Day 1 of Nancy Drew Convention, Weekend Puzzle #380 solution, and some interesting theories from Roo!

Hiya all you ATAC Members!

Frank and Joe still owe us that money!

While walking into Salem on the first day of this year’s Nancy Drew Convention (put on by Nancy Drew Fans), I couldn’t help but think about two of the original members of ATAC – Frank and Joe Hardy! One of the first buildings I passed was a fire station, and I saw the witch on their emblem, just like the Hardy Boys and Nancy talked about. I kept my eyes peeled and saw a few more emblems with witches during my visit. I know Greenwich, Connecticut once had a witch on their fire department emblem, but I’m on Nancy’s side and that the bet was about a police force emblem, and not just any first responders.

Photo collage of Salem, Mass. Police and Fire truck emblems

Peep a little more than a witch on the fire truck

As I ventured closer to the heart of the town, a fascinating pattern emerged. Many of the houses I passed were adorned with small signs, a tradition that turned out to be a distinctive “New England thing,” according to a local guide I asked named Jodi. These signs told you what year the house was built, who it was built for, and what they did. 

Little craftsman-style signs that depict information about the original homeowners

Jealous of the title “Fancy Painter”

Have you ever wondered where the phrase “dead as a doornail” comes from? During the era when these houses were being constructed, the number of nails used in a project was considered a status symbol, reflecting one’s wealth. In Salem and other original settlements, homeowners would even decorate their front doors with extra nails to flaunt their prosperity. However, this display of affluence came with a downside as others began stealing the nails right out of door frames to construct their own homes. In response, homeowners devised a clever solution by bending back their nails, essentially ‘killing’ them. Once bent, these nails could not be removed for reuse, safeguarding their investment. Moments like these remind me of how learning can come from various sources – sometimes from a Nancy Drew Game and other times from the wisdom of a local. A fascinating glimpse into history, don’t you think?

Walking the town with Deidre 

Since this first day was a “free day” until the Nancy Drew Convention Meet & Greet in the evening, I took full advantage of my empty schedule to get acclimated to the city, walking all around and taking everything in. I half expected Deirdre to sneak up behind me at any moment. I felt like I really was walking through Midnight in Salem on the hunt for clues, coffee, and cozying up with Hardy Boys! (sorry, Ned) I passed signs and flags advertising a month-long festival called “Haunted Happenings” and the town’s Jack-0-Lantern festival. This reminded me of the light post signs and all the Jack-o-Lanterns you can carve in MID. Did you know you get an award if you find all the hidden pumpkin locations and place jack-o-lanterns there!? It is my favorite reward in the whole game because I love all things pumpkins.

If you’ve carved all the pumpkins and completed that in-game challenge, be sure to try the real-life challenge of Her Interactives’ Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest. This contest is going on Now until Nov 1, enter the Nancy Drew Cosplay & Pumpkin Carving contests! There are 4 categories & YOU will vote on the winners You could win a free download of Mystery of the Seven Keys when it becomes available! Click here to learn more!

Photo collage of Midnight In Salem environments that reminded me of real-life Salem.

Have you discovered all 12 locations for pumpkins in MID?

While walking to my first activity for the week, I passed by the real Old Town Hall! I wonder if Teegan is in? Then I stopped at a shop and grabbed an Andes Mint Iced Coffee… for research purposes of course… 

photo of the Old Town Hall from Midnight In Salem vs the real Old Town Hall in Salem, Mass.

 I am constantly in awe at how beautifully our games capture the spirit and essence of many real-life locations

Stepping into history

Finally, I arrived at the historic house of Judge Jonathan Corwin. This house is the only structure still standing from the time of the Salem Witch Trials. In those dark days, anyone accused of witchcraft was first brought to this house for questioning. What struck me immediately was the sheer size of the house; it was quite extraordinary for its time. 

Within its walls, I found copies of documents from the notorious Salem witch trials that touched on many of the concepts and research we learned about in Midnight in Salem. The potential role of ergot poisoning, the stories from the Naumkeag, and the fundamentals of herbal remedies all felt familiar.

The exterior of the Corwin House bore a striking resemblance to the iconic Hathorne House, evoking a sense of real-life Nancy Drew déjà vu. This feeling was heightened when I learned that in the 1940s, the city faced a decision about the fate of the Corwin House. They grappled with the question of preserving this valuable piece of history or moving on from the shameful past in the midst of downtown development. Some advocated for its demolition, while others argued for its preservation. The house was carefully moved just 35 feet, allowing the main road to be widened.

photo collage of Corwin House main room interior, herbal medicine display, and photo of MID box in front of exterior of Corwin House

Interior, exterior, and displays of herbs at Corwin House

Time to get my Bingo on!

12,345 steps later, it was time for the first event of my first-ever Nancy Drew Convention – the meet and greet! Everyone was invited to dress up as a witch and we officially checked in. The night was busy, filled with picking up the convention goodie bags, eating dessert to die for, playing a meet-and-greet bingo card-style game, crossing our fingers to win raffles, meeting so many fellow sleuths (shout out to Erin! She was the first fellow Nancy Drew Games fan to come up and say hi). Some of my personal favorite moments of the night were when I finally got to give some of my new friends Nancy Drew inspired friendship bracelets and even saw some original Nancy Drew book cover art! My heart was so full.  

photo collage of Indy standing next to original art work, convention crowd waits to check in, Nancy Drew Bingo card game

Photo Cred and BIG thanks go to Jim McNamara for putting together his display of  Nancy cover and interior art that he has been collecting since 1986


And now, a message from Roo!

Hey Sleuths!

Last week, we had an amazing puzzle go out done by the puzzle master herself, Indy! If you haven’t solved it already, I recommend going back to last week’s blog post to put your master detective skills to the test!


Click to view answer


“Koko Kringles are red, Sonny’s hair is blue, Nancy Drives a roadster, take a second look at the poster.”

Some of you immediately figured out that this was related to the poster giveaway we did for our 34th post a couple of months ago and had some interesting theories that I wanted to share!

  1. Since the poster is 18×24’, there was a suggestion that the release date for game 34 would be 1/8/24, which I have to say is INCREDIBLY clever!
  2. Someone pointed out that there are a couple of really fun silhouettes on the poster, and some look familiar, and some are new … there was even a theory where one looks like Batman! I think that theory was my favorite. Nancy Drew x DC collab soon?
  3. You sleuths pointed out that there was an “H” somewhere on the poster and had a couple of ideas of what it could possibly mean: Hans? Hilda Swenson? Henrik Van Der Hune? There were probably others, but you’re asking the wrong amnesiac 😉

Let me know below which theory is your favorite! One may be more right than the others!


Next steps?

Congratulations again to everyone who won the contest, has one of the coveted posters, and helped send photos and videos to the rest of the Clue Crew so everyone could sleuth together. For all those who were not lucky enough to win, we have decided to put out a digital copy of the poster so you can zoom in and look for your own clues. Roo put a pretty interesting watermark on the poster, so the contest winners remain the only ones with the original poster. Our watermark may not be Togo, but you might like it just as much!

copy of game 34 poster awarded to previous contest winners

What secrets do you think this poster might hold?

What is your theory behind the secret clue in the poster? Share with us in the comment section below!


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18 responses to “Day 1 of Nancy Drew Convention, Weekend Puzzle #380 solution, and some interesting theories from Roo!”

  1. Mary says:

    Mint Mocha. Yum! And, is the mention of Andes a hint for an upcoming ND adventure in the Andes?

  2. Jessica says:

    One silhouette on the poster makes me think Nancy’s luggage will include a pet carrier…

  3. Heidi says:

    If the release date is 1-8, that would be awesome! Just in time for my birthday! Although even sooner would have been better.

  4. Lizzy says:

    There’s a little dark shape on the circular bench with 6 little paw prints leading up to it!

  5. Claire says:

    The theory of the release date is interesting. As Arglefumph was doing a playtest for you in September, I don’t know how far you are in the production process, so the 8th of January could be possible? I’m not really familiar with the video game industry.

    The company I work for recently did testing for a new accounts software for my department and the product came out a couple of months later. So based on that experience, it could be possible?

  6. Anna says:

    I like the theory of the release date! 😀 It’s a like another step forward of being able to mark that date on the calendar and start a countdown.

    Indy, thank you so much for sharing your visit to Salem! I hope to visit there one day, but I really loved reading the facts about the town and seeing the pictures you have shared. The history and research that goes into the games makes my inner nerd very happy and I love learning new things – especially about history. I always thought I hated history, however, I learned that is not the case (mostly thanks to Nancy Drew) and it’s more about the method of learning about history or the time in history. Perfect read while I started my weekend with coffee! Thank you!

    • Indy says:

      Hi Anna, Thank you so much for your kind words. When I was in school I always liked to think of history as just stories or gossip about historical figures. It made retaining the information so much easier! So I definitely understand what you mean about the method of learning. – Indy

  7. Mary says:

    To the eagle-eyed fans who noticed paw prints: did the image show clearly what type-/s of critter paws were seen?

  8. Jcat says:

    The Corwin House? Interesting. I always thought the Hathorne house was modeled after the house of the 7 Gables! Right down to the Miniature model inside that they take apart to show the expansions over the years on the guided tours.

    • Jessica says:

      I think the design of the Hathorne House was inspired by The 7 Gables, but the historical aspect was inspired by the Corwin House.

      • Indy says:

        Hi JCat! I think you are right! I didn’t get a chance to see the House of Seven Gables while I was in Salem. I took a tour bus that drove by, but all the trees still had their leaves and blocked the view. Pictures online do look similar in the style and size. -Indy

  9. Corrie Shoemaker says:

    Hello Roo and company,
    I’m a university professor writing an article on Nancy Drew and game design. I’d like to interview the Drew Crew working for Her. I have sent emails out but haven’t heard back. If possible please reach out for a follow up. Thank you. -Dr.Shoemaker

  10. budford says:

    I thought it was the network now not ATAC anymore?

  11. Catherine says:

    I saw someone else point out that the clock hands on the poster are 1 and 8, so also suggesting a 1/8 release date. However I think they are actually 1/7?, but still early January regardless. I do see what looks like an 8 on the building underneath the second clock though….

    Also the facebook post’s capital letters spell “shadow.” Wonder if this could be referring to Secret of Shadow Ranch, which contains a clock puzzle in which the numbers are 12, 2, and 7…in which case possibly 12/27?? The lower clock on the building with the thicker lines does look kind of similar to the clock in that puzzle…also seems weird to have two clocks on the building. Who knows! Excited to see what is next.

  12. Spencer Lawr says:

    I think “shadow” refers to all the silhouettes scattered around the poster but I don’t know what they mean lol

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