Mysteries Revealed and The Curios Exposed

The Mysterious Package Company's (previously) audience is bifurcated into two groups which seem to overlap only slightly. The first group buys one or more of the six (soon to be seven) "experiences" and sends it either to themselves, or more likely to an unsuspecting victim … and then waits for the fun or horror to start. The second group subscribes to a quarterly newspaper called Curios & Conundrums (more about that in a moment). If an experience is sent to yourself, it's a collectible rather than a mystery; but if sent to someone who has no clue what it is or what's coming next, then it becomes the unexpected and thus unsettling occurrence the folks at the Mysterious Package Company have in mind. Here is their video for "The Century B*e*a*s*t," their first Kickstarter project sold last summer.

In the end, "The Century B*e*a*s*t" seemed too scattered and drawn out, with 10 mailings sent out over almost a year. The older experiences are more compact with fewer mailings, a lower price, and have more impact. If you've never done anything like this before, and wish more immediate satisfaction, I would become a member of the Mysterious Package Company and send either "R*i*s*e*n" or "The K*i*n*g in Yellow" to yourself or a friend—they will begin shipping with 30 days of your order and are both creepy.

Costing only $99 is the least expensive experience which consists of a single mailing, "The W*e*e*p*i*n*g Book," which is genuinely dark stuff and prompted at least one terrified recipient to call the police. The experience "Tempus F*u*g*i*t" is more suited to people who don't like horror, but prefer sci-fi with a tinge of romance. And for those who like lighter fare, "Under the C*e*i*b*a Tree" is designed for the young and the young at heart—something entirely different than the company has done before. Since it has just started, whether or not it will be a success is unknown. More information on all of these experiences is available once your membership has been approved. Yes, you must apply and be accepted by The Curator!

To join The Mysterious Package Company click here and request membership. If granted, then your journey has begun and you will discover that its Curator has done much more than merely create the type of "experience" we enjoyed yesterday.

Or you can visit the Kickstarter campaign and buy one of the levels of "Filigree of Shadow" for $250 ($325 in Canadian bucks). A more customized version ($513; $666 Canadian) adds a secondary story of a séance to the tale and gets a photo of the person to whom you've gifted the experience, or yourself, converted into a spirit photograph. "Filigree of Shadow" will begin in April, 2017. Membership is granted automatically with your purchase.

Curios & Conundrums is a quarterly newspaper the MPC publishes. Now printed in full color, volume one contains five issues including a Prologue. The newspaper almost doubled in size with the start of volume 2 and now continues in volume 3. Each issue comes with various extra "things" that are in some way related to an ongoing series of puzzles, stories, and assorted bits of odd business that eventually will come together into a somewhat cohesive narrative … unless at the end we are just left screaming in the red room like Twin Peaks.

The various bits of ephemera that come with Curios & Conundrums are only sent to those who subscribe to the newspaper at the time of each issue's original release: subscriptions are $34.99 per copy. Earlier issues of Volume 3 with ephemera are still available for members at $29.99 each.

Curios and Conundrums 2

For those who've come to the party late, there are "Catch-Up Kits" which offer just the newspapers from Volumes 1 and 2 for the very reasonable price of $49, but without the ephemera. And without the ephemera, what is there to do when you become mired in the puzzles? They have an answer for that, too.

There used to be a special place on the MPC's website known as The Sitting Room. Once inside, the modern world evaporated and those who partook were transported to a non-existent faux Victorian era in which the members banded together to help one another solve the fiendishly difficult puzzles and crosswords. But The Mysterious Package Company closed The Sitting Room forum without warning, so the community took it upon themselves to create a new and more organized unofficial forum where, once you have registered, you'll find a thriving group with hundreds of puzzlers who are happy to help even those most helpless.

Several members have also created a Wiki that offers much valuable information to help one another in solving the puzzles, including images of the artifacts sometimes important to solving them in Curios & Conundrums, and then taken that even further and established an ephemeral chat room where members assist one another … and then the conversation vanishes at the end of the evening.

If you enjoy difficult puzzles that play out on a larger canvas of a narrative, then a subscription to Curios & Conundrums might bring loads of enjoyment. And there are also vaults on the MPC website which can only be opened with codes gleaned from solving the puzzles.

Once a year, in August or September, membership kits chock full of goodies are offered for sale. Various levels are available, the most delightful of which comes nailed shut in one of the MPC's signature wooden crates. The Curator and his coterie are quite firm about the limited window of availability of certain offerings; in modern parlance, "you snooze, you lose."

No one knows where it will end …

While we have come to the end of our experience, much more you awaits at—if you have the nerve for it, or a friend who is ripe for a good puzzle or a strange, frightening, and thought-provoking episode that always ends with the delivery of an ominous wooden crate which demands to be opened.