Silent Hill – Fan Interpretation and Theory


SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t played Silent Hill this post will not make any sense and will most likely be very boring. Frankly I’m not sure why you clicked on it. Spoilers, y’all.

 Silent Hill- why is it so popular and why do people spend unhealthy amounts of time theorizing about things that we’re never part of the original games? Sometimes I feel silly writing about the subtle nuances of a video game universe… then I remember I’m on the internet.  All systems GO! 

There are fans who like to focus more on the cult aspects of the story, whereas as others see the cult as a symptom of a larger issue. I fall into the latter category. In fact, I actually prefer to ignore the cult business as much as possible as I really felt Silent Hill didn’t hit it’s stride until Silent Hill 2. A game in which the cult is mercifully absent. So here is my interpretation of Silent Hill- don’t like it? Get your own damn website.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

There are allusions in the series of a nebulous force that pervades the area. This indicates that Silent Hill isn’t in and of itself evil by nature. But only a place of unprecedented psychic energy…

Native Americans conduct mysterious and religious rituals here. The land is valued as a sacred place to the Natives. They revered the town as “The Place of the Silent Spirits”. The land is known as a holy place and seems to possess a mysterious power. – The Book of Memories.

The idea that the Native Americans practiced rituals there also supports the theory of it being a more neutral power. Like a base that one must add intention to in order to render it good or evil. Further history includes the Natives being removed from the area for white European settlement. And this is where things start to go a little batshit. The area is repopulated with a culture completely ignorant of the town’s abilities.

[I’d like to note: I sense some stereotyping about the corrupted Europeans that usurp the good and altruistic natives that of course never ever did anything wrong and are totally peace-loving tree spirits crapola. But that gets into privilege, white guilt, and other topics entirely.]

One of the reasons Silent Hill is such a powerful idea is because it’s very old and represents something intrinsically frightening to just about everyone on Earth. Namely, Judgement. Entering Silent Hill is like looking into a mirror that shows you your true self in agonizing detail. You are set on the scales of judgement and must face all your inner demons brought to life. But I would argue that this not a sentient entity, but a reaction to a stimuli. James is a murderer, but he also hates himself for it. He’s drawn to the town because he knows on some subconscious level the town will make him face what he has done. It will make him suffer because he feels it’s what he deserves. Angela Orosco even says so implicitly.

Silent Hill was inspired heavily by the 1990 movie Jacob’s Ladder which involved a man coming to terms with his fate. This particular quote from the film is very telling,

The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you”, he said. “They’re freeing your soul. So, if you’re frightened of dying and… you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. – Jacob’s Ladder

Although it’s not exact, there are a lot of parallels between the two narratives. Both men are hiding from some truth they refuse to face. And an outside power forces them to face their demons who manifest themselves physically. We also see that relatively innocent characters are left alone and don’t experience the violent nature of the town. Case in point: Laura. Laura is… well, she’s a brat. But she too young to feel guilty about it. Laura is consistently confused by James and Eddie’s concern over her wandering around alone. Because she doesn’t experience any of the town’s judgement. It’s as if the negative emotions of those dealing with severe guilt serves as a bee sting to Silent Hill, and the surge of violent psychic energy is a form of anaphylaxis. The area swells with power depending on the particular “poison” that’s been introduced.

The idea that the power is neutral is a little problematic. This point on it’s own would infer that someone who is just and righteous might step into Silent Hill and it would suddenly be raining teddy bears and kittens. That’s not what I’m saying. It may be that the presence of the evil cult has permanently tainted the town’s energy, that the once neutral force is too heavy with the stench of sacrifice and sin to ever be used for good ever again. It could be that the town is highly conductive to negative energy and not so much to others. But I think the most important thing to remember is that the details don’t really matter. The town is only a symbol, a means to an end to make the protagonist face themselves head on.

In conclusion, Silent Hill is cool and I don’t know how to end things.

Advertisements

The Ghost


The Ghost
A short story inspired by urban legends from Japan.
by Magdalen Cochran

Alex eyed the cafe from across the street as she puffed the last of her cigarette. Margeux’s Cafe was on the corner of Fourth and Monroe, right across from the old Whiteside theatre. It had large open windows and through them she could see people sitting at small tables, drinking coffee and enjoying the free bandwidth. She frowned. The patrons looked clean cut and rich. The place stunk of the Junior League and PTA meetings. For a moment she regretted wearing her black jacket with studs in the shoulders. But quickly shrugged it off as she realized that a different jacket wasn’t going to conceal her tattoos, her earrings, or her flamingo pink hair. So fuck it. she thought. Then she spotted Maya sitting in the window. She saw her too and gave a big goofy wave. Jesus, she looks exactly the same. Alex thought as she stubbed out her cigarette and crossed the street. Maya’s long brown hair was pulled back with a cute headband, she wore a blue Rainbow Brite t-shirt and a pink plaid skirt with white shoes. Alex thought she even remembered this outfit from high school. Maya had emailed her a couple weeks ago, asking to get coffee and catch up.

She pushed open the door to Margeux’s and Maya bounded up her squealing. “Hey! Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s really you!” She threw her arms around her and Alex countered with kind of patient smile one would give a hysterical puppy. From far away, she really had looked like the same eighteen year old girl who she had graduated with. Now she could see the age much better. She was rounder, with a few subtle wrinkles just beginning to form around her mouth. But overall Maya was the same manic ray of sunshine she had always been. She spun in place, “I wore this outfit so you would recognize me,” she said and her eyes grew wide, “Wow, your hair is so short!” Alex ran her fingers self consciously through her shock of pink hair. “Yeah, it was longer back then. I think had it black for graduation.” Maya nodded in agreement as the two women walked back to the table where Maya had been sitting.

Alex sat down in the chair and unconsciously crossed her arms. She could tell Maya came here a lot, the barista had swirled a Hello Kitty into her latte foam. Alex had taken off right after graduation, moved to Portland and never looked back. Maya had stayed in their hometown and it showed. They couldn’t look more different and Alex thought they probably looked really strange sitting together. Alex was brooding and volatile, but Maya didn’t care. She never let anything pop her bubble of optimism and even though she was the squeaky clean princess type, Alex had to respect that she never seemed to judge people.

The two chatted for a while. Maya worked for the local Humane Society and sold handmade crafts online. Alex told her about her singing with Mi-go Love, a horror themed Rock band that had been touring up and down the West coast. Maya nodded excitedly as she blew on her latte, “Yeah, that’s why I picked this place.” she said with a grin. Alex paused and looked around the chic little cafe, it looked like the inside of any Starbucks. She looked back at Maya dubiously and stifled a laugh. Her companion blinked innocently, “Oh you haven’t heard about it?” then she gave an indulgent smile as if she was about to impart some juicy gossip. She leaned in closely, “It’s haunted.” she said. Now Alex really did laugh. She couldn’t tell if she thought it was cute that Maya was naïve enough to believe a ghost haunted a coffee shop, or just sad that her life had turned out so boring.

Maya waved her hands quickly, dismissing her skepticism.

“No I’m being totally serious! It’s true!” she said.

“This place is haunted, huh? Is the coffee really that bad?” Alex said and laughed again.

Maya smiled but looked at her pleadingly. Alex suddenly felt bad for teasing her and gave an apologetic nod.

“Okay, okay. So what, it’s like a disgruntled employee or something?”

“Oh no, nothing like that. It’s the ghost of someone’s twin.” Maya said quietly.

Alex was surprised. She had expected something more hokey.

“…Whose?”

“Well that’s the thing, no one knows. They say the living twin never even knew she had a sister. But because they’re twins, the girl’s spirit is stuck somewhere between the living and the dead.”

“…So now she haunts a coffee shop?” Alex had recovered a bit of her snarky confidence. But admittedly the story was not what she had expected.

Maya shrugged. “That’s what they say. I come here a lot and every once in a while I’ll see someone go white like-…”

“Like they’ve seen a ghost?” Alex finished.

“Well, yeah.”

Alex studied her for a moment. She thought Maya was probably the type of girl who read her horoscope in the paper. One who might see a palm reader or talk to you about your aura. But a pang of guilt struck her at this thought. Maya had been the only person from school who bothered to get in touch, and Alex thought she could probably stand not being such a bitch to her.

Maya sipped her coffee, carefully avoiding the Hello Kitty design. She put her cup down on the saucer and that’s when Alex noticed the distinct lack of clink. She paused for a moment. Looking around she saw people were tapping away and laptops, talking on phones, chatting with friends… and she couldn’t hear any of it. She put her finger in her ear and shook, thinking the last concert may have really done in her hearing. Nothing. Alex suddenly realized she was cold. The sun was shining outside, but inside the small cafe the world felt icy, even through her jacket. She was becoming concerned. Am I getting sick? she wondered. Maya seemed blissfully unaware that Alex couldn’t hear her and she continued to chatter away. Alex was about to interrupt her when she saw it.

There was a doorway at the other end of the cafe. A pale figure stood partly obscured by the frame, but Alex could see clearly it was a woman. The world seem to be going on around her in perfect silence. Maya was still talking, idly looking out the window. People came and went as usual. No one seemed to notice the young woman watching Alex from the doorway. She stared back, rooted in place. Her ears began to ring and her heart thudded in her chest. She could see half the girl’s face, her shoulder, and one thin arm that rested at her side. Slowly, the figure began to move into the doorway. A violent chill ran up Alex’s body as she watched the figure move. It was slow and unnatural like she was walking underwater. She looked like she was wearing a shapeless white dress or smock and dark hair drifted out behind her as she moved. The figure fluctuated between swimming through the air and sudden jerky movements that made Alex feel seasick. She stared frantically at Maya, hoping her expression of fear might prompt her stop talking, to look behind her…to see what Alex was seeing. But Maya was still oblivious despite she was looking straight at her now. Everyone in the room seemed unfazed. Whatever was happening was happening to Alex alone. She looked back to the figure who was now only a few feet away. Alex reared back so far in her seat she almost toppled over, but found that’s all she could do. She was paralyzed with fear and the ringing in her ears was getting louder.

The figure came forward with unblinking eyes. Alex’s mind was a flurry of panicked thoughts, but one realization pierced through the static. The figure looked like… Maya. The eyes were dead and lacked any glimmer of consciousness, but they were Maya’s eyes; her small nose, her round face. As she moved toward the table, in that hideously unnatural way, Alex realized the girl was not looking at her at all. The figure turned her gaze to her companion. She knelt beside her, watching her mouth words and gesture absentmindedly. Alex could see the girl’s feet were bare, and didn’t cast a shadow on the tile floor. the girl crouched there for a moment, stroking Maya’s hair and face. The ringing was so loud now Alex couldn’t think. Her hands and feet had gone numb and the seasickness was coming in nauseating waves. She was sure if she had to endure much more that she’d pass out completely.

All of the sudden the girl’s face was transformed. It twisted violently as if she was screaming, but no sound came out. She stood and slammed her hands down on the table which didn’t budge an inch. Her arm flung out wildly at the coffee cup but it passed right through. She stood still for a moment, her head bowed, shoulders heaving. The girl brought her frail little hands to the sides of her head and began to cry. Dark locks of hair whipped through the air as she shook her head. As she did, the cafe started to move and sway along with her. Alex clung to the table as it rocked back and forth. The ear-splitting ring was deafening now, it seems to radiate outward from the girl who was howling in impotent rage in front of her. Alex finally lost control and toppled out of the chair onto the undulating tile floor. Her stomach lurched and she tried not to vomit. But the movement suddenly stopped. Alex looked up to see the girl had stopped screaming, the fall from the chair had grabbed her attention and now she was looking straight at Alex. Her breath caught in her throat and Alex scrambled backward- colliding with the counter. It was her eyes that scared her the most. The irises were so big that she looked like a life-sized doll. The girl knelt again, swam through the air toward her on all fours. She brought her wide, unblinking eyes within a few inches of Alex’s terrified face and then opened her mouth. Her jaw dropped downward in a sickening way that was far too wide for the her small face. She was going to swallow her whole… and Alex was too deaf and sick from the mere closeness of her to do anything except watch it happen. The girl took one white hand and grabbed Alex’s arm.

“…Alex?” a small distant voice said.

Alex was back in her seat. The ringing faded and the gentle hum of the bustling cafe was back. The figure was gone. She blinked and looked down to see Maya was gently touching her arm.

“Are you okay, hon? You kind of space out there for a moment.” she said with a worried smile.

The nausea had subsided and the feeling had come back into her limbs. Alex stared at her for a moment, trying to find the words to describe what had just happened. But it was useless. She got up from her chair and hurried out of the cafe and down the block. Maya could only sit at the table exchanging awkward glances with the other patrons who had watched Alex flee the building.

The End.

New Holiday Cards and Sale


Getting ready for Christmas a bit early, I’ll be having a baby in a couple weeks and I heard a rumor that it effects your productivity.

Also, I’m having a Holiday Mailing Special through December 31st! All cards bought can be mailed to your address as normal, OR, they can be mailed to the recipient in an attractive holiday envelope (photos to come!). It may also include an optional message on the back if you like.  This is a great option for people who are overwhelmed with Christmas plans and need a little extra help. Also free shipping on all orders!

Order one, or you can get 10 for $10 at the Jellyfish Station Etsy Shop.

You can choose to include an optional message of your choice on the back on the card. If not, if will just be blank.

 

You can choose to include an optional message of your choice on the back on the card. If not, if will just be blank.

Fall is almost here! Breezy Days and Halloween Candy Galore!


I’m SO excited that Summer is almost over. Seriously. It can die. It’s the worst thing that ever happened to the 365 day calendar. A chilly breeze is rustling the leaves and I can feel the beginning of my favorite season approaching. Perfect timing~ as I am reaching my 3rd trimester and seriously the sun can go fuck itself. I’m currently working on upgrading my zazzle store, Jellyfish Station, and the weather is inspiring all sorts of Fall themed drawings.