Ever since I was a kid I have had a fascination with all things horror. I know, I’m a weirdo but it’s true. I dig what lurks in the darkness and things that go bump in the night. I grew up in Fennville, MI and my house was haunted. Now, I know that not everyone believes in ghosts or haunted houses but this home was definitely haunted. When you’re able to hear kids asking for help through the vents, it’s something that lets you know you’re not alone. There’s more to my house but I won’t go into it here. I already wrote a post on it but if you would like to read up on the scary things that happened you can click here. Throughout my childhood I watched a lot of scary movies. It seemed to go hand in hand with what I experienced at my house so maybe that’s why I’m such a big fan of horror. Either way though, as I grew older the games I played took a turn with the Survival Horror genre. It started with Resident Evil. I was a huge fan of trying to survive a zombie apocalypse and though the game was awesome it still didn’t quench my thirst for true horror.
I searched for something that would scare me and match what I felt growing up at home but nothing worked. Finally, during my senior year of high school I found a survival horror game that fit the bill. It was 1999 when Silent Hill came out. The buzz had been going around that this was Konami’s answer to Capcom’s Resident Evil. I bought the game in hopes that the buzz would be true. My friend Adam and I started the game and right off the bat the game was chilling and scary. What made this possible were the effects and camera shots. It was amazing how smooth the gameplay was and how the creators used different camera shots as if someone was actually watching your character walk around. The game is based on a regular guy named Harry Mason who is in search of his missing daughter in the abandoned town of Silent Hill. As he makes his way through the city he finds out that there is a connection between his daughter and the town. There is also a thick fog that fills Silent Hill and at times it appears to be snowing. Odd monsters roam the streets as well as rabid dogs. It was different from the norm and it actually scared me.
I think what scared me the most was going into the school and the hospital. The school is empty but what you hear is a different story. Children crying and laughing fill different rooms. Doors open and shut by themselves and throughout the game there is a siren that goes off. The town starts out looking spooky but once the siren goes off it morphs into something you would imagine Hell looking like. During this time there are more monters lurking and lunging at you. There are gory scenes and once you get to the hospital they get worse. Now earlier I mentioned snow but it turns out that what appears to be snow is actually ash thats falling from the sky. The town of Silent Hill has a violent and horrific past that involves a massive fire. It’s pretty interesting and it made me wonder whether or not it was based on something within our history. One day I decided to search for Silent Hill as a real town and what I found was a city named Centralia. Located in Pennsylvania, Centralia was once a booming town due to its coal mining. All was good until May of 1962 when an abandoned strip mine caught fire. There are many theories as to how it started but in the end the local fire department was unable to put it out. The strip mine underneath the town of Centralia burned and caused massive damage. It was enough that the government paid to relocate the residents of this now inhabitable town but some stayed behind. There is much more to this story and it’s as simple as a Google search to find the rest. This town, from what I’ve read, is the basis for Silent Hill. To this day the fires still burn underneath Centralia.
My search for something truly horrifying lead me to the game Silent Hill. From there I found out that it was based on a real town that suffered from a tragic fire. It’s funny how something as small as searching for a horror fix could lead to something so interesting. Maybe I’ll try and piece together more games or movies that are based on true events. Anyone have some insight here? I’m wondering if “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” is real? If anyone has any info on this or other interesting stories on ghost towns let me know. For now, make sure to check out the Silent Hill franchise and the video I provided below on Centralia. Happy reading folks!