Wanna be freaked out? Lavender Syndrome

Despite the inevitable nightmares I’m going to have tonight, I thought this video was friggen’ balls-awesome. The creepy fanart accompanied by the freaky-ass Lavender Town music is like Alistair and I — perfect together. <3.

EDIT: I just read this on rickey.org: THIS IS A THING???

“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.

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.

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.

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. 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.”

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