Previously: Escalator To Another World.
Note: Please don’t copy/paste, republish, or narrate this post on other websites, video platforms, etc. without permission.
Initially, I’d assumed the mirror-based summoning ritual known as the Samara Sleepover Game was quite a recent invention. In one sense, I wasn’t wrong; it is almost certain to have been inspired by Samara Morgan of The Ring — the Americanized version of Sadako Yamamura of the Japanese Ringu franchise. Of course, as of this writing, The Ring is about 20 years old — it was released in 2002 — so “recent” is sort of a relative term here. True, the game couldn’t have existed in this form before 2002… but at the same time, it’s not really “new” anymore, is it?
In any event, the oldest version of the Samara Sleepover Game I’ve found online dates back to 2011, when it was published on now long-dormant Blogspot blog on Dec. 4 of that year. It was subsequently posted in the comments at Scary For Kids in 2012, then again over at the Hide And Go Kill Wiki in 2013 before finally making its way to r/ThreeKings in 2018. The early versions of it, including the first version posted over at Hide And Go Kill prior to its many revisions, are all the same copied and pasted chunk of text, which suggests to me that this might be the form it took when it first appeared online. Whether that first appearance was the 2011 Blogspot post or not, I can’t say; it might have been — but it’s also possible that it existed before that on pages that are no longer live or accessible.
Anyway, the Samara Sleepover Game is, in essence, a variation on Bloody Mary (which you’ll recall dates back at least to the 1970s); there are numerous similarities between these two games, including the setting, the supplies, and the method. The difference here is that you’re summoning a girl with a “bloody, dirty face” and “black hair” named Samara — that is, Samara Morgan as she’s crawling out of her well and shambling towards you, although she’s been divorced somewhat from her pop cultural context here.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
I do think it’s interesting, by the way, that if you look at the Blogspot site’s archives, this one is both the first post published at the site, as well as the only one that appears stylized without a colon in a key location: The other games, which include Concentrate, Baby Blue, Cat Scratch, and other childhood classics are written as “[Game title]: sleepover game” or “[Game title]: scary sleepover game” — that is, “Concentrate: sleepover game” and the like. The game that concerns us right now, however, is written simply as “Samara sleepover game.” I’m curious as to whether this reveals something about the game’s original title: Perhaps it was initially just “Samara,” with the “Sleepover Game” bit intended to be more of a descriptor than part of the title. But, because of the fact that it appeared here as “Samara sleepover game,” it became known over time as “Samara Sleepover Game.”
Food for thought.
Play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- One guard.
- A bathroom.
- Inside the bathroom, a mirror. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A safe room, located within the same building or area as the bathroom.
- A tea light or other small candle.
- Matches or a lighter.
- Begin at night.
- Gather together all required players and supplies.
- If necessary, place the mirror inside the bathroom. It should be eye-level, so that you may view your own reflection easily, and both flush and parallel with one wall. (Disregard this step if the mirror is already present in the bathroom.)
- Place the tea light in the bathroom, ideal next to or near the mirror. If the mirror is mounted to the wall above a vanity or countertop, on the vanity/countertop in front of the mirror is ideal
- Place the matches or lighter within easy reach.
- If there are curtains, draw them. If the light is on, turn it off.
- Now: Exit the bathroom and travel throughout the rest of the building or area in which the bathroom is located. Turn out all of the remaining lights as you go — except one: Keep the light in your designated safe room on.
- Return to the bathroom.
- Guard: Position yourself just outside the bathroom door. Stand by. Do not leave your post at any time, for any reason. Keep your ears open, and listen — listen all the way through.
- Principal: Enter the bathroom. Close the door behind you. And prepare yourself — what follows is for you.
- Principal: Using the matches or lighter, light the tea light.
- Face the mirror. Speak aloud the words, “Join me.”
- Rotate 90 degrees, so that you are now facing the wall adjacent to the wall against which the mirror is positioned. Again, speak aloud the words, “Join me.”
- Rotate 90 degrees. You should now be facing the bathroom’s third wall. Again, speak aloud the words, “Join me.”
- Rotate 90 degrees. You should now be facing the bathroom’s fourth and final wall. Once more, speak aloud the words, “Join me.”
- Rotate 90 degrees. You should now have returned to the mirror. Face it, and speak aloud the words, “I am ready.”
- Close your eyes.
- Spin around gently in place. As you make your first rotation, speak Her name aloud: “Samara.” Do not open your eyes.
- Spin again. As you spin, speak Her name aloud: “Samara.” Do not open your eyes.
- Spin, again. Speak, again: “Samara.”
- Do not open your eyes.
- Repeat this process — spinning, speaking, keeping your eyes closed — until you have spun in place, and uttered aloud Her name — “Samara” — a total of 13 times.
- 13 is the magic number.
- Open your eyes and look into the mirror. What do you see?
- If you see nothing but your own reflection: The ritual has failed. Open the door and extinguish the tea light. It is recommended that you vacate the premises until morning, although it is not required that you do so. You may try again another time, if you wish.
- If you see… something else: It might be Her. It might not be. But whatever you see, if it is more than simply your own reflection and that of the room around you, yell Her name, as loud as you can: “SAMARA.”
- Guard: You’re still there, right? You haven’t left your post? You’ve been listening carefully this whole time — haven’t you?
- When you hear the Principal yell, open the bathroom door.
- You must do this as quickly as possible — in five seconds or less.
- Don’t be late.
- Principal and Guard: Once the Guard has opened the door, run — both of you — to the safe room, as quickly as you can. Do NOT extinguish the tea light. You MUST leave it lit.
- Once you are inside the safe room, both players must speak aloud, in unison, the words, “You are not welcome.”
- Say it again: “You are not welcome.”
- Speak the words a third and final time: “You are not welcome.”
- Now: Wait.
- When the moment feels right, return to the bathroom.
- If the tea light is still lit: The Banishment has succeeded; She is now gone. You may extinguish the tea light and carry on with your life.
- If the tea light has gone out on its own: Be careful from here on out.
- She is still here.
- And She, it seems, has decided to stay — no matter what.
For best results, this game should be played in a residential setting — an apartment, a house, etc. In the case of an apartment, the area in which the bathroom is located may be defined as the confines of the apartment, rather than the entire building in which the apartment is contained (that is, in The Preparations: Step 7, you need only turn out all of the lights in your individual unit — not the entire apartment building).
It is not recommended that you play this game in a studio apartment or other one-room dwelling; it is… not a good idea for your safe room to encompass entire home.
The bathroom must have four walls and a door that closes.
It is not necessary that the mirror be a built-in feature of the bathroom; you may also use a tabletop mirror, as long as it stands on its own and is of a large enough size that it can reflect your entire face back at you. However, for best results, it is recommended that the mirror be a wall-mounted vanity mirror or similar.
Sources do not specify whether the rotations in The Summoning: Steps 3 through 6 or the spinning in Steps 8 through 13 should turn in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. You may choose whichever you prefer, although it is recommended that you stick with one directionality throughout the duration of the game. If you do not achieve success with one direction, you may try again another time using the other.
Regarding The Tea Light:
This game requires not only a candle with a live flame, but also that the live flame be left alone and burning unattended for a period of time. For these reasons, this game is a fire hazard. It is already not recommended that you play it for… other reasons—but if you require additional rationale on why it should not be played, allow the potential for it to cause serious fire damage, injury, or death to be the final convincing factor.
If you decide to play it anyway, do not extinguish the tea light until the game has concluded and She has left. If you extinguish it early, she may take that as an invitation to stay.
If She extinguishes the tea light on her own… well, you can always try repeating the procedure described in The Banishment again until you convince her to leave… but that may not prove entirely successful.
You have been warned.
A Word For The Guard:
It is imperative that you do not leave your post, and that you open the door in time.
The Principal, you see, will not be able to open the door themself — not even if they put their full weight behind the attempt.
She will not permit it to be opened from inside the bathroom.
If you do not open the door within five seconds of the Principal’s yell, you will find, when you finally do open it, an empty room.
And whatever the Principal — whatever your friend — is now suffering at Her hands will be on you.
You wouldn’t want that, would you?
Please don’t copy, republish, or narrate this post on other sites without permission (TikTokkers, that includes you). Linking to it or sharing the URL is fine (and encouraged!), as is writing your own unique version of the game based on your own research, but copying and pasting, republishing, or otherwise reproducing the text of this piece in its entirety or near-entirety on other websites without permission, or summarizing it without credit and passing off the work and research as your own, isn’t.
Follow The Ghost In My Machine 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 Tuva Mathilde Løland/Unsplash]