Which of the alternative Chapter 10 texts do you think was the original VM Straka version ?

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hidden By Clouds

@MCrinitus has been able to send us a new message, firstly pointing us again to transmission 4 of Radio Straka.

I say again as the previous evenings small puzzle of the picture of Ariadne's thread had also led us to transmission 4 of Radio Straka.

Next we received this cryptic message, followed closely by the part page of text below.

This text contains a hidden message and if you want to see the solution then you can reveal it below.

Click here to see the solution

If you examine the text closely you can see some underlined letters which in themselves are not a word, if you then look at the tweet clue and the text in the passage "..each time I approached they would step to the left.."

You take the letter to the left of each underlined letter and you get the word "miracle"

Our reward for solving the puzzle appears to be page 236 of the V M Straka book Miracle at Braxenholm

This book is discussed by Jen and Eric in the margin notes of Chapter 1 of S.

S. Reading Group Kit

In case you missed the announcement on Twitter, Mulholland Books announced a Group Reading Kit that people can request to help them read S. with friends.

The kit looks rather cool and contains physical versions of some of the things we have seen online, like material from the Eotvos Wheel website, and a CD of the first Radio Straka broadcast.

There are even a couple of coloured pencils to make your own book notes in.

We think there may be the odd extra clue thrown in with the kit, as you can see from the picture there is a cipher to solve and a postcard. Fellow S. blogger Debbie has analysed the postcard and the image is "Rio de Janeiro, Public Park and Monroe Palace, Brazil" possibly related to the world fair in 1939.

The kit is only available for those in the United states and only available while stocks last, so if you want one, I would get requesting quickly.

Click here to visit the Mulholland Books website and request your own copy of the kit.

I am not in the UK myself, but I have friends in the US that have ordered one so we will see the contents once they arrive.

(Apologies for not posting this here sooner, I got rather ill recently and simply forgot !)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The New S.

In S. there are a few threads that on first reading needed further explanation, or at least that was our feeling when we read them.

One of these threads is prompted by the solution to the Chapter 4 cipher solution "Avoid Grand Central - key stolen - assume bag gone - I failed" This is FX Calderia trying to send Straka a message about a bag that was supposedly hidden in Grand Central Station in New York.

Now fast forward to the last few days, we talked about the activity of @MCrinitus on twitter, in relation to the discovery of the new chapter 10 alternatives and the page found from "The Winged Shoes of Emydio Alves"

The first part of this puzzle was a picture of a coin, which is Mercury (Winged Shoes link of course)

Then from @MCrinitus we had the cipher clues and once that was solved, the page from the Winged Shoes of Emydio Alves.

Around this time, possibly because of the first words of page 268 of TWSOEA "The statues look down on him", ‏@MyTheseus tweeted this picture of the outside of Grand Central Station where there is a statue of Mercury, @MCrinitus almost immediately retweeted that.

Almost immediately after we also got this tweet "We have taken from the defeated What they had to leave us - a symbol.", this quote is from a TS Eliot poem Little Giddings in a book called The Four Quartets, M Crinitus has been tweeting lots of small excerpts from these poems over the previous few days so the poems seemed very significant.

This is the full verse that goes with that quoted line -

Whatever we inherit from the fortunate
We have taken from the defeated
What they had to leave us — a symbol:
A symbol perfected in death.
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
By the purification of the motive
In the ground of our beseeching

Then this prompted ‏@MyTheseus to tweet this picture of the clock with four faces (quartets) inside Grand Central Station.

So we are now tying in to S. because of the Page 122 link, however now things are going further as we have the following passage from the same place that the alternative Chapter 10's came from -

I am not proud of what I have done or who I have become. Straka believes or believed, however you want to look at it, that everything can be rewritten, everything can be reborn. I'm not so sure.

There are threads that, when pulled, may unravel the entire tapestry. I, unknowingly, pulled such a thread. Then in my efforts to put it all back together I have become so entangled that I can barely move.

Let me explain. In order to see the birds it is necessary to become part of the silence, and I was very good at it. Somewhere in Time, I waited beside the clock with four faces and the Nightingale approached.

I had invested years of my life in reliable, unquestioning service. And I continued that service. I waited for the Nightingale to look away and I stole a key, part her soul, before fading back into the silence. I had done this before to various people in various ways. This time I made the mistake of looking back and seeing what I left behind.

As fate would have it, I was to deliver the key and the bag we had taken to the Château. But I remembered the Nightingale's panic and my curiosity got the better of me. I opened the bag.

It is one thing to see a book, just one story bound up and hidden. It is quite another to see an entire life all at once. Pictures, letters, notes, histories, stories. I still haven't read them all. But I began to see the birds for what they were, struggling and floundering as their ships filled with water. Fighting to reveal truth to the world in any way they could. Trying to keep those at the top from crushing those on the bottom. Fighting to change the world.

And I changed.

But what I have done can not be rewritten by what I do now. I have killed in cold blood. I have murdered, poisoned, even killed by defenestration, all for the man in the Château. Yet the blood is not on his hands. It is on mine.

All I can do is let you peak into the stolen bag in hopes that you may preserve at least some of it.

For the moment we are assuming "The Nightingale" is FXC, does this also mean the Château mentioned is Vevoda's Château, or as Tonzi in the comments points out, more likely Bouchard's Château ? Is this person then an agent that is now on the run from his former masters ?

There is one more small part to the events of the last few days that might fit in to this new chapter of S. we are discovering.

In amongst all this new activity over the last few days Doug Dorst released this picture on Twitter. It is of course a guitar chord, and after several attempts to decipher it's meaning the final concensus reached is that this is A flat diminished, or as it is more commenly written "Abdim".
Keen readers of S. will now make a connection, ok it took us a few minutes, but on page 248, the person who hands the valise to S. is Abdim

It is our supposition that this is directly related to the M Crinitus activity, as the bag in Grand Central is similar or even the same as the one S. receives.

So are you looking forward to taking part in the new journey of S. that has just started ?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The birds that watch the garden

A few days ago we noticed that a new twitter user @MCrinitus (Greater crested flycatcher) has been tweeting some interesting things, especially around the time of the release of the new chapter 10 versions.

A little while ago this tweet was posted, to our minds an obvious encrypted message encode as a railfence cipher

I struggled to get a clean translation, but it turns out it was all to do with the number of spaces between the letters. @MrToasty found the solution first -

The Caduceus gives life to those that are dead, but it stands for so much more. Who is Emydio Alves?

Once this answer had been found we got another tweet from @MCrinitus - "I am old. I am tired. And now I head to the garden for a rest. Maybe there I can watch the ships sail" along with this image which appears to be a page from a book, and we are assuming it is actually from "The Winged Shoes of Emydio Alves".

The page has definite similarities to Ship of Theseus with him starting and ending in the water.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Three More Chapter 10 Alternatives Uncovered

As you will have seen yesterday evening we published an alternative version of the end of chapter 10 of Ship of Theseus.

Previously we had an alternative from Jen Heyward on her Tumblr Blog The Jen Heyward Tumblr which had the translation reference of 273.

Then a couple of days ago translation reference 289 was released by @CFish6, @SisterTsion, and @justingarver

Yesterday we published translation reference 290 which has also been published by this French blog

Then today translation reference 291 was published by @JillaggieARG, @Osfourcage and whoisstraka.wordpress.com

If you look at the translation numbers 273 to 291 implies that there are potentially 19 versions of chapter 10 to uncover.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Alternative Chapter 10 Uncovered

Singed and battered, but still legible, an anonymous source has delivered this alternative version of the end of V M Straka's Ship of Theseus.

The Great Crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus Crinitus)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Something or Nothing ?

A few hours ago @CannongateBooks tweeted this picture with the accompanying words of "Page twelve, line two, word seven"

It is a copy of page 12 and on that page the second line word seven is "something"

At first glance the page appears to be the same but lots of analysis on this page needs to take place to uncover something we may have missed, if you have any theories please post them in the comments below.

*** Update *** we have had another tweet by @CannongateBooks - "Page 327, line 21, words 4 and 5"

If I can count correctly this gives us "is coming" so we have "Something is coming", anyone got a theory on what that something might be ?

*** Update *** We have had a third tweet - "'page 350, line twelve, word eleven and line thirteen word one'#StrakaNews "

So we now have "Something is coming you can"
*** Update *** another message from Cannongate, this time the word is "buy"

"Something is coming you can buy" - which doesn't fill us with a lot of confidence that this is anything more than a marketing ploy, but we will stick with it for now.
*** Update *** The next word has arrived "Page 440, line 11, word seven #StrakaNews" - "Something is coming you can buy signed"
*** Update *** The eight word has been revealed "page 21, line 16, word one" - "Something is coming you can buy signed books" - We are assuming the question mark isn't relevant here.

There we have it, the final piece of the puzzle, you can indeed purchase a 1st edition copy of S. from the Canongate books online store along with a signed bookplate.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

For What It's worth - Jen Heyward

It seems Jen Heyward has found something special.

Twitter user @TK10815 tweeted a link to an i09 article that linked us to this Jen Heyward Tumblr blog.

The tumblr page has a few interesting items, the most significant of which is a translation of some manuscript pages written in the Czech language. Thankfully someone called I. Svobodová has translated it to English for Jen and each page appears as an image on the blog.

We are off to read the new words and see if / where they fit in S.

*** Update having examined the new pages, they appear to be part of chapter 10 and our current theory is that they start close to the top of page 451.

Underneath the new pages is this image, it appears to be part of a dossier about Straka, and has an obituary from the Baltimore Bugle-Dispatch. The re is a hand written note, (circled) which says "Bouchard Property)

In the background of the picture there is what appears to be some photograph contact strip images and a copy of Miracle at Braxenholm.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Word Book Stores Ask Doug Dorst

A few days ago Word Book Stores had an ask Doug Dorst event using Tumblr as the platform.

You can read the whole set of questions and answers by clicking here to go to the Word Book Stores Tumblr page.

Lots of interesting answers to questions, and a few enigmatic answers as well, one of my favourites being this one.

Not sure if that means Straka is Arthur Dent or he is one of Jacob's candidates, but the answer may make sense one day.

Another thing that the interview revealed is that there are still things out there on the web for us to find, so if you are still looking you aren't completely wasting your time. Any thoughts on what may be left to find would be much appreciated !

One final thing on the WBS website is the Events listing. It mentions there is a book group discussion on S. tonight, I don't know if that is in store or online, but if you know which then we would love to know more about the discussions.

Notes From Many Islands

As things aren't exactly moving at a break neck pace on this site at the moment it would be remiss of us if we didn't explicitly mention some of the people that are digging in to S. at depths that will probably make your head spin.

I thoroughly recommend that if you are intrigued by the mysteries in S. you have a look at these blogs, you may not get the answers you are seeking but you will get a whole load of related information.

First up, mainly because of the epic journey and examination of the materials in the 42nd Street Library is @Sistertsion, who runs the The Monkey Dance (falling down the S rabbit hole) blog.

Then we have @CFish6 who is also down the S. rabbit hole with the Monkeys and Rabbit Holes blog

Next up is @JillaggieARG with the DT Made Me Do IT blog

Also @MyTheseus / Mystimus who has been a part of the S. journey ever since I can remember with the Who Is Straka blog, not related to the other Who Is Straka site as far as I know :-)

Finally, and speaking of Who Is Straka, a mention of @jordan_byron who is concentrating his effort on that particular website on his blog Notes From A Standing Desk.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Vulture Interviews doug Dorst

Just published is a new interview with Doug Dorst on the Vulture Website, conducted by Jennifer Vineyard

There are some pretty cool questions and in depth answers, although not necessarily revealing any answers to mysteries in the book !

Thursday, 16 January 2014


It is worth pointing out a few items that have recently been found that are direct comparisons to items and words found in S.

The first is from @JillaggieARG and is the original postcard reference that the postcard in S. that Eric sends is based on. As you can see the original is not crimped and has the Rio De Janeiro name present on it.

Oddly I was looking through my folder of S. images for the insert reference I have and found that I had already had this original from a different source. I can't remember if I put something in the comments or just found it and forgot it, but it is the same as Jill's version. Thanks Jill for sending it and a note to self - must remember to follow up on these things !

Next is @MyTheseus who mentions the comparison to page 147 of S. and Belloc's Cautionary Tales For Children

Then we have Clare (@CFish6) who sent in a reference advert used to construct part of the McKay's magazine article

See the original reference here

Finally for now we have @blackwellharb who tweeted this self referential tweet -

"@SFiles22 check out Lopevi (13th Straka book). Tiny volcanic island just like Obsidian Island. #whoisstraka"

Many Warblings

A few small updates for you in one easy to digest post.

First we have had Jana contact us to say the following about the Lampa newspaper clipping -

In the insert pg. 69 (Czech headline) there is a grammatical error. It should have been divákY. This version (diváků) is wrong and would only work in combination with "skokem diváků", which would mean: (Suicide shocks by) "a leap BY witnesses". Wasn't there speculation that members of S. Jumped after Straka in order to save him?

(By the way: "Opice-Tance" is not a proper way how a Czech would write the term "Monkey Dances")

So mistake or clue ?

Next, in case you didn't see it in the comments, Jordan is putting together a task force to see if a co-ordinated effort can decipher the mystery of WhoIsStraka.com.

Read more on Jordan's blog - Notes From A Standing Desk

Finally for this post the BOLO Books Blog has published an interview with Doug Dorst.

The interview talks about Ciphers, the books creation and Stephen King, head on over to the Bolo Books blog and read the interview

Poll Results

Really sorry about the lack of updates, lots of things happening which have prevented me updating.

So the first update of many I have for you is the result of the poll, the vast majority of you, 205 of 238 votes, do not write in the margins of your own copy of S.

30 of you have written in different pen colours and 3 lonely souls are making their own conversations with Jen and Eric !

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Fellow Birders

I realise we haven't posted much recently on the blog, but there hasn't been much to write about and unfortunately the old enemy of time has meant I haven't been able to make any more sense of some of the mysteries of S. Hopefully these small snippets of information will spark some theories and questions of your own.

This post has a couple of updates and potential rabbit holes for us to fall down and I will shortly post a small poll suggested by a reader of the blog.

First of all Jill Aggie sent a question about this postcard via email, it is the Postcard from Eric on the 18th of April and what is intriguing Jill is the postmark. Unlike the other postmarks, this one has a string of numbers to the left of the usual circular stamp, it could just be a product of that particular post office of course but it is interesting as it is almost a regular pattern. Minus two single digits it is a 4 x 8 grid.


If anyone can make sense of these numbers or suggest a potential cipher to try and use to decode them please let us know.

Next Danielle Parker mentioned in the comments that the Santorini Man murders that are heavily referenced by Radio Straka, in the book and on the Eotvos Wheel website has striking similarities to the Taman Shud Case an Australian mystery where a body is found with the last page of a book in his pocket. This is also know as the "Somerton Man" which is again very similar to the S. version.

Inspiration for the events in Ship of Theseus or is there a firmer link to the S. Santorini Man mystery ?

As pointed out by Mystimus in the comments there is another blog with an article about this - The Monkey Dance

Finally for now I was thinking about the negative space mystery that may be something we need to solve and also the twitter icon that @EricHusch had a while ago (see earlier post).

I had a go at manipulating the S. logo and creating a mirror image any laying one S. over the other, in a Palimpsest manner, I came up with this.

Looks a little like an Owl to me, and also seems to form a sort of mask for reading a hidden message, if only I knew where to look ! I have tried printing it, cutting out the holes and placing it over some of the pages but have got nothing so far.

Again if you can find a way of using it to find new information please let us know.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Mckay's Magazine Review Ship Of Theseus

A short while ago Doug Dorst tweeted these pages from McKay's Magazine.

They contain pages from a review of Ship of Theseus and are from February 1950.

A brief scan of the review shows that the reviewer is not exactly a fan of the book - "a vulgar ouroboros of a novel, filled to bursting with apathy, anomie, and omphaloskepsis." (Yes I did look that last one up !)

The second page has some adverts and other articles and I am going to work my way through them to see if there are any further clues in them. This post will be updated if any new information comes to light, please let us know in the comments, via twitter or email if you think there is anything new in the article or other material.

This is great news for fans of S. as it means to me that there are other things to come, whether this is a gentle push to get us to look further or just part of a planned activity I don't know, but interesting never the less.

Update 1 - I just realized Edsel B Grimshaw, and this review, is referenced on the Eotvos Wheel Website, on the candidates page

@ObFuSc8 also reminded me that this is mentioned in the book - "Chap7 IIRC along with the obituary). Magazine owned by Bouchard/ARP."

Lady Lobster also points out that it is mentioned on page 106 in Eric's margin note.

Update 2 - The WhoIsStraka Wordpress blog has a transcription of the review.

Update 3 - There was a lot of discussion yesterday about the contents of the review and the adverts, I have collated most of it in a Storify list

I think the main points are -

From one of the adverts an address could be the New York Public Library and a search reveals it has books by Václav Straka - (Link from @CFish6) Does anyone live near the library that could call in and take a look at the books to see if anything is hidden within ?

@ObFuSc8 has posted a list of references used for the adverts in the comments below.

@MyTheseus mentioned the "magic burgoo" mentioned in the review and wondered if this points to anything within the book, a search for links and references was started.

@MyTheseus also said "Review mentions 450 pages in SOT, but there are 456. Six pages missing…" - So does than mean the original version of SoT has been extended for our benefit ?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


I must admit to being slow to recognise the significance of this map, I saw it a few days ago from a comment by Tonzi in the Cipher Explanations page and didn't realise what it was.

If you haven't finished the book yet you may not want to read on.

Then last night @MyTheseus on Twitter pointed out a new blog post on WhoIsStraka.WordPress.com which had the same conclusion, although arrived at via a different thought process.

Firstly the map is quite important as it explains the relationship of the coordinate system to the codes used, they are linear as you can see and these aren't locations from the book, these are all coordinates that can be found when LONOE is in the wheels window.

When you look at the map you can see that Maraú in Brazil (blue pin) is close to this line, on the postcard dated the 20th of April (insert on page 201) Eric writes that he is near this place.

So the conclusion is that the missing letters L O N O E are actually a pointer to the location of FXC should Straka have ever picked up the message hidden in the footnote cipher.

Tonzi very kindly created this as a Google map for us all to use and see this linear relationship.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Nine or Ten Clues ?

So where are we ? Short answer is not very far forward I'm afraid, assuming there are mysteries left to uncover we haven't got a handle on what they are.

I thought I'd post about a couple of things that haven't been mentioned in a main post, but have been discussed in comments or emails.

First of all are these two pictures from @RadioStraka the first to be sent was the poem written on a wooden door. What is odd / interesting about this is that, as ObFuSc8 told us via Twitter, the first verse and a little of the second appear to be taken from a poem published by Illy Kotz in 2010

Perhaps Radio Straka just likes the poem, or part of it at least, but who added to it and put it on a door ?

The second picture was the birds as you can see, this coupled with the twitter feed for @EricHusch changing to the image you can see here, two of the S. symbols which when arranged like this have a picture of a bird between them may be significant.

These led to a few people speculating about the chapter 9 cipher that we don't currently know how to solve.

The Chapter title is "Birds of Negative Space" and the space where the bird appears in the EH profile picture is most definitely negative space.

So do we use this bird to solve the cipher, or is this a pointer that we need to find out own negative space in this chapter ? Mark Voorneveld commented that perhaps we need to use the cut out parts of the S. symbol to find a hidden message, but as yet I've been unable to find anything.

Finally for now is the suggestion that came from Karen via email, since the clue from J J Abrams last week was Ten, perhaps there are alternative versions or at least small differences in the pages of chapter 10.

I don't want to post the whole chapter here, but I have posted three pages which I think are significant and if you can check your own version of S. maybe we can find some differences.