Note: Sleuth Kings is discontinuing this case as soon as the current supply runs out. If you are unable to purchase it from them, the only way to get it would be secondhand.
The following information is organized by clue item/puzzle. Any items not listed were simply props. Some people have complained online about Sullivan giving away too much when you ask him for a hint. I have tried to create multiple hints for how to solve each puzzle. I hope that this can provide a better experience for fellow Sleuth King subscribers.
At the end of each puzzle section will be the complete “solution”. If anyone found any additional information (or think my conclusions are wrong) from these clues, please comment and let me know!
I have ordered it in the way that I think is the most enjoyable order of going through each puzzle. Sullivan suggests going through the clues in order so I will start with Clue 1. At the very end I will summarize the entire story of the case as best as I can.
Important disclaimer: I will NOT be posting any pictures of the items that are in this case. If you want to experience this case, you must subscribe to Sleuth Kings.
Clue 1: Smilin’ Jack’s Letter (First Puzzle)
The cast agrees that the haunting of Smilin’ Jack began with this letter from him left at the theater. It seems to have two different codes that need to be cracked. I’ll admit that in order to solve this clue, my partner and I had to look at the Clue Analysis paper.
You can totally ignore the actual message that the letter has written, it doesn’t help you in solving the puzzles. As far as I know the shapes to the left of the first puzzle mean nothing as well.
The checks indicate that the letter is in the correct space. The X’s indicate that the letters (and spaces) in that column have to be rearranged. Here is what it looks like with the check marked columns in place. Note that words continue to the next row unless there is a blank.
Here is what it looks like with the blanks in place for every column and the question mark.
Once you place all of the letters the message reads:
Not ready to die? Find the poster’s nine hidden words to read the code.
Clue 2: Ruined Poster
Eva created promotional posters to advertise her show. She found that a bunch of them were vandalized and covered in nonsensical phrases.
If you haven’t done the first puzzle in Clue 1 yet, do that.
The phrases themselves are hilarious but also nonsense. You’ll need to only read part of each phrase.
I suggest writing down the phrases without the spaces and trying to find any word that can be made with a portion of the letters (do not reorder any of the letters). Eventually you should be able to get a phrase.
Here is the message from the poster:
Code: Move all forward one and use the program.
Clue 1: Smilin’ Jack’s Letter (Second Puzzle)
If you haven’t done Clue 2 yet, do that.
Clue 2 says to move all forward one. Move all letters forward one in the alphabet (Z goes to A). Move all numbers forward 1 numerically as well.
Once you move the title of the table properly, it should read “Songs Page”. Open the program to the Songs page. Can you figure out what the code is referring to on this page?
DN stands for Director’s Note. A stands for Act. L stands for Line. W stands for Word. Use these to find the words that corresponds to each cell.
Once you find the corresponding words the message should read:
Can you feel the heat from my gaze? Try adding your own.
Clue 3: Defaced Script
One of the lead actresses in the show, Sam Miller, found her script open to this page with . a giant smiling face drawn across it.
You may notice that you can see some words through the smiling face. Can you make it out?
If you haven’t solved Clue 1’s second puzzle do that.
You’ll need to literally apply Clue 1’s second message to this clue. We used a candle to do the job.
Once you apply heat to the smiling face it should review two messages and the line said by Smilin’ Jack in the play. The three things should be:
This is your last warning.
Quit now to live. Ignore me and die.
I ate your friends. I’m a bloodthirsty ghoul, you know.
Clue 4: Discarded Note
Two of the cast members, Kelly Rice and Rue Neil, overheard Jack’s voice while locked in the supply room. Upon investigation, Sullivan found a password protected cell phone hidden in the vent of the room. He also found a crumpled piece of paper that he assumes will give him a clue on how to unlock the phone.
There are two questions you’ll need to answer to solve this problem. If you haven’t done Clue 3, do that.
If you haven’t read the interview with Kelly Rice and Rue Neil, read (or skim) that.
The above two hints should give you your answers. They are ghoul and stage. From here it’s basically a guess and check. Try to think of words that have to deal with the case.
We first guessed ghost and that didn’t work. Eventually we got that it is haunt.
After Finding The Phone Password (Audio Puzzle)
After you email Sullivan the code to get into the phone, he’ll send you to a site where you can listen to the audio that was played from it. He asks that you figure out exactly what the audio is trying to say.
The message mentions all of them being “marked”. Does that remind you of anything?
You’ll need to use the three photos that came along with the case.
The message says to look for what is not there. What letters of the alphabet are missing from these photos?
The letters missing are A,E,I,L,N,R,W. You’ll need to figure out who in the cast these letters refer to. The program might be helpful.
Rearranging the letters you get the name
The Full Story (MAJOR Spoilers)
Eva Verde is the director of an upcoming musical comedy at The Victoria. The musical, Smilin’ Jack, is about a group of friends who travel to a secluded cabin in the woods and somehow (no idea how) accidentally summon an evil ghost (Smilin’ Jack) who possesses one of the friends named Abby and begins killing them.
All is set to go well UNTIL a mysterious and threatening letter is left on set by someone–or something–claiming to be Smilin’ Jack. Jack tells them (in a serious of hilariously ridiculous sentences and puns) that they were foolish to think this was just a musical. He’s here and they are all going to die…one…by…one.
He’s not completely ruthless though; he’ll give them a chance to save themselves in the form of two coded puzzles.
Never mind the puzzles, the cast and crew are terrified. The Victoria is known for being haunted and now the stories are proving to be true! To avoid certain death, they all quit the show. Eva, who doesn’t believe in this ghost story, contacts Detective Sullivan King to help her get to the bottom of what’s happening.
The first puzzle in Jack’s letter leads them to several defaced promotional posters that have nine random phrases graffitied across them. In each of these phrases is one hidden word that tells them how to solve the second of the two puzzles in the letter. This second hidden message directs them to a defaced script of one of the cast members.
Applying heat to this script reveals two more hidden messages (and a line in the script). The messages relay that everyone must quit the play or die. (Sorry Jack you’re too late they already quit before your message was decoded!)
Sullivan, convinced one of the cast members is “Smilin’ Jack”, interviews two of them. The two claim to have heard Jack’s voice telling them something after being locked in a room with the lights turned off. They don’t know what he said, but they know that it sure was scary.
Sullivan searches the room and discovers a cell phone hidden in one of the air ducts. He cracks the cell phone’s password and listens to the Jack’s message himself. The recording eludes to three cast photos that were taken during a cast outing. On each cast member there is a smiling face and a letter. Putting together the letters that don’t appear on any of these photos leads Sullivan to the real Smilin’ Jack: Erin Law.
Once the case is solved, Erin eventually admits to the sabotage. It was her first time having a starring role in a performance and she cracked under the pressure. Being cast as Smilin’ Jack in her first big role meant that she might never be taken seriously by the industry. Afraid of being blacklisted if she dropped out of the play, she decided that sabotaging it was her only option. (Too bad sabotaging the performance will effectively end her career.)
The rest of the cast and crew return to work and the role of Smilin’ Jack goes to Erin’s understudy. Eva is sure the play will be a hit, even after everything that’s happened. In fact, you’re invited!