Previously: The Game Of Waiting.
According to its original poster, Redditor u/furgi, the ritual game known as the String Game is Portuguese in origin, although it’s apparently not well known there. Or at least, that’s what u/furgi states; as is typically with Reddit-based games, we have no way of knowing whether they’re telling the truth, or whether they’re making the whole thing up. For what it’s worth, u/furgi noted at r/ThreeKings back in 2016 that they live in Portugal, and that although they’d searched high and low, there’s virtually no information about the String Game available online. “The only way to obtain information is through people who already know of it, or have attempted it, and that includes me,” they wrote.
For what it’s worth, I looked, too, and I also came up empty, both in English and Portuguese. All I’ve seen is the same set of instructions from u/furgi passed around a few times, sometimes in English, sometimes translated into other languages. Ah well; it is what it is.
Regardless, the purpose of the String Game ritual is interesting — largely because it seems to have two purposes, not just one. At first glance, it’s a summoning ritual not unlike any of the other numerous summoning rituals we’ve looked at over the years here at TGIMM; it won’t chase you, and you don’t get to converse with it, but you do get the joys of simply hanging out in the presence of something otherworldly.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
At the same time, though, playing the game also seems to do something to the people who play it: Five players are required, all of whom must be friends — and, per u/furgi, if played correctly, the ritual will “supposedly form a bond between you and your … friends.”
It’s not clear what that means, or how it manifests, or what happens if something goes wrong while you’re playing. But I suppose you can sort of view it as a supernatural version of a blood oath activity or something like that.
Also, this ritual involves leaving a candle burning alone in an empty room, and is therefore a huge fire hazard. Take common sense fire precautions, if you must play it — but really, you’d be better off if you don’t play it in the first place.
As always, play at your own risk.
- One Principal.
- Four Confidants.
- Four pieces of paper.
- At least one writing implement, or as many as four.
- Five sterilized pins.
- Some kind of container. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Water, inside the container.
- An offering. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A candle.
- Matches or a lighter.
- A clock, stopwatch, or other timekeeping device — ideally analog.
- Towels. (Optional, but recommended — just in case.)
- A dark, quiet room in which to play, located within the Principal’s home and equipped with a lock on the door. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A small bell. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A length of string, yarn, thread, or twine, ideally at least one meter or several feet long.
- Before sunset, gather together all participants and requirements and assemble at the Principal’s home. Clear the home of all other people who are not participating in the game, as well as any pets or animals.
- Deposit the candle, matches or lighter, pieces of paper, writing implements, container of water, sterilized pins, offering, string, and bell inside your chosen game room. Make sure the candle is not placed near anything flammable or where it may be in danger of being knocked over.
- Deposit the scissors, timekeeping device, towels (if using), and salt directly outside the door to the game room.
- Wait for the sun to set, fully and completely.
- Once sunset is complete, you may begin.
- Travel throughout the Principal’s home and turn off every light, cover every mirror and painting or turn them to face the wall, and turn off, unplug, and/or remove the batteries from all electronic devices.
- Close and, if possible, lock every single door within the Principal’s home EXCEPT the door to the game room. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Return to the game room.
- Confidants: Take one sheet of paper each and write your full name on it. You may each use your own writing implement, or you may share one writing implement between you, passing it around until each of you has written your name on your own sheet of paper.
- Confidants: Now, take one sterilized pin each and prick one of your fingers until the blood flows. Then, anoint the sheet of paper bearing your name with a drop or two of your own blood.
- NOTE: Do NOT share a single pin between you. For your own safety, you must each use your own sterilized pin.
- Principal: It’s your turn. Tie one end of the length of string to the bell; then tie the other end to your own index finger. Make sure the knots are tight and true; you do not want them coming untied at any point during the game.
- Principal: Take the fifth sterilized pin — the one that has not yet been used — and prick your own finger until the blood flows. Allow a drop or two of your blood to drip into the container of water.
- Principal: Gently place your offering inside the container. Then, add the bell. Do NOT allow any water to spill out of the container as you add these objects to it.
- Using the matches or lighter, light the candle. Again, make sure it is not positioned near anything flammable or where it is in danger of being knocked over.
- Once the candle is lit, all participants must exit the room. Close the door behind you.
- Confidants: Bring your pieces of paper with you.
- Principal: The string must still be tied to your finger on one end and to the bell on the other. Additionally, you must still be able to pull the thread through the door when it is closed. If you have performed this step correctly, the string will pass through the crack under the closed door.
- Now: Wait.
- Do not speak.
- Do not make any noise.
- Sit quietly together outside the game room. Get comfortable; you might be waiting for… quite some time.
- Principal, pay attention to the string tied to your finger.
- If you feel nothing by the time the sun rises: Immediately pick up the scissors and cut the string. Then, lay a line of salt in front of the door. Remain where you are, with all doors closed and ideally locked, until the sun has fully risen. Then, remove the water, the container, the string, and the bell from your home; and dispose of them as far away from your home as possible. Destroy them, if you can. Bury the remains and scatter salt across the burial location. You may try again another time — with some caveats. (See: Additional Notes.)
- If, at any point, you feel a gentle tug: The ritual has succeeded. You may proceed.
- After you feel the tug on the string, carefully pull the string through the door until you hear the bell emerge from the container of water and land on the floor. Do NOT untie the string from your finger.
- Confidants: Do not speak. Do not make any noise.
- Principal: Wait for approximately 10 seconds after you hear the bell hit the floor. Then, speaking aloud, introduce yourself and your Confidants to your visitor. There is no prescribed script for doing so; just be polite and courteous. Your visitor has come quite a long way to meet you, after all.
- Confidants: Do not speak. Do not make any noise.
- Wait. Listen.
- If you hear any unusual noises after completing your introductions: Immediately pick up the scissors and cut the string. Then, lay a line of salt in front of the door. Remain where you are, with all doors closed and ideally locked, until the sun has fully risen. Then, remove the water, the container, the string, and the bell from your home; and dispose of them as far away from your home as possible. Destroy them, if you can. Bury the remains and scatter salt across the burial location.
- If you hear nothing but silence: You may proceed.
- Principal: Signal one Confidant to slip their piece of paper under the door, gently sliding it into the game room.
- Wait. Do not speak. Do not make any noise — not even if you hear anything unusual.
- Principal: After 10 minutes have passed, signal another Confidant to slip their piece of paper under the door, gently sliding it into the game room.
- Wait. Do not speak. Do not make any noise — not even if you see anything unusual.
- Principal: After 10 minutes have passed, signal a third Confidant to slip their piece of paper under the door, gently sliding it into the game room.
- Wait. Do not speak. Do not make any noise — not even if you sense anything unusual.
- Principal: After 10 minutes have passed, signal the final Confidant to slip their piece of paper under the door, gently sliding it into the game room.
- Wait. Do not speak. Do not make any noise — no matter what you hear, see, or sense.
- Principal: After at least 10 minutes have passed, thank your visitor for their time and bid them farewell. Again, there is no prescribed script; be polite and courteous, but also firm. Make sure it is clear that you know how much of an honor it is to have spent time with them, while also telling them in no uncertain terms that it is time for them to go, and that they are no longer permitted to be within your home.
- Confidants: Do not speak. Do not make any noise.
- Principal: Pick up the scissors and snip the string tied to your finger, severing the connection between you and the game room.
- Now: Wait. Sleep, if you like — but do NOT open any of the doors. If they are locked, do NOT unlock them.
- Do not attempt to leave the premises — any of you. You must remain inside, with all doors closed and, ideally, locked until the sun has risen.
- Once the sun is fully risen in the sky, you may unlock and open the door to the game room.
- Note: The following actions MUST be performed by the Principal; Confidants may assist, if desired.
- Extinguish the candle; then, check the container of water.
- If your blood and/or offering are still inside: Exit the room immediately and close and lock the door again. Lay a line of salt across the doorway and leave it alone for 24 hours. After 24 hours have passed, unlock the door; remove the water, the container, the string, and the bell from your home; and dispose of them as far away from your home as possible. Destroy them, if you can. Bury the remains and scatter salt across the burial location.
- If the water is clear and the offering is gone: Unlock and open the door in your home leading to the outside; then take the container of water outside and empty it. Next, gather up the pieces of string, remove them from your home, and burn them to ashes. Finally, gather the bell, travel as far away from your home as you can with it, and bury it in the ground. Scatter salt in the hole before you fill it; then scatter more salt across the ground where the hole once was after it has been filled.
- Return home and cleanse or purify the entire space using your cleansing or purification ritual of choice.
- Now — and only now — may you begin the process for unlocking and opening the remaining doors in your home: Travel throughout your home, stopping in front of each door as you go. Put your ear to the closed door and listen — really listen.
- If you hear nothing: You may safely unlock and open the door.
- If you hear something — anything at all: Leave the door closed and locked for 24 hours.
- Repeat The Farewell: Step 9 until all of the doors in your home have been successfully unlocked and opened.
The container requirement may be fulfilled by any number of items, including but not limited to: A bucket, a basin, a large Tupperware container, a bathtub, etc. It need only be large enough to hold a quantity of water, your offering, and the bell.
The offering may be any of the following: An item of personal value to you; an item of financial or monetary value, as long as it is not actual currency; an alcoholic beverage; or a meal.
The bell should not be electronic or mechanical; it should be a variety that may be rung manually. A large jingle bell is ideal.
The game MUST be played in the Principal’s home. If the game is being played in your home, you are, by default, the Principal. The game may NOT be played in a home that does not belong to the player who is performing the actions of the Principal.
It is recommended that all of the doors in the home in which the game is played have locks, and the locks be operable from outside the rooms. If the doors do not have locks, and it is only possible to equip one door with a lock, the lockable door should be the primary game room. Note, though, that should you attempt the game in a home with unlockable doors, you do so at your own increased risk.
Do not look through the keyhole of the door to the game room. Do not peek under the door to the game room. Do not attempt to view the game room in any way after the door has been closed and locked.
If, during The Visit: Step 3, you accidentally tip the container of water over while pulling the string and bell out of it, immediately pick up the scissors and cut the string. If any water has flooded out from under the door, soak up as much of it as you can with the towels. Then, lay a line of salt in front of the door. Remain where you are, with all doors closed and ideally locked, until the sun has fully risen. Then, remove the water, the container, the string, and the bell from your home; and dispose of them as far away from your home as possible. Destroy them, if you can. Bury the remains and scatter salt across the burial location.
If the ritual fails, it may be attempted up to four more times, for a total for attempts. Allow at least 24 hours to pass between attempts. If the game fails all five attempts, do NOT attempt it again. Ever.
Concerning The Closed Doors:
Do not open them until after the sun has risen.
Make sure the sun is fully visible in the sky before you open them.
If you open them earlier…
…I can’t help you.
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 katerinavulcova/Pixabay]