What Did Rey Rivera's Mysterious Note Actually Mean?

The first episode of Netflix's 'Unsolved Mysteries' features Rey Rivera, who left a rambling note before dying under mysterious circumstances.

rey rivera unsolved mysteries
(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

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.

rey rivera unsolved mysteries note

The folded-up note found behind the computer.

(Image 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 BlackMinority ReportThe 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."

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The full Rey Rivera note.

(Image credit: Netflix)

rey rivera unsolved mysteries note

A close-up excerpt.

(Image 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.

Since the episode aired, however, there have been a couple of interesting theories from viewers. One, which is circulating on Reddit and has been reported on by Newsweek, draws comparisons between a movie that Rey listed on his note and they way that he died. Writes user /zumalightblue:

I am watching the Rey Rivera episode on Netflix and what really caught my eye was the note Rey wrote on the day he died and he hid the note behind the computer. It had all these names of actors, his friends and family, quotes from free masons and a list of movies.

One of these movies was The Game. Immediately, I thought: OF COURSE! There is one big scene at the end of the movie where the main character jumped off the roof (!) of a fancy hotel and goes through the (glass) roof. The similarities to Rey are truly astonishing.

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.

If you have information about Rivera's disappearance, visit unsolved.com.


unsolved mysteries count xavier dupont de ligonnès and son

(Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix)

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(Image credit: GA Bureau of Investigation)
Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

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