See I feel this was made explicit so that the PC wouldn't become invested in NPCs who lacked narrative weight and were mostly there to make the place look populated and provide monster fodder. I know this was an issue in old Ravenloft as well, but at least in Domains of Dread and the White Wolf products (where they intended the setting to be more than Weekend in Hell) an effort was made for the setting to be somewhat sensible. That's always been my favorite Ravenloft.This has long been one interpretation of Ravenloft. Because the dark powers create whole domains in an instant, populated with people and ancient ruins, yet it’s history only goes back centuries, that has been a viable contention (typically in older Ravenlift products the tendency is to ask questions and not answer them: something I think works better than answering them). Personally I am not as into the empty shell thing. It is pretty in keeping with existing lore and speculation in the books though.