Previously: Jack O’Lantern.
The earliest online occurrence of the Halloween ritual game The Void is dated 2008, at which time it appeared on Creepypasta.com, posted by an anonymous individual. It’s… not a great story, to be honest; it’s a little too on the nose in places and suffers from overly descriptive writing. It is, however, allegedly meant to be performed on Halloween — so, here we are, taking a look at it specifically because we’re deep in the Halloween season right now.
(The 13th Floor attempted to connect it with Samhain, but that’s a stretch on their part; there’s no mention of anything remotely related to Samhain in the original source, and it’s always worth remembering that the Samhain-Halloween connection isn’t nearly as simple or neat as, “Halloween used to be Samhain” or “Halloween and Samhain are the same thing.”)
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
The premise insists that, on Halloween between the hours of 2am and 5am, a void opens in the fabric of existence — a void which will allow you to play a game with, and make a deadly deal with, a representative from… whatever lives on the other side of that void. Or, perhaps, inside the void. It’s almost certainly a made-up ritual, but, as many have wondered when it comes to “made-up” rituals, there’s always a question of whether we’re dealing with a tulpa-like situation — that is, whether, if enough people believe in something “made-up,” it can become reality.
The Void should not be confused with a different ritual called Calling The Void, which was posted to the r/ThreeKings subreddit in 2015. Neither ritual is recommended, of course, but Calling The Void is particularly harmful — and, in fact, was later removed from r/ThreeKings.
I also can’t in good conscience recommend anyone actually play The Void, for the same reason that I can’t recommend anyone actually play, say, Lightless City or The Stranger Ritual.
I can never in good conscience recommend that anyone play any games whose primary goal is bringing harm to another person. These instructions, therefore, should be used for academic purposes only — not for practical ones.
Our usual refrain of “Play at your own risk” shouldn’t apply here. Because you’re not going to play this game at all. Right?
- One principal.
- A mirror.
- A quiet, dark room.
- A timekeeping device.
- A list of the names of your five worst enemies.
Making The Preparations:
- Wait until just after midnight as the calendar ticks over from Oct. 30 to Oct. 31.
- Prepare the proper lighting conditions inside your chosen game room: Close the curtains or otherwise block the windows in the room. Turn any lights immediately outside of the room, such as hallway lights, off. Confirm that the door closes securely. Ensure that no light from any sources external to the game room — street lights, moonlight, other indoor lights, etc. — cannot be seen from inside the room. You may keep the lights inside the room on and the door open for now; however, the room should be capable of achieving pitch blackness inside, should you turn off the lights and close the door.
- Prepare the mirror inside your chosen game room: Position the mirror inside the room such that you may stand or sit comfortably before it for an extended period of time. Additionally, make sure you can find your way to it in the dark; you may wish to practice traversing the space and positioning yourself before the mirror under the required conditions.
- Exit the room.
- Wait. You may use this time to ensure that you have memorized your list of names. You will not be able to consult a written list during the next sections of the game.
- Keep an eye on your timekeeping device.
- Wait until shortly before 2am.
Opening The Void:
- Just before 2am, return to the game room. Close the door behind you and turn out the lights.
- At precisely 2am, position yourself before the mirror.
- Hold your own gaze within the mirror — if you can. You won’t be able to, as the room should be devoid of light; however, behave as if you can.
- If the room is NOT devoid of light, DO NOT PROCEED. You have failed to achieve the correct conditions. Turn on the lights, open the door, and leave the room. You may try again the following year.
- Be patient.
- If there is no change by 5am: The ritual has failed. Do not proceed. Turn on the lights, open the door, and leave the room. You may try again the following year.
- If you feel a shiver run down your spine: The ritual has succeeded. You may proceed. Place your right hand on the mirror and speak aloud the words, “I accept.” Do not remove your hand from the mirror.
- At this point, you may sense the image of a figure appear in the mirror. You will not be able to see the figure — or at least, you should not be able to see the figure. (The room should be pitch black, remember?) It may feel as if you can, though, despite the darkness in the room.
- Do not be alarmed.
- Do not be alarmed, even if you hear strange sounds drifting up out of the darkness.
- Do not be alarmed, even if you feel an inexplicable terror picking at the edges of your soul.
- Do not be alarmed.
- Listen closely. Keep your hand on the mirror.
- A question will be asked of you — a question pertaining to something that has happened to you or occurred within your lifetime. Answer it truthfully. Answer it correctly. Do not lie. Do not obfuscate.
- If you answer incorrectly: You will feel a deep and profound loss, although you may not know why, or what you have lost — yet.
- If you answer correctly: You will be given the opportunity to speak one name from your list. Speak it aloud. Do not hesitate.
- A second question will be asked of you. Repeat the process laid out in Opening The Void, Step 14.
- A third question will be asked of you. Repeat the process laid out in Opening The Void, Step 14.
- A fourth question will be asked of you. Repeat the process laid out in Opening The Void, Step 14.
- A fifth question will be asked of you. Repeat the process laid out in Opening The Void, Step 14.
- Do not remove your hand from the mirror at any point during Opening The Void, Steps 8 Through 19.
Closing The Void:
- After the fifth question has been asked, and answered, the chill will lift.
- You may now remove your hand from the mirror.
- Turn the lights on.
- Open the curtains.
- Open the door.
- In the coming days, keep an eye on the obituaries. Should you see the names from your list appear, you will know that your efforts were successful — if one may consider such results “a success.”
- However, before then — before, even, the moment you open the door at the conclusion of the ritual — you will also learn the price of your failure — the price for answering any questions incorrectly:
- For each question you answered incorrectly, you will find one of your five sense to have been stolen away.
- Do not use the mirror again.
- And do not — DO NOT — allow the mirror to break.
The mirror may be of any size or of any variety; however, it is recommended that it be large enough for you both to comfortably view your face’s full reflection within it and to place your entire hand upon its surface.
The game room need not be emptied of furniture or other items before playing. You may, in fact, utilize furniture to make the experience more comfortable for yourself (or at least, as comfortable as any experience like this one might be). For example, you may choose to use a hand mirror with a stand as your mirror, place it on a tabletop, and sit down in front of it in a chair for the duration of the game.
You need not empty the building of other people, pets, etc., but you should ensure that you will not be disturbed for the duration of the game. Act accordingly.
Once you have closed the game room’s door, turned out the lights, and positioned yourself in front of the mirror, you will no longer be able to consult your timekeeping device. You will, therefore, be limited to estimating how much time has passed while you are before the mirror — that is, in Step 7 of Opening The Void, you will have to estimate whether or not the time has passed 5am when determining whether or not to proceed. As such, it is NOT recommended that you attempt this ritual unless you have an inherent sense of the passage of time.
Once you have placed your hand on the mirror in Step 7 of Opening The Void, do NOT remove it until Step 2 of Closing The Void.
Concerning The Five Questions:
Do not answer them incorrectly.
Concerning This Game:
Do not play it.
Please don’t republish this post elsewhere. 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.
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[Photo via Toa Heftiba, remixed by Lucia Peters.]