How can you make someone forget that he has superpowers and lock his powers?

My question is inspired by the Sanskrit epic of ancient India, Ramayana.

In the story of Ramayana, Hanuman is a well-known character who has immense and amazing powers like super-strength, super-speed, flight, shape-shifting, and size-changing abilities just to name a very few.

Though when the all-powerful Hanuman was a kid, he was a very naughty one, after all, he was just a kid and a monkey (no offense here), and he used to make a lot of trouble for others (he once swallowed the sun, mistakenly assuming it to be a giant fruit, you get the idea !).

A great sage once saw through the issue of a kid having such enormous powers, so he, made him forget that he has these powers. Just making him forget was not enough, because if one is not aware of his powers, but the powers are still there, he may playfully punch someone and end up killing him. So, he had to lock down his powers too. And later in his life, when he was required to use his powers, another sage unlocked his powers and made him remember that he had those.

So my question is:

How can you make someone forget that he has superpowers and lock his powers within him and then revert it all back.

Some constraints:

  1. Magic is not allowed (Sages were scientists, not magicians), however really advance unbelievable science is OK.

  2. The process of locking and unlocking should not take much time 2-3 hours maybe.

  3. The process must be complex enough that not any normal person can do this, it must require someone trained.

  4. It is preferred not to use any external object, talisman or machine, but if its portable and can be fitted in a pouch, its OK.

Hypnosis can be a possible solution, any other solution is acceptable.

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    $\begingroup$ A hard hit in the head? If you forget you have a hammer you won't use it. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Aug 28 '19 at 12:01
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    $\begingroup$ Without magic, how do said superpowers work? $\endgroup$ – Mori Aug 28 '19 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ Tequila and Gin have made my cousin very much forgetful. And marijuana-plus-video-games has locked his formerly formidable intellect in his mothers basement for about 15 years now. Nary a peep of his former brilliance outside. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Aug 28 '19 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ So you are essentially asking how magical abilities can be blocked by non-magical ways? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 28 '19 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ Spoiler...but...Umbrella Academy. Both hypnosis (a "powers" form) and drugs were involved. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole Aug 28 '19 at 23:38

Make the seal psychosomatic, which will only work if the powers are mental base. In other words, the way the power should work is that the user activates them. For super strength, for instance, it's not that he innately possesses the strength of ten men - it's that he can 'turn on' the power in his head and choose to wield the strength of ten men.

This way, the seal functions on belief. The sage made him forget his powers, and therefore he can't use them because that requires an internal trigger that he doesn't know he possesses.

Making him forget his powers is a lot harder. Hypnosis, at least, if you want to use the real life application of hypnosis isn't really going to work out that well - you're trying to clean the subject of long-term memories, and important ones at that which have a great deal to do with the subject's day-to-day life. No, the sage is going to use a memory blocker drug, which can be handwaved to 'it just works'. Because IRL we don't have much experience with the stuff.

  • $\begingroup$ Conscious control of his super-powers and once he forgets about having them, then they don't work because his super-powers require conscious activation. Simple and elegant. $\endgroup$ – a4android Aug 28 '19 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ An elegant answer indeed, I suppose that long term memories should not be an issue in case of a kid (not even 10 years old) when he loses his powers, he first thinks about it, dismisses it as a dream and then gets on with it just like any other kid around him. parents and society also keep it a secret because they were aware of the true nature. $\endgroup$ – V.Aggarwal Aug 29 '19 at 3:44

Your sage would need to be a skilled hypnotist. By hypnotising Hanuman - who.must be sufficiently suggestible that he could be hypnotized in the first place - and suggesting to him that any memories of having powers were a dream, that in reality he is ordinary and that he can do only things that a mundane person could do, he can subconsciously participate in his own disempowerment. If he was always subconsciously checking that he wasn't accidentally exerting himself in an extraordinary manner, there would be no question of accidentally using his powers.

Hypnosis has the benefit that Hanuman's disempowerment can be set up so that it can readily be reversed by the sage or another with similar skills and knowledge of the subject, or even when one of several trigger conditions occur.

When we consider the alternatives; surgery and/or drugs, the former is highly likely to cause permanent damage, and the latter is unlikely to cause the desired effect.


Drugs, and Nerve clamping.

The Sage starts by sending Hanuman to sleep - at the time period in question, this would probably be accomplished with some form of opioid.

Then, the Sage makes a small incision in the back of Hanuman's neck, and clamps suitable nerves to block his powers - the organs that let him fly cannot receive signal from the brain, his muscles do not receive enough of a signal to use his Super Strength (like when you strike your ulnar nerve, and lose grip-strength in your hand). Once the nerves are clamped, he sews up the incision, bandages Hanuman, and allows him to wake up.

Groggy from the anaesthetic, and without access to his powers, Hanuman should be quite convinced by the Sage explaining that he had a head injury, and dismissing any claims to "superpowers" as a dream brought on by concussion.

To reverse the procedure, the nerve clamps need to be removed via another surgery. As they recover, his powers should come back - although the rate at which they do so may vary.

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    $\begingroup$ It seems that permanent nerve damage is highly likely with this. How would you have partial loss of function gauged finely enough that the result was the same as a normal person? $\endgroup$ – Monty Wild Aug 28 '19 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ @MontyWild Not being a Sage, I'm not sure. If the "Super Strength" muscles were independent of the "Normal Strength" muscles, you could fully disable them instead. Or perhaps the Sage errs on the side of caution, and your previously Super brat instead becomes the weak-and-sickly runt instead? $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Aug 28 '19 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting answer and plausible, however, I see some issues, there could be powers like impenetrable skin, so making an incision itself will be a task, also as per the question's restriction this procedure is bound to take too much time and will require sophisticated tools that may not be portable and the surgery itself is quite dangerous to revert. $\endgroup$ – V.Aggarwal Aug 30 '19 at 3:46

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