Who exactly are The Sparrow Academy? How does time travel work? And how on Earth did Sir Reginald Hargreeves know when to die? The Umbrella Academy poses many unanswered questions, but there’s one big mystery a genius fan may have solved: how do Allison Hargreeves’ powers actually work?


As the Netflix superhero show outlines, Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) can shape the course of events by prefacing any statement with the phrase “I heard a rumour...”.

However, one Redditor has supposed Allison’s ability is actually far more powerful that it first seems. What if, they propose, she can bend any situation to her will without speaking. The ‘I heard a rumour’ phrase? That’s just to give Allison more control, a way of preventing her powers from getting out of hand.

“[Allison] has trained herself (or been trained) to only activate her powers when she says the phrase, making her less likely to accidentally force people to do what she tells them in common situations,” the Redditor theorised.

“If she has trained herself to ONLY use her powers when she utters the relatively uncommon words ‘I heard a rumour’, then she is less likely to accidentally cause people to bend to her will in normal situations.”

Supporting this theory, other fans recalled a scene where Allison forces a racist waiter to scald his hands with hot coffee.

Although she initially says her ‘rumour’ catchphrase, Allison appears to continue controlling him by simply stating, "More. More. More."

Overall, it’s a pretty dark power – something that star Raver-Lampman has given plenty of thought to.

"Allison has a really complicated relationship with her powers," she previously told Collider. "She's only ever really used them for self-gain or selfish reasons, or because her father told her to.

"At the end of season one, you were looking at an Allison that was using her powers incorrectly for 30 years, and she wasn't in a good place.”

If the theory holds, will we see Allison take full control of her powers in a third season? Netflix needs to commission it first as the show still waiting for an official greenlit.

However, showrunner Steve Blackman recently teased that series three could see The Umbrella Academy’s powers grow even further.


The Umbrella Academy season one and two are available to stream on Netflix now – check out our lists of the best series on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide.