Previously: Frequently Asked Questions, Vol. XV.
It’s that time again: Let’s take a look through the comments on TGIMM’s Most Dangerous Games posts and take a stab at answering some of the questions about each game posed therein. As always, I’d like to start this edition of the Most Dangerous Games FAQ off with the disclaimer that I’m far from an expert about any of this; all the answers found here (and in previous editions of the FAQ, along with the Master FAQ) are simply my best guesses based on my research and general knowledge base. I could be slightly off; I could be flat-out wrong; none of these answers are be-all, end-all solutions to pressing questions.
I find, as always, that it’s best as a general rule to err on the side of caution; you’re already tempting fate by playing any one of these rituals or games in the first place, so you may as well make sure you’re not making it harder on yourself than it already is.
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Then again, maybe you’re the kind of person who really digs making it harder on yourself than it already is.
You do you.
Anyway, here’s what’s been on people’s minds since our last FAQ installment. As usual, I’ll try to add everything here to the Master FAQ as soon as I can.
Why can’t you use four or 13 coins?
It’s not explicitly stated, but I assume it has something to do with the connotations of both numbers. (In a number of cultures, including many East Asian cultures, four is considered an unlucky number, frequently due to its similarity in many languages to various words for “death”; meanwhile, in many Western cultures, 13 is considered similarly unlucky.) Additionally, when it comes to 13 in particular, the more coins you use, the harder it is for you to win — hence the recommendation that you use no more than 10.
Is it considered cheating if we tie our eyes with a blindfold, wear headphones that block the sound, etc.?
Does the jack o’lantern that you light have to be homemade, or can it be store-bought?
To be perfectly honest, I have never encountered a store-bought jack o’lantern. Homemade, home-carved jack o’lanterns made from store-bought pumpkins? Sure. But a fully-carved jack o’lantern bought from a store? That’s a new one for me.
Even if I don’t personally have access to these kinds of jack o’lanterns, though, I believe that as long as the jack o’lantern has been carved from an actual pumpkin (or a turnip, if you want to get super historical about it) and properly lit, that should get the job done — although I also suspect that the protection it provides might be stronger if you carve your own jack o’lantern yourself. Just don’t use a jack o’lantern made from a fake pumpkin. It’s got to have grown from the ground.
Is there any reward for playing this game? Or is the challenge the point of playing it?
I’m pretty sure the challenge is the point of playing it.
Can people who don’t celebrate Halloween play this game?
May as well give it a try!
The rules say to play in a place where we’re unlikely to be disturbed. Does a cat scratching or meowing at the door count as being disturbed?
Yes. (I have cats; I know persistent they can be when they want something. They’ll absolutely disrupt the proceedings if they start scratching at the door or meowing incessantly.)
Most other rituals specify that there be no other people or pets present when you play. Would it be okay to have people or pets around as long as it doesn’t distract me?
The short answer is yes, it’s okay — but it’s not going to be an optimal situation for you (or for anyone or anything around you, for that matter). From the Additional Notes section of the instructions: “Although it is not required that you clear the space of any other people or pets before beginning, it is recommended that you do so. Should you choose not to clear the space of others before beginning, do NOT open the door to the game room before completing the ritual in its entirety. To do so would put anyone else in your home in terrible danger.”
Would this game still pose a potential danger for the next year, if you’re renting and end up moving before the next Halloween?
Yes. No matter where you are — even if you’ve moved thousands of miles away from where you performed the ritual — always light a jack o’lantern on Halloween each year after.
Do not forget.
Does the jack o’lantern in subsequent years have to be lit specifically with a candle, or would any light do?
I suspect a candle is probably best — electric or battery-powered sources of light don’t have quite the same power as a candle does — but if you’re, uh, feeling brave, you could always try swapping the candle for something a little less flammable. If you do, please report back and let us know how it goes (assuming it works well enough for you to be in a position to report back, that is)! For what it’s worth, there is precedent for using flameless candles in rituals and magic, so, y’know, there’s that.
If the candle doesn’t go out, even if the sun rises and/or a housemate comes to check on you, would you still be in danger, or would the presence of either chase off the opponent?
If the candle does not go out — ever — no housemate in the world can protect you from what might be coming for you.
I lost my mirror. Help.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Can I sleep in my bedroom after I’m done playing the game? Or do I have to sleep somewhere else forever?
You can sleep in your own bedroom after you’ve completed the ritual. You just can’t sleep in it during the ritual.
What if you can’t draw very well? Can you make the eye you draw stylized, or does it have to be as realistic as you can make it?
It’s okay if you don’t have incredibly strong drawing skills. The important thing is for the eye you draw to have the same kind of feeling as the one you see in your mind.
How long will the good luck remain?
It depends on the mirror you use to perform the ritual. Per the source, both the amount and the duration of your streak of good luck is “equivalent to the amount of negative energy that was in the mirror.” Brand new mirrors will yield only a few days of mild good luck; old or antique mirrors however, may yield “months or even years” of powerfully strong good luck. Additionally, using a mirror to which you have a personal connection will result in “good fortune… more suited to your particular tastes and desires.”
What if I were to start the ritual at one place, then leave and go to a different place? Would I still need to keep moving and go to different places?
Technically, you don’t need to keep moving throughout the course of the ritual and your night of bad luck; you can choose to stay in one place if you like. It’s only suggested that you move around because the bad luck following you might have a harder time catching up to you if you’re always on the move. There’s no single place, or collection of places you need to be in to play this game; you can do it wherever you like.
Just… be strategic about it. You’ll increase your chances of success if your strategy is a good one.
What were to happen if the weather forecast is wrong, or the snowman melts or is destroyed by something else during the game?
At best, the ritual will simply fail to work. At worst, it could be… catastrophic for you.
What happens if someone opens the door after you’re done playing the game, but before daylight?
Nothing good, that’s for sure.
Can you end the ritual at any time, or does it have to be after an hour?
You can end the game before an hour is up if you like, but don’t stay in the corridor for longer than an hour.
You… might have a hard time coming back if you do.
What would happen if you bring paper and a pen with you, and instead of talking the woman on the fifth floor while she asks “Where are you going.” You write a response and give it to her without looking at, touching, or talking to her? Would that be considered as breaking the rules?
I’m not sure it would be considered rule-breaking, per se… but I also don’t think anything good would come of it. The key point here is that you’re not to acknowledge her at all. Writing out an answer to her question and giving it to her is absolutely acknowledging her, even if you don’t look at, touch, or talk to her.
I wouldn’t do it, if I were you. To do so would likely be granting her permission to keep you — and once she’s gotten you, she’s not likely to let you go. Ever.
Can you prevent the woman from getting into the elevator on the fifth floor? Say, by immediately pressing the “close door” button as soon as you see her?
I mean, you can try… but I wouldn’t count on it working.
Remember, though, that she doesn’t always appear. If you arrive at the fifth floor and there’s no one there, count yourself lucky, breathe a sigh of relief, and carry on.
What are we to do with the doll when done using it? Do we destroy it, or do we make sure it never gets damaged or used again?
None of the above, actually. As far as I can tell, the best course of action is to, yes, make sure it never gets damaged (so, uh, don’t destroy it) — but rather than making sure it’s never used again, it actually seems to be encouraged that it be used repeatedly to perform the ritual.
In this academic work on the related tradition of Nini Towong, it’s implied that the same doll is used each time the ritual is performed (“When once, Pak Suwardi told me, this doll was fashioned out of a basket fish trap, the doll that the troupe now employs is a more durable and handy prop that was made in 1980”). In this academic work on jelangkung itself, it’s also implied that the same doll is routinely used each time the game is played (“Sudibyo confirmed the reports and told me that the Jogjakartan ghoul Sumilah was the spirit that regularly possessed his jailangkung”). And in the 2001 Indonesian horror film Jelangkung, it’s implied that you must not leave the doll behind when you’re done playing; you must take care of it — or else terrible things will happen to you.
Is it bad to knock on the book?
That… should be fine, as far as I know. I’m not sure what knocking on the book would actually achieve, but there’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t do it.
What happens if you don’t destroy the clock?
You don’t want to leave that thing ticking where you can hear it after you’ve finished this ordeal.
Does the notebook have to be blank?
Unknown. Try both; see what works.
Is there a chance that the person you contact may not actually be your loved one?
That’s always a danger when you play this kind of game.
What happens if you leave the game midway through?
Don’t leave without closing the game out properly. It… won’t go very well for you if you just stop and leave it unfinished.
Why is version three the most dangerous version of this game?
This one involves summoning Veronica herself — and given how Veronica died, it’s to be expected that she might be a bit… angry. It’s said that failing to show proper respect for the dead while playing version three of the Game Of The Scissors And The Book might incense her further—and sometimes, she’s known to take offense to slights that are only perceived.
She’s not to be trifled with, our Veronica.
While we’re on the subject…
How would bystanders be affected by this ritual? Are they impacted by any of the results afterwards, or do the results only affect the principal player?
It’s usually safe to assume that if you’re in the room, you’ll be affected, even if you’re only watching and not actively participating.
Don’t set yourself up as a bystander unless you’re okay with putting yourself in harm’s way.
What happens if you are Participant 1 and you are in the bathroom stall and you “do not proceed” in Participant 1: Step 8? Do you just go home? Do you stay?
Go home. The ritual failed; leave the premises and maybe think twice about going back to that public restroom in the future.
What if you tried to kill the Other? Would that do anything? Could it help you?
Unknown. You could try; it may or may not have the effect you’re hoping for, though. It’s worth remembering that the Other may not necessarily be mortal, or even human.
What if you see more than one color, or if you see a color flash once and then another follow after?
…Probably that multiple causes of death will contribute to your own death, or that your cause of death might be murky or difficult to determine.
A bit morbid, perhaps, but how one dies isn’t always cut and dry.
What if you feel chills while playing?
The game is meant to induce these kinds of feelings, so I’d take that as a sign that it’s working.
Are you contacting Satan or just some sort of demon?
I think that depends on your own personal belief system, and/or the belief system of the church in which you choose to perform the ritual. (Remember, per the game’s Additional Notes: “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 tenants a sense of right and wrong and/or good and evil.”)
Can you perform this game if you’re an atheist?
Again, you don’t necessarily have to believe in God and/or Satan in order to perform this ritual. If your belief system — whether it involves deities or not — has a sense of right and wrong or good and evil at the heart of it, you can perform it.
Since you are not allowed to lose sight of the opponent, does that mean that I can’t blink?
You can blink. Just don’t close your eyes for longer than the space of time it takes to blink, or look away from your opponent at any point.
What happens if you look him in the eye?
The source has some info on that.
But seriously — don’t do it.
You probably won’t make it out of the game in one piece if you do.
What happens if you let him out of your sight?
It’s said that if you look away, he’ll escape from the mirror while you aren’t watching.
And, uh… let’s just say you don’t want to be in the same room with him if you can help it.
I understand that we are not allowed to bring any religious objects or iconography associated with the belief system, but if there are already crucifixes or something in the church?
That’s fine. You just can’t bring any in with you or have them on your person, specifically.
What happens to your body once you go to the other dimension? Will it disappear? Or do you just look like you’re in a coma in your original dimension?
Unknown. Given that this particular game seems to be about physically transporting yourself to another dimension, I suspect that your body and mind move as one — that is, you just vanish from your original dimension completely and reappear completely in the new one. But I suppose it’s possible that your consciousness could jump dimensions without taking your body with you…
What if you try to contact someone when you aren’t sure if they’re dead? For example, what if they went missing and haven’t been seen for a decade?
You won’t know until you try. If you attempt to contact someone whose status of life is unknown and your attempt is successful, then you could take that as confirmation that they’ve passed on in the intervening years since their disappearance. If your attempt is unsuccessful, then either a) they’re still alive, or b) the ritual failed for some other reason.
What if you try to contact someone you have a lot of resentment towards?
Again, you won’t know until you try. I suspect that if the person you’re trying to contact knows that you feel hostile towards them, they might be less likely to respond — but then again, maybe they’d be drawn to the challenge. Your mileage may vary, both depending on yourself and the person to whom you’re reaching out.
What happens if you really don’t know the answer to one of the questions?
A requirement for “winning” the game — insofar as this game can be won — is answering all of the questions correctly.
Failing to answer is functionally the same as answering incorrectly.
Do not fail to answer.
Do not answer incorrectly.
If there’s light on in the room, but all the other conditions are met, will the game not start at all, or will something worse happen?
The game likely just won’t start.
What if you don’t say “I accept” in Opening The Void: Step 7?
At best, the game just won’t continue; at worst, something… untoward might happen.
Really, just don’t start this game unless you intend to follow it through to the end.
When the ritual talks about “preparing the meal,” does it mean that I have to actually cook a traditional meal? Or would other forms of food preparation work? For example, frozen foods to be heated in a microwave, or ready-made meals bought from a convenience store or a fast food delivery, assuming that no one speaks and that all aspects of acquiring and preparing it are also done in reverse?
The labor of actually cooking a meal is important here. Cooking a meal for someone can be an act of love; it provides nourishment both literally and metaphorically and is therefore full of meaning. As such, it’s unlikely that simply ordering delivery or buying a ready-made meal — e.g. meals that don’t require any actual labor by you, the person performing the ritual — would have the desired effect. Indeed, I’d argue that trying to cut corners this much might be taken as a slight or an insult.
However, there are probably a few shortcuts that are acceptable. For example, if you’re serving steamed vegetables as part of your meal, frozen veggies steamed in the microwave are probably acceptable. The key part here, though, is the whole “as part of your meal” thing; if the only effort you put into making the meal is sticking a frozen burrito into the microwave, again, it’s not likely to have the desired effect.
The meal you make doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but you do have to put in the effort of actually making it.
[Photo via Tim Pierce/Flickr, available under a CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons license]