Previously: The Void.
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Originally posted to Creepypasta.com shortly before Halloween in 2013, the ritual game known as The Devil Game made it to the Creepypasta Wikia barely a month later and to r/ThreeKings a few years after that. It does have a creator, by the way: InfernalNightmare333, or Casey Pierce. Both names are pseudonyms; what’s more, they went dark several years ago, with the last pieces having gone live in 2015. All of this is to say, we don’t know what happened to Casey Pierce; it’s a mystery.
Pierce took pains to note on their website that all the stories published there are fictional. The same, I would imagine, is true of the work they posted elsewhere online, including The Devil Game. But as I’ve been wondering lately, is it possible that if you truly believe in it — or if enough people believe — that might be enough to nudge it just over the line between fiction and fact? Who knows? It would be an experiment to find out — but one that might not be safe to attempt.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
For what it’s worth, the Devil Game is similar to games like the Gambler’s Game, Lights Out, or the Runner in that you’re expressly and purposefully challenging a supernatural opponent to play against you in order to win a prize. It’s also, however, somewhat along the same lines as the Answer Man — not only in that the game itself is a back-and-forth trade of questions and answers, but also in that the prize in question is knowledge or information. The Devil Game walks the line between what I’ve classified elsewhere as a game meant for Summoning Spirits, a game for Contacting the Other Side, and a Game Of Knowledge. Since it’s not simply one or the other, you might want to approach it a little more carefully than usual — especially if you choose to perform it on Halloween, which, although one of the recommended days for the game, might prove to be a particularly fraught choice.
Along those lines, worth noting is the use of the color red in the required supplies for the game. Given the literal name of the game, you might think that the use of this color is to appeal to your opponent’s… uh… let’s call it infernal nature, but it’s actually the opposite. In a number of cultures and belief systems across the world, red is a color of luck, of good fortune, of protection, of sacrifice, and of life. You’re using it as a safeguard here, so don’t be afraid of it.
Additionally, the game’s original tale is framed within a Christian belief system; however, it can be adapted to other belief systems as needed. Notes on how to do so follow the instructions themselves.
Presented below are simply the rules of the game and a few pointers on strategy — no more, no less. For a recounting of an actual experience, read the original story. You’ll likely find it… educational.
As always — but especially here — play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- An empty church. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A floor-length mirror. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A spool of red thread, a ball of red twine or yarn, or a coil of red rope. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Salt. Lots of it. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Candles. Seven of them. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Matches or a lighter.
- An excellent sense of the passage of time. (Optional, but strongly recommended. See: Additional Notes.)
- Information you seek. Knowledge you wish to learn. Questions you wish to ask, and answers you wish to receive.
Making The Challenge:
- Wait until a day that holds a… particular kind of significance for you. Oct. 31 is recommended, but other dates may also be permissible. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Before midnight, gather your supplies and enter your chosen church.
- Choose a room or location within the church where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
- In that room or location, make your preparations:
- Set up the mirror. It should be standing upright, such that you are able to see your full reflection, should you look into it.
- Take out your red thread, yarn, twine, or rope, wrap it around the mirror at least three times, and tie it off. Wrap and tie the thread tightly enough that it stays where you have wrapped it when you let go — that is, it should not fall to the floor. Do NOT allow the thread to unravel at ANY POINT during the proceedings.
- Create a circle of salt around the mirror. If a full circle is not possible — e.g. if the mirror is hanging on a wall — create a half-circle of salt, with each end touching the wall. Do NOT allow the circle to become broken at ANY POINT during the proceedings.
- Place the candles evenly around the perimeter of the salt circle. Light them, one by one, moving clockwise around the circle. Do NOT allow the candles to go out at ANY POINT during the proceedings.
- NOTE: These preparations should be complete at or shortly after midnight. If you take too long to complete them, the ritual will likely fail.
- Once your preparations are complete, shut all the doors to your location and turn off any lights.
- Perform a sacrilegious or blasphemous act. Suggested acts include turning a cross upside-down, taking the Lord’s name in vain, etc.
- Stand before the mirror, making sure to keep the salt circle and circle of candles between it and yourself.
- Focus your gaze on the mirror.
- Focus your attention on your opponent — on visualizing him, on calling him there, on inviting him to join you.
- Close your eyes.
- Calmly and evenly, count to 10.
- Open your eyes.
- If you see only yourself: The ritual has failed. Turn on the lights, extinguish the candles, clear up your supplies, and depart the premises. Leave no trace of your presence. You may try again another time.
- If you see something… else: The ritual has succeeded. Do not be alarmed. Do not meet your opponent’s gaze, but neither should you allow him out of your sight at any point during the proceedings.
- You may proceed.
- You have one hour and six minutes.
Playing The Game:
- Your opponent will ask you what you want. He may be direct, or he may dance around the subject; pay attention. You must determine when it is your time to respond. Do NOT let him out of your sight.
- Tell him what you want. Tell him you wish to challenge him to a game — a game of questions, and a game of answers, a game of prompts and responses. You may use whatever language you like to state your wish; however, it is recommended that you be as specific as possible.
- Do not allow your opponent to twist your words or turn them from their meaning.
- Do not let him out of your sight.
- Once he accepts your challenge, the game will begin. Your opponent will go first; he will ask you a question. (See: Strategy.)
- Answer his question as accurately as you are able. (See: Strategy.)
- After you have answered his question, you may ask your own question. Listen to his answer. Remember it as best you can; know, though, that it may not be true. (See: Strategy.)
- After he has answered your question, he will ask you another of his own. Answer it; then, again, ask your own question and listen to his response. Proceed in this fashion for as long as you wish, or before one hour and six minutes has elapsed. Do NOT allow the game to run longer than one hour and six minutes.
- And do NOT let your opponent out of your sight.
Ending The Game:
- When you have decided to end the game, thank your opponent for playing.
- Bow to your opponent at the waist. This is the ONLY POINT at which you may let your opponent out of your sight after opening your eyes in Making The Challenge, Step 12.
- While bowing, bid your opponent farewell.
- Rise from your bow.
- Look into the mirror. When you are certain you see yourself reflected in it once more — all of yourself, reflected truthfully back to you — you may turn away from it and turn on the lights.
- Extinguish the candles. Clear up the salt. Leave the thread tied around the mirror.
- Depart the premises, taking all of your supplies with you. Leave no trace of your presence.
- Do not bring the mirror to your home, but store it somewhere safe. Position it so that it faces the wall, or lay it face down on the floor. Do not use it again. Make sure no one else will use it, either.
- Do NOT allow it to break.
- Do NOT allow the thread to unravel.
Regarding the Requirements:
- The church may be of any size, age, or denomination; all it need be is empty of other people at the time at which you wish to play this game. You may gain entry to the church in any way, although breaking and entering is not recommended — and, indeed, is actively discouraged. (It is, however, perhaps also worth noting that breaking and entering a place of worship may also be considered blasphemous or a sacrilegious act, vis-à-vis Making The Challenge, Step 6.)
- The mirror need not be freestanding, old, or valuable, although it may be if you so desire. However, an inexpensive option like this one, either hung over a door or placed on the floor and propped up against a wall, is perfectly suitable.
- The candles may be of any color, but two in particular are suggested: White is recommended; red is strongly recommended.
- The salt may be run-of-the-mill table salt; just make sure you bring enough of it.
- The thread, yarn, etc. need not be a specific material; the important things are that it be red, and there be enough of it to wrap around the mirror at least three times.
You MAY NOT bring any electronic devices with you into the church.
You MAY NOT bring any timekeeping devices with you into the church — not even analog ones. (Now do you see why an excellent sense of the passage of time is recommended?)
You MAY NOT bring any items of protection other than those listed among the Requirements with you into the church. You especially MAY NOT bring any items religiously significant to or depicting religious iconography associated with the belief system of the church.
Regarding the date: Suggested dates include Halloween, Friday the 13th, Walpurgisnacht, the night of a new moon, and/or the night of a full moon.
While this ritual is largely presented with regards to Christianity, this is not the only belief system in which the ritual may be carried out. The ritual may be adapted for any belief system, as long as it has as one of its core tenets a sense of right and wrong and/or good and evil. Adjustments for other belief systems may include the definition of a “church” (e.g. a place need not have spires and a steeple to be a place of worship), the date of significance on which you choose to play, what qualifies as a blasphemous or sacrilegious act, etc.
The questions asked by both players may be of any variety. They may be trivia; they may be inquiries into your darkest secrets; they may be valuable information; they may be anything — anything at all. Choose your questions wisely.
In order to receive true responses to your own questions, you MUST answer your opponent’s questions accurately first. If you answer incorrectly, his own answer MAY be correct, but may also be incorrect; an outright lie; or intended to trip you up or otherwise manipulate you.
You may not attempt to make a “deal” or a “bargain” with your opponent. This isn’t that kind of game.
You may not always know when your opponent is lying to you and when he is not. This is due largely to the fact that your opponent will not tell you when or if you have answered one of his questions incorrectly. If you do not know you have answered incorrectly — if you are positive you’ve answered correctly, but have in fact not, or even if you are simply unsure whether your best guess is accurate — then you have no way of knowing whether your opponent’s answer to your own question is the truth or a lie.
You may also lie. Lying may, in fact, be necessary in certain situations; be careful what information you give him. Should your opponent ask you for your true name, for example, lie. Do not, under any circumstances, give him your true name. You will not, of course, receive a correct or true answer in response to your own question, should you answer his by lying; however, since you will have lied purposefully, you will at least KNOW that his response is false.
There may be other strategies you may deploy against your opponent. You may find this source useful — and also… informative, regarding what might happen, should you disregard the rules of this game.
Do not allow the conversation to get off-topic.
Do not ask anything to which you do not wish to know the answer.
Do NOT look your opponent directly in the eye while you play, but do NOT look away from him completely, either — at ANY POINT.
Concerning The Time Limit:
Do NOT allow the question-and-answer game to go on longer than one hour and six minutes.
If you do, you may find yourself staying where you are for quite a long time, indeed.
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