Parent Guide - The Case of the Missing Bigfoot

An old mansion. A dinner party about to begin. The lights go out, there’s an upset in the dining room, an upset in the upstairs hall. The lights come on, the safe is open and the contents are gone. Who did it? The detectives on the scene need the help of a keen and curious young sleuth to help them solve the case.

And by the way, the mansion is not far from where you live. A big hairy creature that may or may not be Bigfoot was recently spotted in the area. You haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary, have you?

Installment #1

What is in it?
-Envelope 9” x 12” white
-Letter from detectives (3 pages)
-Photocopied page of a book
-Dinner invitation
-Guest list
-Newspaper clipping
-Crime scene photo
-Typewritten draft of a speech

What is happening in the story?
A detective asks for help solving a crime that took place in a mansion not far from where you live. The owner of the mansion was hosting a dinner party where she planned to reveal some photographs known as “the proof”. Before the reveal, however, the photographs went missing. Enclosed are all of the clues that were found in the mansion that evening, including a copy of the guest list, a photo of the crime scene, a curious newspaper clipping, a dinner invitation and a draft of her speech.

What is there to be solved?
There is a mysterious line of text at the end of the dinner party speech. There are clues in the photograph, guest list, dinner invite etc which will help solve the case as the mystery progresses. Study what you have and more will be revealed in the next installment.

Need a hint?

The key to solving the mysterious line of text will be found in the next mailing. If you want to solve it sooner, look closely at the placement of the letters on a typewriter or a keyboard.

Just give me the answer!

Shift the typewriter keys over one letter to the left: BUT WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW IS THAT MANY YEARS AGO NIGEL

Installment #2

What is in it?

-Kraft envelope 9” x 12”

-Letter from the detective (1 page)

-Case update (3 pages)

-Suspect board

-Set of 8 suspect cards

-case notebook

-Transcript of interviews with 2 of the suspects (Nigel, the niece)

-Scrap of paper with numbers on it

-Sticky note that says “found this on my desk this morning”

What is happening in the story?

The detective has a theory about how to decipher the strange line of text at the bottom of the dinner speech. In the “case update” the detective introduces each of the suspects and their possible motives. Each suspect has their own card that can be placed on the suspect board and moved around as the case progresses.

You also receive the first two interview transcripts. We know that the niece was alone in her room just before the lights went out at 7 pm. The magazine editor was sitting with the librarian. The twins were playing nearby. Nigel is uncooperative and you don’t know why. He says he saw a Bigfoot going down the stairs.

What is there to be solved?

There is a folded piece of paper with a series of numbers on it.

Need a hint?

The number cipher is a rotary dial cipher. You will get instructions for how to solve it in the next (3rd) installment. 

Just give me the answer!


Installment #3

What is in it?

-Brown envelope 9” x 12”

-Case update (1 page)

-Book excerpt about ciphers

-A page of circles and symbols with a sticky note “Do you know what this says”?

-Transcript of interviews with 2 suspects (librarian, butler)

-"Fur" in a small plastic bag

-Bigfoot suspect card to add to the suspect board

-"Fingerprint Report" envelope

-Lab report with images of 4 fingerprints

What is happening in the story?

The detectives are suspicious about Nigel. The librarian confirms that she was sitting with him at the top of the stairs. She says she did not take the photographs but there is disagreement about what should be done with them once they are revealed, and it may be a good thing that they are gone. She also says that the handwriting on the back of the dinner invitation belongs to the spy who has apparently gone to Nepal in search of Yeti. The butler says he tripped when the lights went out. He then went downstairs to check the rooms for burning candles. There was a candle unattended in the dining room next to the safe, which was open and empty. 

What is there to be solved?

A page of circles and symbols with a sticky note “Do you know what this says”?

Need a hint?

The key for the circle cipher can be found in a magazine that you will receive in the next (4th) installment. If you are following the instructions but the cipher is not making sense, try turning the page with the circles the other way so you are reading along the long edge of the page. When you get to a symbol that tells you which way to turn the page, you must “reset” the page. For example, if you turn the page right and then you receive an instruction to turn the page upside down, you turn the page upside down according to what is considered “up” when you started, not where you are now after turning the page right.

If you match the fingerprints in the lab report to the fingerprints on the suspect cards you know which four suspects handled the safe. The butler always wears gloves, so his fingerprints would not be on the safe.

Just give me the answer!

The answer to the circle cipher is: THE BOWLING BALL DID NOT CAUSE THE FALL

The fingerprints belong to Nigel and the twins. The 4th fingerprint remains unidentified. 

Installment #4

What is in it?

-Brown envelope 10” x 13”

-Message written in symbols

-Case update (1 page)

-Interview transcripts with 3 suspects (Nigel, the twins, the twins’ Dad)

-Special edition of a magazine edited by Nigel

What is happening in the story?

According to the case update, the detectives baked a cake. In the morning the cake was gone and there was a strange note on the plate. The detectives interview Nigel a second time. He says his fingerprints were on the safe but he didn’t steal the proof. The twins say they know how to open the safe, but they didn’t steal the proof. They saw Nigel and Mrs. McB arguing in the front hall and two Bigfoot in the dining room. One Bigfoot ran upstairs and one Bigfoot ran out the garden door. The twins’ Dad says he was one of the two Bigfoot, wearing a costume, and he ran up the stairs. When he went back upstairs he saw Mrs. McB but not Nigel.

What is there to be solved?

There is a puzzle on a small piece of paper with symbols on it. There are also two ciphers to be solved in the magazine, and a crossword puzzle.

Need a hint?

The key for the circle cipher from the previous letter and the symbol cipher in this letter can both be found in the magazine. Most of the answers to the crossword puzzle are facts that can be found in the magazine and/or reading transcripts, but two questions of interest are 23 across (“the answer Nigel wants”) and 11 down (“the only one who can answer Nigel’s question”).

Just give me the answer!

The small piece of paper with the symbols on it says: CHECK THE TRUNK IN THE ATTIC

The ciphers in the magazine say:




The magazine was edited by Nigel, so we can assume that he put these ciphers in the magazine for someone to see. According to the crossword puzzle the only one who can answer his question is Ms. M, the owner of the mansion. In her interview transcript, Mrs. McB says that Nigel is waiting for an answer and once he knows it things may be different.

Installment #5

What is in it?

-Kraft envelope 6” x 9”

-Case update (2 pages)

-One page letter stamped “Proof”

-2 photographs

What is happening in the story?

The proof has been returned. Someone left two photos of Bigfoot on the detective’s desk along with a note partially written in cipher. The case update provides a summary of where everyone says they were when the photos went missing.

What is there to be solved?

The letter is written in several kinds of cipher. At the end of the case update the detective asks if you know who did it.

Need a hint?

You need several cipher keys to translate this message. One is the rotary phone cipher that came in the second installment and the other two are in the magazine.

Just give me the answer!


Installment #6

What is in it?

-Small cardboard box

-White envelope 6” x 9”

-Letter from the detectives (1 page)

-Sealed copy of the confession in a #10 business sized envelope

-Canvas bag

-Set of cryptid collector cards

-Thank you note from Ms. M

What is happening in the story?

The case is solved and the guilty party leaves a confession. Ms. M makes you an honorary member of their secret society. She has changed her mind, said yes to Nigel and they are planning their adventure around the world.

Just give me the answer!

Vivian stole the proof to keep it safe. She blew the fuse, tripped the butler, climbed out the window down a rope ladder, and went into the dining room through the garden door. She was wearing a Bigfoot costume and surprised the spy. The spy had cracked the safe but was so shocked he dropped the photos. Nigel was working with the spy to get rid of the photos so no one else could see them.

What about the proof? Is Bigfoot real?

What do you think?