Previously: The Ghost Paper Challenge.
The oldest version of the Living Doll Game I’ve been able to find dates back to February of 2012 — that’s when it first appeared on the Hide And Go Kill Wikia, although it’s undergone many, many revisions since then. Saya In Underworld posted it later that year, as well, so it’s likely that 2012 is at least the year it made it to the English-speaking internet. Other versions from around that time can be found elsewhere online, too, if you look carefully.
The Living Doll Game is often compared to Hide And Seek Alone (or One-Man Hide And Seek, or Hitori Kakurenbo, or any of the other names under which the game goes) — and indeed, the goal is similar: You perform a summoning or invitation ritual with a doll, then go hide somewhere in your home and try to make it back to home base before the doll finds you. The difference, however, is that the Living Doll Game is much more dangerous than Hide And Seek Alone. The risk is high for this one, so proceed with the utmost of caution.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
A note about the “scapegoat” doll: Scapegoat dolls, also known as katashiro or hitogata, were used in Shinto rituals as… well, sort of like cosmic fall guys. They could be used in purification rituals as vessels into which a person’s sins could be transferred; after the transfer was complete, the katashiro would then be disposed of, carry the sin far, far away. They could also be used to ward off bad luck — or rather, to absorb it, allowing anyone they were standing in for to reap only good luck and good fortune.
In the Living Doll Game, the scapegoat operates as a decoy. It may be optional, but it would be very, very foolish to play this game without it.
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- Two mirrors. These mirrors should be capable of standing upright on their own.
- One doll. This doll should resemble a human as closely as possible and should be made of a hard material — plastic, porcelain, wood, etc. (Note: This doll will be referred to as “the doll” throughout the instructions in order to differentiate it from the scapegoat.)
- One candle.
- Matches or a lighter.
- A supply of salt, wrapped in paper. At least five spoonfuls are recommended.
- A timekeeping device.
- One scapegoat doll. Optional, but highly recommended. (Note: This doll will be referred to as “the scapegoat” throughout the instructions in order to differentiate it from the doll.)
- One strand of your own hair. Optional, but highly recommended. Necessary if using the scapegoat doll.
- Begin shortly before midnight. Clear your home of all other people and pets. Make sure you know what time the sun is due to rise.
- If using the scapegoat doll, begin by affixing the strand of hair firmly to the scapegoat. You may do this in any number of ways — tying the hair to the doll, opening the doll up and placing the hair inside before sewing the doll back up, etc. — but whichever method you choose, make certain that the hair will not become unattached during the course of the game.
- Choose a room in your home to be “home base.” Choose a different room to be your hiding place. Turn off all the lights in your home except in your home base room.
- If using the scapegoat, hide it somewhere in your home. Do NOT hide the scapegoat in the home base room or in your hiding place room.
- Bring the mirrors, candle, matches or lighter, salt, timekeeping device, and human doll to the home base room. Turn on the lights, if they aren’t already on.
- Position the mirrors so they are facing each other with a small amount of space in between.
- Place the doll and the candle in the space between the two mirrors. Keep an eye on your timekeeping device.
- When the timekeeping device reads midnight, light the candle with the matches or lighter.
- Repeat the following words aloud five times: “I leave for you a new body. Please take it.”
- Repeat the following words aloud five times: “Let’s play.”
- NOTE: At this point, you may hear noises coming from somewhere in your home. Do not be alarmed; this indicates that the Invitation has succeeded. You may proceed regardless as to whether you hear noises or not.
- If, however, you feel any physical sensations on your body — tugging, pressure, light touches, etc. — DO NOT PROCEED. Abort the ritual immediately. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Take hold of the supply of salt; keep it on your person at all times. Then say aloud, “Please come and find me. If you do, I will give you my life.”
- Turn off the lights in the home base room and make your way as quickly and quietly as possible to your hiding place, taking with you only the salt. Do NOT speak. Do NOT make any additional noise. Do NOT leave a trail to your hiding place.
- When you reach your hiding place, sit cross-legged on the floor with your back to the door. Scatter some salt on yourself, but do NOT use up all of it for this purpose — you’ll need more again later.
- Wait. Do not make any noise. Do not let the doll find you.
- When you are ready to end the game, return to the home base room. Move swiftly, and move quietly. Do not speak. Do not make any noise. Do not do anything that would allow the doll to find you.
- Stand before the candle and repeat the following words five times: “You lose. The game is over now.”
- Extinguish the candle and scatter salt on yourself.
- Find the doll. NOTE: It may not be where you left it. When you find it, scatter salt on it.
- If using the scapegoat, find the scapegoat and scatter salt on it as well.
- Turn on all the lights in your home. Create as bright, cheerful, and pleasant an atmosphere as possible in your home by whatever means you most prefer: Play upbeat music; watch a funny television show or movie; read a book or magazine you enjoy; engage in a favorite hobby; etc. Maintain this atmosphere for at least an hour, and at least until the sun has risen.
- Within three days of completing the game, make sure you perform the following actions:
- Destroy the mirrors and dispose of them in two different places as far away from each other as possible.
- Remove the hair from the scapegoat, burn the hair, and destroy and dispose of the scapegoat.
- Bring the doll to a shrine. If you are unable to do this, destroy and and dispose of the doll instead.
- Be careful in the dark from here on out.
No bystanders may be present while playing this game. It is also not recommended that pets be allowed to remain in the house during the game’s duration.
The human doll CANNOT be made of a soft material. Do NOT use a doll with a soft body. Do NOT use a plush doll.
The scapegoat doll may be made of any material, although it is not recommended that it be similar or identical to the human doll.
When hiding the scapegoat, don’t make it too easy to find, but don’t make it too hard to find, either. It’s a decoy; it can’t do its job if it’s not hidden just right.
The game may also be played in its original language. To do so, use the following words and phrases instead of the previously described English language ones:
- Atarashii karada wo oite okimasu, douzo otsukai kudasai. (“I leave for you a new body. Please take it.”)
- Asobi shimashou. (“Let’s play.”)
- Watashi wo sagashite kudasai. Mitsuketara inochi wo agemasu. (“Please come and find me. If you do, I will give you my life.”)
- Anata no makedesu. Oshimai. (“You lose. The game is over now.”)
If it becomes necessary to abort the ritual: Scatter salt on the mirrors, the doll, and the scapegoat. Destroy and dispose of the mirrors, the doll, and the scapegoat as indicated in The Closing.
Some good news: Even if the doll finds the room you are in, it may not notice you…. unless you make too much noise. It is of the utmost important that you remain as silent as possible for the duration of the game.
If, during The Hunt, you begin to feel as if you are in immediate danger: Quietly rise from your sitting position and hide somewhere in the room. Inside a closet or under or behind a large piece of furniture are ideal. Do NOT make any noise, and do NOT leave a trail indicating where you are hiding.
The game becomes more dangerous the longer it continues. It is in your best interest to end it — without getting caught — as soon as possible.
You MUST finish the game before sunrise.
Do NOT leave your home before ending the game.
Do NOT neglect to destroy and dispose of the mirrors of the dolls.
Do NOT neglect to end the game.
For An Extra Challenge:
A more challenging variation of the game may be played by making the following adjustments:
- Before beginning, turn on at least one light in every room in your home.
- After The Hunt begins, do not go immediately to your hiding place. Instead, travel through your home, turning off all of the lights as you go. When you finally reach your hiding place, turn off the lights there as well and sit as previously described.
This variation allows the doll to track you based on the status of the lights, subsequently making it much easier to find you and catch you.
Do NOT let the doll catch you.
If The Doll Is Smiling At The End Of The Game:
It found you.
You may not have noticed… but it did.
There’s nothing to be done now.
Please don’t copy or republish this post on other sites. Linking to it or sharing the URL is fine (and encouraged!), as is writing your own unique version of the game, but copying/pasting, republishing, or otherwise reproducing the text of this piece in its entirety or near-entirety on other websites without permission isn’t.
[Photo via Mimzy/Pixabay]