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Weird Science

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"If we had to shut down the town for every mysterious event that at least one death could be attributed to, we'd never have time to do anything, right?"

From the perspective of the listener, Night Vale appears to be a fertile source of bizarre and inexplicable phenomena, worthy of study. However, apart from the scientists, most Night Vale residents take little notice.

Existence Edit

Existence, while a relatively simple concept most places—usually, you can apply the simple test of seeing if a thing is there—the concept of existence can be tricky in Night Vale.

For instance, there is a house in the housing development of Desert Creek that does not exist. It seems like it exists, it is just right there when you look at it, and it is between two other identical houses, so it would make more sense for it to be there than not. But experiments have shown that it does not exist.[1]

On the other hand, the $23 million Night Vale Clock Tower does, in fact, exist, despite no one ever having seen it or even knowing where it is at any given moment, on account of the basic architectural realities that the Clock Tower is invisible and constantly teleporting.[2][3]

However, although the Clock Tower can be confidently said to exist, it cannot be said to be real, as even the world itself may not actually be real.[4] It is possible, perhaps even likely, that nothing is actually real, and although it is definitely true that some things exist and some things do not, it is often difficult to tell which is which without rigorous scientific tests.

As Simone Rigadeau, the transient living in the Night Vale Community College's abandoned Earth Sciences building, wrote on a Subway sandwich wrapper: "The world ended three or four decades ago. I don't know what this thing is that we're living in, but it's not the world. Scientists won't investigate it because they're not real. Turkey with extra Swiss."[5]

Carlos eventually concluded that not only is time not real, "neither is anything else. That is the most scientific fact of all."[6]

Despite the fact that existence is a slippery concept in Night Vale, or perhaps because of this, most citizens will fiercely cling to their own views of what exists and what does not, and will violently suppress any information that contradicts their limited understanding of the world. For example, until March 2013, Cecil Palmer and his fellow staffers at Night Vale Community Radio did not accept the existence of mountains, and so rabidly denounced known "mountain believers" and burned them in effigy within the station's bloodstone circle, insisting that "it is flat all the way round".[7] Cecil only recanted his belief when one of his friends drove him to a mountain, and so he was forced to acknowledge that at least one mountain exists. However, he still wasn't ready to accept the existence of multiple mountains.

Time and causality Edit

The passage of time and the fundamental principle of causality are both constants of reality in most towns, but both concepts can be tricky in Night Vale. Time sometimes passes at different rates in Night Vale than it does elsewhere in the world, with Carlos the scientist observing that during a period of 10,080 minutes in Night Vale, 11,783 minutes elapsed everywhere else in the world.[3] The problem was only compounded upon Carlos' discovery that most clocks in Night Vale aren't real, and are either devoid of any interior components or only contain gelatinous grey lumps with hair and teeth.[3] Carlos later determined that time "isn't real."[6]

Night Vale organizations have been known to make announcements and decisions in ways that seem to violate basic causality. Cecil Palmer, for instance, knew from an early age that he was going to replace Leonard Burton as the host of Night Vale Community Radio because the tablets at City Hall said that he did.[8] StrexCorp Synernists Incorporated made a January 15, 2014 press release via an ancient stone carving unearthed in the Sand Wastes, which scientists determined to be several thousand years old.[9] A 138-year-old statue of the actor Lee Marvin stands in front of the Night Vale Post Office, erected 49 years before the M Squad star was even born.[9]

In the dimension or dimensions containing the house that doesn't exist and the otherworldly desert, where Dana Cardinal was trapped until the day of her mayoral victory, time doesn't work the same way as in Night Vale. Dana described it as "pretty messed up."[10]

In Michigan, Intern Kareem left Night Vale at the start of the Weather and stayed in Michigan for what seemed like several weeks, yet he returned to Night Vale before the Weather ended.

Time travel Edit

Time travel has been decriminalized in Night Vale.[7] Deer are sometimes capable of it, despite being very dumb animals who do not understand the implications of parallel universes versus linear continuity.[11]

Danger and fatality Edit

Carlos owns a danger meter, which measures danger in "standard fatality units."[6] High danger levels are indicated by red, which is, scientifically speaking, the most dangerous color.[10]

Astronomy and outer space Edit

"Nobody cares about astronomy," says Sarah Sultan, president of Night Vale Community College.[12] However, many Night Vale residents express an interest in space, if only by pointing at the empty sky and shouting in terror.[13]

The Night Vale School District has decreed that elementary school astronomy classes may conduct stargazing sessions only with blindfolds on each participant, in order to protect them from the existential terror of the void. Also, Pluto has been declared imaginary.[14]

Cecil once admitted to not knowing what the moon is, why it's there and there and then not, or whether it is watching us.[14] Later, however, he was able to describe the sun, rather scornfully, as "a ball of highly compacted gas that sustains life through mere proximity,"[15] perhaps a sign of Carlos's influence.

Examples by episode Edit

  • Pilot: Carlos and his team of scientist notice a house in Desert Creek that technically does not exist; the town is ravaged by devastating earthquakes which nobody can feel; and the sun sets ten minutes later than it is supposed to.
  • Station Management: Books in Night Vale "stopped working."
  • The Lights in Radon Canyon: Strange lights are emitted from Radon Canyon.
  • Wheat & Wheat By-Products: Night Vale received $1.5 billion for disaster relief after the occurrence of the earthquakes that nobody felt.
  • The Candidate: Sky of Night Vale that can only be heard in old town.
  • The Phone Call:
    • Carlos makes a call to Cecil to warn him that time is slowing down in Night Vale.
    • Carlos calls Cecil to tell him that the clocks in Night Vale aren't real, and that every clock he's opened is either empty or contains a gelatinous gray mass.
  • The Whispering Forest: Dense, piny woods have grown to the east of Night Vale in only a couple of days, and are encroaching quickly on the town. Botanists from Night Vale Community College warn that it should not be approached.
  • One Year Later: The scientists are offering $5 to anyone willing to go up to the house that doesn't exist and ring the doorbell.
  • First Date: Carlos saves the town from the mysterious shadow energy and buzzing shadow creatures.
  • Dana: Carlos and the other scientists continue to investigate house in the Desert Creek housing development that doesn't exist.
  • Lazy Day: The world grows sluggish, losing energy, vitality and motivation.
  • Orange Grove: John Peters—you know, the farmer?—had a huge, healthy orange crop this year. But Carlos grows skeptical about a sudden orange grove in the desert.

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. 1 - Pilot at [1]
  2. 6 - The Drawbridge (episode) at [2]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 16 - The Phone Call at [3]
  4. 38 - Orange Grove at [4]
  5. 21 - A Memory of Europe
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Condos
  7. 7.0 7.1 18 - The Traveler at [5]
  8. 33 - Cassette at [6]
  9. 9.0 9.1 39 - The Woman from Italy at [7]
  10. 10.0 10.1 49B - Old Oak Doors Part B
  11. The Debate
  12. 50 - Capital Campaign
  13. 27 - First Date
  14. 14.0 14.1 5 - The Shape in Grove Park
  15. 49A - Old Oak Doors Part A

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