Town of the Damned, Silent Hill

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Snafu the Great

No, this thread isn't about the series. It's about the town itself. After all, the town of Silent Hill is the main driving force in the series. In effect, the cursed town itself is a character.

Silent Hill is a small town situated around the edge of Toluca Lake and a large forest, with the older sections of town located to the north and along the banks of the adjacent river. Due in part to heavy commercial development, the town is fairly self-sufficient; it has an elementary school, a shopping mall, a church, two separate hospitals, a sanitarium, and other stores and attractions. The majority of the town's businesses are locally owned mom and pop stores, with no apparent influence of chain stores or franchises beyond a burger joint called "Happy Burger". Old Silent Hill and Paleville hold large residential areas with both apartments and homes, as well as several motels and the grand Lakeview Hotel. The beachfront area of Paleville also has a lighthouse and hosts the Lakeside Amusement Park.

Prior to the 1600s, the town of Silent Hill was the home of members of an unnamed Native American tribe that used the land for sacred rituals. At the end of the century, settlers arrived and founded the town; shortly thereafter, they began to rapidly die off. The deaths were attributed to an epidemic, and Brookhaven Hospital was built to treat those affected. Eventually the settlers fled the town, leaving it abandoned for nearly a century, until it was resettled as a penal colony in the early 1800s. Twenty years later, another epidemic broke out, and Brookhaven Hospital was rebuilt and reopened. In the 1840s, the prison was closed, and the town once more abandoned; in the 1850s, coal was discovered there by another wave of settlers, and it became a boom town.

During the American Civil War, the town served as a prisoner of war camp; after the end of the war, the prison used to house prisoners was converted into a state penitentiary, and shortly thereafter, Silent Hill became a resort town. Around roughly the same period, a group of religious zealots founded a series of small doomsday cults based upon the eschatology of the unnamed Native American tribe which occupied the land before settlers arrived. Collectively referring to themselves as "The Order", the cults, each of whom worshiped a different sub-deity, practiced human sacrifice and necromancy in an ongoing effort to resurrect "The God", an ancient deity which they believed would usher in an age of paradise by killing all humans. In order to fund their efforts, The Order dealt a psychedelic drug called White Claudia, manufactured from a plant indigenous to the town. The drug trade served to increase tourism to the town from the residents of surrounding areas, who traveled there to obtain White Claudia. The drug trade was crippled in the 1990s, in the midst of a war between The Order and local authorities, during which members of the order murdered several police officers.

Silent Hill manifests itself in three distinct parallel layers, or dimensions: a normal, populated town; a quiet, seemingly abandoned town veiled by supernaturally thick fog; and a dark and decaying town (called the "Otherworld"wink filled with disturbing, hellish imagery. Only the latter two layers are explored by the games' protagonists, where demonic and disfigured creatures roam the streets and buildings (appearing in greater numbers in the Otherworld). Electricity and lighting are extremely limited or nonexistent as well. Occasionally, characters will transition between dimensions, and in some cases the dimensions may collapse into each other, creating an incoherent space called "Nowhere."

The different appearances of both the town and its inhabitants are made manifest from characters' personal fears, though not necessarily those of the protagonists. These manifestations may be shared between characters, or otherwise appear exclusively to only one of them. It is implied that Silent Hill always held a supernatural presence, but the town's violent and deadly history since the early modern period had perverted these energies into something darker.

Commentary published by Konami has stated that the power of Silent Hill has "intensified greatly" since the events of the first game. While the first, second, and prequel games featured protagonists who were drawn into Silent Hill, in the third, fourth and sixth games, the Otherworld has reached out to people in nearby towns of Ashfield and Shepherd's Glen.

Not that a thread about a series is allowed, nor is one for a town, according to this...

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