|“||But Mommy, I just want to be with you. Just two of us. Please understand.||„|
|~ Alessa Gillespie as a young girl to her mother Dahlia.|
Alessa Gillespie is a young girl who lives in the cursed American ghost town of Silent Hill and a major character in the Silent Hill series. Her first appearance took place in the original 1999 Silent Hill videogame.
Alessa was a tragic, tortured and misunderstood soul who wanted empathy and love. The absence of Alessa’s father very well may be the cause of her involuntary attachment to certain individuals (i.e. Claudia Wolf, Lisa Garland, [as Heather Mason] Douglas Cartland and Harry Mason). Alessa has also proven that once she has given one her affection, she clings to them, never forgets them and treats them like family. In a strange sense, she cared about Cheryl/Heather more than herself, wanting to spare them the hellish nightmare she endured at the hands of both her mother and the cult. And she certainly loves Harry Mason like a father due to the seven years of proper love and care he showered on her other half, Cheryl, and the fact that he, one way or the other, ended her torment and fulfilled her dearest wish of being accepted and loved.
Alessa has a great deal of spite which is shown more in Silent Hill: Origins, though this likely stems from cruel and malicious treatment from her peers, the cult and her mother. The Otherworld and the Fog World are representations of Alessa’s distorted perception of Silent Hill and her experiences there. Alessa is also known to be vindictive, scorned and dark-spirited. In addition, Alessa is undoubtedly wrathful and easily lost sight of her pleasant visions of Paradise and the desire to be loved. However, it has been shown that Alessa has astounding amounts of willpower, demonstrated by resolutely enduring seven long years of pain, fear and madness and refusing to let herself be used.
Early lifeAlessa is the daughter of Dahlia Gillespie, the priestess of a 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 live together in a house at Silent Hill's business district. Alessa kept a butterfly and insect collection in her room, and had 2 dolls (one of which she named "Scarlett"). Alessa was born with vast mental powers, including telekinesis, premonition and astral projection, which could enable her to kill someone with her thought by projecting her desire for them to die into their body. Her powers eventually lead her to being ostracized at Midwich Elementary School, where she was branded a witch. At her elementary school, her friends abandoned her and scribbled on her desk statements such as "Go home", "Drop dead", and "Thief". Alessa's teacher, K. Gordon, noticed her bullying.
|“||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.||„|
|~ Mrs. K. Gordon, Alessa Gillespie's teacher.|
Alessa's only friend during childhood was Claudia Wolf, who empathized with her because she also came from an abusive family background. Their relationship together was strong, as Alessa thought of her as a "little sister", despite not being related. On Claudia's 6th birthday, Alessa gave her a card that stated "I love you as if you were my real sister. Here's to you!" They did activities such as playing cards which often made Claudia cry as she had a hard time winning, as well as drawing. Alessa always drew monsters whenever she was alone and 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 Paradise, another world with no hatred, disease, starvation or old age. Alessa also believed that their world must be cleansed with fire before creating another one 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, none were ever answered.
Silent Hill: Origins
When Alessa was seven years old, Dahlia became convinced that a certain ritual to summon the cult's God would likely be a success if she used her daughter as its birth mother. The technique had been performed on other girls that the Order abducted, but all previous attempts had failed. Alessa was offered as a sacrifice by Dahlia to the God on the second floor of their house by immolating her body. Despite the interfering actions of Travis Grady, the plan was a success, with Alessa becoming pregnant with the deity in embryonic form. Dahlia fled the scene of the fire and people believed that she became crazy due to Alessa's supposed "death". After Travis saves Alessa from the house, Travis 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. Alessa gives hints to Travis to help her to create the Flauros, an artifact that would "trap" the evil side of her. Alessa seems a little 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.
She later appears at the end of the game, holding a baby in which she is then reincarnated, when Travis is finally able to get back into his truck in the good ending. Alessa's other half is then found by Harry Mason and his wife on a road outside of Silent Hill. They named the baby Cheryl and begin to raise her as their own daughter.
|“||The fire in the business district? How awful. I heard about that. No one knows how it got started. And that poor girl, Alessa Gillespie... To die like that.||„|
|~ Nurse Lisa Garland before discovering Alessa Gillespie is still alive.|
Due to the ritual's fire, Alessa had received many burns on her body. The ritual performed by Dahlia was kept secret and the residents of Silent Hill assumed that the Gillespie's house burned down due to an antiquated boiler. Alessa was then taken to Alchemilla Hospital and was hidden inside a room in the hospital's basement by Dahlia and the director of the hospital, Dr. Michael Kaufmann, who had an alliance with her centered around drugs. To the public, Alessa was thought to have died in the fire, and was declared a "saint" by the Order as the "Mother of God" and "Daughter of God". Only Dahlia, Michael, a few members of the Order, and a young nurse working at the hospital knew that Alessa was still alive. The young nurse, Lisa Garland, often cared for Alessa and in return, was supplied with drugs from Michael Kaufmann.
|“||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".||„|
|~ Alessa Gillespie's thoughts on God and Heather Mason.|
Although the God was inside of Alessa's womb, Alessa was unable to deliver Her. Every day was driving Alessa mad with suffering, as "God" was eating away at her from within. Dahlia had kept Alessa alive using a magical incantation.
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 was eventually saved by Harry Mason.
In order to lure the missing portion of Alessa's spirit back to its point of origin, Dahlia intentionally keeps her daughter in a state of excruciating pain for the 7 years prior to the first game to compel Cheryl to return. Confined to Alchemilla Hospital's basement and tended to by Lisa Garland, Alessa is given hallucinogenic drugs, further intensifying her torment. 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. While searching for the missing Cheryl in Silent Hill, Harry is manipulated by Dahlia into believing that Alessa possesses the "Mark of Samael", which is the mark of a demon. 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" which is a talisman that recurs in Silent Hill 3.
At the end of the game, Dahlia finally captures Alessa, who recombined with Cheryl immediately after the car accident, and uses her to birth God. Depending on the player's actions throughout the game, Alessa emerges either one of the deity's two seperate forms as a serene white-clad figure named the 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 the 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. 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 Harry names Heather. With no memories of her previous life as Alessa, Heather lives a life without pain or suffering, the life Alessa had wanted. Silent Hill 3 is about Heather remembering who she was and what happened to her father in Silent Hill 17 years prior to the game.
Silent Hill 3
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 seventeen years of revenge for taking Heather/Alessa away, Claudia has Harry murdered by one of her followers. During the game, Heather slowly regains her memories of being Alessa. A memory of Alessa, a living dark emotion mimicking her likeness, is encountered by Heather in Silent Hill's Lakeside Amusement Park. The living memory of Alessa attacks Heather as a boss enemy, intent on ending Heather's life herself to spare her and everyone from further pain after the God is born.
Heather then enters Nowhere, and revisits several of Alessa's memories from the past. In a confrontation with Claudia, Heather swallows a tablet of Aglaophotis given to her by her father, causing her to vomit it out of her body. Claudia, in desperation, devours its remains to birth the God herself. Being born of Claudia's womb, the God personifies her vision of what God would look like, and therefore vaguely resembles Alessa. Heather survives the ordeal, and it can be presumed she lives a happy life afterwards.
Silent Hill (film)In the 2006 film adaptation of Silent Hill, 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 Canadian actress Jodelle Ferland and as an adult by Lorry Ayers. Significant differences from the series include no mention of being born with telekinetic abilities (although a scene was shot and later cut depicting Alessa exhibiting psychic powers in front of her classmates, as well as several mentions being made in a 2004 version of the script of Alessa being born with unnatural powers), different monsters are included in the film and character roles and names are adapted (i.e. officer Thomas Gucci takes on the role of Travis Grady as Alessa’s rescuer). Along with other descriptions of Alessa in the Silent Hill series, she is depicted in the film as mysterious and a driving force to the events occurring in the town.
Silent Hill: RevelationPortrayed by Erin Pitt, the past Alessa has a relatively minor role in the film. She, in child form, is only seen once in the movie stalking down the road, expressing her uncanny powers on pedestrians and also the world itself as the roads implode behind her. The Memory of Alessa which Dark Alessa transforms to, is played by Adelaide Clemens, encountered by Heather at Lakeside Amusement Park on the morbid carousel, controlled by Pyramid Head, where the two fight briefly in a mock-battle of what occurred in the game Silent Hill 3. The battle ends with Heather dominating the incarnation of a portion of her past self, and Alessa burning away to nothingness.
- Alessa was likely inspired by the tragic main character of 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.
- Alessa is the only major character in Silent Hill that did not appear in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
- It appears as if Alessa was originally supposed to have brown or hazel eyes according to the images from the original Silent Hill; however, in Origins, her eyes are notably blue. This is most likely a goof by the developers of Silent Hill: Origins. It also makes much more sense for her to have brown eyes, considering how Cheryl has brown eyes, and Heather has hazel. If she does indeed have blue eyes, it is possible she has inherited the gene from her mother.
- According to the Book of Lost Memories, Alessa called Cheryl Mason to Silent Hill when she was 14, intending to reunite the souls and commit suicide. Origins shows a different version of this, claiming it was Dahlia, not Alessa, who called Cheryl to the town, hoping to use the recombined souls to birth God.
- In Silent Hill: Origins, Alessa's school uniform has a red tie, rather than a red ribbon seen in the original game.
- Also, in the first game, 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.
- Because of it, the later game that serves as its prequel, Silent Hill: 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).
- Alessa's name 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".
- Alessa's name is similar to Alissa, which is the name of a girl in Moomin who is a good-natured girl who is the grandchild of a wicked witch, a relationship which is somewhat like the relationship between Alessa and Dahlia.
- Alessa is similar to Alma Wade from F.E.A.R., a horror/survival title developed by Vivendi. Both have a parent never mentioned (Alma's mother and Alessa's father) and suffered great abuse at the hands of the other, and the two later use their psychic powers to take revenge on those who caused their suffering. Both exhibit immense psionic powers, including the ability to create monsters from the depths of their minds. At the age of 7, it was decided they would be used to give birth. The two of them were forcibly impregnated through unnatural means and were still adolescents when they gave birth (Alma 16). It's also important to note that both Alessa and Alma delivered newborns to the protagonists in the endings of their respective games before disappearing. Coincidentally, both their names start with 'Al'. In personality and physical appearance, Alma is very closely matched with the film version of Alessa, who is much more emotionally unstable and vengeful than her game counterpart. Like Alma, the film version of Alessa also appears as a child throughout the film, until near the end, where she is seen as a badly injured adult woman.
- Alessa Gillespie is also very similar to Aggie Prenderghast, the main antagonist of Paranorman. Both have a loving mother, both are treated badly by the society, both are ghosts or restless spirits, both are thought and accused by many to be a witch, both are children, both are legends in their hometown, both their names start with an A, and both have the ability to create horrific illusions. Coincidentally, both were portrayed by the same actress Jodelle Ferland, who portrayed her in the 2006 live action film.