- "Alessa" refers to multiple subjects. See Alessa for more uses.
|“|| Oh, but Mommy, I just want to be with you. Just two of us. Please understand.
Alessa Gillespie is a major character in the Silent Hill series who debuted in the first Silent Hill game. She is presented as the driving force behind the events of the series, a mysterious catalyst of the current state of Silent Hill's spiritual power, and is one of most influential characters in the series.
Alessa is a suicidal, depressed, misunderstood, tragic, abused and tortured girl who only wished for empathy and love. The absence of paternal love and being bullied by her classmates may be the cause of her attachment to certain people such as Claudia Wolf and Lisa Garland, and Douglas Cartland and Harry Mason as Heather Mason. Selfless at heart, she cared about Cheryl Mason/Heather more than herself, wanting to spare them the hellish nightmare she endured at the hands of her abusive mother, Dahlia Gillespie, and the Order. As Heather, she loved Harry Mason like a father due to the seven years of love and care he gave her other half, Cheryl, and Harry helped end Alessa's torment, fulfilling her wish of being accepted and loved.
Alessa also has a great deal of spite and hate, which is shown most in Silent Hill: Origins, though this likely stems from the cruel and malicious treatment of her peers, her mother, and the god inside of her. Alessa is also known to be vindictive, scorned and dark-spirited.
The Otherworld and Fog World are representations of Alessa's distorted perception of Silent Hill and her experiences there, containing monsters and dark surreal imagery, as well as gored disemboweled corpses with their intestines hanging out, dead animals, bloody stretchers, etc. This is due to the god in her womb which continually fed her with unimaginable horrors and negative thoughts. Her reincarnation, Heather, is also shown to seek revenge.
Alessa has astounding amounts of willpower and strength, demonstrated by resolutely enduring seven long years of pain, misery and madness and refusing to let herself be used.
Alessa kept a butterfly collection in her room, and had two dolls, one of which she named "Scarlett", and would often sleep with them in bed. Alessa drew monsters whenever she was alone. She loved playing card games with Claudia and would usually win. She loved literature, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Mother Goose, Cinderella and The Lost World, and possibly Edgar Allan Poe and Macbeth as Heather.
Alessa had multiple fears; she was frightened by large dogs (cynophobia), insects (entomophobia), worms (vermiphobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), fire (pyrophobia), and even some adults. Many of the monsters in Silent Hill are manifestations of these fears.
Alessa is the daughter of Dahlia Gillespie, a priestess of a religious cult known as the Order that operates out of the resort town of Silent Hill. Any information regarding Alessa's father is unknown. Dahlia and Alessa lived together in a house in Silent Hill's business district.
Alessa was born with vast supernatural mental powers, including telekinesis, levitation, premonition and astral projection. Heather also says "she could kill someone just by wishing for it." In Origins, a memo implies this could be done by projecting her desire for them to die into their body. The origin of Alessa's powers are unknown, though they could be a result of the spiritual power of the land or a gift from the God of the Order.
Alessa's powers eventually led to her being outcasted and ostracized at Midwich Elementary School, where she was rejected, branded a witch, and told to go kill herself. At her elementary school, Alessa's "friends" abandoned her for being different and scribbled insults on her desk such as "GO HOME", "DROP DEAD", and "THIEF".
Alessa's teacher, K. Gordon, noticed her bullying, and believed Dahlia would physically punch and beat her, especially for not wanting to believe in God. It is also implied Dahlia would lock Alessa in their house's dark attic for long periods of time for any irreligious behavior. Gordon wondered if there was anything they could do to help and considered consulting a lawyer.
|“|| There's a girl named Alessa in my class. If your memory is any good, you may remember her. She's the one I said they called a witch. Most likely her mother is abusing her. I've never seen her come in without some sort of scrape or bruise. Her expression is pitifully dark for a 6 year old.
Alessa's only friend during childhood was Claudia Wolf, a girl a couple years younger than Alessa, who empathized with her because she also came from an abusive family background. Their relationship was strong, as Alessa thought of Claudia as a "little sister", despite not being related. On Claudia's 6th birthday, Alessa gave her a card that said "I love you as if you were my real sister. Here's to you!" They did activities such as drawing and playing cards, which often made Claudia cry, given that she had a difficult time winning. Alessa wished for a "nice daddy and mommy and a fun school, and a happy world where everyone smiled and laughed all day long," which was, in short, everything Alessa and Claudia never had.
Alessa dreamed of the arrival of the Order's Paradise, a vision of a utopian world with no human evil, hatred, greed, war, disease, starvation or old age. Alessa believed that their current world must be cleansed with fire before creating Paradise and shared these thoughts with Claudia with good intentions of eternal happiness and bliss.
As a young girl, Alessa grew up with the teachings of the Order. Dahlia brought Alessa to the Order's chapel frequently and Alessa often looked up at the stained glass which depicted God and the man and woman who birthed Her. Alessa came to worship God and to ask for her prayers to be answered, however, this wish was never granted.
Silent Hill: Origins
When Alessa was seven years old, Dahlia became convinced that a ritual to summon the cult's God to unleash Paradise would likely be a success if she used her daughter as its birth mother, due to the vast powers possessed by Alessa. The technique was performed on other girls abducted by the Order, but all previous attempts had failed. Alessa was offered as a sacrifice to God by Dahlia on the second floor of their house by immolating her body. This may be a retcon, as the guidebook states that Dahlia did the ritual in the basement, not the second floor.
Despite the interfering actions of Travis Grady who heard her screaming from outside the house, the plan was a success, with Alessa becoming pregnant with the deity in embryonic form. Dahlia fled the scene of the fire and the townsfolk believed that she became crazy due to Alessa's supposed "death".
After Travis saves Alessa from the house, he faints and the Order takes Alessa's body to a secret ritual site located in Dahlia's antique store. Alessa uses astral projection to guide Travis through the town, giving him hints to help her to create the Flauros, an artifact that would "trap" the evil side of her. Alessa seems quite indifferent to Travis throughout the game; even when he helps her continuously, she remains quiet. Though Travis becomes angry with her, she continues to use him for her plans.
After Travis completes the Flauros, Alessa's astral projection appears to Travis and silently walks away. Outside the hospital, Alessa appears and transitions the Fog World into the Otherworld. She levitates towards Travis who runs away in fear. Soon, Travis finds Alessa's burned body at a ritual site at the antique store. Travis interrupts the Order in the middle of a ceremony and fights Alessa's Dream, sealing it into the Flauros. The Flauros then links to Alessa and a baby is created, hovering over Alessa: Cheryl.
She later appears at the end of the game in the Good ending, holding a baby containing half of her soul. The baby is found by Harry Mason and his wife on a road outside of Silent Hill. Jodie names the baby Cheryl and they begin to raise her as their own adopted daughter.
Due to the ritual's fire, Alessa received innumerable third degree burns on her body which should have put her in a terminal state, but survived due to God in her body.
The ritual performed by Dahlia was kept secret and the residents of Silent Hill assumed that the Gillespie house burned down due to an antiquated boiler, which was popularized by a newspaper article. A substitute body was also left at the scene by Michael Kaufmann. It seems the boiler was a scapegoat as a deliberate cover up by the Order to hide the truth and their involvement in Alessa's burning. To the public, Alessa was thought to have died in the fire. Only Dahlia, Kaufmann, a few members of the Order, and a young nurse working at the hospital knew that Alessa was still alive.
After the fire and the events of Origins, Alessa was transported to Alchemilla Hospital and hidden inside a room in the hospital's basement by Dahlia and the director of the hospital, Michael Kaufmann, who had an alliance with the cult centered around the drug PTV. Kaufmann ordered the hospital staff to not enter the basement. Kaufmann had a young nurse, Lisa Garland, care for Alessa and in return, Lisa was supplied with PTV from Kaufmann. Alessa suffered from a high fever and was barely breathing and in severe pain and suffering. Her wounds were always oozing blood and pus, requiring frequent bandaging. As the months and years went by, Alessa's charred skin began to heal and recover, but she still had permanent burns and scars.
Although "God" was inside of Alessa's womb, Alessa was unable to deliver Her. Every day was driving Alessa mad with agonizing pain and suffering, as God was eating away at her from within. God was thriving and nourished by Alessa's suffering, hatred, fear and terror. Dahlia had kept Alessa alive using a magical incantations; as well, the malevolent deity protected its mother's body. Alessa suffered a fate "worse than death", described as being trapped in an endless nightmare from which she never awakened. Alessa wished that she would die and end her suffering; however, the nightmare continued for seven years. At the age of fourteen, Alessa would eventually be saved by Harry Mason.
In order to lure the missing portion of Alessa's spirit back to its point of origin so that God could be born, Dahlia intentionally keeps her daughter in a state of excruciating pain for the seven years prior to the first game to compel Cheryl to return. Alessa, however, decides to interfere with her mother's plan. In endless agony, Alessa reaches out to Cheryl, calling her to the town with the intent of reuniting her soul and killing herself, thus ensuring God could never be born from her womb.
Upon Cheryl's return, Alessa's latent psychic abilities are triggered and she shrouds Silent Hill in fog and an altered reality to prevent her mother's scheme from advancing. Many of the drastic changes that befall the town in the game, such as the horrific creatures that come to inhabit it, are conjured from her imagination and delusions. Alessa uses her astral projection and walks in front of the Mason's Jeep, causing Harry Mason to swerve off the side of the road and off a cliff. Cheryl is separated from an unconscious Harry and lured to Alessa. The unification of Cheryl and Alessa is complete, furthering Alessa's powers. By merging with Cheryl, Alessa was reborn from her severe burns, broke the spell that Dahlia and the cult's priests had used to bind her, and took action. After uniting, Alessa had acquired psychic powers such as teleportation, powers that she had always possessed.
While searching for his missing Cheryl in Silent Hill, Harry is manipulated by Dahlia into believing that Alessa possesses the "Mark of Samael", a demon of the Order. She instructs him to use a sacred item, the Flauros, to stop Alessa from completing Samael's five crests and permanently plunging the entire town into a hellish alternate dimension known as the "Otherworld".
Taking the bait, Harry neutralizes Alessa, only to learn that she was really trying to contain the Otherworld herself with the "Seal of Metatron". Harry is then transported to Nowhere, where he encounters apparitions of Alessa giggling through a corridor, praying at an altar, and crying under a table.
At the end of the game, Dahlia finally captures Alessa, who recombined with Cheryl after the car crash, and uses her to birth God. Depending on the player's actions throughout the game, Alessa emerges either as a white-clad figure named Incubator or the demonic Incubus, the latter coming about by Dahlia's former associate Dr. Kaufmann throwing a sample of Aglaophotis onto Alessa to prematurely expel God. In either case, the birthed deity kills Dahlia and fights Harry as the final boss.
Following the defeat of the Incubus, a fading apparition of Alessa creates a small portal back to the real world to enable Harry's escape after handing him a newborn child containing the fused soul of herself and Cheryl, who is still pregnant with God. Alessa then points towards a light as a path for Harry to escape. Harry looks at the reincarnation of Alessa and ponders what to do, and eventually decides to carry her with him as he escapes. Alessa, with her remaining power, stops the fire surrounding Harry before collapsing to the floor. From then on, Alessa's soul lives on in the new baby whom initially Harry names Cheryl and then Heather. With no memories of her previous life as Alessa, Cheryl/Heather lives a life without pain or suffering, the life Alessa had wanted.
Portland and murder case
Sometime after Silent Hill and before Silent Hill 3, in this seventeen year timespan, Alessa was declared a "saint" by the Order as the "Holy Mother of God and Daughter of God". This is ironic because Alessa became a saint of the very religion she despised.
After escaping Silent Hill, Harry lived an ordinary life in Portland with his new adopted daughter. Harry was unsure about raising the baby, and considered killing, strangling and abandoning her because he suspected the baby was a reincarnation of Alessa, and Alessa was responsible for taking Cheryl away from him. Harry's suspicions were ultimately correct, although it is unknown if Harry realized that part of that baby also contained Cheryl's reincarnated soul. Regardless of whether or not the baby was Alessa's reincarnation, Harry ultimately decided to forgive Alessa and raise the baby. He also decided to name the baby Cheryl again, presumably because Jodie chose it and he wanted to honor her decision, as well as his previous adopted daughter.
The religious organization of Silent Hill, the Order, had planned to abduct the reincarnated Cheryl/Alessa and proceeded to track her down. Five years after the events of the first game, Harry killed a cult member in self-defense. The cult member attempted to kidnap the reincarnated Cheryl/Alessa. Harry was acquitted in court and relocated to another town to hide incognito.
To ensure his adopted daughter's safety, he dyed her hair from brunette to blonde and renamed her from Cheryl to Heather. Afterwards, he eventually settled in the Daisy Villa Apartments with her. Despite feeling confused and frustrated at who Heather could be, Harry was determined to raise her.
Silent Hill 3
|“|| Alessa... I guess it's kinda strange for me to call you that, since you are me. But y'know what? "You" and I don't think alike, after all... And it's not that I don't remember that sick room either...
In Silent Hill 3, seventeen years after the events of the first Silent Hill game, Alessa's reincarnation, Heather, is approached by Claudia Wolf, who is now a priestess of the Order. Claudia intends to bring about the descent of the cult's God to usher in Paradise; for this to happen Heather must remember her "true self" (Alessa). To nourish the growing fetus within her with hatred and also as seventeen years of revenge for taking Heather/Alessa away, Claudia has Harry murdered. During the game, Heather slowly regains her memories of being Alessa.
The Memory of Alessa, a dark emotion mimicking Heather's likeness, is encountered by Heather in Silent Hill's Lakeside Amusement Park. The Memory of Alessa attacks Heather as a boss enemy, intent on ending Heather's life herself to spare her and everyone else from further pain after God is born. Upon dying, she leaves a message printed in blood on the carousel floor. The message left by the Memory of Alessa reveals her intention to free "herself" from the suffering she must endure as the Mother of God:
- It would be better for "myself" to die.
- After all, it's nothing to be afraid of...
- That child... that demon...
- When I think of the endless pain it will bring when it is birthed...
- I decided that, instead of the suffering and cruelty I endured in that sick room...
- That I would like to bestow a more gentle and peaceful death on "myself".
- Why do "I" resist? I never thought of "myself" as such a fool...
Heather then enters the Order's chapel which Alessa used to visit. The chapel has merged with Nowhere, and Heather revisits several of Alessa's memories from the past, like her elementary school and sick room. In a confrontation with Claudia, Heather swallows a tablet of Aglaophotis given to her by her father, causing her to vomit God out of her body. Claudia desperately devours the fetus to birth God herself. Being born of Claudia's womb, God again makes a re-appearance as a boss and holds a resemblance to Alessa, due to Claudia's mental association of God with Alessa. Heather survives the ordeal, and it can be presumed she lives a happier life afterwards. She also switches back to her original name, Cheryl.
If the game's silly UFO Ending is to be believed, Cheryl becomes divorced and is a "young mom who goes it alone" with two children. If this is true and actually canon, then it is possible these two children may have inherited some of Alessa's/Heather's/Cheryl's psychic powers, but her life after Silent Hill 3 has remained a mystery.
Silent Hill film series
- Main article: Alessa Gillespie (film)
In the film adaptation of Silent Hill which is set in a separate continuity from the game continuity, Alessa Gillespie is portrayed as three entities sharing one identity; Alessa (an adult woman, burned alive as a child, confined to a hospital gurney), Dark Alessa (the corrupted portion of Alessa) and Sharon Da Silva (the innocent side of Alessa). Young Alessa is portrayed by Jodelle Ferland and as an adult by Lorry Ayers.
As with the game series, Alessa is depicted in the film as mysterious and a driving force of the events occurring in the town, as well as being the creator of the monsters seen within the alternate reality. Alessa's powers are downplayed in the film, however, she is shown using her powers to break a metal chain, wilt flowers and create the alternate reality, as well as creating two doppelgangers of herself. The film version of Alessa is much more vengeful and unbalanced than her game counterpart, and seeks revenge on the religious fanatics responsible for burning her alive as a witch thirty years earlier. Unlike in the game series, the film shows that Alessa was responsible for the creation of the Otherworld and the Fog World, rather than using a previously existing reality to her benefit.
In Silent Hill: Revelation, Alessa is portrayed by Erin Pitt. The past Alessa has a relatively minor role in the film. Her child form is only seen once, being pushed and teased by her classmates. Her dark side, Dark Alessa, is seen creating the Otherworld and attacking the fanatics. An older version of Dark Alessa, portrayed by Adelaide Clemens, confronts Heather Mason on the Happy Carousel, and merges with her.
|“|| In the initial stages of development we used the name Asia, which is taken from the daughter of the Italian film director, Dario Argento. However, because it's an uncommon name, we decided to rename her.
- "I love you as if you were my real sister." (to Claudia)
- "No! Get away from me!"
- "No! I don't want to do it!"
- "Let me burn!"
- "I wish I could play outside like the other children..."
- "Perhaps it's because he doesn't want to disturb me? Even the hospital director has not come to see me much lately. I don't like the director very much, so I'm honestly quite happy."
- "Everyone has been in a rush for some reason since before sunrise this morning. Something about a dead person coming back to life. Does that really happen?"
- "The cold soup is disappointing."
- "That child... that demon... When I think of the endless pain it will bring when it is birthed... I decided that, instead of the suffering and cruelty I endured in that sick room, that I would like to bestow a more gentle and peaceful death on "myself"."
- "I had a dream. In my dream, I opened a door. But was that really me? I had a different name."
- "Dreams are like lies, after all."
- There is a misconception that Alessa's heightened stress levels made her psychic energy cause a boiler explosion in the Gillespie House which started the house fire, due an interpretation of the Fire Article. This is only a theory and it has never been officially confirmed or proven. It is possible that Dahlia intentionally burned Alessa with fire as part of the ritual, and that the boiler had nothing with the fire and was a scapegoat for the Order to hide the truth of Dahlia's ritual as a cover up. In addition, the Fire Article only says the boiler was "believed to be the source of the fire", not that it actually was the source of the fire. In addition, Kaufmann left a substitute dead body at the scene to fake Alessa's death, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch for Kaufmann to have tampered evidence in order to blame the fire on a boiler.
- Alessa's image appears on the Saint Medallion item in Silent Hill 4: The Room. Her name is shown in a memo in Wish House Orphanage which asks "Have you found Alessa yet? Send me a report."
- Alessa was likely inspired by Stephen King's Carrie. Both are teenage girls born with supernatural powers. They also have fanatical religious mothers and were ostracized at school. There are many other Stephen King homages in the series, including Carrie posters across from Green Lion Antiques.
- Alessa is the first character to appear in the Silent Hill series, making her debut within seconds of the opening sequence of Silent Hill.
- One of Alessa's favorite books, Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, is the in-universe basis for the "Air Screamer" monster. Alice in Wonderland, another of her favorite books, is referenced in a puzzle that unlocks a door in Alchemilla Hospital. It can even be found on the bookshelf in her bedroom, if examined.
- The Book of Lost Memories refers to Alessa as "The Empress", the third of the Major Arcanas of a Tarot Deck, due to her absolute dominion over the town. The Empress is often represented as a mother, a creator and nurturer. In many decks she can be shown as pregnant. She can represent the creation of life, similar to how Alessa is pregnant with "God". The Empress can represent the germination of an idea before it is ready to be fully born, and the need to be receptive to change, similar to how Alessa's immolation acts as a catalyst for changing the town of Silent Hill.
- In Silent Hill, Alessa's outfit is so extremely Japanese-styled to the point of being unbelievable and historically inaccurate. Silent Hill is set in Maine, America, in the 1960s-80s. Most North American schools do not require uniforms and even then, ribbons are extremely unusual and are more common in Japan. Alessa has dark hair and eyes which appear almost dark brown.
- Origins attempts to rectify this by making Alessa's hair color a lighter shade of brown, and changing her eye color to blue, like Dahlia. Her school uniform has a more traditional red tie, rather than a red ribbon. Her hairline and bangs are also inexplicably on the opposite side and she has a ponytail which she shouldn't have (7-year-old Alessa should not have a ponytail, 14-year-old Alessa should have a ponytail, and Alessa is 7 years old in Origins).
- A video of Cheryl crying can be seen on a television inside the Silent Hill Town Center. If the video is paused, an image of Alessa can be seen every few frames.
- As a teen, Alessa has long hair usually tied with a ponytail. In artwork, it gives the illusion that teen Alessa has short hair.
- Alessa in Italian means "defender of mankind". This may be an allusion to her mother using her sacrifice to birth a "god" and bring about a "paradise", as well as Alessa's will to prevent God's birth from mankind.
- During the development of Silent Hill: Homecoming, a rejected script of the game involved a final battle between Alessa and Joshua Shepherd over Toluca Lake; Alessa representing fire, Joshua representing water - a battle to determine the fate of Silent Hill and Shepherd's Glen. Tomm Hulett dissuaded it from happening.
- Alessa is the only major character in Silent Hill that does not appear in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, although Cheryl Heather Mason could be seen as a composite of Alessa and her incarnations, and Dahlia is still her mother.
- In Silent Hill 3, mostly in the Otherworld parts of Hilltop Center and Brookhaven Hospital, there are several repeated pictures of a mouth, another mouth with braces, and an eye. When asked what this meant, Masahiro Ito answered:
- "Mouth" means Alessa's shrieking insanity from the bottom of her heart. Silent Hill 3's "Another world" where Heather enters is reflected in Alessa's conscious. Alessa was bullied at school and suffered from her mother's cruelty. Incidentally, the mouths in Silent Hill 2 means Mary's shrieking insanity. In the bleeding ear's case, I wanted to express Another world's personality like human. That ear is Alessa's. But I didn't want to use the "eye" because I didn't use it in Silent Hill series creature's design. The bleeding means Alessa's conscious is mad. And the nurse's red mouth means mad, too."
- ↑ Astral Projection: The Perfect Assassin?
- ↑ Silent Hill Guidebook, Book of Lost Memories, Book of Lost Memories, Dad's Notebook, Book of Lost Memories, Lost Memories (Silent Hill 3)
- ↑ Silent Hill Guidebook