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Monday Mysteries: Soulless Stares in the Silence of Space

The Mushroom Kingdom seems like a pretty happy place all things considered. I mean there’s stuff like regularly scheduled koopa invasions and princess-nappings to contend with, but those are rather short lived and usually followed up parties, sporting events, and go-kart races.  But what if I told you the happy go lucky world that the Mario Bros inhabit isn’t quite so innocuous as it might seem.  In the locales that Mario has visited over the years, be they in the confines of the Kingdom or in galaxies above, our red hatted hero has seen some serious spooks.

What, you think I’m talking about Boos? The colorful ghosts from Luigi’s Mansion? No dear reader, I’m referring to far creepier and less playful specters.  Let’s start off with one of the more recent ghostly sightings.  In Super Mario 3D Land, players can spot a hidden visitor from beyond the mortal veil.  Near the end of world 4-4, which unsurprisingly enough is a ghost house, if players wait for about 50 seconds after exiting the ghost house, a spooky secret will appear behind a nearby fence.

3D Land Ghost Face

So here’s my question. What the heck is that thing?  It’s not a Boo or any other type of ghost we’ve ever seen in the series and it just appears under fairly random circumstances. It also just leaves as mysteriously as it appears. What could it be? The spirit of a fallen resident of the Mushroom Kingdom? Some sort of malignant force trying to tear its way into Mario’s world? Why does it appear only in this ghost house stage and not the others? Is there something about this level that’s more sinister than it lets on?

But creepy physiognomies lurking behind haunted houses aren’t the only ghastly creatures that haunt Mario games.  Let’s take a look at another secret spook hiding away in the far reaches of the cosmos.  In Super Mario Galaxy 2, the Shiverburn Galaxy skyline houses one of the simplest looking, but most unsettling specters in all of the Mario franchise.

Beyond Hell Valley

If their appearance wasn’t already unsettling enough this trio of figures are referred to in the game’s data as “Hell Valley Sky Trees.”  Now I don’t claim to be any sort of extraterrestrial botanist, but those are not trees. You will never convince me that they are trees. Coincidentally, the portion of the skyline they inhabit is listed in the game as “Beyond Hell Valley?” But what are they?  My best guess is that they’re some kind of alien like figure, watching Mario as he traverses the perilous hot and cold terrain of Shiverburn Galaxy. Are they friendly? Do they want to abduct our favorite plumber and whisk him off to parts unknown?  All I know is that they’re really unnerving. Always watching your every move, unflinching in their judgmental gaze.

What’s creepy about both of these strange paranormal and or extraterrestrial encounters is that no one ever mentions anything about either of them in the game. There aren’t any sightings or legends in the games themselves and in both cases; neither ghostly presence interacts with Mario directly.  They all just stare from the darkness, unwavering in their ceaseless gaze. Creepypastas abound on both of these supernatural sightings. I don’t know that I subscribe to any one particular theory on their purpose or existence, but I am sure of one thing.

Those creepy soulless eyes will be etched into my brain for quite some time.