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Operation TidalVortex
Live event 14 of The Black Watchmen, involving the long lost mysterious figure Whitechapel.
Type Official
Creator Alice & Smith
Discovered 2017-12-19

Main Page > List of Investigations > TidalVortex

On December 15th, 2017, Alice & Smith released the Whitechapel DLC for The Black Watchmen, a PARG (Permanent Alternate Reality Game). 4 days after the release, a live event began, known as Operation TidalVortex.

The mission began as the screens in the in-game Situation Room displayed a Dagaz rune, and the event was officially classified as live.


The Situation Room during the TidalVortex live event.
The Situation Room after the second signal intercept attempt appeared.

On December 19th, 2017, at approximately 1:54AM UTC, a briefing email was sent out to all Black Watchmen agents. This email contained a classified document from site 7361, which proves that Mr. Whitechapel is behind the mysterious occurrences in New England. The email also contained the following instructions:

  • Record yourself reading the following incantation:
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem
  • The Situation Room will broadcast a symbol in real-time, draw it on your cellphone to submit your voice recording.

On December 20th, at approximately 1:50AM UTC this intercepted broadcast was found in the in-game situation room.

After agents received the briefing, the Black Watchmen Map along with the in game map began to fill up with symbols. Each symbol indicated that an agent in that area had recorded and submitted their chant. Soon after these symbols appeared, repeating audio cues of agents chanting began to play.

At approximately 1AM UTC on December 21st, the in-game situation room updated to show what looks like a nebula on one of the screens. When clicked on, it opens up this link to Signal Intercept Attempt #2, uploaded by Dispatch. Even though this is a different signal to the first one, the two signals seem to be connected.

Solving Signal 2

Later, at 17:55 UTC, an agent emailed Dispatch explaining how the used cipher operated, and afterwards, a public message from Dispatch was received on Discord which read as follows:

Someone has cracked the signal:
The noise from the signal is ordered like this:
000000 111111 000000 001110 110001 011001 010010 100110

By taking the nth bit from these sequences we can  rearrange the bits to this:
01001001 01001110 01010100 01010001 01010011 01001100

Which than can be converted to ASCII writing:

In other words:
By starting at the 000000 111111 000000 part of the sequence, we can transform the message to Q codes used in radiocommunication.

Soon after, a follow up message was received from Dispatch, who said:

We should have a clearer version of the first signal for you shortly, as well.

Solving Signal 3

At 19:45 UTC, the nebula in the Situation Room was replaced with a black hole. Clicking on it links to Signal Intercept Attempt #3, which reads as follows:

The Situation Room after the third signal intercept attempt appeared.
Tones found in the third signal interception.
My name is Jacob Miller. This guy. I think I heard someone call him Whitechapel. He’s doing some experiment on us. He makes us feed off of other people’s dreams. Once in a while one of us is chosen to, be the container. Like a vessel between us and the dreamers. We gather the dreams energy, it looks painful when you use someone as a vessel. I heard hear the other talking, I don’t know where they heard this, but I’ve heard others say when they take vessels away they dig into their brain to harvest something that’s grown inside that they need-. I’ve looking for an escape but this place has guards at every door. If I don’t get out I think I’m going to die here. I don’t want to do this anymore. We are being held against our will. Some of us are still conscious other’s wound up brain dead. That guy he calls us the choir. Please stop him, he is up to no good. I hear someone. Shit. Please help us. (Beeping) (Track fades away.)

At 21:15 UTC, Dispatch sent a follow up link which contained a clearer version of the tones found at the end of the third signal.

Green Agent Activation

Later, at 1:42 UTC, another email was sent to Dispatch, containing the possible locations of the broadcast using the tones from the ending of the third signal. The email read the following.


We have finally settled on two possible locations. Using the frequencies found in the audio, we have found:  7,2 4,3 3,2 5,4 

We coordinated these with the Tent Runes previously used in related investigations and have found two possibilities: 

"OYER" - “OYER MASSACHUSETTS” search on google leads to the Salem Witch Trials court of Oyer and Terminer. Salem Witch Trials took palce in Salem Village MA, now called Danvers MA. There is a recently closed/partially demolished sanatorium called Danvers Insane Asylum. It was also recently used for condo development. 

One user also notes: In french "Oyer and terminer" means "To listen and to end". The whole event was about sound, to listen, and were coming close to the end. (I, [The agent that sent the email], believe it could also signify the end of the mission.) 

"AYER" - This is also a location in Massachusetts that includes a fortress of its own, and this spelling is the other result from runes. While clues point less soundly to this one, we cannot count out this possibility. 

Please inform of any other developments or responses you may have. 

Nine minutes later, at 1:51 UTC, Dispatch came online on Discord, and said:

We directed Division 88 to focus their efforts in the regions you emailed to us, and it seems Salem, MA is the origination point of the broadcast. We can't yet determine where in the city it's coming from but that's in the works.

Soon after, Dispatch notified Riningear (the green level agent for Operation TidalVortex) that she had been activated:

Agent Riningear, please consider yourself activated. We'll be in contact in the morning, but you have a long trip ahead of you. 

Dispatch also asked agents to work together to create a debrief for command, and to send it to [email protected] by 12:00 PM EST. (5:00 PM/17:00 UTC)

Agent On Site

The first paper with the tap circle
The second paper with a message for Riningear

At 19:58 UTC, Riningear arrived at the location, and received 2 pieces of paper: one with an encoded tap circle, and the other with a message.

The sequence of numbers from the first paper were solved to say "Beneath a loose brick", and the message read the following:

As of the time of this writing, our teams have not yet identified where in Salem the anomalous broadcast is originating from. Your job in the field will be to locate the broadcast origin and report back to us when it is identified. To aid in your mission, we have assembled a small field kit. Contained in the kit is a cell phone, some petty cash, a notebook and pen, and a protection amulet. Usage of the amulet is optional, but advised.

The cell phone number is [REDACTED]. We have linked it with a twitter account for use in the field (@GREEN_RMT). Usage of this account is not required, but it will be one of the primary methods we use to monitor your progress as well as any major disruptions in your mission.

Subject Omicron has focused on the Salem area and has produced a vision that should point you in the correct direction. Find the vision session output and additional notes attached.

Good luck, Agent.

The Tap Circle has not yet been solved.

Book Cipher

After being supplied with a protective amulet, Riningear arrived at a house decorated with many old-looking paintings. After exploring for quite some time, she climbed a stairwell, when she heard a woman's voice faintly call out to her. Dispatch confirmed that Riningear was looking for an object at the top of the stairwell. Riningear noticed a framed drawing on the wall at the top of the stairwell - unique in that it was the only pencil-drawn artwork in the house. At 01:40 UTC, Riningear removed the drawing from its frame, and discovered a code underneath it:

TV under the painting 2.png

At 02:30 UTC, a still image appeared on Anashel's (the puppetmaster's) Twitch stream, showing 1h30 - the amount of time until Riningear's organization-enforced curfew (although she was later granted an extension).

The note was revealed to be a book cipher, which was decoded by using the bookshelf in the study:

First number  - Column
Second number - Row
Third number  - Book (Stacks are read from top to bottom)
Fourth number - Letter (in title)
3-1-6-1  - Collected Droll Stories      - C
5-1-2-6  - The Nature of the Universe   - T
2-3-7-2  - The American Automobile      - H
4-4-5-5  - The Summer Garden            - U
6-2-4-1  - George Walton Academy Resumé - G
1-3-11-2 - The Amstad Rebellion         - H
3-3-5-1  - Architecture in Salem        - A

The book cipher yielded CTHUGHA, the name of a deity from the Cthulhu mythos. The solution was confirmed by Dispatch, who said that it looks promising.

Father of Fathers

Dispatch had revealed two images to remote ARG players:

The field team onsite missed a small inscription in the Poetic Edda that he had in his car. We took photos, they're in the Archive at Call #DA7C3F6.

Visiting the Black Watchmen Archives and using call number DA7C3F6 yielded the following images:

At this time, it is unclear what we are meant to do with these messages.

Fireplace Receipt

The note that was discovered in the left safe

At roughly 03:45 UTC, alarms went off in the building. In response, Riningear was advised to proceed to the so-called "blue room". Hidden in the fireplace, Riningear found the following receipt:

TV receipt.jpg

Notably, the receipt is from Home Depot, which did not exist in 1946 (the year the receipt was supposedly issued). Additionally, after the receipt was discovered, the Twitch stream updated to display an image of the Bluenose, a famous schooner built in Nova Scotia, which is where the receipt was issued. In addition, the Bluenose crashed on 28 January 1946, the exact date that the receipt was issued.

Riningear discovered that a new room had been unlocked, containing a picture of the Bluenose. Anashel's stream updated to show an image of famous author Virginia Woolf - the newly unlocked room contained many books that she had written, each of which was annotated with handwritten notes. One of the books, Jacob's Room, was found to contain a key. (Why Jacob's Room specifically? --ed) Riningear used the key to unlock a safe on the left side of the room, which contained a handwritten note from Miller, as well as some batteries, a marker, and a UV light.

The contents of the left safe

With that, Riningear's first day of field work concluded.

As of now, this is all that is known. This page will continue to be updated as more of the event plays out.