A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.
The intro music, Cecil’s very distinct, soothing voice and the odd things he’s bringing to us, the listeners… Just like that and I was caught up in the world that is Night Vale.
I am not exactly a podcast person, I don’t even frequent YouTube and more than half the books in our most popular local bookstore’s best seller list, I don’t even like. So maybe I’m not exactly what you’d call a good source if you’re looking for something… hip or “now.” BUT if you do like weird, creepy (if not scary) stuff, then stick around. At least for this post because I’ll be introducing you to my latest (and only) podcast obsession: “Welcome to Night Vale.”
This podcast starts off with a really cool music that reminds me of “The X-Files”, so that’s a good thing (at least in my book). And then you’ll hear Cecil Palmer say something quirky in his beautiful voice.
The Arctic is lit by the midnight sun. The surface of the moon is lit by the face of the Earth. Our little town is lit too, by lights just above that we cannot explain. Welcome to Night Vale.
“Welcome to Night Vale” podcast is presented as a radio show and is narrated by the character called Cecil Palmer. There are strange, horrifying, creepy, beyond normal things that are happening in Night Vale. All those things are reported by Cecil.
Larry Leroy out on the edge of town reported that a creeping fear came into Night Vale today. He felt it first as a mild apprehension, then, a growing worry, and finally, a mortal panic. It passed from him to the employees at the car lot, who crouched behind their cars and cast fearful eyes at the empty sky. It did not affect Old Woman Josie, presumably because of her angelic protection, but it went from there to the rest of the town until we all were shivering in anticipation for a terrible thing we could not yet see. I myself was frozen, sure that any movement would lead to death, that any word would be my last. Of course, that also could have been the contracts negotiations with station management, and the hideous envelope I just received. Also, I’m battling Lyme disease.
I think this is why I am so in love with this podcast: The series is just plain weird. A couple of examples:
- The weather segment in Cecil’s show is never about the weather. Instead, you get to listen to a song. Sometimes it’s country, sometimes it verges on rock, other times it’s the classic. And they are all original songs. You definitely won’t hear any Taylor Swift or Gorge Ezra or Mumford & Sons there but yeah, if you’re a music fan I think you’ll enjoy the variety. One song per episode.
- The horoscope section? It’s never about fate or mystical incidents. Nope. Instead you get something along these lines: “Leo: Need a penny, take a penny. Have a penny? Take another penny! Pennies are worthless, but go ahead and take them all. Build a great fortune only to have its great copper weight crush your lifeless pauper body.” Fun stuff. Odd, yes, but still fun.
- Need I talk about the traffic section? It’s just… it’s alternating between funny and odd. Sometimes, cars are mentioned. Other times, it doesn’t even involve cars. Like this one: “This morning, I saw a running man. He passed by my home. Panting. Limping. Running desperate. I tried to stop him, but he would not meet my eye. This noon time, I saw a running man. He was coming down from the mountain, holding a bag. His knees were bloody, and face covered in tears. This evening, I saw a running man. He was leaving town, legs pumping like a terrified heart. I think he was missing a hand. Is it that he wouldn’t meet my eye, or that he had no eyes? Now I wish I could remember. There are many things I wish I could remember. This has been traffic.“
- Their interns at the radio station always end up dead.
- Apparently, there’s a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home. *pause* And everyone else’s home.
- There are no mountains. Mountains do not exist. They are not real.
- The president of the Night Vale School Board is a… glow cloud. And they worship it.
- Angels exist in Night Vale. They are around 10 feet tall, radiant and all are named Erika.
- In their bowling alley, there’s a secret civilization of small creatures that are living under lane five.
- There is a desert otherworld that some of their residents have been trapped in.
“Welcome to Night Vale” is both funny and creepy. Highly amusing and entertaining. If you’ve never tried listening to an episode, you’re in luck today. Here’s where you can listen to the first episode: “Pilot – Welcome to Night Vale”
P.S. I thought the most terrifying thing Cecil reported about was the Street Cleaning Day. (Tip: It’s episode #15.) Someone pinned a poster of it and it is absolutely wonderful. Here’s the poster: