Calling all Miss Peregrine fans! As you may know, Tales of the Peculiar, an illustrated collection of fairy tales about the peculiar world, hits shelves this September 3rd – Loop Day!
In the lead up to Loop Day, author Ransom Riggs is revealing photos and letters from Miss Crake, one of Miss Peregrine’s sister ymbrynes, that will reveal a secret time loop before it resets on Saturday, September 3rd. At that time, a Grand Prize winning store will be named as the new time loop location, with a “peculiar” watch for every customer in that the store who purchases a copy of Tales of the Peculiar on September 3rd, 2016. UPDATE: See the bottom of the post for the reveal of the location of the new loop!
Ready to see the photos? Read on.
The first photo
A new photo from the world of Miss Peregrine has come to light in the form of a distress call from America. Miss Crake, an old friend of Miss Peregrine’s, is in peril, and sends a letter with a photograph enclosed. Miss Peregrine is away on business when the letter arrives, so it’s up to one of her former wards, Millard Nullings, an invisible boy and the most scholarly of the peculiars, to help Miss Crake:
Alma — forgive my brevity, but my loop and all I have worked for are in danger. I am in hiding, pursued by enemies, and cannot tend to my loop. However, I have arranged things so all that’s needed to prevent my loop’s collapse is for a single peculiar to enter it by September the third (a date well-known to you, surely). Otherwise it will disappear forever, and with it my life’s work. I cannot tell you where it is outright, in case this message is intercepted by some hostile party, but I trust that those with peculiar intuition will be able to follow my trail, of which the photograph enclosed is the first breadcrumb. Very humbly yours, Winnifred Crake.
The second photo
As the date approaches, Millard Nullings, an invisible boy and the most scholarly of the peculiars, is on a hunt to uncover the location of the new North American loop by following clues from Miss Crake, an old friend of Miss Peregrine’s. Millard, who narrates Tales of the Peculiar, has written this note to go along with the next photo in the trail:
Hello, readers and friends — an update. Since you last heard from me, I examined the cabinet card photograph left by Miss Crake. Clearly, from the writing on the bottom of the card, she fled to somewhere in the vicinity of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, so that’s where I focused my search. The symbolism of the skull in the lap of the young man at center was obvious enough: Miss Crake was leading me to a graveyard. But which one? There are seven in the vicinity of Upper Sandusky — but only one, the Infirmary Cemetery, that’s just down the road from a quarry, the importance of which I deduced from the pick-axe in the hand of the young man on the right side of the photo. A bit of research told me that this graveyard had been attached to what had long been the county poorhouse and sanatorium; very likely home to some peculiars over the years. Searching their burial records, I found a Mr. Emmanuel Stutz, whose entry in the county ledger reads: “Died aged 55, brain cracked, partially sane. Third eye on top of head. Buried behind the railroad tracks, November 7, 1894.”
With great effort I located Mr. Stutz’s grave, for the area behind said tracks was grown over with weeds and had been flooded periodically. There, tucked into a plastic envelope beneath a tuft of grass, was a second photograph. Alongside it was a short note in a hurried scrawl, which reads: “I waited some days here but could not stay longer, for fear I might be caught. I hope you will keep looking — for all our sakes. Yours desperately, Miss Crake.” As you can see, there is some writing on the back of the photo itself, though whether or not it is meaningful isn’t readily obvious.
I hope you can offer me some help, friends.
The third photo
Greetings, friends! It is I, Millard Nullings, with an update on my progress in the mysterious case of Miss Crake. Last we spoke, she led me to a pauper’s cemetery in rural Ohio. The photograph she left for me there was strange indeed — of a recreational trailer that had flipped and wrecked on a desolate highway. The writing on the back appeared to be the date of the accident, February 22, 1956, but after devoting much thought to that date’s meaning, it made little sense why Miss Crake would have noted it. There is no known loop on that day, and the lack of identifying landmarks in the photograph would make it near-impossible to deduce where such a loop might exist, if it did. So I thought: perhaps the numbers written are not a date. Perhaps they are a location, and the numbers are coordinates!
This was an enormously exciting breakthrough — until I realized that 22.2 latitude by -56.9 longitude is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. So I stared at the numbers a while longer. I walked along the railroad tracks than ran alongside the half-forgotten pauper’s cemetery. It soon began to rain, and as I dashed for the cover of trees I slipped and fell, and found myself on my back, staring up into their branches — my body flipped like the trailer in the photo. That’s when I had a sudden brainwave: the trailer was a clue. Flip the photo upside-down, Miss Crake was telling me! So I did, and I realized at once that the number stamped upside-down at the photo’s bottom — 482 — might be a coordinate (48.2), and if it was, it could very well be on the North American landmass rather than in the ocean — as could the “date” at the top of the photo, if read backwards as a coordinate, -65.2. I righted myself, raced to the nearest library, found an atlas, and discovered that the coordinates were indeed on land, and in North America. The coordinates led me to a town on its very edge: Hope, Quebec.
Hope, Hope — the very name lifted my spirits! When I arrived at the township (I won’t bore you with the details of my travel, other than to note that public transportation is delightfully inexpensive when one is invisible) I made my way nine miles west, as per the instructions on the photo. There I found a lonely intersection and along it a lonely petrol station, where painted on a rusted door were the letters WC. Aha, I thought: Winifred Crake’s initials! I was disappointed, however, to find nothing within but a toilet, and a rather dire one at that. If Miss Crake had been hiding there, waiting for help, she was gone now. But all was not lost: luckily, I thought to check inside the toilet tank, and there discovered that she had left a clue regarding her onward progress. It was another plastic bag containing a photograph — this one even more mysterious than the last, which you can see for yourself, as I have included it here for your perusal.
Friends, I am now well and truly stumped. The photo appears to show a matador being pitched over a wall by an angry bull. Must I now book passage to Spain? But, no — Miss Crake could not have fled so far. I’m almost certain she’s still in North America. But where? And what could this photograph mean? As always, any help would be most appreciated.
The fourth photo
Millard Nullings here, with another dispatch from my travels around North America as I pursue Miss Crake, my ymbryne’s wayward friend. When last you heard from me, I had tracked her to a petrol station at a lonely crossroads near Hope, Quebec — where I discovered, rather than Miss Crake herself, a photograph of a bullfighter being pitched over a wall by a bull. Another clue as to her whereabouts, surely, but what could it mean?
I puzzled over it for some time. Since there was nothing written on the back of the photograph and no note included with it, I had to conclude that Miss Crake meant for me to find her at a bullfighting ring. As everyone knows, bullfights are common in Spain, Portugal, parts of Southern France, and several Latin American countries — but it was declared illegal in the United States in 1957. The world’s largest bullfighting ring is the Plaza Mexico in Mexico City, but Miss Crake could not have gotten that far, even if she’d assumed bird form and winged it. The photograph itself, notable for its square format and scalloped edges, is of a type common throughout America in the late 1950s and 1960s — which means it was likely taken here at some point after the ban. In the photo, there are far too many people in the crowd for that fight to have been performed illegally, underground. So it must have been a legal match. Naturally, I was baffled: is there a form of bullfighting that’s legal in America?
To find out, I purloined a teenager’s electronic computer-phone, which had been left unattended in the mini-market section of the petrol station, and did some research. I quickly discovered that there are indeed legal, “bloodless” bullfights in America, in California’s Central Valley, and one was scheduled to be performed just a few days hence. But how to get from Quebec to California in such a short time? I could write a long story about how I achieved it — needless to say, being invisible has its merits. I took a bus to an airport, where I was able to sneak onto an airplane — marvelous contraptions, airplanes — and occupy an empty seat. (One does have to be constantly vigilant, as an invisible individual, when occupying unoccupied seats, for if someone were to unknowingly sit on me, I would have been found out, and there would have been nowhere to run.)
In the end, I made it to the bullfight with only minutes to spare. As the match commenced, I searched the crowd seat by seat, but found no sign of Miss Crake. Then I remembered the photograph she had left for me, and the angle from which it had been taken — at ring level, from behind a wall — and there, at the exact spot, I found an exhausted tourada. He had just been chased by an angry bull, and when he saw my footprints in the dust he greeted me in Portuguese — as if he had known I was coming, and had been waiting for me. Ola, menino escondido, he said, and held out a small piece of paper. I took it from him. He nodded in my general direction, and then climbed back into the ring. He had given me a photograph, and you can see reproduced here. Working up my nerve, I was about to follow him into the ring to ask him what it meant — but moments later he was gored through the chest and then trampled by the bull. Which was, as you might imagine, rather disturbing.
I narrowly escaped the pandemonium which erupted in the stadium. In the relative quiet of the parking lot, I studied the new photograph and the number stamped on its rear-side. I find it altogether mysterious. Dear readers, might you offer me some help?
The fifth photo
Salutations, readers! It’s Millard Nullings again, here to fill you in on the unfolding mystery of the whereabouts of Miss Crake. I have begun to suspect that she’s leading me, in cross-crossing fashion, toward her loop, which as she mentioned in her first note, must be entered by September 3rd or it will collapse forever. That date steadily approaches, but none of her clues have led me to it yet. I’m sure that the circuitousness of her route is an attempt to throw her enemies off our trail; I only hope I can find Miss Crake or her loop in time.
In any case! Her most recent clue, handed to me by a toreador just before he met an unfortunate end at the pointed end of a bull, was a snapshot of a young boy atop the hood of an automobile. Upon the auto’s fender is a sticker that reads “TREES OF MYSTERY,” which led me to a roadside tourist attraction of the same name, at the California/Oregon border — where the first thing one sees is a giant statue of folkloric woodsman Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. From the horns of a living bull to a huge reproduction of one — there had to be a connection!
I pondered this as I wandered through the attraction. It’s large and consists of a forested area, a hiking trail, the aforementioned statues, and a museum. There was no sign of Miss Crake, and if it was another small photograph she wanted me to find, I would need a more specific idea of where to look. Inside the bull statue, perhaps? I returned to it and searched its plaster base, but found no evidence of a hatch, a door, or anywhere else one might hide a photograph. My mind turned to the number stamped on the back of the clue — 22. As I’m sure you’re aware, 22 is a highly symbolic number with a variety of important meanings. A number of old languages had 22 characters in their alphabet, among them Chaldean, Sabean, Roman, Copt, and Hebrew. In Hebrew, the word “shor” means bull. Using my purloined computer-phone, I measured the distance between the Trees of Mystery and the shore of the nearby Pacific Ocean.
It it precisely 2,222.22 feet from Babe’s plaster hoof to the first specks of beach sand.
I sprinted through that redwood forest toward the ocean as fast as I could. When the trees cleared and the vast Pacific came into view, I saw immediately what Miss Crake had left for me. There was a log of driftwood directly ahead, and tied to it, as protection from the waves and tides, was a small plastic bag containing a single photograph. It was a picture of Miss Crake herself, standing at an easel with a paintbrush in hand. On the back, she had written — well, you can read it for yourself.
Can anyone make heads or tails of this? I miss my friends and my brain is tired, but I feel I am close.
A final message from Millard Nullings
Greetings, it is I, your favorite invisible scholar, Millard Nullings. I have some very excellent news to share with you. When last I wrote, I had just discovered, on a beach in Northern California, a photograph of Miss Crake. In it, she stands at an easel with a palette in hand. On the rear of the photograph is written: “Turn the page, friends, and you may find me fair, I hope.” Now, Miss Crake is not a woman given to self-flattery or someone who solicits compliments from strangers, so asking us to find her fair seemed downright strange. There must be more to this, I thought, and so there was. In fact, it was all rather obvious in the end.
Miss Crake, as you may or may not know, is something of an accomplished painter, and she’s written a few books on the subject. Using my purloined computer-phone, I shared the photo she left with Miss Peregrine, who told me it was taken in Miss Crake’s back yard, at her home in Battles Wharf, Alabama. It seemed a fair assumption that Miss Crake had returned home, or to somewhere near it, and had led me on a chase around North America in order to throw an enemy off her scent. Even so, it would be foolish for her to return to the very same town that she left — but after some pondering and consultation of maps, I discovered a town very near Battles Wharf called Fairhope.
She may as well have hung up a neon sign! The words “fair” and “hope” both appear in Miss Crake’s short message, so I had no doubt she was leading me there. But where in Fairhope could her loop be? For that, I turned to the symbology of the image itself, as well as Miss Crake’s biography. She’s a published author, and is very proud of it. There are several bookstores in Fairhope, but a quick search revealed that only one carries her book — a shop called Page & Palette is the location of Miss Crake’s loop!
So there you have it folks! Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL has been revealed as the new time loop location! Join their celebration TODAY from 1:00pm-4:00pm with giveaways, activities, a photo booth experience, and more! Plus, the first 150 customers to buy a copy of Tales of the Peculiar from Page & Palette will also receive a “peculiar” pocket watch! And if you don’t live in Alabama, don’t despair–there are tons of Loop Day celebrations happening all over the country. Find one near you here!