Hidden in Plain Sight

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The best place to hide something is out in the open. Nobody ever thinks to look there.

Something hidden is looked for in lots of secret places, and in the end turns out to have been plainly visible all the time, usually disguised as an ordinary object.

Can overlap with Failed a Spot Check, It Was with You All Along, Public Secret Message, Shaggy Search Technique, or Taken for Granite.

Sub Tropes include Needle in a Stack of Needles, Wax Museum Morgue, Lost in a Crowd.

There was and still is a rather chilling Real Life version in dictatorships: an object of the size of a military base or town which is not shown at all on a map. Something even more secret, or closed, or shameful than good old Area 51, because not just what happens inside is secret, but the mere existence of the place is denied, or ridiculed, or handwaved as some silly legend. In dictatorial political systems, it's far easier to hide something that way, because people are so accustomed to never asking questions and never wandering away from their path they would ignore the Elephant in the Living Room.

Compare Weirdness Censor (bizarre things are not noticed because they are so outlandish that our minds block them out in the interest of sanity), Contrived Proximity, Refuge in Audacity, Devil in Plain Sight (when a conspicuous villain does this), Infraction Distraction (where evidence is concealed by more minor evidence). For robots in disguise, see Transforming Mecha. If a person hides this way, that person might be taking advantage of being Beneath Suspicion. For poor hiding skills, compare Neon Sign Hideout. May or may not be an Unsafe Haven.

Not to be confused with Right Under Their Noses, when people sneak past someone by doing this.

Examples of Hidden in Plain Sight include:

Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Inertia in DC Comics' All Flash #01. Helplessly immobilized and placed on display in a wax museum of superheroes.
    • During Barry Allen's run as the Flash in the Silver Age, Professor Zoom deliberately invoked this trope in the "Death of Iris Allen" storyline where he murdered Iris because she wouldn't leave Barry for him. He threatened to kill her at a certain time if she didn't change her mind, wiped her memory of that conversation so she couldn't warn Barry, then went as himself to a superhero-themed costume party the next night so he could get close enough to Iris to carry out his threat. (She got better, much later.) In DC Comic's published edition of Barry Allen's biopic, Iris (the in-universe author) comments on it long after the fact.

Iris: (Zoom) couldn't get to me...unless he managed to hide himself in plain sight.

  • From the Bullseye's greatest hits miniseries. Bullseye tells the FBI agents interrogating him that he has hidden the plutonium he stole in a local park under a big X. They assume he's being uncooperative. Once he kills them and escapes, Bullseye goes to meet his contacts:

Contact: So, where did you hide it?
Bullseye: In a park about two miles from here, you can't miss it. I even painted a big X on the ground.

  • In Paperinik New Adventures, multi-millionaire supergenius Everett Ducklair needed a place to put his gigantic, ridiculously advanced star cruiser. In the end, he made the ship transform into a slightly less sci-fi-ish shape and put it on the top of his tallest sky-scraper, overlooking all of Duckburg. Everybody thought the roof was just overly decorative.
  • In Luke Cage, Hero for Hire Noir, Cage describes being black in early 1930s New York as akin to this. "We're everywhere... yet no one ever sees us. It's like bein' invisible."
  • Inside Galactus's ship, one can find sitting on a plainly visible shelf the Ultimate Nullifier, the universe's most dangerous obliterator weapon. Thanos lampshades this.


Fanfiction[edit | hide]

  • In The Man With No Name, the Serenity crew takes on the Doctor as a passenger. They then proceed to forget that a valuable giant blue box from the Earth-That-Was is sitting around in storage. Also counts is the Doctor himself, as they are supposed to be looking for an alien, but they keep getting sidetracked.
  • The Dangerverse has a textbook example of this: Rather than fleeing to America or the Continent, the Pack--which includes two of the most famous children in the British wizarding world and the only man to ever escape from Azkaban--sets up shop in London. When the fic was discussed on Potter Fic Weekly, The Purloined Letter was even brought up.


Film[edit | hide]

  • "The Big W" under which the money was hidden in Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
  • The last of the engravings in The Ninth Gate is hidden in what, in hindsight, is an extremely obvious spot. "If this is a forgery or a copy with missing pages restored, it's the work of a master," says the master bookbinder.
  • In Men in Black, The Galaxy was "disguised" as the bell on the cat's collar.
    • That had the additional disguise of being a galaxy, which are traditionally really, really big (they didn't think it was big because it was important). It was still obvious to the audience, though.
    • And in Men in Black 2, the Light of Zartha was J's Love Interest all along.
  • The "X marks the spot" moment in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    • In same movie: The Holy Grail is hidden amongst a series of other cups on a shelf. It's the only cup not made out of gold or covered in gems, making it stand out - after all, Jesus being Jesus would never have had a golden cup.
  • The alien in Aliens semi-mechanical appearance helps it blend into the background of the Nostromo.
    • Specifically, there's a scene in which the creature is hanging from a chain, completely in the open and highlighted by a beam of light, but its unusual appearance and the fact that it's bunched up make it almost unnoticeable.
    • Additionally occurs in the sequel, where the Aliens blend in even better with the walls of their own hive. "Maybe they don't show up on infrared" indeed.
  • Marvin Acme's Will in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. It was printed in disappearing-reappearing ink in the paper Roger used to write his love letter to Jessica.
  • The Continuum Transfunctioner in Dude, Where's My Car?, disguised as a Rubik's Cube.
  • Candleshoe: The pirate treasure is disguised as a bronze statue of a treasure chest.
  • In Getting Even With Dad the stolen money is hidden in a duffel bag on a mannequin at a sporting goods store.
  • In Pans Labyrinth the first scene where the Faun appears, he's standing face towards the wall in the bottom of a cavernous well, but remains unseen to the protagonist and all but the most attentive viewers until he starts to move, due to his skin, which resembles rotting wood.
  • The uncut diamonds that the ex-cons are looking for in Out of Sight turn out to be hidden among the stones at the bottom of a fish tank.
  • Rambo in First Blood manages to hide by lying flat on the ground in a forest, and is almost completely invisible until he jumps up to ambush a cop.
  • In Taken, Brian Mills gets into a fight, and kills everyone in the room. Unfortunately, one of the other men fired a gun, so he knows someone is going to come check it out. So he just lies down among the other bodies, and is able to catch the people coming in to look entirely offguard.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Snape, now the headmaster of Hogwarts, calls all the students into the Great Hall to question them about Harry's location. Harry is standing inside of the crowd.
  • In Ocean's Thirteen, François Toulour (AKA the Night Fox) knows Linus Caldwell and his dad will show up on the roof of the "Bank" and has hidden by standing near an elaborately-painted wall and wearing a jumpsuit that matches the wall design. Somehow, they don't notice that his head is still visible. That was all part of the plan.
  • In Alaska, the search and rescue team has a lot of trouble finding a bright yellow plane (the plane of the protagonists' father) stuck in a snowy mountain range.
  • Used almost comically in The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Mulder and Scully have been on the run from the FBI for six years after a bogus murder trial, evading an execution order, and breaking out of a federal prison. So, you would think they would go into hiding. Change their names, their appearance, their Social Security numbers, even leave the country. At the opening of "I Want to Believe", where are they? In West Virginia. Using their real identities and appearances, and not making any attempt to deny them when approached by the FBI. Smart.
  • This is a natural part of Transformers. But by the third film, the general public is aware of their presence so the Autobots are less careful about transforming into their robot modes to fight. Played entirely straight with Carly's car which is actually Soundwave.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Edgar Allan Poe's story The Purloined Letter is probably the Ur Example. A blackmailer's home was searched for an incriminating letter. Even though they searched under every rug, in every drawer, for loose paperwork in every book, and for hollow hidden compartments in the furniture, the searchers never found it because they didn't bother to consider and look closely at a torn and crumpled letter, clearly visible in a card rack hanging on the mantlepiece.
  • Superior Saturday uses and references the trope, as the Simultaneous Nebuchadnezzar is kept on a shelf of similar bottles, which is referred to as the 'purloined letter'.
  • G. K. Chesterton's story The Invisible Man is another well-known case: a murder takes place in a house while witnesses posted near the entrance swear nobody walked in. It turns out that nobody had noticed the postman. Many other Chesterton stories use the trope in various ways.
  • There's a John Dickson Carr story where a killer hides a glass knife by dropping it into a jug of water. This was referenced in a Three Investigators mystery where a glass statue is hidden in a swimming pool. Jupiter Jones figures it out by remembering the Carr story. This might not work with water and glass, which have an index of refraction of 1.33 and 1.5 respectively, but it works excellently with glass and corn syrup, which apparently have the same refractive index.
  • One of the pearls from "Pearls of Lutra" in Redwall had one of them suspended in candle wax in the main hall.
  • The entrance to Underland in CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair is hidden in the ruins of a Giant city, under the remains of a slab engraved "UNDER ME" in lettering so enormous that the protagonists actually traverse it, taking the letters for oddly-dug trenches, without realizing what it is.
  • The Isaac Asimov Black Widowers short story "The Cross of Lorraine" hinges on discovering where a Cross of Lorraine appears in everyday life without anyone noticing. It turns out it's part of the Exxon company logo.
    • The Black Widowers story "Quicker Than the Eye" had a spy somehow pass a small object to his contact at a restaurant without being seen by the counterspies carefully watching for just such a transfer. The object was roughly the size and shape of a coin, and no one thought anything of the spy tipping the doorman as he left.
  • Also, Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy ends with the (First) Foundation hunting for the Second Foundation, and...you guessed it, it was right under their noses. (Although not the way that they think..)
  • A science fiction story by Asimov has the police searching for the coordinates for an uranium rich asteroid. In the end, they find them hidden among the serial numbers of the miners' ship's and its components.
  • Diana Wynne Jones' The Magicians of Caprona - The true words to the hymn Angel of Caprona that will solve everything are just the old words in Latin, carved onto humongous angelic statues in plain view, but in two halves - one for each feuding house of magicians. To find it, the two families need to talk to each other. Very symbolic.
    • Actually both statues have the same words, as does the angel statue on the dome. The problem is that both families must sing it together.
  • In The Pink Motel the kidnappers left a note on the bathroom mirror. The detectives spend a good amount of time looking around before someone suggests looking in the obvious places.
  • The short story Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl is about a pregnant woman who, in a fit of rage when her husband announces that he's leaving her, kills him by striking him in the head with a frozen leg of lamb. The police never find the murder weapon because she cooks it before they arrive, and thoughtfully offers them dinner before they leave.
  • In Feet of Clay, the patrician is being poisoned by his candles. It wasn't worked out for such a long time because they are what allow you to look, not something you look at. As Vetinari himself says in a possibly poison-induced rambling, don't put it in the last place they will look, put it where they will never look at all.
    • Just to show how badass he is Vetinari actually figures it out much earlier, he would cut the candles down light them for a few minutes and hide the cut off part. He faked the illness afterward. Bonus points for hiding the murderer in plain sight as well even, Bilingual Bonus the fish shaped lamp on the candle maker's crest Lampe de Poisson, poison lamp, with the family motto "Thou Art Brought Forth The Candle" meaning in Discworld pseudo-latin "Ars Enixa Est Candelam".
      • Sam Vimes later uses the same trick to give himself the advantage in a fight with a vampire, by earlier replacing his candle order with ones that had their wicks soaked in holy water.
    • Referenced in The Fifth Elephant, when Vimes speculates that the missing Scone of Stone could have been on display in the Dwarf Bread Museum all along. Carrot shoots down his theory by pointing out that the museum's replica Scone is marked on its underside to distinguish it as a fake.
    • Vetinari seems to love these. In Night Watch, he hides a book describing the secrets of camouflage by putting it in his library. With the cover "Memoirs of the Great Accountants".
  • In the Belisarius Series, the rescued Indian princess travels with the heroes in the guise of a common whore, while the bad guys scour the entire country for her.
  • Dick Francis' Dead on Red features an assassin who lives in France, and takes a contract in England. Since he's a licensed firearms instructor, he simply crosses the channel with his guns as normal luggage, having filled out the requisite forms.
  • The narrator of Born Again accidentally opens an anniversary card that acknowledges that her parents had sex before marriage. Knowing she'll get in trouble for seeing it and that her mother regularly searches her room, she hides it on her desk, under a newspaper. She says she saw MacGyver do it.
  • Melisande's plan to escape into La Serimissa in Kushiel's Chosen relied on this trope. Her looks were too striking that any body looking for her would have an easy time spotting her. She decided to walk out in the open as Prince Benidicte's new D'Angeline wife who wore a veil because of her faith in the goddess Asherat.
  • In Rory Clements's Martyr (set in Elizabethan England), a Catholic priest in London dresses in bright, lavish, fashionable clothes. People trying to catch priests would be looking for people trying to avoid being seen; they "wouldn't suspect what their eyes alit upon so easily."
  • In Infinity Beach, both major macguffins—the unaltered Hunter logs and the alien spaceship—turn out to be hidden in plain sight.
  • Throughout the Safehold series, an object referred to only as "the Key" had been referred to by members of the Wylsynn family as an item entrusted to them by the Archangel Schueler. In the fifth book, How Firm A Foundation, we learn specifically what the Key is. Among other things, it's of such size and shape that it can be easily used as a paperweight, which is how several Wylsynns, including its current possessor Paityr, hid it.
  • Used in the Mistborn series. In the second book, the main characters trying to establish a stable, non-despotic government learn that it has been infiltrated by a shapeshifter. The Mole finally turns out to be not the butler or The Big Guy or anyone else the viewpoint characters considered, but the shapeshifter on their own team.
  • In The Haunted Monastery, a missing girl is hidden as one of the statues in a diorama showing the Taoist Hells. She's immobilized and covered with plaster, but manages to move just enough for a spear to make her bleed.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The titular "Tale of the Big Why" in The New Avengers turns out to be the tail of a big Y - yes, it's a Shout-Out to It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
  • In the Doctor Who special "The Five Doctors", the musical code that will unlock Rassilon's secret chamber appears on a piece of sheet music depicted in a nearby painting.
    • In "The Time of Angels", a lone Weeping Angel hides from the Doctor and a team of badass clerics in a Maze of the Dead: an enormous, pitch-black cavern full of statues. In the end, which of the statues is a Weeping Angel? ALL OF THEM!
    • Played somewhat straight in The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky: Donna, working her way through the Sontaran ship, hears a group of soldiers coming. She hides in a shadow in an alcove formed by the doorway they march through. Played straight in the sense that the Sontarans are all wearing their helmets, and there's no way they can have good peripheral vision in those, regardless of what they're doing with visual sensors being displayed inside.
    • Played straight in series 6. The question hidden in plain sight? Doctor Who!
  • In the new Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, a Cylon hid an Incredibly Obvious Bug right in the center of the Galactica's bridge. Everyone assumed that it was new equipment that was supposed to be there, until Baltar happened to ask what it was...
  • Parodied in Scrubs, in which Dr. Kelso once attempted to get out of a conversation with Dr. Cox by pretending to be his own painting on a wall mural. Cox is not fooled, not least because Kelso is, in fact, three-dimensional. Kelso appears to keep the 'ruse' up for some time, however:

Cox: [After grabbing Kelso's arm] Bob, I'm physically touching your arm now. Come on, I know you're here.
Kelso: ['Coming to', apparently surprised]: ... Perry, hi, how are you?

  • In an episode of Magnum, P.I., the audio cassette of Robin Masters dictating his latest novel is revealed to have been stored alongside Magnum's music collection.
  • In Plain Sight is a show about the Witness Protection Program. The title indicates exactly where the relocated witnesses are concealed.
  • In one episode of MacGyver, a toy shop owner is questioned by criminals as to the location of some gold they had him smuggle when he snuck across the Berlin Wall some years earlier. The gold is prominently displayed in the toy shop window - as a set of painted model soldiers, which up until that point everyone had assumed to be lead.
  • The Wire has a character example with The Greek. He rarely meets contacts directly, instead sitting and inconspicuously reading a newspaper nearby while his second-in-command Spiros talks to them, allowing him to know what's going on and remain anonymous.
  • On NCIS an elderly criminal hid the money from a bank robbery by buying antiques and placing them around his house. To most people it looked just like 'old people furniture' and no one suspected that the items were worth tens of thousands of dollars.
    • This idea was recycled in a later season when a former KGB sleeper agent still had control over millions of dollars of fund meant to fund Cold War espionage operations in the US. He bought expensive rare books on the black market and placed them on display in the rare book store he operated as a cover.
  • On Person of Interest Finch uses this to hide himself. He is a billionaire computer genius who faked his own death and now works as a low level white collar worker in his own company. None of the other employees remember the reclusive co-founder of the company who disappeared from public view a decade ago. His coworkers do not know what his exact position is or who he really reports to and when he has to abandon the cover identity, everyone just assumes that he transferred to a different department.
  • In the Whoniverse, everyone knows who bloody Torchwood is: Some annoying government organization. Virtually no one knows their job is investigating alien technology.
  • In Warehouse 13, the Regents have a pattern of doing this. For example, their secret vault is hidden in a grocery store:

Myka: This is the Regent vault?
Pete: Of course. Hidden in plain sight. It's what they do.

  • Clues on The Amazing Race are hidden this way all the time, though most notoriously in Season 19, when the clue was a giant flashing sign written in Chinese that many of the teams spotted then disregarded at first.
  • Breaking Bad: by donating to them, and being a "Friend of the DEA", undercover drug lord and Big Bad Gus Fring is a classic example.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • This nearly happened to Dick Tracy, when he was paralyzed, lightly covered in wax and left to starve to death on display in the middle of his own wax museum exhibit.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, this is a common ability of high level roguish types (although not the actual Rogue class), generally through the Shadowdancer prestige class.
    • Forgotten Realms has its share of such disguises. For one, a tavern/festhall "The Veiled Vampiress" in Amn is actually run by two vampires - who discreetly feed on the clients, of course.
  • Shadowrun has the Ruthenium Polymer Coating upgrade, which allows people to have relatively inexpensive personal and vehicle cloaking devices. Vehicles need sensor jammers and upgraded mufflers for it to really work, though.
  • The hiding place for the Fear has been playing throughout the entire series. The protagonists were practically staring right at the MacGuffin's hiding place on several occasions.

Toys[edit | hide]

  • Transformers is all about this. Most of them have altforms that are indistinguishable from the Earth equivalents, but no one seems to have told them that you don't normally get such a diverse selection of vehicles in any one place.
    • This bit of fridge logic is lampshaded in the IDW comic series, when Optimus some of his Autobots engage a squad of Decepticons in a pseudo-Russian landscape.
    • The trope name is quoted verbatim by Optimus Prime in the 2007 film.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Assassin's Creed games feature this. In the first game, Altair is able to stand within a group of monks and guards won't spot him as he and the monks are wearing similar colours. From the second game onwards, Ezio is able to do this with any group of people, based on the idea that he's simply lost in the crowd. Although when hiding in a group of courtesans, Male Gaze certainly comes into it.
  • Mass Effect loves this trope. In the first game, you have the revelation that the Citadel is a gigantic Mass Relay and was built to let the Reapers emerge from Darkspace to cull the Galaxy of all life. Again! There is also the innocuous Statue of the Mass Relay in the Presidium that barely anyone looks at, until you discover its a miniaturised version of one, designed by the Protheans as a backdoor into the Citadel.
    • The Council repeatedly decrees that the "Reapers" do NOT exist! It seems they haven't noticed what the layout of the Council Chamber they are standing in resembles when viewed from above.
      • And what the Nebula the Citadel is located in, also bares uncanny resemblance too.
      • It's even called the Widow Nebula.
  • From Batman: Arkham City:

Joker: So, how do you keep a secret from the world's greatest detective? Well, do you know? You stick it riiiiight in front of him, right under his long, pointy nose...and wait!

  • Lampshaded in Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver (and possibly the earlier Gold and Silver versions of the same story), with a Team Rocket hideout disguised as a gift shop. The sign outside says something like "Just an ordinary gift shop. Nothing to see here..."


Web Comic[edit | hide]

  • Girl Genius: Master Payne's circus, in which the actors play famous sparks of the past, is a cover for minor sparks. At one point they take it up a notch by having Agatha hide with them and play her mother on stage.
    • Also, Mamma Gkika. How does a Jäger General hide in a city she's not strictly speaking supposed to be in? Why, by setting up a tourist trap featuring faux Jäger showgirls!
    • Dimo briefs Jenka on the current situation: "Ve is jagerkin charged by the ancient contract". That being their oath of allegiance, i.e. it's an order of a Hetrodyne! Note that when the overt evidence of a Heterodyne heir appeared later, the whole Europa was talking about this in a few days.
  • The Wotch: Faustus is a true magician who uses stage magician as a cover identity.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has a way of hiding spy messages. "No one will ever find them."

Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Venture Brothers episode ORB: The titular Orb is hidden as a normal paperweight on a shelf.
  • It's me! I was the turkey all along!
  • In The Simpsons episode "Lisa the Iconoclast", Lisa attempts to prove Jebediah Springfield, the beloved town founder, is actually a murderous pirate named Hans Sprungfeld. Her only solid evidence is that both Hans and Jebediah (supposedly) had silver tongues. After she gets the town to dig up Jebediah's grave, they find no silver tongue. She learns later the curator of the Jebediah Springfield Museum swapped the tongue out of the skeleton's skull before anyone noticed it, and hid it as a cowboy in one of the display cases of his museum. The 'plain sight' aspect is slightly questionable, since no one (except Lisa) ever visits the museum.
    • Averted in "The Trouble with Trillions." Homer is sent by the FBI to get the trillion dollar bill from Mr. Burns. On a tour of his mansion, they reach a room full of dioramas of Burns' ancestors. One of them is of Mr. Burns holding what looks like the bill. When Homer asks if that is it right in front of them, Burns says that would be pretty careless as he keeps the real one with him at all times.
  • Cobra seems to live on this in G.I. Joe: Renegades. The truck the Joes swipe from them can change its paint job to blend in with other cars. Their store's shipping network is a cover for their arms smuggling operation.
    • Cobra Commander himself, with the help of a virtual disguise even cuts TV promos for the company.
  • The Young Justice Home Base is Mount Justice, the former base of the Justice League until it was exposed to the world. They gave the black ops team the base that everyone knows about.
  • In Dave the Barbarian, a barbarian hero Fang idolizes comes to Udrogoth to slay a dragon. The only one around is Faffy, Dave's pet, so after failed attempts at using magic and teaching self-defense, Fang (who doesn't want her hero to see what a wimp her dragon is) sensibly tells Faffy to HIDE. The narrator says, "And what better place to hide, but in plain sight?" Faffy pretends to be a head mounted on the wall, a charade made difficult by his tendency to spit lightning.
  • A Villain of the Week in the Secret Squirrel segment of Two Stupid Dogs was a chameleon that stole art pieces and his them in the attic of the very same museum he stole them from. When confronted by Secret, Chameleon explained that hiding in plain sight was his specialty and that he stole the art to blend with it. As it usually happens to chameleons in cartoons, he wasn't able to hide in modern art pieces because there were too many colors.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Improv Everywhere had a skit where they sent 80 people into Best Buy wearing the Best Buy uniform khaki pants and blue polo shirts. To film the event, they inserted their own memory cards into the store's demo cameras and started recording. Additionally, one of the few photographers to not get caught was the one holding her camera in her hands.
  • Steganography is the practice of hiding secret information inside of ordinary information. That might mean putting your plans for world domination into every hundredth pixel of a picture of Your Mom.
  • Some of the best Geocache hiding places are right out in plain sight, though the cache itself will be concealed or disguised. Stealth on the part of the finder is of great importance in finding these.
    • Speaking of stealth, some geocachers choose to wear a bright yellow reflective vest while searching in public places, making geomuggles think they're workers doing their legitimate work, thus applying this trope to geocachers as well as caches.
  • Once there was an old plaster statue of Buddha that had sat in an abandoned temple in Thailand for some two hundred years. In the 1930s it was moved when the temple was destroyed; it sat outside for 25 years or so under a tin roof. In 1955, workers attempting to move it by crane dropped it, cracking the plaster. Shortly thereafter they discovered that it was not actually a plaster statue, but in fact was 5,500 kilograms of solid gold.
  • Recently ways have been discovered to store digital information in the genome of microbes. So a spy could carry secrets in his flu!
    • And, when detained, he could sneeze on his captors, and deliver the message to his superiors via carefully tailored flu epidemic. There was a Russian science fiction story in which two scientists, kept behind too-restrictive security curtains, exchanged messages with each other over the border between two unfriendly countries... and ended up having a baby together, by sending the father's genome to the mother in the same manner. Too bad the story was not called "Cold War".