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The Lavender Town Syndrome

“During the first few days of the release of Pokemon Red and Green in Japan, back in February 27, 1996, a peak of deaths appeared in the age group of 10-15.” …Creepy.

The Creepiness

It is said that only young teens and children can hear these certain “tones” throughout this first video, and fully developed human ears cannot.

Overview [$OVR]
The phenomenon of the “Lavender Town Tone” is a legend that involves a bizarre spate of medical cases and deaths from around the country that have been connected to the “Pocket Monsters” (Pokémon) series of games, in particular the first two games of the series, “Red” and “Green”. Though the event is largely unheard of due to disclosure laws for companies based in the Kyoto Prefecture, there is a large amount of information that has been brought into the open by a number of dedicated individuals, including ? ?? (Seki Uchitada) ?? ?? (Ise Mitsutomo) and ?? ?? (Satou Harue), to whom this page is dedicated. Thanks also go out to ?? ?? (Andou Kagetada) for providing images and animated .gifs of the visual phenomena.
This analysis will discuss the other phenomena that is often confused with the “Lavender Town Tone”, known as “White Hand Sprite”, “Ghost Animation” and “buried alive model”, as well as the semi-related developer-tag that was inserted into the game, and how to safely perform these “easter eggs” in post-first wave cartridges.

History of the Game [$HIG]
The first cases of the “Lavender Town Tone” and associated events were reported a few months after the release of of “Pocket Monsters Red and Green” for the handheld “Game Boy” videogame console. These videogames were wildly popular with children between the ages of seven and twelve (their core demographic), which was no doubt one of the reasons why the “Lavender Town Tone” had the level of severity that it did. In the game, the player takes on the role of a “Trainer”, whose task it is to capture, tame and train wild creatures called “Pocket Monsters” for battle. These games, and the two newest additions to the series, “Pocket Monsters Gold and Silver”, an anime, manga, figurines, a collectible card-game and home console games have resulted in Pocket Monsters becoming a multi-billion dollar franchise.
In one part of the game, the Trainer comes to a small, out-of-the-way place called “Lavender Town” (??????). This town is one of the smallest hamlets in the game (aside from the Trainer’s own home town), and possesses very few of the services available to the Trainer in every other city in the game – indeed, the location would be unremarkable were it not for the “Pokémon Tower” (???????) located there – a colossal building that holds the graves of hundreds of deceased Pokémon.
It is theorised that, because of this location in the game, at least two hundred children lost their lives, and many more developed sudden illnesses and afflictons – and this does not consider the vast waves of unreported illnesses or deaths whose cause went unnoticed.

History of the Pathology [$HIP]
It was not until Spring/Summer of 1996 that the cases that would eventually become linked to the Lavender Town Tone began to surface. The earliest record of the acknowledgement of the effects of the Lavender Town Town that the author could find came from an internal report made in June 1996 by the company Game Freak Inc. (???????????), which was then leaked by one of its former employees, Ms. Satou Harue. In it, an employee gives a list of names, dates and symptoms – records of children between the ages of 7 and 12 who had suffered various medical problems as a result of playing Pocket Monsters Red and Green versions. Some records are listed below, with the full listing in Appendix A [here]. (It should be noted that entries in the Appendix also include symptoms borne not from the “Lavender Town Tone” [an audio phenomenon] but from the so-called “White Hand Sprite”, “Ghost Animation” and “buried alive model”, all of which were visual phenomena that provoked similar but distinct symptoms. More details on Part Two [here]).

?? ??; April 12 1996 (11). Obstructive sleep apnea, severe migraines, otorrhagia, tinnitus.
?? ??: May 23 1996 (12). General irritability, insomnia, addiction to videogame, nosebleeds. Developed into violent streaks against others and eventually himself. [??]
?? ??: April 27 1996 (11). Cluster headaches, irritability. Eventually took mixed painkillers. [??]
?? ??: March 4 1996 (7). Migraines, sluggish and slow behaviour, unresponsiveness. Developed into deafness, and went missing. Body discovered beside road April 20 1996. [??]

The document that was circulated internally was the first time that these incidents had been connected with the Pocket Monsters videogames – until then, the cause had not been discovered or diagnosed by medical professionals. Indeed, it is uncertain how the company themselves managed to find the cases related to the event without seeking advice from health services.

Pathology Detail — “Lavender Town Tone” [$PAT]
The predominant symptoms related to what would become known as the “Lavender Town Town” included headaches and migraines, bleeding from eyes and ears, mood swings and irritability, addiction to the games, unprovoked violence, withdrawal and unresponsiveness, and in approximately 67% of cases, suicidal tendencies. However, these symptoms only manifested in children between the ages of 7 and 12 years old who had reached the area in game known as “Lavender Town”, most of whom were revealed to have been wearing headphones or earphones while playing the game (see Appendix A [here]).
As it turns out, the developers of the Lavender Town area had sought to make an area that would “leave an impression on the player”, according to Seki Uchitada, who was a member of the development team. Seki claimed that at the time of development, a number of the team were interested in making Lavender Town a little different to the rest of the game.
“The Pokémon Tower is a visible result of that,” Seki told ????????”Game’s Dimensions” Magazine) in an interview earlier this year. “That, and the fact that Lavender Town is so different from all the other cities in the game: it is smaller, it has fewer people occupying it, it didn’t have a gym… and, of course, the music was very, very eerie. In fact, in the first version of the game, we were told to slightly change the song played in the background of Lavender Town … because our manager told us it would make children upset. The music used in subsequent versions is different.”
Either Seki was unaware of the full impact of the Lavender Town Tone, or was vastly underexaggerating how “upset” children would get – no more is said of the music in the article, but there are mentions of Lavender Town’s other macabre features (see below).

What Seki failed to disclose to Game’s Dimensions Magazine was that the music used in the first-wave release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green was formulated out of an experiment in “binaural beats”: using slightly different frequencies of sound, each frequency played in one ear through earphones or headphones, various psychological effects can be induced upon the listener. In most versions of the first wave releases, this resulted in the player feeling uneasy, apprehensive, and mildly disturbed. However, for upwards of two-hundred children, it provoked a variety of disturbances in the brain that went undetected purely because it was undetectable by fully developed human ears – instead, only children fell victim to the tones , resulting in psychological and physiological problems that in some cases led to death – many of which were suicides.

Part 2:
Pathology Detail- Visual Overview

These visual effects are known among programming circles as “The White Hand Sprite”, the “Ghost Animation”, and the “Buried Alive Model”. Each has been found to cause headaches, nausea, and in severe cases, hemorrhaging of the brain and lungs. While around 70% of Lavender Town Syndrome (LTS) is due to the Lavender Tone, the remaining percentage is split among these visual phenomena. This is partly due to the visual stimuli occurring after the player is introduced to the Lavender Tone. It has been theorized that those unaffected by the aural stimulation, such as the deaf or the hard of hearing, make up the remaining 30%. While viewing these models can cause these effects, there are certain methods that allow a viewer to safely examine them in detail.

The White Hand Sprite

Known in the code as WhitHand.gif, this was scripted to appear as a Pokemon on the third floor of the Lavender Tower. It is divided into four separate animations: an introduction (the “cry” a Pokemon unleashes before a battle), an idle, and two attacks. These attacks are unknown, as they are listed simply as “Fist” and “Brutal”. While viewing the animation has been proven to be hazardous, viewing the frames of the model has been proven to have no adverse effects. The White Hand is depicted as a shriveled, slightly decayed hand, with surprising attention to detail: flesh is peeling back from the bone, and several tendons dangle realistically out of the wrist. The first attack is the hand balling into a fist, then swinging forward. However, the “brutal” animation is missing several frames: The hand seems to open up, then cuts out. After a few seconds, it reappears, closed again. No record has been found of these missing frames.

Ghost Animation

The Ghost Animation, coded as Haunting.swf, was intended to be placed in several areas throughout the tower, including in the center of a path on the second floor. However, players cannot interact with it, leaving many to believe that it was intended as a “background feature”. The ghost animation as well must be viewed in individual frames. It is comprised of 59 frames total. However, after extraction, around half of these frames have been revealed to be the standard ghost model used in Pocket Monsters. Around a quarter of the remaining frames are comprised of static, to produce a “fading” effect. However, interspersed with these bursts of static are several frames of screaming faces, along with images of a skeletal man in a cloak (hypothesized to be the Grim Reaper) and of several killed corpses. The meaning behind these are unknown- While under oath before the Video Games Commission Board, Lead Programmer Hisashi Sogabe testified as to having “No knowledge as to where these images surfaced.” Out of all the phenomena associated with LTS, this animation is the most speculated on: In his thesis “Video Games and The Manipulation of the Human Mind”, [viewable in appendix C] Dr. Jackson Turner argued that the images were intentionally placed in. Due to their brief time appearing on the screen, and the graphic nature of the frames, Turner theorizes that these were meant to subliminally influence players into becoming more frightened by the disturbing surroundings.

The Buried Alive Model

Often referred to as its code, the Buryman script, the Buried Alive Model was to be found on the final story of the Pokemon Tower, in what has now been replaced with the Marowak ghost. According to the scripts assigned to it, the Buried Alive model was intended to be the “boss” of the tower. Once reaching the top floor, the following conversation would have taken place.

Buried Alive: You’re… Here.
BA: I’m trapped…
BA: And I’m lonely…
BA: So very lonely…
BA: Won’t you join me?
After this, the battle would have been initiated. Once in
“battle view”, the Buried Alive model appears to be a decaying human corpse attempting to crawl out of the ground. It has been programmed to have two White Hands, a Gengar, and a Muk. Strangely enough, a protocol for the Buried Alive’s actions after it was defeated were not written. In the case of the player defeating him, the game would freeze. However, a specific ending was written by an unknown programmer upon losing the battle. In this ending, the Buried Alive was to have stated, “Finally, fresh meat!” followed by several lines of gibberish. He was to have then dragged the player character into the ground surrounding him. The scene would finish with a typical “Game Over” screen; however, in the background, an image of the Buried Alive character devouring the player was to have been shown. Especially strange are the protocols for after this scene. The cartridge was to download this image to the small internal memory contained in the Gameboy, overwriting the title screen that normally accompanied a Gameboy turning on. Instead, whenever it was started, the player would view this image as the sound file staticmesh.wav was played. The intended purpose for this effect, unlike many of the other factors leading towards LTS, is unknown

And oh yes…this is a work of fiction. :D

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52 comments
Lucy ramirez
Lucy ramirez

I just recently heard the lavender town music and I don't know if it was with the frequencies or not, and I'm sudenlly all sweaty and my ears feel like they are plugged up, I'm 12 years old by way :( now I'm even afraid to go and take a shower without worrying if I'm gonna have lavender town syndrome, please help if it is just a coincidence because the day before I got these symptoms I got a cold (by the way I got a cold BEFORE I listened to lavender towns theme)

rgolson
rgolson

Amazingly well written! You had me believing until the very end! haha!

RodrigoFerreira1
RodrigoFerreira1

because i am such a pokemon fan i have a theory that some retarded programer intentionally added the messed up soundtrack and the buried alive model and ghost and all this other stuff to freak out the kids, but had no idea about the effects

RodrigoFerreira1
RodrigoFerreira1

because i am such a fan of pokemon i have induced a theory that some evil programer intentionally added theese things before the release of pokemon in japan

jessicahumble
jessicahumble

I Like creepy pasta's but this one really scared me :/ iv'e heard the lavender town syndrome song with the missing frequinces and it was quite scary and iv'e heard the new song for the lavender town  and it was sad and yet depressing o.o i was searching on YouTube for anything else (Research) and i found out (IDK if true)but it might be linked to THE BLUE DEATH of 1918 i wanna learn more about lavender town though it's really intresting . so Hit me up if there's anything you know bout' it .

armankordi
armankordi

Ok, it was 1998. I had gone to a boy scout camping trip and when it was my turn to tell a scary story ,I started with: It was 1996, and a kid 8 years old Just got the newest pokemon game and he played it all day, And when it was time to go to bed, He took out his gameboy, and played for 3 hours. He eventuly got to Lavender Town, Why this town? He had the FIRST edition of the game. And his ears did not develop yet, so he spent 25 minutes in Lavender town. His door was locked, so no one could get in besides his dad, Because he had the key. His sister in the next room thought he was sleeping BUT, He was missing the next day. .......................................................................................................

 

He was found on the side of the curb of a highway, Reported suicide. 2 days later, The game has been reported caused Over 150 suicides and severe headaches which caused internal bleeding Which over 30 cases not treated leading to death.

 

That's where I stoped, Because it was too scary. I ended humming the Lavender Town theme.

ReiRifahHuq
ReiRifahHuq

READ THE FINAL SENTENCE, BEFORE ALL OF THESE COMMENTS E OE

2100kinggamer
2100kinggamer

so creppy but i played pkm yellow and it got the flu that was when i was 8 now 12 and iwrote all with a 3ds and 2100kinggamer is my youtube rember stay safe and dedededede that lavernd3r town mus ane i will not be afirid

glitch master
glitch master

[DELETED] and everybody else white hand,GHOST,Missingno.,buried alive, the headaches,bloody nose's,suicide's,insomia,is REAL!!!!!!! I almost got a knife at the age of 9 and killed myself so whoever the heck created this "work of fiction" is a dirty no good lying loser who think's death is cool should learn from me I had a case of "Lavender town syndrom" SO DON'T LIE TO THESE PEOPLE!!!
TAKE IT FROM SOMEONE WHO SURVIVED "LAVEDER TOWN SYNDROM" NO GOOD LIAR'S I WILL DESROY YOU FOR MAKING FUN OF ME!!! sorry for the rage inocent people but ricky.org deserved it. :) DON'T LIE

Eagke
Eagke

It would be a credible story if not were for...Haunted.swf? xD C'mon, Gameboys lacked some serious RAM (Missingno glitch anybody?), so, ¿flash animation format? Considering that Flash is a memory ripper, I doubt that Pokemon would have used that format to store animations. Probably they would use a compressed spritesheet to store animation frames.

dfhgrtdty
dfhgrtdty

so this is where all the stupid people started to believe it from, damn the internet is full of idiots

XJP29
XJP29

i was listening to this at school, i also have been refered to as a semi-sicuic. i was enitialy afected by the sound that was played on youtobe, i took some headeach medicin coincidently thismorning, but i still got a small headeach in the rear right side of my head... could it be conected?

LeMustache
LeMustache

I didn't feel weird, but it hurt my ears when it got really high and wavery.

Sara Smith
Sara Smith

um guys. take pokemon Yellow (american) and hold it up to the first vid =.= i jsut found somethin interesting =.=

Sara Smith
Sara Smith

i hear it. its a werid background noise and a hard beat and a swoop from high to low pitch then REALLY high like a dog whisle but only at the VERY end its very werid (14 years old)

Sophie
Sophie

Darn. When I bought soulsilver and got to lavender town, I thought the music was nice and innocent but when I looked it up on YouTube I got the original creepy version.
I never knew there was such dark history behind lavender town...
Yet I'm 11 but I didn't hear the tones. Weird.

May
May

I'm freaked out!

Jessi
Jessi

The music is spooky but I didn't hear anything strange. Maybe I'm immune to the alleged "pokemind control" from the soundtrack.

Bravo
Bravo

Oh come on! When I was younger (around the age of 5) I never had any symptoms from playing the game in lavender town. Surely this is fake.

Linebarrel
Linebarrel

A lot of little details give this away as fake. Why would a Game Boy game from 1996 be using a .swf or .gif file for anything? Also, there's no "typical 'Game Over' screen" in Pokemon games. Add in the generic photorealistic gore and actual pictures of murdered corpses that every creepypasta needs to have, and LTS kind of overshoots its mark.

Angii
Angii

I was really convinced... but the whole time I was thinking, what's the purpose of it being so scary? it had nothing to do with someone become the next Pokemon master. I'm just glad its all fake. Phew... But I'm 14... and the background music is creepy... but I heard... noises in the background...

Hi
Hi

creepy teary eyes because of thhe first song and a scared feeling and a slight headache even after reading the work of fiction part

Hi
Hi

That first song made e=tears come to my eyes for no reason its creeping me out.

John B. Goode
John B. Goode

I realized it's fakeness when I saw that the 'internal name' given to one of the animations ended in .swf, a format not supported by the GB.

But damn, this gave me the dark chills.

Shotgun Ninja
Shotgun Ninja

Some of it was flaky, but overall, you gave it away with Haunting.swf and Ghosthand.gif. GIF image files wouldn't be compiled into the game; they'd be reduced down to compressed raw image data before being stored in the executable. And I'm not even gonna go into the complexity of adding SWF animations to a 1st-gen Game Boy game cartridge, but it involves an unrealistically large program for decoding and playback, and more speed than the hardware could muster.

However, I'm pretty sure there's SOMETHING up with the Lavender Town music.

5/10.

Lord Loss
Lord Loss

Good god, that was terrifying . My chest started to hurt, and then i got to bleeding lungs. I only heard about this today, but I can hear the tone. Even if nothing like this ever happened, the music still screws with your head. Thank god I never got a version with that tone.

...
...

Wow. Pretty crazy stuff for a story that is false. I'm kinda sad it's fiction since it was put together pretty well, but the again I bought the series when it first came out and used head phones but never died so.. Yeah. I did love that song though, and still do. It speaks to you. Even now, five generations of Pokemon later and I still get saddened by the song.

manspray
manspray

but it is true. i think the white hand thing and buried alive and the other shizz is all just fake or rumors, but lavender town syndrome is real.

Claudia
Claudia

Hey, I liked that tune and I was around 12 when I played Pokemon Red. And I'm 23 and I'm not dead lol. But my little sister confessed that she always was scared when going to Lavender Town. She was around 8 at that time.

jen
jen

Why does lavender town and that "buried alive" section remind me of colonel dietrich of indiana jones?!

Eric
Eric

Wow, after reading some things in this, and foolishly not reading to the final sentence, I decided to look up things like the White Hand and Buried Alive on YouTube, to see if these things really happened. GREAT creepy story though.

Crimson
Crimson

I listened to the whole song, I'm 10 years old, and I didn't get a headache, nor a stomachce. I just felt something that I had to fart. Haha. It creeped me out a bit when the music stopped and it was quiet in my house. The article was actually interesting.

Steph
Steph

oh my god.
i thought this was real, it scared me so much!
but when i listened to it, even after reading the comments
(I always read the comments first on something scary, i'm afraid somethings going to pop out)
when i watched the first video i started getting dizzy, so i only listened to it for a second, is this normal?! haha.

Kat
Kat

This really creeped me out! Whenever I would go to Lavender Town, I would always turn the sound off because I would get freaked out by it.

Siona
Siona

Oh my God This freaked me out. I thought you were serious. It seemed really real! :0 And also, I had been randomly Googling and had typed in "Lavender" (as in the plant) and the Google suggestions thing came up and said Lavender Town Syndrome so I thought O.k, what's this? and when I clicked on ot TONS of results came up, so when i was reading this, i was thinking omg this actually HAPPENED!!! iT WAAS SO SCARY. I WAS SO GLAD WHEN I CAME TO THE END!!!

Btw I have a headache after listening to the video. I'm not joking. Is that normal? (I'm 12)

Ano Nymous
Ano Nymous

I thought you were frikin serious about this. But the most amazing thing about it... the high pitched noise you were talkin about, the one only teens can hear, i am a teen and when i listened to the first video, i got a headache. and then i listened to some other song and i didnt get a headache. so maybe it does cause sicknes... but i wont be thinking about suicide. THATS F***** CRAZY!

rq
rq

I started laughing so hard when I got to the last line ;P xD

Inunah
Inunah

I heard a little thunk noise behind the first notes of the song.... And I keep getting chills....
The original Lav Town song gave me headaches, earaches, eyeaches and a stomachache, and I think it made that little ringing noise in my ears go away.

I believe I'm being f***ed with with this song. Like, my brain or something.

bwatt27
bwatt27

Dear god, y'all seriously had me going there. I couldn't finish reading that in my room alone... I'm glad my Pokemon is safe. =]

tviers10917
tviers10917

@Lucy ramirez  I listened to it yesterday. (I am 12 as well. lol) I was right about to sleep and I heard the beat in my ear. I couldn't move or breathe or talk and I sat up and screamed "Help me!!!" I couldn't sleep the whole night....

Robert
Robert

Well, I'm 13 and I can honestly confess that I did not hear any kind of strange noises into the backround. However, the syndrome is 100 percent real, and it should be avoided. Take care.

Tessa
Tessa

Listened to it with my best friend. Were really close. We both experienced the same thing. A terrible uneasyness and nervousness, slight dizziness (only a small amount), a strange, sort of painful feeling below the chest, and a sudden urge to just plug our ears and run away, get out of there. I don't think I'll be forgetting about this anytime soon. I'm 13, she's 12. When I read the whole animations and spruces and model stuff, well, that's what I was looking forward to the whole article. After I had read it, I really waited I hadn't. >_<

armankordi
armankordi

It should be normal if you were headphones.

Dragoonoar
Dragoonoar

I have a headache after listening to it.
I always play pokemon ruby and often listening to lavender town. i dont think its scary or something but im just realized now that it is very creepy...

Btw Im using headset/Headphone and Im 12 too..

Megan
Megan

The same thing happened to me, I couldn't breathe and blood rushed to my head when listening, and my lungs and throat felt strange for hours after. I am 16 and even I am not safe from it I guess. So as far as I care, THAT part is real.

gfrewcvxfsr
gfrewcvxfsr

This is something we like to call
a placebo effect

Icalasari
Icalasari

The first song made me feel physically ill :(

Seriously, those tones hurt my ears >.<

jules
jules

mee too :)... and Rickey is interested in Pokemon? @Rickey, why don't you post more about Pokemon? :D