Previously: Lady Spades.
The phrase “Bed of Sorrow” appears in literature throughout history; it’s more or less interchangeable with the word “sickbed,” although sometimes it may also be referred to as a “bed of languishing.” No doubt the most interesting occurrence, however, is the biblical one: The phrase “bed of sorrow” appears in Psalm 40 of the Douay Rheims Bible — the version printed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries in England as an effort to uphold Catholic tradition in the face of the ongoing Protestant Reformation — with verse four reading, “The Lord help him on his bed of sorrow: thou has turned all his couch in his sickness.” Somewhat puzzlingly, though, most other versions of the bible feature the phrase’s analogue in verse three of Psalm 41 — in the King James Bible, for instance, Psalm 41:3 reads, “The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.”
What I find most notable about the different forms of the phrase is the way “languishing” bridges the gap between “sick” and “sorrow.” The Oxford English Dictionaries offer both “lose or lack vitality; grow weak or feeble,” which implies sickness, and “pine with love or grief,” which implies sorrow, as definitions for the verb “to languish,” so it’s not hard to see how some might interpret it one way, while others might read it another.
The Bed of Sorrow ritual, too, seems to bridge that gap, describing the titular place of repose as having been used “by a poor soul… who would weep day and night into the sheets, unable to be consoled as they withered away in that bed” — that is, the pain of mental and emotional grief became the pain of physical illness, which eventually resulted in death. The ritual then notes that, even once the departed soul’s body had been removed from the bed and given a burial, the piece of furniture remained forever imbued with the sorrow to which it bore witness. It might, therefore, “exhibit unnatural properties,” such as white sheets placed upon it turning red; furthermore, “a feeling of continual dread” might continually hover around it.
Unlike some of the rituals we’ve talked about here in The Most Dangerous Games, this one does have a point; if you’re successful, you’ll experience seven glorious days of worry-free bliss. However, the stakes are rather high should the ritual fail, so it’s up to you to decide whether a mere week’s worth of good will is worth it.
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- One principal.
- Find an abandoned house. Enter it, although note that you do so at your own risk — both with regards to the ritual, and with regards to the legality of breaking and entering. It is not recommended or condoned that you illegally enter a building in order to perform this ritual.
- Search for a room with a red door. Should you attempt to open it, the door must appear to be locked. Note: If you do not find a room with a red door, or you find a red door that is unlocked, leave. This is not the house for you.
- Knock twice on the door, then attempt to open it again.
- If it remains locked: Do not proceed. Leave the house and do not return.
- If it opens: You may enter. You will find the room windowless, and the only object within it will be a bed. The bed will be placed in the middle of the room, and it will be made with red sheets. Proceed to step four.
- At this point, you must make a choice: You may leave the room; or, you may stay close the red door behind you.
- Should you choose to leave the room: You may do so safely. You will experience no ill effects, so long as you do not return to the house again. Ever.
- Should you choose to stay and close the door behind you: You must cross to the bed, and you must lie down upon it. Do not slide under the sheets; instead, rest your bones on top of them. Proceed to step five.
- Close your eyes, and hold still. You may experience any or all of the following: The sound of weeping; a heavy knocking upon the door; the shaking of the bed. No matter what happens, do not move.
- If you have completed step five correctly, the room will eventually go silent and a voice may whisper from the darkness three words, and three words only: “It is done.”
- The moment you hear those words, open your eyes, rise from the bed, and leave the room. Close the door behind you. Do not look back. Do not speak to anyone or anything.
- Leave the house. Do not look back. Do not speak to anyone or anything.
- Go home. Do not look back. Do not speak to anyone or anything.
- The moment you arrive home, go to bed and sleep.
- If you have successfully completed the ritual, any doubt, grief, or sadness you may have been experiencing will have vanished upon waking. You will remain worry-free for up to seven days. Congratulations.
Failing to complete any of the ritual’s steps will result in an overall failure condition. In the event of a failure, your pain will not vanish; rather, it will increase tenfold with each passing day until you successfully complete each and every step.
But Be Warned:
You might not realize you’ve failed until it’s too late. And should you need to return to the room with the red door to complete the steps you missed…
…Well, it may not be where you left it.
[Photo via darkday./Flickr]