Previously: Asobime-san/The Origami Paper Ritual.
Today, a ritual that claims to allow you to meet your supernatural guardian — hence its name: The Guardian Game. But don’t confuse the Guardian Game with the Japanese ritual game How To See Your Guardian Spirit; this Guardian Game is much more involved, and substantially more dangerous. It seems to support the idea that any kind of otherworldly knowledge must be earned — and that you’re not necessarily guaranteed to receive it.
Therefore: Proceed with caution.
I’ll be perfectly honest, though: I have no idea where this game comes from or when it first emerged. I’ve only ever seen it on the on-again, off-again site Whispering Dark (which seems to have been metaphorically toggled to the “off again” position since the middle of 2020), who doesn’t identify their original source. What’s more, searches for the required items, specific phrases spoken, and other identifying details involved in playing this game bring up literally nothing but the Whispering Dark page (and occasionally an unrelated psalm). As a result, I’m working under the assumption that either the original source has been scrubbed from the internet, or Whispering Dark created this one themselves. It’s currently the most recent post over there, by the way; it was published in July of 2020, after which the site went quiet again.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
WD is the sort of site that primarily documents existing stories and legends, rather than inventing them. So, it seems slightly more likely to me that the Guardian Game has simply come from a now-unavailable source — a deleted Reddit post, for example — rather than that it’s a creation of WD. Ultimately, though, there’s just no other information available, so… here we are.
In any event, the ritual as written at WD is quite difficult to follow, so below is an attempt to clean it up somewhat and make it a bit more playable. It’s perhaps worth noting, though, that the setup required may render the game unplayable regardless, depending on your living situation or the kinds of spaces accessible to you.
Then again, maybe it’s better that way. Because, as always:
Play at your own risk.
- One principal.
- A container of salt.
- A medium or large, free-standing mirror.
- A red dry-erase marker, red lipstick, or a sterilized pin. (See: Additional Notes.)
- A candle. (See: Additional Notes.)
- Matches or a lighter.
- An additional portable light source. Suggested items include a flashlight, a battery-operated lantern, etc.
- A time-keeping device. A simple wristwatch is recommended.
- A broom, newly purchased and previously unused.
- Access to a shower, bath, cleansing wipes, or other means of cleaning the body.
- A quiet room with at least one window. The window must be capable of opening.
- Prior to beginning, prepare the playing space:
- Empty your chosen room as thoroughly as possible. Remove any furniture, personal items, etc. — anything that is not bolted down.
- Take special care to remove any items which are alive, or which represent something alive — pets, other people, house plants, dolls, stuffed animals, mannequins, etc. Ideally, these beings and items should be removed from the premises completely — e.g. the entire house, if the room in which you are playing is located within your own home — although if this is not possible, simply removing them from the game room may suffice.
- Then, clean the room from top to bottom. You may clean it however you like and using whatever your preferred items and/or products are. However, you MUST use the newly-purchased broom to sweep the space at some point during the cleaning process.
- When you are finished, remove from the room any supplies you used to clean it, including the broom.
- After the room has been thoroughly cleaned, it is time to clean yourself. You may do so however you wish — shower, bath, sponge bath, cleansing wipes, etc. The only requirement is that you be as clean as possible before beginning. Dress yourself again after you have finished this step.
- Now, assemble the remainder of your supplies. Leave the portable light source, the candle, and the matches or lighter outside the door to your prepared room. Keep the time-keeping device on your person. Enter the room with the mirror, dry-erase marker (or lipstick or sterilized pin), and salt. You may leave the lights on at this time, if you like.
- If it is not yet dark, wait until night falls.
- Once it is dark, it is time.
- You may begin.
- Using the red marker or lipstick — or your own fingertip, after pricking it with the sterilized pin until the blood flows — write your precise date and time of birth on the surface of the mirror.
- Place the mirror in the middle of the room, on the floor, standing upright. Position it such that the reflective surface faces the door to the room. Do NOT position it such that the reflective surface faces the mirror.
- Draw a circle of salt around the mirror, making sure it is large enough for you to sit inside the circle with it. Once you are finished drawing the circle, double-check it ensure that the line of salt it comprises is unbroken. Do NOT yet step inside the circle; remain outside of it, for now.
- Speak aloud the words, “I seek the one who watches over me.”
- Exit the room, turning out the lights — if they are currently on — as you do so. Leave the mirror inside; take the container of salt and the marker/lipstick/pin with you. Close the door behind you.
- Now: Wait. You may occupy the time however you like, as long as you stay awake.
- Keep an eye on the time using your time-keeping device.
- Do NOT fall asleep.
- Note: If, while you are waiting, you encounter any red flag conditions, DO NOT PROCEED. (See: Concerning Red Flags.) Leave the door to the room closed; do not open it until the sun has risen. Then follow the procedure described in: Concerning Red Flags. You may try again after waiting at least three days; however, if you have any unusual dreams during the waiting period — especially dreams in which you see a man dressed in red — or otherwise feel unsafe, clean yourself in the manner in which you did so in The Preparations, Step 3. Then: Do not make any further attempts to play this game.
- At midnight, if you have not encountered any red flag conditions, you may proceed. Travel around the premises — e.g. your home, if that is where you have chosen to play — turning out any and all lights as you go. However, do NOT enter or open the door to the prepared room at this time.
- Once all of the lights in your home have been turned out, collect your portable light source and turn it on. Now, using the portable light source to light your way, travel around your home again, locating each and every mirror on the premises EXCEPT the one within the prepared room. (Do NOT enter or open the door to the prepared room at this time.) When you have located a mirror, perform the following check on it:
- Face the mirror in question. Hold your portable light source in such a way that it illuminates the space behind you. Now, look into the mirror:
- If you see a face or a flash of red, or the light source flickers or turns off: This constitutes a red flag condition. Do NOT proceed. Turn on every light in the house as quickly as possible. Clean yourself again, ideally in the manner in which you did so in The Preparations, Step 3. Do NOT enter or open the door to the prepared room until the sun has risen. When it is light out, follow the procedure described in: Concerning Red Flags.
- If you see only yourself and the reflection of the room behind you: You may proceed.
- Face the mirror in question. Hold your portable light source in such a way that it illuminates the space behind you. Now, look into the mirror:
- Return to the prepared room. Put down and turn off the portable light source. Pick up the container of salt, the candle, and the matches or lighter. Open the door, and enter the room, bringing the salt, candle, and matches or lighter with you. Leave the portable light source behind.
- Do NOT close the door behind you. It MUST remain open.
- Open the window in the room.
- Now, position yourself such that you are facing the reflective surface of the mirror. The open doorway should be at your back.
- Erase a small section of the salt circle surrounding the mirror, making a large enough gap in the line for you to enter the circle at that point.
- Enter the circle. Bring the container of salt, the candle, and the matches or lighter with you. Once you are inside the circle, use more salt from the container to close up the gap you made to allow for entry. Do NOT close up the gap by reusing the salt you had brushed away to create the opening.
- Check the mirror.
- If it is broken or scratched, or has been otherwise disturbed in any way: This constitutes a red flag condition. Do NOT proceed. Terminate the ritual immediately by following the procedure described in: Concerning Red Flags.
- If the mirror is exactly as you left it: You may proceed.
- Draw a second, smaller ring of salt around the mirror, and only the mirror. When you have finished, you will have created a series of concentric circles: At the center is the mirror; next is the small salt circle encircling the mirror; then, around yourself, the small circle, and the mirror is the larger salt circle you had previously drawn.
- Light the candle using the matches or lighter and place it carefully behind the mirror. Do NOT break either of the salt circles as you do so.
- Now: Look into the mirror.
- Keep looking.
- Pay attention.
- If you see a figure in the mirror behind you, or if you hear a voice speaking to you, or you hearing a knocking sound drifting out of the darkness behind you, do not be alarmed; this is simply an indication that something is present.
- Now: Ask the presence its name.
- If it refuses to answer, or flips the question around and asks your name: This constitutes a red flag condition. Do NOT proceed. Terminate the ritual immediately by extinguishing the candle and speaking aloud the words, “Our communion is ended.” Then follow the procedure described in: Concerning Red Flags.
- If the presence reveals its name: Pay attention to how you feel in response.
- If you feel uncomfortable or anxious: This constitutes a red flag condition. Do NOT proceed. Terminate the ritual immediately by extinguishing the candle and speaking aloud the words, “Our communion is ended.” Then follow the procedure described in: Concerning Red Flags.
- If you feel calmness, safety, and a sense of familiarity: The ritual has succeeded; you may proceed.
- You may now speak to your guardian, if you like. Speak to it as if it is a friend, although also bear in mind that it is not human. Keep the conversation positive if possible, and although you may ask questions, do NOT:
- Ask about your death;
- Ask about the death of anyone else;
- Or ask for insider information that would benefit you financially.
- Additionally, do NOT:
- Leave the salt circle while the conversation is ongoing;
- Or turn around and look through the doorway.
- When you are ready to stop, bid your guardian farewell; then, speak aloud the words, “Our communion has ended”; and finally, instruct your guardian — politely! — to leave through the open window. Remain in the salt circle until:
- Your guardian has left;
- Or, the sun has risen — whichever comes first. Note that if your guardian refuses to leave, you MUST remain in the salt circle until the sun is up.
- Once it is safe to do so, exit the salt circle. Extinguish the candle, close the window, and retrieve the broom (and additional cleaning supplies, if you like). Clean the room again, making sure to sweep it using the broom. Also clean off the surface of the mirror.
- As soon as the room is clean, remove the broom and candle from the premises; it is recommended that you temporarily leave them just outside the door to your home until you able to dispose of them properly. (See: The Farewell, Step 5.)
- Clean yourself again, as well.
- Once both you and the room are clean, take the broom and the candle and dispose of them as far from your home as possible.
- You may keep the mirror if you like, as long as you do not store it in your bedroom or anywhere else you may sleep. However, it is recommended that you dispose of the mirror by transporting it to a running body of water and burying it there — preferably on the other side, keeping the water between the mirror and yourself.
- After these tasks have been completed, you may return any furniture and/or personal items you removed during your preparations to the room in which you played.
- Do NOT play this game again.
Regarding the red dry-erase marker, lipstick, or pin: The item used here must enable you to write upon your mirror in red ink (or “ink,” as the case may be). The dry-erase marker and lipstick are safer options, although they may not achieve best results; conversely, using the sterilized pin to write with your blood may achieve better results, but is significantly less safe. You must access your own risk tolerance when deciding which item to use.
Regarding the candle: The candle may be of any color except black. Do NOT use a black candle. The candle must also be able to stand on its own. Pillar candles, jar candles, or tea lights are all recommended varieties. You may also use tapers, although if you do, you must also supply a candlestick, candelabra, lantern, etc. — something in which to insert the candle so that it stands on its own.
You MUST know not just your date of birth, but the precise time of day at which you were born in order to play this game. Do NOT attempt to play it without this exact information.
When locating and checking the mirrors in The Invitation, Step 10: You must do this for each and every mirror on the premises — no matter the size, and no matter where they are located. Wall mirrors, handheld mirrors, and even the small mirrors inside makeup compacts or other pocket-sized items all count. In order to cut down on the possibility of missing a mirror while you play, you may want to take an inventory of the mirrors in your home and/or remove items like compacts that contain smaller mirrors from the premises before you begin.
Do NOT, at ANY point from The Conversation, Step 4 onward, put your back to the window in your chosen game room.
Do NOT, at ANY point from The Conversation, Step 4 onward, face the open doorway in your chosen game room.
Concerning Red Flags
Should one or more red flag conditions be encountered, cease your attempt at this ritual IMMEDIATELY. Red flag conditions include, but are not limited to the following:
- During the waiting period in The Invitation, Steps 6 through 8:
- Hearing scratching, voices, or any other noises from behind the prepared room’s closed door
- Feeling sleepy and/or actually falling asleep;
- While performing the mirror checks in The Invitation, Step 10:
- Seeing a face in the mirror other than your own;
- Seeing a flash of red in the mirror;
- The portable light source flickering or turning off;
- When checking the condition of the mirror in The Conversation, Step 7:
- If the mirror is broken, scratched, or moved;
- If the date and/or time you had previously written on the mirror has been smudged, erased, or changed;
- If there is new writing on the mirror you did not previously put there yourself;
- When asking the presence its name in The Conversation, Step 16:
- The presence refuses to answer;
- The presence asks you your own name instead;
- The presence reveals its name, but it makes you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or any other negative emotion;
- Or if, at any point:
- The lit candle goes out by itself;
- You accidentally disturb a salt circle at a moment when you have NOT been instructed to do so;
- A salt circle is disturbed by an outside force;
Should you encounter a red flag condition, first perform any actions specified at the point of encounter; then, enact the following procedure:
- If you are inside the salt circle, create a gap in the line of salt, exit the circle, and close up the gap with salt from your container. Then exit the room immediately, taking the container of salt with you. Close the door behind you. Draw a line of salt in front of the doorway. Do not open the door again until the sun has risen.
- When it is light out, you may open the door to the room, enter, and close the window. Retrieve the broom (and additional cleaning supplies, if you like). Clean the room again, making sure to sweep it using the broom. Also clean off the surface of the mirror.
- As soon as the room is clean, remove the broom, candle, and mirror from the premises; it is recommended that you temporarily leave them just outside the door to your home until you are able to dispose of them properly.
- Then clean yourself again, ideally in the manner in which you did so in The Preparations, Step 3.
- Once both you and the room are clean, take the broom, the candle, and the mirror and dispose of them as far away from your home as possible. The mirror must specifically be disposed of in the follow manner: Transport it to a location with a running body of water and bury it there — preferably on the other side, keeping the water between the mirror and yourself.
If you encounter a red flag condition and must terminate the ritual early:
Do not attempt to play the game again.
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 Denny Muller/Unsplash]