No One Has Ever Been Able to Crack Rey Rivera’s Mysterious Note

Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix

From Marie Claire

Rey Rivera, the author who vanished after taking a mysterious call and was found dead in a prominent Baltimore hotel, is the subject of the first episode of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries. One of the most compelling, strange, and baffling aspects of the case is a long, rambling note that was taped behind the computer, discovered by his wife Allison Rivera behind his desk. Ruled by the FBI not to be a suicide note, it ostensibly reads as random phrases—or a code—that may have been a “red herring,” according to Rivera’s brother, or may have deeper meaning behind what happened to him. It includes references to the Freemasons, among other things.

What does Rey Rivera’s letter say?

His wife Allison 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 (the letter apparently closes with a Masonic phrase, too).

Not covered in the episode but discussed in local news coverage: Rivera had expressed an interest in joining his local chapter of the Freemasons shortly before his death and even bought Freemasons for Dummies. His wife said he had an interest in secret societies, and was also interested in being a screenwriter for movies.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Other excerpts of the note, from Newsweek:

“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.”

Who was listed in Rivera’s note?

Rivera listed people he knew (his wife said he missed several important people, which seems odd) with a request to make them “five years younger,” then wrote a list of “movies, books and music [he] found very inspired and compelling,” like Meet Joe Black, Minority Report, The Bourne Identity, and Lord of the Rings. He referenced film directors Stanley Kubrick and M. Night Shyamalan as well as star Christopher Reeve.

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.”—what game is he referring to? “I stand before you a man who understands the purpose and value of our secrets. That’s why I cherish them, as secrets,” he writes. And: “Life is a test to see if you can control your spirit. Take care, and enjoy the festivities.”

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

What does the note mean?

As of this moment, no one really knows. The full note doesn’t look to be available online, and even his closest family members have been left scratching their heads as to what it represents. The episode suggests that it could be some kind of code—but if that’s true, no one has been able to crack it thus far.

If you have information about Rivera’s disappearance, visit

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