There were lot of other families there too, participating in the event. The building looked nice and well- decorated; we enjoyed looking at the sight. There was a gift shop, we wanted to see what they had, but we had to interview and solve a mystery first. When we met with Erika Wilson, our guide, she led us through a hall. Then we sat down at a table. We chatted for a few minutes with her before our tour. We asked why was the event created and she told us that this is a new event and it is very different from the past years.
When I asked her if they have any mascots, she replied: “Yes, we do. We have Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.”
Erika told us that if she would change one thing about the event, she would add more suspects. The most interesting place to Erika is the Harness shop.
When we asked Erika if her job is fun, she answered: “Yes and no. Yes, because I get a lot of time for types of arts and crafts, and no, because I have to do a lot of typing.”
Then we went on to become one of the detectives solving the mystery. We first watch a short video that give us information about the mystery. There were four suspects: Flora, a villager, Ruby, the doctor’s wife, the peddler, and Miss Moriarty, the new seamstress. Children get a junior detective notebook. Inside was a coded sign language letter left by the thief. There were other pieces of evidence, too, like a piece of torn fabric and three fingerprints. We went around the village looking for clues and questioning people. Often, in a building, there would be a clue, an activity, a character to question, or one letter to gradually build up our note, until we knew what it said. It was written in sign language, so we had to decode it. Sometimes, there would be a green sign with a black silhouette of Holmes holding a red magnifying glass outside of a building to give us a hint of what we should do.
The Tinsmith’s shop is the probably the first place you would go to. In his shop, there would be a hint to the first letter. There was a piece of paper with red patterns on it, and a piece of red glass plastic. You would hold it over the paper to decode the patterns. It told you what one hand sign meant. A straight palm with a thumb folded over meant B. The tinsmith also told us a little secret. “You can’t lose,” he told us. “If you get it right, your mummy will congratulate you. If you don’t, get mad at them and ask them why they gave you the wrong answer.”
We also visited the post office. You would decode a message in Morse code and follow the instructions. It led us to a “bunny-ears” hand sign that meant V. One of Voice K Journalists, Edward, didn't find it until his mother pointed it out to him in a little box-like shelf. Apparently, there was nothing because he hadn't looked at the correct place. He followed the tinsmith’s advice and asked his mother why she told him to look in the big mailbox.
We went to the brewery, too. There weren't any particular people to question or any clues, but there was an activity upstairs. You could make a secret spy name tag/badge, or a “disguise”: a mustache, a bow-tie, or lips. You made up your very own spy name. You would use the first three letters of your last name, combined with the first two letters of your first name. For example, if your name was James Morton, your spy name would be Morja, or Mor Ja. Heather Lapsia, Laphe, or Lap He. What’s your secret spy name?
The Blacksmith’s Shop was dull and dreary. A lot of metal poles were on racks attached to the ceiling. You could question him about any suspicions seen from the suspects lately. He told me that all he had seen was Ruby going out to Ms. Moriarty’s in early hours: a little too early for business hours. It also seemed she was in a rush. I thanked him.
Amelie, a Voice K journalist, pointed out a sign that read: Outside is the bird of ﬁ re, The ﬁ rst letter is what you desire. It sounded mysterious, and there was a sign language hand beside it. I studied it while Amelie went outside. I looked at the Phoenix over the door, and I told her it meant the letter P because the clue said, “The fi rst letter is what you desire.”
There are many rooms and places you can visit, such as the doctor’s house, the weaver’s shop, printer’s shop, and much more. There are a lot of games to play and a lot of clues to fi nd. From the expression and body language of each suspect, you can see who lied and who told the truth. Sometimes clues can hide in most unexpected places, so you need to keep your eyes open.
In the end we went to another short video to tell us the real answer to the mystery. It was Ruby, the doctor's wife. We also learned a lot about the culture during the pioneer time period.
We had a great time at Black Creek Pioneer Village. The mystery was fun to solve and very exciting. This event is a great place to test your detective skills. If there is a Sherlock Holmes mystery at Black Creek next time, be sure to try it out! You will not regret it!