Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Nightly Frights: Night Vale’s The Sandstorm

As with previous Blame The Fright months, I’m starting off this month with something mildly creepy as to better prepare you all for the more hardcore horrors later on. This first entry is more “creepy” in the supernatural and unexplained sense. Remember, if you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget. Welcome To Night Vale!

The best way to describe the Welcome to Night Vale podcast is to imagine if Gravity Falls were set in the southwestern desert and broadcast a weekly radio program that reported on all the town’s strange happenings, though in a way that made it all seem as though they were your run-of-the-mill news stories.

That’s perhaps what makes this podcast so excellently addicting: it’s about a fictional town where strange things constantly happen, yet it’s delivered as a radio show that describes these events through a matter-of-fact delivery. In Night Vale, these  events are as common as otherwise ordinary news reports, to the point where barely anyone blinks an eye at them. In this town, a five-headed dragon is seen as yet another viable mayoral candidate, airlines fly through high school gymnasiums and disrupt school games the same way inclement weather would, and, of course, it’s perfectly understandable that nobody is allowed in or near the city dog park—not dogs, not people, only shadowy figures!

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can find it on the Apple iTunes store. Of course, first-time listeners are recommended to start listening from the very beginning, but if there was one episode that I would recommend to them, one that perfectly summed up the tone of the podcast, it would be the nineteenth episode: "The Sandstorm".

What makes this episode unique is that it’s actually set up as two-separate episodes. The plot centers around a devastating sandstorm that rolls into town, and rather than merely blow down buildings, causes strange things to occur, such as having people encounter their doppelgangers. There’s a point in the episode where a dark portal manifests itself in the radio studio, and the ever-curious radio host, Cecil, decides to walk through and take a peek inside. What does her discover? Ah, but that would be giving away the best part. You’ll have to listen for yourself: