A mysterious package

story

#1

All right bees and platypuses, gather around for a mystery ekstraordinare that we have inherited from The Secret World. A fan made ARG.

The original thread is here https://forums.thesecretworld.com/showthread.php?74664-A-mysterious-package, but as the old forum will go into archive mode soon (I imagine), and moving old BBCode threads to this forum is an manual process, I will try my best to recreate what we got so far.

Veterans: Please come with corrections and additions.
Veterans and newbies: For the love of Gaia solve this thing!

And please be patient, I have close to 500 posts to sort through.


In 2013 Funcom (Oslo?) received a package! What could it bee?

A MYSTERY BOX!

And there is something inside!

Parts can be moved! Apparently it’s a puzzle box. Do not apply hammer as suggested!

Some clever devs manage to open it:

A NOTE!

Possible clue: Themselves are spelt themselfs.
Further moving on misspellings: Should tenements be tenets: a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy.
Reasoning behind looking into misspellings: Here we have a package that was sloppily wrapped. However the contents of the package were well organized, even logical. Then the message, at least 1 if not 2 misspelled words in a very short message.
Note interpretation: "To unlock the truths of the void one must off set themselfs from the ghettoes of known reality."
Note interpretation: "To unlock the truths of the void one must position themselves counter or askew from the really ■■■■■■ parts, all things considered of known reality."
Capital letter: K in known, but lower case in unlocks
Literal interpretation: “off set themselfs from the tenements” leave us with HSLF and NENT if removing common letter, or keeping common letters TEMES, or looking at the note TH and TS from physical placement on paper.
“tenements of known reality” appears to be a phrase included in a Call of Cthulhu New York game book
in word tenements, “ten” part seems separated from rest of the word
Offset is broken into two separate words… Off Set. This implies that spacing or word count in the message is important.
Further offsetting: t h e m s e l v e s = 20 8 5 13 19 5 12 22 5 19 and t e n e m e n t s = 20 5 14 5 13 5 14 20 19, but what to do with these numbers
The visible " " (space) inside the word “off set” is at the 44th position in the note (excluding line breaks). Well, there just so happens to be an open cluster in space in the constellation Cancer called “M44”, or also known as the “Beehive Cluster”. Look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_Cluster and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Messier_objects

AND SD CARDS!

Possible clue: There are apparently one 2 GB and five 8 GB SD cards.
Clue interpretation: 5x8+2 = 42

The ontents of SD cards are small files:

NOTE (from Funcom Dev): I edited the file 566F6964, as it contained the name of the creator of this puzzle (at their request). I think the 2min time difference only reflects them adding their name in, in the first place

Filenames to letters via hexdecimal gives:
of
Unlock
Void
The
the
truth
Most likely “Unlock the truth of The Void”

Comments about the files:

  • To create that phrase, the files’ names have to be rearranged into a sentence, the order being 256143. This number might be meaningful in some way.
  • All the files in the list are approximately 3 months old, but the third file (corresponding to the word Void) was modified 2 minutes after the other five files. (5:58 and 6:00)
  • Willing to bet it was the 2GB card. maybe the file contains an offset or sector number
  • More on offset (from note): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offset_(computer_science)
    Each of the file sizes is a multiple of 16.

Combining the note and the files:

  • The message from the dude said to unlock secrets of the “void” and then used the peculiar word “offset” from the “tenements of known reality” i.e.: the file system.
  • Caesar’s Cypher is an offset cypher, the paper’s text will tell the order of the SD cards. Maybe there’s a text encoded in an Hex “Caesar’s Cypher” in those files, The order for the files whould be indicated by the words each file describe: 2, 5, 6, 1, 4, 3 Reason for using 5 first and 4 later (since both are “the”). Sounds logical that The with capital T comes together with Void. Unlock the truth of The Void vs Unlock The truth of the Void
    The SD cards were inside the chambers of the honeycomb… the tenements. Off set the data on the SD cards and merge them into a single file as a couple of other people have done.

We got access to the file content! As always, be careful with files you don’t know, but none of us got infected PC’s nor did we start to put thumb tacks in our tongues.

  • 556E6C6F636B is winrar encrypted file
  • The winrar file have key and its 256143 but its empty.
    It’s not a coincidence, that “Unlock” (the file which represents the first word of the hex-sentence) has the file header. The file contents have to be combined in the right order within one file (hex editor to avoid copy errors), made into a .rar and then decrypted.

The Chinese connection, 2 files included chinese letter when opened in a text editor. Not sure if relevant or just encoding coincidence.

File 546865 - The
Text included:

擷誚箥淚琧ﭐ쌰ǝ⢸㼻꾪ᛮ㠻¸ᴟ� ��狱ꥍ㯩袰뼗ᱱ㞔䚾ඣⰮ箻䈄倣왪 겘쯃䄨ᆗ踲탕羓嶨ᗼꥦ䗗�� �Ṃ㩁錙粡볗書������潵똮埵嫟ᗚ馴臀� ��쩳憍툂�

File 7472757468 - truth
Text included:

妔Ϥ꾻龴ᄏ幞⡾퍲랊✆큽肢ᖢ땿⎙ >춳쀠ῲ욱梗춚更桤쪒縺瑿䲱貤ᜅ䩩� �횝ꩁ凰翂콜ꜹ㷯ꂦ㌐郂峗꩟魂禎㭄� ��㦢앹䆐媡

This is what we THINK is the correct .rar file:

Things to know about password protected RAR files:

  • assuming one has the correct password, the .rar file could be damaged and still accept the pw and at least show a file name
  • the file structure is such, that the encrypted name of the file(s) comes first, followed by the password
  • the encrypted filenames start somewhere around the fourth row (hex editor with 16 ANSI chars each row)
  • at least the first 6 rows are needed for the password to work and show a file
  • deliberately adding gibberish to the end of a passworded file does not prevent the password from being accepted and the files being shown… it just messes up the file contents
  • In theory the first file should be enough to test a password, without having to worry about the order of files or the total size of 2, 3, 5, or all 6 files added together.

At this point we’re looking into what the password can be. Maybe it’s up in the note section. Other attempts:

  • Maybe the password correlates with “honeycomb” shapes on the outer shell of the container.
  • not ‘password’ :wink: nor ‘swordfish’
  • yes, we tried to brute force it

Does the pattern o the exterior of the box give any clues? We don’t know, but here are the sides.

People tried to decode the pattern:

Pattern analysis:

  • searching the designs on the box I found some similar shapes in the form of chemical molecule skeletal formulas (molecules are also a structure of reality),
  • Specifically Mirtazapine and Amitriptyline which both happen to be antidepressant drugs (which could tie in to the offsetting of known reality),
  • the 3rd design lead to similar but not exact molecule Catechol which seems only linked by its derivative in MDMA.

Over a year passes with few to none real efforts. Then a cryptic message

From: Umagon
Seeing it has been over a year:

  1. The password exists and works. Do not pm, send me tells asking for it; as it will not happen.

  2. People were going down the correct path but for whatever reason took a right turn at Albuquerque.

  3. There is one very astute player who confronted me directly about being the creator of the puzzle when it was first posted. I hinted at its creation in the forums before it was completed, and this person is the only one who figured out who constructed the fully primed puzzle.

  4. This secret worlder, this unsung hero does not hold the detonator to the fully primed puzzle. Nor do they know more clues than anyone else.

  5. It wasn’t made by a “guy”. And there is no joke. Just a plan…

Umagon seems to be the creator, and he had posted in the thread earlier:

  • Maybe all the characters needed for the password are contained in the note.
  • Maybe they have already done this (Nord ed: strayed far off from solution), and the puzzle looks like it uses pattern recognition.
  • Or perhaps they are wondering why someone would complete investigation missions but be unable to complete this puzzle (Nord ed: comment to trolling comment/there being no solution).

Another year passes with few to none efforts.

More note ideas. The password is apparently here somewhere.

And now we are sending the mystery to friends at the FBI :rofl: (no luck btw)

Took a look at the creator post history, seems to be fluent in English, so misspellings are still possible clues.

Almost 3 years into the mystery
The clues within this spoiler are not connected to the puzzle after all, confirmed by the maker.

Funcom receives this, but is it related to our puzzle?


“The filth! Nah, it’s an icosahedron”

We jump 3,5 years into the puzzle

People are discussing different types of zipping software… And new people are looking down different paths described above.

We arrive at February 2018, 4 years 4 months since the package arrived.

We are at the present. I’ve now summarised the original thread as best I’ve could. It’s now up to you to solve this thing.


Funcom : What about The Secret World
#2

Place holder in case I need to reconstruct thread and need more space.


#3

They STILL haven’t cracked it?!?!?
Wow. This is genuinely amazing.
At this point I’m not sure whether it would be more fun to solve the mystery or leave it as a legend for the ages.
Either way, I second the Sticky motion.


#4

@andyb has said before that copying things from old forums is a manual process, so we won’t get a full copy of that thread over here.

We will just need to start over here, so feel free to copy the important bits of information into your posts!

Also, on the topic of thread copying, it does appear to be technically possible to export a vBulletin database and import it into discourse. But that sounds like a full complete import, not a thread by thread selection.


#5

I will put my best men on it. BEST! MEN! :smiley:


#6

It’s probably sitting in a closet somewhere


#7

No. We were “close” a few times, but somewhere we went “down the wrong path”. Warmer, warmer, colder, colder, freezing. Something like that. The creator has refused all requests at any kind of hint. We’re pretty much on our own.


#8

I was of no help on the old forum, and I’m not likely to be of any help here, but I’m still invested in this mystery being solved. Definitely gonna watch this one.


#9

Too bad. I gave it my best REALLY early in the process, but much bigger brains than mine quickly raced past any tiny efforts I might have made. I think I might even have petitioned to have my posts removed at one point, they were so ridiculously far from useful that I was afraid I would taint the results of people MUCH better at this.


#10

One should never remove posts while solving. It might be the right track. It might set other people on the right track. And if it’s wrong, it can prevent people from going down the same track and look elsewhere. Everything helps. Throw it all out there! :smiley:


#11

Basically what it comes down to is, the 5 line crumpled note is a clue to a WinRAR password, and nobody has guessed that password correctly. Annoyingly something about rar encryption means about 1/100 of attempted passwords “successfully” open it to find an empty file.


#12

Resuming thread update tomorrow.


#13

#14

Wow, this is the first time i’ve heard of this :o Totally going to follow this :smiley:


#15

“Possible clue: There are apparently one 2 GB and five 8 GB SD cards.
Clue interpretation: 5x8+2 = 42”

Obviously, then, the password is " life, the universe and everything". :wink:


#16

That would be the question though, not the answer. Or have we not put enough deep thought into this?

Speaking of thoughts. “Off set themselfs from the tenements”. Relevant that the mispelling of “themselfs” ends up with the same number of letters as “tenements”?


#17

I wondered if this would make it here. I’ll definitely be watching this closely, and adding some (unintentionally) ill-thought blind idiocy on occasion.


#18

Wait. I never thought about this before, but we don’t actually know which card is the 2 GB card, do we? Why not? How/why would we rule out that’s a relevant clue?


#19

I don’t recall any of this but one thing occurs to me - it may well have been mentioend previously of course - but there are five 8gb SD cards and a 2gb SD card, totalling 42gb

As we all know, 42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. We’re just not yet certain of the right question. Pehaps reassembling the box but with a white mouse inside might actually produce results.


#20

One of my favourite things ever from the old forum right here! Rock on, you crazy diamonds!