-madness™. A picture probably wouldn't have the same effect.
    – Valorum
    Nov 7, 2018 at 18:52
  • lol - I love that quote from StarTrek : "while noncorporeal, Medusans still have a physical form" - which is it? Meriam noncoporeal: - "1 : not corporeal : having no material body or form." It's like saying "though totally dry, it's still entirely soaked" :headpalm
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 6, 2020 at 21:50

The image that Picard was going to use on the Borg in the episode, "I, Borg," was essentially the same thing as a weaponized Medusa. It was designed to mentally destroy the Borg Collective (literally the genocide of an entire civilization). Unless the Borg have special status, there doesn't seem to be an official Starfleet stance against this type of weapon

  • 1
    The Borg have special status. Most of Starfleet don't consider them a genuine species in their own right.
    – Valorum
    Nov 7, 2018 at 18:53
  • 1
    Although this is an interesting point about Starfleet's morality and ethics in terms of the use of WMDs, it doesn't address the question asked, about use of the medusan image as a weapon.
    – Valorum
    Nov 7, 2018 at 18:55

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