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24
Feb'11

Snow Town called – it wants its books back (updated)

   Posted by: thebruce

Apparently someone has been checking out books under another name. Whoever you are, please step forward. Four books have been checked out from the Snow Town Library in Maine, prompting a Ruthie Randolph to send four overdue book notices to Wikibruce. If these books aren’t returned, additional fines may be incurred.


Please, call 207-330-6677 and rectify the situation with the librarian. I won’t be in Maine any time soon!

In digging a little deeper, it seems we may actually have a serial book-reader on our hands. Jane Doh at ARGN.com also reported receiving overdue notices — for these same four books.

Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K

Read on for an outline and to dig a little deeper into this Snow Town mystery…

Snow Town Library (STL)

On visiting the Snow Town Library website (www.snowtownlibrary.org), we learn some history about Snow Town, Maine, and its respected library located at 17 Tempest Trail. Headed currently by Ruthie Randolph, and aided by Molly Harmon, the library values the physical, paper book, and holds a regular book club that meets on Fridays (though it’s currently closed, boasting a lengthy waiting list). Ruthie decided to open a virtual book club to allow others to take part online. If one is interested in joining, it’s recommended to visit the guestbook and sign a “quick hello”, or call and leave a “brief” message.

  • Snow Town Library voice mail message (listen)

The library itself was first established in 1811, but grew significantly under the leading of Louise Hoskins (1859-1911) when she began gained the position in 1889, through to her passing in 1911.

And it’s Louise who seems to be at the center of the mystery…

Puzzle! (spoilers)

These overdue notices actually contain a hidden message that someone at the library distributed, hoping to find help. It was quickly discovered (by folks at Unfiction) that the card numbers were actually a phone pad code (2=ABC, 3=DEF, etc) that when decoded spelled out “Please help, they’re coming“, leading intuitively to a hidden page on the website. This page contained a second mystery, a spiral of dots – only four of them red. They discovered that when read from inside out as letters of the alphabets, the red dots fell on HLOW, an anagram of HOWL. In like manner, they were led to another hidden page on the library website.

HOWL

Here we finally uncover the message from our anonymous contact whom we can only refer to at this point as Private.

Private quotes us an eerie poem from the beloved Louise Hoskins, written January 30, 1911 – days at most before her death:

The Bells Ring Every Night
As I Shake With My Fright
Scratch Scratch Scratch At The Pane
‘Til I Run Down The Lane
They’re Coming
They’re Coming
They’re Coming Home

And this is where we learn of the mystery of the “bells”.  Private describes a series of events that occurred late in the summer of 2010.  Private annuallyvolunteers to clean the STL vault, which contains a collection of old, cherished documents and artifacts. Last year, Private found a copy of The Lady of The Lake by Sir Walter Scott. Inside was a slip of paper covered in letters on one side and a spiral (similar to the one described above) on the other. Eventually, after months of fiddling, Private managed to decode the message – Louise’s poem Howl, quoted above.

Private forgot about it until just recently on the evening of February 2, 2011. As we know, this was a blustery winter, with the “snowpocalypse” hitting eastern US and Canada in February, and that evening Private decided to make sure the windows and doors were secured — but while doing so, heard a bell ringing from the cellar. Private remembered Louise’s poem and suffice to say, not taking any risks, wanted to call the police but the power had cut out so ran and hid under the bed covers. When morning came, Private returned to the library vault only to find that The Lady of The Lake had gone missing.

Nothing else happened for over a week, until the 13th, when following a church supper Private noticed dots their car windshield in the shape of a spiral. The next day is when Private decided to reach out for help, deciding to focus on gamers and bloggers – those who might associate with the subject matter in this 2003 New York Times article.

Be sure to read Private’s full testimony of the events on the hidden page.

Peg’s story

On examining the library’s guestbook, we find some early comments from a number of Snow Town residents, and a little about the library’s workings.  Of interest here, however, is a comment from Peg on February 13th who shares about her new blog covering Snow Town weather (www.snowtown.me).

The blog had recently turned personal, however, when she began sharing about strange occurrences with her husband Fred.  Peg and Fred Harmon live with their dog Walter next to a house that hasn’t been occupied for around 100 years – when it was last home to one Louise Hoskins.

Small world.

Well, according to her blog entry, early morning on February 9th Fred disappeared. Peg became frantic after being unable to locate him, and took Walter out to search the neighborhood. Eventually Walter barked after spotting him across the water running towards the nearby Lake Williwaw. They ran around to catch him, but by the time they arrived Fred was no longer there. Apparently, on following his footprints up to the lake, they simply… stopped. Ended.

And then, out of the blue, Peg’s cell phone rang – it was Fred, calling from home, worried. When she returned, he wasn’t himself.  He said he heard bells outside their house that morning. So, curious, he went to look. But on passing the general store and looking out over the lake, the bells stopped. Then he came home, and that was it. He had nothing to say about the footprints that came to an end, and only asked Peg if she’d heard the bells, which she hadn’t.

Peg read about the common odd behavior some people demonstrate around the New Moon (which Fred had been obsessing over recently, insisting it be called NO MOON).  Things settled down for a few days, but on the morning of the 16th, Peg described Fred as being “so damn quiet”, sitting at his desk, writing things on paper.

Not long after that, on Friday the 18th, Peg noticed Ruthie running by their house around midnight. The 18th was a full moon, and a night on which the book club met. With the club ending at 10:30pm, what was Ruthie doing out there? She watched on Saturday night, and once again Ruthie was running by the house.

And, to add to Fred’s own odd behavior, on the morning of Sunday the 20th, Peg awoke to some snow men Fred had constructed in their yard. One of them seemed a little… out of place.

When Monday rolled around, Fred handed Peg a closed basket, instructing her not to open it until 9pm. When she did, this is what she found:

Puzzle! (spoilers)

Peg then extracted the sheets of paper, and laid them out for examination. The Unfiction crew wasted no time, and discovered the solution to Fred’s mysterious message – a combination of lyrics to Greensleeves and a pigpen cipher:

ENTER THE PATH NORTH OF SNOW TOWN MEETING HALL. YOU WILL FIND ME NEAR THE EDGE OF THE LAKE SIX DAYS AFTER THE FULL MOON

Six days after the full moon – that turns out to be Thursday, February 24th.  Is this instructions for Peg to meet Fred? Or was directed to someone else?

Mounds of snow

On Tuesday the 22nd, Peg looked out her window and noticed something else new. Something somewhat ominous.  She managed to film this mound of snow, located on the property next to theirs – the empty house of Louise Hoskins. Fred’s response to seeing it? “They’re coming”

View on Youtube

Peg then spent the day out and about, and found 3 more mounds:

  • near Williwaw Pond
  • at the lake
  • near Williwaw Stream (spotted by Julie at the General Store)

She describes them as mounds within a circle shape.  At unfiction, a similar form was found, known as bowl or bell barrows.

Very creepy.

That evening, Peg was adamant on getting Ruthie on video running by the house, with Fred’s help. Sure enough, this is the footage they captured:

View on Youtube

Mysteries…

What is happening at Snow Town?  It seems like there are simply too many strange and unexplained events happening to form a solid theory. Private can certainly use all the help he/she can get!  You can now get acquainted with Snow Town by visiting the town map provided by the Snow Town Historical Society.

  • Who is this anonymous contact ‘Private‘ with trusted access to the library vault?
  • Why are there red x’s on some calendar dates?
  • Is the library book club really just a book club?
  • What happened to Louise Hoskins in 1911?
  • Why are there random spaces in a number of Peg’s blog entries?
  • What are the mysterious snow mounds appearing near the water?
  • What is causing the ringing of bells in the ears of Snow Town residents?

At the time of this writing, things are once again heating up as the 24th arrives. Private’s last few emails have simply consisted of this phrase:

Something is coming. I can feel it. This feeling only gets stronger every day.

Peg also just wrote a frantic blog entry, and I for one am glad I’m not in Snow Town right now. Who knows what’s heading its way.  Could Snow Town have its own Lady of the Lake?

All we can do is continue to help as best we can, and hope no one gets hurt.

…No one else, at least.

  • Catch up and follow along with the community at Unfiction – there’s a lot more to discover about the town, and many more people to meet.
  • Feel free to comment below if you have any updates or comments

Update: [Feb 24]

THE SNOW PEOPLE ARE HERE! THE SNOW PEOPLE ARE HERE! THE SNOW PEOPLE ARE HERE!

Updates: [Feb 25]

The Snow Town Libarary’s virtual book club has announced its first gathering on March 1st, 9pm EST. Of the suggested books, Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe will be the first story discussed.

…proceed with caution! The Snow Town residents have been acting oddly since the Snow People arrived. The location for the virtual book club meeting is TBD.

—-

The Snow People decree of 1711: Read. And be creeped out.

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Categories: ARGs General, Grassroots, Rabbit Hole

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 1:14 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Please leave a comment, or share this post and leave a trackback from your own site.

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Snow Town! A fun, mysterious, non-marketing, grassroots #tra… - 4D Fiction    Mar 29 2011 / 11am:

[...] Snow Town! A fun, mysterious, non-marketing, grassroots #transmedia project — an ARG: http://wikibruce.com/2011/02/snow-town-called-it-wants-its-books-back /via @Wikibruce #ARGs Related Posts (auto-generated):The Black Helix as crowd-sourced [...]

Tweets that mention Wikibruce » Snow Town called – it wants its books back -- Topsy.com    Feb 24 2011 / 2am:

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by thebruce0, Brandie. Brandie said: What is going on in Snow Town? Mysterious events follow the big snow and the full moon… http://bit.ly/gCbvg9 http://bit.ly/eHxFCc [...]

Luci Temple
 3 

Great sum up of the story – sure to be helpful to new people joining in :)

February 24th, 2011 at 1:27 am

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