Tag Archive: psychological


Notch Main

She runs through the darkened forest with wild abandon. Tree branches slash her face as twigs snap savagely against her ankles, fleeing with hardly a glance towards the ground. Her lungs burn. Her eyes piercingly sting with each tear ripped out by the wind. As she falls to the ground, she wishes with all her might that things would end differently…

In its own corner of the world, a small island village quietly waits for the world to remember – or perhaps, forget – that it exists. A once bustling tourist location, it is all but deserted of visitors from far off lands; only leaving its dwindling number of citizens to carry on its legacy. This is a town that lives forever by its olden ways: there is no true government, simply two rich and powerful families that rule over the town from their far off estates in the forest; there is also no hospital, simply family doctors who tend the ill and injured. The town is peaceful; it’s residents content with life…

Notch Girls

However, when young girls begin showing up mutilated and murdered, the townsfolk hardly know how to handle the situation. With peace shattered and an unknown killer residing in the area, it can be hard to know who to even turn to. But when those we love are brutally taken from us, it tends to strike vengeance and determination into our very core.

…Nanami didn’t deserve to die…

Notch – The Innocent LunA: Eclipsed SinnerS is a supernatural murder mystery Visual Novel developed by Angels Blue Digital Entertaiment and DEZ Studio. The player takes on the roll of the main protagonist: a young man seeking to save the girl he loves after she is slain in cold blood. He sets out to speak with the two ruling families about the murders but uncovers a much deeper rooted cause than anyone could have ever anticipated – mass killings, abusive relationships, families ripped apart, torture, lies, forbidden resurrection, alternate dimensions, pacts with devils and the enslavement of gods.

Notch Sister

To begin with, the story is beautiful, sad and captivating from the basic premise surrounding the main character and Nanami to all of the additional characters met that weave such integral pieces to the tale. The masters of each ruling family try to recover from the murder of their households all the while grasping tightly to dark secrets from nearly twenty years past. Meanwhile, the protagonist comes across numerous intriguing personalities on his journey to save Nanami: the caring and mysterious maid, Hitomi, who works for one of the ruling families; Rika, a dainty mute girl in a tragically abusive relationship; Saki, another almost-victim of the brutal killer; and Misa, a mysterious lolita-esque girl with abilities to traverse dimensions. Throughout the title, in learning their stories they both add greatly to the overall atmosphere as well as create a unique diversity whilst moving the main story along. It draws the player in quickly and does a fairly good job of holding their attention despite one of the game’s main flaws.

Aesthetically, the game provides a beautiful mixture of art and music styles. From anime/manga style drawings of the female characters to almost pastel sketches and water colors; the drastic contrast presents a beautiful landscape in which the story is portrayed. Oftentimes a picture can be worth so much more than words and it certainly rings true in this case. Additionally adding to the landscape would be the soundtrack. Made up of serenading piano arrangements, soft melancholic vocal tracks and even epic rock anthems (a la boss music) provide a near perfect backdrop for a majority of the scenes throughout the game.

Notch Misa

Unfortunately, there is one jarringly disruptive feature that nearly destroys all other beacons of recommendation: the writing. It is understood that translation can sometimes be attributed to sentences being a little off or seemingly simple, but this goes beyond that. Simple wording and sentences can be easily excused; however, it is the unnecessary repetition that is truly insanity inducing. After a few hours of playing the game, the writing became so frustrating that I found myself simply tapping the Enter key non-stop and skimming the lines as they quickly went by. The story is phenomenal, but I understood what was meant the first time it was said…the additional 15 statements trying to explain and send the sentiment home were just overkill. It demonstrates that its fast forward feature simply could never be fast enough. Take for example the following excerpt (keep in mind, this is but a mild example):

“I tried to stay alive…I didn’t surrender in the face of brutal tortures…But you didn’t come to see me…I was waiting for an impossible dream…”

“Don’t cry…I live to atone for my sin…Now I have redeemed my sin…I don’t expect you to forgive me…I am unworthy of being forgiven…I hope you can have a happy life from now on…I am going to die…but you can still enjoy your life in this world…I don’t expect your forgiveness. I just want my inner world to regain peace…I am going to say goodbye to you…I don’t regret trading my life for yours. I can have a chance to say sorry to you..I finally did this…Promise me you’ll have a good life…”

…and this goes on, even still.

Aside from that glaringly (oftentimes obnoxious) detail, Notch – The Innocent LunA: Eclipsed SinnerS is a game that will entrance and mystify. You will truly be drawn in by the art, music and story and yearn to find out more – if you can slog through the endless streams of unnecessary text. Should you decide to give this one a try, the 14 endings that, despite their differences, remain curiously connected will offer plenty of replay value. It is a story that will stay with you – at least in part – long after it is through.

Will the killer be brought to justice or remain free?

Will you be able to save anyone?

Will you be able to save yourself?

Notch Bloody

I hope someday you will forgive me.

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My Beauty, My Love…Anna [PC]

“I hoped I had forgotten you forever…”

anna

The human psyche can be a delicate creature; a creature that should be kept safe from the world’s horrors and told that monsters simply do not live in dark places nor come out into the light. But there always comes a time when the pieces seem to fit together just right and we go against all common sense and knowledge to follow a faint, yet sorrowful, curiosity. A lost love, a forgotten memory; will these lead you to the answers you seek…or to regret?

The psychological horror adventure game Anna, by Italian game developer Dreampainters, takes you to the remote location of an old sawmill. Lead by photographs you have no memory of taking and distant thoughts of a woman held dear; you must make your way through the abandoned building to recover the lost fragments of memories.

As many adventure titles go, Anna maintains the core concept of collecting any and all applicable items for use in furthering your journey and uncovering dark secrets. However, while this may be a staple to the genre, Anna‘s use of these items leaves much to be desired. A journal, a lighter and a few other random items adorn your person from the beginning…yet their use and significance is left rather unexplained and some even untested. The plethora of other items you encounter and pick up all have a purpose either of their own accord or when combined together…but that, in itself, often leads to another bout of frustration as you traverse the decrepit mill house.

Sadly, one of the most cumbersome aspects of this game lies within its controls. While certain options can be toggled to your fancy, the majority of this title relies on basic movement (which is at an alarmingly slow pace, making backtracking and exploration a time consuming ordeal) as well as mouse clicking and grabbing. Doors provide an exceptional focus in that you do not merely click on them to open and shut, but must push and pull them at just the right angle in order for them to open enough to glance inside or move through. Additionally, when combining items together, many of the combinations must be done in an exact order at the right time; or you are merely given the inner thoughts of yourself calling you quite crazy for even thinking the two would ever work out.

On a positive note, Anna did accomplish a dark and haunting atmosphere that leaves you questioning just what really occurred within those decaying walls; and oftentimes make you regret staying put for any longer than you have to. Without notice, unannounced specters, sudden shadows, inanimate objects hurled around the room, and alarming screams and crying pierce the darkness and leave your mental state a tad worse off than it already was. Even without the supernatural occurrences, the dim candlelit rooms and disturbing images that occur due to your involvement add to the overall suspense and you scour every inch of the mill house for items, clues and puzzles.

Additionally, the music and sound effects do add a considerable depth to the title. From soft ambiance to climactic swells to the muffled words and arguments of those who resided in a time long gone; the dark mood and atmosphere of the game remain in tact, if not enhanced, by not only what is seen, but also heard.

Anna is a game based off quite an intriguing premise and even despite its numerous flaws, does incur some shining moments. One such moment for me, without giving away too much, involves a somewhat disturbing ritual mask and a black mourning dress and veil. The feeling of being thoroughly and demonically watched has never been so strong and it is a feeling and image that has stayed with me long after playing it.

In the end, the game wants to accomplish its goal of fear, suspense and intuitiveness – but just misses. Three distinct endings give players a chance to see as much of the story as they wish to reveal and may even offer multiple play-throughs should they so wish. Only taking about three hours to complete the first time (and getting the final and longest ending), Anna is certainly worth playing at least once…for the right price that is; though I would truly only recommend it to those who are avid fans of the adventure or psychological horror genre. Otherwise, you may be better off letting this one slip back into the dark and haunted crevice from whence it emerged and carrying on with your life as if nothing ever happened.

Dead End ~ [Mirai Nikki]

mirai nikki

Survival. It is a will of human nature; an inescapable drive to prolong life for as long as possible. For some, the journey through life is simple as a walk through the park; but for others…they may find themselves in a desperate fight until they draw their last dying breath.

Although it may not be given much thought by most, the world maintains its equilibrium through the upholding of the laws of time and space. However, time is something that not everyone has enough of. In particular, the god who controls this continuum, Deus Ex Machina, is quickly nearing the end of his existence and must find a suitable replacement before all order falls to chaos and the world is destroyed.

May 2  11:33  [Inside School]

Other side of hallway explodes.

It’s guesswork, but she’s aiming at us for sure.

mirai nikki 12To do this, he creates a survival game made up of 12 unique contestants. Their identities kept hidden within the audience chamber so they can only vocalize briefly with Deus and each other; though in all reality, all participants live within close proximity. What draws these twelve individuals together in this game is not only the rule that whoever is left standing at the end will become a god; but a now enhanced hobby that all of them separately share: a diary.

Their regular daily diaries have now been changed into “future diaries” and allow the user to see entries they have yet to even write, although their purpose is as unique as the individuals themselves. This feature allows the user to see a short glimpse into their upcoming future, however, as most people know, the future can change in a heartbeat. As such, each diary will instantly update as soon as their current future is altered and each participant must then adjust their plans accordingly upon hearing that signature sound. After all, this is a game of survival and finding the identity of the other diary owners is only the beginning.

May 2  12:10

Yukkii told me how he really felt.

You were lonely, Yukkii.

The diaries themselves come in many forms as well: from scrolls to voice recorders to picture books, however the most common device is the user’s cell phone. One stipulation that comes with being a future diary owner is that it is not only the user’s life that must be looked out for, but also that of their diary. Should their cell phone or other device be broken or torn, so too will that end the diary owners life and they will be eliminated from the game and thrust into nothingness. One other unique feature is that each diary is classified according to the type of diary entries the user made previous to it becoming enhanced. A terrorist uses her escape diary to ensure her flawless get away; a police officer views his investigation evidence; and two lovers keep track of each others actions and whereabouts, knowing of harm long before it has chance to strike.

Of these twelve participants, two main protagonists emerge: Amano Yukiteru, holder of the random diary, and Gasai Yuno, holder of mirai-nikki-live-actionthe Yukiteru diary. These two quickly become a powerful duo, mostly due to Yuno’s strength and action but also due to how their future diaries work together. The random diary allows Yuki to view what is happening around him at all times; however this has its flaws as well, as it only records things according to Yuki’s views and beliefs. Yuno’s diary tracks everything that is happening to Yuki, so she has first hand knowledge of what is to come concerning him. Together, they make a team that can thwart most turn of events; and it is a good thing, as these two find themselves dead center of it all straight out of the gate. From the termination of a serial killer to a school terrorist bombing to the over rising of followers in the Sacred Eye cult to the end of days; Yuno’s love and protection for Yuki gets them through most everything, although not always via a method that Yuki prefers. Friendships, betrayals, sympathy, jealousy and insanity all run rampant between Yuki and Yuno as well as the other diary owners and select friends who offer their alliance and help to the situation.

Suspicious figures sighted by the rear –

Chasing him down with fellow followers.

Mirai Nikki (The Future Diary) is an anime depicting a psychological bloodbath for survival. Whether the participant’s goal is simply to live and create a better world or to become a god, it truly makes little difference as there can only be one true victor in the end. As alliances come to pass and break apart, diary owners not only find themselves relying on each other instead of being enemies but also find reinforcement within the police, high school friends and even other support systems. Perhaps none of the diary owner’s lives have been picture perfect, but oftentimes knowing struggle and hardship can only make one fight harder in the long run.

mirai-nikki-13Running 26 episodes, Mirai Nikki is one that will not only instantly draw you in with its captivating and action-packed story line  but also with its vast myriad of characters that you will come to both love and hate. There are many intriguing personalities, especially the diary owners, that will catch and hold your attention effortlessly; yet even so, there is not a single character that I can recall supporting throughout the entirety of the show. Even the main protagonists, who you should follow and support in victory and defeat, have their own psychotic and selfish moments that turn them into the bane of everyone’s existence. Alternatively though, there are characters that also make quite the opposite turn around and end up shining through in unexpected ways.

13:10

Mar is fighting 2nd.

The knife comes toward the left side of Mars head!!

Be Careful!!!

Aside from the characters and story, the music, mood, and design of the series also make it stand out among others. The soundtrack provides empowerment, somber empathy and mystique to an already emotion gripped ride. From addictive opening and ending themes to fully orchestrated and vocalized character themes, the music only stands to enrich this anime more. Gore, violence and horrifying situations occur to a generous amount of the cast and there is very little left to imagination throughout the series; however, as if to add just the right balance, there are plenty of happy, carefree moments mixed with emotional ones to truly draw you into its grasp.

July 17  20:19  [east research building -> west research building]

I go down the slope and get to the west research building. No enemies around.

The ability to see the future may very well be a gift and a curse. In the end though, nothing is ever certain. The future in sight might change in an instant and every action causes reaction…whether it be on the desired course or not.

tsubakitsubaki arms

When the blood and tears finally stop flowing and the game reaches its end; the only question that remains is: what future still awaits?

…and was it worth it?

Review: Datura [PS3]

Well, that was…interesting.

The datura plant is a beautiful white flower known for its often deadly hallucinogenic properties; and in game developer Plastic’s newest release, players are thrust headfirst into the beautiful yet mysterious woods of Datura.

In this Playstation Network exclusive, you embark on a journey through beautifully dark woods sparingly populated with the pristine datura flower.  As you travel the winding paths, unusual events and illusions begin to occur weaving together pieces of a twisted, artistic and drug induced tale.

Awakening in an ambulance, the game begins with your intentional death. As you re-awaken in the beautiful woods, golden brown foliage lies densely underfoot and leaves, bugs and butterflies float through the air riding the wind. Ancient and youthful trees line and create pathways in which for you to explore as well as many additional oraments such as a stone statue, a small cabin, an old well and a garden-esque fountain.

As you examine various white trees scattered about the area, they will aid in the completion of your hand drawn map. Additionally, some obstacles and delusions appear effortlessly while others require a bit more deductive thinking; but pay attention to your surroundings, it is nothing you haven’t seen before.

These drug induced delusions are the main attraction of this piece and oftentimes force you to make a distinct decision. For example, after discovering an old hollowed out tree stump and removing an ornate stone mask from the side, you find a pick axe. As you touch the tool you are suddenly thrust into a frozen oasis where beneath the ice you can just barely make out some form of treasure to one side and a hand pushing at the ice desperately for escape to the other. What do you do…or do you do anything at all?

Datura is a game for people looking for a unique experience. It is a beautiful game both in scenery and story that gives you enough pieces of the puzzle but never a full picture. In many ways, the game is left open to interpretation…and that is exactly as it should be. Even the main character is seen only through the first person, aside from the occasional glimpses of hand and arms and a few muffled sounds; all in all helping to completely immerse you in the overall experience.

The soundtrack of the game melds perfectly into the arcane atmosphere. From complete silence to haunting string melodies to frantic orchestral runs; the music assists in transcending the gap between realities as you find yourself holding your breath as you peer through a doorway to your heart racing as you eagerly try to make it through another episode.

The presentation, concept and artistry of Datura are impressive; a drug induced trip through eerily beautiful woods where every decision can distinctly alter the scenery depending on your own selfishness. However, this game is severely held back from what it could be by its game mechanics.

The game play is not broken, but it is nothing like it should be for a title of this nature. Making use of either the Playstation move controller or the dualshock 3, neither truly can master the experience as one or the other will only excel in certain aspects yet remained flawed in the other. In a game where, aside from basic walking/running, your entire premise lies within touching and movement control it should work better than it does. Instead you will find yourself frustratingly moving the on screen hand, waving around trees and other statues, and mercilessly hitting buttons on the controller in hopes that it will grab/push/smash/twist/anything.  After running around the first area of the game, you will become more accustomed to the control scheme and what to do; but knowing what to do and making it happen are two very different things.

Additionally, mindless instructions appear accomplishing very little besides breaking your concentration, disrupting your immersion and offering little worthwhile advice. For example, in looking at a door covered by boards and holding a crowbar in my hand, the direction meaninglessly told me to ‘twist the controller to move the crowbar’…okay? Sure, I knew I had to use the crowbar to pry the boards off the door, but figuring out which direction to put what and twist where didn’t come until some time had passed. There will also be times you will want to do something, but the control will simply not be there to support it your first time through the game.

Only taking about 90 minutes from start to finish, the game could easily be played a few times through in order to make different choices and see their effects – that is, if anyone wants to battle the cumbersome controls again to do so.

Overall, Datura is a beautiful and unique gaming experience with an innovative premise and a story left to the interpretation of the player; however, the lack of controls and flawed game play harm the game to a point of wondering if it is worth playing at all.

“In the middle of our life’s walk, I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight wood was lost” ~ Dante

What is it that makes us fear things from the very depth of our souls?

There is just something about the Japanese style of horror that leaves a lasting, and sometimes scarring, impression on people. A psychological brand of horror where oftentimes it is what you don’t see, rather than what you do, that you should fear the most. There certainly is no denying the terror of someone running at you with a chainsaw; but when you manifest a fear so deep and pure, it stays with you long after the fact – far beyond anxiety, past paranoia.

Although the topic of horror stretches to far out reaches, one aspect often used is through the concept of dolls. Dolls often represent a symbol of beauty and childhood; a toy played with leisurely or an elegant shelf piece adorning a young girl’s room. They are a picturesque effigy in porcelain with pristine clothes and impenetrable eyes that see everything and nothing. A human personification that stands to show us just how fragile we really are. Although there are many instances of dolls inclusion in horror and other dark genres, here are but a few marked examples:

So I think to myself: ‘Something different; a precious present for a precious person.’ The most suitable thing would be you yourself.

Black Butler

This may have been but a small arc within the anime, but it managed to stick out for me none the less. When young girls begin to disappear from the city at an alarming pace with the only evidence left behind being a small doll of their likeness in an old shop, Ciel and Sebastian begin investigating the case. It seems just like any other task from the queen, however, things become much more personal when Elizabeth falls victim as well. Locating where she is being held, they discover the whereabouts of the other missing girls…at least what is left of them.

No longer human, the girls have all been turned into reanimated dolls, following every command by the strings of their puppet master. As battle ensues and the girls fall in defeat, they do not bleed but rather sawdust, straw and other inanimate materials come apart from their seams. Their humanity left only as a memory. When they finally find Elizabeth held away in a tower, relief floods over them as they find she had not been completely transformed like the other girls. But all is not right in the world as Elizabeth mercilessly attacks Ciel, still being manipulated by invisible strings and unable to control her own actions. These episodes not only show the fragility of dolls but also the terrifying likeness to their human counterparts; or in this case, where they become one in the same.

“The dolls…dolls are hollow, you see. Completely hollow in body and soul. That void connects them with death, but hollow things seek to fill their emptiness. Don’t you feel as though this place is drawing something out of you?”

Another

From the very beginning, the opening of this anime signifies just how beautiful yet breakable a doll can be. Broken, battered, entangled, and distraught – the dolls paint a beautiful and tragic portrait. One of the most intriguing places and scenes in this anime to me by far took place in the doll shop “‘The Hollow Eyes of Yomi at Twilight”. The setting was already mysterious, but this added another level of cryptic darkness to it all. The dolls found within are all effortlessly beautiful but what really stood out was their design and display. Some were posed specifically, some haphazardly sitting or with hanging limbs off of a shelf, and some laid out as if for a funeral viewing;  dressed in elegant attire holding a beautiful flower while others sat aside, forgotten and in disarray.

When Koichi finds his way downstairs he is startled by Mei, who emerges unseen from behind a small coffin. Mei is a character very otherworldly and doll-like in her own sense, and standing next to an almost identical looking doll gives one the feeling there is much more to it than simple coincidence. Mei explains that the beautiful doll is only a half representation of her, but says no more at that time. Even as they take in the remaining scenery and dolls of the small room, an eerie calm yet unrest settles around them. Although the dolls in this series do not cause fear directly, the imagery and ideals they represent add to an already anxious and suspense ridden storyline.

“Didn’t we always used to promise each other, that we would stay together?”

Fatal Frame

This survival horror series holds a special place in my heart and throughout every game the concept of dolls has played an integral role in some way or another. In the original game, dolls may not have been a major aspect of the story but there is one particular room of Himuro Mansion I am sure most people remember: the doll room. At the beginning of the second night, Miku awakens into a room filled with dolls. As you inspect them closer a doll’s head will roll off unexpectedly, a small puzzle must be solved, and a larger doll on a special pedestal in the back of the room is hard not to notice. This is only the beginning though as a child’s laughter soon breaks through the silence and Miku is thrown into battle with the child’s spirit.

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly offered a much larger concept of dolls through one particular arc/area known as the doll makers residence. The basic story of this game is that in an ancient village, the townsfolk believed that to appease the gods they had to make a human sacrifice – but this sacrifice was something unlike any other. In this case it would involve identical twins, where deep underground at the mouth of Hell, one twin would kill the other and then the sacrifice would be thrown down into the pit. The remaining twin would go on living, though many would suffer extreme psychological illness and duress.

The doll maker’s two daughters were chosen for the ritual one year and after it was done the remaining twin, Akane, fell into a deep depression over the loss of her sister. Their father, torn with grief, built a life size doll of Azami and it wasn’t long after that Akane returned to her usual self – never separate from the doll. However, she became so attached to the doll that a malicious spirit took control and began to possess Akane. When her father realized what was happening he aimed to destroy the doll and the spirit within; but upon finding out about his plans, Akane, in her possessed state, killed her father in order to save the doll. Exploring this area of the game pits you against Akane and Azami at the same time, yet only one can take damage from the spirit camera. A very sad and haunting story. No matter how keen the resemblance, a doll can never replace a life.

Fatal Frame 3 also uses dolls as a means of representation and sacrifice. Wara Ningyo are a type of Japanese doll often used to represent a person or particular aspect and it is believed that a person could become cursed if a doll in their likeness is nailed to a sacred tree. In Fatal Frame, this practice was used through numerous rituals of various levels from only using a doll to transfer sin and misfortune to the other world to sacrificing an actual person through an impalement ritual in which the villagers sins would be taken with that person to the spirit realm.

Lastly, in Fatal Frame 4 a particular type of doll, called a hozuki doll, can be found throughout the game and photographed for completion of a lengthy side quest. These dolls  were made by parents who had lost a child and are generally considered to be extremely unlucky and bring disaster. Although merely used to represent the dead, the mere presence of these dolls adds to the overall feeling of dread as the player explores the island and slowly uncovers its bloodstained history.

Whether the story be one of horror, suspense or simply unnerving at times, there is no denying the effect certain elements can put into play. Dolls may not necessarily bring terror about instantly, but rather do so gradually…psychologically. Barely seeing a distinctly human-esque figure out of the corner of your eye in the darkness, knowing what meaning lies behind certain dolls, a reasoning for their presence; it isn’t that they are necessary terrifying unto themselves, but rather the thoughts and imagery that manifests within our subconscious that brings about a true horror. It is the same tactic that places us on alert in dark situations and similarly can make even the bravest of men jump at mere shadows.

Beautiful. Enchanting. Tragic. Terrifying.

At times people harbor extreme fears, phobias, of things that appear completely harmless to others. Why is it that our brains were designed this way? Why were we made to experience reactions that are completely beyond our control? What sort of survival instinct is fulfilled by suffering chronic fear from things that cannot harm us? Why must even our minds lie beyond our control?

Why? What? Who? How? People have always had the desire to question things they do not understand – especially when it comes to the supernatural.  Some people easily dismiss anything mysterious, noting that there is no way it could be real and that to think so would be ridiculous. There are others who challenge what they do not understand, using science and logic to ground beliefs and superstitions to realistic proportions.  Then there are those who may not completely understand it, but accept unknown phenomenon in its own special way.

The supernatural anime Ghost Hound strives to challenge both the viewer and the characters within on things that many people do not, and in some cases do not wish, to understand. Sometimes you must face your fears head on in order to move on with your life; other times, even that may not be enough. Centering around a tragic event that played out years before, three friends are brought together as they try to mend their lives and prevent any further harm from being done.

The amygdala governs human emotions such as fear and hate; the hippocampus is the brains information processing interface. These adjacent organs are the core of the limbic system, the neuropathways that store our memories. The word limbic is derived from the Latin word ‘limbus’ or border. In the past it referred to the frontier between one world and the next, between the hidden realm and the visible realm.

The show itself moves at a fairly slow pace, especially when it comes to the main story; however, if you are even slightly intrigued by neuroscience or the preternatural than this show might be worth giving a shot. One of the first things discovered is that we all live in something called the physical or visible realm; however, overlapping this realm and often unseen lies the hidden realm – a place where spirits dwell and inhabit. There are certain people who know of both these realms and even those that can travel in between them via something called soul traveling (a form very similar to astral projection). In addition to that transcendental skill, the show encompasses a young shrine maiden who is possessed by the gods, an old abandoned dam and hospital where spirit forms culminate, an ancient religious sect revival, kidnapping, suicide, spiritual transformation, psychological study and scientific experimentation gone awry.

Ghost Hound ranges 22 episodes with much of the show simply introducing viewers to a variety of clues and slowly leaking information throughout the remainder of the episodes.  The characters are likeable enough with their own unique quirks and personalities; although aside from each character making some stride of progress towards their own personal growth, they are not too deep or complicated. One of my favorite aspects of the show actually occurs after the credits of each episode. While previewing the next episode, interesting facts and knowledge, each somewhat pertaining to the episode, are given – oftentimes incorporating real life case studies and situations that have taken place over the years.

Memento Mori – a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember that you shall die’. Even without this admonition, human beings cannot live without contemplating death. Regardless of ones beliefs regarding the afterlife, the pain of losing a loved one is undoubtedly universal to people of all religions and creeds. Memento Mori, even unspoken, perhaps this is one of the few concepts common to all of mankind.

This is probably a show that can just as easily be watched as not. Personally, I liked it well enough but I also know it is probably not going to make the top list of shows I tell my friends they have to watch. Loving the mysterious and supernatural already, I was more than intrigued by the plethora of enigmatic facts the show provided but the slow pace of the story itself often left me with a feeling of nonchalance by the end of each episode (in other words, I wasn’t going “WHAT!? No way that just happened! *plays next episode immediately*). So, tldr; if you find yourself with an unquenchable desire for the paranormal keep this one in mind, if not, it’s probably not going to be a huge loss if you pass it up.

Here are some additional fun facts: ^^

It is said that with proper training humans can learn to control the flow of their dreams. However, neuro-scientist Francis Crick asserted that dreams were meaningless. He maintained that dreams merely exist to dispose of needless trivia accumulated in the cerebrum. According to Crick, they are nothing more than a 40 hertz signal causing a sympathetic reaction in the brain. Dreams – their form and their world: the hidden realm.

Over the years doctors have devised many different techniques to treat patients suffering from psychological trauma. One approach has the patient move their eyes while recounting their traumatic experiences. With the use of bilateral brain stimulation, it is believed the patient can more fully process their traumatic experiences thus reducing their distress. But what is it that the patient truly sees while his eyes are at work? What secrets lie behind the therapist’s finger?

A Canadian neurosurgeon named Wilder Penfield succeeded in producing the sensation of an out of body experience by using electrodes to stimulate the cerebral neocortex of his patients. Although Penfield made remarkable advances in the localization of brain functions, he never relinquished his belief in Cartesian Dualism, which asserted that the mind and body were two separate entities; even when dealing with the brain.

In 1923, a French woman known only as Madame M reported that a secret organization in Paris was imprisoning a large number of people and replacing them with imposters. She also claimed that many people in her personal life had been replaced as well including her husband and eventually the very police she complained to. Today, this delusional mis-identification syndrome is known as Capgras Syndrome, after the doctor that documented the case.

In 2003, a group led by Richard Wiseman performed an experiment during a concert in an old music hall in London. During the show they exposed the audience to ultra low frequency sound played through a seven meter long pipe. They found that 22% of the audience reported experiencing unusual sensations. Wiseman theorizes that reports of encounters with ghosts are actually caused by exposure to low frequency sounds.