- There are two editions of Anchorhead, the 1998 edition and the 2018 edition. These hints are about the 2018 edition.
- If you’d like hints for the original 1998 edition, they’re available on IFArchive. https://ifarchive.org/if-archive/solutions/anchorhead-invisiclues.zip
- The game is divided up into days. In general, your objective is to figure out what you need to do to end the current day.
- Some puzzles can’t be solved on the current day; you have to come back and solve them later.
- There’s a map available for Anchorhead; beware that it has a lot of spoilers in it. https://ifarchive.org/if-archive/solutions/maps/anchorhead-2018-map.png
The First Day
What do I have to do to end the first day?
Your overall objective today is to go to bed in your new home.
The introductory text says, “You’re supposed to meet with the real estate agent and get the keys to your new house, while Michael runs across town to take care of some paperwork at the university. He’ll be back to pick you up in a few minutes, and then the two of you can begin the long, precarious process of settling in.”
Pretty much all of that is a lie.
Explore the town and find Michael. (See “Where is Michael?”)
Get the keys. (See “How do I get the keys?”)
Show the keys to Michael.
Bring Michael to the mansion. (See “Where is the mansion?”)
Once inside, take a bath, go to bed and sleep. (See “What should I do in the mansion today?”)
Where is Michael?
The introductory text says, “You’re to meet with the real estate agent and pick up the keys to your new house while Michael runs across town to take care of some paperwork at the university.”
Explore the town.
Michael is in the Library, W W NW W of the starting room.
Where is the real estate agent?
There is no way to find the real estate agent.
You’ll need to get the keys without the agent’s help.
How do I get the keys?
The real estate agent is missing and will never arrive.
The keys are in the real estate agent’s office. You’ll have to break in.
How do I break in?
You’ll need to do it from the alley, SOUTHEAST from the starting room.
Examine everything in the alley.
You’ll need to climb the fire escape ladder.
The ladder is too high. You need to get higher.
STAND ON CAN.
It’s still too high. You’ll need to use something in your inventory to reach it.
PULL LADDER WITH UMBRELLA.
Then you can GO UP and IN the office.
The keys are in the filing cabinets.
If you OPEN CABINETS, the game will explain that you have to LOOK UP something to use the cabinets. Try LOOK UP MICHAEL.
You’ll need to figure out Michael’s ancestral family name.
You can find it here in the office, or you can just ask Michael. (ASK MICHAEL ABOUT FAMILY NAME)
The family name is on the desk in the Office, downstairs from the File Room.
EXAMINE THE ANSWERING MACHINE.
Michael’s family name is “Verlac.” LOOK UP VERLAC in the File Room.
Where is the mansion?
You can’t get to the mansion without Michael. (See “Where is Michael?”)
Michael won’t come with you until you show him the keys. (See “How do I get the keys?”)
Once he’s following you, you can just explore the town with him; he’ll occasionally give suggestions about where to go.
From the Library where you found Michael, you’ll need to go E. SE. S. S. E. S. W. SE.
Then you can UNLOCK THE DOOR and go inside.
What should I do in the mansion today?
Lock the front door, take a bath, and go to sleep.
You can reach the master bedroom by going UP and SOUTH from the Foyer. The bathroom is EAST of the bedroom.
BATHE. WEST. LIE ON BED. SLEEP.
The Second Day
What do I have to do to end the second day?
There’s a man in the Vacant Lot east of the Riverwalk. The day will end when you’ve discovered his secrets and helped him to leave town. See “How do I get the man in the Vacant Lot to talk to me?” and “What should I ask him about?”
How do I get the man in the Vacant Lot to talk to me?
He says he’s thirsty. Give him something to drink.
He wants alcohol.
There’s a pub in town. From the Vacant Lot, you can get there by going W. W. N. N. E. N.
Take the flask there and give it to the man in the Vacant Lot.
What should I ask the man in the Vacant Lot about?
ASK MAN ABOUT HIMSELF. (First you’ll need to get him to talk to you. See “How do I get the man in the Vacant Lot to talk to me?”)
ASK MAN ABOUT EDWARD.
ASK MAN ABOUT BROTHER.
He’s lying about William. Your new objective is to prove it.
The proof is in the family crypt. (See “How do I get into the family crypt?”)
Return to the man in the Vacant Lot. ASK MAN ABOUT CRYPT. ASK MAN ABOUT COFFIN.
Show him proof.
Return to the crypt. GET SKULL. Return to the man. SHOW SKULL TO MAN.
To help him leave town (and to get his copper key), you’ll need to give him protection from the Evil Eye. (See “How can I get protection from the Evil Eye?”)
Return to the Vacant Lot and GIVE AMULET TO MAN.
How can I get protection from the Evil Eye?
That’s in town. Explore the town thoroughly.
Go to the Twisting Lane. From Vacant Lot, it’s W. W. N. N. E. S.
EXAMINE GRAFFITI. (The side street it reveals is in a randomized direction.)
Take the revealed side street. (The side street it reveals is in a randomized direction.) Then go SOUTH to enter the Curiosity Shop.
Examine everything thoroughly.
EXAMINE THE CASE.
EXAMINE THE AMULET.
ASK THE MAN ABOUT THE AMULET.
How do I get into the family crypt?
The family crypt is in the backyard of the house. The family crypt is S. SE from the Kitchen.
The crypt is locked with an iron gate. You’ll need to find the key somewhere in the house.
The key is in the basement.
You can access the basement from the Pantry, east of the Kitchen. (Bring the flashlight from the kitchen to light your way; unlock the cellar door using the house key.)
The key is in the Storage room, north of the Cellar.
EXAMINE THE WEB.
There’s an iron key in the web; that’s the key to the family crypt. You’ll need to clean the web.
If you clean the web with your bare hands, you’ll die about a dozen turns later.
There’s a broom in the pantry. If you have the broom, you can CLEAN WEB safely.
Unlock the family crypt with the iron key.
The Third Day
What do I have to do to end the third day?
Your first objective is to follow up on your dream. See “What is my dream telling me to do?”
Part of your dream will lead you to the mural. See “How do I open the mural?”
The mural leads to the Temple Entrance. See "How do I open the Temple Entrance?
The Temple Entrance leads to the Burial Mound. See “What should I do in the Burial Mound?”
Another part of your dream will lead you to the well in the Tangled Thicket. After you’ve finished investigating the well, your next objective is to leave the Abandoned Slaughterhouse safely. See “How do I avoid dying when leaving the Abandoned Slaughterhouse?”
You thought you were safe? Your next objective is to leave the Forest Lane safely. See “How do I get away from the men in Forest Lane?”
Now you have to escape the church. See “How do I get out of the church?”
Next, you should unlock something with the small steel key you found in the Furnace Room. See “What can I unlock with the small steel key?”
Now that you’ve read Claudia’s letter, you have a mission: you have to go to the paper mill to sabotage the beacon.
First, you’ll need to get into the mill. See “How do I get into the paper mill?”
See “What do I need to do in the paper mill?”
Once you’ve read the blueprints, leaving the mill will end the day.
What is my dream telling me to do?
The dream is telling you to investigate two things, mostly unrelated. The first thing you should investigate is that “Michael’s in the cellar, and he’s doing something bad.” (See “How do I catch Michael in the cellar doing something bad?”) The second thing to investigate is the rest of the dream.
What should I do about the rest of the dream?
Read the first paragraph of your dream carefully.
There’s a room that was impassable on the second day that you can now pass through.
It’s named in the second sentence of your dream.
Go to Down the Road. From Outside the House, it’s NW. E. S. S.
Now you can explore the back woods, including Trampled Path, Blighted Clearing, Abandoned Slaughterhouse, and Tangled Thicket.
There’s an ancient well in Tangled Thicket.
The dream also mentioned the well.
OPEN THE WELL. LOOK IN THE WELL.
How do I catch Michael in the cellar doing something bad?
This requires you to surveil Michael without his knowledge.
Review the text of the first night’s dream (the one before the most recent dream), which was all about surveilling Michael.
In that dream, Michael hands you a golden sphere and says, “I don’t know what it opens yet but I have an idea.”
Explore the house thoroughly, examining everything. Find a golden sphere in the house.
It’s not technically gold.
There’s a brass sphere by the mantelpiece in the Study.
EXAMINE FIREPLACE. EXAMINE SPHERE. TWIST SPHERE. That opens a secret passage to the northeast.
Then, there’s a maze. Search the maze looking for three rooms each with a “small hole.” (Try going NE. NW. NE.)
LOOK THROUGH HOLE.
Each one in each room allows you to spy on a different room of the house; bizarrely, which room you spy on is randomized each time you move from corridor to corridor.
You’ll need to spy on Michael in multiple rooms; this may require wandering around the maze to re-randomize the holes.
You’ll need to spy on Michael hiding a crumpled page. (Where he hides it is random.) You’ll also need to spy on Michael touching the mural in the wine cellar (the Wine Cellar, not the Cellar).
How do I open the mural?
First, you’ll need to spy on Michael touching the mural and hiding a crumpled page. See “How do I catch Michael in the cellar doing something bad?”
Go get the crumpled page that you saw Michael hide. (Michael hides it in a randomized location.)
There’s a room, accessible from the Behind the Walls maze, with information relevant to the mural.
It’s the Observatory. (If you wander around the maze, you’ll find a ladder leading up there.)
READ THE CHARTS.
Now go to the Wine Cellar and EXAMINE THE MURAL.
The mural is a combination lock. You need to touch the correct zodiac symbols to unlock it.
Read all of the clippings in the scrapbook in the Sitting Room.
It can also help if you find Michael’s wallet.
How can I find Michael’s wallet?
It’s lying on the ground in the Tangled Path, west of Down the Road, on the third day. There’s an alternate way:
You can steal it out of his pants in the morning on the second day.
You can use Michael’s faculty card to learn what he was researching.
Go to the Circulation Desk, north of the Reading Room.
LOOK UP MICHAEL IN THE REGISTER.
Now you can use Michael’s faculty card to check out the book he was investigating.
RING BELL. SHOW CARD TO LIBRARIAN. ASK LIBRARIAN FOR OVERVIEW. READ BOOK.
The slip of paper in the book is almost as useful as the book itself.
“born-died same date? chk court. records”
Go to the Courthouse, south of Town Square, and go south to the Records Department.
You can look up people here in the records. Use names from the scrapbook clippings.
LOOK UP CROSEUS. LOOK UP WILHELM. LOOK UP HEINRICH. LOOK UP ELIJAH. LOOK UP MORDECAI. (Note that the parser is finicky here; don’t use periods when looking up the names.)
Those dates are important; you can use them together with the crumpled page to find their zodiac signs.
The first constellation of the mural’s combination is Croseus’ birth sign, then Wilhelm’s, then Heinrich’s, then Elijah’s, then Mordecai’s.
Croseus’ birth date is not recorded in the Courthouse records, but his birth sign was mentioned elsewhere.
Read “A Historical Overview of Superstitions,” the book Michael checked out.
Read “The Legend of Croseus Verlac.” (His birth sign is randomized.)
You now have everything you need. Return to the mural and TOUCH the sign of Croseus mentioned in the Overview, then TOUCH the signs corresponding with the birth dates of the other Verlacs.
How do I open the Temple Entrance?
Examine the door carefully.
This door is sealed with the image of a pagan god.
There’s a book in the house that tells you how to open doors that have been sealed with a symbol like this.
It’s in the Library, “Ye Compleat Manuell of Wardes and Seales.” READ MANUELL.
You need the true name of a god to open this door.
Where would I find the true name?
First, you have to open the hidden safe in the house.
Where is the safe?
Explore the house carefully. Examine everything.
It’s in the Library.
EXAMINE THE BOOKSHELVES.
What’s the safe combination?
Michael has written down a clue to unlocking the safe.
He’s written it in his laptop, in the Study.
The laptop is secured with a 4-digit user passcode, but Michael has picked a guessable password.
It’s a date that’s important to him.
It’s also a date that’s important to you.
You have something in your inventory that will help.
EXAMINE WEDDING RING.
REMOVE WEDDING RING. READ INSCRIPTION. WEAR WEDDING RING.
TYPE 0628. READ LAPTOP.
The combination is randomized, but the information is here in Michael’s journal entry.
The combination is a three digit number.
Look for numbers in the entry.
Hands and eyes.
There are three pairs of X hands and Y eyes; each one is a combination number.
Hands represent fives; eyes represent ones.
In each X/Y hands/eyes pair, multiply X by five and add Y. For example, “five hands, three eyes . . .four hands, two eyes . . .four hands, four eyes” would mean 28 (Five times five, plus three), 22 (Four times five, plus two), 24 (four times five, plus four).
Now that you’ve unlocked the safe, you’ll have to open the puzzle box to find the true name.
How do I open the puzzle box?
You can’t open it by yourself. You either have to get a powerful friend to help you, or you have to smash it open.
Who can help me open the box?
Only someone well-versed in magic can open the box.
The proprietor of the Curiosity Shop can do it.
SHOW PUZZLE TO MAN in the Curiosity Shop.
How do I smash the box?
You’ll have to smash it with something heavy.
You can find a heavy inventory item at the Abandoned Slaughterhouse.
BREAK THE PUZZLE BOX WITH THE MEAT HOOK.
Examine the disk carefully.
The disk isn’t just “like” a lens. It is a lens.
Find a place in the house where you could use a lens to learn more about the weather anomaly in the sky.
The telescope in the Observatory has a slot for a lens; it’s pointed right at the hole in the sky.
PUT DISK IN SLOT. LOOK THROUGH TELESCOPE.
Now you know the god’s name, “Ialdabaoloth.”
Go down to the Temple Entrance and SAY IALDABAOLOTH. The door will open. (Note that the game won’t let you use the name until you look through the telescope with the disk.)
What should I do in the Burial Mound (on the third day)?
Those pillars should remind you of something.
There’s a book that mentions pillars upstairs in the house.
It’s “The Cryptical Haermoniacon” in the Study.
“The ritual has something to do with music.”
You have a musical instrument.
PLAY FLUTE in the Burial Mound.
How do I avoid dying when leaving the Abandoned Slaughterhouse?
The thing you heard is looking for you and trying to kill you. You have to hide from it.
There’s nowhere to hide in the Abandoned Slaughterhouse room.
You can hide in the well.
You need to hide yourself in the well.
HIDE IN THE BONES. WAIT.
How do I get away from the men in Forest Lane?
You have to run away from them.
You can only flee by going EAST.
There’s nowhere to hide in the Churchyard room, and you can’t open the church’s front door.
Go SOUTHEAST to Behind the Church.
You have to escape through the trap door.
You have to break the padlock.
You need to hit it with something heavy.
HIT THE PADLOCK WITH THE HOOK. GO DOWN. (If you forgot to pick up the meat hook from the Abandoned Slaughterhouse, you’ll have to restore back to an earlier point.)
How do I get out of the church?
Search the basement carefully.
You can go NORTH from Furnace Room to Empty Stairwell.
Ultimately, you’ll need to escape the church by climbing down from Empty Stairwell into the sewer, but you can’t do that yet.
You have to climb the broken stairs.
It requires guessing the verb.
Explore the rest of the church.
There’s a rope in the Ringing Chamber.
CLIMB THE ROPE.
Now you can GET THE ROPE and use it to climb down out of the church.
Find something to tie the rope to.
In the Chapel, TIE ROPE TO CROSS.
N. DOWN. LET GO OF ROPE.
Now you can explore the tunnels to find a way out.
For example, from Vault, you can go NW. S. U (with small copper key from the Vacant Lot man).
How do I pass through Whateley Bridge safely?
You can’t. You’ll have to go around it.
You can’t get around the bridge until you’ve solved the Burial Mound. See “How do I catch Michael in the cellar doing something bad?” “How do I open the mural?” “How do I open the Temple Entrance?” “What should I do in the Burial Mound?”
After you do the thing in the Burial Mound, it opens a passage from the Temple Entrance to the Sewer Tunnel. Explore the sewers carefully.
You can now go north from the Flooded Passage, which is north from the Sewer Tunnel.
That will lead you to the Littered Beach. You can go west from there to the Garbage-Choked Alley behind the real-estate office, and you can go back the same way to get back home.
What can I unlock with the small steel key?
You’ll need to figure out whose body that was.
EXAMINE THE FURNACE in the Church Cellar.
OPEN THE HATCH.
The small steel key belonged to the real estate agent.
It unlocks something in her office.
It’s in the Office room.
The key unlocks the desk drawer in the real estate agent’s Office.
How do I get into the paper mill?
Before you do this, you’ll need to visit the Abandoned Slaughterhouse. If you can’t find it, start with last night’s dream. See “What is my dream telling me to do?”
SEARCH in the rooms around the mill.
SEARCH in Old Foundation.
SEARCH THICKETS. But now you need a key.
You need to find someone who works in the mill, and who will trust you.
You’ll find someone in Shanty Town, north of the Mill Entrance.
EXAMINE THE SHACKS. KNOCK ON SHACK.
Which address do you want?
You likely have something in your inventory that references one of these addresses.
READ THE NEWSPAPER from the Town Square
Jeffrey Greer was taken from one of these shacks. (The address is randomized, e.g. #11 Mill Town Road.)
KNOCK ON 11 (or whatever your number is)
You have a clue as to Jeffrey Greer’s whereabouts.
You have an inventory item that has Jeffrey’s initials on it.
GIVE THE BEAR TO WOMAN.
She has an oar that she’d be happy to give you.
You can use that oar to use the dinghy on the Wharf. See “How do I use the dinghy on the Wharf?”
Once you’ve used the dinghy successfully, you’ll have the long steel key, which you can use to unlock the hatch in Old Foundation.
Next you need to go north from the Factory Floor. See “How do I get past the Factory Floor?”
Then you need to operate the elevator at the Control Station. See “How do I use the elevator at the Control Station?”
How do I use the dinghy at the Wharf?
It only has one oar. You can’t use it until you find another one. (Keep reading if you have the other oar.)
Pay close attention here at the Wharf; examine everything, and think about how you’d use it. (Plus, the parser is a bit finicky in this puzzle.) Also, save before you set sail.
To use the second oar, PUT THE OAR IN THE OARLOCK.
ENTER DINGHY. UNTIE DINGHY.
If you row the dinghy without adequate preparations, you’ll get lost in the fog.
You need to do something at the Wharf that will help you find the Wharf again.
What’s that hook on the post for?
You can put something on the hook that will help you find the Wharf.
Explore the town to see if you can find something.
It’s a light source. (Not the flashlight.)
It’s the lantern from the Local Pub.
PUT THE LANTERN ON THE IRON HOOK.
Now you can enter and untie the dinghy without getting immediately lost. (You have a very limited number of moves before you get lost at sea, even if you’re 100% prepared.)
LISTEN to figure out which way to go.
Go in the direction of the buoy sound.
When you reach the buoy, SEARCH THE CORPSE, GET THE KEY, and GO WEST right away to return to the Wharf.
When returning to the Wharf, TIE THE DINGHY TO THE PIER.
How do I get past the Factory Floor?
(You’re going to want to save here.) You can’t go north from here until the warning light is off.
You can TURN THE WHEEL to turn off the heat.
You need to put something on the wheel to touch it.
You already have this thing.
PUT COAT ON WHEEL. TURN WHEEL.
Now you can go north without dying. (Note: Before you go north, you should drop anything that the gears can destroy, even if it doesn’t kill you.)
How do I use the elevator at the Control Station?
(You’re going to want to save before trying to use the elevator.) The white button in the control box doesn’t work yet; you don’t have the tools you need to fix it.
There’s another way to operate the elevator.
Examine everything in the Control Station.
EXAMINE THE PANELS.
CLOSE GATE. PUSH THE RED BUTTON.
You need to push the red button from inside the elevator.
You’ll need to push it with something really long.
It’s something you’ve used before.
PUSH THE RED BUTTON WITH THE BROOM.
Once you’re downstairs, you can fix the elevator.
EXAMINE THE POUCH.
All you need now is a fuse!
You’ve seen a good fuse earlier in the game.
You found a fuse in the Storage room. (You might need to restore to get access to it.)
PUT FUSE IN SOCKET. CLOSE GATE. PUSH WHITE BUTTON.
What do I need to do in the paper mill?
You need to get past the Factory Floor and use the elevator at the Control Station. See “How do I get past the Factory Floor?” “How do I use the elevator at the Control Station?”
Downstairs, you just need to read the blueprint and use the elevator to go back up. (Once you’ve read the blueprints, leaving the mill will end the day.)