You know about Lavender Town. You know that the town’s sorrowful music can tear out of the game, enter you through your ears, consume your head, and leave you screaming for the end, to stop the pain, stop the wailing of the dead that never end - screaming, until you find a way to silence it.
I’m going to tell you a story. If you wish to aid yourself in setting the stage, go ahead and open a new tab, and bring up that music. Indulge yourself in its 8-bit horror. Just don’t go away. Don’t leave.
Because I found the truly terrifying secret of the ghost town.
Any innocent Pokémon fan, playing through Red or Blue, or if they live in Japan, Green, could have figured it out. But they… They didn’t live to bring the haunted truth to justice. I know I might be next. But I have to do this, for the good of you all. To save lives, even.
As I said, any innocent Pokémon fan, whether they’re young or veteran, setting out on their first journey, or revisiting the franchise’s roots… Any one of them could have done it. We’ll never know if they did, though, will we? Let’s begin.
Said innocent fan has just made it through the Rock Tunnel, their team beaten and battered, anxious for rest. They crawl to Lavender Town, and before they can shudder at the sounds that echo through the barren valley town, they drag themselves to the friendly, familiar Pokémon Center. Its own cheery music offers a sanction to the sane, temporarily. When they inevitably leave, they offer their ears and therefore lives to the spirits of Lavender.
And there it stands, nestled away in plain sight. It grins, knowing that soon its hungry, growling voices will be fed. Fed by the tender souls of the pure.
And its watchful eyes observe and the starving gray faces swoop almost too close, as the victim is unknowingly warned by a young child.
“That white hand on your shoulder…I’m just imagining it.”
But no, no, no! You mustn’t leave, it beckons.
The boy, blissfully ignorant, leaves the quiet town, and the anxious specters sink back into their solitude in depression.
But they know, inevitably, irrevocably, that their prey shall return. And they smile, full of malicious, sadistic hunger.
And soon they can feel the return of the Trainer’s innocent presence. Yes, yes. The boy moves closer, closer, closer, upon the maw of the secret. The wailing chorus of the town’s song rising in a crescendo as the unknowing Pokémon fan steps inside.
And they begin their song, shrieking like the brutal death of a banshee, a lost soul waiting for its pitiful death. It gets louder, and louder, and never stops its song. It continues until the screeching worms its way inside of you and hooks painfully into your brain, and begins leeching off your life. The high pitched chorus gives a wicked grin; their prey has no escape now.
The clueless child or even seasoned Pokémon fan still doesn’t know, doesn’t understand.
I’m starting to get weak. I’m halfway through this stupid place, and for some reason I’m not getting attacked by any wild Pokémon. I swear, my character is walking progressively slower. The music is starting to get louder. It’s beginning to give me a headache, but it makes me feel so twisted and vicious and for some reason I don’t mind. A huge shiver racks my spine and I shake from it. I’m starting to feel chilly. My shadow…it’s getting longer.
The ghosts, the haunted inhabitants of this horrible place, begin their drain. If they’re lucky, their victim will be gone before they understand. Sometimes they do understand, sometimes it all clicks, but they’re already too far gone, and their last anguished thoughts gives the spirits a hearty meal. Never has one finally uncovered the secret before they were truly doomed.
My side hurts. It’s getting hard to breathe. It looks like my character is moving at the normal pace again, and that I’m the one that's slowed down. I feel a cold draft and shudder again. I sense a dark grin staring at me. The music keeps playing, even as I battle these poor Channelers. It’s all I can hear. By now I knew something was wrong, but I felt a nagging in my brain that told me to ignore it. Since that was the easier solution, I continued on.
The ghost’s wicked laughter makes up the chorus, the singing of the dying banshee, the screams…the screams of the dead Pokémon, their wrath, their vengeance, their misery poured out into one awful serenade, with one message - to join them in death.
I reached the final floor. Still no wild Pokémon. Thinking back, somehow, I’m shocked I never saw it before.
Those who had died, they were all in Lavender Town. They were trying to leave. Trying to get out. Out of the real culprit’s grasp, but they never made it.
I stood on the final floor of the Pokémon Tower, alone in my room and in the dark. It’s sometime past midnight. My head is pulsing with pain and I’m shaking from the cold. I wanted to go take some pills for the headache, but that would mean leaving my tiny, safe sanctuary. I pulled my soft blanket closer and tighter around me, trying to get warm. And I’m quivering almost too bad to press the buttons on my Game Boy SP. It’s still getting louder, not break-your-eardrums loud, loud in the sense that I heard; no, I felt, the music coming from everywhere. There were low, deep whispers coming from it and I went pale in fear.
I make my way through the simple maze of the floor, and before I reach the staircase, it’s too much. I’m so dizzy, and I didn’t notice it until now. I’m not just shaking from the cold, I’m shaking from the pain this place is putting me in. I’m mired in the pure depression of its song. The screaming, wailing melody. It won’t stop, and I don’t think I’ll try and make it, because I’m too weak.
Why? Why am I so weak?
The hungry, evil spirits laugh, cackle, and crow too loud, taunting, teasing, belittling. They are the loyal servants of the tower, stealing, always stripping their victims of sanity to feed their entity, the soul of the Pokémon Tower. It was the Pokémon Tower.
And… And… And I know. My game suddenly freezes, I can’t move anywhere but the tower’s music continues perfectly, from everywhere around me. I curl into a ball, shaking and crying, pleading for the end, begging for the insanity to stop; the whispers grow to rumbling and I can almost make out the words, I can’t think right; everything is getting foggy and murky and I screw my eyes shut and there they are, there they are, they’re killing me and everything becomes a cold black, the sound rising until it is the only thing I comprehend.
It wasn’t Lavender Town.
It wasn’t Lavender Town.
It wasn’t Lavender Town.