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WARNING -- This page contains the solution to THE SECOND KEEPER,

followed by the conclusion to the story.


To solve THE SECOND KEEPER mystery experience, you must first identify your goals by reviewing the letter from Christopher's Curiosities. The letter states:  


Your challenge will be to investigate these events and determine how and why they occurred. Specifically, the questions you should answer are:

  1.        What was the cause of the Morella's shipwreck that occurred in 1853?

  2.        Who killed lighthouse keeper Horatio Pike?

  3.        What was the motive for the murder of Horatio Pike? 


To uncover the sinister circumstances surrounding the shipwreck, conduct a careful review of the documents and evidence.  To solve the murder of Horatio Pike, use deductive reasoning to eliminate the suspects based on the evidence until only one suspect remains who must be the killer. 


You should begin by building a TIMELINE from the documents and evidence provided to you. Add the important events to your timeline in chronological order. You will use your timeline to rule out suspects as you uncover facts that provide alibis for some of the suspects.  For example, you should include the date and time of Horatio Pike's death, the dates of the suspicious shipwrecks, and other date and times that you encounter during your investigation that may be relevant to solving the mystery,

You must create SUSPECT PROFILES as you investigate the case. Anyone who was present at the Thorn Lighthouse at or near the time of Horatio Pike's death could be considered a suspect. A sample suspect profile was provided as a template for you to use.  As you discover information about each suspect during your investigation, add it to their Suspect Profile.  From your review of the materials, you should identify the following suspects:

Shawn Yancey  (First Keeper )

Elizabeth Yancey  (First Keeper’s wife)    

Mary Pike (Second Keeper’s wife)

Anne Pike  (Second Keeper’s older daughter)    

Francis Pike  (Second Keeper’s youngest daughter)    

Claude Albers  (Caretaker )               

Ivana Albers (Caretaker’s wife)

Capt. John Baylis (Captain of the Ajax)

Leopold Parker (Purser of the Ajax)


Establish the approximate time of Pike's death by reviewing the evidence.  In the interview of Capt. Bayliss, he stated that he heard the screams of Elizabeth Yancey at 11:00 pm and ran outside to find the body of Horatio Pike. This establishes that Pike died sometime before 11:00 pm. On the Music Notecard, we learn that Francis Pike (F.P.) played music for her father Horatio on the night of death, but Pike asked her to leave and dismissed her to bed at 10:30 pm.  Therefore, his death must have occurred after 10:30.  These two clues establish a range for Pike's time of death between 10:30 - 11:00 pm.


You can begin to eliminate suspects based the evidence:

CAPTAIN JOHN BAYLISS can be eliminated as a suspect based on the entry in Anne Pike's diary for Jan. 30, 1854. She describes seeing Capt. Bayliss in a heated argument with Shawn Yancey outside Bayliss' guest cottage at 10:35 pm.  Anne states that Bayliss then returned to the cottage where she observed him reading until 10:50 pm. Since we know that Pike was killed sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 pm, it is very unlikely that Captain Bayliss could be the killer.  

FIRST KEEPER SHAWN YANCEY also can be ruled out based on Anne Pike's diary.  Anne wrote that after the argument with Capt. Bayliss at 10:35 pm, Yancey stormed off toward the coast of Cavanaugh Key in the direction opposite of Thorn Lighthouse. Therefore, it is very unlikely that Yancey could have doubled back without being seen by Anne (who continued watching the guest cottage until 10:50 pm), climbed to the top of the lighouse and killed Horatio Pike.  You can safely rule out Yancey as a suspect.

ELIZABETH YANCEY can be eliminated as a suspect by Detective Drake's investigation notes. Drake writes that Mrs. Yancey encountered Ivana Albers at the cemetery around 10:45 pm. At the bottom of the page, Drake remarks that this account was verified by Ivana Albers. Since Mrs. Yancey was at the cemetery at 10:45, it would be nearly impossible for her to have been at the top of the Thorn Lighthouse between 10:30 and 11:00 to commit the murder of Horatio Pike. Note that Elizabeth Yancey gave some misleading information to Drake that is contradicted by other evidence such as the time she discovered the body. 

FRANCIS PIKE can be ruled out as a suspect by the Jan. 30 entry in Horatio Pike's journal.  In that entry, he writes about sending Francis away to bed from the lighthouse at 10:30, and then a few minutes later seeing her cross the courtyard below on her way to the Pike's residence. The journal entry then abruptly ends. Since Francis was observed leaving the lighthouse and returning to the Second Keeper's residence during the time period that Horatio Pike was killed, it is unlikely she could be the killer.

CLAUDE ALBERS can be ruled out as a suspect by the letter written by his wife, IVANA ALBERS, to her mother on the day that Horatio Pike was killed. In the letter, Ivana states that Claude was injured and was unable to bear any weight on his injured leg. She further remarks that he is largely confined to bed and is only able to hobble about for short distances using a makeshift crutch.  Since Horatio Pike was killed when he was pushed from the top of the lighthouse, and it would have been nearly impossible for Claude Albers to climb the 214 steps to the top of the lighthouse, it is very unlikely that he could have been responsible for Horatio Pike's death.

IVANA ALBERS can be eliminated as a suspect by Detective Drake's investigation notes.  As stated above, Drake writes that Mrs. Yancey encountered Ivana Albers at the cemetery around 10:45 pm.  Since Ivana Albers was at the cemetery at 10:45, it would be nearly impossible for her to have been at the top of the Thorn Lighthouse between 10:30 and 11:00 to commit the murder of Horatio Pike.

MARY PIKE can be ruled out as a suspect by the coded message written by Shawn Yancey. This document can be found on the Facebook page for Christopher's Curiosities (the FB page is provided in the advertisement for Christopher Christopher's in the Forrest City Observer).  To decode this letter, it is helpful to observe the line at the bottom of the page: "Deliver to Mr. Ogham."  A Google search of ciphers and codes will reveal that the Ogham cipher is a transposition cipher which uses the Ogham alphabet composed mainly of 20 basic symbols corresponding to certain letters of the classical Latin alphabet. Decryption requires you to transpose the letters of the Ogham alphabet with the letters of the usual Latin alphabet.  Additionally, there are six letters missing from the Latin alphabet used in the cipher: J, K, P, V, W, and X.  These missing Latin letters are substituted with others: J to I, K to Q, P to NG, V to U, W to U, and X to Z. The key to these six missing letters is given by the six sentences at the bottom of the page (Johson to Ivy, etc). The capitalized letters provide the missing letters that have been substituted (J to I, K to Q, etc).


This cipher can also be solved by brute force by building a key in which the corresponding symbols are matched to the letters for which they have been substituted. The solutions for the missing six letters become evident as the rest of the letters are filled in.

Once decoded, the letter reads:

Dear Mr. Ogham:

On the night of Horatio Pike’s murder, I met Captain Bayliss in secret to discuss a personal matter just after ten thirty. Our discussion did not go well.  We did not reach an accord on our personal grievances.  My anger got the best of me and I stormed off.  I went to walk on the beach to clear my head.  As I passed the workshop which is set off a bit from the rest of the buildings around the lighthouse, I saw a light in the window.  Curious, I peered inside and saw Mary Pike reading a small book by the light of a lantern.  This was about ten forty-five.  Why she felt the need to engage in such clandestine behavior was baffling, but I decided it was not my business. I went on my way to the beach to walk and think and consider my future.



Since Shawn Yancey saw Mary Pike at the workshop at 10:45, it would be nearly impossible for her to have been at the top of the lighthouse to kill Horatio Pike.  

ANNE PIKE can be ruled out as a suspect by her own diary entry in which she reports spying on Capt. Bayliss (and also Shawn Yancey by accident) during the time period when the murder of Pike occurred.  She accurately describes the whereabouts of Capt. Bayliss and Shawn Yancey and their clandestine meeting (as confirmed by other evidence), so we can conclude with a fair degree of certainty that she is telling the truth in her diary entry. Unless Anne Pike did actually observe Bayliss and Yancey by spying on them, she would not have been able to write such contemporaneous accounts in her diary. If Anne Pike was spying on Bayliss and Parker during the time periods she notes in her diary, it is unlikely that she could have been at the top of the lighthouse to commit the murder.  Although the evidence giving Anne Pike an alibi is not quite as strong as some of the evidence giving alibis to other suspects, it is enough for us to look elsewhere for the killer.

This leaves only one suspect who does not have an alibi for the time of Horatio Pike's death.  LEOPOLD PARKER has no alibi for the time period during which Horatio Pike was killed. The only relevant evidence is Parker's own statement (found on the Facebook page for Christopher's Curiosities) in which he claims to have been asleep when the body of Pike was found.  As we will also see below, PARKER had motive to kill HORATIO PIKE. We must conclude that LEOPOLD PARKER is the killer.


The Interview with the Hermit revealed one important piece of information. In the interview, the hermit stated that he observed a man of the deck of a passing ship moving a pair of flags in unusual configurations.  He drew them on a piece of parchment which he gave to Detective Finnegan Drake. The drawing of the flag configurations hides a message that was being passed fro the man on the ship to someone on Cavanaugh Key.  This type of code is called flag semaphore.  To decipher the code, you must do some of your own research to find the flag semaphore key. A quick Google search, for example, would uncover it.  Then use the key to decipher the message. Note that some of the semaphore positions are not letters or numbers and instead indicate "switch to numbers" and "ready/rest."  "The message revealed by the flag semaphore code is:  Morella 2 dys

The Unsigned Letter (containing a series of seemingly unrelated words) also contains a clue concerning the motive behind the murder of Horatio Pike.  To decipher the Unsigned Letter, look at the picture of the maritime compass that was included in your box.  On the inside of the cover of the compass, you will find three black dots in a line. The key to decoding the Unsigned Letter is the number 3. Reading every third word in the letter reveals the hidden message:

The cargo taken from the Mignonette was sold for even more than we anticipated. Your share of the proceeds will be delivered to you within the next four weeks. Given the success of this venture, we will proceed again. Of course not every ship will fall victim but given the volume of ships passing near the key, we should continue until we succeed again.

Other evidence uncovered during your investigation also sheds light on the motive behind the murder of Second Keeper Horatio Pike:

Items were found buried beneath the lighthouse including nineteen silver bars.  We know from the journal of Captain James Spratling that the Morella was carrying silver bars as cargo when it wrecked on Cavanaugh Key. An article in the Forrest City Observer tells us that nineteen silver bars were found buried beneath the Thorn lighthouse along with other items. This suggests that whomever buried the silver bars was unable to retrieve them and they remained buried until uncovered during recent work on the lighthouse.  Additionally, a notice in the vintage Forrest City Tribune indicates that several items were being auctioned off at a Forrest City auction house including items similar to those listed in the Morella's manifest before she was shipwrecked.

Together, these items of evidence give us clues as to the motive behind Pike's murder and what actually happened to the Morella and the Mignonette, as follows:


Second Keeper Horatio Pike was engaged in a conspiracy with Leopold Parker and other unidentified conspirators to cause the shipwrecks of merchant vessels carrying valuable cargo.  Parker and his cohorts aboard the Ajax were in a position to learn about the timetables of other merchant ships that would be carrying valuable cargo past Cavanaugh Key and the Thorn Lighthouse.  They would convey this information to Pike by various means including semaphore codes when the Ajax passed within visual range of the Thorn Lighthouse and letters sent anonymously to Pike.  As Second Keeper, Horatio Pike had the ability turn off the beacon at the Thorn Lighthouse.  Without the guidance of the lighthouse beacon, merchant vessels ran an extremely high risk of running aground on the shoals near Cavanaugh Key.  Once shipwrecked, these vessels became easy prey for Pike and others he enlisted to ransack the wrecks and steal their cargo. At least some of the stolen cargo was sold through the Toale Brothers Auction House in Forrest City.

We also know from the journal of Captain Spratling that most of the crew fell very ill before the Morella wrecked on Cavanaugh Key.  Although we have no direct evidence, this suggests that the Pike-Parker conspiracy also involved the poisoning of food or water supplies on the vessels being targeted to make their crews easier prey for the trap.  We know from the vintage edition of the Forrest City Tribune that the crews of the Morella and the Mignonette did not survive the shipwrecks, most likely because they were in severely weakened physical states and most of them were below deck when the ships ran aground.

The presence of silver bars hidden beneath the Thorn Lighthouse suggests that in at least one instance, Pike took some of the plundered cargo for himself instead of sharing it with his partners in crime. Leopold Parker discovered Horatio Pike's treachery and killed him by throwing him from the top of the Thorn Lighthouse.


The Thorn Lighthouse conspiracy appears to go beyond just the circumstances of Pike's murder. There are many unanswered questions. Who was the hermit on Cavanaugh Key? What actually happened aboard the Ajax? Was Captain Bayliss who he claimed to be? What became of Shawn Yancey? Does Yancey's past harbor dark secrets? There are clues that hint at answers to these questions in THE SECOND KEEPER mystery experience. But we haven't seen the last of these conspirators ...

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