Previously: In The Eye Of The Giant.
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I can’t tell you who’s responsible for the ritual game called The Eye In The Shadows; the Redditor who originally posted it to r/ThreeKings in 2017 has since deleted their account. It’s almost certainly a made-up game; for the sake of argument, though, its lore insists that the original poster found it in a binder of research assembled by a friend’s father who was deeply into the occult. It was, the Redditor said, “originally some kind of initiatory test for some obscure coven of witches that mostly died out sometime between the 15th and 16th centuries.”
In practice, The Eye To The Shadows is sort of an amalgam of a variety of other games, namely the Midnight Game and the Answer Man. It’s also… not super well written. The original version is very confusing — it’s a little all-over-the-place and, I think, trying to accomplish a bit too much. I’ve done my best to suss out and clarify the core gameplay, as well as the consequences for transgressing or going against the rules while playing — and I’ve also pulled in a similar ritual posted to r/ThreeKings at the end of 2018 that seems to be a simpler, less complicated version of the original. Hopefully all of that should give a more complete, easier-to-follow picture of what’s going on here.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
I haven’t been able to determine whether the “Ethri” referred to within the rules of the game is a figure belonging to an existing belief system or not. The closest I’ve been able get is Horvat ‘Ethri, the remains of an ancient Jewish settlement in Israel dating back to the Second Temple period (roughly 516 BCE to 70 CE). Everything else I’ve found is fictional (see also: The Arkn Mythos; the Dark Crystal; various user-created World of Warcraft and/or Final Fantasy characters that have been uploaded to fan wikis; etc.).
Either way, though… you know how it goes.
- One principal.
- One black candle.
- One mirror. This mirror should have a stand or otherwise be capable of standing up on its own.
- One sterilized pin.
- One piece of paper.
- One writing implement.
- Matches or a lighter.
- A clock or other timekeeping device.
- A quiet room in which to play.
- Begin after nightfall.
- Gather your supplies together and go to the quiet room. Close the door behind you. Shut the curtains as tightly as you can. It’s also recommended that you clear the space or building of other people or pets.
- Draw the image of an open eye on the piece of paper.
- Prick your finger with the sterilized pin until blood is drawn. Place at least one drop of blood on the drawing of the eye.
- Turn out the lights.
- Place the mirror in front of you such that you may view your own reflection within it. You may do this on the floor, or on a table or other flat surface if you wish. Then place your drawing, face-up, on the floor or table between yourself and the mirror.
- Light the candle.
- Repeat the following chant four times: “Ethri, Ethri, scientia est scientia, intellectum ad intelligendum. Every light cast a shadow, yet without light shadow cannot be. Dispel the darkness of ignorance, Bring the light of truth from the shadows.”
- Extinguish the candle.
- Immediately relight the candle.
- Wait. Listen.
- If you hear or sense nothing: The ritual has failed; do not proceed. Extinguish the candle and vacate the premises. Do not return until after sunrise.
- If you hear or sense… something: The ritual has succeeded; you may proceed. NOTE: What you hear or sense may vary from player to player. Simply put: If you no longer feel you are alone, then you have succeeded.
- Turn around.
- You will sense a question rising up out of the darkness — either spoken aloud or perhaps appearing in your own mind. Answer it as correctly and thoroughly as possible.
- If your answer is deemed acceptable: You may ask a question of your own. Your correspondent’s answer will always be truthful; make sure you remember how they respond. You may ask any question you wish, with one exception: Do NOT ask your correspondent about themself, in any way, shape, or form. If you slip up and ask an unpermitted question, proceed as if your answer had been deemed unacceptable.
- If your answer is deemed unacceptable: Do NOT proceed. Instead, continue to The Farewell.
- As long as your questions and answers are deemed acceptable, you may continue the exchange of information and knowledge until 4:44am.
- At 4:44am, proceed to The Farewell.
- When either time or an unacceptable question or answer requires it, repeat the following words four times: “Thank you for your knowledge; return now to the shadows.”
- Extinguish the candle.
- Turn on the lights.
- Open the curtains.
- But be careful in the darkness from now on — and mind your reflection in any mirrors you encounter. You might not be alone in there anymore.
At some point in The Conversation, your correspondent may offer take you on as their student. Should you decline, the game will continue as described. It is… unknown what may occur, should you accept. This offer comes only rarely, however, and it is not unusual for a game to conclude without it having been made at all.
This ritual may be performed with more than one participant by making the following adjustments:
- When gathering your supplies, ensure that each participant has their own mirror, candle, piece of paper, sterilized pin, and book of matches or lighter.
- In Step 3 of The Summoning, each participant must draw their own picture of an eye.
- In Step 4 of The Summoning, each participant must mark their own drawing with their own blood. Do NOT mark another participant’s drawing with your blood, nor allow another participant to mark your drawing with their blood.
- In Step 7 of The Summoning, light your candles simultaneously. Similarly, in Step 8, repeat the chant in unison. Extinguish and relight your candles in Steps 9 and 10 as simultaneously as possible, as well.
- In The Conversation, all participants should take turns asking and answering questions. Do not allow one person to answer more than one question and ask more than one question in a single turn.
- All participants should perform the actions of The Farewell in unison.
A simpler, less malevolent version of this ritual, sometimes referred to as Eyes To The Inside, may be performed by making the following adjustments:
- Substitute a crystal made of clear quartz for the drawing of the eye. In this version, the candle need not be black; additionally, no pins or blood are required.
- In Step 6 of The Summoning, position the mirror and candle as previously described; then place the crystal in front of the candle. The crystal should be closest to the participant; then the candle; then the mirror.
- In Step 8 The Summoning, substitute the following chant: “Ethri, Ethri, seer of shadows, show me to my deepest truth.”
- After extinguishing the candle in Step 9 of The Summoning, go to sleep. (You will not encounter the labyrinth in this version.
- From here, the results diverge quite substantially. According to most accounts, shadowy figure will appear in your dreams and introduce you to your “shadow self”; what happens after that seems to be different for each individual who performs the ritual. Think about what you hope to accomplish by summoning a “spirit of truth” before you begin; that should inform how the game unfolds for you after this point.
If your summoning is successful, DO NOT close your eyes for more than 44 seconds, go outside, or otherwise stop playing the game before completing The Farewell. Should you do so, the following will occur:
- Your candle will extinguish itself. Relight it immediately, grab the candle and your matches or lighter, open the door to your quiet room, and begin moving about the building. Put as much distance between you and your correspondent as possible — because now, they are hunting you. Do NOT let them catch you.
- However, do NOT let the candle go out. If it does, you must relight it within 44 seconds. If you fail to do so, repeat the word “Irhte” four times and hope for the best.
- Your goal is to make it until 4:44am. Good luck.
Do NOT fall asleep while playing. Should you do so, the following will occur:
- Each night, for a maximum of 44 nights, you will dream of the same thing: A library which is also somehow a labyrinth in which you are trapped, with only a single candle for light. As you move throughout the library-labyrinth in your dream, you must find and solve seven riddles or puzzles.
- But there are a few… catches: First, you may only complete one riddle or puzzle per night. Second, you must keep your candle lit. Third, you are not alone in the library-labyrinth. If your candle goes out or whatever is sharing the library-labyrinth with you catches you, you will wake up — and if you wake up, you will not be permitted to re-enter the library-labyrinth, or find and solve a riddle, until the following night.
- If you solve all seven riddles by the end of the 44th night, you will be free.
- If you fail to solve all seven riddles by the end of the 44th night, you will never wake up again.
Knowing all this… do you still wish to proceed?
Please don’t plagiarize this post. Linking to it or sharing the URL only is fine (and encouraged!), as is writing your own unique version of the game with sources cited and linked to, 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 TuendeBede/Pixabay, remixed by Lucia Peters.]