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The Lights in Radon Canyon

Silence is golden. Words are vibrations. Thoughts are magic. Welcome to Night Vale.

Next Saturday is the big lottery drawing, listeners, right out in front of City Hall. And your community radio station has put together a few helpful tips for winning.

The lottery is, of course, mandatory, but how can you get the best odds for drawing a blank white paper, and not one of the purple pieces that means you’ll be ceremonially disemboweled and eaten by the wolves at the Night Vale Petting Zoo and Makeshift Carnival?

I know to some of you young people this lottery seems like a barbarous, outdated tradition. But if not for a municipally-planned citizen sacrifice each quarter, how else would we find satisfactory meats to feed those sad, scrawny animals?

So here now are the “Three I’s” of playing the lottery:

  • “I” one: Identify. Learn to sense colors. Purple has a grittier emotional aura than white.
  • “I” two: Ignite. Set fire to your home. While it’s not true that wolves refuse to eat arsonists, it’s a scientific fact that they’re unable to detect the presence of one.
  • “I” three: Imitate. If you happen to draw a purple piece, impersonate someone who drew a white piece. You might be mistaken for a person who is color blind. This, of course, will lead to months of painful color re-education at City Hall. But, in most cultures, that’s better than being eaten by wolves.

Also, make sure to visit the Food Truck Festival, which will be downtown as part of the lottery festivities. Popular truck treats include Korean barbecue, vegetarian chili, and veal ice cream.

Carlos, this station’s favorite scientist (no offense to Dr. Dubinski in the Night Vale Community College chemistry department) dropped by our broadcasting station earlier this morning for a little chat.

Sadly, dinner or weekend plans were not among the topics.

However, Carlos did request that we ask listeners for anyone who saw a series of bright, colorful flickers coming from Radon Canyon this past weekend. These flickers would also have also been accompanied by unintelligible noises – possibly some form of coded communication or signal-jamming technique.

Carlos suggested that there could be some very sinister forces at work here. He declined to be interviewed live, claiming only that he was scared for us. Scared for all of us in our strange town. Then he drove away quickly in his economical but attractively sporty hybrid coupe.

If anyone out there knows anything about these otherworldly lights and sounds, please contact us immediately.

Night Vale school superintendent Nick Ford, announced today that the Glow Cloud has joined the School Board. The Glow Cloud passed over the entirety of Night Vale several weeks ago – dropping small and large animal carcasses, controlling our thoughts and tertiary muscle groups, and erasing every last recording device. We’re still unsure the Glow Cloud even existed, as no one remembers it, nor has any digital record of it. If not for a few intrepid citizens who used old-fashioned pens and pencils to record the event in their diaries, we would have no remaining knowledge of that day.

I, of course, can only thank those journal writers anonymously here on the air, as the Night Vale City Council long ago banned writing utensils – along with margarita glasses and bar code scanners – and I don’t want to get my fellow reporters in any trouble with the Sheriff's Secret Police.

According to Superintendent Ford, the Glow Cloud’s visit on that nearly-forgotten day was simply an effort to find a nice neighborhood with good schools to raise a child.

Now what kind of progeny a powerful, formless cloud formed of noxious nightmares and spiritual destruction might produce, I dare not even speculate. But I do know one thing: that little cloud is going to get one heck of an education in the Night Vale School District.

And isn’t it heartening to hear that that little puff of despair’s father, or mother, will serve on the School Board? I mean, no matter how good the school, a student can only get out as much as the parents put in. We should all take such an impactful role in our children’s scholastic lives.

Especially you, Steve Carlsberg. You don’t do anything except bring unacceptably dry scones to PTA meetings and take grammatically disastrous minutes on your shifts as meeting secretary. Get it together, Steve!

Superintendent Ford offered the following statement of support for the newest school board member:

“All hail! Kneel for the Glow Cloud. Sacrifice. Pestilence. Sores. All hail the Glow Cloud!”

And now, traffic.

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.

New billboards have appeared all over town, bearing the image of a turkey sandwich and the single word “HARLOT” in large, block letters.

These billboards have caused some confusion – both due to their ambiguous message and to the fact that the entire structure of the billboards materialized overnight in places billboards are not usually constructed, such as the living rooms of local homes, the middle of busy thoroughfares (causing multiple car accidents), and, in one case, directly through a living dog, who does not appear harmed by the addition to his body, and has carried the entire billboard around town while going about his usual canine business.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently claimed responsibility for the billboards, saying that they were part of a campaign to promote nutrition and healthy living among children. The original draft of the release also mentioned something about an offering to a long-dead god, but this was altered to “fun, active lifestyles are important for kids of all ages” in a subsequent addendum.

We’re receiving several phone calls from listeners, and from the Parks Department, that those flickering lights and unintelligible noises we reported on earlier were coming from the Pink Floyd Multimedia Laser Spectacular. I contacted Carlos about this, and he said that the situation is even worse than he imagined.

He, again, did not mention weekend plans.

A sports scandal has shook our quiet little town. The Night Vale Scorpions have faced multiple allegations of possible game tampering this football season. Representatives for the Desert Bluffs School District, speaking in unpleasant and high-pitched voices indicative of weakness of will and character, complained to the Regional Football and Traffic Code Authority that Night Vale quarterback Michael Sandero’s recently-grown second head counts as a twelfth man on the field, thus invalidating the wins brought on by his also recently-acquired superhuman agility and strength.

The RFTCA said that they would look into these allegations with the utmost seriousness, along with their concurrent investigation into whether Night Vale’s “invisible crosswalk” policy is actually a desperate bid to save town funds at the cost of pedestrian lives.

Meanwhile, the School Board is due to announce its decision in the ongoing hearings as to whether appealing to Angels for a win constitutes illegal game tampering. Several Angels agreed to testify at the hearings, however their testimonials were cut short when it became apparent that the hearings were actually elaborate traps set up by the City Council to finally capture the Angels, whom the Council does not recognize as actually existing.

Fortunately, the Angels easily escaped from their cages in a blaze of Heavenly light, presumably returning to Old Woman Josie’s house, out near the Car Lot, which has become something of an informal shelter for local Angels.

When asked about the controversy over his team’s winning record, Coach Nazr al-Mujaheed said, “Our boys are good boys. They’re good boys at football. We win ‘em. With the boys. The football.” Then he smiled vacantly, waved at no one, and wandered off in the direction of the woods. More on this story as it develops.

And now, a word from our sponsor:

Step into your nearest Subway restaurant today, and try their new 6-inch mashed potato sub! Top it with a delicious assortment of fresh vegetables, like french fries and Nutella. They’ll even toast or poach it for you! There are several Subway locations in Night Vale, all easily accessible through witchcraft and chanting. And between now and November 30, buy nine reverse colonics and get a free 40-ounce soda or freshly baked tobacco cookie.

Subway: Devour your own empty heart.

Exciting news about the Abandoned Mine Shaft outside of town, where people who vote incorrectly are taken by the secret police: HBO On Demand will be made available to prisoners during their indefinite detention. All your favorite shows, such as The Wire, Sex and the City, and even new hits like Game Of Thrones, will be available in every cell.

Additionally, the secret police announced that they will be randomly executing one prisoner a day until all incorrect votes are corrected.

This just in: We’re receiving word from the City Council that there was absolutely not a Pink Floyd Multimedia Laser Spectacular this weekend at Radon Canyon…that there was never a Pink Floyd Multimedia Laser Spectacular ever near Night Vale. “Pink Floyd is not even a thing,” said the Council in a very stern, but quiet, statement just received by me, here, via phone.

The Council…and this is strange…the entire Council – not just a representative of the Council, the entire Council – issued this statement, all speaking in unison, just now, over the phone: that Night Vale citizens are prohibited from discussing any lights or sounds coming from Radon Canyon this past weekend, and that they should just stop remembering Pink Floyd shows altogether.

The Council reiterated that there is no way that they are huge Floyd fans, privately using public funds on a laser-powered seance to talk “hard-rockin’ classic jams” with the ghost of original front man Syd Barrett, and that Syd “wouldn’t even say anything juicy anyway, because he is such a gentleman, and an artist.” This did not happen at all.

So, listeners, we urge you to look away from Radon Canyon. Avert your eyes, ears, and memories from that which is no longer allowed you.

Comfort and distract yourselves with dense food and television programming. As the old adage goes:

“A life of pain is the pain of life, and you can never escape it – only hope it hides, unknown, in a drawer like a poisonous spider and never comes out again, even though it probably will, in unexpected and horrific fashion, scaring you from being able to comfortably conduct even the most mundane, quotidian tasks.”

Or, at least, that’s how my grandparents always phrased it.

And now, the weather.

[“This Too Shall Pass” by Danny Schmidt]

Teddy Williams, over at the Desert Flower Bowling Alley and Arcade Fun Complex, has an update on the doorway into that vast, underground city he found in the pin retrieval area of Lane Five.

He says that every window of the city is now glowing both day and night. And he heard the shouts and footsteps of what sounds like an army marching upwards toward the world above. He also said that, given that nothing really matters now, bowling is half-off and each game comes with a free basket of wings.

Mmm, nothing like those Desert Flower wings!

Let me leave you with this, dear listeners.

We lead frantic lives. Filled with needs and responsibilities, but completely devoid of any actual purpose. I say let’s try to enjoy the simple things. Life should be like a basket of chicken wings: salty, full of fat and vinegar, and surrounded by celery you’ll never actually eat, even when you’re greedily sopping up the last viscous streaks of buffalo sauce from the wax paper with your spit-stained index finger. Yes, that is as life should be, Night Vale.

Stay tuned next for a special live broadcast of the Night Vale Symphony Orchestra performing Eugene O'Neill’s classic play The Iceman Cometh.

It is a good night, listeners. Goodnight.

Today’s proverb: We are living in an immaterial world – a ghost world, and I am an immaterial girl – a ghost.

History Week
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"PYRAMID" (episode)