Previously: Purple Hearts.
Note: Please don’t copy/paste or republish the text of this post on other websites without permission.
I found the ritual game called the Mailbox Game wrapped up inside a short creepypasta that was originally posted to the Creepypasta Wikia in September of 2017. It’s not a complicated ritual; indeed, it’s actually quite simple to carry out. But be careful what you wish for; this one might be… more than it seems.
Breaking the fourth wall for a moment, I’ll be honest: The creepypasta itself isn’t terrific. (Also, CW: Suicide, should you choose to read it.) It’s sparse — which, to be fair, wouldn’t be an issue on its own if it were the kind of sparse that spells out little, but implies much. But it’s not, really; it gives away too much, leaving nothing to the imagination, on top of which is the fact that what is there is quite derivative. (Indeed, the ritual itself bears so much in common with the first portion of the Letter Ritual — which was posted to Reddit several months before the short story containing the Mailbox Game arrived on the Creepypasta Wikia — that I’d be extremely surprised if the Letter Ritual hadn’t served as the primary inspiration for the Mailbox Game.)
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
But there’s promise in the concept here, so points for that.
On a larger scale, I find it curious that so many ritual games, whether fictional, folkloric, or ostensibly “true,” feature ordinary methods of communication — mailing a letter, making a phone call, and so on — used in extraordinary ways. It brings to mind Edison’s alleged spirit telephone, for one thing — and for another, it’s the precise definition of my favorite spooky quality: It’s all what I would classify as the familiar made strange, e.g., it is well and truly uncanny.
In any event, the same stipulation as always applies here: Play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A blank piece of paper.
- An envelope.
- A sterilized sharp object.
- Matches or a lighter.
- A mailbox. (See: Additional Notes.)
Mailing The Letter:
- Begin at any time.
- Gather all supplies except the matches or lighter and bring them to the mailbox.
- Once you have arrived, fix your gaze on the mailbox for approximately six seconds. Do not look away. Do not blink. You may count the seconds aloud if you like.
- Once the six seconds are up, place the blank piece of paper on the ground in front of the mailbox. You may now turn your gaze away from the mailbox if necessary.
- Using the sharp object, draw one drop of your own blood and allow it to drip onto the piece of paper. Do NOT write anything on the paper.
- Wait for the blood to dry.
- Once the blood is dry, fold the piece of paper, place it inside the envelope, and seal the envelope. Do NOT address the envelope. Do NOT stamp the envelope.
- Place the envelope inside the mailbox.
- Turn around.
- Walk away from the mailbox.
- Do NOT turn back to look at the mailbox at ANY POINT during your departure.
- Go home. Live your life.
Receiving The Response:
- Wait three days.
- After the three days have passed, return to the mailbox. Bring the matches or lighter with you.
- Open the mailbox.
- Look inside.
- If the mailbox is empty: The ritual has failed. Do not proceed. Close the mailbox, turn around, and walk away. Do not look back. Do not attempt to perform the ritual again.
- If the mailbox contains a letter: The ritual has succeeded. You may proceed. Remove the letter from the mailbox, take it somewhere safe, open it, and read it.
- Read it carefully.
- Read it well.
Reading Your Fortune:
- When you have finished reading the letter, use the matches or lighter to burn the letter and its envelope to ashes.
- Now, wait.
- Be patient.
- It may take hours, days, or weeks, but in time, whatever you found written in the letter will come to pass.
- The letter, you see, contains your fortune — the best fortune you could hope to have.
- Enjoy it.
- It will always be true.
- …Until it’s not anymore.
The recommended mailbox style for use in this ritual is a United States Postal Service-compliant curbside mailbox. This variety of mailbox is used both for outgoing and incoming mail and is therefore ideal for performing this ritual as originally specified. Other varieties of mailboxes that may also be used for both outgoing and incoming mail are acceptable, as well.
- Note: If using a USPS-compliant curbside mailbox, do NOT put the red flag up after placing your letter in the mailbox in Mailing The Letter, Step 8. You wouldn’t want your regular mail carrier to pick up this letter by mistake.
However, the ritual may be adapted to fit the postal service options available to you in your area. You may, for example, use a public post box for Mailing The Letter; should you do so, you may check the mailbox in which you receive your own mail for Receiving The Response. It is unclear on how such adaptations might affect the efficacy of the ritual, but, well… nothing ventured, nothing gained.
If there is a letter in the mailbox in Receiving The Response, Step 4, do NOT fail to remove it.
If there is a letter in the mailbox in Receiving The Response, Step 4, do NOT fail to burn it after reading it.
There are rumors that this ritual is not, as it first appears, a ritual for generating good fortune.
There are rumors that it is, instead, a curse.
That, by dotting the letter with your blood, you are offering up a taste of yourself to… something.
And if it — or they — find that taste appealing…
Let’s just say that no amount of good fortune can help you now.
Please don’t copy or republish this post on other sites. 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.
Support The Ghost In My Machine on Patreon for behind-the-scenes access and other bonus content.You can also follow on Twitter @GhostMachine13 and on Facebook @TheGhostInMyMachine. And for more games, don’t forget to check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available now from Chronicle Books!
[Photo via Anne-Onyme/Pixabay]