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Pokémon: The Terrifying History of Lavender Town

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Lavender Town is linked to two prolific creepypastas: Lavender Town Syndrome and White Hand. The first revolves around the original game’s soundtrack (predictably, that famous Lavender Town theme). Legend has it that Japan experienced a spike in reported suicides and illnesses, specifically in children between the ages of 7 and 12, after the release of Pokémon Red and Green. According to an urban legend that grew into a creepypasta, these were linked to the theme of Lavender Town, as its high tones resulted in headaches and irrational, suicidal behavior.

Pokémon‘s developers reportedly lowered the frequency of the song’s notes in subsequent versions to prevent future outbreaks. Sounds ridiculous, right? Perhaps, but it’s important to remember that in the 38th episode of the Pokémon anime (“Electric Soldier Porygon“) utilized flashing lights that triggered epileptic seizures among some of its young viewers. The idea that a technical error in a Pokémon product could cause real-world tragedies (even if the error and subsequent tragedies were entirely unintentional) certainly seemed believable once upon a time. 

Mind you, okémon fans did their best to help the rumor spread. To provide “proof” of Lavender Town syndrome, some people even posted videos of a Lavender Town beta theme, which is somehow even more unnerving than the official release. Others have provided spectrographs that translate the Lavender Town song tones into pictures, which seemingly “reveal” that the track hides sprites of ghosts and several Unown arranged to spell out “LEAVE NOW.” Of course, the mere presence of Unown, which didn’t debut until Pokémon Gold and Silver, calls these spectrographs into question, but what about the rest of the tale? 

The truth is no records of any such mass suicides or illnesses exist; the story is just a tall tale that someone made up, blossomed on the internet, and wormed its way into the cultural zeitgeist. Think Slenderman before Slenderman. Still, the official version of the Lavender Town song is unsettling enough to make this creepypasta seem halfway plausible. Try reading the story while listening to the music. Puts your heart in your throat, doesn’t it?

The other popular Lavender Town creepypasta, White Hand, revolves around the idea that there’s an entity in Lavender Town that should never be seen by players’ eyes. According to a popular rumor, one of the game’s developers worked on a “Pokémon” that only appears in Pokémon Tower: the titular “White Hand.” Unlike actual Pokémon, though, this creature is nothing more than a disembodied hand suffering from an advanced state of decay. The sprite’s details are far more realistic and meticulous than any other element in the entire rest of the game, and the asset even features advanced animations several years before Pokémon Crystal formally introduced that feature. As is creepypasta tradition, the animations make anyone who views them violently ill. Of course, they say that all footage and evidence of the animations have been lost to time. How convenient. But what self-respecting creepypasta would end there?

According to hearsay, White Hand was actually one of two assets meant exclusively for Pokémon Tower. The other was a “trainer” by the name of Buried Alive. As its name suggests, this NPC is a zombie that rises from the ground to challenge players to a Pokémon Battle. This creepypasta states that Buried Alive was supposed to be Pokémon Tower’s final challenge and the “trainer” used a Gengar, Muk, and two White Hands. If players lost to Buried Alive, a special ending would play where he gurgled, “Finally, fresh meat!”, followed by a unique game over screen that shows him eating the player character. 


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