the photography, music and ramblings of Matt Lipstein

Mystery Part Four: Next Moves & Facts

Thanks to all of you for your comments, suggestions, phone calls and emails. This is so much easier and exciting with everyones input. Here are some directions that make sense to me in terms of next moves.

1. Exposure

If you read the letter, it explains that part of my job is to use media to spread my clue. Stupidfresh has been great, but I'm starting to explore other options. I have already contacted Gothamist to see if they will run a post about these shenanigans. Let's wait and see. Should I begin hanging signs around Brooklyn and the East Village? Taking out an ad in the back of the Village Voice?

2. Focus on the next person

The other task at hand is using my clue to find the next person in the chain. I feel the answer to this still lies in cracking "squalloopi." It's been suggested by many of you in the comments that maybe the letters of squalloopi are a code, and each letter represents either a letter or a number. I like the idea of a number, because with 10 characters that would possibly be a full phone number. Some ideas of how to break it:

  • Darren led me to the idea of associating each letter with its corresponding number on a phone keypad. Since Q is not on some phones, I took a leap of faith and made it a 1, which gave the phone # a 718 (Brooklyn/Queens) area code. I called the person yesterday, and after getting a generic recording, left a nerdy message: "Um, hello. I'm in the middle of a real-world mystery. If you know what squalloopi is, please call me back at..." As of yet, no call backs.
  • Sara put up a great comment about switching the letters to numbers and then anagraming those to come up with a batch of NYC area codes. There are so many combinations of numbers, I fear this may not be the right road.
  • In the letter is listed an email address I went to Hush and tried to create my own account. When I did, I saw that it doesn't assign you a random number at all. So whoever started this CHOSE that email address. So what does that string of 8 numbers mean? Could it correspond with the 2 letters of squalloopi (remember two of the ten letters are doubled)
3. Give Up

After everything that I/we have been through with this, I am not about to throw in the towel. However, a big part of this is the aspect of the Prisoner's Dilemma. Jgonso left an awesome comment exploring this. Maybe it's time I just email the address in the letter to see what happens? Perhaps all of the back-story would be exposed. I am not leaning towards this, but it is an option.

4. The worst of all options

It was suggested to me by Melody today that perhaps this is all an April Fool's joke on me. This would be the WORST of all options, but the supporting criteria are stronger than I would like. The letter is dated 3/31/08, and I received it on 4/1/08. The letter makes mention of the game starting the day after it is printed. Whomever picked me to receive this knows I would be into it, and would be taking it to the level I already have (read: obsessive). If this is the case, there would be no other clues, no answers, nothing but fruitless searching.

It would also be an amazing April Fool's for them, mostly on me but also on all of you who have been involved at this point. I'm planning on moving forward as if this is not the case, but I felt it would be best to share my fears.

Stay tuned for more information - I'll be highlighting some comments that have been intriguing, including some possible insight from an anonymous reader - possibly the GameMaster himself?

- Lip

2 Responses to “Mystery Part Four: Next Moves & Facts”

  1. # Blogger O.D.B

    As far as exposure goes, I think that you should utilize YouTube, Craig's List, and the Voice. Anonymous seems to like the post about the prisoner's dilemma and not the one about the phone numbers. Do not give up. If I learned anything from 80's movies, it's never give up, never surrender.  

  2. # Anonymous rebecca

    re: 80024598
    did something significant happen for you in may 1998?
    4/2008 5/1998 ?

    really though--watch out--it migh tbe the devil.  

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