Previously: One Person Chit-Chat.
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I stumbled upon the ritual I’m choosing to call Staircase To Another World fairly recently, while I was researching the big ol’ list of ritual games — 16 of ‘em — that supposedly transport you to another world we published not too long ago. It was new to me, although it’s clearly been around for quite some time; I found it in a post on the Korean site Instiz that was published in early 2011 — that is, more than a decade ago. But the way this post — and others like it posted to other Korean community and social media sites like Naver at about the same time — is written implies that the legend was already established by that point, so all I can say about its timeframe right now is that it’s been around at least since 2011, and probably longer.
Anyway, the gist of it is quite like many of the other methods for interdimensional travel detailed in other, similar legends: By performing a series of relatively simple actions — in this case, traveling up and down a few staircases in a particular manner — you can transport yourself somewhere… else. (Exactly what the nature of this other place is remains unclear, but whatever it is, it is expressly NOT the world in which you yourself originate.) The building in which you play must satisfy several specific conditions, however; it’s also generally recommended that the building be a school. Note that, in Korea, floor numbering conventions are the same as they are in the United States — that is, the first floor is the ground floor — rather than how they are in, say, Europe (the ground floor is its own thing; the first floor is what folks in the U.S. would call the second floor; etc.).
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Given the frequent crossover of ritual game legends between Japan and Korea, I did wonder whether this one also exists in Japan; however, I’ve been unable to determine whether it does. There are several Japanese “学校の怪談” (gakko no kaidan), or “school ghost stories,” that center around stairs: One, for example, states that a particular staircase in a school known for having 12 steps during the day somehow becomes a 13-step staircase at night; should you step on the 13th step, you’ll be transported to another world. (This one is also sometimes referred to as one of the “Seven Wonders” or “Seven Mysteries” of school — a concept I’m familiar with primarily through Kingdom Hearts 2.) Another, meanwhile, tells a brief story in just a few sentences of a student who returned to school at night to pick up something they’d forgotten in a classroom during the day but found that, when they tried to leave, the staircase they were traveling down just kept going on and on forever.
However, neither of these stories is quite the same as the one that concerns us now; furthermore, although I’ve found a number of listicles in Japanese that round up a variety of ways to (supposedly) travel to another world, the staircase version isn’t on any of them.
In any event, this game should not be undertaken unless you’re willing to deal with the consequences: There may not necessarily be a way to return to your original world once you’re done playing.
As always, play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A building with three entrances, three staircases, and at least five floors. A school building is recommended. The entrances and staircases should each be located at the center of the building, on the right side of the building, and on the left side of the building. Each staircase should be able to reach each of the building’s floors.
- Begin at any time. Nighttime is recommended. If playing in a school building, play ONLY outside of school hours.
- Ensure that the building will be empty of other people upon your arrival.
- When you arrive at the building, enter through the right-hand entrance.
- Locate the right-hand staircase of the building. Begin climbing it. Take the right-hand stairs to the third floor of the building.
- When you reach the third floor, locate the central staircase of the building. Begin descending it. Take the central stairs to the first floor of the building.
- When you reach the first floor, locate the left-hand staircase of the building. Begin climbing it. Take the left-hand stairs to the second floor of the building.
- When you reach the second floor, return to the right-hand staircase. Begin climbing it. Take the right-hand stairs to the fourth floor of the building.
- When you reach the fourth floor, return to the central staircase. Begin descending it. Take the central stairs to the third floor of the building.
- When you reach the third floor, return to the left-hand staircase. Begin climbing it. Take the left-hand stairs to the fifth floor of the building.
- When you reach the fifth floor, stop. Look around. Pay attention, both outside and inside yourself.
- What do you see?
- How do you feel?
- If you have succeeded, you should simply… know. Somewhere, deep in your bones — you’ll know.
The Return Trip:
- There is no known way to make the return trip.
- Enjoy your new world.
- I hope it is everything you wished for.
- Because if it is not…
- You can always try again, right?
The building in which you play MUST satisfy all specified conditions. If it does not, do not play.
If your chosen building DOES NOT have entrances at the center, right, and left, do not play.
If your chosen building DOES NOT have at least five floors, do not play.
If your chosen building DOES NOT have three staircases, do not play.
If the three staircases ARE NOT located at the center, right, and left of the building, do not play.
If any of the staircases DOES NOT reach all floors, do not play.
If the building IS NOT empty of other people when you arrive, do not play.
The building does not necessarily have to be a school, but sources suggest that choosing a school building has the greatest chance of achieving best results.
“Right-hand” and “left-hand” refer to the sides of the building as you face the front door. Proceed accordingly.
“First floor” refers to the ground floor of the building. Proceed accordingly.
You should not encounter any other beings while playing this game — or at least, not until you reach your destination. If you do, do not proceed. Instead, return to the first floor and exit the building via the same door through which you entered. You may try again another time.
You may also terminate the game prematurely in this manner at any point prior to Venturing Out: Step 9.
Should you choose to terminate the game prematurely, take a moment to look out through the exit of the building and assess your surroundings before you leave. If anything looks different — anything at all — do not exit the building.
It is not known what may be done in the event that your surroundings appear different, but it is recommended that you try something — anything. Get… creative. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, after all.
Concerning The Final Ascent:
You MAY NOT terminate the game after you have begun Venturing Out: Step 9.
If you have already started the final ascent to the fifth floor, it is too late.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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