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Lavender Town: A Ghost Story

Lavender Town. 

It sounds sweet on paper, like Parma Violets. Just another stop on the map, a home away from home; it’s the only other town besides Pallet Town in the Kanto region. It disguised itself as a sanctuary after the darkness of Rock Tunnel, but upon entering, the music unveils its true nature.

The “Home of Spirits” is located on the east side of Kanto, quietly composed in-between Routes 10, 8, and 12. The town’s purple hue would be pleasantly mesmerising if not for the music. It’s the first couple of chiptune notes that made you feel uneasy—such a drastic change from the lovable world of Pokèmon—before progressing into an assault of atonal chords, all fighting against each other in confusion; it’s a musical purgatory. Lavender Town’s theme was a crucible of terrible emotions: dread, grief, sadness, regret. One didn’t want to see what this town had in store when it had already let you hear its cries.

Bereft of the glittering wonders that Kanto’s cities had to offer, Lavender Town was very still, like a foggy meadow at dawn. In its original form, the town held a PokèCentre, PokèMart, the elusive Mr Fugi’s residence, and a tower; a monolith which held the secrets behind the town’s lavender veil. Once travellers and trainers heard whispers of eerie encounters and spectral phenomenons, there was no going back. They had passed the point of returning to their ignorant assumption that the “Home of Spirits” wasn’t literal. 

It was. It was a graveyard—a plane of unrest for beloved pocket monsters. It forced you to confront the bleak reality that your loyal, childhood companions were also victims of that good night.

The phantoms that were bound to the Pokèmon Tower were once shrouded in terrifying form. If it wasn’t for the Silph Scope, visitors would have constantly fled, never knowing what those spirits really were. The device allowed people and pokèmon to see the haunted creatures for what they were. The ghostly pokèmon—who later became known as Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar—roamed the tower, for there was nothing else for them to do. Their sole purpose, it seems, was to guard the top level of the tower; the sixth floor, which was the epicentre of the town’s sadness.

Visitors who knew to use the Silph Scope managed to pass through the graveyard’s five levels, but they also needed the strength to not succumb to its sorrow. Upon reaching the sixth and final floor of Pokèmon Tower, the brave souls who entered would soon realise that it was home to a wild Cubone, hiding its precious skull from the poachers Team Rocket—but it was also remaining for a very different reason. You see, the sixth floor was also home to the spirit of Marowak, Cubone’s mother. Its inability to transcend and rest could only be broken if someone managed to calm her spirit enough to allow peace to enter. The sixth floor of Pokèmon Tower not only harnessed the pain of the trapped Marowak, but also the heartbreak of its mourning Cubone.

The story of what dwelt on the sixth floor of Lavender Town’s tower stayed with all who experienced it, and touched the minds of those who only heard its tales. According to urban legend, Lavender Town radiated an unexplainable energy which infected the minds of many players, children in particular. If subjected to its unforgettable melody, children were reported to change. It was thought that children were sensitive to the music’s high-pitched, binaural tones, and that adults were immune to it. 

Suffering from nosebleeds, headaches, extreme outbursts of anger, and displays of overwhelming emotion, children were overcome by the music’s presence. Its chilling discord polluted their minds, altered their frequency, and changed who they were. It was believed that over 200 children took it upon themselves to be ghosts too, to put an end to the town’s wailing rhythm. This illness became known as “Lavender Town Syndrome,” which travelled through time as an urban legend that still torments the psyche of adults. Though just a myth, its legacy hangs over the town to this day.

Over the years, Lavender Town evolved and broke free from the curse that held it so close to the grave. Pokèmon Tower became Kanto Radio Tower, which broadcasted the radio channel Pokè Flute. Trainers who entered the tower were restricted to the ground floor, as everything above them was off limits. It was thought that the upper floors of the tower were still haunted by the town’s sorrow; a ghost, in itself, that could never move on. It was said that the graves of those Pokèmon were moved to the town’s House of Memories or resurrected underground. 

The concept of death was a recurring theme within the many regions of the world of Pokèmon. There were stories of parallel realms which trapped trainers inside of rooms with no doors or ladders and forced them to witness the deterioration of Pokèmon around them. Other accounts detailed battles with rivals, who would gradually morph into a bloody, headless apparition, preceding what their opposing trainer would eventually become. 

In the end, no one can be sure of what powers lie between the boundaries of this life and the afterlife, but the history of Lavender Town proved that those frontiers could be crossed.

Jo Craig
Jo's love of video games started within the Kanto region of Pokemon, contained within a lime-green Game Boy Colour in 1999. Now - trapped within a 30-year-old’s body - journalism has continued this passion for interactive entertainment, where researching Assassin’s Creed Lore and Final Fantasy creatures never gets old. Neither a retro gamer nor a modern one, but a collector and admirer of both. Bank balance permitting, boxed NES games, limited edition steelbooks and another Power Rangers Funko Pop variant are purchased with glee, and without hesitation. Give Jo anything with good RPG mechanics and she'll be immersed for life.

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