The Spider Cliff Mysteries

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Clues in the Gondola Cypher

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Clues in the Gondola Cypher

Posted by Swift_Articuno, 4:31am, 6 Dec, 2007

I know that Jason's already made a thread on the latest story, but this one focuses on the clues, and anyway, that thread is pretty much dead. :P I just wanted to make this thread so we could discuss all the clues (if anyone even reads this).

Anyway, the clues in chapter 1 are:
1. Annabelle says that dried bumberberry is a known zombie repellant.
2. Annabelle says that Alistair named the bumberberry after her as he found it when they were courting. ( So its called Annabelle's Bumberberry)
3. Barlow says the fireplace in the sitting room has a code carved on it. (I think)
4. Annabelle says there is a secret passageway behind the FAKE fireplace.

Chapter 2:
1. Alex says that when the weathervane over the Moncole Factory moves, it points out the location of a demon. ( Maybe it was Crystal causing it to move or it was just the wind. Or maybe its just doesn't work at all)

Chapter 3:
1. Eliza says that on 1 day of the year, residents of SC can explore Smoggy Woods, because there'll be a fogtide.
2. Barlow says to himself: How would the weathervane-thingy work?
3. Eliza says that she can't explain the disappearance of the thrash that they dispose into the Smoggy Woods.
4. Turnip says that the Sheriff has killed 4 times the normal amount of paper mammals recently. ( The clue in Chapter 4 explains why)

Chapter 4:
1. the sheriff says that he had to make extra paper bags to prepare for the fogtide.
2. The sheriff says that Elkwood Sprawling managed to get out of the Smoggy Woods before.
3. Rebecca says that she takes mushrooms and turns them into wine. ( Even though mushrooms are usually poisonous)
4. The sheriff says Rebecca gets jealous when the sheriff goes into the woods. And not for a good reason too, he adds. ( I'm not sure what that means but in another chapter it shows that he knows a Wood Nymph. Hmm... >:) )

Chapter 5:
1. Alex stops Barlow ( like: "NO!") from killing Annabelle
2. Alex says that the boys( Him and Barlow) have spent 10 years looking for wood nymphs.
3. Alex says that the Red-Fanged Mandrake can be used to make an anti-love and love potion.

Chapter 6:
1. The sheriff says that the fog is being pushed back further than usual because of the wind.
2. Rebecca knows someone who used a love potion. ( I think it was that whole Katherine- Vedalia thing)

Chapter 7:
1. Alex says that mushrooms are mobile and tend to move towards areas where the fog is most dense, meaning they lean towards deep into the forest.
2. Alex says someone went by the place earlier - Later it is revealed Eliza knows of the gondola and she goes there often.
This message was last edited on 6 Dec 2007.

Posted by smjjames, 11:45am, 6 Dec, 2007

there are 25 chapters to go, so you have a ways to go. but yea, that's great that you're doing this :)

Also, I have just realized a connection with the weathervane and the wind. If it is windy at ground level, Jason doesn't show it as windy (I would understand since he has to add more animations than there already are), but that might be partially why they can't hear Rebecca anymore.

Anyways, here is the connection, if it is windy enough for the fog to blow backwards, then it is probably strong enough to move the weathervane. A light breeze might not move a metal weathervane that easily, but a good constant wind might.

Also, I wonder why Eliza didn't mention the gondola earlier when she saw it first, which may have been many years before this story began. There is also a little bit of wierdness, if Eliza goes into the fog, how the heck does she survive if she goes that deep that often....... unless................. she knows magic!

While she keeps saying that she doesn't believe in magic, she did say in an earlier story that there perhaps are some things that just can't be explained by science. There are alot of things we don't really know about Eliza as she is somewhat secretive. So, I think there are many things we don't know about her yet.

please keep going :)

also, Jason said some time ago that there are clues in there which are not actually marked, and there are clues that are meant to throw us off track.

Posted by Swift_Articuno, 3:50am, 7 Dec, 2007

smjjames, thanks for the encouragement. Anyway, I love typing - the keyboard makes oh-so-cute sounds, and I have "itchy fingers" :P

If there are clues meant to get us off track, then we can read all the clues I type in and mark off those that are red herrings- that's what they're called, right?

Eliza might go into the fog during the fogtide, or she could use the mushrooms as a guide, or she might even use the rope technique- like how Alex used a rope so he could follow it towards the way out. :) Anyway, nice theory.

Okay, here's Chapter 8:
1. The sheriff says that the dead body in the gondola is Elkwood Sprawling.
2. Someone recently scraped something next to the dead body- Which I think should have been Eliza scraping off some plants or whatever when she passed by the place earlier.
3. Many of the townsfolk thought the project was foolish and SC fell into economic troubles after the gondola disaster. ( I'm willing to bet that Vedalia was one of the townsfolk

And Chapter 9:
1. There was something else in Crystal and Annabelle's mushroom bag- probably the flowers.
2. Alex looks at the cable and says that it probably was not a defect in the cable that caused the gondola to fall, and the strands in the cable have been cut in a straight pattern directly across one spot.
3. Katherine ivy Sprawling is- or was- Elkwood's wife
4. Alex says that there was a demon who tried to sabotage the restraining bar that holds the town in place on the day of the gondola disaster(and so Vedalia probably was not there to see the gondola fall)

Chapter 10:
1. Rebecca says the love potion recepie for the love potion or the potion could be deadly.
2. Rebecca says Aunt Vedalia had a bad situation as a result of the love potion. Of course all of us know she was going to marry Elkwood until Katherine used a love potion.( Maybe its why she treated Barlow badly- "Men/Boys cannot be trusted"- that sort of thing)
3. Eliza reveals that she has known about the gondola for years- "lots of plants grow there( or something like that)"

Chapter 11:
1. The last member of the Moncole Family left before Rebecca moved into SC. This might be a red herring. What do you think?
2. All the instructions and documentations for the gondola system is in the public archives.

Chapter 12:
1. There are more corpses at the gondola station on the other side.
2. Elkwood did not die from the fall of the gondola.
3. The gondola goes into the misty woods, and Annabelle is suggesting that Barlow has more faith than Crystal.

Chapter 13:
1.The last remaining partner in the project, Hannibal Bath- where does Jason get the names?- ceded his rights to the gondola in 1970. Meaning the gondola belong to the residents of SC.
2. The workers building the gondola used a dirigible to get to the station during its construction.
3. Turnip exclaims that it looks like the remains of Elkwood Sprawling wrote to them.

Chapter 14:
1. The message on the gondola was burned into the wood.
2. Rebecca said Annabelle looked like she was talking to Elkwood.
3. Around only 15 min passed when Eliza saw Annabelle "talking" to the dead body and when Turnip saw the message.
4. There is an "X" under Elkwood's hand.

More later when I feel ready to type again. I'm starting to feel lazy :P

This message was last edited on 7 Dec 2007.

Posted by Swift_Articuno, 4:16am, 7 Dec, 2007

Chapter 16:
1.Annabelle thinks the first message is a love potion recepie.
2. The message is written in the Sprawling code- Turnip recognises the code- do you think he knows how to decode it? :P
3. Turnip stole Eliza's minature acetylene torch.

Chapter 17:
1. If there's anything Vedalia hates more than demons, its Elkwood.
2. A "child-stealer" managed to get into SC on the day of the gondola disaster, but shouldn't have been able to do it on her own.
3. Anybody who went into Smoggy Woods will have his/her soul lost forever.

Chapter 18:
1. The oracle says something like: It all starts by weilding the instrument of the turning tide. ( I have the feeling Barlow's full bladder's got something to do with the turning tide thing.
2. Crystal says that she has the impression that the oracle doesn't work until you ask the right question.
3. Annabelle exclaims that it is not possible for Elkwood's body to move, as there is no life force in the bones.

Chapter 19:
1. Annabelle didn't see the hatchet when she put Elkwood's body in there, so its was there for about 10 minutes or so.
2. Hatchet-paws was a vicious killer who roamed the streets around 50 years ago.
3. Elkwood is mentioned as Thomas Elkwood in some old newspaper clippings, and he took his wife's surname.
4. Crystal says: So he gets engaged to Vedalia and then two days later married this other girl? Talk about jitted!
5. Crystal thinks they should check out Katherine's diary, as she suspects Katherine knows a few things about making potions with a mandrake.

Chapter 20:
1. Thomas Sprawling, son of Elkwood and Katherine Sprawling, was stolen by a demon.
2. Katherine Ivy Sprawling and her brother Ignatius were the only children of Lazeby Sprawling, who built the original paper mammal mill.
3. A passage from Katherine's diary goes: It worked! It worked better than I ever imagined! I insisted that we get married imediately!

Chapter 21:
1. Katherine made a copy of the gondola thingy in case the real one was lost.
This message was last edited on 7 Dec 2007.

Posted by FFWF, 6:17am, 7 Dec, 2007

This thread reminded me of how curious I am about this mystery. I'm never very good at solving them myself, and it looks like an awful lot is going on in this one. Can anyone remember if jason said how long this mystery would be?

Posted by smjjames, 10:15pm, 8 Dec, 2007

I don't remember, but I think there were suppoused to be only a few more chapters as the latest one sounds like it is reaching a climax or a closing point.


Posted by ralphmerridew, 8:59pm, 19 Dec, 2007

I put together this timeline of various events:
1904: Vedalia Bean born
1907: Katherine Sprawling born
1908: Ignatius Sprawling born
1910: Parents (Lazeby & ??? Sprawling) killed by Melora
1923: Chickaree invasion

1928 or earlier: Vedalia & Elkwood engaged // Katherine & Elkwood married
1928: Dog-like demon killed by F. D. Blake
1930: F. D. Blake dies
1935: Thomas Sprawling born to K&E (stolen by demon as infant)
1936: Son born to Ignatius Sprawling & Ellen Sluggmosse Sprawling, ultimately died in tragedy (killed by Hatchetpaws)
: Mr. Sprawling retaliates for death by increasing mill 10x
: Short term profit, long term bankruptcy
1950: Elias Blake (mayor, skull) dies
1950: Edith Blake (sheriff) dies
1951: Arabelle Cathaway (banker, friend of Anabelle) died
1952: Ed Slugmosse (present Sheriff) born
1953: Robert Sluggmosse (???) died
1955: Helena Anastasia Monocle (???) died
1958: Disaster, Vedalia kills demon trying to destroy Spider Cliff
1976: Ed Slugmosse becomes Sheriff
1986/1987: Rebecca moves to Spider Cliff, tries to destroy it,
: Alex born, Barlow found.

smjjames's list of official town positions:
1887-1892 Dr. William Bean
1892-1912 Alistair Bigly Bean
1912-1930 F. Douglas Blake
1930-1949 Elias Sanderman Blake
1951-1999 Theodore Blake

1895-1912 Harrington Bean
1912-1950 Edith Blake
1950-1976 Nicolas Bath
1976-present Edward Sluggmoss

1887-1892 Dr. William Bean
1892-1912 Alistair Bigly Bean
1912-1930 F. Douglas Blake
1930-2002 Vedalia Bean
2002-present Barlow Bean
This message was last edited on 23 Dec 2007.

Posted by Swift_Articuno, 6:07am, 20 Dec, 2007

Wow, did that take long? Anyway, if anybody isn't lazy enough to type out the rest of the clues from chapter 20 to 25, could you do it for me? I getting really lazy. Especially when you come back from a holiday. That gets me feeling REALLY and VERY lazy.

Posted by ralphmerridew, 6:33am, 20 Dec, 2007

I also have a transcript of maximum scoring answers for chapters 1, 4, and 8.

crystal: We need to learn everything we can on Elkwood's wife. This Katherine Ivy Sprawling had to know something about love potions, if she can snare Elkwood in two days.
crystal: What do we know about her?
annabelle: I checked all the birth records. Katherine Ivy Sprawling and her brother Ignatius were the only children of Lazeby Sprawling, who built the original paper mammal mill.

crystal: Look for entries around the time of her wedding. She got married to Elkwood only two days after his engagement to Vedalia. If she used a love potion, she might have mentioned something about it.
annabelle: Okay... How does this passage sound?...
annabelle: "It worked! It worked better than I ever imagined! I insisted that we get married immediately!..."
annabelle: "He writes songs and poems for me, and he loves the poems that I write for him! He loves my name so much that wants to take it when we're married..."

crystal: But there's no proof that he loved her, except under the effects of that potion. It was Vedalia that he got engaged to.
annabelle: Well, he must have loved Katherine in no small way, because they stayed happily married for over 30 years!
crystal: Did Katherine and Elkwood have any children?
annabelle: Yes. They had one son, Thomas Sprawling, born 1935. They lost him, though. As an infant, he was stolen away by a demon. They never had any other children.

annabelle: Wow, Alex wasn't joking. This really IS the worst poetry ever written.
annabelle: It's a good thing that I'm already dead, because no mortal could survive this.
annabelle: Hey, look at this. I found it! Katherine's instructions for making a love potion!
crystal: See? I knew this was the right place to look.

Chapter 21

alex: ....And the story about how his soul is trapped in the hatchet he used, and if you find it he can possess you...
barlow: Yeah... I seem to remember a story about a boy who killed his twin brother with that hatchet...
alex: I don't remember that story at all. I guess there's a lot of stories about Hatchetpaws, but they're just variations of classic ghost stories.
alex: The one thing we know for sure is that he killed a bunch of people about fifty years ago, including at least one child.

crystal: We were going through Katherine Ivy Sprawling's personal writings, and we came across this useful little packet...
barlow: What is that?
crystal: It's a copy of all of the gondola documentation. All the schematics, the instructions, and a whole lot of engineering formulas. It looks like she made this extra copy in case the original was lost.

Chapter 22

crystal: Barlow has some weird theory about Turnip... that he's doing it because he's possessed by the ghost of Hatchetpaws or something like that...
crystal: Really silly stuff... It's not like Hatchetpaws has anything to do with...
crystal: H - A - T - C - H - E - T ...
crystal: Alright, well... I guess Hatchetpaws DOES fit into this after all.

crystal: That fits... and I'm sure it's right, but it doesn't work in the rest of the codes.
rebecca: There's an unused letter at the front of these codes. I think that's important.
rebecca: There might be a key for this code, and the letter might have some kind of effect on the key. It's a common way to make codes harder to figure out.

crystal: But if we fix it up, and we fix it so that people can go all the way to Sprawling-Mossville... things just won't be the same.
rebecca: You mean because Barlow would leave town?
crystal: Well... uh... that's no to say... uh...
crystal: .... That might be PART of it... but, you know... Only for Barlow's sake of course. The modern world would just ruin him.
rebecca: I wouldn't worry, Crystal. I greatly doubt that Barlow will be able to leave town by going in that direction.

Chapter 23:

turnip: Hatchetpaws was a killer, of both humans AND paper mammals... and his actions led to even more deaths after we caught him.
turnip: We caught him, you know... we paper mammals. We caught him, put him on trial, and when he was found guilty my ancestors pushed him into the woods until he couldn't find a way out. That's how we dealt with him.
barlow: Why did he do it?
turnip: They say he hated everyone, paper and flesh alike. He talked to demons, and at some point he made a deal with them, exchanging his front paws with hatchets.
barlow: So he caused the gondola disaster?
turnip: I don't think so. It was around the same time, but I'm pretty sure that Hatchetpaws was already dead by then.

barlow: Are you hiding something? Are you in contact with him?
turnip: Are you even serious?! Hatchetpaws was an enemy to human and paper mammal alike. The damage he caused us goes way beyond his crimes...
turnip: One of his victims was the young son of a Sprawling, and afterwards Mr. Sprawling was so angry at us that he increased the capacity of the mill tenfold.

barlow: Alex, how DID you burn this message into the wall?
alex: I... uh...
barlow: You didn't make this. This is a REAL message?!
alex: Uh... yeah...

ch 24

barlow: That's not the point!
crystal: And I'm not sure about this demon angle. I haven't noticed any difference in demonic activity around here, and I would definitely notice something like that.
barlow: Can you detect anything out of place?

crystal: Why do you want ME to follow Turnip?
sheriff: I know he's a criminal, I just don't know if he's involved in this mystery. Let's just say that it'll be up to you to clear him.
crystal: Oh, so he's guilty until proven innocent?
sheriff: Where he's concerned, that's how I always feel.
sheriff: And let's face it... since Barlow and Turnip are supposedly good friends, I'm afraid Barlow might be too lenient towards him.

barlow: I'm through with you conniving girls!
barlow: You, Annabelle! You have been a bad zombie! Go straight to your room until I say otherwise.
annabelle: Okay...
barlow: And YOU, demon... You organized this whole thing, didn't you?
crystal: I was just trying to make things balance out...
barlow: You know that Alex was trying to make an anti-love potion, right? It's the exact opposite of the potion you made.
crystal: Oh, and I bet the plan was to give it to Annabelle, right?
barlow: So he said, but actually I think he was going to take it himself.
crystal: Huh?
barlow: Don't be so stupid. I think Alex DOES love Annabelle, but he's too disgusted with himself to admit it publicly. Didn't you get the impression that he protests it a little too much?
barlow: And poor Annabelle, she's just a zombie. She might THINK that she feels love, but it's just an illusion, and Alex knows it. I think the whole situation is a lot harder on him than you know.
crystal: I... I never thought of it this way. Wow, I really messed this up, didn't I?
barlow: Well, yes... but I guess you don't know anything about being in love and having to keep in hidden. And you thought I was clueless about love, didn't you?
crystal: Oh, I might know more than you think.

ch 25

crystal: What's in this for me? I don't want to waste time on Barlow's silly theories.
sheriff: But in return, Barlow will be working on your angle.
sheriff: Think of it this way... Isn't there a long-standing tradition of demons and humans making pacts, each doing something that other can't do?
barlow: Sure, but that never actually works out for the human, does it? That's exactly the sort of thing that demon-hunters are around to prevent.

This message was last edited on 10 Jan 2008.

Posted by Swift_Articuno, 11:53pm, 22 Dec, 2007

Hey good job ralphmerridew! :) By the way do you know how to crack the code? I sure don't. I'm just not patient enough. :P

Posted by ralphmerridew, 9:05am, 23 Dec, 2007

Okay, I put my transcripts up at .

As for the cipher, the key phrase is in .

"JKH Lazeby ... MCMVII" has every letter of the alphabet at least once.

- Take the first letter of the encrypted message. It is the key letter. Find its first occurrence within the key phrase.
- Go through the message. Assign each new letter found within the key phrase to the first unassigned letter in the alphabet.

I put an encryptor / decryptor on the above page.

Various questions to ponder

Posted by ralphmerridew, 11:08am, 23 Dec, 2007

Who sent the first and third messages? (call him X)
Ellen was a Slugmosse (possibly sheriff's aunt). How is that important?
Who sabotaged the gondola? Why?
- What REALLY lives in the forest?
- Who will the next resident of Spider Cliff be?
What's special with the Sheriff and the woman in the woods?
What's the significance of Ellen's dead child?
Why does X want the gondola stopped?
What's the connection with the demon Vedalia killed on Gondola Day?
What's the connection with Hatchetpaws?
Why is X using the Sprawling code instead of plain English, or just telling the intended recipient?
Sheriff stowed away onto the dirigible to the platform. So what?
Why did Turnip steal the torch?
Why is X burning the messages instead of writing them?
Why did the skeleton appear in Barlow's room? Why was the mirror broken? What about the blood on his floor?
Why did Alex send Barlow off after the demon at the beginning?
Hatchetpaws was forced into the woods and "died". Is that important? Did somebody find his axe (and get posessed by it)?
- Why does the mist over Smoggy woods lift EXACTLY once per year?
What happened while Elkwood was in Smoggy woods?

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