Previously: The Television Ritual.
Exactly who or what the Red Man may be is unclear. Some sources cite the summoning ritual as Japanese, although this may or may not actually be the case; if it is, the closest analog in Japanese folklore I’ve been able to find is Aka Manto, or the Red Cloak. However, although Aka Manto is described as being dressed entirely in red, he seems to be kind of his own thing — like Hanako-san, he’s a bathroom ghost, and he typically likes to ask people if they want red paper or blue paper, rather than messing about with the accoutrements seen in the Red Man summoning ritual — so I’m skeptical he’s the Red Man in question here.
But mysterious and dangerous fellows in red are rife throughout folklore in a wide variety of cultures and traditions. There’s the Redcap, for example — a blood-thirsty variety of goblin said to take up residence in ruined castles positioned along the border of England and Scotland. He gets his name from his habit of killing travelers who venture into his domain and using their blood to dye his hat red. In Dutch folklore, there’s the Kabouter, a sort of helpful house elf; male Kabouters wear red, pointed caps. (I imagine them to look something like David the Gnome, but that might just be my own sense of nostalgia.) L’Homme Rouge is said to haunt the Palais des Tuileries in Paris; he might have been possessed of many secrets about Catherine de Medici and killed to keep him quiet, or he may have been a prophetic specter already in residence by the time she moved into the palace. And there’s the Far Darrig, an Irish sprite who wears a red coat and cap and likes to pull mean-spirited pranks — like switching out human babies for changelings while their parents aren’t looking.
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Even so, whether the Red Man summoned in this ritual is related to any of these other figures remains to be seen. Indeed, it’s not even clear why one would want to summon him in the first place — beyond, perhaps, bragging rights. No matter the case, though… well, you know how it goes:
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A quiet room.
- A sheet of paper.
- A writing implement.
- Five candles.
- A lighter or matches.
- Two mirrors. Mirrors that are capable of standing upright on their own are recommended.
- Red lipstick.
- Begin at night.
- Go to your quiet room. Bring your supplies. Draw the curtains. Shut the door.
- Using the scissors, cut out the shape of a man from the sheet of paper.
- Bisect the paper man: Using the writing implement, draw a line down the center of it.
- On the left side of the paper man, write your full name.
- On the right side of the paper man, write the word “Rubeus.”
- Using the lipstick, draw a pair of eyes on one mirror. The eyes should be positioned in the top half of the mirror.
- Position the mirrors opposite each other, with about 12 inches of space between them. The reflective surfaces should be facing each other. The mirror with the eyes drawn on it should be on the left.
- Place the paper man in the space between the mirrors. If you think of the space as the face of a clock, with 12 o’clock at the top, 6 o’clock at the bottom, and the mirrors at 3 and 9 o’clock, the paper man’s head should be at 12 and his arms at 3 and 9. The line you drew and words you wrote on the paper man should be facing outwards, with the blank side facing the floor.
- Place the candles around the “clock face” at 12, 2, 5, 7, and 10 o’clock.
- Turn off the lights.
- Using the matches or lighter, light the candle positioned at 7 o’clock.
- Using the matches or lighter, light the candle positioned at 12 o’clock.
- Using the matches or lighter, light the candle positioned at 5 o’clock.
- Using the matches or lighter, light the candle positioned at 10 o’clock.
- Using the matches or lighter, light the candle positioned at 2 o’clock.
- Using the scissors, cut the paper man in half along the line you previously drew on him, making sure to keep him within the circle of candles as you do so.
- After he has been cut, place the left half of the paper man closer to the left-hand mirror and the right half closer to the right-hand mirror.
- Close your eyes.
- Repeat the following words six times: “Please come. Please come. I will not leave until you come.”
- Extinguish the candle positioned at 12 o’clock.
- Extinguish the candle positioned at 7 o’clock.
- Extinguish the candle positioned at 2 o’clock.
- Extinguish the candle positioned at 10 o’clock.
- Extinguish the candle positioned at 5 o’clock.
- Is he there?
- He should be there.
- Look closely.
- But be careful.
- When you are done playing, erase the eyes from the left-hand mirror.
- Collect the candles and the two halves of the paper man.
- Take the candles and the paper man somewhere far, far away.
- Bury them deep within the earth.
- Do not return to the burial site again.
- Do not use the mirrors again.
Once begun, this game cannot be aborted, abandoned, or otherwise halted. Do not begin it unless you intend to finish it. Do not begin it unless you are able to finish it.
Bystanders who wish to meet the Red Man may be present in the room while the game is proceeding, although they may not participant in the actual summoning. Anyone who does not wish to meet the Red Man should vacate the room before The Preparation begins. DO NOT be in the room while the game is proceeding unless you intend to meet the Red Man.
Concerning The Mirrors:
It is possible to play this game during the day; however, it is not recommended to do so. No amount of daylight may be allowed to reflect off of the mirrors during the game. The best way to ensure that daylight does not touch the mirrors is to wait until nightfall to play.
DO NOT allow yourself to see your own reflection in either mirror at ANY POINT after Step 7 of The Preparation.
Concerning The Red Man:
Do not assume that he has left at the conclusion of the game.
Do not assume that you are safe at the conclusion of the game.
Do not assume anything at the conclusion of the game.
Just because you are done playing doesn’t mean he is.
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[Photo via saeedkebriya/Pixabay]