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The depiction of the town of Silent Hill in its titular game has lead to a lot of confusion and over-analysis from many casual and some hard-core Silent Hill fans. The stories of the first few games are told in very indirect manners, with the player often being shown the story through the acquisition of clues and context, rather than being directly told what is going on by an objective character or outside narration.

This will be my second in a series of analysis and interpretation articles related to the Silent Hill franchise. The first article addressed my opinions on Pyramid Head’s status as a “rapist”.

I will admit right from the start that many of the points presented on this blog are borrowed from Twin Perfect’s “The Real Silent Hill Experience” documentary by DerFuzhwar, Fungo, and Rosseter and it’s supplementaries. Hopefully, these guys aren’t too upset with this, but it’s their own damned faults for making such rock-solid points. Specifically, I reference their arguments associated with the antique shop dream sequence, the role of Vincent, and interpretation of some of the documents found in the games. Despite the duplication here of previous arguments, I hope this blog still provides some new and interesting insights into the debate.

The Otherworld is an “Other world” myth

One of the most common misconceptions about the games is the idea that the “Otherworld” in Silent Hill (also called “Nowhere”) is some kind of “parallel dimension” that exists in conjunction with, but separate from, the “real world”. Alternatively, some fans claim that the games utilize some kind of “parallel perception” mechanism, in which everything that happens in the games that is even remotely supernatural is all just happening inside the character’s mind, such that separate characters can be in the same place at the same time, but see things differently. These interpretations have lead to many misunderstandings about other elements of the town and events, such as Alessa having hostile motivations, the residents of Silent Hill being turned into monsters, or that the people who visit the town can never truly leave.

These ideas are all fallacious, and they are derived from fundamental misunderstanding due to how the game presents information, or by a reliance on out-of-game information that presents a false picture of what is happening in the games.

What’s worse, these misguided ideas have become the defacto explanation given in the Silent Hill wiki and have even found their way into “official” Silent Hill material, including the motion picture and all of the post-Konami-developed games in the series.

The antique shop dream that leads to so much confusion

A cutscene midway through Silent Hill seems to suggest that the player is transported into a parallel dimension or dream world:

The controversial Antique Shop Otherworld transition cutscene.

This cutscene in the first game (along with another similar cutscene later in the same game) seems to be the only place in the first three games where it is explicitly suggested by the game itself that the Otherworld exists in some parallel dimension. In every other instance, characters always talk about the otherworld as “invading” reality, and outright stating that it is “not” a dream.

This scene is often used as the crutch argument of parallel dimension theorists (as well as the entirety of Silent Hill 4 – more on that later). But this scene does not necessitate that a parallel dimension exists. Instead, it actually refutes it. These visits with Lisa in the hospital are visually and stylistically distinct from all other transitions into the Otherworld. These scene are presented in such a way as to imply that Harry is not, in fact, in reality anymore. This is also the only time this occurs. This event is unique, so using it as a description of all the other Otherworld incidents in the franchise is not valid.

For this one instance, I am actually going to concede to an “other dimension” existing, if by “other dimension”, you mean “inside Alessa’s mind/dream”. Skip to 6:20 in the video to see when Harry first appears in the hospital. Notice that the game now has a fuzzy sepia filter and sound echo applied to it. As if this sequence were a hallucination or a dream. The two scenes in which Harry is “transported” to the hospital to talk to Lisa are the only times in the game where this effect is applied. This implies – and almost outright states – that this scene takes place in an alternate reality! In Alessa’s dream, in fact. Harry even asks “Was that another dream?” as soon as he is returned to the antique shop.

In fact, in the first sequence, Lisa tells Harry that he was already dreaming (during the time between his initial encounter with her and the run to the Antique Shop). So which is the dream? Either? Both? Or neither?

Silent Hill - Harry in Nowhere
Harry meets Lisa in the Otherworld hospital.
No dream filter here!
Silent HIll - Lisa dream sequence
Harry is transported to a dream world hospital with fuzzy sepia filter and sound echo.

So in this instance, Harry is plucked out of reality and transported into a dream world. It is the only time prior to Silent Hill 4 that this happens though - except, of course, for Heather’s dreamed trip to the Amusement Park in the intro to Silent Hill 3.

The illusion of the “Fog World”

Before I go into detail discussing the Otherworld itself, I want to first dispel the rumor that there is a “fog world” and a “dark world” that are both alternate dimensions as well. They are not. You only need watch the opening cinematic of the first game to demonstrate this.

Silent Hill - Alessa causes car accident
A ghost of Alessa causes Harry to crash the jeep outside of Silent Hill, and beyond the reach of the fog!

The car accident that strands Harry in Silent Hill is caused by a manifestation of Alessa appearing on the road outside of the town and beyond the reach of the fog. This right here suggests that Alessa and/or the God can manifest things in the real world. Thus, there is absolutely no need to assume that the fogified town is in a different dimension.

Furthermore, the idea that Laura in Silent Hill 2 exists in the real world, in which Silent Hill is still an active resort town, is not credible due to the fact that we are given no indication from Laura that the “version” of the town that she experiences is not deserted. Thus, she is in the same Silent Hill that James, Angela, and Eddie are all in.

Myth busted! Now I can move on to discussing the Otherworld proper.

Transitions to the Otherworld from game to game

We also witness the transformations of the real (“fog” or “dark”) worlds into the otherworld in every game. And in every game, it is different.

Transitions presented in Silent Hill

In Silent Hill, transitions to the Otherworld usually happen when Harry enters a door or corridor that leads to the Otherworld. We also see occasional alterations and rearrangements of geography in both the real world and the Otherworld. This happens under the clock tower in the Midwhich Elementary School courtyard (where you travel in a linear circle) and in the sudden manifestation of a fourth floor of Alchemilla Hospital (which doesn’t actually exist) - followed by the the stairs back up to the fourth floor suddenly being blocked off by a solid wall. If the otherworld is in a parallel dimension, and the real world is not being altered, then how does the fourth floor button just appear on the elevator?

But we also see the otherworld transition occur in (more or less) real time.

At the very beginning of the game, Harry passes through an alleyway that becomes more and more like the otherworld as he travels through it.

The opening sequence of Silent Hill features a more gradual transformation.

After passing through a fence, the night comes, and when Harry lights a match, the alleyway is different (although this may just be a trick of the match light). The alleyway then progresses from a dark, but otherwise normal alley lined with brick and mortar walls to the bloody, fenced-off industrial Otherworld. If the Otherworld and real world are just two discrete dimensions, then does this mean that Harry is traveling through several “intermediate dimensions” during his trek through the alley? Or does the Otherworld just naturally contain pockets of real-world scenery despite being a completely separate reality?

We also see the world “fade” into the otherworld in both the “other church” under the antique shop and on the bridge connecting South Park to the resort area on the north side of the lake.

The real-time transition to the Otherworld while crossing the bridge.

Here, Harry mentions that this transition seems different:

“Rather than shifting from reality to a nightmare, this is more like reality becoming a nightmare.”
   - Harry Mason (Silent Hill)

This would seem to lend credence to the parallel dimensions theory. Except that having already accepted the parallel dimensions theory would mean that you would also have to accept that this transition is “different”, and that in this case, the real world is, in fact, being altered. This would mean that is possible for the god to influence the real world - even before Alessa has been captured by Dahlia. But the belief that the god can’t influence the real-world is (as far as I can tell) the whole basis for the necessity of the theory to begin with. This would also make it unclear as to which instances of the Otherworld are real and which ones occur in the parallel dimension. In any case, the actual difference that Harry is referencing is that instead of just moving from an area of reality to an area of “nightmare”, reality around him is becoming a nightmare.

Harry’s misunderstanding

But we need not accept Harry’s previous explanation anyway. When Harry meets back up with Cybil on the boat, he confesses that his previous understanding of what was going on was clouded by his belief that he was losing his mind.

“[…] I thought I was losing my mind. But now I know I’m not. It’s not me. This whole town… it’s being invaded by the Otherworld. By a world of someone’s nightmarish delusions come to life… Little by little the invasion is spreading… Trying to swallow up everything in darkness.”
   - Harry Mason (Silent Hill)

This monologue should be the clincher. From a meta-game design standpoint, the whole reason that Cybil is even in the game is so that Harry has someone to talk to about his experiences (someone who is honest and whom he can trust). If the designers and writers wanted the game’s meaning to be open to interpretation, then they wouldn’t have made Harry have these conversations at all, and Cybil wouldn’t even have been necessary to include in the game to begin with. Alternatively, if the designers wanted the player to be doubtful of Harry’s final explanations, then they would have given us some reason to doubt his mental competence, or they would have just let Dahlia explain the nature of the Otherworld, since her character is outright dishonest and untrustworthy within the game!

But since the above monologue is such an important milestone of the game’s narrative, I guess people just aren’t paying attention to it. So I’ll go on with further examples from the other games.

Silent Hill 2’s Otherworld overlap completely debunks the parallel perception theory

There is one major corollary of thinking that the Otherworld exists in parallel dimensions that are separated from reality: the dimension has to be separate! But they aren’t.

During the course of Silent Hill 2, James’ Otherworld overlaps with the other characters’ when they are in proximity. At the end of Silent Hill 2, James witnesses part of Angela’s Otherworld manifestations at the same time that he is in his own. He is also able to continue to encounter the Doorman/Abstract Daddy monster while Angela is not present, even though these monsters are unique to Angela’s psyche.

Silent Hill 2 - Angela's flaming staircase
James witnessing Angela’s personal manifestations first-hand.

If the dimensions are parallel, but separate, then James and Angela should be able to occupy the same space at the same time without having any idea that the other is present and James would never even have seen the Doorman/Abstract Daddy monster, let alone have to fight about a dozen of them over the course of the hotel level

Silent Hill movie - parallel dimension
In the Silent Hill movie, the Otherworld is clearly depicted as a parallel, but separate, dimension that exists on a different level of reality as our own. For this reason, Rose and Chris can occupy the same area at the same time, despite having unique surroundings, and without being aware of each other.

We also see a small bit of Eddie’s Otherworld. It’s a bit more subtle than Angela’s, but the freezer full of meat wearing Eddie’s clothes seems to be something designed by the town to poke fun at Eddie’s weight - which he’s apparently very sensitive about. It also has the effect of camouflaging Eddie in his encounter with James, but mostly it’s just an element of his self-consciousness being pulled out of his mind.

Silent Hill 2 - meat freezer
Are you calling Eddie fat?.

Laura complicates matters a bit. After Harry’s teleportation to the Otherworld hospital, Laura’s presence in Silent Hill 2 is probably the next biggest piece of “evidence” in favor of multiple dimensions/perception. But this is also a bit of a reach. It is true that Laura does not see the monsters or experience anything supernatural because she is innocent. But notice that whenever she is around, nobody else notices these things either. There are no monsters present when Laura and Eddie are hanging out in the bowling alley, nor do any monsters show up when James is with Laura in the hospital or hotel. It’s not just a matter of Laura not seeing the monsters. They just aren’t manifested at all when she’s around.

Even when Laura locks James in a hospital room and he is attacked by the Hanging Men, Laura is separated from James and the monsters by a door. Yes, there’s a window, but she can’t see through it, nor does she attempt to look through it. She is oblivious to what is happening to James on the other side of the door. So it is not the case that Laura is there and just doesn’t see the monsters. She’s not actually there to see them. That’s why they are able to show up!

Silent Hill 2 - Laura's trap
The monsters cannot appear until Laura has left the room. This is because if she were in the room, she’d see them. Because they’re real!

Once again, this demonstrates that there is no “foggy world” or “dark world”, because if that were the case, then Laura would not even be able to talk to James through the door because she and James would be in different dimensions. Thus, Laura, James, and the hanging men are all present in the same reality at the same time. They are all real!

And if the town only pulls people who are “guilty” into this parallel dimension, then why is Laura even there to begin with? I think we can all agree that - other than her annoying propensity to to step on people's hand (while he's reaching through bars that shouldn't exist in Laura's “real world” for a key that shouldn't exist in Laura's “real world”), and to lock people in rooms with monsters - Laura is an innocent.

But what about the town itself?

Even more evidence is provided within Silent Hill 2 to suggest that the alterations to the area in and around Silent Hill are all happening in the real world. As James explores the town, he finds walled-off sections of road lined with construction scaffolding and fences. These are present all over the town, and since James rarely (if ever) comes across a road with an exposed hole in it (as Harry often did in Silent Hill), the player is left to assume that all such roads have been covered up, blocked off, or repaired. This implies a massive construction and rebuilding project being undertaken in the town (more on this in a later blog).

Silent Hill 2 - road construction sign
Repair efforts seem to be going on in Silent Hill following the events of the first game.

And in fact, despite all the roads being blocked off or destroyed in Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2, Douglas, Claudia, and Vincent are apparently able to drive into town without any problem! And check into a hotel! This just further reinforces the idea that the town is undergoing gradual repair.

Now, you might argue that reconstruction efforts are being taken in the real world, and so the parallel dimension is also manifesting those elements of the real world. But if the parallel dimensions hypothesis is correct, then why would there be massive reconstruction projects underway in the real town to begin with? If the alterations being made in the parallel dimension do not overflow into the real world, then those holes in the road would not be appearing in the real world, and the real-world residents would have no reason to reconstruct them.

In some areas in Silent Hill 2, the transformations to the Otherworld often happen gradually (if at all) as James travels through different rooms and hallways in an area. The shift is most apparent in the Lakeside Hotel. When he first arrives, the hotel looks fairly normal. One could easily mistake it for an active hotel that is just closed. But over time, the hotel becomes darker, grimier, more dilapidated. Once the hotel starts transforming, he goes through several transitions to the hotel being even more unstable. In the basement, the hotel even appears to be burnt and is flooded, as if it had experienced a fire, even though there was no evidence of a fire in the upper levels prior to the transformation.

The burnt-out appearance of the hotel basement is not an example of Otherworld overlap between James and Angela. It's actually likely the real hotel. However, the points about the transition do remain valid.
An interpretation of the Lakeview Otherworld is now available here.

This is an example of reality being altered to conform to the individual’s expectations. Angela’s subconscious created the fire. James experienced this fire because the fire is being physically manifested in reality. Upon leaving the room that Angela was in, James no longer experiences the fire because it is not a part of his psyche. But because the fire is now part of his experience and recent memory, the world has been transformed to conform to Jame’s expectations associated with remembering that there was just recently a fire. The world is transformed into a state that James recognizes as the aftermath of a fire, right down to the presence of police tape.

Silent Hill 2 - Hotel transformation 1 Silent HIll 2 - Hotel transformation 2
Silent Hill 2 - Hotel transformation 3 Silent HIll 2 - Hotel transformation 4
[Top Left] The (relatively) normal Lakeview Hotel. [Top Right] The slightly more rustic Lakeview Hotel.
[Bottom Left] The flooded basement of Lakeview Hotel. [Bottom Right] The burnt-out remains of the Lakeview Hotel’s basement.

If the Otherworld is a parallel dimension, then that dimension is being altered in a relatively small amount of time as James travels back and forth between the rooms and halls of the apartments and hotel. Or is each state of the hotel a separate dimension? How many different “Otherworlds” must James be travelling through in this one area in order for parallel dimension theory to hold up?

I also want to stress that the results of Angela’s fire and James experiencing a burnt-out manifestation of the hotel is possibly a different phenomenon than James witnessing the evidence of repair going on around town. In the case of the repairs: the holes in the town were possibly manifested as a result of Alessa’s nightmare in the first game (or possibly by a perfectly natural disaster of some sort that happened prior to the first game), and are possibly being repaired by the residents to make the town liveable again. The holes and repairs are not necessarily manifestations of James’ (or anybody else's) subconscious. So don’t think that the presence of police tape in the burnt-out hotel basement has to be related to the blocked off areas in the rest of the town. One may be the result of real-world activities. The other is a manifestation of an individuals’ mind.

The Otherworld literally leaks into the real world in Silent HIll 3

In Silent Hill 3, we see transformations similar to the first and second game, but we also see a new type: the otherworld literally “leaking” into the reality.

Heather witnesses the Otherworld leaking into reality.

This is not a case of a character passing through a portal into another dimension. This is a clear example of reality being altered in real-time. Or is Heather already in the Otherworld before it leaks in through the tub? If so, why does the Otherworld have these pockets of real-world-like scenery in it? If it’s a completely independent parallel dimension, shouldn’t the whole dimension be Otherworldly? And even if it’s not, then we still have clear evidence of one of the realities being altered in real time. So if whatever power is in charge in Silent Hill is capable of altering an parallel environment, why can’t it alter the real world?

Silent Hill 4 doesn’t count

So Silent Hill through Silent Hill 3 stayed pretty consistent with regard to how the world worked, and their depictions all support that reality is being altered.

But then Silent Hill 4 comes along and manages to confuse matters even more than the antique shop of the first game. In a cutscene in Silent Hill 4, Henry steps through a hole in the wall while escorting Eileen, and arrives at another location with Eileen missing. When he meets up with her again, she says she didn’t see a hole and that Henry just disappeared into the wall. This would seem to support the idea of parallel dimensions. Or at least the idea of parallel perception.

Silent Hill 4 - taking Eileen through portal
Eileen can’t see or travel through this portal. As far as she is concerned, Henry just disappears into the wall.

Sorry, but this piece of evidence doesn’t count.

This game breaks from the previous Silent Hill games by heavily implying that the characters are interacting with each other in some kind of dream state. Kind of similar to the “other church” sequence in the first game, except that they’ve all been pulled into Walter’s dream rather than Alessa’s. So we can’t really compare it directly with the first three games because the context is so different.

So unless you can convince me that the Otherworld in Silent Hill 4 is comparable to the other games’ Otherworlds, I’m going to dismiss the events of that game as simply being a different situation.

Dr. Kaufman and Vincent seem to know what I’m talking about

If you’re not convinced by Harry, James, and Heather’s understanding and experience of the Otherworld, then perhaps you’ll believe Dr. Kaufman and Vincent in Silent Hill 1 and 3 respectively. Both of these characters are actively involved in the cult. Both appear to be in charge of the finances of the cult during the time period of the respective games. Both of them reference how they spend money and collect money to operate the church.

They both seem to have a fairly clear idea of what is going on.

And neither one of them seems to think that they have left reality.

Both of these characters’ ability to make money is dependent on them existing in the real world, where there are people. Kaufman is a doctor, and so could probably easily fund the church’s activities through his own paycheck, but he’s a greedy son of a bitch and instead decides to run a drug smuggling operation on the side. If he’s stuck in a parallel dimension where there are no people (and no escape from Silent Hill), then who is he selling the drugs to? Now, this alone is not evidence enough to prove that Silent Hill takes place in the real world, since the nightmare world may not even be created until Harry and Cheryl arrive. This would mean that Dr. Kaufman already has all the money, and so the disappearance of all the people is a non-issue.

Enter: Vincent. He fills the same role as Dr. Kaufman did in the first game. He is still collecting money and running the church’s finances. And he’s found that running a tax-exempt church is quite profitable indeed! So he doesn’t want to “bring about paradise” because he’s found his own corrupt paradise already. He specifically tells Claudia:

Silent Hill 3 - Vincent yells at Claudia
Vincent confronts Claudia and at the end of the game, as well as provide insight into what is happening.

“I know about the pleasures of this world. And I want to find my happiness while I’m still here.”
   - Vincent (Silent Hill 3)

He’s referring to the real world. The one in which recruiting new church members, charging tithes, passing around collection plates, and fund-raising have provided him a steady flow of income. And this is in contract to the "paradise" world that Claudia believes God will create. Later, in the Otherworld church, Vincent argues with Claudia, referring to the Otherworld as "[Claudia's] own personal nightmare, just like Alessa's 17 years ago," and then goes on to call this church his home - the church he built with "the power of money that [Claudia] scorns."

But if he’s trapped in a parallel dimension (in which there are no other people other than himself and Claudia), then where is all this extra money coming from? Who are all the people who are giving money to this church? And more importantly, if he understands that they are in a parallel dimension, then why is he so adamant about trying to sabotage Claudia’s plans?

Miscellaneous corroborating evidence

The Book of Lost Memories repeatedly refers to elements of a person’s mind being physically manifested in reality, and that the Otherworld lies within the human mind, allowing it to manifest at any location (i.e. Ashfield, Sheperd’s Glen). Documents within the games also corroborate this interpretation; the Manifestation of Delusions article in Midwich is a prime example.

The doctor’s journal in Silent Hill 2 references other realities in the minds of the patients (which he calls “the other side”) and is often referenced as opposing evidence in favor of parallel dimension theorists. But this isn’t a reference to the person physically existing in another reality, but rather it is an analogy to James’ subconscious creating a false reality in which his wife may still be alive. It’s purely psychological until it gets manifested in reality.

Revisionist Apologetics

Silent Hill 3 - Vincent's tape recording
Vincent's tape recording in the Otherworld church showcases the cult's revisionist apologetics.

We also have the existence of the documents and tape recording in Silent Hill 3 that provide apologetic, revisionist-history explanations for the failed God-birthing from Silent Hill. This is an example of the cult trying to re-define it’s beliefs to accommodate irreconcilable real-world events (the death of Sameal) by adopting a worship of Alessa. In order for the cult to do this, they would have to have known about what happened in Silent Hill. But since Dahlia, Kaufman, Lisa, Alessa, and the god are all killed, and Harry, Cheryl/Heather, and (maybe Cybil) escape, then there would be nobody left to tell the cult what happened.

As far as the cult would be concerned, Dahlia and Kaufman would have just vanished, Dahlia’s magical spell to summon Alessa’s other half must have just not worked, and the God-birthing attempt never would have taken place. Unless it all happened in the real-world, in which case the cult would have the evidence that these events transpired, and would need to start creating revisionist history to explain them.

Creating a Paradise on Earth

Last but not least, there is Dahlia and Claudia’s end objectives. These two characters want to rebirth God so that She can create an eternal “paradise” on earth. But if the God doesn’t have the ability to alter the real world, then what is the point in rebirthing Her to begin with? If all She can do is create a parallel dimension, then why do they need to rebirth God at all? Why not just let themselves be taken to the parallel dimension – which (according to the parallel dimension theory) already exists and which they are already able to enter as soon as the first game starts?

That isn’t the way it works. Dahlia and Claudia need to rebirth the God so that She can grow to have the power to reshape the entire world as a paradise, rather than just channeling herself through specific individuals to project their nightmares or psyches onto localized areas. In fact, Claudia specifically states that “the world needs God.” She doesn’t say that everybody needs to be taken to God’s reality.

That’s kind of the whole point of the games.

It is possible that Dahlia and Claudia are just misunderstanding what’s going on, and the God is only going to create a parallel dimension “heaven”. But if that’s the case, then the entire game series becomes pretty much moot. Why would the designers create a horror game in which the villains’ goal is no real threat to the characters or the outside world?

The “birthing of God” at the end of Silent Hill 3 gives us yet another clue as to the God’s true power. As Heather is “aborting” the God by swallowing Aglaophotis, the God manifests physical transformations on Heather’s own body. Her skin becomes bloody and red, mimicing the texturing of the Otherworld walls seen in many places earlier in the game. Granted this occurs in the Otherworld, but Heather’s body is an object from the real-world! So this tells us that the God most certainly has the power to alter real-world objects.

Silent Hill 3 - birthing God
The God-fetus manifests physical changes on Heather’s own body. Heather comes from the real-world; thus, the God can manifest changes to real-world objects.

The final contradiction inherent to parallel dimension theories, and another invocation of Occam’s Razor

But even if you don’t agree that any of those arguments prove that the entirety of the first three games takes place in the real world, then there is still a contradiction in the belief that there is a parallel dimension. If (for the sake of argument), the God did not have the power to reshape the world and could only create a parallel dimension, then in order for the game’s events to happen, the God would have to pull the characters out of the real world and into the parallel world. Removing a person from the real world and putting them in another world is, in effect, a change to the real world. Thus, the God does have the power to affect the real world. Thus, why do we need to make the leap to saying it’s a parallel dimension to begin with? If you can accept that the God can yank Harry, Heather, and Henry out of reality, and manifest an imaginary letter from James’ dead wife, then why can’t you also accept that it can also physically alter the world itself, and manifest actual physical monsters in the real world?

Remember, in the universe of Silent Hill, gods, demons, spirits, psychic powers, and black magic all exist and and have real effects! So why propose a complicated explanation that involves multiple, parallel dimensions being affected by gods and magic, when a simpler explanation involving a singular dimension (the real world) being affected by gods and magic works just as well - if not better? The parallel dimension theory only adds confusion, creates contradictions, and necessitates the inclusion of exceptions to the rules in order for the game’s logic to remain consistent.

Why are only certain people being pulled into the parallel dimension? Why (if each person’s dimension is separate) do characters always explicitly experience the same events in the same way (i.e. James and Angela witnessing each other’s Otherworld simultaneously)? Why doesn’t Laura interact with any real-world people other than James, Maria, and Eddie if she’s actually somehow existent in a parallel real-world dimension in which the town is still populated? All of these questions (and others) create irreconcilable contradictions in the games’ internal logic, or necessitate the ad hoc creation of new rules that make exceptions to the general rules of parallel dimension theory.


So, in summary, we have one example in the entirety of the first three games that might suggest that there is some kind of parallel dimensions (or perception) thing going on, as well as one scene from the fourth game which corroborates that idea. But both are taken out of context (as those scenes are explicitly set in a dream-ish state), and there are dozens of examples that showcase an actual, physical transformation of the real world. We have a handful of quotes from Harry himself stating that “this is not a dream!”, “it’s like reality is being invaded”, and “someone’s nightmarish delusions come to life”. The interactions between different characters (particularly in Silent Hill 2) heavily suggests that changes are taking place in the real world. And finally, the concept of a God that can only create parallel dimensions instead of being a threat to the "real world" just makes the whole game series moot and sucks out some of the fear, so why adhere to that belief?

Comments (35) -

05/04/2012 18:12:54 #

pretty beneficial material, overall I imagine this is worth a bookmark,I always enjoy your posts, your real, and some times funny as well. keep it up!

09/08/2012 21:31:28 #

Thank you very much for this. You're good; however, you must take more care with the spelling since you commited some spelling mistakes. TwinPerfect guys are awesome! I love The Real Silent Hill Experience, and I've seen all the parts many times.
I really love the original Silent Hill series, and my favorite is the first one, but I loooove SH2 and SH3 as well. They are so masterpiece videogames that they are more than just games! Unfortunately, most of the people is confused and misunderstands the plot and a lot of important points of it.
If we the true fans try to inform people, maybe someday new developers will learn to make videogames as close as the originals' quality as possible! Lately they are getting worse and worse... They just don't actually know the plot, and they don't make any effort to do it... Too bad.
Best regards.

09/09/2012 08:18:45 #

@Sergi, thanks for the feedback! I'm kind of hesitant to talk about myself and those who agree with me as "true fans". I think there are plenty of people who would qualify as "true fans" who will have differing opinions, and I don't want to dismiss anybody's input summarily.

At the same time, there is a lot of misinformation about these games, and Konami's treatment of Silent Hill as a money cow doesn't help.

02/21/2013 08:17:02 #

I believe that using the term "real world" in such a manner causes part of the confusion as well. Real means existent, not ours, normal or natural. Reality or existence isn’t itself a mathematical dimension or plane, not even the name of any. You don’t say: “is it real or another dimension?” That wouldn’t begin to make sense, as it’s all real IN another dimension or plane.

I think you're missing the element of time too MegaBearsFan, as Twin Perfect talked about the bending of time as well. Lost Memories also shows how time doesn't flow normally in the areas effected heavily by the nightmare/otherworld. Thusly, it's also possible that this separation or parallelism may be even-time manipulation.

Remember how James begins going in circles through doors, then ends up in Angela's world only to reenter that same stair case through the very entrance? This says that the other set of stairs were materialized adjacent to Angela's, but after walking through the same entrance once more, Angela already left the area, allowing the environment to stabilize back into James' expectations.

02/21/2013 08:57:19 #

Event-time, not even-time, sorry (did it again =( ).

Anyhow, i've been to forums with this still in dispute, and rather listen to reason, they go into altering official word on the manner, to their own liking.

However, in the same posts Jeremy implies of a particular “world”, he shares that both theories are still only an attempt at explaining what that “world” actually is, distinctively. He said there isn't but one definitive answer, so nothing he said concludes the multiverse or alternate reality theory where all is amounting to parallel dimensions. When something is meant to be this psychological or indistinct, to which Silent Hill is stated to be mostly about the fear of the unknown or the indistinct, theories like these instantly solidify and further become attempted elaborations which change or hinder the focus and logic altogether.

These theories don't belong at wikipedia as they express something else entirely. In fact, it barely compares and is against wikipedia's guidlines. Without changing the nature of a delusion, the town simply influences living ones with true interaction. It’s about manipulation of the laws of time and space, allowing seeming impossibilities, and if this bending of reality doesn’t require parallel universes within the “another world“, then it doesn’t anywhere. SH2 shows that the town works with multiple people the way ‘SCP-087-B’ does, so there is little fuel for the multiverse they invented. I suppose that time just stops and everything becomes as if a dream.

So yeah, people cannot rely on the word “world” forever, nor can they think the term "real world" hints at another dimension. To me, Jeremy's and Ito's comments together seems to reprint a simpler truth once again: the line between reality and dream/unreality is blurred or lay indistinct (a detail which was in the 1999-2003 JP konami guide books, SHPN and SH2 JP/US).

02/21/2013 13:44:47 #

I think I understand what you're saying SotH...

And yes, perhaps I should have been more specific in my language. By "real world", I mean that everything that is happening in the games is happening in our singular reality.

02/24/2013 15:55:03 #

WOW you have to much time on your hands man u do make good points but in the end the silent hill series is extremely surreal and interpretable.

like most mysterious horror games the true facts are usually never revealed by the creators so everything is up for debate. you use characters dialouge as evidence as for what is going on but those are the exact people that would know the least about whats happening.

no one can be sure exactly what happens in silent hill but the main ideas are a magical area of land, demons and devils, and peoples psyche. and all games are canon so all count no matter how free they get with the true rules of the world. i understand  if you dont wanna include games not made by team silent but they still count as official canon sadly and silent hill 4 definitely still counts no matter what.

thats the series as a whole but about the super specific topic about dimensions that will always be up for debate. could be different dimensions still or there all together or there not there at all no one can say for sure except the creators but more importantly who the fuck cares.

02/25/2013 04:35:31 #

Unfortunately, there is no dispute over whether the non-Team Silent games are canon. They are. But that isn't the point. The point is: what was the intent of the original team? There is nothing stopping further games from correcting any wrongs that may have been present in prior games. And since Konami seems insistent on continuing to release "Silent Hill" games, then it is important for us fans to make sure that these new developers understand the source material, so that they can make the best games possible.  Hopefully, the original games will be referenced as the "correct" source material, since those games are universally agreed to be good.

"Homecoming" can possibly be dismissed summarily because the whole game likely occurs in Alex's head, which means that none of the events need to be accepted as having actually happened. "Downpour" is also irrelevant, since it doesn't provide any answers one way or the other (and may also have occurred entirely in Murphy's head). "Shattered Memories" is officially non-canon, so we don't have to worry about that either. I haven't played "Book of Memories" on account of not having access to a PS Vita, so I can't vouch for that game's canonicity. My understanding is that it is a spin-off as well, and so doesn't need to be taken seriously. So that leaves "Origins" as the only non-Team Silent game that provides any useful information, and that game directly conflicts with things that are established in the first game, so we almost have to discount it by default. And in settling any disputes in which an interpretation of the first game conflicts with an interpretation of "Origins", I (personally) will exclusively side with the first game.

The original team created a game world in which magic, demons, psychic powers, and spiritual powers are all real and manifest in the real world. In such a setting, there is no need for the characters to be traveling through multiple dimensions, or for any such dimension to exist (except, of course, for the dream state in which Harry and Lisa converse in SH1).

RE: "[the characters in the game] are the exact people that would know the least about whats happening":
That may be true at the start. But by the end of 1,3, and 4, the protagonists have a pretty clear understanding of what they've been experiencing so far, so their judgement towards the end of the game can probably be accepted as accurate (even if a little subjective). Furthermore, the cult members (Dahlia, Claudia, Leonard, Vincent, and Walter) are all actively involved in the cult (and so know what they expect from the god), have experienced the very real effects of the god and psychic individuals, and are actually in a good position to know how these things work, and they all seem to think that their god is going to reshape OUR world into a paradise and cite the Otherworld as an example of that happening.

02/27/2013 12:04:50 #


Oh no, you're quite fine. I was just talking about how everyone is using the term.

I'll elaborate on what I meant.

If you've played SCP-087-B, a freeware game, you'll see how the openning text explains that 087-B is just a room when multiple people are in it. However, if just one person enters 087-B, an entrance to a random, never ending stair way is manifested.

Meaning, if Eddie left a corpse and left for a good amount of time, James wouldn't see it. It would literally be removed before he gets there, out of sight. Seeing Eddie nearby the corpse, James would always see the one corpse, like in the prison. Had Eddie left a corpse and James only saw him through the edge of the fog, if he's curious enough, James may see the trail Eddie is leaving behind.

So again, it's like a chemical mixture that accounts the persons mind and their location or sight. Event-time manipulation is simply part of this flux, so once James leaves Angela behind, both physically and mentally, everything has come to pass from James' perspective. Angela either dies like Eddie did, removing her part of the world, or simply, Angela already left the area around James. In fact, this is the best explination for why Laura is still near the hospital. The road is blocked the other way and the flesh lips battle is long enough to allow Laura to leave the area entirely. It's also why others in SH1 don't experience the nightmare until the whole town is swallowed at the bridge.

@ god

If you look at wikipedia, you can see that the game was structured around the fear of the unknown. There is meaning, but as stated, this meaning is left far in the dark. Sometimes, the simple truth is the only one: it's their minds being materialized, resulting in 'random' oddities that relate to the character/other.

Count that Ito has no experience with the direction or development of SH4 and on. He is reliable in that he has a raw perspective on the series, knowing only SH1-3.

His statements are clear. The fact that there are many takes pressed in science or religion is irrelevant, as Ito is only answering a question under it's own context. His comment regarding the “if/parallel world” was in reference to the ‘making of’ material’s misguided translation (pretty much saying: I think they were going in that direction, but it‘s the wrong one), and he meant dimension under the same context of answering Taylor’s question, which was: of the same world changing or the character going into another.

In other words, Ito is saying that both ‘worlds’ don‘t exist at the same time or on top of each other, as they are only invading, materialized/projected delusions [of many verities, such as beings/monsters, objects or environments]. Anything else is out of context and wouldn‘t even be a proper, respectful answer.

It's like Nightmare on Elmstreet. We can enter the immaterial world of Dreams too, like in SH1 and 4, but for the most part, they are made a reality, like how Freddy is pulled OUT of the dream at the end of the story.

I hope that insight clears some of this up.

02/27/2013 16:04:15 #

Yes, SotH, that is much clearer! Very well put! You and I seem to be seeing very much eye to eye.

Language is always the hard part in something like this. And since language is best understood when describing concepts and things that actually exist (and objective definitions can be created), this sort of conversation is very hard to have, since we're talking about things that are subjective and difficult to define, or for which everybody has a different definition.

I'm a huge fan of Twin-Perfect's work, by the way. They partly inspired me to write many of these blog posts.

Great feedback, SotH! Glad you stopped by Laughing

04/07/2013 03:17:21 #

I've got something for the SH4 portal scene. I suppose that the portal is much like The Great Gazoo wherein only certain people can see or use it. So, I guess there is a subtle form of parallelism, but not to the extent the fandom blew it up to.

Thankfully, TS knew that they'd have a lot of stereotypical "didn't you see it?" scenes had they not based the town's nature more on materialization and presence. This seems only to happen when there is either good enough a base, like Leonard and the Missionary, or when the event is without consequence, lying far off in the distance (like in the SH2 corpse memos).

Ok, with that said, I'm going to give my input on SH4 and even the first SH's dream sequence.

Now, I think it's possible that the power of the ritual is doing this much like the town does. The town/ect. can literally bend space so that a door can actually lead out somewhere far and wide or even off into the same corridor, so it's possible that the holes, spiral staircase and all are connected similarly. This would make a whole lot of sense considering that Jasper hangs out regularly near the forest area.

And remember, Cynthia goes into the subway station herself. It would be ridiculous to believe she's walking around and heading into restricted areas (such as the one she died in) with people around. Thus, either she or the people were removed temporarily from reality. The flow of time can be made separate, almost as if time isn't even moving outside the area, so the outside world isn't a problem at all.

My thoughts on SH1 is coming up soon. This comment is long enough as it is.

04/07/2013 11:16:40 #

Lastly, about the SH1 dream sequence. Suppose Harry didn't get sent in verbatim and was simply removed like all the other people, then reentered reality and had the dream as he was lying on the ground? I think this is a decent possibility, even if a bit vague to the plot and pointless to bring up.

My personal opinion on the sequence is that the roles and dialog should be reversed anyhow, for realism's sake and to avoid confusion. A cop has much more experience with this type of situation. I doubt any cop would turn this down so easily or irresponsibly, especially since the argument was about what's back there and who should go first to check it out.

Thinking about it further, showing Cyble pop in also messes up the idea of further confusing the player into thinking that perhaps Harry's dreaming it all. With Cyble going in first or with him going in just behind her, with her turning a corner and just disappearing, this idea is enhanced ten fold.

Also, if you combine the two Lisa visits into the one dream sequence, you lop the need of Harry re-visiting the otherworld hospital without waking up in it. This too could be used to enhance the subplot of Harry not knowing whether or not anything is real anymore. This also streamlines and quickens the pace, which would be nice for slightly re-arranging the literal aspect of the narrative for something like an adaptation (or a real re-imagining made by TS), so it's not perfectly 1 to 1 with the game and more like a comic book adaptation.

Those are my thoughts. Later.

04/09/2013 16:54:02 #

I'd like to add that, while it's technically possible for 4 happening the same way, it's likely that it's happening as Twin Perfect states it. In returning from building world, you can see a sleeping Braintree across from you, which was quite interesting to see. Of course, he can still affect the real world (that's how he murders them...but we knew that already).

damion (just waiting for a chance to prove bears wrong)
damion (just waiting for a chance to prove bears wrong)
04/19/2014 04:27:36 #

i dont believe there to be a piece of any evidence then a biased opnion on EVERYTHING it sickens me to see someone so closed minded your so called proof is just what i would use as a mock to debate that there is an otherworld matter of a fact if i was given a space i can and would debate every single point you put on here you may have done your research but the fact harry names it the other world alone makes a factual point that it is another world the fact remains NOBODY is going to leave theyre town a disaster area with no way in or out and it brings up the point how could anyone bring in drugs or religious people without a way in in reality the start of the first game shoes a definitive change in worlds because harry got in somehow and then there was no way out give me a way to debate you so i can shove your biased ideas back up your ass

04/29/2014 04:23:53 #

First of all, my english is not perfect, I hope it is good enough for you to understand my idea. Feel free to ask whatever you want or to give an opinion

As Silent Hill fan, I asked myself: Do you really think that Silent Hill needs an absolute truth? Something that fits all possibilities? We must remember we're talking about Silent Hill after all!!! Why does the otherworld (especially the otherworld xd) have to act in a single way?! Why not all of them?! It doesn't have to make sense!! It's Silent Hill! By the way, the Silent Hill town's power have changed and mutated throughout the series, so it wouldn't be weird if the otherworld's working method changes and mutates as well. I read the article a bit quickly, so I may be ignoring something, but I have a question: If the otherworld actually invades reality, it means that everyone would be affected (tourists, town's people, etc), so, the otherworld must only affect the main character's perception (and the rest of silent hill's charcters) of reality. For example: Harry Mason could be in Midwich Elementary School (the "real life one"), but he sees a nightmarish version of it, but the rest of the people who is in the school in that moment (students, teachers) cannot see the nightmare stuff, only the normal school. That brings me another question: So, the normal people would see a man (harry mason )running and shooting invisible things, I'm sure this didn't happen, it would be funny, not creepy and distrubing, and Silent Hill isn't funny. I have a solution for this: what if the normal people perception is affected as well, but not as much as the main characters. The normal people perception would be affected in this way: they wouldn't be able to see or interact with those who are having the otherworld or fog vision of the town.

My theory shows that the town's power affects people's perception of reality, but not reality itself, which remains untouched
I'm going to give another examples (when I say that a character "sees" something, I refer to what the alteration of perception of reality allows him to see):

Green Lion Antiques: You noticed that when harry enters into the hole, he is "teleported to the hospital" and then back to the shop, but in its otherworld version, and cybil is not able to see him, so he SEEMS to disappear to her. I say the following: what if harry never left, what if he just saw the hospital and lisa but he wasn't at hospital, what if he just stayed there and when he stopped "seeing" the hospital he just saw the otherworld version of the store. And what happens with Cybil: exactly the same. She saw harry going into the hole, but when she went in to check she didn't see harry, but that doesn't mean he wasn't there. I believe he was, but they couldn't see eachother. NOT beacuse they were in parallel dimensions, it was because their reality perception, which was distorted by the town's power, didn't allow to see eachother, you see my point?

Harry also said that he was there but not really, didn't he?

The same happens in Silent Hill 2

Each character (James, Eddie, Angela, even Laura) see a different version of the town (remember that the town itself remains untouched). It doesn't mean they cannot interact to eachother, they are in the same town, space, but they see different things, just that.

Then we have the Angela's staircase thing: Exactly the same, but in this case, the town allows James to see through someone's else eyes (perception).

María: We're not sure, but we can say that nobody sees Maria but James. Exactly the same thing. Nobody sees Maria beacuse the town only allows James to see her, which makes a lot of sense, 'cause María only affects James, for she reassembles his wife to make him feel guilty and stuff when she gets killed, but if town "wanted", Angela, Eddie and Laura could be able to see her as well. My personal belief is that Laura sees the town as it really is, her reality is not distorted.

But there's something else: In the videogames we see reality through the main character's eyes, so if the "distorted reality theory" is true, and we go even further, everything could be an hallucination, for we have no proof  that what the main character sees is real (Jacob's Ladder). But most of the otherworlds share common items-sirens, for example-, so the "One town, one world, many distorted perceptions theory" makes more sense (And I must say that I like this one the most Smile )


Matty B
Matty B
09/09/2014 23:16:42 #

I think it's probably a combination of both the Parallel World Theory and the Invasion Theory (what this guy is arguing). For one, I think the "mirror transition" in Silent Hill Origins suggests that it's a place you go back and forth from. But ultimately, the Invasion Theory requires there be some other place. Where does the cult god of the Order exist at? Clearly not in this world because then why the big hassle about being "born" through Alessa/Cheryl/Heather? And it's clear that the properties of the "other world" aren't the same as the real world, then what's there to transform? I think it's probably a continuum. In Silent Hill Origins the influence of the cult god was weak, so Travis had to actually transport there. By Silent Hill 1, the invasion had begun in earnest with the return of Cheryl to Silent Hill and it fluctuates to certain degrees throughout Silent Hill 2 to 3.

09/10/2014 01:08:55 #

@Matty B:

Oh, I've never heard the phrase "invasion theory" before. Did you come up with that? Cool, my theory has a name now! Smile

Well, I would say that the god doesn't exist. It's a creation of the cult. What does exist is an ephemeral, supernatural force that gives physical substance to people's imagination. This force may or may not be conscious or have will*; instead it may just be a force of nature that reacts to people's emotions.

So the god becomes real (in this world) because the cult members believe in it, just as Pyramid Head is given physical form based on Jame's subconscious desire for punishment for his guilt**. Remember that the god takes different forms based on who believes in it, so it isn't necessarily a specific, existent being. I may refer to the supernatural power as "god" in this post (and possibly in other posts) because I have a habit of using the two terms interchangeably, since I see the god as a physical avatar of the supernatural force. This may be confusing, and I apologize if that is the case...

With regard to Origins: A major point in this blog is to emphasize that the newer games (and many fans and developers) don't seem to understand how the original in-game rules worked, and so Origins depiction of the Otherworld is flawed. Yes, Origins definitely suggests a parallel Otherworld that exists independently of the real world. But it is also the only game with such a concrete depiction. The remaining games (including Homecoming and Downpour) are vague on this point, implying that the devs recognized the mistake of Origins and back-pedalled away from it. The point here is that I'm trying to argue that, based on how the world is presented in the original games made by the original creative team, Origins is wrong.

* see for more discussion on whether the supernatural element of Silent Hill has a will.

** see for more about Pyramid Head's role (NSFW!)

09/30/2014 20:29:46 #


Sorry, buddy. But your Perception theory is flawed. In Silent Hill is a game with mysteries that are there to be solved by the player. Every puzzle has an answer. Eventhough some puzzle pieces need closer examination. Examination, not interpretation.

The theory you're presenting has no basis. It's just an assumption, which gets contradicted in the very first game.

Silent Hill is a horror franchise, so wouldn't it be scarrier if all the events are REAL? If the power of the town just makes you hallucinate, it would suck a lot of the horror and mystery out of it. There would be no real threat to the world or yourself.

Alessa has very real psychic powers, Dahlia has performed a very real cult ritual on her to imprignate her with a very real demon god, and the nightmare is projected onto the town by the towns very real spiritual power, which also creates very real monsters, who can very really KILL YOU.
Cybil (and the nurses and doctors in the hospital) were infected and possessed by a very real parasite, and both Cybil and Alessa got rid of their demon parasite with the help of a very real red liquid designed to counteract demonic forces.
Dahlia (and Claudia) has a very real protective barrier that protected her from Cybil's very real BULLETS. Alessa has demonstrated her very real powers on Harry aswell. And Dahlia gave Harry a very real magical object to counteract Alessa's very real powers she demonstrated. Dahlia was killed by the very real god who incinerated her with LIGHTNING.

In Silent Hill 2, Maria is a manifestation of James idea of a perfect woman, his memorie of Mary and his sexual frustation. She is very real and not a hallucination. And she was killed multiple times. The Pyramid Head is James's manifesttion of his desire for punishment. A second one has manifested itself after James killed Eddie. After James learned to accept it and no longer needed punishment, the Pyramid Head KILLS itself, rather than just disappear as a hallucination normally would. The nightmare and monsters appear as soon as Laura isn't around. Whenever she is there, the monsters don't manifest, because she is innocent. If she would be literally there standing right next to James and not see any monsters while James does, then that would confirm your theory, but your theory has NO confirmation or indication. Also there are very real holes created by the spiritual power, that were not there before. And James comments on Angela's nightmare scene as being "hot like hell", because the fire was REAL. He didn't just see Angela's nightmare, he EXPERIENCED it. Because it was REAL.

Moving on with Silent Hill 3, where Heather sees Leonard as a monster. But she has no reason to see him as a monster, while Claudia does. She hated him. Heather is experiencing Claudia's nightmare, as did Harry experience Alessa's nightmare 17 years ago, as Vincent confirmed. Heather feels very real pain, when the nightmare takes over, because of the very real God who is growing and manifesting inside her. And then she pukes it out. And then Claudia "swollows" it, is taken by Valitel, who is also very real, births the very real god and DIES, and Heather kills that very real god and stomps on it's very real giant head multiple times, to be sure that it's dead, because that thing sure as hell was no HALLUCINATION.

As for the thing about people missing. We NEVER see any people outside of the characters in the games, who ARE people we see. Nobody else matters. And they see the same things that the main character sees. If you say that we don't know that they see the same things, that's bullcrap, because never ever did it look like the characters see something else than the main character does. If the devs wanted the player to think that the characters all see something different than what the game shows, they would've included a different perception for the player to see what the other characters see IF they don't see what the main character sees already. But they didn't, so that theory holds no water. Vincent comments on the scenary in his church that has been created by Claudia's nightmare and find this taste terrible. And we see what he means, because that conversation starts BEFORE Heather even enters the room and nothing changes when she DOES enter the room. So we cannon see Heather's perception before she is even there. But Vincent is there to see and judge it. It's EVERYONES SAME perception of things the EXACT way as they ARE. Everything in Silent Hill is REAL.

The only "different perception" is the fans perception about the SH series. Because people like their perception of the games (open for interpretation without answers) and not what it really is.

And Silent Hill RULES the way it really is.

10/27/2014 14:29:33 #

Hello. I'm trying to argue with parallel world supporters that there are no parallel worlds and that the otherworld is actually altering the real world, but they refuse to listen and say that the parallel worlds exist because Silent Hill is still a thriving resort town where people don't notice anything unusual while visitors are drawn into the parallel world at the same time. As far as I can tell, there are only four points of evidence to support their argument:
1) James and Mary holidaying there post SH1. (SH1 in '83, vacay in '90, SH2 in '93)
2) Henry visiting there on a sunny day, post Silent Hill 1. (SH3 in '00, SH4 in '01)
3) Brookhaven's typewriter being replaced with a PC.
4) A radio in Henry's room advertising Silent Hill as a nice vacation town.
Do you have any explanations for this? I'm trying to definitively argue there are no parallel worlds, but these are the last legs of their argument I have to break.

10/28/2014 00:02:10 #

@JoyWise: I am by no means an encyclopedia, so I would recommend that you do some research on your own. The best research possible would be to play the games and pay close attention to details. Also, you can review the memo sections of the wikis to see if you can find any evidence one way or another. That being said, I can try to address your questions based on my own knowledge:

Points 1 and 2 likely come from external sources and not the games themselves. The original games do not provide specific dates. In fact, the date of 1983 for SH1 is impossible because the model of Jeep that Harry drives wasn't in production until later that decade (86 or 87, I think)...There is nothing (that I am aware of) within SH1 to suggest that it takes place in any year other than the year the game was developed and released: 1998-1999.

Same goes for SH2, which has nothing to suggest it took place in any year other than 2001. Mary was sick for some time (I'm not sure if it was on the order of months or years), so it is not difficult to assume that their vacation prior to her illness would have been prior to 1999 (before the events of the first game). So we do not know for sure when James and Mary had their vacation, or when Henry would have visited.

In any case, we don't know anything about the condition of the town between the first and second games. For all we know, after Harry defeats the Incubus/Alessa, the nightmare ends and the whole town reverts to normal while the demon lies dormant.

Point 4 can be addressed in a similar manner. Assuming that SH4 takes place after SH3, then as far as we know, the town returns to normal after Heather kills Claudia and the god.

Point 3 seems moot to me. So did someone go into the parallel Otherworld dimension and replace the typewriter with a PC? The typewriter being replaced by a PC is perfectly consistent with the real world if we operate under the assumption that the town returns to some semblance of normalcy in between the games.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to argue with parallel dimension theory because the parallel dimension is a panacea. Anytime something doesn't fit with the theory, they have to make up another parallel dimension: normal, foggy, dark, otherworld, etc. There's no limit. But as I pointed out in the blog post, we're dealing with a reality in which magic and psychic powers are real. This may seem like a similarly panacea answer, but as the games establish, there are rules that govern how the magic works, so there are limitations (specifically, proximity to a causal agent seems to be a big one). And all the original 3 or 4 games are consistent (as far as I know) with this model.

I hope this helps.

10/28/2014 03:52:05 #

The dates were taken from the Book of Lost Memories. I'm surprised about the jeep thing. I'd never seen that brought up before.

So if I understand this correctly, the proper order of events is this:
* James and Mary visit Silent Hill, then a normal resort town.
* A year or two later (any year after '86 or 87'), the cult tries to birth a god and Alessa tries to stop them. At the same time, some sort of disaster strikes and the town is riddled with chasms while a fog rolls in. At the same time, Harry takes his daughter Cheryl to the town after she pestered him. He did not reserve a hotel beforehand, planning to get a room when he arrives, so he is unaware of the disaster. I don't know what happened to the citizens (did the survivors evacuate after the freaky stuff started happening? did they just vanish to limbo and reappear later with lost time?) or why Cybil was nearby and was as mystified as Harry (did she not get the memo about evacuation? did she lose time when the town unpredictably warped reality?).
* A year or two after this, Silent Hill undergoes a reconstruction project. Harry and other guilt-ridden individuals are drawn to the town after this time and see this (the town lets them get through barriers that should exist). That doesn't explain what happened to the construction workers (do they just leave when the town shows signs of its time of the month? do they blackout, vanish and reappear later?).
* Sometime in the ~16 years between SH1 and SH3, Henry visits Silent Hill when at least parts of it are reopened to the public and takes photographs.
* In SH3, weird stuff starts happening again and the town is presumably evacuated a second time, people vanish to limbo, time itself flows asynchronously, or something. The damage is superficial and the populace soon returns to normal business.

In any case, the only major difference between the invasion theory and the multiple dimension theory is that the latter postulates 1) the real world is unchanged and unaware of the events that occur as a result of the spirits or whatever causes the freaky and 2) that events occur in both the real world and the other dimensions at the same time without affecting one another. The first postulate is refuted quite thoroughly by your article (the reconstruction efforts, the cult being aware of SH1 without surviving witnesses, etc). The second postulate has no evidence supporting it: nowhere in the games (except SHO?) have there been scenes like the one in the movie you mentioned in the article that show the "real world" and "fog world" operating in parallel. Where do the citizens go when these events transpire if they are not operating normally in the "real world"? They evacuate, they suffer lost time, or don't notice anything amiss because when things go back to normal the protagonists find no time has passed since the nightmare began (i.e. Narnia time).

Even in SH4, there is no indication that Henry is trapped in a copy of his apartment while the "real world" apartment is unchanged. The apartment in the real world has been altered and is preventing attempts at communication with the outside. That's why the landlord is concerned: the door is locked all his attempts to open it have failed. If Henry was just trapped in a copy, then the landlord should've been able to enter the "real" apartment freely to find it uninhabited. This is quite unequivocal evidence that the god can alter/invade/replace areas in the real world. If the god can do that to an apartment, why can't it do that to an entire town?

I cannot understand why people continue to insist the movie version is the truth when none of the games show evidence of that and there is no need for that to be true to explain the events of the games.

10/28/2014 04:54:03 #

Excellent point about the apartment in SH4! I might have to a add that to this article!

Dates are a touchy subject. As I said, the games don't provide specific dates. The Book of Lost Memories is fairly accurate and trustworthy, but can't necessarily be taken as absolute truth because it was written by third parties (even though they did consult with the dev team). As for dates in the Book of Lost Memories, there are two pages:
History of Silent Hill:
History of Alessa:

As you can see, neither timeline gives specific dates (i.e. years) for game events. The fact that there is 17 years between SH1 and SH3 (and only 4 years of real time between game releases) does obfuscate things, since both games cannot be considered to take place at the time of release. So either SH1 (and possibly SH2) has to be pushed back on the timeline, or SH3 (and possibly SH4) has to be pushed forward. :/

As for what happens to the town's residents... we don't know. It's an open question. In SH3, the mall scene in SH3 establishes that people can apparently be made to disappear. And it is very unlikely that Silent Hill has been abandoned all this time. Heather and Douglas drive into town and check in to a motel, so we can probably assume that there was someone present when they got there. And Vincent has to have been collecting money from somebody during the past 17 years.

It may be true that a calamity struck the town, causing a temporary evacuation, but it seems unlikely that it would have happened prior to the events of SH1. More likely it occured at the start of the game (if at all), while Harry was unconscious in the jeep. Kaufman does state that he fell asleep in the hospital (presumably with everything normal), and he woke up to find things "like this". So whatever happened, it happened quickly and without warning.

I can understand why people believe in the parallel dimension theory. Many early plot analyses on the internet came to similar conclusions, and much of the early internet-savvy fanbase would have been exposed to that theory and probably accepted it as true since there was no debate at the time. The movie was quite popular, and explicitly promoted that viewpoint, which only further ingrained it into the fan psyches. It's unfortunate that large swaths of the fanbase appear to be unwilling to even discuss the topic or acknowledge that "official" post-Team-Silent material (such as Origins, Homecoming, Downpour, and even the Book of Lost Memories) could be in error. But just because they don't want to listen, doesn't mean that the rest of us should just sit down and shut up, especially since Konami insists on continuing the franchise...

10/28/2014 12:06:16 #

Henry's room eventually returned to normal in the good endings and enough residents of the town survived to justify reconstruction. There is a clear snapback effect, like those restore points in Microsoft Windows you can use to revert the system to a earlier state.

If the events of SH1 happened too quickly to evacuate, this presumes (at minimum) there was town-wide blackout lasting for a few hours during which some kind of freak earthquake occurred and the surviving citizens started evacuating soon after.

Now I just compared Silent Hill's metaphysics to Microsoft Windows restore points. This is really difficult for me to wrap my head around, since I'm used to reality operating under the premise that objects continue to exist unless acted upon by an outside force (i.e. entropy). It's not like digital information that can be altered at whim and then reverted to an earlier state. I think that's why people have difficulty accepting parallel worlds don't exist: it's goes completely contrary to how they perceive reality.

It also makes the town freakier for me personally. If I was just a normal citizen in the town when it decided to PMS, what happened to me during my blackout? Did I cease to exist? Was I digitized and stored in a black magic teleporter buffer Star Trek-style? Am I still the same person who the town shunted to limbo or am I a copy of that person who only thinks I am the same person? This opens a lot of existential issues.

Yeah, I'm really sad Konami is unlikely to fund a game (as another article here suggested) where you play as a citizen returning after the reconstruction and trying to discover what happened during the town-wide blackout. It would be an opportunity to put the multiple dimension myth to rest and explore existential and occult horror.

10/29/2014 02:51:35 #

All that said, the multiple dimension theory isn't necessarily complete nonsense. While the presumption the town can't overwrite reality is clearly wrong, the town can create places that did not previous exist and don't overwrite or occupy the same space as existing places.

The foundation for this is laid in SH1, where Harry visits two such places: the dream hospital and Nowhere (which are possibly different parts of the same place, insofar as they can be considered actual places). Where the fog world/dark world/otherworld are alterations of existing places, the dream hospital is a shared lucid dream between Harry and Lisa and Nowhere is a patchwork mess of places taken from Alessa's mind. Both of these places are implied to be literal dreams or otherwise only existent within Alessa's mind, but are physically real to anyone who enters them. Nowhere features more prominently in later games, particularly SH4 and eventually substitutes for the otherworld entirely in SHD.

If you take the non-Team Silent games as canon (despite the quality) and compare the town between them, the otherworld and Nowhere demonstrate a noticeable progression. In SHO, the mirror world, a precursor to the otherworld, reflects existing reality rather than overwriting it. In SH1, the fog world/dark world/otherworld overwrites reality and creates spaces that never existed. In SH2, without Alessa to accidentally direct it, the otherworld alters itself in real time to reflect visitors as they move around and overlap these alterations. In SH3, this happens far beyond the town's borders. In SH4, the town not only alters an apartment, it reanimates the dead, kills people in their dreams, and unexplainable things involving perception (bloody handprints, soundproof apartments, one-way windows, etc); in contrast to SH1, these events were deliberately directed by a ghost summoned to existence by the town's power. In SHH the power's influence reaches an extreme, due to the cult's faith, and the distinction between the otherworld and Nowhere starts to break down. In SHD, transitions from the fog world skip directly to Nowhere and the town displays the ability to rewrite history far beyond its borders; it is no longer possible to determine what the town's limits are or if such limits ever existed to begin with.

10/29/2014 04:34:41 #


I think you might have a solid concept for a game there. Perhaps you should call Kojima! The idea of "existential horror" is an intriguing one, and the concept of not existing is clearly terrifying, since people had to invent concepts of afterlives and souls in order to comfort themselves. I'm not sure if any games have ever tackled such a complex topic before...?

Your theory regarding the progression of power over the course of the franchise is intriguing and actually seems to make a lot of sense. Though, I wouldn't say that Nowhere and the Otherworld are different places. Like you said, the power has the ability to both reshape existing locations and create new ones. So the Otherworld is an example of the case when reality is simply reshaped using existing materials and forms; whereas Nowhere is an example of the case in which non-existent places are created from scratch out of a person's imagination / memory. Silent Hill 3 does this as well by recreating some of those same Nowhere environments in the church Otherworld, and Silent Hill 2's Labyrinth and the holes leading into the prison may be another example of Nowhere.

The dream hospital sequence with Lisa is perplexing, however, and it's a tough case for either theory to handle. Cybil does follow Harry into the antique shop altar and finds the room empty, so it isn't just the case that Harry and Lisa are sharing a lucid dream. Harry has been physically moved, as his sleeping body is not in the antique shop. It would seem that there must be another place (parallel dimension) that Harry must have been transported to, which would support the Otherworld being a parallel dimension. But, we can't ignore that this sequence has the "dream filter" applied to it, which makes it stylistically distinct from other visits and transitions to the Otherworld.

Since we already know that the power can manifest people's dreams and imaginings into physical objects and even conscious people (i.e. Maria), it would stand to reason that it works the other way around too: physical objects (including people) can be manifested into people's dreams and imaginings. In fact, this seems to be what SH2's "Born From a Wish" scenario is designed to demonstrate! This is what I meant when I said that Harry and Lisa are transported into Alessa's dream, since Alessa's dream is the source of SH1's Otherworld. It's not another place (i.e. dimension); but they exist only in Alessa's imagination.

This does open up the existential issue of whether Harry and Lisa are "destroyed and recreated" when they are moved between physical reality and Alessa's dream, but that is a subject that the game does not tackle. I think it is safe to assume that within the game universe's rules, Harry and Lisa's existence and consciousness are conserved, and so is everybody else's. In that case, we can easily accept that the power can simply remove people from reality (do they exist?) and then put them back when it wants or needs to. Whether the people experience this happening or just reappear with lost time is another debatable issue that is not at all addressed by the scope of the games.

So at best, if the Otherworld is another reality, then it is not a persistent parallel dimension that exists independently of reality. It would just be literally a reality inside someone's mind - an imaginary reality that exists only when the person imagines it.

Phew, this is heavy.

10/29/2014 10:15:21 #

That's what I mean to say. Within the town, the line between reality and surreality blurs. Thoughts become reality, reality becomes thoughts, and often you can't tell the difference.

The primary distinction I would draw is that violations of space and geometry (overlapping rooms, looping hallways, infinite staircases, buildings larger on the inside, etc) are more common in dream and Nowhere sequences. However, this is still a subset of the Otherworld: the infinite abyss beneath the floor grating is the most common example of geometry violations but often goes unremarked upon.

04/29/2016 04:30:34 #

I just read this now and it was really helpful! Honestly, I too thought that there was parallel universe concepts in the game, but your article helped shed light.
This was really credible thank you!

06/27/2016 07:51:10 #

I don't entirely agree. The "fog world" IS a parallel universe, but is entered when certain people cross into Silent Hill. The real town, full of people exists underneath.  When people who are in the town for a reason enter it (Harry to find Cheryl, James to find Mary/cope with the reality of what he did, Heather for revenge) they don't enter the real resort town, but the parallel universe where Alessa or others have control. It is never said the God can't change reality, it never gets a chance. It does not influence the town in the first game, Alessa does. Your argument about Vincent is flawed too, just because he is talking about his corrupt reign over the church's money in the real world doesn't mean he is currently in the real world. There aren't less chasms in the road in SH2 because there have been reconstruction efforts, the holes only existed in the Silent Hill that Harry entered, it's simply the way it was manifested to each character.

Jonathan Woodworth
Jonathan Woodworth
09/27/2016 12:45:25 #

I don't think your totally-shared-universe theory is compatible with the burning staircase scene—Angela makes it clear that she's been experiencing surroundings fundamentally incompatible with what James has seen ("always like" the burning staircase), and even if you try to quibble with the "always" Angela makes it clear that she doesn't expect others to see or feel the flames. There's no obvious reason, either narrative or in-universe, for doubting the line—no translation issues either.

I think it's clear that there aren't cleanly isolated parallel worlds (like your film example, with characters occupying but not sharing the same space), at least in general, but fully-shared objective reality seems like several bridges too far.

10/06/2016 02:25:28 #

I dont think in another dimension either a god able to change world. Silent hill have power. Power to manifest thing from inside the people. The cult is god is just another belief. Cos it when he/she is here, he is actually very weak to be a god and can be killed easy. Also it doesnt seem yo be smart or able or higher inteligent acts. He act like another monster. Just a stronger one but even piramidhead/boogeyman looks smarter

11/11/2016 11:28:53 #

I agree with this. I feel that adding parallel dimensions to the game is somewhat silly because, as you say, it's somewhat redundant in places (such as God transforming said worlds). God in and of herself isn't a real being that has existed forever. None of the Silent Hill monsters are. The only thing Silent Hill does have is some ability to create and shape reality based on the feelings and subconscious of those who enter the town. It may able be able to follow/spread to other individuals outside of the town (Silent Hill 3 Mall/Subway). I feel that Silent Hill is the basis or origin of some neutral mystical phenomenon that manipulates our reality depending on our subconscious. The Gods, demons, Spirits, etc, are all just manifestations brought on by said phenomenon.  

12/04/2016 18:34:03 #

@Zachary: the observation about monsters being manifestations instead of permanent creatures is a good point!

You might be interested in reading another of my posts about my theories regarding the history of the town and the cult:

01/11/2017 12:28:31 #

I don't understand why people still argue that the otherworld is a parallel world that doesn't affect the real world. There is no point in the first four games where events occur simultaneously in both the otherworld and the real world (a la the movie) outside of clearly indicated dream sequences. For the games to make sense there cannot be a parallel world: events that occur in the otherworld left behind forensic evidence discovered by the cult in the real world, there would be no reason for the cult to hunt Heather if all they wanted was to move to a parallel world they already visit without her, and Henry's apartment would not be magically locked in both the real world and otherworld if he was trapped in the otherworld copy of it while the real world original remained unaffected.

Silent Hill is a place where fantasy becomes reality and reality becomes fantasy. Human nature being what it is, the results are horrible. The cult wanted to turn the planet into a hellish paradise and were stopped three times. People with tragic pasts who had previously visited the town found themselves drawn back there in the hope of realizing their fondest wishes. Unrelated bystanders who visited the town or places touched by it at the wrong time found themselves pulled into these nightmare sequences.

There aren't defined limits to what it does: we've seen the town destroyed and warped, people vanishing and reappearing, figments brought to life, and people outside of the town killed through dreams Elm Street-style. The "parallel reality" explanation is not simply unsupported by the evidence but arbitrarily limits the town's capabilities and neuters the threat represented by the cult or anyone else who tries to harness its potential.

We could have have a game series that could be described as a horror version of Psychonauts. But apparently "demonic psychiatrist" is a more popular premise and we got a slew of awful rehashes of SH2 that ultimately killed the franchise.

02/19/2017 09:15:18 #

I used to believe SH was affecting the real world (when I first played the games and took them at face value)

Then I made the mistake (like others) of reading false info and the later SH games backed this up further..

Only now, after again replaying the older games and reading these AMAZING notes (and TwinPerfects videos) does the series (at least 1-4) makes some sense.

Playing SH3 the other day - Heather is in the REAL subway.. there was no transition to the Otherworld.
Heading down some steps below, one specific platform is more dirty than the others, it had metal grating everywhere and has an Otherworld feel to it.. yet surely she is still in the real world.

As for everyone disappearing - not entirely true. SH3's subway also has a moment where you find a pile of debris in the corridor. Under some newspapers you can see the bottom of a pair of jeans and shows. Heather comments the man is dead..
So this is a REAL person who has been killed.
Does this mean 'Danny' in the Borley Haunted Mansion was a real person too.. I think so. Pretty sure Heather comments it is real too.. the smell of REAL blood, not fake or imaginary.

One note too - the very start of the Mall. You hear voices behind the shutter. After fighting the Closer monster, if you go back out - the voices are GONE and if you retrace your steps to the toilet window - dog monsters now appear too! The door back to Douglas is now mysteriously jammed too.. forcing Heather to go deeper into her nightmare! Never realised this before as nobody has a reason to go backwards.

Almost like this was a ''pocket'' area which seemed to be altered, instead of the entire place.

02/19/2017 09:45:48 #

^Typo - the last sentence was talking about the Subway area.

Made a screenshot here to show - this is the only time we see an Otherworld looking subway until after the trainride. Doesn't look like renovation works because everything including the floor and walls are dirty and dark. It is in this platform that you can find the dead (homeless?) man under the papers.



And again, interesting that this platform is the only one which looks dirty.. Wonder what this has to do with Claudia - the proximity thing? Maybe Heather is only seeing a little bit of Otherworld, because Claudia is further away.. yet there is a 'trace' left behind? Thats the way I like to see it as anyway. Once we reach the underpass area, the Otherworld becomes stronger, as Heather is getting closer to home, and Claudia.

This thought has totally blown SH3 wide open for me - makes sense too. Heather sees Lakeside Amusement Park normally, that is until she enters it and it changes.. We later find out that Claudia is there too.

The only thing against this theory is the hospital transformation. We know Claudia was at the Jack's Inn Motel just up the road.. but then why didn't the whole South Vale area transform. Or was this part of Alyssa's memories coming through Heather and manifesting. So the Otherworld would be part of Claudia AND Alyssa's subconscious?
The latter half of the game would suggest this - the carousel battel and the Church seem to be more about Heather and Alyssa than Claudia'as influences - though I may be wrong.. they could be equal to each other..

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