- Note: This page's primary focus is on the recurring commentary within WTNV regarding the existence of mountains. For more specific information related to the Blinking Light up on the Mountain, intern Dana’s journey to the mountain, or the Masked Army seen near the mountain, please see their individual pages.
There is ongoing debate in the Night Vale community about the existence of mountains. After several casual references to mountains in non-plot oriented segments, Cecil clarifies his adamant denial of "the commonly held belief that there is a such thing as 'mountains.'" However, Cecil later revokes this opinion. Night Vale mayor Pamela Winchell also comments on the existence of mountains during a press conference. It can be assumed through Dana’s description of herself as being a “good mountain unbeliever” that there is some social stigma against those actively accepting of the realness of mountains. Whether the origin of this social pressure to deny the existence of mountains comes from Cecil’s personal views, mass paranoia, propaganda from a Vague, Yet Menacing, Government Agency or otherwise is never clarified in the podcast.
In episode 18, The Traveler, the first direct reference to mountains is made in a corrections segment, referring to a stance broadcasted by Cecil and the NVCR team not within the 18 published episodes where Cecil had mocked mountain believers. He reflects on a series of actions taken by him and the NVCR staff against Night Vale residents with opposing views on mountain existence, cited as follows:
- scoffing at the belief, and bellowing repeatedly, "It is flat all the way ‘round. It is flat all the way ‘round."
- sending lists of the names of mountain believers into the City Council and recommending “indefinite detention”
- getting physically violent with an effigy labeled “Mountain Believer,” punching it repeatedly before burning it in the station’s bloodstone circle
- devoting a full day of programming to getting together the entire station staff and screaming in unison, “Mountains? More like nothings!” into the microphone
Following these recollections of previous “activism”, Cecil describes a friend of the NVCR staff who had avoided City Council apprehension and drove Cecil and other radio staff to see a mountain.
Cecil then detracts his original anti-mountain-believer sentiments by saying, "We looked at the mountain, and even touched it, and it was definitely real. Therefore we are forced to admit there is indeed at least one mountain in this world, and we apologize for our previous energetic assertions to the contrary."
However, despite this encounter with the mountain, Cecil remains skeptical of mountains in general, saying he is "still not completely sold on there being more than one mountain.” Cecil cites the possible explanation of mountain apologists building a single mountain to "prove their skewed world view.”
This skepticism is reiterated in episode 25, One Year Later. Cecil mentions the mountain debate when he pridefully reflects his and Night Vale’s ability to deny facts and substitute relative perspectives of reality, saying:
"Our truths may or may not be true, but they are ours, and we stand by them — even as the experts and skeptics hold aloft clipboards and intone to us about 'snow' and 'mountains.’”
"I can see nothing but endless sand and a single distant mountain — a mountain I have never seen, because I don’t believe in mountains. But there is a mountain, and there is a tiny red light up on the mountain, intermittently blinking.”
This specific mountain becomes the main storyline for episode 31, The Blinking Light up on the Mountain. Over the course of the episode there are numerous references to the tiny red light blinking atop the mountain. Is is not until the second news segment that the debate about mountains is brought up, when Cecil says” As many of you noted, the very nature of our report indicated the existence of a Mountain — which is surprising, given that we live in vast, desert flatness. So yes, there is a Mountain.”
Larry Leroy also comments on the mountain’s existence, saying, “That’s a Mountain if ever I seen one. I haven’t, though — seen one. I think that’s what they’re like. Mountains are like that, right?”
In episode 40, The Deft Bowman, Cecil reads a few texts from intern Dana, who is described to be "Found a mountain. Mountain’s not real? Huh!”
Later within the same episode, the Sheriff’s Secret Police’s genderless spokesbeing also acknowledges mountains, reporting: "Some things don’t come back. They can only travel in one direction, like mountains travel through the centuries. Yes, mountains."
Episode 41, WALK, revisits Dana and her personal struggle with the existence of mountains. Dana, speaking from an alternate dimension overlapping with the NVCR studio, describes her experiences saying, "When I first got here, being a good mountain unbeliever, I turned my back to it and marched directly into the flat desert. And soon enough, I had somehow come back to the mountain. I turned and marched away again, but ended up right back here ...
"... I’d like to think that mountains aren’t real, even though I know now, without doubt, that they are.”
By episode 42, Numbers, Dana’s experience with the mountain has turned from denial into active resistance. Her progress is is reported by Cecil, claiming he received an email update from her in an alternate plane of space and/or time. Dana is trying to maintain distance from the mountain, but continually gets caught in what Cecil refers to as a "geographical loop, continually returning to the same place, no matter which direction you run screaming."
Later in the episode, mayor Pamela Winchell takes a new stance on mountains, after correcting a previous announcement by vehemently denying the existence of angels but also "hinting that mountains might be a thing."
- The only character to directly acknowledge the existence of mountains so far in the podcasts history is the version of intern Dana (either her or her double) which survived the Sandstorm but was lost to a parallel dimension after entering The Dog Park.
- Despite an entire podcast episode named after mountains and various direct incidents of personal exposure to mountains, Cecil continues to voice his skepticism of mountains through the editorial commentary of various secondary characters.
- Long before Cecil denies the existence of mountains, "jagged" mountains are used to describe the landscape of several brief visions and traffic updates.
- The first use of the word “mountain” in WTNV is in the Pilot episode, when Cecil mentions the Night Vale Mountain Lions, basketball team at Night Vale Elementary. While the existence of ‘mountain’ lions seems to contradict the frequently discussed nonexistence of mountains, this contradiction seems to go unnoticed by Cecil and other members of the Night Vale community.