Previously: Black Helen.
Note: Please don’t copy/paste or republish the text of this post on other websites without permission.
A recent upload to the Creepypasta Wikia — it arrived on Jan. 8, 2020, courtesy of user Eightpointfivetails — the Kissing Chair Game is likely a fictional invention. However, the choice to use the titular kissing chair for this Game of Knowledge is an interesting one; it gives it a sense of history that it might otherwise lack, thereby adding to its believability.
Kissing chairs evolved out of the more commonly-encountered loveseat, which itself dates back to the late 17th century. Both are small couches or sofas that can seat a maximum of two people — but interestingly, canoodling wasn’t the original reason for their size. Rather, they were meant to accommodate the voluminous skirts that were ubiquitous in women’s fashion at the time. Indeed, it wasn’t until the 18th century that amorous young lovers realized that the sofas might be used for courting purposes.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
Kissing chairs arose in the 19th century directly out of this new usage for what gradually become known as the loveseat: They enabled courting couples to face each other and have intimate conversations while still maintaining a modest barrier between them. Their French name reflected this function quite clearly; they were called tête-à-têtes — “tête-à-têtes” translating in English to “face-to-face” or, more literally, “head-to-head.” The “kissing chair” moniker, meanwhile, gained steam in English-speaking cultures due, again, to the piece of furniture’s relative modesty: Courting couples could kiss chastely while seated in them — ideally nothing more than pecks on the cheek — but were prevented from any other form of touch by both the positioning of the two seats and the armrest between them.
Kissing chairs, you see, don’t allow both people seated on them to sit side by side, facing the same direction (and possibly with their bodies close enough to touch on the seat itself). The unique S-shape of the piece seats them next to each other, but facing opposite directions — as if you’d placed two chairs next to each other, but turned one of them around. This means that you’re able to see the person sharing the seat with you if you turn your head to the side, or if you look behind you.
Your safety during the Kissing Chair Game is actually dependent on this characteristic: You’re only safe if you remain facing forward the entire time.
You are never, EVER to turn your head to look at your conversational companion.
In terms of gameplay, many of the rules to this particular game resemble those belonging to the Hosting Game, the Answer Man, and even the Closet Game and the Midnight Game, to an extent. As such, the variety of ritual involved here will likely look familiar to many who have at least some awareness or understanding of how these kinds of stories work. And, as such, the same warnings as always apply.
When do they not?
You know it goes:
Play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A kissing chair or tête-à-tête-style sofa, or two plain wooden or folding chairs. Do NOT use a standard, front-facing loveseat.
- A cup full of water.
- A spoon.
- One red candle.
- One white candle.
- Matches or a lighter.
- Sheets or other large pieces of cloth — as many as necessary.
- Blue painter’s tape, masking tape, or similar. (Optional, but recommended, especially if not using sheets or other large pieces of cloth.)
- A timekeeping device, optionally equipped with an alarm.
- A quiet room located within your home in which to play.
- Questions. Queries. Anything you wish to know that you currently do not know.
- Begin your preparations prior to midnight.
- Clear your home of all pets and other people.
- Travel throughout your home, close any and all windows, and draw the curtains or otherwise block these windows such that no light leaks into your home from the outside. Keep an eye on the time.
- Using the sheets, pieces of cloth, and/or tape, cover any and all reflective surfaces within your home. Alternatively, you may completely remove as many objects with reflective surfaces from your home as your able prior to beginning, then simply cover up the surfaces that remain (for example, mirrors which are permanently fastened to the wall, etc.). Keep an eye on the time.
- Prepare your “kissing chair”: If using an actual kissing chair, position it within the quiet room you have chosen for your playing space; if using two wooden or folding chairs, position them both in the room such that they are immediately next to each other — close enough that their sides are touching — but facing opposite directions. Keep an eye on the time.
- Add a spoonful of salt to the cup of water and stir it until the salt dissolves. Keep an eye on the time.
- Place the cup of salt water within easy reach of one seat of the kissing chair. Keep an eye on the time.
- Once you have positioned both kissing chair and salt water within the playing space, turn out the lights in the room.
- Keep an eye on the time.
- Travel through your home once more and turn out any other lights that might still be on.
- Keep an eye on the time.
- Your home should now be entirely dark.
- Check the time. Is it still before midnight? Good. (If it is not, do not proceed.)
- Take up your two candles, your matches or lighter, and your timekeeping device.
- It’s time to invite your guest to visit.
- Go to the front door of your home and open it.
- Place the red candle immediately outside the door and, using the matches or lighter, light it.
- Hold onto the white candle and, using the matches or lighter, light it.
- Close the front door carefully, making sure not to extinguish the candle or knock it over as you do so.
- Remain by the front door, inside your home. Hang onto the white candle and matches or lighter. If utilizing the alarm on your timekeeping device, set it for just under three hours now.
- Watch the time.
- Watch carefully.
- Keep watching.
- As soon as the clock ticks over to midnight, knock on the door three times.
- Pause briefly; then knock on the door five times.
- Pause briefly; then knock on the door seven times.
- Pause briefly; then knock on the door three times.
- If you hear three knocks: Carefully open the door and check the candle.
- If the candle is still lit: The ritual has succeeded; you may proceed. Continue to Step 15.1 of The Invitation.
- If the candle has gone out: The ritual has failed; do not proceed. See: Step 15.2 of The Invitation.
- If you hear more than three knocks: The ritual has failed; do not proceed. See: Step 15.2 of The Invitation.
- If you hear fewer than three knocks: The ritual has failed; do not proceed. See: Step 15.2 of The Invitation.
- If you hear nothing: The ritual has failed; do not proceed. See: Step 15.2 of The Invitation.
- If you hear three knocks: Carefully open the door and check the candle.
- Depending on the results of The Invitation: Step 14, proceed according to either Step 15.1 or 15.2:
- If you have achieved successful conditions, speak aloud, while the front door is still open, the words, “You are welcome in my home. I am your host. Enter as my guest.” Carefully retrieve the red candle, making sure that it remains lit. Bring it into your home — still lit — and close the front door behind you. You may put the white candle down if you need to in order to both hold onto the red candle and close the door. Pick it up again once the door has been shut. Make sure both candles are still lit; then continue to Step 16 of The Invitation.
- If you have achieved failure conditions, open the door and extinguish the red candle (if necessary), close the door, lock it, and turn on every light in your home. Do not open the front door of your home until the sun has risen. Do not open any doors in your home until the sun has risen. Do not open any curtains or windows until the sun has risen. Do nut uncover any reflective surfaces until the sun has risen. Do not leave your home until the sun has risen. For you, the game ends here. Do not attempt to play it in this location again.
- Bring the two lit candles, the matches or lighter, and your timekeeping device to your playing space. Do turn around or look behind you at any point.
- NOTE: Do NOT allow either candle to go out while you travel. If they do, you must relight them using the matches or lighter within five seconds.
- Place the red candle, still lit, on the floor before the seat of the kissing chair that does NOT have the cup of salt water nearby.
- Bring the white candle, still lit, with you to the other seat of the kissing chair — the one with the cup of salt water within easy reach. Seat yourself here. Once you are seated, place the white candle on the floor by your feet.
- Do not turn around.
- Do not look behind you.
- Do not look at the other seat.
- Invite your guest to sit down.
- Listen. Do not turn around. Do not look behind you. Do not look at the other seat.
- If you do not hear or otherwise sense your guest sit down, issue the invitation a second time.
- If you do not hear or otherwise sense your guest sit down, issue the invitation a third time.
- You may issue the invitation as many times as necessary.
- When you hear or otherwise sense your guest sit down, the red candle will extinguish itself. When both of these occurrences transpire, you may proceed.
- NOTE: If your guest refuses to sit down, or if they sit but the red candle remains lit, DO NOT PROCEED. Remain silent for at least three minutes, then enact the procedure laid out in The Farewell. Do NOT begin the Question-And-Answer period.
The Question-And-Answer Period:
- What begins now is a give-and-take of questions and answers: You and your guest will take turns asking a question of the other, waiting for answer, and then receiving and answering a question in return. Be respectful at all times. Do NOT turn to look at your guest at any point.
- You go first: Ask a question of your guest. They are required to answer you truthfully and honestly; listen carefully to their response.
- After you have asked a question and received a response, it is your guest’s turn to ask you a question. You may choose to answer it, or not — but there are conditions either way:
- If you choose to answer it: You must answer as truthfully and honestly as you are able. You may take your time in responding, and you are allowed to admit when you honestly don’t know something that affects your answer — but do not obscure the truth, and do not, under any circumstances, lie.
- If you choose not to answer it: Do not speak. Instead, pick up the cup of salt water, take in a mouthful of it, and hold it. (Do NOT leave your seat to do so; remain seated at all times.) Remain in this fashion, silent and with your mouth full of salt water, until your guest ceases to ask the original question and instead asks a different question. When the question changes, you may swallow the salt water and answer the new question. (Do NOT spit the salt water out; you must swallow it.)
- NOTE: Should you choose NOT to answer a question, you must allow your guest to ask an additional question beyond their new question before you are permitted to ask another question of them — that is, for every question you choose not to answer, your guest is permitted to ask two more questions before you are allowed to pose your next question. If you choose not to answer one or both of these two questions, your guest again gains two more questions to ask of you per question left unanswered. You may not ask another of your questions for them until all of their outstanding questions toward you have been answered.
- You may continue in this fashion for any length of time, not to exceed three hours.
- Do NOT ask a question of your guest until it is your turn to ask.
- Do NOT leave your seat at any point.
- Do NOT turn around, look behind you, or look at the other seat.
- And ABSOLUTELY do not reach out and attempt to touch the occupant of the other seat.
- When you have decided it is time to end your conversation, OR when your timekeeping device’s alarm (if using) sounds, wait until it is your turn to ask a question. Then, instead of asking a question, thank your guest for their time, but inform them — politely! — that it is now time for them to go.
- Stop. Listen. Do not turn around. Do not look behind you. Do not look at the other seat.
- If you do not hear or otherwise sense your guest rise from their seat and leave, bid them farewell a second time.
- If you do not hear or otherwise sense your guest rise from their seat and leave, bid them farewell a third time.
- You may bid them farewell as many times as necessary.
- When you hear or otherwise sense your guest rise and leave, the red candle will relight itself. When both of these occurrences transpire, you may proceed.
- NOTE: If your guest does not rise, or if they rise but the candle remains dark, DO NOT PROCEED. Your guest has not yet departed. Do NOT rise from your chair until they have gone.
- When have confirmed that your guest has departed, you may rise from your own seat. Extinguish the white candle and turn on the lights. You may pass the rest of the night however you wish; however, it is NOT recommended that you open any doors, windows, or curtains or uncover any reflective surfaces until the sun has risen.
- Congratulations! You’ve won. What will you do with your newfound knowledge?
- I hope it was worth it.
- And I hope you didn’t make any… mistakes at any point.
- But then again, if you had, you wouldn’t be here now.
- You’d been waiting for someone else to call upon you and invite you into their home, instead.
- Such is the price of losing.
You may prepare more than one cup of salt water, should you feel you might need it — just in case.
Do NOT allow the white candle to go out at any point during the Question-And-Answer Period. Should the candle extinguish, you must relight it within five seconds. However, you MAY NOT leave your seat in order to relight it. Position it wisely; do not place it too far away from your seat.
Ask your questions wisely. Do not squander your guest’s knowledge.
Although it is not wise to refuse to answer too many of the questions your guest may pose to you, there are circumstances in which it is wiser to hold your tongue than to respond. These circumstances include, but are not limited to:
- Occasions in which you feel you are unable to answer truthfully;
- Occasions in which you feel you may not be able to remain polite while answering;
- And occasions in which you feel your guest is attempting to manipulate you into revealing a secret of any sort. (A secret may be defined as a piece of knowledge which only you hold. It may be about yourself, or it may be about someone or something else; what matters is that you are the only person who knows it.)
Do NOT allow the Question-And-Answer Period to go on for MORE than three hours. After three hours have passed, you may have… difficulties getting your guest to leave.
Additionally, it is not recommended that you play this game more than once in the same location. The more times you play in the same, you may, again, have difficulties getting your guest to leave — and they may begin to show up unannounced, as well.
The Cost Of Losing:
Do NOT, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES:
- Look at your guest — either with your own eyes or through a reflection (you see now why you must remove or cover up anything that might possibly be capable of capturing a reflection from your home before you begin?);
- Touch your guest;
- Ask your guest a question when it is not your turn to do so;
- Lie to your guest;
- Rise from your seat before your guest leaves;
- Fail to relight an extinguished candle within five seconds;
- Swallow any salt water before your guest changes their question;
- Spit out any salt water instead of swallowing it;
- Eat or drink anything other than salt water;
- Or reveal a secret to your guest
At ANY POINT while playing this game.
To perform any of these actions is to lose the game.
And to lose the game is to swap places with your guest.
And to swap places with your guest is…
…Well, let’s just say that you might have to wait a very long time before you’re able to find anyone suitable to swap with yourself.
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 Wikimedia Commons, available under the public domain; remixed by Lucia Peters.]