Phantump is perhaps the most terrifying Pokémon in the entire franchise.
There are a bunch of Pokémon with some horrific backstories. Take Yamask, the Pokémon born of an actual human being who has to stare at their own dead face for the rest of eternity. That’s some pretty dark stuff, but it gets blown away by Drifloon, which actually murders children who mistake it for a balloon.
And then there’s Phantump. If the Grimm Brothers were to ever make a Pokémon, this would be it.
Introduced in Pokémon X & Y, Phantump is a Grass/Ghost-type, which was a rare thing to find before the arrival of Decidueye. It’s not a bad Pokémon, with decent attack for a pre-evolution, and Trevenant is a great tank after it evolves.
However, if you decide to actually use Phantump on your team, you’ll have to get used to one of the saddest, disturbing, and horrifying Pokédex entries you’ve ever read.
We’ll start with X, which read: "These Pokémon are created when spirits possess rotten tree stumps. They prefer to live in abandoned forests." Okay, a little spooky, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
Those that played Y got a slightly different explanation for Phantump: "According to old tales, these Pokémon are stumps possessed by the spirits of children who died while lost in the forest."
HOLY S#@$! That escalated faster than a Seviper fighting a Zangoose. And it doesn’t get any better when we get to the seventh-gen games.
We’ll start with Pokémon Moon that sort of followed X’s example for teeing up the terror: "According to legend, medicine to cure any illness can be made by plucking the green leaves on its head, brewing them, and boiling down the liquid."
Alright, that sounds nice enough. How about Pokémon Ultra Sun? "By imitating the voice of a child, it causes people to get hopelessly lost deep in the forest. It's trying to make friends with them."
I’m not crying. You’re crying.
Finally, we arrive at Pokémon Shield where we’ll end on a high note: "With a voice like a human child's, it cries out to lure adults deep into the forest, getting them lost among the trees."
So to summarize, a Phantump is made when a human child dies near a tree stump, whose spirit then inhabits the stump and turns into a Pokémon. Then it lures adults into the forest by sounding like a lost child. Oh, and if you catch one and squeeze out its juices, it makes a healing potion.
Cool. Don’t ever tell me that Pokémon is a kid’s game ever again.