Previously: The Devil Game.
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Technically, this piece should probably be titled “Los Juegos de las Tijeras y el Libro, Or The Games Of The Scissors And The Book” — because there’s not just one game here; there are three different versions of the game. All three versions are tied up in some way, shape, or form with the Nine Times Veronica legend, however — which means that some of them, at least, likely originated at about the same time and in the same Spanish-speaking region(s) as Nine Times Veronica.
The first two versions of this game are quite similar; the only real difference between them is in the use of a notebook to create the communication apparatus in one version and the use of a hardcover book (with a few additional adjustments) to create it in the other. The third version, however, is… something else. At first, the setup looks not too dissimilar from how it works in the other two versions; however, what you do with the communication apparatus once you’ve made it is not at all the same.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
What this version is, really, is a combination of the true Nine Times Veronica game and the game Veronica is said to have been playing when the terrible fate befell her that caused her to become the subject of a game in the first place.
They’re all dangerous, of course — but the third one is the most dangerous of all.
As always, play at your own risk.
- Two participants.
- A spiral-bound notebook. (Version 1 only.)
- A book, preferably hardcover. (Versions 2 and 3 only.)
- A length of ribbon, preferably red. (Versions 2 and 3 only.)
- A candle and matches or a lighter (Version 3 only.)
- A dark, quiet room equipped with a wall-hung mirror. (Version 3 only.)
- A spirit to contact, preferably the spirit someone the players knew in life. (Versions 1 and 2 only.)
- A set of “yes” or “no” questions framing knowledge you seek about any topic you wish. (Versions 1 and 2.)
- A set of “yes” or “no” questions framing knowledge you seek specifically about love and death. (Version 3 only.)
- A pair of scissors. (All versions.)
- Begin at any time.
- Hold the spiral-bound notebook such that the wire spirals are at the top.
- Slide the scissors, point first, into the center of the notebook through the spirals. The loops that make up the scissors’ handles should poke out of the top of the notebook. When done correctly, the scissors will fit securely enough between the spirals that, should you hold the entire apparatus solely by the scissors’ handles, the notebook will not fall. (See video.)
- Hang the apparatus from both participants’ fingers: Have each participant place one to two fingers below one of the two loops of the scissors’ handles. The notebook should dangle freely.
- Think of the person you wish to contact. Recall as many details about them as you can: Their appearance, their voice, their manner, their personality. Think long, and think hard.
- When you have conjured up the memory of this person as clearly as you are able, speak, in unison, the following words: “We invoke the spirit of [your desired correspondent’s full name]. If you wish to play, turn right.”
- Watch the notebook.
- If it remains stationary: The ritual has failed. You may repeat the invocation if you like, but do not repeat it too many times. Should the notebook continue to remain stationary, remove the scissors from the notebook. You may try again another time.
- If it turns to the left: Your correspondent does NOT wish to play. Do not proceed. Apologize for inconveniencing them, bid them farewell, and remove the scissors from the notebook. You may try again another time. It is also recommended that you leave the premises until the next day.
- If it turns to the right: Your correspondent has agreed to play. You may proceed.
- You may now take turns asking your correspondent whichever “yes” or “no” questions you desire. Should the notebook turn left, the answer is “no”; should it turn right, the answer is “yes”; and should it remain stationary, the answer is “I don’t know” or “I don’t wish to answer.” Pay attention to your correspondent’s responses; if they begin to answer “no” or “I don’t know” repeatedly, it is time to end the game.
- When you have determined it is time to stop, ask your correspondent in unison, “Spirit of [your correspondent’s name], may we leave the game?” Watch the notebook.
- If the notebook turns right: You may safely leave the game. Thank your correspondent and remove the scissors from the notebook. Place both objects somewhere safe.
- If the notebook remains stationary or turns left: You MAY NOT safely leave the game. Ask five more “yes” or “no” questions, then ask again if you may leave the game. Repeat this process until you are granted permission to leave.
- Do not leave before receiving permission.
- If you never receive permission…
- You’re out of luck.
- Begin at any time.
- Hold the hardcover book sideways. Open it at precisely the halfway point.
- Place the scissors inside the open book such that the point is angled towards the binding and the loops of the handles poke out of the side of the book.
- With the scissors still inside, close the book.
- Take the length of ribbon and bind it around the book and the scissors such that, should you hold the entire apparatus solely by the scissors’ handles, the book will not fall. (See video.)
- Proceed as in Version 1, Steps 4 through 12.
- Do not play the game without your correspondent’s acceptance to begin.
- Do not end the game without your correspondent’s permission to leave.
- Begin at any time.
- Prepare the scissors: First, ensure that the scissors are closed; then take the length of ribbon and pass it through the loops of the scissors’ handles. Wrap the ribbon around the scissors and tie it off tightly, making sure to leave a long tail of ribbon remaining. The scissors should be securely tied shut.
- Prepare the book: Hold it upside-down, open it to the halfway point, and place the scissors inside. The loops of the handles should poke out from the bottom of the book, while the ends of the ribbon should poke out from the top. Close the book.
- Bring the prepared book, the candle, and the matches or lighter to the dark room.
- Place the candle before the mirror.
- Place the book before the mirror, with the ends of the ribbon pointing toward the mirror and the handle loops pointing towards the participants.
- Turn out the lights, if you haven’t already.
- Light the candle.
- Have each participant place one finger lightly within one of the handle loops. (See video.)
- Close your eyes.
- Repeat aloud, in unison, the name “Veronica.” Speak it a total of nine times — nine times Veronica.
- Open your eyes.
- You may now take turns asking your correspondent whichever “yes” or “no” questions you desire, as long as they pertain only to love, death, or both. Watch the scissors: Should they move to the left, the answer is “no”; should they move to the right, the answer is “yes”; and should they remain stationary, the answer is “I don’t know” or “I don’t wish to answer.” Pay attention to your correspondent’s responses; if they begin to answer “no” or “I don’t know” repeatedly, it is time to end the game.
- When you have determined it is time to stop, ask your correspondent in unison, “Veronica, may we leave the game?
- If the scissors move to the right: You may safely leave the game. Thank your correspondent and remove the scissors from the notebook. Place both objects somewhere safe.
- If the scissors remain stationary or move to the left: You MAY NOT safely leave the game. Ask five more “yes” or “no” questions, then ask again if you may leave the game. Repeat this process until you are granted permission to leave.
- Do not leave before receiving permission.
Do not, under ANY circumstances, mock, belittle, or otherwise disrespect your correspondent in any version of the game.
The scissors, you see, may not always be safe — no matter how securely you believe you have tied them.
And scissors, you may have noticed, are quite sharp indeed.
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[Photo via candoyi/Pixabay]