The Fake Hijacking of Local 58

A Deep Dive into the Story of Local 58.

Mitchell Thompson, Reporter

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is real. It is entirely a story made for fun. This will become very obvious, but I don’t want to mislead anyone.


Imagine this: you are sitting at home watching the local news. It’s getting pretty late and you are planning on going to bed soon, but then the TV starts to freak out. Messages appear on the screen that seem cryptic and downright scary. You have no clue what this means, so you go to turn the TV off. Once you do though, the expected silence to follow is replaced by the screams of dozens of people outside. You rush to check what’s going on, possibly thinking about what could have happened. When you open the door though, all you are greeted by is the moon, massive and bright, staring down at you. This is the last thing you remember.


Local 58 is the name of the series and the fictional TV channel it features. It is one of the most interesting stories ever told, and it’s entirely free to view online. It uses the medium of old television programs and VHS tapes to give hints about a terrifying cosmic disaster happening in the world these people inhabit. The restriction of what is reasonably able to be shown leads to some of the most creative storytelling I have ever seen, and it’s a blast to pick apart. It really goes to show how telling a story in a creative way can breathe new life into an otherwise stale genre. Local 58 manages to be more scary, interesting, and nostalgic. More than any movie I have seen.


However, I would like to get a few things out of the way first. First, I highly encourage you to go watch the original videos on Youtube. The channel is linked at the bottom of the article, along with the latest video which is unlisted. None of them are very long, and they don’t include any sudden scares, despite still being very tense. If you can watch the videos, skip over any indented paragraphs. These will only go over the episode without any additional theories or commentary and are only there to replace the videos for people who can’t watch them. Also, this is only one interpretation of events. The creator, Kris Straub, has made other works that potentially tie into the story of Local 58, but I will be ignoring those for now. This is my interpretation of the story, so please do not take this as fact.


The first video released is titled “Weather Service”. It starts off with a list of upcoming programs, with the next one starting at 12:15. However, it quickly cuts to an emergency weather service announcement, which tells the viewer about a meteorological event going on until sunrise. It advises us not to view this event with the naked eye. The broadcast goes back to the upcoming programs for a little before quickly being hijacked by another alert. This time it is far more aggressive about warning us, even calling it a “civil danger alert”. It tells us to remain indoors and make sure not to look at the sky. The footage cuts and the text changes to a message telling viewers that not only is the warning lifted, but we should go outside now. The video once again cuts, but this time to the manual text being typed out, telling us to not look at the moon and to stay away from anything that could let the moonlight in. A final weather announcement comes up, but instead of it waning us, it details one person who accidentally saw moonlight through a mirror. This can be assumed to be the person just talking to us. He talks about how he now worships the moon and encourages us to look as well. One final cut is made to footage of the moon very close to Earth with the sounds of screaming in the background.


When I think of Local 58, I think of Weather Service. It lays out most of the big plot points, while still leaving room to wonder what all is happening here. However, there are a lot of hints we do get. First of all, Local 58 is being hijacked by an outside force. We come to learn later that these hijackers are most likely aliens. They seem to be trying to get people to look at the moon, while the people behind Local 58 try to stop the hijacking. The other big event going on is the moon itself. It seems that looking at it or any moonlight will somehow brainwash the person looking. The person warning us about the moon proves this point, as after seeing moonlight, he seems to almost worship the moon. He even encourages others to look with him, so they will experience the same fate. One thing to note is that the moon probably isn’t like this usually, because otherwise everyone would be brainwashed at this point. Overall, Weather Service sets up a lot of important parts of the story without giving any background information.


The second video released is titled “Contingency”. The video starts at the end of the broadcast day for Local 58, before a message appears on the screen. The message is from the U.S. Department for the Preservation of American Dignity, a fake federal department. This message was clearly not intended to be released at the time it did, evident by the fact that the date is not filled out. The message explains that America has had to surrender to an insurmountable force. Despite the fact that they may now occupy the U.S., they can not occupy the individual spirit. It calls on every citizen to act, and not let the enemy truly win. A few more messages are shown on the screen telling the viewer they should not be scared, and that it’s a privilege to serve our country. The purpose of the message soon becomes very clear though: because America has been taken over, they want every citizen to commit suicide as a way of “not losing to the enemy”. It even tells the viewer to take care of their children before themselves. This is quickly cut off after this, and a message from Local 58 appears telling the viewer the message was a hoax and should be disregarded.


This one is probably the most unsettling to watch, because of what it implies. This message was accidentally played during a regular programming night, most likely from the hijackers. While there was clearly no actual overwhelming force that beat America in real life, the fact that the government would have this ready at all times is a scary thought. It seems the motive to put this up is to get rid of as many people as they can, aside from looking at the moon. This highlights another example of the hijackers hoping people will blindly trust what’s told to them on TV. There is no way to know how effective it is, but hopefully, everyone is smart enough not to listen.


The third video is titled “You Are On The Fastest Available Route”. It starts with another list of upcoming programs before cutting to dashcam footage of someone driving in a thunderstorm. The time is just before two in the morning (1:57). The GPS tells the driver instructions on how to get to the destination, and that they will arrive in two hours and twenty-eight minutes. The footage cuts to about one and a half hours later (3:22), and the driver is on the highway. The GPS reroutes him, seemingly because of traffic, and tells him to exit onto a utility road. It then cuts to an hour and fifteen minutes later (4:47), with the GPS telling him he will arrive at the destination in 14 minutes. This is past the expected arrival time, but not by much. It then reroutes again and tells him to take a u-turn thirty minutes later (5:12). The footage cuts to the driver going through a bumpy dirt road another fifteen minutes later (5:27). The GPS then says to follow the “do not enter”: signs, before telling him to turn off his headlights. After he does this, a loud noise is heard before the headlights come back on and we see a tall, thin creature in front of him. The driver then turns around and drives away. The GPS tells him to turn back around, before changing to telling the driver his destination is right in front of him. The same loud noise is heard before the car crashes, and the driver’s whereabouts are left unknown.


This is another example of the hijackers trying to get people to blindly trust whatever they hear, and this time it seems to work. However, that’s not the main topic here, the creature is. If we work under the theory that the hijackers are aliens, this is most likely one of them. They used the GPS to lure someone into the woods before attacking them. This and the previous video hint that the aliens are not just trying to brainwash humans, but rather get rid of them by any means necessary. Also, the fact that they can knock over a car makes them seem not only smart but also strong, which is a bad sign for whatever is to come.


The next video is “Station ID”, however, this is more of a trailer for the Youtube channel. It doesn’t provide us with much but it has a few quotes that may hint at some themes in the series, such as “there are other receivers” and “safety in numbers”.


The next video is called “Show For Children”. This video shows an episode of an old children’s cartoon. However, said the program is playing at 4:15 AM, so no child will probably see this. The episode within the video is called “A Grave Mistake”, and features a skeleton boy named Cadavre. The episode starts with Cadavre walking through a graveyard with the moon smiling at him from the sky. He stops at an open grave, and thinking he might find a skeleton girlfriend in there, Cadavre nervously looks in. He does find a skeleton, but it is a horrifying, realistic-looking human skeleton with eyes staring back at us. Cadavre gets scared and runs away. The episode then fades to black, before showing us the same setup of Cadavre walking through a graveyard, except he seems much more scared. This time when he looks in the grave he sees a terrifying amalgamation, almost in the shape of a human fetus, but with a tangle of random animal parts. Cadavre then gets scared again and runs away. The screen fades to black again and fades back in with the same setup and Cadavre still being scared. This time, the moon isn’t smiling, but staring at him creepily. When Cadavre looks down the grave this time, he is greeted with a long tunnel leading underground. The screen fades to black one final time and Cadavre is walking underground, shivering and seemingly in pain. When he reaches the grave, this time underground, there is nothing in it. However, Cadavre lies in it, facing straight up as if waiting to die. He looks up out of his grave and sees the moon, extremely close to him. We are then shown Cadavre as a realistic skeleton, clearly dead before the episode ends.


I love this episode. It has a fun art style and genuinely feels like an old cartoon. However, this does seem to point toward Local 58 itself being behind some of this. Not only is this well animated, but there also seems to be no signs of a hijacking, such as static or any hard cuts. The only explanation I could think of is this is trying to warn kids about the moon but honestly, nothing adds up for that. Why Local 58 would be doing this though is something I can’t figure out. However, there is one part of the cartoon itself that sticks out: Cadavre dies when he looks at the moon. There are two explanations for this. The first is that the moon only sometimes kills people, and other times it brainwashes them. The second theory is that it’s more of a metaphorical death, where you lose your free will. Which one it is though is mostly inconsequential to the story as a whole.


“A Look Back” is similar to Station ID, in that it is more of a channel trailer. In this one though, we get more information: “We send signals to ourselves through their domain. Did we really believe they wouldn’t add their own?” This pretty clearly explains the TV hijacking, as since we send radio signals to space to be broadcast to homes (or a GPS), aliens are messing with those signals during that travel.


The next video is titled “Real Sleep”, and it starts with us watching a list of upcoming programs with the next program being called Real Sleep. However, a VHS video is instructed into the TV before this program comes on. The video was made by the Thought Research Initiative (TRI) and was to be seen by Philip Gerhardt. Neither of these names ever come up again, but it does show there are more parties involved in this story. The VHS starts with section 1: Myth Versus Fact. and tells the viewer to turn to page 7 in their notebook. It gives true or false questions about sleep and dreaming, but shows a clear bias against the idea of dreams, claiming they ruin sleep and are just hallucinations. We then move on to section 2: Kleitman Map. This is just some pseudoscience about how dreams are bad, and how the TRI plans to get rid of them for the viewer. We then get to section 3: Inducing Your Anti-Dream. This part is the part where the TRI tries to get rid of dreams for the viewer. However, no two minds are alike, so this will only work on Philip Gerhardt himself. In sequence 1, it tells us to look at the center of his TV, while images of a face from different lighting angles flash up on the screen. Sequence 2 is more of the same, but with two faces at the edges of the screen that move together into one face in the middle. Sequence 3 is the same as sequence 1, but the faces are distorted and we are told to repeat the phrase “there are no faces” over and over. Sequence 4 tells us to “read each phrase without reading”. It flashes many messages up on the screen too fast to read, but they relate to giving up the ability to dream, and by extension, giving up your free will. The video then ends with the TRI telling us we will no longer dream, and that we should not see a doctor.


Real Sleep is my absolute favorite video in the whole collection. It is extremely unsettling and leaves a lot of room open for interpretation. This video is almost entirely on a separate VHS tape, not Local 58 itself. Real Sleep most likely refers to sleeping without dreams, which the video says is a good thing. It seems like the TRI is trying to stop people from dreaming, possibly as another way of getting rid of their free will. Also, it may be trying to get the viewer to stop recognizing human faces as a good thing, or at all. This is most likely another way of erasing free will. This also gives credence to the theory that Local 58 is evil, as there is no way the aliens could do months of experiments on people without being found out. Local 58’s motives, however, are still unknown. It is important to remember that the station tried to fight back against the hijackers in Weather Service, so there is probably only a small collection of evil people at the station.


The next video is titled “Skywatching” and opens with a program called Skywatching. However, this is quickly replaced with a home video, which is camera footage of the night sky that looks at constellations and names them. After showing a few constellations, the camera points at the moon, and names it “His Throne”. The camera zooms way into the moon’s surface, showing that the moon is covered by large fibers and pulsating masses, possibly hinting that the moon or something on it is alive. The camera then shows us a strange set of structures and carvings on the moon, too precise to be an accident. The camera then cuts to a tree line, and all of a sudden the moon gets extremely close to Earth in a huge white light. A weather siren plates in the distance as the cameraman walks in front of the camera, seemingly reaching out to the moon. Text appears on the screen: “Rejoice”.


This episode also takes place almost entirely on a VHS tape. This seems to just be telling us the same things as Weather Service, but with new information. First of all, the moon comes in a flash near the end, so that’s probably the only time people are affected by it. Also, the patterns on the moon are another supporting argument for aliens, who have set up base on our moon to watch us from afar. Why the moon is seemingly a living being or at least containing one, is unknown to me. Maybe this is the alien’s leader or a higher entity they look up to. This may also be the reason they are hostile to humans. One fun fact that I can’t say much about is that on the official merchandise page (yes there is one), the moon is given the name “The Child.”


The second to last video is titled “Digital Transition”. In this video, Local 58 is switching from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. However, it claims it is just switching in July of 2021 due to federal regulations. In real life, this regulation was made in June 2009. It then shows a highlight reel of the history of Local 58, from its creation to its most famous programs. Finally, at midnight, Local 58 makes the change to digital TV. At least, that’s what was supposed to happen. A message comes up after some static stating they will not change to digital. However, this is clearly another hijacking. Behind the real message from the station, there are cryptic messages popping up, barely visible. The messages are then all removed and replaced with the phrase “Go Outside Now”, before the whole broadcast breaks. Then messages are shown telling us about how we need to speak for “him” if he is silenced. It then claims there are no stars above, only eyes waiting to open. Some kind of face appears on screen before the broadcast seemingly makes the switch to digital, telling the viewers still on analog to make the change.


This switch from analog broadcasting to digital was most likely an attempt by the government to stop the hijackings, and by extinction, the aliens. However, during this transition, Local 58 gets hijacked once more, and the aliens go all in this time. They try to get people to go outside, say cryptic poems, and try to stop the switch to digital. However, in the end, they are unsuccessful, and Local 58 transitions to digital broadcasting. This is another point towards Local 58 having ulterior motives, as they stayed analog for as long as they could. Not too much else to say about this episode, it was just really good.


The latest video is unlisted from the Local 58 Youtube channel, but again there will be a link to it at the bottom. It is titled “CLOSE”, and features a program from this story’s version of NASA, the Space & Aeronautics Regulatory Oversight (SARO). They are performing the C.L.O.S.E. mission, which stands for Cometary Lander Orbiter Survey Expedition. The program follows the camera footage of the lander on its way to an asteroid called “57838 Eidolon”. This program shows the 25 minutes leading up to the landing, making this by far the longest video yet. Throughout the program, we get facts about the mission, such as how the asteroid has been nicknamed the “Comet Skull” because on one side it looks like a skull with proper lighting. This becomes very apparent, as that is exactly what we see from the camera. The whole 25-minute mission has the face of the asteroid staring back at us, and it’s genuinely unsettling. However, only about a minute and a half, before the lander touches down, the camera shows us a door on the asteroid in one of the skull’s eye sockets. This door looks exactly like one from Earth, designs and all. It is also about a fourth of the asteroid’s height, but we never get a scale for how big either of these are. The lander touches down with the camera facing the door, but we only get one image about every three seconds. Eventually, though, the door opens and inside we can barely see the wall, which has the same patterns that were seen on the moon in Skywatching. The lander is then thrown into space at an insane speed, way faster than it got there before the video feed loses connection.


Despite this being by far the longest video, it really doesn’t contain much information. The only things that could relate to the story is the ending and the nature of the asteroid itself. The main question here is “Why this asteroid?” Sure it may look like a creepy skull, but that’s not a good reason to spend millions of dollars and years of research to send a lander there. The main reason is most likely what we see at the end, which is the door and the unseen creature which throws the lander away. I really don’t have a good explanation for the door itself. It’s far bigger than any one human would make, not to mention the fact that it’s built into an asteroid, so I’m very confused about this. The creature inside though is most likely one of the aliens. If they can flip a car on Earth, they can probably launch a spacecraft in low gravity. My main explanation is that the asteroid transports the aliens from their homes to the moon, but how this happens is unknown. Also, the video stated that the asteroid never leaves our solar system. One thing to note is that while Local 58 is most likely evil, the SARO is most likely not, as they spent a lot of resources just trying to figure out what was happening.


There you have it, my theories about the story behind Local 58. There are so many parts of this story that are left unanswered or are just guesses, but we still get a picture of what is happening in this story Kris Straub has come up with. This form of storytelling is so cool to me because it uses the fear of the unknown to make you find answers for yourself. When you do go looking for answers though, the dark truths seem to be much worse than you could have ever anticipated. I don’t know if there will ever be another episode in the story, but I sure hope there is. Local 58 remains a trailblazer for indie horror content on Youtube but still manages to stick out even after over 5 years. I hope you enjoyed this deep dive into Local 58, and thank you for reading.



Unlisted final video: