The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

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The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Droo »

So towards the end of the game you can find a memo that says (in part):
The Silent Hill Phenomenon

The suicide rate has increased around the world, in large part due to the struggles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with countries still unsure how best to handle the issue.

These trying times have also given rise to a strange phenomenon in many areas: those affected suddenly claim to see fog--even on fair-weather days--and lose consciousness shortly after.

{...}

This has come to be known as the "Silent Hill Phenomenon", named after a similar event occurred in an eponymous U.S. town.
This begs a couple of questions:

1) It seems to imply the fog and associated experiences are brought on by suicidal thoughts (or extreme stress). This seems to imply maybe the updated events of Silent Hill 2 Remake will be seen by the public/media as some sort of mass suicide event. Or this could refer to some other event involving the town we have yet to see. (Townfall?) But something happened in Silent Hill, Maine that is publicly known and being written about in Europe in the 2020s.

2) If suicidal thoughts bring Foggy Silent Hill and the Otherworld upon you regardless of location (TSM is in Germany), was Alessa empowered largely if not solely by her own wish to die after the fire? And if Alessa's actions in SH1 "charged" the events of the future events taking place in the area as seen in later games, is "S.H.P." actually the cause of the entire series' events? If so, what exactly is it?

3) If people suffering "S.H.P." lose consciousness shortly after perceiving fog, does this imply the events of the entire series are psychological delusions being experienced by each of our main characters while under the influence of "S.H.P" instead of being something they're actually experiencing in another dimension of reality? As soon as Anita makes peace with what she's done and reconnects socially, the entire Fog World vanishes and is replaced with reality immediately. Are our previous main characters really in another reality or just knocked out?

Interested in others' thoughts on this new major inclusion into the canon. What is "S.H.P." and how does it connect (or not connect) to previous entries?
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by leftshoe18 »

I think the places associated with the phenomenon still need to have some sort of mystical catalyst. In Silent Hill, it was the religious practices of the natives. In Kettenstadt, it's the "Witch of the Far East" that caused the town to have a similar power to Silent Hill. In Hope's Junction, it's the Foundation. Now, I wonder if these locations have power beforehand that's increased by magic/rituals/etc.

I also don't think that it's simply those experiencing the phenomenon just becoming unconscious. I think that's one doctor's attempted explanation for what's going on.

There are previous mentions of the Otherworld in other games that also kind of fit with the description of the SHP.

From SH2:
The potential for this illness
exists in all people and, under
the right circumstances, any
man or woman would be driven,
like him, to "the other side."

The "other side" perhaps may
not be the best way to phrase it.
After all, there is no wall between
here and there. It lies on the
borders where reality and unreality
intersect. It is a place both close
and distant.
From SHO:
Mrs. ______ condition has
degraded dramatically in the last
few months. Her fantasies of a
"mirror world" have become more
acute, and she spends more and
more time in an apparent catatonic
state. She claims that during this
time she is in the "other world."
So...I think it's possible that people aren't physically going to the Otherworld, but their psyche is. It's not all in their mind, but rather that their mind is brought somewhere else until they've done what needs to be done to be set free again.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Arsonist »

I'm with shoe on this. That doctor's note in SH2 suggests that people can "partly" enter the otherworld, with their actual bodies still being in reality. This phenomena being noticed and/or described in SH could be enough of a reason to give it that name.
And we see this happen in other games, SH4 mainly, all of Walter's victims fall asleep/unconscious in reality. Possibly in SHO as well, Lisa and Kaufmann act like everything is normal when talking to Travis, as if they're still in the real world while he isn't fully there. Laura in SH2 could also be in the real world for all we know, though I doubt it. She doesn't experience any danger, but if she was fully in reality, surely somebody would do something about a lone child wandering around a hospital, slamming and locking doors. Unless, SH is actually abandoned after the events of SH1.
Hate to get all Doylist here, but that note is literally the only connecting tissue this game has to the franchise. That's why it exists, so it's hard for me to make the effort to analyze it more deeply than that.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by leftshoe18 »

Not to get too far off topic, but I think there’s more than just this note connecting it to the Silent Hill franchise. There are also similar design sensibilities, audio components, and themes that carry over from the prior entries in the franchise. Once the game got into its groove towards the start of chapter two, it really felt like a proper Silent Hill game.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by lain of the wired »

It really felt like coming home, after all the.... "variants," with the last game that felt like a TRUE SH game being SHSM/PT (imo, at least, with other "full" games feeling more like IT'S CREPPY RIGHT JUMP SCARE AND RUST rather than getting the core of what made the series hit home), this felt like a return to form.

I am genuinely wondering- given the German site, was I the only one asking "is this Dr. Kaufmann being cited??"
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Vixx »

lain of the wired wrote: 04 Feb 2024 I am genuinely wondering- given the German site, was I the only one asking "is this Dr. Kaufmann being cited??"
That never occurred to me, but that's a great spot! Honestly, I wasn't sure if XXX was just placeholder text they forgot to replace. 🤣
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by leftshoe18 »

Isn't Kaufmann dead at the end of the first game?
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Droo »

Yes, Kaufmann has been dead for decades by the time TSM takes place.
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I can see it with eyes closed
Shadows that look like blood
Dead as far as the mind goes
Fear that comes from my head
Lives in the mirror"
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Yuki »

leftshoe18 wrote: 01 Feb 2024 Not to get too far off topic, but I think there’s more than just this note connecting it to the Silent Hill franchise. There are also similar design sensibilities, audio components, and themes that carry over from the prior entries in the franchise. Once the game got into its groove towards the start of chapter two, it really felt like a proper Silent Hill game.
I think Arsonist might be talking about it being connected narratively - that is, textual connections to canon.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by The Adversary »

I don't think the "Silent Hill Phenomenon" is an explanation for the actual events of previous Silent Hill titles. How I interpret it is a way for others to explain the now-storied disappearances of certain people in a psychological and metaphysical way—even though it's not actually the case. And in regards to it overall, only one person we know has actually disappeared: James.

Said Phenomenon does appear to occur to Travis when he enters Silent Hill, and more so when he stumbles upon Alessa on the altar at the end. The final boss, Flauros/Haurus, is officially called Alessa's Dream, suggesting the battle is occurring in her own world/psyche.

Overall, the Silent Hill Phenomenon seems to be what the new narrative will be for the upcoming releases, and an explanation for why—and how—the events can happen worldwide, not just in Silent Hill.

Interesting to note in that article is that it was a singular event—not events. That implying there was one specific case Dr. XXX was fascinated by enough to propose their theory. My guess is none other than . . . Laura.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Droo »

Why would Laura's disappearance come to the attention of a doctor enough for him/her to make it internationally known?
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I can see it with eyes closed
Shadows that look like blood
Dead as far as the mind goes
Fear that comes from my head
Lives in the mirror"
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by The Adversary »

We know she's the one who experienced only a foggy Silent Hill—no monsters, none of that—and would probably have some kind of story to tell. Dr. XXX is also a social psychologist, so it's possible Laura was their patient (who wouldn't need therapy after that shit?) and it came out that she vaguely remembers going to Silent Hill, though she's not entirely sure how or why—or, more importantly, how—she even got out. Dr. XXX then comes up with this fog theory and begins looking for other instances worldwide, which there are a surprising amount of, from the U.S.A. to Germany to Japan to Norway to wherever else.

For the Silent Hill Phenomenon to work, someone had to have experienced it and gotten out of it and talked to Dr. XXX (unless XXX was there themself. . .). Laura seems the most likely candidate, especially given that she didn't experience the horrors that usually happen to those drawn into the Otherworld.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Ww_Andi_ »

Hey there, i pretty much agree with left shoe on this one and i love the implications of the silent hill phenomenon considering that it really opens the franchise in terms of what's possible. There's always going to be a certain expectation of what kind of stories can take place in the town of silent hill as well as certain expectations for physicals locations. For instance if you're in south vale you're going to expect to see the Brookhaven hospital even if you don't go inside.

That being said Whether or not you're their physically or mentally is one of those things that will likely be up for debate and interpretation. For instance the second Anita decides to jump of the roof, she could be taken into the otherworld through the fog and that moment where she faces herself and your guilt, She comes back to reality and is still on the roof. To her it seems as though she's been through this otherworldly nightmare and spent plenty of time there, but she was on the roof the whole time catatonic.

Even in the past games if you take in consideration the three reality theory(real world, fog world, nightmare world) it could be argued one way of the other in terms of how you are there. But that's not to say that the real world can't be affected slightly. For instance in the in water imagine if James never left that car and after his otherwordly experience he went from catatonic to into a sort of trance as he drove his car into toluca lake. These of course are hypothetical scenarios but its interesting to toy with the ideas.

I do think there is always spiritual/otherwordly forces at play though and that the doctors note should be taken with a grain of salt as it comes from someone theorizing about what's happening and clearly not actually experiencing it. I've no doubt that plenty of people have been to silent hill and experienced the fogworld/otherworld, we shouldn't restrict the number of possible witnesses for the shp to only people that we have seen in the game. If you taken into account how long silent hill has been around, there would be plenty of people for this doctor to generate the theory.

As for what pulls someone into the fogworld, i think its a combination of mysticism/otherwordly forces and the feeling of the protagonist. We've already seen the otherworld reflect/develop from other characters psyches and reflect like a mirror whatever they are feeling. I imagine it as a sort of resonance, a connection between strong feelings and that otherworldly force. That force is not inherently evil imho just a reflection forcing you to face whatever you're feeling or going through.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Arsonist »

Yuki wrote: 05 Feb 2024 I think Arsonist might be talking about it being connected narratively - that is, textual connections to canon.
Thanks. That's exactly what I meant. There are plenty of SH clones out there, dealing with difficult themes, or ripping off the aesthetics. Some do it very well. What makes Short Message a SH game with connection to the lore is Konami, the title, and that one note.
And that's not me ripping on it. I agree that expanding the universe was for the best. Silent Hill is supposed to be a small, struggling resort town. Keeping all the games there resulted in a ridiculous situation of a small tourist town having three mental hospitals and two prisons.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by leftshoe18 »

Silent Hill only has one prison. The one in Homecoming is the same prison as Downpour (Overlook Penitentiary). It just changed locations between games (with Downpour's location probably being the "correct" location due to location of the prison in Homecoming being significantly different in Silent Hill 1).

There's also a problem with it being a "small tourist town" from the beginning since it's described as having a population of like 30,000 during the events of SH1, which would place it as one of the largest cities in Maine (fourth-largest using today's population numbers, probably higher in the 1970s when the game is set). Using Maine's population growth over the past 40 years, Silent Hill would have a projected population of around 37,500-38,000 people today, which would make it the second-largest city in the state.

As for the mental hospitals: Alchemilla is actually a general-purpose hospital and Cedar Grove is closed. Still kind of ridiculous that a town that size had two mental hospitals operating concurrently at one point. Again, Homecoming gets screwy with the lore and makes it seem like Alchemilla is another mental hospital, but it's the only game to treat it as such.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Droo »

Re: population, I don't put as much stock in any numbers used in early games. Remember how far away Brahms, etc were on the highway sign in SH2 originally before the HD Collection significantly reduced them?

I just don't think Team Silent knew much about Maine and its size/populations, or even if they intentionally were setting it in any particular state at all.

The town was starting to get too big by Downpour, though.
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I can see it with eyes closed
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Lives in the mirror"
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by Ww_Andi_ »

Yeah i totally agree that expansion is the best way forward for all of those reasons. And i really look forward to the possibilities. Silent hill was getting pretty crowded lol My town has about 50,000 ppl in it and we have three small scale mental hospitals no where near the size of cedar grove or Brookhaven.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by The Adversary »

>There's also a problem with it being a "small tourist town" from the beginning since it's described as having a population of like 30,000 during the events of SH1<
Well that's the thing—and why that number doesn't matter anymore.

During the events of SILENT HILL, we are looking at a sleepy tourist town as described. Those events happened nearly 30 years from the events of DOWNPOUR—and nearly 40 years from THE SHORT MESSAGE. Cities grow.

Silent Hill, Maine, now, is probably in the 45-50,000 people range. And, considering its location—just south of Portland, the largest city in Maine—some of that population could be shared between the two cities.
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by AuraTwilight »

It's entirely possible that "They lost consciousness" is just how people in the real world retroactively perceive things after that person returns...
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Re: The "S.H.P." [MASSIVE SPOILERS BEWARE]

Post by The Adversary »

Ww_Andi_ wrote: 11 Feb 2024For instance the second Anita decides to jump of the roof, she could be taken into the otherworld through the fog and that moment where she faces herself and your guilt, She comes back to reality and is still on the roof. To her it seems as though she's been through this otherworldly nightmare and spent plenty of time there, but she was on the roof the whole time catatonic.
This is something to consider.

The Silent Hill Phenomenon could be something akin to hypnagogia: that moment before being awake and asleep; that moment we all think we'll remember yet actually cannot.

It wouldn't be the first time the Otherworld and [otherside] are compared to sleep patterns. According to Silent Hill Official Guidebook Complete Edition (1999), the transition from the Otherworld to the [otherside] is described as:"In the same way that a person normally repeats REM sleep and non-REM sleep in regular cycles while he or she is sleeping, when the nightmare world approaches a deeper darkness (sleep), a phenomenon occurs in which light is almost completely taken away and the world shifts into an even deeper nightmare as the cycle shifts again." Meaning: the changes in Harry's environments coincide with Alessa's REM sleep pattern.

The Silent Hill Phenomenon could be something similar to that — or, specifically, hypnagogia.

In Thomas Pynchon's novel, Mason & Dixon (1997), he writes about the "lost" Eleven Missing Days of 1752; or, The Calendar Riots. In short, in 1752, the Royal Astronomy Academy urged the U.K. to follow the rest of Europe's Gregorian calendar. In order to do so, it would require skipping 11 days. So, on 2 September, 1752, at midnight, the calendar skipped ahead to 14 September. This pissed people off, and, because humans are dumb, people thought they aged 11 days.

Thomas Pynchon used this event as a way to create a sort of Otherworld for his protagonist. He wrote that some people actually experienced those 11 missing days and carried on with their lives in a mostly empty world — while the rest of the world went on with their lives (or were asleep). Think of it as a prolonged state of hypnagogia, only you could remember what happened once you reached 14 September.
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