So you’ve gotten yourself infected with mind-controlling parasite. And now the parasite is using your body, running up your credit card debt, and trying to take over your planet. Although possession by an alien parasite often means certain death, we offer a few remedies you should attempt before you resign yourself to a life of extraterrestrial slavery.
Wait It Out
Animorphs: The Yeerks travel throughout the universe, enslaving various species, and are currently working on their conquest of Earth. The slug-like creatures take control of their hosts by crawling in through the ear canal, but can only stay inside for three days at a time, after which they need to leave to absorb the rays from their home sun. They can put off the ray bath by having their host consume instant maple and ginger oatmeal, but too much of the stuff will drive the Yeerks insane.
“The Shadow Out of Time” by HP Lovecraft: The Yithians are not physical parasites, but can take control of another being’s body by swapping minds with their victims. They then control their victims’ bodies, learning all they can. Once they’ve gotten the information they want, Yithians generally let their victims have their bodies back. But, on at least one occasion, the Yithians have held onto another race’s bodies indefinitely.
Conquer it with Willpower
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Ceti eels are not themselves sentient, but nasty little critters will burrow inside its host’s brain, making it extremely susceptible to suggestion. After Khan plants a Ceti eel in Commander Chekov’s ear, Chekov resists Khan’s influence and collapses, causing the eel to slip back out of his ear. It’s not a foolproof method, though; fellow eel infectee Clark Terrell also resists Khan’s order to assassinate Kirk, but ends up shooting himself instead.
The Faculty: The faculty of Herrington High School are controlled by yet another breed of ear canal-seeking parasite, giving them the single-minded purpose of spreading the parasites to the entire student body. Fortunately, one of the students keeps around a stash of his homemade recreational drug, which happens to be a diuretic. One shot of that stuff dries up the parasites and probably leaves the victims high enough to write off the whole ordeal as a fever dream.
Angel “The Price”: A swarm of thirsty silicone slugs are the price some pay for using dark magic. The best way to de-worm an infected host is to dehydrate them, which can be achieved by consuming copious amounts of booze. But the slugs assume a limit control over the host’s body, prompting them to drink water until the slugs drain them completely dry.
Build Up Your Post-Infection Immunity
The X-Files: Purity, the fearsome Black Oil that appears throughout the series, is absorbed by humans on contact. The human host becomes a slave to the alien Black Oil, spreading the virus to others and helping the extraterrestrial colonists reproduce. There is a vaccine, albeit a weak one, which has, in some cases, reversed the infection.
Doctor Who “The Invisible Enemy”: After encountering the Swarm, an intelligent virus that controls the infected, the Doctor is repeatedly infected, although thanks to his Time Lord constitution, he is able to overcome his infections. But his companion Leela is entirely immune to the Swarm. When the Doctor finally succumbs to infection, a miniaturized Leela clone enters the Doctor’s body, giving the Doctor her immunity as they force the virus out of his body.
Remove It By Force
Stargate SG-1: The snaky Goa’uld burrow into their host’s brain, accessing its memories and taking control of its body. Removing a Goa’uld symbiote is tricky since it will poison its host if it senses its life is in danger. But a handful of species have developed methods of separating the symbiotes from their hosts.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer: The alien Souls are surgically inserted inside the bodies of other species, possessing individuals so that they can quietly conquer the planet and turn it into a peaceful, carefully controlled paradise. And a person with the correct knowledge can remove the alien in the same manner.
Lexx “Eating Pattern” and “Bad Carrot”: Lexx features a pair of mind-controlling parasites. The snake-like creature in “Eating Pattern” turns Stan into a cannibal and has to be forcibly extracted from his neck. The carrot-shaped drone in “Bad Carrot” enters through the rectum and must be expelled the same way.
Marvel Symbiotes: The alien symbiotes of the Marvel Universe offer their hosts incredible powers, but they merge not only with the host’s physical being, but with their personality as well. But the symbiotes generally have a weakness to heat, sound, or electricity, which can force them to separate from the host.
Infect the Infection
The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein: The inspiration for many later mind control parasites, the alien slugs of The Puppet Masters attach themselves to the backs of their hosts, bring the hosts under the aliens’ control. The slugs can be physically detached, but that is not sufficient to control the epidemic. Instead, the resisting humans infect the population with a disease that is fatal to the slugs, treating the humans once their slug masters die.
Defeat It with Alien Superpowers
Ben 10: Alien Force “Max Out”: Ben’s cousin has the misfortune of being attached to a Xenocyte, an alien leech that not only exerts mind control, but also transforms its human host into a DNAlien. But the Omnitrix, the alien device that gives Ben his powers, has a genetic repair function that reverses the melding.
New X-Men “Here Comes Tomorrow”: The sentient bacteria Sublime can also take possession of human bodies and, as John Sublime, has quietly worked behind the scenes in mutant research and living weapons development. In an alternate future, Jean Grey, using the alien Phoenix Force, destroys Sublime once and for all.
Kill the Parasite’s Master
Babylon 5: Keepers, the genetically engineered parasites used by the Drakh to control their victims, cannot be surgically removed and are only sedated by alcohol. But killing the Drakh that spawned the keeper will destroy the parasite without harming the host.
In The Faculty the infection also ends with the destruction of the alien queen, and in the Doctor Who episode “The Invisible Enemy,” killing the disease’s nucleus puts an end to the disease.
Once It’s Off, Switch to a Garlic Shampoo
Futurama: An important step in any brain parasite removal is preventing another infection. Switching to a garlic shampoo deters reattachment, as does wearing a helmet. Just be sure that your friends don’t mistake your fallen brain slug for an unusual hat, or you could be reinfected before you get a chance to wash your hair.