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Headscratchers: Welcome to Night Vale

  • What's up with that inn in Switz where Cecil and the man he was traveling with keep rolling out of all night long? Wouldn't they, at some point, come up with the idea of closing the door or just sleeping at right angles to the slope instead of parallel to it?
    • It's heavily implied that the hostel, the traveling partner, and indeed the entire country of Switz did not in fact exist, possibly some sort of hallucination. Also, this is Night Vale. Normal logic really just doesn't apply to it or its denizens.
    • It's possible they were actually having adventurous sex sessions both in the inn and outside, and "rolling" is just a euphemism. He says he didn't know this partner or remember where he met him, so maybe the man was a prostitute or one-night-stand he picked up while drunk. This theory has some weight to it, as every time sex has come up, it's only been hinted at, or a euphemism was used (like when Cecil wanted to "look at Carlos' 'beakers' and 'buzzing electrical equipment'", or in the SF Booksmith show, when Cecil says there was "something more" with Carlos, but proceeds to cut himself off).
    • Or maybe they were just enjoying rolling down the hill literally. He mentions that they were laughing. Rolling down hills is fun and everything, especially with someone you ambiguously seem to like-like. Or maybe there was some kind of Bizarrchitecture thing going on where you'd end up rolling downhill no matter what. Or since it may have been a hallucination, maybe they were just weirdly confused and incompetent the way people sometimes are in dreams.
  • Kevin's description of Cecil and Cecil's description of Kevin don't match up. Here's Kevin describing Cecil:
    There is a photo here on the desk. It is a man. He is wearing a tie. He is not tall or short, not thin or fat. He has eyes like mine and a nose like mine, and hair like mine, but I do not think he is me. Maybe it is the smile. Is that a smile? I canít say.
And here's Cecil describing Kevin:
There is a photo, a single photo of a man on the desk here. He is wearing a tie. He is not tall or short, not thin or fat. His hair and nose are like mine, but his eyes - his eyes are black as obsidian and his smile. Noooo. It is not a smile. He must be wicked, this man.
Although Kevin is described as Cecil's double, there are definitely notable differences between the two. Indeed, they seem to be more like mirror opposites to each other. The other doubles in Night Vale are so identical, in voice, appearance, and (apparently) personality, that Cecil literally can not tell who survived between intern Dana (who he knew very well) and her double. But Cecil and Kevin are completely opposite in personality, ideologies, political leanings, as well as the pitch of their voices.

Cecil's wording clearly implies that Kevin's eyes are different from his own. However, Kevin states that Cecil's eyes are like his. "Like" could imply them being similar but different.
  • There are a few possibilities here. Cecil's eyes might be "black as obsidian" like Kevin's, and Cecil is just unaware of this for some reason- or, Cecil's eyes might be similar in some way(s) to Kevin's eyes EXCEPT for their color.
  • Kevin may also be referring to the NUMBER of eyes that they have, as fanon often gives Cecil a third one on his forehead.
  • They might each be seeing slightly different things in the pictures and both telling the truth as far as they know. Or maybe Kevin is the one who's mistaken about his own appearance: it could be that Cecil has normal eyes and Kevin has black eyes but he doesn't notice them in the picture of himself or, presumably, in mirrors.
  • It's possible that in Night Vale, the people of the town already know what Cecil look like. To them, he doesn't need to explain anything— the out-of-universe reason is to preserve the loose descriptions in radio plays.
  • Now that we know that Cecil apparently cannot be around mirrors that are no covered, it seems likely that the reason he keeps a picture of himself is to remind himself of his own appearance.
  • From time to time, Cecil seems to go out and do things without actually leaving the radio studio. For instance, in the first episode, he does a news segment and starts out confused about the mysterious scientists who've come to town. Then, during the same segment, Carlos arranges a town meeting, and Cecil then discusses the meeting in detail as if he attended it (or at least personally saw everything that happened), despite the fact he was hosting his program the entire time. How does he do that? (It's pretty easy to muster a Doylist explanation, which is that the writers got mixed up or expected the listener not to question it, but the Watsonian implications are kinda freaky.)
    • It happens enough throughout the series that you can be pretty sure it's intentional. One interpretation is that the 20-minute podcast version is a cut-down version of a much longer radio show. Or you can take it to mean that Cecil is capable of some strange instant-travel type action. Given Night Vale, though, it's likely there is an answer, and it's weirder than anything fans would be likely to guess.
      • Carlos has recently discovered that time in Night Vale may not be real...
      • Or time could pass at different speeds in different parts of town, this would allow Cecil to leave during pre-recorded ads, public service announcements and The Weather and return in time to continue the program despite having been gone for much longer. Something like this had to have happened in episode 25 too, for him to travel to the Arby's parking lot, spend some time sitting with Carlos then return to the radio station by the end of the song. Although broadcasting from a place where time travels at one speed and having people listening in other locations where time travels at other speeds couldn't possibly work, it makes about as much sense as a lot of things in this town.
      • In Episode 15, Cecil mentions getting updates from an intern through his headset. Maybe interns attend various meetings and events and update Cecil via mundane tech so he can report it in a timely fashion. After all, he does have Dana's number and she continues to report to him from the dog park, possibly out of habit. Though it doesn't explain how he was able to spend so much time at the Arby's parking lot...
      • Cecil also mentions getting faxes and phone calls from listeners on various occurrences in town.
    • One fanon explanation of the fanon eye on Cecil's forehead is that he's Clairvoyant— there seems to be some ban on writing and reading certain things, it's possible this is one of the few ways he can even obtain the news at all.
      • This theory has support from Cecil Baldwin himself, who mentioned it at the 2013 LA Podcast Festival.
  • Cecil sure does seem to report a lot on things that the government don't want people to know about and actively deny happening. It's been established that they can make people disappear, though they don't do it often—how the hell has Cecil lasted this long?
    • Perhaps because the radio station management has been protecting him in some bizarre way.
      • It seems significant that he's much more afraid of the station management - although there's been no evidence that they're actually dangerous - than he is of all the things that are known to be deadly and horrible.
    • Citizens of Night Vale most likely practice Double Think like in 1984 or The City & The City: they need to know the actual truth for practical reasons, but must also deny and disbelieve on command. The impermanence of radio makes it perfect for disseminating things that must be forgotten.
    • One fanon interpretation is that Cecil is the personification of Night Vale and so he knows all the things that are happening and tells them as he sees them. Any government corrections are mentioned as a sort of overwriting the town memory of the event.
  • Why is it that Cecil never encouraged rebellion against the city council, but he's now doing so against Strexcorp? Yes, Strexcorp is now likely planning something awful for a bunch of children, but is there any reason to think it's worse than anything the city council or sheriff's secret police have done? After all, the council and mayor apparently allowed the local boy scout organization and those mysterious children to preserve scouts and put them in a glass case after they became eternal scouts.
    • Given that Strexcorp is in charge of Desert Bluffs, and the place is downright terrifying by its description seen here in the transcript of Episode 19 B - "Sandstorm" http://cecilspeaks.tumblr.com/post/59578106876/episode-19b-the-sandstorm-desert-bluffs It may very well be Cecil's clairvoyance telling him that Strexcorp has sinister plans for Night Vale. And while Night Vale may not exactly be a utopia, it wouldn't be hard to imagine the awful things that would happen if Strexcorp got their full control of the town. Kevin's studio is pure Nightmare Fuel.
    • Well, when Cecil visits Desert Bluffs he's clearly horrified by what he finds, so blood and viscera everywhere must not be normal for Night Vale. As long as he can put two and two together and come up with Desert Bluffs, he'd probably be able to guess that Strexcorp is not something you want in charge of your life. Especially since it seems to be a lot more personally involved in people's lives than the council and a lot more involved in pushing everyone to work until they drop. I get the sense there's no personal freedom at all in Desert Bluffs, even less so than in Night Vale.
  • In Episode 38, Carlos says, "[D]o know that I donít specialize in botany or dendrology. I am a scientist. I study science, not plants or nature." Yet in Episode 27, Carlos does some tests on the trees to see if they're "normal". If he doesn't specialize in dendrology, how did he know how to perform tests on the trees? Was he just showing off for Cecil's benefit?
    • It really depends on what kind of "tests" he did. There are plenty of tests he could know how to do without specializing in studying plants- especially if he's had a lot of education. We also don't know how the trees looked or what about them made Carlos want to experiment on them in the first place, so he could really be doing anything to them. Maybe he scraped a bit off to see if it was a different color underneath if the tree was a strange color or something; we don't have enough information to know what tests he did. That said, Carlos is described as being preoccupied with science, and also of a somewhat nervous disposition. It's a definite possibility that he was both showing off for Cecil and trying to do something with himself out of fear of seeming awkward.
  • Is there one Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home who lives in all of our homes, or are there multiple distinct Faceless Old Women, or is each Faceless Old Woman each a facet of one, singular, Faceless Old Woman?
    • Yes.
      • She could also live in only one home but no one knows which one. Alternatively she lives in Cecil's home and he is in denial about being her only target.
  • This is half-headscratcher and half-suspicion that it's intentional, but in the latest episode (44/Cookies) Cecil reveals that his hatred of Steve Carlsburg is at least somewhat related to the fact that he's the stepdad to Cecil's niece. Given the mention of said niece's mother, this would mean Cecil has a sister. However, in previous episode 33/Cassette, the young Cecil Gershwin Palmer makes mention of his mother and brother... but no sister. Where did she come from? Given Night Vale, it's unlikely that this is a mistake, and it probably means something. But that's for WMG, I suppose.
    • It could be that Cecil's brother is Janice's father, and Janice's mother is no blood relation to Cecil. Janice's father died, or her parents divorced, and her mother remarried, to Steve Carlsburg. Making him Janice's (neglectful) stepfather.
  • So Night Vale is in the desert but the number's station is WZZZ denoting a station east of the Mississippi. Is WZZZ one of the stations that got a name before modern radio callsigns? Is there a desert east of the Mississippi? Is the license holder for the station east of the Missippi? Were the East Coast writers of the show lazy about radio callsigns?

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