Previously: Gnome Gnome Come.
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Originally posted to the r/ThreeKings subreddit, the ritual game called the Alice Game dates back to around 2015. Or at least, that’s when the version of the game available on the internet first popped up; according to the Redditor who posted it, u/Naktszvani, they had “heard this ritual around [their] town a lot,” but since they had “never seen it online,” they decided to share it themself. According to this framing, the game could therefore be somewhat older — although it’s also perhaps worth noting that this Redditor has posted nothing else across the entirety of Reddit, so who knows. Several Indonesian translations eventually made their way to the internet, as well, although not until after the r/ThreeKings version appeared.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
For what it’s worth, I suspect that the Alice Game is likely a fictional invention from the Redditor who posted it, rather than a longstanding piece of folklore. It seems to draw substantially from older ritual games ranging from the Midnight Game to Daruma-san — so much so that it reads as a sort of mishmash of these previously extant games instead of something unique. I also don’t think it’s quite as strong as some other ritual pastas of its ilk — there is, for example, a somewhat superfluous explanation for who Alice is meant to be included at the end, when the legend probably would have been more effective if left more up to the imagination.
Still, though, if you’re a sucker for ritual games of the “deadly hide and seek” variety, this one might appeal to you.
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A quiet, indoor environment in which to play (i.e., the playing space. See: Additional Notes).
- Inside the playing space, a bathroom equipped with a bathtub and a door.
- Also inside the playing space, a secondary room equipped with a door.
- A mirror.
- A drinking glass.
- A piece of paper.
- A red marker or felt-tip pen.
- A pair of close-toed shoes. (Do not use sandals.)
- A timekeeping device.
- A candle.
- Matches or a lighter.
- Begin at night.
- Clear the playing space of all other people and pets. Ensure that no one besides yourself will enter the space for the duration of the game.
- Using the red marker, write the name “Alice” on one side of the piece of paper. Then turn the paper over and write your own name on the other side of it. Place the piece of paper by the door that connects your playing space with the outside.
- Keep the red marker on your person.
- Enter the bathroom, plug the bathtub, and turn on the tap. Allow the water to run until the bathtub is full; then turn off the tap.
- Place the mirror and the drinking glass in the bathroom, positioning them near the bathtub.
- Enter the secondary room. Place the candle and matches or lighter inside it.
- Travel throughout the playing space, turning off all the lights as you go. Additionally, turn off, unplug, and/or remove the batteries from any electronic devices capable of emitting light or making noise. By the time you finish, the entire playing space should be dark and silent.
- Put on your shoes. Make sure your timekeeping device is somewhere on your person, along with the red marker.
- Exit the playing space. Use the door connecting your playing space with the outside to do so — that is: Go outside.
- Keep an eye on the time.
- At midnight, re-enter the playing space — that is: Go back inside.
- Take off your shoes and place them neatly by the door. Then place the sheet of paper — the one you wrote on earlier; the one with “Alice” on one side and your own name on the other — on top of the shoes.
- Speak aloud the following phrase: “Alice, I welcome you in.”
- Enter the bathroom.
- Approach the bathtub. Kneel down next to it. Now, take a deep breath, hold it — and put your head under the water.
- With your head still underwater, listen carefully.
- If you hear… something: Your opponent has not arrived yet; she is still looking for a way in. Remove your head from the water. You may proceed, at a leisurely pace; or, you may terminate the ritual by exiting the bathroom, retrieving the piece of paper, tearing it to shreds, and throwing it out the door. The choice is yours.
- If you hear nothing: Your opponent is here. Remove your head from the water IMMEDIATELY. You MUST proceed — and quickly.
- Pick up the drinking glass and fill it with water from the tub. Place it next to the mirror.
- Take out your red marker and use it to draw a large “X” on the surface of the mirror.
- Repeat the following words aloud three times: “Alice wants me to run, Alice wants me to hide, Alice wants me to play her game.”
- As soon as you finish speaking, exit the bathroom, leaving the mirror and drinking glass behind. Close the door behind you.
- Immediately go to the secondary room in the playing space — the one where you placed the candle and matches or lighter.
- When you reach this room, pick up the candle and matches or lighter.
- Then, speak aloud the phrase, “Alice, I am playing your game now.”
- As soon as you finish speaking, exit the secondary room, taking the candle and matches or lighter with you. Close the door behind you.
- From this point onward, do NOT re-enter either the bathroom or the secondary room at ANY POINT until the game has concluded. Keep the doors closed. Don’t even peek.
- Now: Move. Keep moving. Don’t stop, or she’ll find you.
- Your task now is to retrieve the piece of paper you left on top of your shoes.
- It will… not be as easy as you think. Even if your playing space is small. Even if there are only a few steps to go between your secondary room and your front door.
- You must do whatever is necessary to retrieve that piece of paper.
- But your opponent? She will do whatever she can to stop you, as well.
- If, at any point, you see the outline of figure looming in the darkness:
- Light your candle IMMEDIATELY.
- Speak aloud the words, “Alice, he’s here, hide!” (See: Additional Notes.)
- Close your eyes.
- Count to 10.
- Don’t move.
- When you have finished counting, extinguish the candle.
- Now: Open your eyes and continue your task.
- If, at any point, you hear a deep voice drifting out at you from the darkness:
- Stop IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT PROCEED.
- Turn on all of the lights in the playing space IMMEDIATELY — except the ones in the bathroom and secondary room. Do NOT open the doors to the bathroom or secondary room.
- Retrieve the piece of paper, tear it to shreds, and remove it and yourself from the premises IMMEDIATELY.
- Do not return to the playing space until the sun has risen.
- As soon as you retrieve the piece of paper, speak aloud the words, “Alice, you lost.” Then tear the paper to shreds, open the door to the outside, and throw the torn shreds through it. Do not allow a single scrap to remain inside the playing space.
- Travel throughout the playing space and turn on all the lights.
- You may now open the doors to the bathroom and secondary room. Turn on the lights in both rooms. Drain the bathtub and empty the drinking glass. Clean the “X” off the mirror, and, if possible, dispose of it as far as away you are able at your soonest convenience.
- Congratulations! You’ve won.
- There is no prize to be had — but I hope it was worth it.
- Especially since there’s no guarantee your visitors have gone… or that they won’t return later on.
- Don’t forget to put your shoes back on.
Most players choose to play this game in their own homes, although whether or not this choice is advisable remains to be seen. If you choose to play inside your home, the definitions of “playing space,” “door that connects the playing space with the outside,” and “outside” may be considered as follows:
- For single-family dwellings: The playing space may be considered your entire house. The front door to your house may be considered the door connecting the playing space with the outside. “Outside” may be considered the immediate outdoor area directly outside your front door.
- For apartments: The playing space may be considered your individual unit. The front door to your unit may be considered the door connecting the playing space with the outside. “Outside” may be considered the immediate area directly outside your unit’s front door, OR the area immediately outside the apartment building itself. If your unit does not open up directly to the outdoors, but rather to another indoor area within a larger building, you may decide which definition of “outdoors” to use for yourself. There are pros and cons to each option; choose wisely.
If you choose to use a different type of space for your playing space — a space that is not your home — you may adapt the previously noted definitions as necessary.
Some Notes On The Game’s Conclusion:
Once you have begun playing, Do NOT fall asleep until the game has successfully concluded.
If, after turning on the lights following conclusion of the game, you experience anything odd or unusual in the playing space:
- Light your candle immediately and speak aloud the words, “Alice, you lost. Go home.” Keep the candle lit until your surroundings return to normal.
If you are unable to retrieve the paper and conclude the game:
- I’m sorry. You’re on your own now. You’ll have to figure out something. After all — you’ll have to sleep eventually.
Regarding Your Visitors:
Your opponent is NOT THE ONLY VISITOR you may encounter throughout the duration of the game.
Your opponent is referred to as “she” and “her” and may be identified by the appearance of her outline.
The… Other is referred to as “he” and “his” and may be identified by the sound of his voice.
It is unknown who he is.
But it is known that he frightens her.
Know, too, though, that just because he is her enemy… doesn’t mean that he is your friend.
You have good reason to be afraid of him, too.
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[Photo via Tama66/Pixabay]