Previously: The Midnight Game.
Instructions for how to play a version of hide and seek alone — that is, with with only one player — first began appearing under the name ひとりかくれんぼ (Hitori Kakurenbo) on Japanese horror bulletin boards like the 2ch occult board circa 2006/2007. The craze spread quickly in Japan; the instructions were copied, and pasted, and copied again on site after site, and YouTubers began uploading videos documenting their experiences playing it.
It wasn’t until the fall of 2008 that instructions for One-Man Hide and Seek appeared on an English language site… but perhaps it would have better for everyone if it hadn’t been translated at all.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal
- One stuffed doll with limbs
- One sack of uncooked rice
- A pair of nail clippers
- A needle
- A length of red thread
- One sharp edge, such as a knife or pair of scissors
- A bathroom with bathtub
- A cup of salt water
- A television
- A hiding place
- Incense or ofuda
- Using your sharp edge, cut open the doll. Remove the stuffing.
- Replace the stuffing with dry, uncooked rice. Clip off a piece of your fingernail and place it inside the doll with the rice.
- Using the needle and red thread, stitch the doll closed. Without snipping the thread, take the remaining length, wrap it around the doll, and tie off the ends.
- Fill the bathtub with water.
- Purify the room in which your hiding place is located with the incense or ofuda. Once it has been purified, set up the television in the same room. Place the cup of salt water and the sharp edge inside the hiding place.
- Name the doll.
The Main Event:
- Begin at precisely 3am. Repeat the following phrase to the doll three times, filling in your own name where appropriate: “[Your Name] is the first it.”
- Go to the bathroom. Submerge the doll in the bathtub and leave it there.
- Turn out all the lights in your house.
- Go to your hiding place and switch on the television. Close your eyes and count to ten.
- When you have finished counting, open your eyes, retrieve your sharp edge, and return to the bathroom.
- Remove the doll from the bathtub and say the following phrase to it, filling in the doll’s name where appropriate: “I have found you, [Doll’s Name].” Use your sharp edge to cut the red thread binding the doll.
- Say the following phrase to the doll, filling in the doll’s name where appropriate: “You are the next it, [Doll’s Name].” Then return the doll to the bathtub.
- Quickly return to your hiding place. Remain as silent as possible.
- Take a large mouthful of salt water. Do not swallow it; hold it in your mouth. Keep the cup containing the rest of the salt water in your hand.
- Emerge from your hiding place and begin looking for the doll. NOTE: The doll may not necessarily be in the bathroom where you left it.
- When you find the doll, pour the remaining salt water in the cup over it. Expectorate the salt water in your mouth over the doll as well.
- Repeat the following phrase to the doll three times: “I win.”
- Once the game has been completed, allow the doll to dry, then burn it and discard the remains.
The rice represents the doll’s internal organs. Additionally, it serves as bait to attract spirits.
The red thread represents a blood vessel and seals whatever spirits you might have attracted inside the doll. Snipping the thread in the Main Event: step 6 releases the spirits.
When naming your doll, do NOT give it your own name. It is also advisable to avoid giving it the name of anyone you know.
Once the game has begun, do NOT do any of the following things until it has been completed:
- Turn on the lights.
- Lock any doors, including the front or back doors
- Make unnecessary noise.
- Leave your house.
It is not generally advisable to emerge from your hiding place in the Ending: step 2 without both holding the salt water in your mouth and carrying the cup with the remaining salt water in your hand; should anything have found its way into your home during the course of the game, they will act as safeguards and protect you from any harm your visitor or visitors may attempt to inflict upon you. The purpose of the television is to alert you to the presence of these potential visitors. Should it begin to display abnormal behavior, do NOT, under ANY circumstance, leave your hiding place without the salt water.
Do not allow the game to go on for longer than two hours.
Once it has been started, the game MUST be played through to completion. Do NOT attempt to abandon it partway through. To do so would result in disaster.