Dreamcatcher 10th Mini Album Mystery Code Hunt


Talent: Dreamcatcher @hf_dreamcatcher | JiU @minjiu__u, SuA @sualelbora, Siyeon @______s2ing, Handong @0.0_handong, Yoohyeon @ms.yoohyeonkim, Dami @00ld_ami, Gahyeon @fox._.zzlo_

Credits: @insomnicsy, @Jseveng4, Rachel @tokkisomnia, Dreamcatcher

On June 22nd, fans of Dreamcatcher gathered at Noryangjin Station in Seoul. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, but their fanbase, officially known as InSomnia, were filled with excitement. International fans like myself who were not able to be there in person tuned in on X (formerly Twitter) to follow along. Just a day prior, the first part of the mystery code for the group’s anticipated July comeback dropped on their official Instagram account at midnight. The code presented a puzzle—a grid of seven rows and two main columns filled with numbers. There was a third column, but only the first row contained a value, which appeared to be coordinates for a specific location. The rest were for InSomnia to figure out.

Dreamcatcher is known for weaving intricate narratives and social commentary into their music. Their previous Dystopia and Apocalypse trilogies revolved around themes of cyberbullying and climate change. Last November, they kicked off a VersuS duology with the mini album VillainS and its title track, “OOTD,” which included themes of narcissism and superficiality. The upcoming mini album, which will be their tenth, is expected to conclude the series.

VillainS introduced a new layer of engagement with a unique ARG (Alternate Reality Game) concept. Leading up to that comeback, two characters were introduced: ymenehcra, who seemed to have disappeared after their growing obsession with chasing after an elusive crown, and 9mynameis1, who seemed concerned for them. A third character, a graphic designer Shasha, was introduced in the trailer for the music video titled “Shasha’s VLOG.”

The “OOTD” music video begins at an office cubicle, where Shasha takes a break from work to look up Dreamcatcher content. The members appear on screen, glammed up and (over)confident. They’re the villains, luring you in and encouraging your obsession, but clearly, there is more than meets the eye. Messages from ymenehcra pop up, urging Shasha to follow the crown, and we see Shasha following a truck with the image of a crown. The song ends with Shasha seemingly trapped in the alternate reality, and we are transported back to her now-empty cubicle. A message flashes on her computer screen: Would you like to join the journey?

Whether or not this hunt was the journey the video had been referring to, those who participated in the latest mystery code hunt undoubtedly went on one. When the first part of the code dropped, fans had quickly deduced that the first column denoted the date and time, and the second indicated a subway station number and exit. They also noted that the locations, when connected on a map, formed the shape of a crown, a recurring motif in the series. This seemed ominous in context of the lore given previous warnings about following the crown.

Rachel, a German exchange student who had been able to join the mystery code hunt in person, arrived much earlier to scope out the location. “I didn’t actually know anyone who would participate,” she tells Timid. “But as I was waiting, I was approached by someone I knew who was also there, surprisingly, because she is on vacation in South Korea with her friends.”

While waiting, they spotted a group of InSomnia nearby, easily recognizable by their merch and laser focus on their phones. Earlier that week, Dreamcatcher member Handong had revealed during her Spoon radio broadcast that the upcoming mystery code would require participants to enable their AirDrop or Quick Share. Sure enough, at 1PM, the first hint began to trickle in, one phone at a time. It was a request from "mystery code," containing an image with a member's silhouette, four QR codes, a description, and a symbol. This format would be repeated for every hint dropped at the other locations.

“This whole process was kind of funny to see, because everyone would look at their phone and at each other, searching for the one who received it first,” Rachel shares. “The first person would usually be like ‘I GOT IT!’ and then share it with InSomnia active on Twitter.” She adds, “It felt like even though we were doing the running around, others around the world were still with us. We were the messengers, and everyone online were the ones figuring out the clues.”

Rachel, who had set her airdrop name to “안영 미코 주세요 [Hi, please give me the MyCo]” for easier recognizability, notes that the hints seem to have been sent to anyone with their AirDrop or Quick Share enabled. It’s possible that non-participating passersby could have received them as well, so it was a clever move that two of the QR codes were for marketing purposes, linking to the official Instagram account as well as the music video for “OOTD.” The other two revealed a number and provided a puzzle piece that, when put together, served as a pigpen cipher key for fans to match the symbols to.

The last location, Guil Station, stood out to fans as gu and il are the Sino-Korean characters for the numbers 9 and 1. Also, as the seventh location, the drop was also made at 19:00. This could be an intentional reference to 9mynameis1, a testament to how much planning went into Dreamcatcher’s comeback preparations.

Given that the previous album had stylized the series and title as VersuS VillainS, I had wondered if the next album title would also start with a V and end with an S, perhaps VersuS VigilanteS. The seven letters from the code eventually spelled out the word JUSTICE, though fans are unsure if that will be the name of the album or title track, or even just the concept.

A recently released special clip by members SuA, Siyeon, and Yoohyeon (an unofficial subunit dubbed “Yaja Time”) had the July 11th date included in one scene, which had fans wondering if it had been a spoiler. Some fans who had guessed the word earlier on in the hunt also speculated that comeback might be July 17th, which is the International Day of Justice. Nevertheless, the seven numbers were revealed to be 2024710, indicating July 10th as the comeback date.

The successful deciphering of the code highlights the incredible teamwork and dedication of InSomnia worldwide. The phrase THE CROWN IS BACK was trending for K-pop on X as the hunt was taking place. “I personally felt that it was a unique and fun experience,” Rachel says. “It was also a nice experience to get to know some InSomnia. I really want to commend the staff for their work. It was creative, innovative and also time consuming for them on a Saturday!”

And finally, while fans have not yet come to a consensus regarding which silhouettes belong to which members, the date and title are enough to bring the anticipation for the new album to an all-time high. More drops are expected before the comeback date—concept photos, the tracklist, and trailer to name a few. Who knows, we might even hear from the characters again.

Be sure to follow Dreamcatcher's social media and join InSomnia on this journey!

To learn more about Dreamcatcher, you can also read our feature story here.