Previously: The Dumb Supper Ritual.
Note: Please don’t copy/paste or republish the text of this post on other websites without permission.
The ritualpasta referred to as Listen To The Clock arrived on the internet on Sept. 5, 2012. I can say this fairly conclusively, due to the fact that narrowing a Google search for the first sentence of the story — which is usually presented as a traditional creepypasta, in that the same chunk of text is copied and pasted in each location in which it appears — to the space of time prior to Sept. 5, 2012 brings up exactly two results: The Creepypasta Wikia, and Creepypasta.com. The story was uploaded to both of those sites on the same date, and pretty much every other time it’s appeared, it’s been in the form seen there.
The authorship of the story is somewhat murky. It’s credited to someone going by the name “TheGuyNamedEd” in a few places, but there’s virtually no other information available about Ed anywhere. The most I’ve been able to find is a link from the name in one spot to a YouTube page displaying the username Ryan, but with the URL reading LazyBoiPictures — a YouTube page on which there are no uploads. That’s it. Ed is basically a ghost.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
If anyone has heard from Ed recently, let me know.
In any event, Listen To The Clock — which ostensibly exists to put you in touch with either a higher power or something buried deep within your own mind — belongs to a subgenre of ritualpasta I might term “Supernatural Marathons.” The Staircase Ritual falls under this subgenre; so do 11 Miles and Channel Infinity. Each of these rituals requires their players to devote a substantial chunk of time to the endeavor — 10, 12, 24 hours, something like that — during which they cannot take care of any of the standard things you generally have to do to, y’know, live (eating, hydrating, etc.). As a result, it is very much NOT recommended that anyone ever attempt to play these games; it’s honestly a health and safety hazard. Also, they’re typically less grounded in actual folkloric practices and more in the realm of made-up stories, so I’m not even really sure I’d refer to the players as players, pe se; as you read the stories, it’s probably best to think of the “player” as the “player-character.” They’re pieces of short fiction in which the readers themselves are the protagonists.
They’re still fun and spooky reads, though. Here, I’ve teased out the rules of Listen To The Clock in an easier-to-follow format; for the original version, head to the Creepypasta Wikia (CW: Self-harm, suicide at the link).
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- An analog clock.
- A windowless room.
- One candle.
- Matches or a lighter.
- Wait for the right weather. It can be any temperature outside, but the weather should be mild and calm. Do NOT attempt to play on a day with high winds, storms, rain, snow, etc.
- When the correct weather conditions have been achieved, cancel any and all appointments and plans you have scheduled for the next 24 hours.
- Turn off your mobile phone. If you have a landline, unplug it from the phone jack.
- Bring the clock, candle, and matches or lighter to the windowless room. Set up the candle somewhere safe, where it is unlikely to be knocked over or catch on anything nearby. Sit quietly for a moment and make sure you can hear the ticking of the clock.
- If there are lights in the room, turn them off.
- Light the candle. The candle should be the only light source within the room.
- Make certain — absolutely certain — you want to go through with the ritual.
- Do you?
- Are you sure?
- Then you may begin.
- Close the door.
The First 23 Hours:
- Sit down. Make yourself comfortable.
- Listen to the clock.
- Wait. This is hour one. If you wish to abort the ritual, you may do so now. (See: To Abort The Ritual.)
- Wait. This is hour two. If you wish to abort the ritual, you may do so now. (See: To Abort The Ritual.)
- Wait. This is hour three. If you wish to abort the ritual, you may do so now. (See: To Abort The Ritual.)
- NOTE: This is your FINAL CHANCE to abort the ritual.
- Wait. This is hour four. At the top of the hour, the door to your windowless room will lock. Yes, even if the door didn’t have a lock in the first place. Do not attempt to unlock it. You wouldn’t be able to unlock it even if you tried.
- There is no turning back now.
- Wait. This is hour five. You may begin to feel anxious, sweaty, or as if you are being watched. Remain calm.
- Wait. This is hour six. You may begin to hear noises coming from elsewhere within the building at intervals of 10 minutes. Resist the urge to check the lock on the door.
- Wait. This is hour seven. You may fall asleep. Enjoy your dreams; they will be the most pleasant you will ever have.
- Wait. This is hour eight. If you fell asleep during hour seven, you will awaken. Enjoy the residual feelings of joy remaining from your dreams.
- Wait. This is hour nine. You may suddenly find yourself full of restless energy. Do not allow yourself to do anything rash.
- Wait. This is hour 10. You may begin to hear screaming coming from elsewhere within the building at intervals of six minutes. Do not cover your ears.
- Wait. This is hour 11. The candle may go out. Sit quietly in the darkness with your thoughts.
- Wait. This is hour 12. The candle may relight itself. Sit quietly in the light with your thoughts.
- Wait. This is hour 13. You may fall asleep again. Endure your dreams; they will be the worst you will ever have.
- Wait. This is hour 14. If you fell asleep during hour 13, you will awaken. Suffer through the residual feelings of despair remaining from your dreams.
- Wait. This is hour 15. You may hear the voice of a stranger speak to you from out of the darkness. If you do, you may ask your companion any and all questions you may have about your life — past, present, and future — and they will answer. Make note of their responses, even if you do not understand them.
- Wait. This is hour 16. You may hear the voice of one or both of your parents or parent figures speak to you from out of the darkness. If you do, you must answer any and all questions they may have for you about your life — past, present, and future. Do not refuse to answer, and do not lie; they will not accept anything other than the truth, even if it is a truth of which you are ashamed.
- Wait. This is hour 17. You may hear the voice of the most important man in your life speak to you from out of the darkness. If you do, you must answer any and all questions he has for you about your relationship — past, present, and future. Do not refuse to answer, and do not lie; he will not accept anything other than the truth, even if it is a truth of which you are ashamed.
- Wait. This is hour 18. You may hear the voice of the most important woman in your life speak to you from out of the darkness. If you do, you must answer any and all questions she has for you about your relationship — past, present, and future. Do not refuse to answer, and do not lie; she will not accept anything other than the truth, even if it is a truth of which you are ashamed.
- Wait. This is hour 19. You may hear your own voice speak to you from out of the darkness. If you do, listen to what you have to tell yourself — about your past, your present, and your future — and answer any and all questions you have for yourself — again about your past, your present, and your future — even if the conversation is the most painful you have ever had.
- Wait. This is hour 20. You may suddenly find yourself full of crushing self-loathing. Do not allow yourself to do anything rash.
- Wait. This is hour 21. You may hear music drifting up out of the darkness — indescribably beautiful music. Listen to it. Allow it to heal your body.
- Wait. This is hour 22. If music began playing in hour 21, it will cease. The flame of the candle may flicker through every color in the spectrum, and some which may not exist on any spectrum known to humankind. Watch it. Allow it to heal your soul.
- Wait. This is hour 23. If the candle’s flame began flickering in hour 22, it will settle. You may begin to sing. Allow yourself to do so, even if you don’t know where in yourself the impulse for it is coming from.
- Wait. This is hour 24. If you began singing in hour 23, you will fall silent.
- This is the final hour.
The Final Hour:
- This is still the final hour. Your body may grow heavy; you may feel unable to move. Do not panic. Do not struggle.
- This is still the final hour. You may hear the voice of a stranger speak to you, although it will not sound as if it is coming from out of the darkness. You may be unable to identify where the voice is coming from, but if you hear it, you will hear it loud and clear.
- This is still the final hour. Your companion may begin to ask you questions. These questions will come one at a time, at 10-minute intervals. You must answer any and all of these questions truthfully and honestly.
- The voice will diminish. The weight on your body will lift. The door to the room will unlock.
- The final hour is over.
- Turn on the lights.
- Extinguish the candle.
- Leave the room.
- Destroy the clock.
Warnings For Players:
- Do not attempt to play this game while under the influence of any recreational substances.
- Do not attempt to play this game if you have depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other related conditions or disorders.
- Do not attempt to play this game if you have a history of self-harm or suicidal ideation.
Concerning Required Supplies:
- The clock must be analog, and the ticking of its second hand must be audible when placed in a quiet space. Do NOT use a digital clock, a mobile phone, an online representation of an analog clock, etc. If your clock is battery-powered, don’t worry about bringing extra batteries. You won’t need them.
- The room may be of any size or measure any dimensions; anything from a large walk-in closet to a cavernous interior room will suffice. The only requirement is that it have absolutely no windows of any kind. Ideally, it should also be located somewhere you are unlikely to be disturbed.
- There are no necessary requirements for the candle, although it is recommended your candle be large, sturdy, and scentless.
- You may choose to bring pillows, blankets, or other items intended to make your time in the room more comfortable. If you opt to do so, you may bring them into the room during The Prelude and set them up during Step 1 of The First 23 Hours. You have until the end of hour three to get settled with them. At the beginning of hour four, you’ll be dealing with… too many other things to worry about adjusting your pillows.
To Abort The Ritual:
The ritual may be aborted at any point during the first three hours. To do so, turn on the lights, open the door to the room, and extinguish the candle. Unplug or remove the batteries from the clock immediately. Destroy the clock and dispose of its remains as soon as possible.
The ritual may ONLY be aborted during hours one through three. At the end of hour three, the ritual MUST continue — whether you want it to or not.
So, I ask again: Are you positive you want to go through with it?
Because if you have any doubts at all…
…You might want to listen to them instead of the clock.
Please don’t republish 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 Free-Photos/Pixabay]