The Case Of The Haunted Dollhouse Week #2 Review – October 2017
An utterly unique experience awaits within The Haunted Dollhouse. Original designs and antique objects weave a gorgeously immersive puzzle, imagining an alternate history of New Orleans played out across a tiny stage.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: The Case of the Haunted Dollhouse
The Cost: $175 for five boxes. (This works out to $35/box.) Shipping is $19.99 within the US for a box containing all five parcels or $49.99 to have a box sent each week as the mystery unfolds.
The Products: ‘Each mysterious parcel contains 10–30 pieces: word games, puzzles, simple DIY projects and various miniature & antique objects.’
Ships to: Worldwide
This was affixed to the lid of the box, greeting me when I first opened it. ‘A story of three little buttons,’ it says – but there are only two people. And buttons? Well, buttons are the theme of this week’s box!
This is the second installment of a five-week subscription that tells a story about an old building in New Orleans that was the site of a mysterious death and that is also said to contain hidden treasure. I’ll show all the items, but will be keeping some of the secrets hidden for subscribers who want to be surprised. If you want to catch up on the story, check out my first review of this box.
This postcard was right on top, lying on a bed of (what I think is) dried moss. It’s a postcard showing St. Louis Cemetery in New Orleans. Certain shapes have been mysteriously cut out.
The back contains a note from L. Delaney, the subscription’s curator. She explains that the Bellamy family are now buried in the St. Louis cemetery and that their house – which was in dollhouse form – is now boarded up.
Next, we have a rolled-up page of advertising that features buttons on one side and bathing suits on the other. The first box also contained a couple of buttons. What could that have to do with the dollhouse? And something about the item numbers on one of those buttons doesn’t look right, does it?
Here’s a letter to Miss Claire Bellamy – it’s from 1911 but has never been opened!
See that stamp? It’s a real 1 1/2 cent stamp. I don’t think this exact one was available in 1911, but I love the way vintage details are worked into the box.
The letter is from Claire’s father, who calls her Flittermouse. Apparently, he’s the one who gave her the dollhouse that is at the heart of our story. But what’s the mysterious photo?
This folded-up paper contains part of a puzzle. I don’t want to reveal too much, so I’m keeping it hidden.
I love this tiny photo! It has a little stand in the back so that it sits upright. The fabric is a scrap of silk velvet. At this point, I have no idea what it means. Perhaps it’s from an evening gown owned by the woman in the picture. Could that be Claire herself?
The rest of the ephemera was tied together with string. You can see the first item here – an advertisement for Bellamy Buttons. Maybe Claire’s parents ran this business from the house in New Orleans?
A page from a vintage book, with green and white string. Anything could be a clue…
Last week I received a letter from Philip Ledgerdumain, who is in charge of an insane asylum. This letter assures us that a certain patient is in good care and has recently made a little house out of clay.
This must be the house made by the patient from the asylum! It’s a mystery box inside a mystery box. And what does the shredded paper mean?
Story aside, it’s a nicely painted little figurine.
I was happy to see that this wall covering was included! This is what I most wanted to find in the box, and it was just about the last thing I found. This goes with the dollhouse from the first box.
Here is some paper furniture to cut and assemble. I used to love making things like this when I was a child, so it was fun to meticulously cut out the pieces and fold them into tiny furniture. The first box included some ‘goo’ paste, which came in handy this week too.
Notes in the margin give hints about what to do. I should also mention that there was a little clue that was only visible once the pieces were assembled!
The first box included the actual dollhouse structure, and this week included wall coverings and furniture for one floor. I wasn’t entirely sure if the bedroom would be on the top level or not, so I haven’t glued down the wall covering yet. The rooms look so much better with something on the walls!
Here’s the finished room with the furniture, carpet, and paintings hung on the wall. Miniature rooms are hard to photograph, but it’s really great in person. Look over at the dresser on the right – the reflection shows a shadowy figure in the room. I love how the mirror’s image shows the actual room that it’s in, with its distinctive curtains in the background behind the figure.
Verdict: This week’s story surrounded Claire Bellamy and the history of the dollhouse itself. The story is holding my interest so far as the characters become more clear, though I probably have more questions now than I did when I started. Since the first weekly box was such a big production, I wasn’t sure if the boxes after it would really contain much. I must say I was pleasantly surprised because this week’s box was packed with all sorts of things. It’s fun to watch the dollhouse coming to life as items are added to it.
I believe this subscription runs once or twice a year, so if you miss it this time, there’ll be a chance to do it again. However, October sign-ups are still open on their website.
What do you think of this second installment of The Case of the Haunted Dollhouse?