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Cipher Hunt Alex Hirsch Bill Cipher Statue

Cipher Hunt was an ARG (alternate reality game) about Gravity Falls created by Alex Hirsch. The goal of the game was to find an actual statue of Bill Cipher, briefly glimpsed in the series finale, by retrieving and decoding clues hidden in various locations around the world. The first ones to the statue received a prize, though the hunt was mainly about the journey and not the destination.[1] It began on July 20, 2016[2] and finished on August 2, 2016.[3]

Rules

According to Alex, the official rules to Cipher Hunt are as follows:[4]

  • This is an unofficial fan tribute treasure hunt made just by [Alex Hirsch]! It has no affiliation with any company!
  • No trespassing/vandalism. Everything is in a public place. Be respectful of your surroundings! Don't be a dummy!
  • Be careful - you search at your own risk! Like Pokémon Go, keep an eye out for Gyarados!
  • If you encounter Bill, whatever you do, don't shake his hand!

Summary

Location Spotter Clues
Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia @mindofaddict and a small group of fans Encrypted message found inside the cathedral.
Kanda Myojin Shrine, Tokyo, Japan @nyankun1 Encrypted message found at the back of one of the emas in the shrine.
400 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia, USA @Parsleymagnet Lost pet flyer for Waddles found with a contact number which plays a backwards message when called.
Ochre Court, Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island, USA Clue was accidentally disposed by the university before Cipherhunt began and replaced with another phone message from Stan.
Griffith J. Griffith statue, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, USA @ramblewheels Golden head of Grunkle Stan with an encrypted message and an invisible pen inside.
Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA @AchillesHeely, Jason Ritter, Ariel Hirsch, and a small group of fans A black pouch with a USB stick containing an audio file.
Sublevel of the California State Summer School for the Arts, Los Angeles, California, USA @DroveSouR Graffiti with a crudely drawn Bill Cipher and a series of hex codes that, when decoded, forms a series of coordinates.
Piedmont Park, Piedmont, California, USA Nick, and fans @minecreatr, @xXxN0831xXx, @OMGMei, and others A pink key, and a small chest containing a Cryptex locked behind a five-letter keyword. Contained a key used to unlock a post office box and a message.
PO Box 27128, 1825 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, California, USA @OMGMei, Jason Ritter, and a slew of other fans waiting at the post office. A bag containing two thousand puzzle pieces, an envelope with an image of Bill saying "I HOPE YOU LIKE PUZZLES" in code filled with Stan Bucks, and decoy junk mail.
Corner of Rodney and Tillamook street, Portland, Oregon, USA @easykehl A message with a View-Master disc under a lawn gnome.
Confusion Hill, Mendocino County, California, USA @rylee_stanton A message under a jar of fake eyeballs only given when the passcode, FILBRICK, is said.
Stanley Street, Amity, Oregon, USA @annahinchcliff A message inside a geocache bolt near a telephone pole.
Enchanted Forest, Turner, Oregon, USA @Niltiac6's son Encrypted message inside a jar buried in a dirt enclosure on the property.
Reedsport, Oregon, USA @shadow_wolfwind (currently @OfficialGFMayor) Bill Cipher's statue and a chest buried in front of it containing several items. Split with @mypresidents Family, @temp_cdcan, and @tyrnn.

The Hunt

The Beginning

Bill Cipher statue torn page

The original Twitter image posted by Alex Hirsch, signalling the start of Cipher Hunt.

Fans theorized that there was an actual Bill Cipher statue in the world based off of the end of "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls," which contains both a clip of a real Bill statue and a message hinting at the presence of buried treasure "deep within the woods" and a statue "beyond the rusty gates".

Alex Hirsch and the team behind Gravity Falls did not talk about the presence of a statue in the months following the end of the show until the silence was broken on July 20, 2016. On that date, Hirsch tweeted "Are you guys ready?"[5] and then proceeded to begin the game with a tweet containing the words "Let the games begin #FLSKHUKXQW" and the image shown above.[2] The image contained several cryptograms and clues.

  • After shifting the phrase "#FLSKHUKXQW" three letters back, the text reads "#CIPHERHUNT."
  • The text above the Bill statue reads:

"WKH XUEDQ OHJHQG KDV FRPH WUXH * FLSKHU'V VWDWXH'V FDOOLQJ BRX * WKH VHFUHW PDS LV LQ BRXU KDQG * WR WUDFH WKH FOXHV DFURVV WKH ODQG"

After shifting the message three letters back, the text reads:

"THE URBAN LEGEND HAS COME TRUE * CIPHER'S STATUE'S CALLING YOU * THE SECRET MAP IS IN YOUR HAND * TO TRACE THE CLUES ACROSS THE LAND"

  • The numbers above the Bill statue read "8-15-10-19-5." After putting the message through A1Z26, Atbash and shifting it three letters back, the text reads "PINES."
  • The text below the Bill statue reads:

"GRQ'W IRUJHW LW'V DOO IRU SOHDVXUH * WKH KXQW LWVHOI'V WKH UHDO WUHDVXUH * EXW D SULCH DZDLWV WKH ILUVW RQH WKHUH * EH VDIH, EH VPDUW, DQG RI FRXUVH EHZDUH"

After shifting the message three letters back, the text reads:

"DON'T FORGET IT'S ALL FOR PLEASURE * THE HUNT ITSELF'S THE REAL TREASURE * BUT A PRIZE AWAITS THE FIRST ONE THERE * BE SAFE, BE SMART, AND OF COURSE BEWARE"

St. Petersburg, Russia

Clue 1 location
Russia clue

Decoding the red letters placed across both sets of cryptograms creates the word "RUSSIA," hinting at the location of the first clue. The diagram at the middle left of the image was recognized by Russian fans as an architectural plan of the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.[6] The diagram at the middle right shows exactly where in the Cathedral it can be found. Using this image, the first clue was successfully found.[7] The text on the clue decodes to:

"Finally the hunt can begin
So switch your Rubles out for Yen
Turn left when you're at the shrine's door
When you reach the statue turn left once more
In the leftmost corner in the back
Is the info that you lack
A sword and a crescent mark the clue
Cipher's statue's calling you.
"

This points to the second clue being located in Japan, which uses yen as currency.

Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan

Clue 2 location
Japan clue

The exact location of the second clue is inside the Kanda Myojin Shrine, which Hirsch visited during his trip to Japan.[8] On the back of one of the emas inside the shrine was a scimitar and crescent with an encrypted message.[9] The text on the clue decodes to:

"Consider in your quest for truth
the hunter of the fountain of youth
400 before his name is written
Outside the gate is where its hidden
Find what's LOST to pass the test
From a Shrine that's east to a Shrine that's west.
"

This points to third clue being located at 400 Ponce de Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia, as Juan Ponce de León was a hunter of the Fountain of Youth.

Atlanta, Georgia

Water damaged lost poster clue

The address found from the second clue led to a Shriners' temple.[10] A community stream found a missing poster for Waddles in the area, but it was water damaged and difficult to read. The poster contains a picture of and information about Waddles, a cryptogram, and a phone number to call if Waddles is found. When called, the number plays a backwards message.[11] The poster contained some information about Waddles: "NAME: Waddles. SEX: ??? BREED: Pig. WEIGHT: 15 lbs. Last seen sitting around some rocks near a creek. ADDITIONAL INFO: Oink oink oink oink oink (etc.)"

The poster also contains an encrypted message:

"dfurvv iurp wkh vwrqhv ri wkh vsulqjv
brx'oo ilqg vrph shfxoldu wklqjv
wlhg wr d urrw lv d orqh slqn nhb
glj wr ilqg zkdw zdlwv iru wkhh.
"

While it was hard to see due to the rain damage, the text once decoded read:

"Across from the stones of the springs
you'll find some peculiar things
tied to a root is a lone pink key
dig to find what waits for thee.
"

The purpose of this message is to help find the eighth clue.

The phone number, when reversed, played a message from Grunkle Stan while the X-Files theme plays in the background. The call says[12]:

"Hello, it's Grunkle Stan, and I have a riddle for you! What has two legs during the day, four legs during the night, and uh, it's red and white, and, I dunno, I'm no good at these riddles. It's at Ochre Court, all right? The next clue, it's at Ochre Court. It's, uh, it's like, it's a big old building in Rhode Island. And if you go up the stairs, there's gonna be a bunch of pictures of nuns on the wall. You gotta look behind one of the nun pictures. Sister Mary Hilda Miley. Real, real grouch, that nun. Lift up the picture to find a clue behind the nun, all right? That's the whole thing. So, you know, be careful with the picture. Don't break it. I don't want you to get anyone in trouble, all right? You don't want ol' Grunkle Stan going to jail. Anyway, go to the place, look behind the nun, find the thing, and uh, uh, always? Be...mys...look out for mysteries! That it, did, did I do it? All right."
—Stan Pines

This shows that the fourth clue is located in the Ochre Court building of Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.

Newport, Rhode Island

Where the fourth clue would have been

The fourth clue was to be located in the Ochre Court building of Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.

Cipher Hunt Uh oh

However, the university accidentally disposed of the clue before Cipherhunt began.[13] Alex Hirsch promised to give a replacement clue at July 21st, 2016, 12:30 PST,[14] and asked people to stay out of the university in the meantime.[15]

GravityFallsCipher had also made a few cryptic tweets about Cipherhunt in the meantime.

  • The first clue is:[16]

"The Nuns have won
But the battle's not lost
We are still far from done
Find the pink key or pay the cost
"
—@TheMysteryofGF

This is allegedly an old clue people forgot to solve.[17] It relates to the "pink key" discussed on Waddles' missing poster.

  • The second clue is:[18]

"When one branch closes, another path may still be open. Return to what was and try again while awaiting something new."
—@TheMysteryofGF

The fanstook this to mean returning to Georgia in order to find out if something was added in their absence. At 12:30 PST, Alex Hirsch tweeted Grunkle Stan's phone number (the same number on Waddles' missing poster), and said to leave a message.[19][20][21]

The phone number plays a message from Grunkle Stan. The message says:

"A man who's first name is his last, a statue honoring his past. Right behind him by the sign of his park, a golden head shows light in the dark. I dunno what that means. Well, I don't have to go out there, 'n figure this out. Wonder what's on TV."
—Stan Pines

This shows that the fourth clue is located near the Griffith J. Griffith statue at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Gold head clue

A golden head of Grunkle Stan was found in Los Angeles, which was the fourth clue.[22] The Stan head came with a slip of paper with a code on it, as well as an invisible ink pen, which reveals hidden code.[23] The text decodes to:

"50 + 50 THAT'S THE CITY
FROM ONE ANGLE IT'S QUITE PRETTY
YOU'LL FIND A BOW TIE AND ONE EYE
AT HIS HEAD IS A RECTANGLE
STONES BY STAIRS ATOP THE TOP RIGHT ANGLE
THE STONE WITH THE UV SWIRL CAN GLOW
FIND THE BLACK POUCH THAT'S BELOW.
"

Century City, Los Angeles

This clue shows that the fifth clue is located in Century City, Los Angeles. A certain park in the city is trimmed into the shape of the Eye of Providence. Jason Ritter, Ariel Hirsch and a small group of fans went down to Century City and successfully found the black pouch, which contained a USB stick with an image of Bill on it.[24] The USB stick contained an audio file that was later uploaded to Soundcloud.[25]

  • Music and sound effects from Super Mario World can be heard throughout the recording.

The full transcript of the sound file is as follows:

Grunkle Stan Howdy, treasure hunters! Grunkle Stan here to tell you about the next clue — whoa! Who are you?!
Sister Mary Hilda Miley Mmmmm! It is me, Sister Mary Hilda Miley, and I decree that you shall never find the treasure! Muahahahaha!
Stan Um... Some kind of ghost has flown into the Mystery Shack here, she's, uh, she's got a ruler and a ghost hand — *BASH* Ow! Hey!
Sister Miley I am the spirit of seriousness! I hate anything fun: carbonated beverages, boys and girls holding hands at school dances, and most of all, I hate treasure hunts! Also, knuckles! *BASH*
Stan Ow! Soos, get the vacuum cleaner.
Soos Ramirez Yes sir, Mr. Pines. *Vroooom...*
Sister Miley No! My one weakness! A creative solution! I'll be back! You'll never find the treasure!
Stan Good job, Soos. Have a chicken nugget.
Soos To me, this is a raise!
Stan Alright kids, the next clue is, uh, a kind of tricky one, you see. This is one that can only be found by someone who is currently in the building it is hidden in. That's right, I'm looking for students at the California State Summer School of the Arts. Only CSSSA students can find this clue. I don't want anybody else going to CSSSA, alright? It's, uh, you're not allowed in. Only students there are allowed in. Students, scour the sublevel! You'll know it when you see it. And watch out for Sister Miley's ghooooooost! Seriously.

This shows that the sixth clue is located on the California State Summer School of the Arts campus.

CSSSA Campus, Los Angeles

CSSSA clue

The clue was found in the sublevel of the CSSSA campus in the form of graffiti on a wall.[26] The graffiti shows a crudely drawn Bill Cipher and a series of hex codes that, when decoded, form co-ordinates: 37°49'19"N and 122°13'59"W. These co-ordinates are located in Piedmont, California, the hometown of Dipper, Mabel, and the Hirsch twins.

Piedmont, California

The rhyme on the Waddles missing poster, as well as some guidance from Alex Hirsch[27], led fans to the Pink Key tied to a stump, in addition to a small chest with a Cryptex locked behind a five-letter keyword. Using the keyword from the original image of Cipherquest, "PINES," the cryptex was opened, revealing the seventh clue and another key.[28] The clue reads:

"LA HAS THE CLUE YOU WANT
1825 N VERMONT
27128'S THE BOX FOR THEE
DON'T BE PUZZLED, USE THE KEY.
"

This clue shows that the eighth clue is located at 1825 N Vermont Ave in Los Angeles, and that the provided key has to be used to open PO Box 27128.

1825 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles

After several hours, the person with the key traveled to the post office box and used the key to open it. The eighth clue was a plastic bag containing two thousand jigsaw puzzle pieces.[29] The box also contained an envelope with a drawing of Bill saying "I HOPE YOU LIKE PUZZLES" in code, thirty-seven Stan Bucks with the word "FILBRICK" written in invisible ink on their backsides, one Stan Buck with "FILBRICK" in code written on the front side, and some decoy junk mail.

The fans almost immediately got stuck on the puzzle. After two days, during which some took sleep shifts while some didn't sleep at all, they managed to complete scattered portions of it that show what the puzzle contained. It was of Bill Cipher, with a gnome under him and letters in Bill's cryptogram below and to the sides of him.[30][31]

After another day, Alex Hirsch sent a tweet which showed a rough idea what the puzzle should look like upon completion, but with a different code that said "THIS IS WHERE THE CLUE WILL APPEAR" when decoded in addition to what was previously completed. After two more days, Alex sent two images of different sections of the puzzle and a virtual version of the puzzle was created by a fan to get some help. Fans used Photoshop to piece these two images together and then decoded what they could make out. Within a few hours the puzzle was then digital solved by a group effort.

  • The code reads "CORNER OF NE TILLAMOOK EN NE RODNEY." "CORNER" is below the gnome, with the other words being on either side of Bill. They are flipped 180° around.

Progress on the puzzle eventually reached the point that a fan was able to guess the location of the next clue before the puzzle was completed. It was solved by accident on the corner of Rodney and Tillamook Street in Portland, Oregon, as shown in the code above.

Though the clue was found without completing the puzzle, Alex Hirsch provided incentive to complete both the physical and virtual puzzles by saying that if the physical puzzle got finished, he would release the Gravity Falls pilot[32] and if the virtual puzzle got finished, he would upload unreleased cut scenes from the show.[33] The physical puzzle was completed on August 1. Alex Hirsch showed up upon its completion, signed it and promised the release of the original pilot.[34]

Portland, Oregon

Clue 9
View master

A fan was walking on the corner of Rodney and Tillamook street Portland, Oregon where he spotted a lawn gnome.  Having been keeping up with the hunt on twitter and what had been solved with the puzzle so far he decided to pick up the Gnome on a whim up only to find a View-Master and the ninth clue underneath it.[35] The clue says:

"To the redwoods you must race
If you're Confused you're in the right place
The giftshop is not too far
The password will buy the Eyeball jar.
"
[[source]]

The View-Master contained slides depicting the area around Confusion Hill in Mendocino County, California. Confusion Hill is a tourist trap similar to the Mystery Shack. One of the slides also contains an image of Snoqualmie Falls, a waterfall known for appearing in the television show Twin Peaks, an inspiration to Gravity Falls. This points to the tenth clue being located at Confusion Hill.

Confusion Hill, California

A fan went to Confusion Hill and successfully brute-forced the passcode to the eyeball jar. It was "FILBRICK," the word in invisible ink on the back of the Stan Bucks packaged with the jigsaw puzzle. Using the code, the fan retrieved the eyeball jar and found the tenth clue on the bottom of it.[36] Alex Hirsch has stated that fans will get a prize for taking a selfie with the picture of the Gravity Falls crew at Confusion Hill. The clue says:

"WHERE HAS MY GRUNKLE GONE? / TO STANLEY ST. IN OREGON / A TELEPHONE POLE IS WHERE HE'S AT / WHY'D HE HAVE TO BOLT LIKE THAT?"

This points to the eleventh clue being located near a pair of telephone poles on Stanley Street in Amity, Oregon.

Amity, Oregon

Clue 11

A group of fans went to Stanley Street as instructed and found a geocache bolt, and then somehow lost it before finding it again. They unscrewed it to find the eleventh clue inside, written double-sided on a very narrow strip of paper.[37] The clue says:

"ROGER TOFTE KNOWS THE PLACE
BEHIND A SIGN BURIED AT THE BASE
NEAR PA'S LAUNDRY ON THE HILL
'HERE LIE THE BONES OF A MAN NAMED BILL'
"

Roger Tofte is the creator of the Enchanted Forest amusement park, in Turner, Oregon.

Enchanted Forest, Turner, Oregon

Clue 12
CipherHunt edited torn page

A family raced to Enchanted Forest in pursuit of the clue. They dug around a dirt enclosure near Pa's Laundry, but found nothing. Alex eventually realized that the clue was already taken by another fan before the family got there.[38] The fan uploaded the image of the twelfth clue online. It was written on ripped paper and was encoded.[39] The decoded clue says:

"RETURN TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN / THE FINAL CLUE IS IN YOUR HAND / THE PARCHMENT CAN BE SUCH A TEASE / THE ANSWER'S WRITTEN IN THE TREES"

This points to the twelfth clue being the final clue, with the next stop in Cipherhunt being the location of the fabled statue of Bill Cipher. On the back of the final clue, there is a dotted red line leading to an X, as if it is a treasure map.[40] This dotted line can be combined with the dotted red line found on the initial Cipherhunt image posted by Alex Hirsch.[41] Fans used the initial image and last clue combined to search for the statue in several locations across the West Coast with no results. Meanwhile, many people made unsuccessful attempts to find an encoded message in the trees seen behind Bill's statue.

After several days with no progress, and after asking the fans on his Twitter account if they wanted it,[42] Alex Hirsch tweeted a hint for the final clue:

"An urban legend arcade game
Gives the methods correct name
Mathematically the letters hide
In branches & knots, no matter the side
"
—Alex Hirsch[|[source]]

The urban legend arcade game is Polybius. From this hint, it was discovered that the code needed to solve the clue was a Polybius square, a code that uses pairs of numbers and turns them into letters via a grid, usually of 5x5 spaces, placing the whole alphabet in those spaces, and that may use a keyword to encrypt messages.

Cipherhunters needed to find a pattern in the branches and knots of the trees that could be converted to pairs of numbers (the side each branch was in not being a factor). They also had to find out which specific version of the Polybius square was used to encode the message. Through clever cryptoanalysis of the branches and knots, and by manipulating the possible results with the assumption that the decoded message was a location that had to end with the letters "OR" (Oregon), a "reverse" code cracking method was used. The most likely resulting message was "REEDSPORTOR," so the fans were able to narrow down the location of the statue to Reedsport, Oregon.[43] Alex Hirsch retweeted messages of fans that were heading there, reinforcing the assumption.[44][45] The treasure map was assumed to be a map through the city's parks or surrounding forests to find the statue, so the fans searched in Google Maps for a path where the map fitted, locating one at the end of S 22nd Street.[46][3]

The complete code was cracked later that evening (the message already presumed to be "REEDSPORTOR"): an upwards branch with needles means 1; a downwards branch with needles means 2; an upwards branch without needles means 3; a downwards branch without needles means 4; and a knot means 5. Read from top to bottom and from left to right, the resulting numbers, grouped in pairs, are "42-15-15-14-43-41-35-42-44-35-42." The Polybius square needed to decode the sequence and get the message "REEDSPORTOR" from those numbers is a 5x5 grid that combines the letters P and Q, with no key words.[3] The first digit of each pair is the number of a line, and the second digit is the number of a column.

1 2 3 4 5
1 A B C D E
2 F G H I J
3 K L M N O
4 P/Q R S T U
5 V W X Y Z

Reedsport, Oregon - Cipher's Statue

Cipher Hunt Bill statue found

Bill found.

Fans raced to Reedsport to be the one to find the statue of Bill Cipher. The statue was found on August 2 at 19:53 PDT (2:53 Aug 3 UTC) by @shadow_wolfwind (now @OfficialGFMayor), who tweeted a photo of it.[47][48]

Later, a treasure chest buried in front of Bill's statue was found and dug up by a series of other fans, with several of them (including a baby) shaking Bill's hand.[49] The treasure chest contained a wide array of loot, such as plastic coins and gems, Russian and Japanese currency, a copy of Gravity Falls: Journal 3 with special drawings by Alex Hirsch, a black light, a plastic crown and a sash that says "Mayor of Gravity Falls," a music box with Bill's eye that plays the Gravity Falls theme song and contains a slip of paper, a miniature Bill Cipher statue, a framed sketch of the main characters and the statue, and a USB drive. Some currency in the chest was marked by a person named Bradley who found the treasure before the hunt began.

The drawings in the copy of Journal 3 are caricatures of Soos, Grunkle Stan, and Old Man McGucket, with Stan saying "ENJOY THE NERD BOOK, SMARTYPANTS!" and text reading "FROM GRUNKLE STAN, SOOS, & MCGUCKET -(ALEX HIRSCH)" shown below. When investigated via blacklight, Bill's name is added to the signature, Bill hovers over Stan's shoulder, and Bill says "STAY PARANOID!"[50]

When the slip of paper in the music box is investigated with a blacklight, a note from Alex Hirsch can be found:

"CONGRATULATIONS ON FINDING THE BILL CIPHER STATUE, BILL'S FINAL RESTING PLACE! WHOSOEVER FINDS THIS TREASURE IS HEREBY THE NEW "MAYOR OF GRAVITY FALLS" - SO USE YOUR TITLE WELL! CHANCES ARE YOU DIDN'T DO THIS ALONE, SO SHARE THE WEALTH! YOU ARE AN AMAZING FAN!
YOUR PAL, ALEX HIRSCH
"

  • Because of this, the user @shadow_wolfwind changed her username to @OfficialGFMayor.

The framed image depicts Soos, Grunkle Stan, Dipper, and Mabel all posing next to the Bill Cipher statue with the word "CONGRATULATIONS" being displayed above. Bill can be seen floating next to the "CONGRATULATIONS." The image is signed by Alex Hirsch.[51] When investigated with a blacklight, the statue gains Bill's eyelashes and bowtie, and its pupil glows. In addition, the eyes of all the main characters glow, and "TRUST NO ONE" is written on top of "CONGRATULATIONS."[52]

On the USB drive was a text document titled "Hi" which contains a link to Bradley's Twitter account, an audio file of Grunkle Stan singing "We'll Meet Again" and congratulating the finders, and a text document with the title of "MyExWifeStillMissesMe.ButHerAimIsGettinBetter." When opened in Notepad, a text reading "RETURNBACKWARDSTOTHEPASTAGAINTHREE" appears, which is a reference to Back to the Future III.

The complete transcription of Grunkle Stan's message is:

"We'll... meet again... Don't know where... Don't know when... But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day... *coughing noises* Oh, my esophagus. Hey guys. Congratulations on finding my, uh, mysterious treasure, of the-th-(stuttering) statue in the forest. Uh, this is it. This is, you reached the end, you really did it! You really, you looked for it, and you found it. And, um, now it's yours! Uh... You know, i-if you were hoping for some kind of, like, y'know like a cash prize... Y'know, I can't blame you but the real, the real treasure is the journey and the friends you made along the way. In case you don't have any friends, in which, y'know, at least you got some exercise. Um, anyway, y'know, take a picture with the statue. Y-go, shake his hand, that's kinda like a prize. And uh, tell everybody how you, you did it first, and that makes you the best. Also y'know, if any other people helped you, give 'em some of the gold plastic coins. Share the wealth! Anyway, congratulations! I'm Grunkle Stan, and as I always say... No refunds!"

Background music to "We'll Meet Again" plays throughout the entire message.[53]

Aftermath

Inputting "RETURNBACKWARDS" as a username and "TOTHEPASTAGAINTHREE" as a password on themysteryofgravityfalls.com/pilot will let users watch the unaired pilot of Gravity Falls. It is a prototype of "Tourist Trapped" with a radically different art style and some altered dialogue and scenes.

On August 3, the statue and its treasure were taken by local authorities because of a property conflict: the apparent proprietor had authorized Alex to place the statue, but there was another person claming ownership of the land where it was located.[54]The hat was broken in the process, though it had already sustained damage. The police ended up holding the statue for Alex Hirsch, keeping it intact. It was to be moved to another location. By August 5, the statue ended up in Bicentennial Park, in Reedsport, Oregon. It was bolted to the top of a tree above the ground, lacking its hat. The treasure box was located beneath the statue. Fans continued to visit Bill.[55]

On August 15, Alex called for volunteers to relocate Bill's hat and to move the statue via truck to a new location.[56] Three days later, on the 18th, Bill had been removed from Bicentennial Park with a sign in his place that read "BILL WAS HERE" in Bill's substitution cipher.[57] The other side of the sign contained a stylized image of Bill. On August 19 (around twelve hours after the discovery of the sign), Twitter user @Knarkill34 tweeted that they had moved Bill to an undisclosed location, but provided pictures.[58]

On August 20, several fans discovered that Bill's new location was Confusion Hill.[59] Bill is to acquire a new hat within a week, and the treasure box was not transported to Confusion Hill.[60]

Bill and the Puzzle are now both housed at Confusion Hill, along with a special treasure cache for anyone who wishes to seek him out. The fans have since taken and left treasures for fans' future pilgrimages so there's always something for someone on their own Cipher Hunt.

The promised reveal of deleted scenes from Gravity Falls has yet to be fulfilled.

Trivia

  • Several of the locations for clues have been tied to religion — the cathedral in Russia, the shrines in Japan and Georgia, and the paintings of nuns in Rhode Island.
  • Several of the locations for clues have been tied to Gravity Falls — the Eye of Providence-shaped building in Century City, the post office near the House of Pies (the House of Pies being the place where Alex Hirsch thought of the name "Gravity Falls"), and Confusion Hill, which is a tourist trap similar to the Mystery Shack.
  • Alex Hirsch took a picture of himself posing next to the statue eight months before Cipherhunt.[61][62]
    CipherHunt Big Dipper
  • The first few location of the Cipher Hunt, when connected together, make a Big Dipper, aka Dipper's birthmark.  
  • Cipherhunt's place in Gravity Falls canon is unknown, considering it is unclear why Grunkle Stan would want Bill's body to be found, or why a hunt would be organized around it. It is most likely noncanon, but the fact that the picture of the main characters recovered with Bill depicts the characters eyes glowing in a similar way to possession via Bill suggests that Bill could have tricked the Pines family into organizing the Cipherhunt.

Resources

References

  1. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 755964068427550721. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “To follow the unfolding madness, check https://t.co/Huj0gpi0Za "A prize awaits the 1st one there! Be safe, be smart, & of course BEWARE!"”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Alex Hirsch (20 July 2016). Tweet Number 755870882027802624. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Let the games begin #FLSKHUKXQW https://t.co/shSu5PCDSR”
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Alex Hirsch (Aug 2, 2016). Tweet Number 760714517869387777. Twitter. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “DAY 13- #CipherHunt is COMPLETE! Our BRILLIANT fans cracked the cipher & discovered the map led to Reedsport OR!”
  4. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 755948098036260864. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “@_AlexHirsch ~YE RULES~ https://t.co/fqxwehXZNu”
  5. Alex Hirsch (20 July 2016). Tweet Number 755870103783124992. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Are you guys ready?”
  6. Kazan floor plan
  7. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 755921257439174656. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “In Soviet Russia, clue finds you! First clue has been found! #CipherHunt https://t.co/kRPk2q7HZk”
  8. Alex Hirsch (04 February 2016). Tweet Number 695393614172520448. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “There's a shrine in Tokyo where you're supposed to specifically pray for cartoon-related luck! Let's hope it works! https://t.co/HKrSURXZdu”
  9. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 755962611158519808. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The second clue has been found in Japan! Well done! Where does it lead?? #CipherHunt https://t.co/faFHSr7bOV”
  10. Yaarab Shrine Temple 400 Ponce de Leon Ave NE Atlanta, GA Associations (January 17, 2016). Retrieved on August 1, 2016.
  11. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 755982533175545856. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “THIRD CLUE found! Damaged by Georgia Rain... But GF fans are forensic experts! #CipherHunt https://t.co/l66uC7sNbr”
  12. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 755984590657859584. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The 3rd clue had a phone number with a mysterious backwards message! Fortunately a GF fan reversed it.. #CipherHunt https://t.co/M7NbHQ1ebp”
  13. Salve Regina (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756142450872320000. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Attn #CipherHunt We regret to share that there no clue in Ochre Court nor anywhere else on our campus. Good luck on your hunt. Keep it fun.”
  14. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756165342758522880. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The new clue goes live at 12:30PM west coast time! Prepare yourself treasure hunters! #CipherHunt”
  15. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756132588683538432. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “In the meantime, stay out of Ochre Court! Unless you want to invoke #SisterMileysCurse #CipherHunt”
  16. GravityFallsCipher (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756156741633581056. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The Nuns have won But the battle's not lost We are still far from done Find the pink key or pay the cost #CipherHunt”
  17. GravityFallsCipher (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756157024661037057. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “@cartoon_army it's an old clue people forgot to solve”
  18. GravityFallsCipher (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756159098253635584. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “@sppectrdetectrs when one branch closes, another path may still be open. Return to what was and try again while awaiting something new.”
  19. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756209644331073538. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “323-283-8650 #CipherHunt”
  20. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756210704768643073. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “@_AlexHirsch #LeaveAMessage”
  21. https://twitter.com/_AlexHirsch/status/756211569109839872
  22. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756231313099665408. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The 4th clue has been found- right in sunny LA! But what secrets lay inside? #CipherHunt https://t.co/DZsJ6dIpaw”
  23. Ramble Wheels (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756240500496052224. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “This may take a little time. I am trying to do it as fast as I can. #CipherHunt https://t.co/8O2giTi7dw”
  24. Alex Hirsch (21 July 2016). Tweet Number 756266493638127616. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The 5th Clue has been found! Right in Illuminati headquarters! But what does the flash drive contain? #CipherHunt https://t.co/n2YgQRVHjp”
  25. GravityFallsCipher (22 July 2016). Tweet Number 756283490178662401. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The next clue for #CipherHunt features a surprise guest. Thanks @AchillesHeely https://t.co/OI9wisb0bi”
  26. Alex Hirsch (22 July 2016). Tweet Number 756292146609557506. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “The 6th clue has been found, deep within the bowels of CalArts! But what does it mean? #CipherHunt https://t.co/gfbXJFQNXm”
  27. http://i.imgur.com/ofp2bUR.jpg
  28. Alex Hirsch (22 July 2016). Tweet Number 756327164065095680. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “7th clue found! Gravity Falls fans are incredible- someone should write a song about these heroes #CipherHunt https://t.co/MN8Fx5LJaD”
  29. Alex Hirsch (23 July 2016). Tweet Number 756681861057785857. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “8th clue has been found! *Some assembly required #CipherHunt https://t.co/WnTqEVFC52”
  30. Kendall M (23 July 2016). Tweet Number 756997873108029441. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “I can't believe we're back! So much fun! #CipherHunt @_AlexHirsch @JasonRitter https://t.co/lbaCgG8kCx”
  31. Nate Ruegger (24 July 2016). Tweet Number 757009916447985664. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Live from #CipherHunt in Burbank, CA https://t.co/I4g1zywz3J”
  32. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 757814314245824516. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Don't throw the irl jigsaw puzzle away just yet though! If it's completed, I will upload the unreleased pilot to Gravity Falls! #CipherHunt”
  33. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 757814418331676673. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “@_AlexHirsch And if the digital version is complete, I will upload some cut scenes from the actual series! #CipherHunt”
  34. (Aug 1, 2016). https://twitter.com/_AlexHirsch/status/760323097090150401 Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “The ImpossiPuzzle is complete, thanks to the effort of our brilliant/insane #CipherHunters. Prize coming soon!”
  35. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 757813820135907328. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “INCREDIBLE! Deducing from all parts of the incomplete puzzle, Clue #9 has been FOUND under a lawn gnome in Oregon! https://t.co/eax7RUNUWW”
  36. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 757973330041315328. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “CLUE #10 has been found! By an amazing fan at Confusion Hill! The race is on! Could Bill Cipher be near? #CipherHunt https://t.co/KKIMPId0ga”
  37. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 758053643014725633. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Clue #11 has been FOUND!! Great job CipherHunters! Things are about to get nuts! #CipherHunt https://t.co/tRkeSQNPJ0”
  38. https://twitter.com/_AlexHirsch/status/758061457678274561
  39. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 758062700135976960. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “Clue #12 found by the fastest CipherHunter on earth, racing to beat the Periscopers! #CipherHunt https://t.co/Ja6soKO79r”
  40. Alex Hirsch (26 July 2016). Tweet Number 758073773241225217. Twitter. Retrieved on August 1, 2016. “What's this? Looks like there was a little something on the back of the clue...#CipherHunt https://t.co/02vDX1KTt6”
  41. https://images-2.discordapp.net/.eJwNyEEOhCAMAMC_8ACoIK3xNwQJmtWWQM0eNvt3neP8zN1Ps5pdtY3Vue0YWfpmh0pPtdgqUs-S2jFslssl1ZT3q7AO5yHOiDMgEAFNAeEtwuAXxBAX8j7i5G7-sHzZNq7m_wAFgCLT.GFvJqCWBeIWNJ1wn43KSWAI3QmM.png?width=212&height=300
  42. Alex Hirsch (Aug 1,2016). Tweet 760158616485715971. Twitter. Archived from the original on August 1, 2016. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “So....Who wants a clue? #CipherHunt”
  43. RunningIsFunny (Aug 2, 2016). Cipher Hunt Megathread. Reddit. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “If you guys can stand another theory, here it is: 18 branches, 4 knots = 22 Polybius needs pairs, so 11 letters 5 different types - bare branch slanted up, bare branch slanted down, branch with "leaves" slanted up, branch with "leaves" slanted down, and knot. Assign each of those type a number 1-5 randomly. The letters themselves will come out as gibberish, but it does tell us which letters repeat and which don't. There are 7 different letters in the 11. The pattern goes: X-Y-Y-Z-A-B-C-X-D-C-X It doesn't matter what letters you use. What's important is that the first, 8th and last letters are the same, the second and third are the same, and the 7th and 10th are the same. Big deal, right? But if we assume the last two letters are "OR" as in Oregon, we then get... R-Y-Y-Z-A-B-O-R-D, OR If the first letter is a consonant, then 2 and 3 have to be a vowel, and since we've already used "O," the only possibility is "E." So now we have: R-E-E-Z-A-B-O-R-D, OR There's only one place that fits. Reedsport, Oregon.”
  44. @TheMisteryofGF (Aug 2, 2016). Tweet Number 760655495497650176. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “All Gravity Falls fans nearby are converging on Reedsport, OR w/ confidence. Who'll be the victor in this wacky race”
  45. @mypresidents (Aug 2, 2016). Tweet Number 760654794994307072. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “#CipherHunt on our way to Reedsport @_AlexHirsch @billthe8th”
  46. @abood_5403 (Aug 2, 2016). Tweet Number 760630970466828288. Twitter. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “@_AlexHirsch look Alex NO CRAP HERE BUT I SWEAR IM POSITIVE I FOUND IT IM OUT OF TOWN BUT THE MAP IS 100%”
  47. @shadow_wolfwind (Aug 2, 2016). Tweet Number 760669915250425856. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “Guys, I found him. #CipherHunt @_AlexHirsch”
  48. @shadow_wolfwind (Aug 2, 2016). Tweet Number 760670787611140097. Retrieved on August 2, 2016. “I'm just going to hang out here, wait for you guys, take more pictures and be eaten by bugs. #CipherHunt”
  49. https://twitter.com/_AlexHirsch/status/760689120758857729
  50. tumblr_inline_obbmhcOwn61qdlsc3_500.png
  51. tumblr_inline_obbqmqYsBR1qdlsc3_500.png
  52. tumblr_inline_obbqp5qYWL1qdlsc3_500.png
  53. https://soundcloud.com/hana-240583732/grunkle-stans-message
  54. Alex Hirsch (Aug 3, 2016). Tweet 760942700250005504. Twitter. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “Update! #CipherHunt 'I got permission from the property owner to install Bill in his forest path, but it turns out there's another property owner I never heard of who disputes the location. No worries! Rather than get into a Hatfields /McCoys situation we're having the statue moved to a new spot!'”
  55. @NightoftheLark (Aug 5, 2016). Tweet 761647878313914368. Twitter. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “Update to those still on #CipherHunt, Bill is no longer in police custody! He's hidden himself in Bicentennial Park!”
  56. Alex Hirsch (Aug 15, 2016). Tweet 765325080565985280. Twitter. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “WANTED: Someone with truck/adventurous spirit to drive Bill on a 5 hour road trip from Reedsport to his new home! Not kidding! #CipherHunt”
  57. http://65.media.tumblr.com/4323dc46d2237a9276436478816ba10b/tumblr_inline_oc8sxwPgZg1qmj7h0_500.png
  58. @Knarkill34 (Aug 19, 2016). Tweet 766482897435930624. Twitter. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “#CipherDriver changed me (sic) life. Best experience ever. Don't ask me for a location. That isn't my job. My job is done.”
  59. @TheDannyHopkins (Aug 20, 2016). Tweet 767070490879938560. Twitter. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “I found him lol #cipherhunt #confusionhill #worthfivedollars @steppblaise”
  60. @SaturnInGF (Aug 20, 2016). Tweet 767096481350160384. Twitter. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved on August 22, 2016. “found em! visit bill! Faq: no treasure box, bill in parking lot, next week get a new hat #GravityFalls #cipherhunt”
  61. https://twitter.com/_AlexHirsch/status/760721935672156166
  62. https://twitter.com/_AlexHirsch/status/760722815238737920

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