Raoul De Chagny:
Christine, there is no Phantom of the Opera!
Nadir Khan (narrating):
I am sorry to say that there was, indeed, a Phantom of the Opera, but for your peace of mind I will admit that he was not, literally, a ghost. Usually, the word ghost refers to a supernatural being, a shadow of something past, an ethereal creature that used to be human before being dead. However, sometimes there are creature whose misfortune is so unspeakable that being dead would probably be a better fate. Our Phantom, which I assure you, was very much alive, is, or was, one of these creatures: and that is why he called himself a Phantom, or a ghost, despite his being not dead yet.
I feel like everyone who writes Erik as having started out looking like everybody else and then gotten acid thrown at him or whatever is forgetting the legit, actual thing that existed in the 19th century (and earlier, and now) that could eat someone’s nose off and had a huge social stigma attached
Why do we not have a phic where Erik was a handsome young man who fell in love with someone and contracted syphilis and lost his nose because of that?