The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Walkthrough
Author Notes

There's no right or wrong way to play this game, it's about exploration. You have no weapons, and you only have the ability to run and interact with objects in the world. You're in Red Creek Vally to find an answer to what happened. This guide will give you all the answers to the various puzzles in the world, though you can complete them in pretty much any order.

Table of Contents

  1. Welcome to Red Creek Valley
    1. Traps
  2. The Railcar
    1. Evidence
    2. Solving the Murder
  3. Rail Signal (Astronaut)
  4. The Carter House
    1. Solving the Portals
  5. The Witch Camp
  6. Graveyard
    1. Evidence
    2. Solving the Murder
  7. Depths of the Mine
    1. Evidence
    2. The Murder
    3. Mine Gate
  8. Riverside House
    1. Evidence
    2. Solving the Suicide
  9. Corvus (The Vandegriff House)
    1. Floor Plate
    2. Evidence
    3. The Secret Room

Welcome to Red Creek Valley

You’ve received a letter from Ethan Carter, a boy whose letter first appeared to be a fan letter. Which soon went on to explain that he needs your help. After arriving at Red Creek Valley, you’re presented with the task of finding Ethan. Your journey starts here, but there’s also far more going on than Ethan explained in his letter.

Traps

At the very start of the area you enter through the tunnel, you will see rail tracks leading away from here. From here you have the option to go and explore the valley. But before you progress on the next area you will want to look for the following traps which can be found on the left and right side of the tracks.

You need to interact with the following traps which will slowly reveal a vision and symbol of and area. Once all tracks have been interacted with, you will appear in the new area.

  1. Trap 1: Just to your left you will find a hidden pit with spinning spikes.
  2. Trap 2: head a little further ahead from trap 1 and you will find a bear trap.
  3. trap 3: from the bear trap, head across the tracks and look for a catapult style trap which resembles a fly swatter.
  4. Trap 4: Head back towards the tunnel entrance and look for two trees to your left. Once you find them you should be disrupted by a swinging long with spikes.
  5. Trap 5: From trap 4, head between the two trees that the trap is hanging from. As you cross the rocks, look to your right and you will find another hidden catapult fly swatter trap.

After dealing with all the traps, head over to the tree where you will find your first story.


The Railcar

After experiencing the traps you will find a path that leads off to a bridge. Follow the path up to the bridge and continue across until you reach the railcar. Inspect the railcar and you will find blood and a missing engine crank. Complete the vision of the crank and head down the tracks.

After heading down the tracks you will find some ropes, blood, severed legs and a body. Ignore these for now and head down the path to the water. Carefully look around for the engine crank and head back up to the rails where the body is.

Evidence

Before you can start your investigation and interact with the corpse, you need to locate several items within the area. You may have to look around a little, but you will need to find the following items:

  1. Engine Crank
  2. Railcar Location
  3. The Railcar
  4. Ropes
  5. Severed Legs
  6. Rock
  7. The rocks original location
  8. Travis’s Body

Solving the Murder

Once you’ve found everything in the above list, you can start to put things in place and progress with your investigation. So lets begin.

  1. Start the railcar and back it down to where the gas can is on the ground.
  2. Once you have the rock, place it back where it came from.
  3. Investigate the severed legs.
  4. Investigate the cut ropes further up the track.

After you’ve completed these items, you should then be allowed to interact with the body. From here, various beams of light will fly up and out from the corpse and place themselves next to the ropes, severed legs, railcar and by the rock. Once this happens, you now need to set the memories in order to find out what happened.

  1. Ethan tied to the tracks.
  2. Grandpa Carter picking up the rock.
  3. Grandpa Carter hitting Travis with the rock.
  4. Travis with severed legs.
  5. Ethan and Grandpa Carter standing next to Travis with severed legs.
  6. And finally Grandpa Carter finishing off Travis.

After completing the above order, you can then set the memory in motion. Once its completed, another ball of light will flurry off into the distance. Follow it down to the water and continue the rest of the memory.


Rail Signal (Astronaut)

After seeing the memory from the last part of the railcar, follow the path, you will pass through an area that’s overgrown and will soon come to a railway platform. Before you reach the platform though you will need to head off into the forest and look for a rail signal light box. If you’ve gone past the platform you’ve gone too far, so head deep into the overgrowth and explore for a little bit.

This isn’t overly tricky to find as it’s out in the open, once you find it, you will need to complete a basic sequence by lighting up the whole panel blue. If you make a mistake the panels lights will turn red and you will have to start over. There are only four lights, so this isn’t overly difficult, just keep track of the pattern.

Once you complete the light pattern, an astronaut will appear. Chase him down through the forest. After chasing him for a short while, a spaceship like orb will appear. Head into the light and venture off into the great unknown. Once you reach your destination with a view of the galaxy, turn around and interact with the black panel inside the ship. After reading the paper, you will find yourself back in Red Creek Valley.


The Carter House

After your brief space adventure, and you’re back in the valley, follow the path until you come to a dam. Head across the top of the dam towards the houses in the distance. From here you will see a house on your left, which is the Carter House. And another old abandoned house ahead of you.

You’re going to head into the Carter House, be before we do, head into the large abandoned house ahead of you. There’s not much here, but this house contains the answer to the Carter House puzzle. Take note of which rooms are where, and what they look like. This may seem like a task as there’s 10 rooms total that you need to remember.

After taking a quick mental note, head into the Carter House and read the paper on the table just inside. After reading it, you will see the doorway ahead of you turn into a blue portal. From here you now need to change the rooms and areas of the house to match the house across from the one you’re in.

Solving the Portals

If at any time you make a mistake, you will be placed back at the start of the house and have to start over. This puzzle isn’t overly difficult, but it does require a little bit of concentration to makes sure you don’t make a mistake.

First Floor

  1. Stairs leading upstairs.
  2. (left) room with table and books
  3. (right) hallway with small stairs
    1. (left) small room with cobwebs
    2. (straight) up small stairs room with a table

Second Floor

  1. (left) Room that has an another doorway on the left side of the room
    1. (left) enter the room above, then makes sure the next room has a right angle around to the left
  2. (right) at the top of the stairs, first on the left, a hallway that leads to two rooms.
    1. (left) a room with two boarded up windows
    2. (straight) a room with three boarded up windows.

Attic

The attic will just be that, a room shaped with a vaulted ceiling. There will be a single window and a desk full of books.

Once you complete this puzzle you will be trapped inside a the final room, until you turn around and enter a new room that has appeared behind you. This room will full of light and color, so you can’t miss it. Once inside, read the notes, and wait for the room to change from a magical room of mystery, so a distillery.


The Witch Camp

After experiencing the Carter House, head up the hill through the first behind the old abandoned house. You will start to see fire in the distance. Head towards it and you will hear the voice of a witch. This will go on for a short period of time and you will have to move around to start each piece of dialog.

After the witch has completed her tale, walk up to her camp and inspect the items on the ground. Once you’ve read the items on the ground, head up the dirty road behind the camp to the church. From here head down to the graveyard and look around the mausoleums.


Graveyard

This place of rest is quiet, but there’s something sinister in the background. Explore the area and you will find several items that you need to answer the questions of what’s happened.

Evidence

  1. Broken Oil Lamp
  2. Oil for the lamp
  3. Bucket of Blood
  4. Crow
  5. Blood Marking on the site of the Mausoleum
  6. Bricks, Cement and Wheelbarrow
  7. Chad’s Body

Solving the Murder

Before we start, you need to locate the Oil lamp and the Crow. Head inside the church and look to the right hand side where you will find a doorway. Inside on the floor at the base of the tower you will find the broken oil lamp. Head back outside and over to the grave with the statue. Just to the left you will find the grow on the ground.

Take the Oil Lamp over to the Oil on the rock. After placing the lamp, head inside the Mausoleum and you will find a switch on the left side at the bottom of the stairs. Place the crow in position next to the switch, then pull the switch. You will reveal the body of Chad. Take the knife from his chest and place it next to the bucket of blood outside the Mausoleum.

After completing all this, head back inside and interact with Chads body to find out what happened. Now lets move on to solving the murder.

  1. Dale and Missy arguing just behind the church.
  2. Chad sealing the Mausoleum with Ethan inside.
  3. Missy, Chad and Dale standing back from the mausoleum after Ethan attacks Chad.
  4. Chad choking Dale down the path with Missy shouting at him.
  5. Missy and Travis talking behind the church near #1 with the oil lamp in hand.

After this interaction, you will hear Ethan mention the mine. From here he will run off and you will have your next location to go explore.


 Depths of the Mine

Entering the mine can be a little tricky until you know where the entrance is, but once you head up the hill, there will be a rock pile above a little further above the main mine entrance. If you explore a little you will see some text that says enter next to the rock pile. It’s a little hidden to begin with, but not impossible to find.

This place is very dark and filled with lots of ambient light, so you can expect to explore a little before you complete everything. Obtaining the pickaxe for to set off the murder investigation you have to do a little leg work. Interact with the pickaxe stand before you do anything else. It will reveal it’s location. From here, follow the tunnel where pickaxe is located, but look for a mine car to your right down a tunnel. You need to back it up and smash through the rocks blocking your path. After doing so, drive it around the track and then down the tunnel where the pickaxe is located.

You will find the pickaxe stuck in an electrical box. Retrieve it and head back to the stand and place it back where it belongs.

Evidence

  1. Pickaxe Stand
  2. Pickaxe
  3. Missy’s Body

Solving the Murder

After returning the pickaxe to its rightful place, you can now interact with Missy’s body. The usual memory orbs will fly out of her body and position themselves around the area. Interact and order the following memories with the following numbers:

  1. Dale and Missy entering the mine.
  2. Dale and Missy talking next to the elevator.
  3. Dale at the elevator control panel.
  4. Dale standing next to the pickaxe stand.
  5. Dale standing to the left of the control panel.

The sequence ends with Ethan entering the area where Dale just drowned Missy. Ethan asks where his mom is, but Dale changes the subject and tells Ethan to leave via the bubbling water at the end of the mine.

After the scene concludes, head down the passage towards where Dale told Ethan to exit through the bubbling water. Instead of heading to the very end of the mine, look for an opening on the left hand side. You can use the minecart to travel down to reduce wasting time.

You will head down a set of stairs to a much lower level. Once you reach it, you will come to a gate that has a note. Inside you will see passages filled with candles.

Mine Gate

Solving the mine gate is the hardest puzzle in the game and requires a little thought on your part, though it’s not impossible. While exploring down here you will see ghostly figures wandering around. Avoid these characters as much as possible because they will harm you if you happen to get within range.

In this area you’re looking for five bodies that will be surrounded by candles within the maze of tunnels. They’re quite easy to find, just make sure you interact with them as they give you most of the answer to your gate puzzle

Answering the puzzle

After locating the four bodies in the maze, and the last body at the base of the puzzle platform. Read the note next to the final body. You will see two mysterious symbols at the top of the paper. These two symbols are the first and last symbols on the code wheel. The other symbols pointed out to you by the spirits are in a jumbled order on the ground, so you will need to work out the order they go on the code wheel.

If you don’t feel like doing all the running around, you can enter the code below directly into the gate and it will unlock allowing you to proceed.

gate-code

You will need to enter the above code vertically, so start with 1 and work your way down the rings, with 6 being the bottom ring.

Once you complete the puzzle, the room will fill with water and you can proceed to the next story. There’s not much to this, though it’s a random interaction that is required to finish the game.


Riverside House

You will need to find the following items, then return the Axe and Scissors, to their rightful place. After you’ve done that, you will then be able to proceed with the investigation of Dale’s body.

Evidence

  1. Empty Axe Case
  2. Broken Door
  3. Axe
  4. Overturned Pen Holder
  5. Scissors
  6. Dale’s Body

The Suicide

  1. Travis waiting outside the mine for Dale with the axe.
  2. Travis holding the axe with dale backing up.
  3. Dale on the ground with Travis standing over dale with the axe.
  4. Travis outside the door holding the axe, while Dale shuts the door.
  5. Dale commits suicide with the scissors.

After completing the above sequence, head over to the generator room which you may have discovered before. The door was locked, but now you will be able to enter. After ending, locate the valve to turn off the generator and reduce the water flow. Head back down to the Riverside House and across the newly created walkway in the river.


 Corvus (The Vandegriff House)

To reach the Vandegriff House you will need to cross the river, then follow a rather discreet path through the forest. Follow the river up through the valley and you will cross several bridges. You will seen enter the middle of the valley where you will find the House, though it’s just a smolder pile of ashes.

Floor Plate

If you dig around through the ashes, you will find a circular plate. Interacting with this place you will find that you can change the letters around. You need to reveal the word “C O R V U S”. If you solved the earlier puzzles in the game you either remember this, or be prompted through a voice over. You can also find the word written on the floor panel behind you. After entering the word, the doorway in the floor behind you will open which leads you down into the secret room.

Evidence

  1. Burned Body

The Secret Room

  1. Ethan standing at the entrance of the room with Grandpa Carter and several gas cans.
  2. Ethan turns the table to reveal hidden wall compartments.
  3. Ethan and Grandpa Carter open the door.
  4. Grandpa Carter sits on the floor and burns to death.

After you’ve completed everything above, you will be able to interact with the map drawn on the wall to reveal the true ending of the game. If you cannot interact with the map, carefully look at the wall and you will see which puzzles you have missed. If you followed this guide all the way through, you should reveal the ending straight away, but you can backtrack and complete any puzzles you may have missed.

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