|“|| I hear that it's almost never sunny in Silent Hill. And people say that when the fog comes out, strange things happen.
In the titular series, the resort town of Silent Hill, Maine was founded around Toluca Lake from which dense fog and darkness can envelop the area, blurring the distinction between dream and reality for some characters. During this state, elements of the unconscious mind, including impossible monsters and scenarios, can manifest into tangibility. This supernatural phenomenon is referred to as the Fog World or Misty World. Mirroring the cycles between REM and non-REM sleep, the Fog World will periodically shift to a deeper part of the nightmare referred to as the "Otherworld" or the "reverse side". Those with troubled psyches are more susceptible to the Fog World, and the town has been known to attract those with darkness in their hearts.
There is no distinct boundary between the Real World and the Fog World. The flow of time and the laws of physics can also change when entering this state. The Fog World usually appears sparse, except for monsters and the occasional human being. The lingering thoughts of certain people who died suddenly and unexpectedly can cause their spirits to remain in the Fog World. Fog World-like states can affect areas outside of Silent Hill and Toluca Lake, but only under special circumstances.
In the film universe, the town is reimagined as Silent Hill, West Virginia, a former coal mining town that was ravaged by a severe coal fire. The film iterations of the Fog World and Otherworld are explicitly depicted as alternate dimensions crossing over with each other, with the fog and snow from the games adapted as smoke and ash. The crossing over of dimensions allows for the personalities of certain characters to become split, most notably Alessa Gillespie and Dark Alessa.
- 1 History
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Trivia
- 4 Gallery
- 5 References
- Main article: Timeline
The area around Toluca Lake that would become Silent Hill, Maine was once a sacred place for Native American rituals. Revered as "the Place of the Silent Spirits", it was worshiped as a Holy land due to the spiritual power that surrounded it. The natives would use the town's power seemingly talk to their dead ancestors, attributing it to a stone Nahkeehona. Around 1607, they were driven out by English settlers. Soon after witch trials in 1692, a mysterious epidemic broke out and the settled town was abandoned. During the American Civil War in the 1800s, the area became a penal colony and coal mining town, with Toluca Prison being built to hold prisoners and Brookhaven Hospital originating as a response to the epidemic. Re-established Native American tribes began revolting against the settlers, but this came to an end around 1890. These events had a dark impact on the town's latent power. Around the early twentieth century, people in the area began to mysteriously vanish one after the other. Toluca Prison and the coal mines were closed, and the town became a tourist attraction. An entire sightseeing ship called Little Baroness that sailed Toluca Lake in 1918 went missing as well. After several boating accidents, the town's reputation as a tourist destination became tainted.
A shadowy cult had also formed, influenced by the indigenous religion of the Native Americans and the Christian beliefs of immigrants. The cult took advantage of the power that the town provided and gained control over much of its infrastructure. One of the cult's members Dahlia Gillespie eventually gave birth to a psychic girl Alessa, who she attempted to use in a ritual when she was seven-years-old to impregnate her with their God. During the ritual, Alessa sustained severe burns and the cult faked her death to the authorities. Their plans were delayed when Alessa split her soul into two halves – one in her original charred body, and the other materializing as a baby discovered on the side of a road by Harry Mason. The original Alessa was hidden away in Alchemilla Hospital, where she lied in a coma trapped in an endless nightmare that nurtured the deity inside her. The nightmare was caused by the God inside her amplifying and twisting her inner thoughts and fears. Without the other half of the soul, Alessa could not birth God, so Dahlia cast a spell that would attract the baby back to Silent Hill when she grew older. Harry adopted the baby and named her Cheryl.
|“|| The otherworld in the first game is a world manifested from the depths of Alessa's consciousness. The reason why many items and solutions to riddles that originate from works like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz appear is that these are Alessa's favorite books from her childhood. In other words, they indicate that the otherworld itself is produced by Alessa.
When Cheryl turned seven-years-old, the age of Alessa when she was burned, she asked Harry to take her to Silent Hill. Harry granted her wish, and the two traveled to the town on vacation. However, when they arrived, Harry fell into a state of unconsciousness. The arrival of Cheryl and Alessa in the same proximity caused Cheryl to revert to her former self, resulting in Alessa psychically projecting her endless nightmare onto the town through its spiritual power. When Harry woke up, he found himself searching the town (now engulfed in Alessa's nightmare) for his adopted daughter. The monsters seen in the original Silent Hill are manifestations of Alessa's subconscious – her fears, obsessions, memories, and anxieties – materialized by her anxious state of mind. This dreamlike state cycles between the Fog World, the Otherworld, and occasionally the Unknown (the deepest part of Alessa's nightmare), with an intermediary state similar to night. It is affected heavily by her experiences and inner psyche, such as the appearance of the Otherworld serving as a parallel to the burns she sustained. The Otherworld is more surreal and hostile compared to the Fog World.
The game ends with God being born and stopped, Alessa dying and being reborn as Heather Mason, and Alessa's nightmare collapsing in on itself.
Silent Hill 2
The events of the first game had a major affect on the town's spiritual power, which was corrupted and intensified greatly. Other people began to experience their own Fog Worlds and Otherworlds, materializing their respective delusions and subconscious as it previously did for Alessa. People with darkness in their hearts and a prior connection to Silent Hill are drawn back to the town through their own desires.
After years of stress and emotional strain, protagonist James Sunderland smothers his terminally ill wife Mary Shepherd-Sunderland with a pillow. Overcome with grief and guilt for his actions, James falls into denial and receives a mysterious letter from someone claiming to be his wife telling him to find her in Silent Hill. Hopeful and acting under the delusion that his wife died naturally from the disease three years beforehand, he comes to the town in search of her. When he arrives, he discovers his guilty feelings and negative emotions manifested into a twisted nightmare with monsters. He also meets other people who were drawn to the town, including Angela Orosco who killed her father who raped her and came searching for her mother, and Eddie Dombrowski who wounded one of his bullies and is fleeing the police. Eventually, their nightmares intertwine with his.
Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill 3 is a direct sequel to the original game. It deals with the cult tracking down Heather and awakening the God fetus that reincarnated with her when she was reborn. To strengthen the God inside her, the cult kills her father, prompting her to seek revenge against the cultist Claudia Wolf. In this game, the creatures and Fog World are reflections of both Heather and Claudia's subconscious. As the game progresses, Heather recalls more and more of her former lives as Alessa and Cheryl. These memories and her will for revenge affect the creators, Fog World, and Otherworld of the game.
Silent Hill: Origins
When Climax Studios first obtained the license to develop a Silent Hill game for the Playstation Portable, the original intent was to remake the first game on the console. However, when early development began, the studio began to assess the amount of work it would take to rebuild the game from scratch with new controls, camera work, and graphics. They decided that it would better to create something new than to remake a game that already existed. Climax consulted Team Silent on the project, who gave them complete leeway to tell the story how they wanted. They also desired to bring back the psychological elements from Silent Hill 2. By making the game a prequel, the developer was able to retell elements of the story from the original, while also bringing back the inner fears concept from the second game. The goal was not to explain everything, but to connect it with the earlier installments. They were able to advance several locations from the original with newer graphics. The result was Silent Hill: Origins.
The mechanics are altered to where the player character Travis Grady can travel back-and-forth between the Fog World and the Otherworld at will via mirrors in specific locations. This is tied to his mother having hallucinations about mirrors where she heard voices telling her that her son is a demon. She had a superstitious belief that the mirrors led to another world.
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Developed by Double Helix Games, Silent Hill: Homecoming focuses on a mental patient with darkness in his heart, Alex Shepherd, who confronts his inner fears similar to James Sunderland and Travis Grady. The Fog World is shown to affect the neighboring town of Shepherd's Glen, which is also under the cult's influence. Like Silent Hill, it borders Toluca Lake, allowing for the materialization of delusions.
Silent Hill: Downpour
|“|| The potential for this illness exists in all people and, under the right circumstances, any man or woman would be driven, like him, to the 'other side'.
The 'other side' perhaps may not be the best way to phrase it. After all, there is no wall between here and there. It lies on the borders where reality and unreality intersect. It is a place both close and distant.
Some say it isn't even an illness. I cannot agree with them. I'm a doctor, not a philosopher or even a psychiatrist. But sometimes I have to ask myself this question. It's true that to us his imaginings are nothing but the inventions of a busy mind. But to him, there simply is no other reality.
The spiritual power of Silent Hill, Maine is not evil in nature, but would become gradually distorted after twisted events in the town's history. Alessa projecting her nightmare onto the town in the first game caused the emergence of the large scale Fog World and Otherworlds seen in the sequels, with the town becoming a catalyst for the manifestation of people's unconscious minds. It has been known to attract those with great darkness in their hearts, because those with troubled minds are more easily drawn to the Otherworld. The town does not simply show people their inner most thoughts, but actually manifests them into tangibility.
The line between reality and unreality is blurred by the fog and darkness, with the shifts between the Fog World and the Otherworld occurring due to the cycles between REM and non-REM sleep. The mist and darkness obstructs the horizon and the visibility of those who enter, contributing to this phenomenon. The obstruction of the horizon ties into the cult's worship of the sun, with the mist described as obscuring "the boundary between heaven and earth" by Lost Memories: Silent Hill Chronicle, causing the blurring between dream and reality. In the first three games, the haze and visual noise expresses the psychological aspect of the Fog World and heightens the intensity of the story. The camera angles, which are sometimes presented from the point of view of the player character, represent the mental distortion taking place and expresses their anxiety and confusion.
The flow of time and laws of physics begin to become irrelevant as a character falls deeper into the Fog World, Otherworld, and Unknown. In the Fog World, unnatural obstructions (such as doors with broken locks and collapsed roads) can manifest, leading a character down a certain path. In some cases, locked doors and the location of keys can reflect a character's psyche or have a special significance. The layout of the town typically remains the same in the Fog World, but in rare instances it can change, such as Overlook Penitentiary appearing to Alex Shepherd in Central Silent Hill instead of its actual location in Toluca Lake.
The town usually appears deserted in the Fog World, save for monsters and the occasional human being, many of whom serve a supporting role to the main protagonist. The monsters in the series are negative emotions such as guilt, hatred, fear, worry, or stress manifested into external energy. These are often triggered by nightmares. Not everyone can see monsters in the Fog World and Otherworld, or see the Otherworld and Fog World as a nightmare, but adolescents (especially girls) and those with troubled psyches are more prone to it. Some of the monsters (such as God and Valtiel) are deities and angels of the cult's religion, though it remains ambiguous whether they actually exist or are themselves manifestations of delusion.
Separate characters do not perceive the Fog World and the Otherworld in the exact same way. In the original Silent Hill, Harry Mason and Cybil Bennett are implied to be experiencing Alessa's nightmare differently and underwent Fog World and Otherworld transitions at separate points. When James Sunderland encountered the Abstract Daddy in Silent Hill 2, he was seeing the creature differently from what Angela was seeing, observing her nightmare abstractly through his own perception. The monster was also influenced by James' own psyche, such as memories of Mary on her bed rest.
There is no distinct boundary between the Real World and the Fog World, and the Real World and Fog World have been observed to interact with one another. A dead man's notes in Silent Hill 2 describes someone who began seeing monsters that his friends could not see, before ever entering the Fog World. There is also a doctor's journal in Brookhaven Hospital that describes a doctor's inner conflict in the Real World, debating whether or not he should treat his delusional patient, who is happier in a world of his inner thoughts in the Otherworld than he is in the Real World.
The power of the town can affect areas outside of Silent Hill under specific circumstances. Developer and scenario writer Hiroyuki Owaku explains that "The shift to the otherworld that takes place outside the town depends entirely upon a unique power. The power that absorbs and reflects what people hold in their hearts is established as being exclusive to the town of Silent Hill." In Silent Hill 3, a variation of the Fog World and Otherworld were able to manifest outside of the town because of Claudia Wolf's power and the God fetus. When Alessa reincarnated as Heather, God reincarnated inside her as well, lying dormant until she became old enough to birth the deity. Claudia's discovery of Heather awoke God inside of her, and as the game progresses, Heather begins to retrieve memories from her former lives that affect the manifestations in the Fog World and Otherworld. In Silent Hill 4: The Room, serial killer Walter Sullivan was able to create his own Otherworlds in the separate town of Ashfield by performing the Ritual of the Holy Assumption.
Sometimes, the lingering thoughts of the deceased can cause their spirits to remain in Silent Hill. An occult magazine in Silent Hill 3 explains that the souls of people who died suddenly often do not realize that they are dead and continue to haunt a particular place. They have lost their human senses and can only relive the painful memories of the time they died, sometimes to the point that they possess others or turn to other human beings for help. One such place is Baldwin Mansion, where the lingering thoughts of Ernest Baldwin begged Maria to gather objects so that he could resurrect his dead daughter. When she did what he asked, his spirit vanished.
In the 2006 film and its 2012 sequel, the Real World, Fog World, and Otherworld are depicted as separate dimensions intersecting with each other. Christophe Gans explains that in the film universe, multiple planes of reality exist, and characters and personalities can be split. The fracturing of realities is reflected in the fracturing of certain characters, such as Alessa Gillespie and her counterpart Dark Alessa. According to Gans, "We are forced to realize in Silent Hill that we can be our own devil, our own God." The nature of the town is also changed, so that it is now Silent Hill, West Virginia – a coal mining town that was ravaged by a coal fire and became uninhabitable. The fog and snow from the first game are reimagined as smoke and ash. The monsters are depicted as grotesque parodies of humanity, with Gans stating that they may have once been human beings that fell victim to Dark Alessa's vengeance.
- In Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, the fog seems to change color slightly the more the player waits outside, especially after meeting Maria in Rosewater Park. It seems to adopt a more orange-ish sunset hue.
- The cloudy look of the fog in Silent Hill 2 could be inspired by Twin Peaks.
- In the original game, the fog and darkness allowed Team Silent to sidestep hardware limitations.
- According to Akihiro Imamura, Akira Yamaoka, and Masashi Tsuboyama, Team Silent's Silent Hill 5 would have diverged from the fog/darkness formula by having it set in broad daylight with a creepy sunny Otherworld. This was ultimately cancelled in favor of Homecoming.
- The reason that Silent Hill 3 started off in another town was because Team Silent wanted to include urban locations, such as a shopping center and subway.
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill: Origins
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Silent Hill: Downpour
Silent Hill: The Arcade
Silent Hill film
- Book: "Lost Memories"
- Silent Hill 4
- Silent Hill's Ancient Gods: A Study of Their Etymology and Evolution
- Silent Hill (1999)
- Tomm Hulett
- "The Monster Lurks"
|Eric - Tina - Bill - Jessie - Ryan - George - Emilie Anderson - Frank Anderson - Michelle Anderson|
Hanna - Lorraine - Captain - Scott Fairbanks - Greys
|Creeper - Double Head - Greedy Worm - Gum Head - Hummer - Insane Cancer - Mama - Numb Body - Nurse - Phantom - Pyramid Head - Robbie the Rabbit - Scraper - Split Worm - Toadstool - Tremer - Tuberculosis|
|Brookhaven Hospital - Central Square Shopping Center - Jacks Inn - Labyrinth - Lakeside Amusement Park - Silent Hill Historical Society - Spiral Staircase - Toluca Lake - Toluca Prison|
|Flashlight - Fog World - Little Baroness - Monster - Otherworld - Radio - Real World - Siren - Welcome Sign|
|Rose Da Silva - Christopher Da Silva - Cybil Bennett - Dahlia Gillespie - Thomas Gucci - Anna - Christabella - Sharon Da Silva - Alessa Gillespie - Dark Alessa|
|Sister Margaret - Eleanor - Colin - Lisa Garland - Jennifer Carroll|
|Armless Man - Colin - Creeper - Dark Nurse - Grey Child - Red Pyramid|
|Brahms - Brookhaven Hospital - Church - Da Silva House - Gans County - Grand Hotel - Midwich Elementary School - Nathan Drugs - Pete's Bowl-O-Rama - Sacrificial Chamber - Silent Hill, West Virginia - Smitty's - Toluca County Archives - Toluca County Mining Museum - Toluca County Orphanage - Toluca Lake|
|The Brethren - Monster - Flashlight - Manifestation - Otherworld - Fog World - Real World - Siren - Great Knife - Welcome Sign - Brethren Symbol|
|Heather Mason - Christopher Da Silva - Vincent Cooper - Claudia Wolf - Leonard Wolf - Dark Alessa - Douglas Cartland - Alessa Gillespie|
|Rose Da Silva - Dahlia Gillespie - Suki - Travis Grady - Order Soldier - Detective Santini - Mannequin Girl|
|Armless Man - Delusion - Leonard Wolf - Lobotomy - Mannequin Monster - Memory of Alessa - Missionary - Nurse - Pyramid Head - Valtiel|
|All Hallows High School - Brookhaven Asylum - Central Square Shopping Center - Jacks Inn - Sanctuary - Silent Hill, West Virginia - Lakeside Amusement Park|
|The Brethren - Halo of the Sun - Monster - Manifestation - Otherworld - Fog World - Real World - Robbie the Rabbit - Seal of Metatron - Siren - The Order - Great Knife - Welcome Sign|