Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries has sent fans into a major frenzy since it dropped on the streaming site on July 1st.
The series – which looks at cold cases and paranormal activity – has got everyone talking, with some fans even digging into clues and coming up with theories of their own on each case.
One of those cases is the disappearance and then death of Rey Rivera.
The 32-year-old newlywed was last seen alive on 16 May 2006, before his body was found six days later in an abandoned room in the second-story annex of the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore.
Following his death, his wife Allison found a small note which he left behind his computer.
The FBI cleared the note as having no suicide intent, and viewers haven’t stopped trying to work out what it means with many linking it to the Freemasons.
So, what exactly did the note say? And what are the theories behind it?
Here’s everything you need to know about it, including excerpts from the actual letter.
What did the note say?
Rivera’s wife says she knows he wrote the note the day he disappeared, because there were “scraps in the trash can”.
The font was shrunk down and the entire note was contained on a single sheet of paper that was about seven inches long, folded, and taped in a hard-to-reach area.
The note begins: “Brothers and Sisters, Right now, around the world volcanoes are erupting. What an awesome sight. Whom virtue unites death will not separate,” the last of which is apparently a Masonic phrase.
Another part of the letter reads: “I stand before you a man who understands the purpose and value of our secrets. That’s why I cherish them as secrets.”
In the letter, Rey also names people who had died, including actor Christopher Reeve and filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. It also contained a long list of people Rivera knew and was related to, with a request to make them and himself five years younger.
He also says: “That was a well-played game. Congratulations to all who participated. But, it was time to wake up. So, here I am.
“Life is a test to see if you can control your spirit. Take care, and enjoy the festivities.”
Speaking about the contents of the letter, Allison explained in the documentary: “There’s a whole page of people he knew but he’s missed some significant people, so that seems strange. There were movies and the movies were the ones that really stuck to him. I know what all of these things were and nothing was a really a surprise, it was just why they were all compiled and in the format that they were compiled.”
Struggling to understand the letter, Allison decided to put a sentence into Google and it came up with results related to the Freemasons, leading many to speculate that Rey may have been linked to the group in some way.
Other excerpts from the note, according to Newsweek included: “I’d like to welcome those who accepted out invitations for membership during the game. We couldn’t have done it without you.
“I took on the endeavour to find the truth. But, not for its own sake. In accepting this quest for the truth, I hoped to make myself, with the help of others, into a man worthy and ready to receive it.
“Members of The Council, please note, that I will lend careful concentration to the traditional responsibilities. In light of those proceedings, I will satisfy the standard request of this council, within the appropriate time.”
What are the theories behind the note?
In the documentary, viewers are only shown the note from a distance and there are words and phrases blurred out indicating that it might contain information that cannot be shared.
As a result, no one has actually been able to read it well enough to deliver a full transcript.
But that hasn’t stopped armchair detectives trying to decipher the note and coming up with their own analysis on it.
Theory one: Rivera’s note was linked to David Fincher’s The Game
One of the theories links Rivera’s death to David Fincher’s film, The Game, which features a character dying in a similar way to Rivera.
The theory, posted on Reddit, points out a connection between a note left behind by Rivera and the great fall which initially appeared to cause his demise (although the forensic team determined his cause of death as “unexplained”).
The internet detective noticed The Game was listed in Rivera’s note, which referenced the Freemasons and family friends as well as films, TV shows and books that he enjoyed.
The 1997 film follows a man who participates in a scheme which blurs his concept of reality and ends with him jumping from the roof of a building through a glass ceiling – and the theory suggests that Rivera was copying the events of the film.
Explaining the theory, a fan commented: “The whole movie is about this crazy game… that makes you think you lose everything in order to let you appreciate life again. Rey was an unsuccessful movie script writer and maybe he got involved in [something] that tried to imitate The Game in some way.”
The show’s co-creator Terry Dunn Meurer recently spoke about the possible connection to The Game, however, she said that Rey’s wife Allison doesn’t see any significance in it.
Theory two: Rey’s note is “written in code”
Another thread that fans have been following is that the note is written in code. For example, some users have converted the text into a number using the Jewish Gematria system whereby each letter is given a number.
The opening line “Brothers and sisters,'”for example, has a score of 1398, the same as phrases like: “follow the white rabbit,” “the Lord Jesus Christ” or “possessed by the Devil”.
Theory three: Rey was “linked to the Freemasons”
One of the popular theories connects Rey to the Freemasons, due to the language used in the note.
His wife Allison put the opening line into Google and it came up with pages on the Freemasons, and in the documentary, Rivera’s family and friends said his fascination with the Freemasons centred on their reputation as an organisation with secrets.
According to WBALTV, there were more details on Rivera’s interest in the Freemasons.
In a report, the publication stated that Rivera had talked with a member of the Maryland lodge to inquire about joining.
And on the weekend before his disappearance, he spent time reading the book The Builders, a study of masonry.
They add that on the day of Rivera’s disappearance, he went to a bookstore and bought the book, Freemasons for Dummies.
Theory four: Rey’s note physically “spells out the word HELP”
One Reddit user has suggested that what the words in the letter say is not as important as the letter looks. Instead, they note that the shape of the paragraphs could be spelling out the word “HELP”.
In a comment posted to the social media site, the viewer wrote alongside the image of the note, which had been annotated : “Did anyone else pick up on how the formation of the text/shape of the notes spells ‘HELP?'”
Theory four: The letter is a set of notes for a screenplay
One of the less sinister theories is that Rey’s letter might have been a set of notes for a screenplay he may have been working on before he passed.
Rey did work as a writer and his friends commented on his unique way of thinking in the documentary, saying that he was always working on a play or story, so it’s not unlikely.