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Lavender Town Syndrome

Discussion in 'Pokémon 1st Generation Discussion' started by Kai the Squirtle, Jun 20, 2010.

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  1. Some of you may of heard of this. Either way, never look at Lavender Town in the same way again.

    Knock yourself out to the creepiness.

    Has anyone heard of this story? It actually scared the crap outta me but there were some "lolwut"s reading it.

    Here's a 2 part reply from 99chan from /x/.
    Overview [$OVR]
    The phenomenon of the "Lavender Town Tone" is a legend that involves a bizarre spate of medical cases and deaths from around the country that have been connected to the "Pocket Monsters" (Pokémon) series of games, in particular the first two games of the series, "Red" and "Green". Though the event is largely unheard of due to disclosure laws for companies based in the Kyoto Prefecture, there is a large amount of information that has been brought into the open by a number of dedicated individuals, including 関 内直 (Seki Uchitada) 伊勢 満朝 (Ise Mitsutomo) and 佐藤 治情 (Satou Harue), to whom this page is dedicated. Thanks also go out to 安藤 景忠 (Andou Kagetada) for providing images and animated .gifs of the visual phenomena.
    This analysis will discuss the other phenomena that is often confused with the "Lavender Town Tone", known as "White Hand Sprite", "Ghost Animation" and "buried alive model", as well as the semi-related developer-tag that was inserted into the game, and how to safely perform these "easter eggs" in post-first wave cartridges.

    History of the Game [$HIG]
    The first cases of the "Lavender Town Tone" and associated events were reported a few months after the release of of "Pocket Monsters Red and Green" for the handheld "Game Boy" videogame console. These videogames were wildly popular with children between the ages of seven and twelve (their core demographic), which was no doubt one of the reasons why the "Lavender Town Tone" had the level of severity that it did. In the game, the player takes on the role of a "Trainer", whose task it is to capture, tame and train wild creatures called "Pocket Monsters" for battle. These games, and the two newest additions to the series, "Pocket Monsters Gold and Silver", an anime, manga, figurines, a collectible card-game and home console games have resulted in Pocket Monsters becoming a multi-billion dollar franchise.
    In one part of the game, the Trainer comes to a small, out-of-the-way place called "Lavender Town" (シオンタウン). This town is one of the smallest hamlets in the game (aside from the Trainer's own home town), and possesses very few of the services available to the Trainer in every other city in the game - indeed, the location would be unremarkable were it not for the "Pokémon Tower" (ポケモンタワー) located there - a colossal building that holds the graves of hundreds of deceased Pokémon.
    It is theorised that, because of this location in the game, at least two hundred children lost their lives, and many more developed sudden illnesses and afflictons - and this does not consider the vast waves of unreported illnesses or deaths whose cause went unnoticed.

    History of the Pathology [$HIP]
    It was not until Spring/Summer of 1996 that the cases that would eventually become linked to the Lavender Town Tone began to surface. The earliest record of the acknowledgement of the effects of the Lavender Town Town that the author could find came from an internal report made in June 1996 by the company Game Freak Inc. (株式会社ゲームフリーク), which was then leaked by one of its former employees, Ms. Satou Harue. In it, an employee gives a list of names, dates and symptoms - records of children between the ages of 7 and 12 who had suffered various medical problems as a result of playing Pocket Monsters Red and Green versions. Some records are listed below, with the full listing in Appendix A [here]. (It should be noted that entries in the Appendix also include symptoms borne not from the "Lavender Town Tone" [an audio phenomenon] but from the so-called "White Hand Sprite", "Ghost Animation" and "buried alive model", all of which were visual phenomena that provoked similar but distinct symptoms. More details on Part Two [here]).

    京极 勝女; April 12 1996 (11). Obstructive sleep apnea, severe migraines, otorrhagia, tinnitus.
    千葉 広幸: May 23 1996 (12). General irritability, insomnia, addiction to videogame, nosebleeds. Developed into violent streaks against others and eventually himself. [自殺]
    桃井 久江: April 27 1996 (11). Cluster headaches, irritability. Eventually took mixed painkillers. [自殺]
    吉長 為真: March 4 1996 (7). Migraines, sluggish and slow behaviour, unresponsiveness. Developed into deafness, and went missing. Body discovered beside road April 20 1996. [死出]

    The document that was circulated internally was the first time that these incidents had been connected with the Pocket Monsters videogames - until then, the cause had not been discovered or diagnosed by medical professionals. Indeed, it is uncertain how the company themselves managed to find the cases related to the event without seeking advice from health services.

    Pathology Detail -- "Lavender Town Tone" [$PAT]
    The predominant symptoms related to what would become known as the "Lavender Town Town" included headaches and migraines, bleeding from eyes and ears, mood swings and irritability, addiction to the games, unprovoked violence, withdrawal and unresponsiveness, and in approximately 67% of cases, suicidal tendencies. However, these symptoms only manifested in children between the ages of 7 and 12 years old who had reached the area in game known as "Lavender Town", most of whom were revealed to have been wearing headphones or earphones while playing the game (see Appendix A [here]).
    As it turns out, the developers of the Lavender Town area had sought to make an area that would "leave an impression on the player", according to Seki Uchitada, who was a member of the development team. Seki claimed that at the time of development, a number of the team were interested in making Lavender Town a little different to the rest of the game.
    "The Pokémon Tower is a visible result of that," Seki told ゲームの次元 ("Game's Dimensions" Magazine) in an interview earlier this year. "That, and the fact that Lavender Town is so different from all the other cities in the game: it is smaller, it has fewer people occupying it, it didn't have a gym... and, of course, the music was very, very eerie. In fact, in the first version of the game, we were told to slightly change the song played in the background of Lavender Town ... because our manager told us it would make children upset. The music used in subsequent versions is different."
    Either Seki was unaware of the full impact of the Lavender Town Tone, or was vastly underexaggerating how "upset" children would get - no more is said of the music in the article, but there are mentions of Lavender Town's other macabre features (see below).

    What Seki failed to disclose to Game's Dimensions Magazine was that the music used in the first-wave release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green was formulated out of an experiment in "binaural beats": using slightly different frequencies of sound, each frequency played in one ear through earphones or headphones, various psychological effects can be induced upon the listener. In most versions of the first wave releases, this resulted in the player feeling uneasy, apprehensive, and mildly disturbed. However, for upwards of two-hundred children, it provoked a variety of disturbances in the brain that went undetected purely because it was undetectable by fully developed human ears - instead, only children fell victim to the tones , resulting in psychological and physiological problems that in some cases led to death - many of which were suicides.

    Part 2:
    Pathology Detail- Visual Overview

    These visual effects are known among programming circles as "The White Hand Sprite", the "Ghost Animation", and the "Buried Alive Model". Each has been found to cause headaches, nausea, and in severe cases, hemorrhaging of the brain and lungs. While around 70% of Lavender Town Syndrome (LTS) is due to the Lavender Tone, the remaining percentage is split among these visual phenomena. This is partly due to the visual stimuli occurring after the player is introduced to the Lavender Tone. It has been theorized that those unaffected by the aural stimulation, such as the deaf or the hard of hearing, make up the remaining 30%. While viewing these models can cause these effects, there are certain methods that allow a viewer to safely examine them in detail.

    The White Hand Sprite

    Known in the code as WhitHand.gif, this was scripted to appear as a Pokemon on the third floor of the Lavender Tower. It is divided into four separate animations: an introduction (the "cry" a Pokemon unleashes before a battle), an idle, and two attacks. These attacks are unknown, as they are listed simply as "Fist" and "Brutal". While viewing the animation has been proven to be hazardous, viewing the frames of the model has been proven to have no adverse effects. The White Hand is depicted as a shriveled, slightly decayed hand, with surprising attention to detail: flesh is peeling back from the bone, and several tendons dangle realistically out of the wrist. The first attack is the hand balling into a fist, then swinging forward. However, the "brutal" animation is missing several frames: The hand seems to open up, then cuts out. After a few seconds, it reappears, closed again. No record has been found of these missing frames.

    Ghost Animation

    The Ghost Animation, coded as Haunting.swf, was intended to be placed in several areas throughout the tower, including in the center of a path on the second floor. However, players cannot interact with it, leaving many to believe that it was intended as a "background feature". The ghost animation as well must be viewed in individual frames. It is comprised of 59 frames total. However, after extraction, around half of these frames have been revealed to be the standard ghost model used in Pocket Monsters. Around a quarter of the remaining frames are comprised of static, to produce a "fading" effect. However, interspersed with these bursts of static are several frames of screaming faces, along with images of a skeletal man in a cloak (hypothesized to be the Grim Reaper) and of several killed corpses. The meaning behind these are unknown- While under oath before the Video Games Commission Board, Lead Programmer Hisashi Sogabe testified as to having "No knowledge as to where these images surfaced." Out of all the phenomena associated with LTS, this animation is the most speculated on: In his thesis "Video Games and The Manipulation of the Human Mind", [viewable in appendix C] Dr. Jackson Turner argued that the images were intentionally placed in. Due to their brief time appearing on the screen, and the graphic nature of the frames, Turner theorizes that these were meant to subliminally influence players into becoming more frightened by the disturbing surroundings.

    The Buried Alive Model

    Often referred to as its code, the Buryman script, the Buried Alive Model was to be found on the final story of the Pokemon Tower, in what has now been replaced with the Marowak ghost. According to the scripts assigned to it, the Buried Alive model was intended to be the "boss" of the tower. Once reaching the top floor, the following conversation would have taken place.

    Buried Alive: You're... Here.
    BA: I'm trapped...
    BA: And I'm lonely...
    BA: So very lonely...
    BA: Won't you join me?
    After this, the battle would have been initiated. Once in
    "battle view", the Buried Alive model appears to be a decaying human corpse attempting to crawl out of the ground. It has been programmed to have two White Hands, a Gengar, and a Muk. Strangely enough, a protocol for the Buried Alive's actions after it was defeated were not written. In the case of the player defeating him, the game would freeze. However, a specific ending was written by an unknown programmer upon losing the battle. In this ending, the Buried Alive was to have stated, "Finally, fresh meat!" followed by several lines of gibberish. He was to have then dragged the player character into the ground surrounding him. The scene would finish with a typical "Game Over" screen; however, in the background, an image of the Buried Alive character devouring the player was to have been shown. Especially strange are the protocols for after this scene. The cartridge was to download this image to the small internal memory contained in the Gameboy, overwriting the title screen that normally accompanied a Gameboy turning on. Instead, whenever it was started, the player would view this image as the sound file staticmesh.wav was played. The intended purpose for this effect, unlike many of the other factors leading towards LTS, is unknown.

    The story is obviously fiction, but the 1st Edition of Lavender's Town Tune can make you feel strange, it is said that only young teens and children can hear these certain "tones" and fully developed human ears cannot. Here is the song:

    R/G Version Blue Version

    Hear the difference? Left one has a noise that has a bunch of "popping" noise, and the right one doesn't have it.

    Discuss.
     
  2. BlueJay93

    BlueJay93 New Member

    Creepy

    That... is.... Wierd, the old chateau, however is even creepier
     
  3. NimhShambler

    NimhShambler Fighting Type Prof.

    Well, I'll be d*mned. You actually creeped me out a bit. Nice work. It's hard to do that...sort of Resident Evil/Silent Hill/Pokémon there, eh? POKEMON! THE SURVIVAL HORROR! Heh.

    That stuff about the dying people isn't true, is it?...and the creepy 'buried alive' thing is fake, too, right?

    *shudders* Good work, kiddo.

    ~Nemmeh ;107;
     
  4. Darth Sabreus

    Darth Sabreus Want to get a soda?

    Yeah, it's all fake. Epic story though, it had me for a while and I couldn't stop thinking about it. There's a forum on another Poke site if you want, sorry I don't have the link, but it shows some other peoples opinions on the LTS.

    Is it true that some sound frequencies can have negatives effects on you? I would assume so...
     
  5. Yugure Mukuhawk

    Yugure Mukuhawk Dusk Staraptor

    Why did you call It the LTS when it's just bits of the text. It's cool and creepy, but not real :3
     
  6. kamitenshi

    kamitenshi Member

    impressive, creeped me out for a bit. specially cuz pokemon has always been surrounded with myths and incidents like dat. like the pokeball toys suffocating the kids. and the porygon episode causin epilepsy attacks. either way the lavender tune has a creepy feel to it. i find dat theme to be relaxing in the heartgold game though.
     
  7. dismallyLemon

    dismallyLemon Member

    Gave me that same weird feeling when I first read Death Note. Of course it's not true, but the Lavender Town music is kinda unnerving.
     
  8. NimhShambler

    NimhShambler Fighting Type Prof.


    Yes, it is. I've done some experiments with binural beats myself, for funsies, and I find the 'sound that people who are over 19 can't hear' thing is true.

    Also, play a little Silent Hill, or better yet, search Akira Yamaoka's "Prayer" from Silent Hill three. It's unnerving as it can be. The music is what makes SH so scary.

    Come to think of it, a couple months ago, I replayed Blue and the Lavender Town music sounded different to me. I seem to recall a clicking sound, or a high pitched noise in the background that I can't hear any more. *Shrugs* I guess that was it.

    ~Nemmeh ;107;
     
  9. Calm PokeMaster

    Calm PokeMaster Well-Known Member

    ........My God. The last bit was fake, of course, but the story left a chill on my heart.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  10. Canto

    Canto Well-Known Member

    0.0

    Holy freaking crap, I think I just peed my pants. lol
    Seriously though, my heart is beating a bit faster than normal.
    That last part freaked me out especially.
    Just... wow. ;157;
     
  11. TerraWolf

    TerraWolf Banned

    Death Note:pokemon Edition
     
  12. Calm PokeMaster

    Calm PokeMaster Well-Known Member

    Now, I really have misgivings about playing any Pokemon game alone.


    Even thought the article was fake, it was well written and upped my heart beat rate.
     
  13. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie 桜咲くこの坂を今も上っている

    ...Wow... What made this even creepier was that I was listening to some creepy piano music...

    You know, about the Lavender Town music, I love it and all, but I do know there is something unnerving about that music, especially the Lavender Tower music. I have a recording of the town music somewhere that I got from my brother's Red version, but I don't know where it is. And my brother lost his version, so I can't check it out again. So I'll click on the links when I get on my laptop, since this one I'm on won't let us on YouTube.

    Even though the sprites part is fake, the White Hand sprite made me iffy. I used to think when I was real that I could actually see the hand on my character's shoulder when the girl mentioned it. Then again, I have a pretty visual imagination. So the whole part made me iffy. Especially the "Buried Alive" one. Eesh.

    This actually reminded me of a nightmare I had about Mount Moon (during the days of my first game-play, I was stuck in Mount Moon at that time), where I ran into some skinny black cat that ate my Pikachu and then me.

    Darth Sabreus mentioned a forum that was talking about this, so I ended up Googling it, and found it. It's probably the right one.

    Right here, folks.

    Here's another interesting one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
  14. ToeyJoey

    ToeyJoey Forward...

    I would not have liked to lose to that guy when I was what, 6.
     
  15. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie 桜咲くこの坂を今も上っている

    Okay, quick question: What does the story have to do with Lavender Town Tone? It was an interesting read, but it just made it weird.

    Anyway.

    I decided to test the Red/Green version of Lavender Town's music on my brothers, and I ended up getting some weird results. It seems everyone hears the music differently, no matter the age, so when it came to my brothers, they heard (or did not hear) certain things. I wrote down what they described, and every now and then their actions.

    We'll start with the youngest brother. When I asked him to tell me what he was hearing, he just ended up sounding out whatever it was he was hearing. So I'll put down the onomatopoeia so you can decide for yourself what he was hearing.

    Keep in mind I only told the youngest about it, but I think he was half-listening. The other two had no clue what was going on, but did the "experiment" anyway.

    Jonathan, 11 years, heard and described as listed in the Red/Green version:

    • "bing-ding"
    • "bing-ding-ding-ding-ding-ding..."
    • beeping
    • "dee-bee-dee-bee-dee-bee..."
    • "in-ding" (couldn't tell)
    • "kin-ding" (unsure)
    • "din-din, diiiiiiin"
    • "two-dee"
    • "din-ping"
    • a phone ringing
    Actions shown:

    • was getting impatient
    • pretty annoyed
    • pulled at his top eyelid
    (The last action was someting I had never seen him do. It looked like he was pulling out his eyelashes.)

    For Red/Blue:

    • "doo-beep, doo-beep"
    • "dun, dun, dun, dun"
    • "dun-deet-dun-deet"
    Action showed:

    • bounced in place

    Daniel, 16 years, heard and described as listed in the Red/Green version:

    • an "eeeeeeeee" noise
    • beeping
    • screeching
    • ringing
    • Mario coin noise (8-bit game)
    • either Gastly or Haunter cry
    • "Annoying in general"
    For Red/Blue:

    • echoey
    • catchy
    • humming
    • small "eeee"
    • twanging

    Samuel, 16 years, heard and described as listed in the Red/Green version:

    • beeping steadily (like a countdown)
    • wavy ringing (mentioned a cellphone)
    • noticed the loop, the ending of the loop is a continuous ringing
    • Kirby's Warpstar (8-bit)
    • clapping (disguised as a beep)
    • cymbals
    • "Plays with your mind"
    • "Talking to you"
    For Red/Blue:

    • says it's the same, but louder

    Me, 18 years, heard as listed in the Red/Green version:

    • weird gaps (was more likely the computer)
    • glitchy noises that got louder and more glitchier after a couple of minutes (I call it a tone-deaf violin)
    • notes sounded a little sour or deep
    • after five minutes, it was crazy for a few seconds
    For Red/Blue:

    • echoey
    • more improved

    In conclusion: everyone hears something different. I'm sure that teenagers are still able to hear it, but either it's because we're too far developed or that we listen to music all the time, it's goes almost unnoticeable. None of us heard a "popping" noise, that we knew of anyway. However, the twins have mentioned that they heard something, but couldn't describe it other than what they told me.

    It was interesting to know what the others heard, though. But after this, I don't find it too creepy after all. I even read it again, and found it actually cool to read. So... I'm not that scared after all.

    Well, okay, I'm still a bit freaked out about it, but I'll wait until night comes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  16. TehGr81

    TehGr81 College graduate

    Oh God... it may be fake but it's still surprising.
     
  17. empoleon49

    empoleon49 Dawn's number 1 fan™

    Im so glad that's fake!
     
  18. jadebullet

    jadebullet Active Member

    Nice story.

    BTW, the popping is still there in the Blue/red version. It is just softer of a snare drum noise. It is supposed to be like a funeral march snare. BTW, that is my favorite Pokemon song BTW.
     
  19. jadebullet

    jadebullet Active Member

    Nice story.

    BTW, the popping is still there in the Blue/red version. It is just softer of a snare drum noise. It is supposed to be like a funeral march snare. BTW, that is my favorite Pokemon song BTW.
     
  20. Psynergy

    Psynergy Strong Winds Staff Member Super Mod

    what the...
    that story was amazing...amazingly creepy. i almost thought it was real, it was so great. no matter how well written that is, it's still creepy. wow, i would have cried at the sight of any of this stuff as a 5 year old.
     
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