Mr. Walters planted a 500 pound safe near the School House last week. He challenged the school to solve a series of clues that would lead to the opening of the strongbox. It took over six days for the safe to be “cracked”. Juniors Alissa Muise (Blue Hill, ME), Ella Rutledge (Amesbury, MA) and Freshman Reed Brencher (Killingworth, CT) were there at the opening. While the juniors were celebrated, they admitted that,” the Freshman Class did all the work and gave us the last clue when they couldn’t solve it…” That didn’t impact the safecrackers enthusiasm when the final tumblers clicked into placed, “we screamed, grabbed everything inside, and ran” to which Mr. Walters commented, as “all good bank robbers do…”
The quest was an arduous one. Deven Hardikar (Peterborough, NH), one of the leaders of the Sophomore class attempt, recounts his steps:
- " The first clue was a cookie tin with lots of strips of paper. After assembling these papers in the correct order, it became clear that they were pages from a book. Red dots under letters in order spelled out, "A feather for your cap at the Dublin lake boathouse fridge."
- In the Dublin lake boathouse fridge was a feather. Rolled up tightly inside that feather was a musical staff with three notes and the symbol for "piano," as in "softly." The three notes on the bass clef were "F, A, B."
- Inside of one of the pianos in the F.A.B. was a violin with no strings. Written on the violin were the words "Vigenere's Cipher," and "The key is in your hands." Around the neck of the violin there was a ribbon with letters from end to end. Vigenere's cipher requires a key to figure out how many times you shift each letter. In this case, the key was "violin." The code translated to "Dig under the cracked stone beard of Dionysus."
- Leaning against a tree by the outing club, there just happened to be a stone face of Dionysus. Underneath his beard was a mason jar with lots of strips of paper. Hidden within the papers was an origami fortune teller. On the very inside of it, it said, "Ask Mr. Scalfano to lead you to a better place. Do not mention this clue."
- Mr. Scalfano pulled out a record from his shelf. Inside that record cover was a sheet of paper, with a picture of the tower of babel. On the front, it said, "Genesis 11 mentions no library, but its library has recently been built. Find the library. Your clue lies at:
- Hexagon: (a full page of letters and numbers)
- Wall: 4
- Shelf: 4
- Volume: 2
- Page: 236.
This one threw me off for a while, and I wasted a whole day looking for a library. However, I've found the library of Babel website locates documents using those same labels.”
Alissa tells us that the last part of the puzzle, which stymied many, was written in Cyrillic which is an antiquated Russian language commonly used in the 1700's. Ella and Alissa were in the Café, eating lunch and looking through Russian languages when Ella flipped the picture and there was a picture of the Cyrillic number system! Basically the symbols were the numbers for the combination....30-97.
Now that the safe has been cracked and the combination widely distributed, the goal for the library safe is to make it a specialized lending library of sorts. We expect further mysteries to appear, whether directed at an individual or the community at large.
Stay tuned, the fun appears to be just starting.