Hat Lore refers to a concept in Cloud’s Forum Adventures in which Cloud’s hat is actually a parasite that possesses hosts and drains their life force. According to hat lore, Cloud was once a powerful wind entity called Vendeval before being split into fifty small clouds.
It is unknown what caused Vendeval to be split into fifty pieces; however, what is known is that all fifty pieces share the same consciousness (and, by extension, the same memories). The cloud “hats” soon began possessing the bodies of innocent civilians; eventually, all fifty hats found a host. This means there are fifty Clouds in existence at any given moment and all of them share the same cognition.
Although Cloud is aware that he can control fifty vessels at once (and often does so behind the scenes), he is not aware of his prior existence as Vendeval, having seemingly lost his memory. Cloud purposefully spaces his vessels across the planet so that there are not multiple Clouds within the same area. Only one Cloud may access and use Dream World powers at a time.
Because all fifty Clouds share the same consciousness, it can be concluded that said consciousness resides in another dimension. When a hat possesses a vessel, its life force is terminated and transported to that dimension to be erased and converted into power. If one of Cloud’s hats were to possess a fellow Observatarian, they too would be transported to said dimension.
Prior to the events of Season 1, Dark Matter tried to possess Cloud multiple times; however, given that he hosts off lifeless bodies, Dark Matter was unable to do so and instead created a dark clone of him. Cloud always keeps one vessel within Cloud’s Observatory; however, Dark Cloud removed it while he was sleeping. This meant that Cloud was not on the Observatory at all, and since Dream World powers were not yet available, he was forced to manually return to his home.
After Megar defeats Dark Cloud, Cloud is seemingly erased from existence as a result. It is important to note that Cloud’s friends are unaware of his parasitic existence, as they believe there is only one of him. As a result, they travel to Oblivia to find the Soul Shard. Because Cloud wishes to see what lengths his friends will go to to “save him”, he refrains from positioning another vessel at the Observatory.
In the Season 3 finale, Cloud is apparently killed by the possessed Seven Sages. He appears in the afterlife alongside Spectra and is able to revive both her and himself. This is actually due to hat lore’s mechanics; when one of Cloud’s vessels is destroyed and transported to another dimension (the “afterlife”), Cloud has eyes in that dimension and in the real world and can choose to see either one. Thus, he calls another hat to inject life force into Spectra and then reforms the hat as a new Cloud. This is a simple and easy to understand process.
In Season 5, one of Cloud’s hats is possessed by the Miracle Crown, marking the first time he is ever truly possessed. The Miracle Crown returns the wearer to their true form, so Cloud temporarily takes the appearance of Vendeval (though the form is officially dubbed Miracloud). It is unknown what the other 49 Cloud vessels were doing at this point in time. In the Season 5 finale, the Miracle Crown fuses with Spectra in a last-ditch attempt to save itself. It then opens a pocket dimension and slips into a parellel universe, taking one Cloud with it. As a result of leaving his home world, this Cloud loses its memories and its former cognition is transformed into Imagina.
In Season 6A, Cloud restores his memories by gathering pieces of the Celestial Scepter and defeating his own essence. This enlightens the other 49 Clouds in their home world to the existence of a parallel universe. In Season 7, it is mentioned that Cloud was “rambling” about a different world; furthermore, Cloud’s Essence is briefly shown with an eye in its hat for the first time in the series. In other words, Season 7 marks official confirmation of hat lore.
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