Strange Forest - References [Edit: BIG SPOILER ALERT]
There are tons of references in the game as we know, and some of them have been discussed many times (and occasionally confirmed by Dan). But the Strange Forest has been confusing me a bit, and if it's a Michigan thing, I didn't find it. So since I couldn't sleep, I did some serious overthinking of the matter, trying to come up with theories. :D
Here's a run down of all the clues [SPOILERS] and my hairbrained theories:
- The Strange Forst aka Hades Glade is an eerie, dark, unnaturally quiet place: Clearly some type of an entrance to the underworld / a place that connects to the realm of the dead. (Btw, its description always kinda reminds me of Mirkwood, despite the obvious lack of spiders. :D)
- Protected by a giant 3-legged monster, presumably a giant Enfield Horror: Well, Hades and all types of "entrance to the underworld" locations usually need a big, scary, deadly guardian creature, and a Michigan crypto-monster serves the purpose just as well as Cerberus would. I kinda also like the neatness of turning the three headed monster into a locally bred three legged one, whether it's accidental or purposeful. ;)
- The Lady in White: Tons of white ladies/ladies in white appear in all sorts of ghost stories, hauntings and legends all over the world. She could literally be anyone.
- The imprints that she leaves behind, that are not those of a human: This is a bit confusing. I've been assuming she's a ghost, and ghosts would leave no imprints, right? My second thought was that she was inspired by Leuce (or Leuke), the nymphe of the ancient greek mythology, who would fit the "alluring" bill of NEO's text, whose name means White in Greek, and who is associated with (alternatively a lover of) the God of the Underworld Hades. But I can neither remember nor find any reason why nymphs would leave footprints different than those of normal humans, unless it's a reference to Leuce being turned into a White Poplar tree (feet->roots). Then again maybe ghosts and/or nymphs simply leave weird footprints, who am I to say? ;) My third idea, is that this may be referring to a Lamia of some description, which were basically ancient greek vampiric type of creatures, appearing hauntingly beautiful and luring poor, innocent men to death, while also occasionally sporting a serpent's tail instead of legs. This one would indeed leave non human imprints, though it makes less sense with the rest of the hints. But hey, maybe she's a three-for-the-price-of-one kind of lady. :D
- The smell of cinnamon: This one was a bit tricky too, mainly because google apparently loves its cinnamon roll recipes! :) But the scent of cinnamon seems to crop up often enough in connection to hauntings, appearances of ghosts etc. So it could be that simple, maybe.
- This annoying line: "Does that* also explain her middle finger? The one that... no matter." [*"That" refers to the smell of cinnamon muddling your mind]. I've been hitting my head against that line for a while, and here's the only assumption I've made that makes any sort of sense:
Apparently one of the versions of the corpse bride story/legend (assuming Lady in White = Ghost in Wedding Gown) originates in 19th century Russia and refers to actual persecutions of Jews, including waylaying of jewish wedding parties (link). In some jewish traditions, the wedding ring is positioned in the index finger (link). So that line could potential be: "The one that..." has a wedding ring on it? I'm really not sure about this, but I have 0 other ideas.
- The stuff she leaves behind: A Medi-Kit, a Dog-Be-Gone, and a fake DMC bracelet. In my head this collection of stuff is almost too weird to have any connections to ghosts, nymphs, lamias or anything at all really. :D This may just be a bit of a game-y treasure chest. ;) No clue whatsoever.
If anyone has any more weird theories, ideas, assumptions, I'd LOVE to hear them. :D
P.S. Oh and Dan, feel free to jump in with hints and/or explanations, please and thank you! :)