The Eleventh Hour

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Box contents

The following is a visual gallery of all box contents, as well as transcriptions of all text.
There are NO SPOILERS, puzzle explanations, or solutions detailed in this section.

Introduction card

The Mystery Experiences Company
P R E S E N T S
The ELEVENTH HOUR

INSTRUCTIONS
Need some guidance on how to get started or what to do next?
www.forrestcity.info/instructions.html

HINTS AND TIPS
Need a hint about a clue? Stuck on a puzzle?
www.forrestcity.info/eleventhhourhints.html

SOLUTION
http://www.forrestcity.info/eleventhhoursolution.html

Be sure to join our members-only Facebook group for discussions, tips, hints, behind-the-scenes information and more!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/mysteryexperiencescompany

Front of the introduction card.
Back of the introduction card.

Other items

The investigation

The investigation is a complete walkthrough and contains hints, explanations, and solutions.
Where possible, spoiler tags have been used, but CONSIDER THIS YOUR SPOILER WARNING.

  1. Read the front of the instruction card.
  2. Read the back of the instruction card.
    1. Read the Instructions if you need to.
    2. Don't go to the Hints and Tips page.
    3. Don't go to the Solution page.
    4. The Facebook group doesn't appear to exist anymore.
  3. Read the Letter from Mr. X.
  4. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 1.
  5. Visit and read http://www.ForrestCity.info/jan2017.html.
    1. Per the Instructions, ".html" needed to be added to the URL.

Forrest City Info: January 2017

QUICKLINKS:
Downtown Map
Archon Genomics
Christopher's Curiosities
Dante's Book Shop
OTS Law Firm

WELCOME TO Forrest City

NEWS FROM FORREST CITY

THE RESTORATION OF BEDFORD MANOR
As recently reported in The Forrest City Post, a secretive new owner purchased Bedford Manor on Savage Island and began the process of restoring the infamous mansion several months ago after the house had lain vacant for many decades. No one associated with the project has been willing to discuss it with the press, but one confidential source did provide four photographs of some of the completed restoration work with the Manor House. Although the authenticity of these photographs has not been independently confirmed, a historian consulted by the Post did indicate that the photographs appear to conform to the known layout and design of the mansion as first conceived by Nathaniel Bedford.

The Grand Hall
The Ballroom
The Reception Room
The Library

Notebook
The anonymous source also provided a photograph from the Bedford Manor library of a leather-bound notebook on a desk surrounded by some curious objects. This photograph appears below:

THE LIBRARY

Taking Chances
by Skip Peck
Length 2:24

Forrest City Radio
WCDF 98.6

FROM THE NEWS ARCHIVES

STRANGE DEVICES FOUND
A hiker found a strange device in the hills overlooking Forrest City. After the picture was posted on social media, other residents posted photos of similar devices they discovered around the city. The Forrest City Post has tried without success to determine who owns the devices. They do not emit signals in any known frequency. Rather, they appear to be some type of receiver or detector.

NEW EXHIBITION AT LANCASTER MUSEUM
A new permanent exhibition called Mysteries of the Ancients opened at the Lancaster Museum in downtown Forrest City. The exhibit features archaeological myths and folklore that were dismissed as fantasies by the scientific community until proven accurate years later. The city of Troy from Homer's Iliad is one example. Homer based the Iliad on stories he was told as a child. Until the late nineteenth century, scholars dismissed Troy as a mythical city, a figment of Homer's imagination. But in 1871, the German explorer Heinrich Schliemann followed the geographical clues contained in the Iliad and discovered the remains of the city of Troy in western Turkey, exactly where Homer had said it was. Other examples included in the exhibit are the Minoan civilization, Egyptian knowledge of higher mathematics, and Mayan knowledge of astronomy.

A LOST MAYAN CITY?
Jungles possess a certain mystique, one that captivates and terrifies us all at the same time. Perhaps it's because they're so good at keeping secrets. In southern and eastern Mexico, they've gotten especially good at hiding the ancient cities of the once majestic Mayan civilization. A team of academics and explorers from Forrest City will brave the jungles of Mexico when they embark on an expedition in search of a lost Mayan city. Dr. David Denton, Professor of Archeology at Drake University, has been studying what remains of Mayan writings and Spanish records of the Mayan civilization. He believes a large Mayan city still lies undiscovered in the tropical rain forest of the Yucatan Peninsula. Denton studied high resolution satellite images of the area where be believed the lost city was likely located. Denton believes the results of his analysis are conclusive: the jungle-choked remains of Mayan temples and pyramids in this lost city await discovery. The expedition is expected to begin in 2017.

CEMETERY RENOVATIONS
Extensive renovations have been underway at the Forrest City Cemetery this year. The work has been undertaken in phases by Gaveas General Contractors. Already completed renovations include dredging and restoration work at the reflection pond, upgrades to the welcome center, resurfacing of the roadways within the cemetery grounds, and rehabilitation of the cemetery chapel which has undergone some settling of its foundation over past decades.

Taking Chances by Skip Peck
Forrest City Radio WCDF 98.6


Forrest City Info: January 2017.
  1. Explore the rest of ForrestCity.info for background and flavor.
  2. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 2.
  3. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 3.
  4. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 4.
    1. The ArchonGenomics.com page is similar to the ForrestCity.info equivalent.
    2. The ForrestCity.info version has an additional link, presumably for a previous subscription box.
  5. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 5.
  6. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 6.
    1. Visit and explore http://www.otsfirm.com/ for background and flavor.
    2. Call 941-893-2427 and listen to the answering machine.
    3. Email OTSfirm@gmail.com for an automated reply.
  7. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 7.
  8. Read Forrest City Post volume 5 issue 32 page 8.
    1. Visit and explore https://www.facebook.com/christopherscuriosities/.
    2. Posts specifically related to The Eleventh Hour will be mentioned below.
  9. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 1.
    1. Read the front of the New Year's Eve invitation.
    2. Read the back of the New Year's Eve invitation.
    3. Read Facebook post December 24, 2016 4:34 p.m..
    4. Read Facebook post December 24, 2016 4:57 p.m..
    5. Read Facebook post December 24, 2016 5:17 p.m..

Christopher's Curiosities, December 24, 2016 4:34 p.m.

I'm excited to post that I received a very interesting invitation to a party on New Year's Eve. The invitation does not indicate who my host will be. I have no idea who else has been invited. The New Year's Eve festivities will be held at Bedford Manor on Savage Island. Bedford Manor has been abandoned for decades, but was purchased earlier this year by an unknown buyer. Now I may be one of the first to find out who the new owner is!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jeukLRPk3s

Christopher's Curiosities, Dec 24, 2016 4:34 p.m.

Christopher's Curiosities, December 24, 2016 4:57 p.m.

I'll wear my best suit to the New Year's Eve festivities at Bedford Manor on Savage Island. Looks like it still fits! My invitation says that guest rooms will be provided and a water taxi will return us to Forrest City on New Year's Day. I'll take an overnight bag and a change of clothes. I wonder how many guests have been invited?

Christopher's Curiosities, Dec 24, 2016 4:57 p.m.

Christopher's Curiosities, December 24, 2016 5:17 p.m.

I have to admit I'm a bit nervous about attending a party at Bedford Manor on Savage Island when I don't know who the host is and I have no idea who else is attending. But it's too good an opportunity to pass up! No one has set foot inside Bedford Manor for decades! I'm sure I'll know at least some of the guests. I'll pour myself a Scotch to steady the nerves. And before you criticize me for drinking my Scotch on the rocks instead of neat, you should try it first. The ice really brings out the flavor of the Scotch as it melts. Here's to a Happy New Year!

Christopher's Curiosities, Dec 24, 2016 5:17 p.m.
  1. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 2.
    1. Most of the named party-goers have headshots. Christopher and Edward C. Rutherford do not.
  2. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 3.
    1. Presumably, the included champagne flute, napkin, and beads are replicas of the items served that night.
    2. Follow the party-goers movements throughout Bedford Manor: First Floor, Second Floor, Third Floor, and Foundation Level.
  3. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 4.
    1. The included (and presumably replica) wristband can be seen in this photo and that photo.
  4. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 5.
    1. Casey Cavanaugh is mentioned, but she's not in the original party-goers list from page 2.
    2. One party-goer, Edward C. Rutherford, is not mentioned anywhere else in the entirety of The Eleventh Hour.
    3. We suspect Edward C. Rutherford's inclusion was an error, and it should have been Casey Cavanaugh instead.
  5. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 6.
  6. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 7.
  7. Solve "Puzzle #1: The Hangman Game (Dining Room)".
    1. "B" is included as a correct letter, but is also listed as incorrect. An error, presumably.
    2. If needed, read the official hints from The Mystery Experiences Company:
      1. Hint #1: The puzzle follows the same rules as the Hangman children's game.
      2. Hint #2: The letters below the hanging man do not appear in any of the words in the puzzle and can be ruled out as possibilities.
      3. Hint #3: Try starting with missing letters that you suspect are vowels.
    3. If needed, read some additional hints that might actually be helpful:
      1. Hint #1: Focus on the second sentence first (and perhaps only).
      2. Hint #2: The final word of the second sentence is a location within Bedford Manor.
      3. Hint #3: The first sentence is a quote from a Roman philosopher named Seneca.
    4. View the official solution: ​Every guilty man is his own hangman. Begin in the library.
  8. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 8.
  9. Solve "Puzzle #2: The Stick Figures (Library)".
    1. The Hangman's second puzzle is located: at the bottom of http://www.ForrestCity.info/jan2017.html (local copy here).
    2. If needed, read the official hints from The Mystery Experiences Company:
      1. Hint #1: The stick figures are actually a cipher. Decode the cipher to reveal a message.
      2. Hint #2: Look at the items around the notebook. They provide a clue about the cipher.
      3. Hint #3: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featured a dancing men cipher in one of his stories.
    3. View the official solution: The stick figure puzzle is found online at the Forrest City Info website. A photo of the puzzle was given to The Forrest City Post by an anonymous contributor. The puzzle is more properly called The Dancing Men. This cipher was invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Dancing Men." It is a substitution cipher and Sherlock Holmes solves it by frequency analysis. Translation keys and decoders for the Dancing Men cipher can be found online. The cipher reads: "Proceed to the billiard room."
  10. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 9.
  11. Solve "Puzzle #3: The Billiard Puzzle (Billiard Room)": the poem and billiard balls, the grid of letters, and the photograph of The Billiard Room.
    1. If needed, read the official hints from The Mystery Experiences Company:
      1. Hint #1: The poem (which is about billiard balls) is not used to solve the puzzle.
      2. Hint #2: Chart a path through the billiard balls to obtain a number sequence. Use the number sequence to unlock the message hidden in the number grid on the reverse side of the billiard ball page. The billiard room may present a clue as to what path to follow through the billiard balls.
      3. Hint #3: Using the path found in the painting hanging on the wall in the photo of the billiard room, you can chart a path through the billiard balls that reveals the following sequence: 1 13 7 9 5 11 10 8 14 2 6 4 12 15 3.
    2. View the official solution: Starting at the arrow in the upper lefthand corner of the letter grid, use the number sequence to count out the letters in the message. Start with the first number in the sequence (1) and count over one letter to find the first letter in the message (N). Then use the second number in the sequence (13) and count over thirteen letters from the letter N to obtain the second letter in the message (O). Continue this pattern until you have completed the sequence and decoded the message which reads: "Now to the map room."
  12. Read Notes taken by Christopher page 10.
  13. Solve "Puzzle #4: Drawers and Symbols (The Map Room)".
    1. If needed, read the official hints from The Mystery Experiences Company:
      1. Hint #1: Does the configuration of the symbols on the drawers seem familiar?
      2. Hint #2: Where have you seen those symbols before?
      3. Hint #3: The symbols appear on the wristband given to the guests.
    2. View the official solution: The symbols on the drawers are configured in the pattern of a telephone keypad. Compare the symbols on the wristband in the order they appear against the symbols on the drawers as if they were a telephone keypad to reveal a phone number: 941-444-2744. Call the number to determine your next step.
  14. The next step of the investigation no longer works. At this point, it'd be impossible to continue.
    1. But, this walkthrough will continue with the next logical step based on discovery and reference.
    2. Explanation #1: The phone number discovered in the previous puzzle is no longer in-game. Do not call it.
    3. Explanation #2: When called, the recorded message would have instructed you to go to a new website address.
    4. Explanation #3: When searching Google for ForrestCity.info results, we found one related to the Hangman.
    5. Explanation #4: Based on the official hints for Puzzle #5, this website seems to match the one they refer to.
  15. Visit and read http://www.forrestcity.info/thehangmanishere.html.
    1. This is a "puzzle" according to the official Hints and Tips page.
    2. The embedded video is a 1964 animated film of Maurice Ogden's "The Hangman".

thehangmanishere

The funnel of my family's salvation must continue narrowing towards the gallows.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFdoriKSne4

Being a hangman requires you to take someone else's life based on someone else's judgment, and carry it out on someone else's schedule. The job does not provide the same satisfaction that an ordinary murderer gets from smashing a skull. It robs them of the fulfillment of plunging a knife into someone's throat. The execution is a cold and impersonal affair. There is prayer, a noose, and a few last words.

At the end of it all, you have a broken neck and a dead body swinging from the end of a rope.

thehangmanishere.
  1. Solve "Puzzle #5: The Hangman's Page".
    1. If needed, read the official hints from The Mystery Experiences Company:
      1. Hint #1: Watching the video is not necessary to find the next step, but you will still find it interesting and entertaining.
      2. Hint #2: The quote below the photo of the Hangman is not involved in moving to the next step.
      3. Hint #3: Have you seen any of the noose drawings before?
    2. View the official solution: Look at the champagne flute to find the noose symbol that also appears on The Hangman's Page. Click on that symbol to finish the Hangman's challenges and see his next message.
    3. Clicking the first row's first noose image: sends you to http://www.forrestcity.info/eleventhhourdeadend.html.
    4. Clicking the first row's third noose image: sends you to https://www.wikihow.com/Tie-a-Hangman%27s-Noose.
    5. Clicking the first row's fifth noose image: sends you to http://www.forrestcity.info/eleventhhoursolution.html.
    6. Clicking the second row's second noose image: sends you to http://www.forrestcity.info/eleventhhourhangman.html.

eleventhhourdeadend

When a group of people are forced to navigate a minefield together, everyone feels a grudging sense of comfort when someone else gets blown up. Though there may be other unseen landmines left in the ground, each death creates a safe spot. A landmine cannot explode twice in the same place. Sure, the explosion robs the survivors of a comrade. Still, each death makes everyone's next step marginally safer. So everyone keeps walking with grief on their faces, and relief in their hearts. Their own deaths are further postponed by the end of another life.

eleventhhourdeadend.

eleventhhourhangman

Every good story starts with a simple premise. This one begins with the notion of survival. The determination to live is both instinctive and ferocious. It often encourages compromise with evil. Only the Devil ever benefits from such a bargain.

eleventhhourhangman.

eleventhhoursolution

Congratulations. You've completed my challenges before the passing of the Eleventh Hour. Tomorrow, the boat will return to take you back to the mainland and you each may return to your little lives. Forrest City holds so many dark secrets. Eight of them belong to the eight of you.

Can I tell you my secret? I was rather hoping you would finish in time. A hangman's job is so dull. The least you can do is make it a bit more sporting for me. Don't believe for a moment that I'm finished with you. Each of you must atone for your transgressions. The only question is when the hangman will visit you again.

I have another secret,

Aren't you curious as to who I am?

You haven't figured out my identity by now?

You know me as Johnson Savage.

But didn’t Johnson Savage die? That's what you are now pondering. The answer is no. I did not. But I made you believe that I did. Go and check. You'll find that my room upstairs no longer holds a corpse. You were so easily fooled by the prosthetic around my neck and the contrived scene that I created for you. Pathetic, actually. You should be more observant. I've spent the evening since my "demise" watching you rush about like rats in a maze.

So let me summarize for you the current state of affairs.

The Hangman has come to town. The Hangman's noose awaits you. Your sins will be punished. Your transgressions will be exposed to the world at a time, place and manner of my choosing. You've only earned a temporary reprieve at the Eleventh Hour.

Be sure to enjoy each of the few remaining days you have on this earth ... the Hangman comes again soon.

FINAL ENTRY

We solved the puzzle in the map room with little time to spare. The solution was a telephone number, but none of our cell phones worked and Robert had told us that there were no working telephones or internet on Savage Island.

Casey Cavanaugh found a telephone on the desk in the Map Room. She picked up the receiver and heard the sound of a dial tone. She quickly dialed 911. The dial tone persisted. She dialed her office number. Still the dial tone persisted. I took the receiver from her and dialed the phone number that we revealed in the solution to the Map Room puzzle. After a few moments, a recorded voice answered. It directed me to a website address.

After a frantic search of Bedford House, we located a new computer in Nathaniel Bedford's study. I tried several different web addresses — nothing worked. Then I entered the web address given by the voice on the phone. The screen was quickly filled with the Hangman's visage and words. We read the ominous message from the Hangman, both relieved and terrified at the same time. It appeared that we were no longer in immediate danger. But the prospect of continuing to be stalked by the Hangman was almost beyond comprehension.

True to the Hangman's word, the boat returned the next day to take us back to the mainland. We were shocked to find David Denton waiting at the dock. He had hidden all night in the mangroves. After we brought Denton up to date, we discussed our options. We all agreed not to speak about these events to anyone other than law enforcement. We each had secrets to hide. No one was eager to reveal the Hangman's motivations. We would let the authorities handle it.

But we would find no solace or relief. Both the Forrest City Police Department and the F.B.I. refused to investigate, citing a lack of jurisdiction over Savage Island. Phone calls to every part of the federal government that we could think of were rebuffed. We were left without recourse. We were left complete vulnerable to the Hangman.

So now we wait. Some have talked about running. Others about hiring security. But no one has yet taken decisive action. We are a unique club. Our membership is comprised of eight guilty souls hiding dark secrets from the past. And together, we await punishment from the Hangman.

We hope you enjoyed THE ELEVENTH HOUR. Join us for our next mystery experience: HEART OF DARKNESS.

--- The Mystery Experiences Company

eleventhhoursolution.
Notes taken by Christopher, final entry.

Unanswered questions

  1. Why did the Hangman target these ten people "for very specific reasons that are unique to each of you"?
  2. Does the Hangman think themself guilty of something? What? ("Every guilty man is his own hangman.")
  3. Did the Hangman kill his victims based on "someone else's judgment" and on "someone else's schedule"? Whom?