I have a humanoid character with wings, made possible by a little fictional magic, but I'm trying to keep it as scientifically correct as I can.

All right, so she has wings, but walking through busy streets, or around wingless humanoids at all for that matter is going to do much more than raise eyebrows. She needs to be able to effectively blend in, and that means her wings have to become invisible to the naked eye.

The wings are feathered and bird-like with a 14 foot wingspan. They can fold into her back.

I'd like to note that doors or any other physical object would not be a problem if her wings could not manipulate or be manipulated by matter when invisible.

I want the wings to be:

  • Invisible to the naked eye

  • undetectable by easily accessible scanners (infrared, etc..) (preferred but not essential)

  • If the wings can't manipulate or be manioulated by matter in any way shape or form while invisible, that's even better.

  • unable to be used in any fashion when invisible

  • able to be made visible and usable at will. If it takes a few seconds for this to occur that's fine. Any more than a minute or two and it's getting a bit iffy.

  • possible naturally without the use of technology (if possible)

Is this possible, and if so please explain, or does it have it to be explained with more pixie dust to work?

Hopefully the edit cleared things up a little bit.

  • $\begingroup$ Are we limited to a particular kind of wings? Any kinds of wings? Faerie wings? Bat Wings? Bird Wings? Squirrel "wings"? Retractable wings? $\endgroup$
    – PipperChip
    Aug 22, 2017 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ Bird wings, in this case. $\endgroup$
    – Rasul
    Aug 22, 2017 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ "possible naturally without the use of technology" magic? $\endgroup$
    – Vylix
    Aug 22, 2017 at 2:38
  • $\begingroup$ how big are these wings? Wings narrower than the shoulders width are a thing, but with wings spanning 2 meters to your right and to your left, no matter how invisible they are, any door is going to be a damn effective scanner. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 22, 2017 at 2:44
  • $\begingroup$ When you write that the wings are made possible by magic did you mean flying with them? Winged humans can technically exist without magic. (Fancy genetic engineering for instance) However if the wings are big enough for a human to fly they need to be huge, meaning around seven meters. $\endgroup$
    – lurch
    Aug 24, 2017 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


Admittedly, this idea is somewhat weird. But making the wings not interacting with any matter is difficult.

The wings are attached to the back of the heroine. Her body is able to unattach them. Then she can then remove them. Afterwards she has two holes in her back, where the wings can be reattached.

When the wings are unattached, she cannot feel them. But they are still "alive", meaning they do every basic stuff all living creatures do. (For instance they don't rot) They are in a hibernation-like state, meaning they need very little energy. The energy they do need, they eider get anaerobic or by having an alternative way of getting oxygen from the air. One thing your heroine should remember: If left unattached for to long the wings die by starvation. (Though that could take years.)

Your heroine should be very careful with them when unattached: Since she cannot feel them they are quite vulnerable. They can be hidden at any save place. While not invisible, detached wings are easier to hide.

How do you attach the wings well enough on the body? (The attaching points probably need to withstand extreme forces during flight.) I suggest that the body has a lot of hairs in the holes. The wings on the other hand have one hole for each hair. When she wants to attach the wings, the hairs each move to the correct hole to fix the wings in place. Longer hairs can create a stronger attachment but need more time to find the correct places. (Alternatively the hairs could be at the wings and the holes for each one in her body. But then it's not clear how the hairs know when to search for the holes.)

How long does attaching take? The attaching itself as well as unattaching would take a few seconds. It might take a few minutes until the wings can be used to their full extend. (Remember, they have to "wake up" from hibernation.)

How about hygiene? She might like to clean the connecting parts before attaching the wings, if it's possible and keep them as clean as possible in general. The two holes might produce some slime for to keep them clean. (Like our nose and ears)


You really can't have them invisible and unable to interact with matter unless you phase them out of reality. To do so without technology would require some weird psionic power. If you have that level of power, why would you bother with wings?

Far too complicated. Much easier to grow, unfold or inflate them.

Growing would be the slowest but would be virtually undetectable. Folding or inflating would require clothing to hide them on the back.

  • $\begingroup$ Or you could fold them and then pull skin over them - look like a fat person on the ground, and a slim one in the air ;) $\endgroup$
    – Syndic
    Aug 22, 2017 at 6:12

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