Here, you’ll find collected all the questions featured in the various volumes of “The Most Dangerous Games: Frequently Asked Questions” published on The Ghost In My Machine — that is, selected questions and possible answers for questions regarding the kinds of games you really shouldn’t play. (You know the type I mean: Ritual games. Paranormal games. Divination games. Ghost games. Those games.) The FAQs don’t feature every question that has ever been posted in the comments on TGIMM; furthermore, the answers provided shouldn’t be considered the be-all, end-all responses. Basically, they’re the questions that interest me the most, paired with my best guesses based on research and general knowledge — so take whatever you read here with a considerably large grain of salt.
This master FAQ also functions as a ritual game index; it’s ordered alphabetically by game, and also includes a section addressing general questions. Clicking on a game’s title in the Index provided will bring you directly to that game’s section. Additionally, each game’s section includes a link to the instructions for how to play it. If a game TGIMM has covered isn’t present here, it means that I haven’t gotten around to answering any questions about it yet — but I probably will soon.
You can find links to each volume of frequently asked questions as they were originally published here: Vol. 1 – Vol. 2 – Vol. 3 – Vol. 4 – Vol. 5 – Vol. 6 – Vol. 7 – Vol. 8 – Vol. 9 – Vol. 10 – Vol. 11 – Vol. 12 – Vol. 13 – Vol. 14 – Vol. 15 – Vol. 16 – Vol. 17 – Vol. 18
And as always… play at your own risk.
- 11 Miles
- The Apex
- An Alternate Soul
- The Answer Man
- Bed of Sorrow
- The Binoculars Game
- The Black God Ritual/Kurokami’s Technique
- Blind Man’s Bluff
- The Candles Game
- Cat Scratch
- La Cegua
- Channel Infinity
- Charlotte’s Web
- Chertik, Chertik
- The Closet Game
- The Compass Game
- The Corner Game
- The Creature In Your Mind
- The Dark Music Ritual
- The Dark Reflection Ritual
- Daruma-san, or The Bath Game
- Deadman’s Tag
- The Dead Poet’s Game
- The Devil Game
- The Dice Game
- The Doors of Your Mind
- Dry Bones
- The Dumb Supper Ritual
- Elevator to Another World
- The Eye In The Shadows
- The Fed Up Game
- The Gambler’s Game
- The Game Of The Scissors And The Book
- The Ghost Paper Challenge
- The Greedy Baron Game
- Halloween Divination Rituals
- The Halloween Mirror Ritual
- Halloween Summoning Ritual
- Hide And Seek Alone – Alt. Version
- The Hooded Man Ritual
- The Hosting Game
- How To Check If Your Home Is Haunted
- How To See Your Future In A Mirror
- How To See Your Guardian Spirit
- How To See Your Occult Twin
- Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, or the Game of 100 Ghost Stories
- In The Eye Of The Giant
- Jack O’Lantern
- Japanese New Year Ritual
- The Kissing Chair Game
- Kokkuri-san, or the Spirit of the Coin
- Lady Spades
- The Letter Ritual
- Lights Out
- Listen To The Clock
- The Little Finger Game
- The Living Doll Game
- The Locked Ritual
- The Maiden’s Gamble
- The Man in the Fields Ritual
- The Martha Game
- The Midnight Game
- Mirror to Another World
- Mr. Eyes
- Musical Chairs Alone
- The Nesting Doll Game
- The Oklahoma Darkness Game
- One-Man Hide and Seek
- One Step Ahead
- The Picture Game
- The Playing Card Game
- Purple Hearts
- The Raven Man
- The Red Book Game
- The Red Man
- The Ritual Of Static
- The Runner
- Sara Sarita
- Sever the Cord
- The Shoebox Telephone
- The Shuffle Game
- A Small Radio
- The Snowman Ritual
- The Staircase Ritual
- The Stranger Ritual
- The Synchronization Game
- That Cold, Creepy Feeling
- The Telephone Game
- The Television Ritual
- The Testing Game
- The Three Kings
- The Thumb Game (Oyayubi Sagashi)
- Tsuji-ura, or the Fortune Game
- The Veronica Game
- The Void
- The Wager Game
- The Wall
- The White Kimono Game
Why is 6am always the safe hour?
It’s generally believed that it’s harder for anything… shall we say, not of our world to cross over to it during the daylight hours. The sun has typically either risen or is in the process of rising by six o’clock in the morning — although you might want to wait a little longer if you play any of these games in the dead of winter. On the winter solstice, for example, it’s not unusual for the sun to rise around 7:30.
When you finish or abort a game, are you safe for good?
Not necessarily. Remember, most of these rituals involve inviting dangerous things into your home — and once they’ve been invited in, it’s really hard to get them to leave, even if you complete or abort the game (this, I suspect, is also why some games should never be played more than once). The Midnight Man is probably the best example of a guest who likes to stick around, even after his game has been completed; the same is true of Daruma-San.
The safest thing, of course, is just not to play any of them.
…But then, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t get at least a tiny bit of a thrill from the danger.
What happens if you ignore any red flags?
You don’t want to know.
I left my candle in the closet in a shoebox. Should I worry?
This one is from an old edition of “Search Terms from the Black Lagoon.” At the time, I’d wondered if maybe it was pertaining to the Shoebox Telephone game; it would seem to make a certain amount of sense if that were the case, given that Shoebox Telephone is the only ritual we’ve covered here that specifically involves a shoebox. No candles are used in any part of the ritual, though, so perhaps I made the wrong assumption about which game to which it might have referred.
Games that involve candles include (but definitely are not limited to) the Midnight Game, the Candles Game, Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, the Dark Reflection Ritual, and the Staircase Ritual. None of them call for the destruction of the candles used once they’re completed, so you should be fine; however, if it makes you feel better, go ahead and dispose of them.
What happens if I do [thing]? Please give details.
Nope — that would spoil the fun. Remember, most of these games aren’t actually real; they’re urban legends for the digital age, thought up by some creative individuals and meant primarily to spook and entertain. They’re stories. And I’ve always maintained that, when it comes to horror, what we don’t see is always much scarier than what we do see. Odds are that whatever your own imagination can come up with is far more frightening than whatever someone else can — because whatever you think up is specific to you. Good horror, I think, paints in broad enough strokes that any individual can take what’s there and run with it, coming up with a highly personalized experience no one else will have. Ever. As such, even though you might want to ask all of those “but what happens if…” questions… you probably don’t actually want to know the answers. It’s better to leave the door open to possibility.
Besides, not knowing what comes next is one of the most basic fears we have. What’s more frightening than the unknown?
What happens if I do [thing that goes completely against the rules of the game]?
Honestly, these kinds of questions baffle me. The rules exist for a reason; it’s my understanding that they’re as much about keeping you, the player or players, safe as they are about making the ritual work, so I don’t really get why you’d want to willfully ignore them. At best, not following the rules will simply cause the ritual to fail (which is boring); at worst… well, you don’t want to know what happens at worst. Whatever it is, it’s bad. Really, really bad. Never-ever-recovering-from-it bad.
Can I play [game that only specifies one player] with a partner?
No. Unless the rules stipulate that multiple people are either permissible or necessary, assume you’ll be playing alone. Bringing a partner will at best— again — simply cause the ritual not to work, and at worst, cause something terrible and irreparable to occur.
What does the salt do? It’s mentioned in many rituals.
Creating a circle of salt is typically a way of forming a protective barrier between you and… something else. The tricky thing, of course, is whether or not you’ve created a safe zone for yourself… or a trap.
With games that ask for your full name — if you’ve given yourself a new name because you didn’t like yours, would it be safer to use the name your parents gave you, or the name you gave yourself?
This question is actually a little complicated, mostly because it depends what you want to get out of the ritual. My answer is imperfect, as it’s going largely off of conjecture, but for what it’s worth, here’s my two cents:
My understanding is that when games ask for your name, it should be your true name — whatever that means for you. For a lot of people, that’s probably their given name, but for others, it may not be. However, when you ask whether it would be safer to use one name over another… well, this is where what you want to get out of the ritual comes into play. If you want the ritual to work, use your true name. If you want to stay safe, use a different name. Not using your true name will likely cause the ritual simply to not work — for example, for The Midnight Game, using a name other than your true one will cause the summoning to fail, which means the entire rest of the game won’t actually happen — so if, in your heart of hearts, you actually do not want to put yourself in the kind of danger these games invite, then by all means, use a different name. You get the thrill of having tried it, but without the danger of actually having to survive all the scary stuff.
Then again, it’s also possible that using a name other than your true name won’t just cause the ritual not to work; it’s possible that it could actually anger whatever you’re trying to summon. I don’t really know, and honestly, I’m not really willing to find out. If anyone else feels like tempting fate, though, by all means, give it a shot and report back — if you’re able.
Am I playing these games too often?
I mean, I wouldn’t recommend playing them with great frequency. After all, you’re opening yourself up to some of the nastier things in the universe every time you do; the more frequently you do that, and the more nasty things you expose yourself to, the more vulnerable you’re likely to become. That said, though, as long as you’re not doing them every day or every week, you’re probably going to be fine.
Can I do the rituals during the day?
I mean, you could go through the steps, but I think ultimately they’d just not work.
What do I do if I want to do a ritual that calls for an object of power protection, but I don’t have an object I think will work for it?
Don’t do the ritual. Seriously. Proceeding without a power or protection object when it’s specifically stated one is required would be like bungee jumping without a cord.
What if two or more groups or individuals call upon the same entity from the same game at the exact same time in different locations?
You know all those stipulations in the rules for various games that note how you can tell if a ritual has failed? This might be one of the reasons why — the entity in question might be occupied elsewhere.
That’s just conjecture, though. Honestly, we don’t really know.
Is there any way to “force abort” any game? Like, if you’re in too deep and get cold feet?
Sometimes the rules for specific games provide information on what to do if you encounter a red flag or an indication that you shouldn’t proceed; however, it’s not recommended that you abandon any ritual midway through if you can help it, and certainly not if it’s just because you got part of the way through and decided you didn’t want to finish it. Make damn sure that you want to play a game through to completion before you begin — because even if you manage to close out a game after encountering a red flag, doing so has a habit of letting some things… linger.
Re: “It’s curious to me that so many ghost stories center around technology. From EVPs to spirit photography, it’s frequently said that otherworldly beings find it easier to communicate through technological means.” – Introduction to the Telephone Game
This is a very interesting thought! But what about the rituals that warn against incorporating technology where it doesn’t seem to belong (e.g., using a rotary/landline telephone in The Hooded Man Ritual instead of a cordless or cellular; not streaming music during Musical Chairs Alone; using a flashlight during The Midnight Game; using a digital picture in The Stranger Ritual; etc.)? Is it the case that certain rituals just require different things, or can be interrupted by certain technologies? Or does it depend on the type of spirit being contacted? Or something else entirely?
Good point! I think it’s likely a combination of certain rituals requiring different things, of technology being capable of interrupting certain rituals, and the preferences of certain spirits or types of spirits. Think of it as if you were attempting to communicate with an earthly being, as opposed to a noncorporeal one: You know how some people would rather text or email than actual talk on the phone? Same deal. Everyone’s got their preferences. My sense is that those in the Otherworld, the beyond, etc. do, as well.
What are some good “simple” or “beginner” rituals with few risks?
The following rituals require only minimal supplies and have relatively simple instructions; they’re also somewhat low stakes. However, know going into it that no ritual is completely risk-free.
- Purple Hearts
- How To See Your Guardian Spirit
- How To Check If Your House Is Haunted
- The Testing Game
- The Martha Game
- Tsuji-ura/The Fortune Game
- The Hosting Game
- Musical Chairs Alone
- The Doors Of Your Mind
In most rituals that require blood, the instructions say to use a pin to draw the blood. Are you allowed to use a blade, like a razor or a knife? Or is the pin significant?
It might vary from case to case, but the pin is likely significant. From a practical standpoint, pins are easily acquired and easily sterilized. (Always sterilize your pin before you prick yourself with it.) Furthermore, in most cases where it’s specified that you should use a pin, you need only a drop of blood to perform the ritual — an amount which is easily provided by the pin.
But there’s also this: Using a razor, knife, or other blade is likely to spill more blood than just a drop — much more. It is not generally advisable to use more blood than the single drop specified in the instructions of any given ritual; it might have some… unexpected consequences. And not necessarily good ones.
Rituals where it is permissible to use blades or other sharp objects beyond pins usually state as such in the instructions. Should you choose to use a blade where only a pin is specified, however… well, that’s on you. You’re the one who will have to deal with the consequences.
What if the thing I wish for is a person? Does that count as a non-material desire?
I’m assuming that wishing for a person means that you hope to have some kind of relationship with that person, not that you want to physically possess them (because that would be really, really not okay; people are not for owning) — in which case, yes, that counts as a non-material desire. You won’t find the person literally in the trunk of your car; instead, return to your life back home and wait. The relationship will manifest eventually, in whatever form you wished for it to be.
Could I use a motorcycle instead of a car?
You could, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a wide variety of reasons: You’re likely to suffer more from the cold than you would with a car; it’s easier for other things or beings to interfere with you physically; it’ll be harder to keep your balance during the 11th mile; and so on and so forth. You’re safer using a vehicle that’s a little more enclosed — something that gives you a bit of a barrier between yourself and everything you’ll encounter along the drive.
Do you have to do this one alone, or can there be other people in the car with you?
I don’t think it will work if you’re not alone. This journey is a personal one.
Can you wish for someone who is dead to come back to life?
I’d be careful making that kind of wish; they tend to backfire.
Does the creature represent yourself — the you that’s deep down inside?
Maybe. Maybe not, though. Tread carefully, regardless.
Can we play this game in broad daylight with all windows open and sunlight coming in?
Yep. The rules say you can begin at any time and in any place, so broad daylight is fine.
Can there be other people around in the place where this ritual is taking place?
Yep. Again, anytime and anyplace are fine; there are also no instructions to clear the area of anyone who’s not playing, so other folks can be around.
What happens if more than one participant has their call answered?
I don’t think this is likely to happen. There’s a reason this game is called “The Answer Man,” not “The Answer Men.”
Would there ever be a chance that the Answer Man hangs up on you, not vice versa?
His goal is to keep you on the line, so I think it’s highly, highly unlikely that he would ever hang up on you unless you’ve reached the end of the game.
What if he asks us a question we don’t know the answer to?
Make your best guess and hope you’re right.
Is “I don’t know” an acceptable answer if it’s the truth?
That’s a good question; I’m actually not totally sure. I suspect, though, that it’s not. According to the rules, answers must be honest, truthful, and correct — and while answering “I don’t know” might be honest and truthful, in most circumstances, it isn’t correct. Two of three isn’t enough; your answers need to have all three qualities.
Can you play with fewer than 10 participants?
Nope. 10 are required.
What if the you feel the tingling sensation on your entire head?
Then you can probably expect to lose your head at some point in the future. The price of failure is steep.
Instead of destroying the phone, can we just destroy or remove the SIM card or battery?
Destroy the entire phone. (That’s why burner phones are recommended.)
Can you Google the answers to the questions the Answer Man asks to ensure you answer correctly? Or can you have a friend Google the answers for you, which you can then relay to the Answer Man?
It’s safe to assume that Googling the answers to questions posed to you by any entity you might encounter in these kinds of games pretty much always counts as cheating, unless otherwise noted. It’s also safe to assume that having a friend feed you the answers to questions is also cheating. In this case, the Answer Man chose only one participant with which to speak — so that participant, and that participant alone, should be the one to answer his questions, without the aid of outside references.
For what it’s worth, though, my sense is that the kinds of questions the Answer Man asks… aren’t the kind you can just Google answers for.
If the Answer Man answers your call, can you immediately say “Goodbye” without asking a question?
I wouldn’t. It might annoy him — and you don’t want to annoy him. Besides, why bother playing at all if you’re not going to see it through? If you’re just looking for some weird phone numbers to call, don’t play this game; there are plenty of safer options to try instead.
What happens if you get caught?
What does the Apex look like?
I don’t know whether anyone who’s seen it has ever been in a position to describe it. See also: Don’t get caught.
Do you have to run the whole time?
I don’t think you have to treat it like you’re running a marathon, but it’s probably best if you keep moving. Don’t linger in one place too long or you’ll risk getting caught.
What if you die from something other than the Apex?
Then… you’re dead. There’s no coming back from that, even if the Apex had nothing to do with it. Sorry.
Would it be better to have more people?
That’s… a complicated question. I mean, on one level, the bigger the Herd, the more people the Apex will have to hunt, which means that your individual chances of survival might increase (if the Apex is occupied by tons of other people, it might be easier for you to slip by unnoticed). However, it’s often much easier to hunt a bigger Herd than a smaller one — they’re just generally much more visible, as well as likely to make much more noise — so it might not give you quite the edge you were hoping for. Plus, a bigger Herd means you’ll likely be responsible for the deaths of more people — people whom, presumably, you care about — especially if you choose the incorrect answer to the ranger’s question.
Would you be able to live with yourself if you did that?
How long does the Apex remain after the 24 hours are up? And where does it go when it does leave?
Unknown. I… don’t think it goes anywhere, necessarily; I think it lives in the forest. When the 24 hours are up, however, its hunting period ends, so I assume it goes back to wherever its lair is to rest. Best leave the forest immediately, though, in case it decides to hang around a little longer.
Can I play with a partner?
No. See: General.
What if you enter but leave the door open?
Then it won’t work. You either have to close the door and proceed, or leave. There’s no in between.
What happens after the seven days are up at the end of the game?
You’ll return to the state you were in before you began playing the game. Whatever worry, grief, or woe you were suffering beforehand will return at the same intensity you experienced it before. The game is a temporary salve, not a permanent fix.
What if you open the red door, but there isn’t a bed in the room?
I don’t think that’s likely to happen; my understanding is that if the door opens, there will be a bed there — the one necessitates the other. If there isn’t, though, then I would recommend treating the situation as if the door didn’t open for you (that is, leave the room, shut the door behind you, leave the building, and never return).
What happens if you fall off the bed, but your eyes are still closed? Is it still considered a losing condition, or can I hop back in the bed with no negative side effects?
That’s a losing condition. Remember the instruction that states, “No matter what happens, do not move?” Falling off the bed counts as moving, even if it was spurred on by the bed shaking—and then getting back in the bed would certainly require active moving on your part.
Don’t fall out.
Steps 7 through 9 say not to talk to anyone or anything. I have a habit of talking to myself when I’m nervous — would talking to myself lead to a losing condition?
If you don’t find a locked red door, or if you do find one, but it remains locked after you knock on it, is it required to go home and not speak to anyone or anything?
Stay silent until you’ve cleared the building. Once you’re no longer inside, you can feel free to speak as normal again.
What constitutes “returning to the building?” Do you have to have the intent to go there, or is just being in the vicinity of the building enough? For example, if you frequently pass through the area where the abandoned house is, and you just happen to pass by the house or be near it, would it count as returning?
“Returning” constitutes going back inside the building at any time and for reason. You’ll probably be fine just passing by it… but to be on the safe side, I’d choose a building you don’t pass by regularly. You never know what kind of residual energy might remain after a failed attempt.
What if the place you are going back to isn’t your home, but you are staying over there temporarily? Is that your “home” for the time being?
Can you drive home or do you have to walk?
You can drive. You can walk. You can use public transportation, as long as you don’t have to speak to anyone to use it. You can get home however you like, as long as you neither look back nor speak as you do so.
If a window is blocked off — say, by an air conditioner — does it till count and do I still have to use it?
Do you have to use all of the rooms in the house, even if there’s a faulty light in it or something?
Yes. Stop trying to find loopholes. If you’re not going to play by the rules, don’t play at all.
Is it possible to forget you have played the game after you travelled?
Unknown. My sense from those who commented in the original sources for this one is that you retain your knowledge and memories when you travel — but I suppose it’s always possible that something might… go wrong at some point.
Is it like a rewind, or can I use it to revisit happy memories?
It’s like a rewind — that is, you go back and do the time over. If you want to relive happy memories entirely — in a very literal sense — then yes, it can be used for that purpose; however, you’ll also have to relive everything between then and when you performed the ritual again, too. You can’t just go back, revisit those memories, and then return to what was the present for you when you actually performed the ritual.
Wait, what version of ‘you’ ends up in the past? Is this like a Doctor Who situation where you’re in your current body and a younger version of you is around, or is this more of a Peggy Sue Got Married situation where current-you “possesses” younger-you’s body? The fact that you can’t use the ritual to travel to before you were born implies the latter, but I’m not quite sure.
Unclear. I also suspect it’s the latter, but only those who have performed the ritual successfully know.
Can we bring items from our present time back into the past? Such as, say, a printed copy of this ritual, or a hard disk containing past school projects, or a phone of this time?
Also unclear. I’m skeptical that it would work. After all, it isn’t specified that your physical body is being plucked out of the present and dropped back in the past; in fact, it seems more likely to be that your present consciousness is deposited into the body of your past self — that is, if you don’t physically travel in time, then any objects you might want to transport back with you won’t travel, either. Again, though, only those who have performed the ritual successfully could possibly know.
Can you accidentally initiate the ritual? If, say, you go to sleep at 8pm and wake up at 11:40pm naturally?
I don’t believe you can. If you don’t prepare the game room before going to sleep, if you don’t put the blindfold on when you wake up, and if you don’t go to your prepared room and take your seat after waking, then the game won’t begin. Generally speaking, Most Dangerous Games can only begin if a certain set of requirements are met first — so if you don’t meet them, the game won’t begin.
What if I have rooms in my house that don’t have actual doors (just an archway or entryway)?
Another commenter suggested hanging a sheet over the doorframe, which sounds like a pretty good solution to me. Just make sure whoever places the candles for you keeps the ones in rooms like this away from the doorway — the last thing you want is a breeze wafting the sheet into a lit candle.
What if you fall asleep during the game?
Don’t. Just… don’t.
So I can’t have someone with me for emotional support?
Nope. See: General. Unless a game specifies that multiple players may or must be present, assume you have to do it alone or it won’t work. If your partner sticks around after the candles have been placed, it’s setting both of you up for failure.
Why the ceiling? What would happen if I faced the floor or somewhere with my eyes closed?
This is an educated guess on my part, but I think your eyes have to be open, while also refraining from looking around the room (remember, a lot of the… uh… creatures involved in these games do unfortunate things when you make eye contact with them. See also: The Girl from the Gap). Hence, the ceiling.
What is the object of the game?
To make it through unscathed. Think of it like a badge of honor. You can go ahead and make yourself an “I survived the Candles Game and all I got was this stupid T-shirt” shirt if it makes you feel better.
What do I do about rooms within other rooms?
The rules stipulate that a candle should be placed in every room in the house, so if there’s a room within another room, both rooms should have their own candles.
What if I finish the game and knock on the door to my bedroom, but I hear noises?
Don’t enter it. Seriously, don’t.
What happens if someone goes into a room where the candle is lit, but they weren’t the one to light it?
I don’t think anyone who has done that has been in any condition to tell us what happened.
What happens if you lose?
Don’t. Just… don’t. (There are a lot of things one really shouldn’t do during this one, including losing.)
I know I can’t ask my partner to tell me where the candles are, but can I ask them to place them in extremely easy hiding places (i.e just leave them in the middle of the floor)?
I kind of think that classifies as cheating. They’re not exactly hidden if they’re all just sitting out in the middle of the floor, are they? Plus, I suspect that your having told them what to do with the candles betrays the fact that you have prior knowledge about the candles’ locations.
If I have any candles sitting around my house as decoration that are not part of the game, should I remove them?
I would. Better to limit the candles in your house at the time of the game only to those being used to play. It’ll avoid a lot of confusion and/or additional unnecessary danger.
Can you use a translated version of the story (i.e. the same story, but in a language other than English)?
Probably! The language for this one isn’t as particular as it is in some other rituals. As long as the details (and, possibly, the rhythm and rhyme) of the story are the same, you can likely tell it in whatever language is most comfortable for you.
Do you have to use your own hair?
I don’t think so; if you did, no one who is blond or red-haired would ever be able to play this game.
For what it’s worth, though, there are compelling explanations for both why you should use your own hair, and why you shouldn’t. On the “should” side of things, as one TGIMM reader put it in a comment, using your own hair could attract the spirit to you, which might make it “most likely [to] pay more attention to you.” (In this case, think of the hair similarly as you would, say, the blood and your own name in the Midnight Game.) On the “shouldn’t” side of things, though… well, it’s not often wise to bind a spirit to yourself — and using anything from your own body is a surefire way to do that.
Does the hair have to be naturally black, or could you use hair that has been dyed black?
Natural. Hair that’s been dyed may look black… but at its core, it isn’t the correct color.
Can you use synthetic hair?
Nope. The requirements state that it has to be human. It’s not human if it’s synthetic.
Do we need to dispose of the squares of cloth after we’re done with the ritual?
I don’t believe so, but you could if you wanted to be extra safe about it.
Is it dangerous to leave her an offering of sentimental value, or an offering I made myself?
You could, but bear in mind that whatever you offer, you’re not getting it back afterwards. If you’re okay giving up something that’s of sentimental value to you and never seeing it again, then by all means, use that as your offering; otherwise, though, I’d pick something else out.
She likes jewelry, if that helps.
Do your partners have to follow you to the public place?
Nope. They should just wait for you where you left them.
What happens if you’re in the building and you “Do not proceed?”
Stay put. You, uh… might be stuck for a while. You might try closing the door and repeating the previous step.
But I’ll be honest with you: This would not be a good situation to be in.
Can you abort this ritual halfway through if you change your mind?
I don’t think so. And, really this is a note for almost all of these games and rituals: Make damn sure you want to play it before you begin. Some of them have procedures that will allow you to abort the ritual; not all of them do, though. And even if you abort… well, you’ve been playing around with some powerful stuff. There’s no going back once you’ve dipped even a toe in.
I have a seven-year-old sister. If I tried this with her, do you think Charlotte would be happier because she’s the same age or what?
I… wouldn’t bring a kid into this one. Or into any games or rituals, for that matter. None of them are safe — not even the ones that seem less dangerous than the others — so I can’t in good conscience recommend that children be included among the participants. Consenting adults is one thing; children, especially very small ones, is something else.
Will the toy disappear in the end? Will you get it back, or does she take it and keep it forever?
If the game is successful and she accepts your offering, she takes it and keeps it (see: “If you have succeeded, she will wander out of view of the mirror, taking the toy with her”). Generally speaking, if a game requires an offering of some sort, don’t expect to get it back again at the end.
Can you draw a diagram of what the board should look like?
Sure! It should look something like this (minus the watermark):
It’s not terribly different from the kind of board you set up for the Compass Game.
Can we use any kind of tools to hold the needle over the flame?
No. Hold it between your fingers. No pain, no gain.
Can other people be in the room while you play this game if they’re only watching, not playing themselves?
Maybe. But if they’re only watching, they’re only watching — they shouldn’t speak or make noise, they should remain as still as possible, and they definitely shouldn’t attempt to communicate with anyone who is playing the game. Also, there’s no guarantee that anyone who is watching won’t experience a few side effects afterwards due to being in close proximity of the game, even if they didn’t strictly play.
What happens if you look at a mirror?
You know, I’m not actually sure. Good question. Personally, I would be careful about bringing a mirror into a ritual that doesn’t specifically call for one; they can be powerful objects, and they might cause some unpredictable and unfortunate side effects.
What happens if you fail to light the match on time?
Don’t let this happen. Just… don’t.
How long are you supposed to wait after you’ve spoken in the dark?
A minute or two will probably do it, although again, if you hear whispers, light the matchimmediately.
If I light the match in time, do I have to wait for the voices to lessen before I leave the closet?
My sense is that if you light the match in time, the voices will cease pretty quickly; if you don’t, though… well, an unlit match will be the least of your worries.
What happens if I have to get something out of the closet after playing the game, but I don’t have anything to light it up?
The example given in the comment that asked this question was if, say, there’s a power outage and you don’t have any other sources of light available. Trouble is, though, the “don’t look in the closet if you can help it and especially not without any light” circumstance remains the case, regardless as to what else might be going on in your life at any given moment. So, I would say that unless it’s absolutely essential that you get something out of that closet, then wait until the power comes back on.
Or, ideally, don’t store anything you might need in that closet. Then you won’t have to go in it all. (Remember that whole thing where you need to be really, really sure you want to play these games before you start? Considering the consequences is part of that decision.)
Can I use a lighter instead of a match?
Nope. Matches only for this one.
Can you ask questions regarding the future?
I mean, sure, as long as you mean them sincerely; I just wouldn’t necessarily trust the answers you get.
Can you just rip the paper into pieces to destroy it?
Sure, but also make sure you dispose of those pieces when you’re done.
It’d probably be better to burn the paper to ashes, though.
Why can’t you wrap your hands around the person’s neck? Will it simulate them choking on a rope and then dying?
It’s just a basic, common sense safety precaution. Don’t wrap your hands around someone’s neck; you might actually strangle them by accident.
What if you see a color besides the ones listed?
I actually think that’s pretty unlikely; gradations in shades will still mostly fall under one of the overall color categories listed. Teal might be blue or green, for example — go with whichever color it leans toward the most. The only exception might be pink, but even that, I might file under red; historically, pink was considered to be light red (so, Donut in Red vs. Blue was actually correct about his uniform color).
But hey, if you’d rather believe that you’re immortal, go for it. Just know that immortality probably not all it’s cracked up to be.
What if you see more than one color, or if you see a color flash once and then another follow after?
…Probably that multiple causes of death will contribute to your own death, or that your cause of death might be murky or difficult to determine.
A bit morbid, perhaps, but how one dies isn’t always cut and dry.
What if you feel chills while playing?
The game is meant to induce these kinds of feelings, so I’d take that as a sign that it’s working.
Is there a required start time?
Not an exact one, although it’s probably best played at night. You’ll have a hard time making the game room dark if it’s broad daylight out, and the ritual won’t work unless the room is dark.
What if there is something else in the room, like a cockroach?
There shouldn’t be. Remember that whole thing where you need to clear the building of anything living besides the players before the game begins? Do that. Again, at best, an additional creature will cause the ritual simply not to work, and at worst, it will cause catastrophic failure. See: General.
What if the speaker disappears?
You’re probably kind of… uh… screwed. If the Speaker disappears while the lights are off, and another player notices and turns the lights on, hopefully the Speaker will reappear, enabling you to enact the completion procedure; if not, though… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
What if the missing person reappears, but there’s no additional figure?
Then there’s no ghost or spirit present. Congratulations! Your probably all safe.
Can more than one person disappear at a time?
Theoretically, although I don’t know whether more than one disappearance at a time has actually been known to happen.
Can you use a room with more than four corners?
Nope. Four corners — no more, no less.
How many times should we do Main Event Step 4?
Until all the players have stood in each of the four corners once.
In the Prelude, it says that “upon entering, you must speak your own name three times.” Is this something that only you, the reader, must do, or does every principal have to do this?
My understanding is that everyone who’s playing has to do it. (If only one person needed to, I’d imagine that person would be the Speaker — in which case the instruction to speak your name three times would likely have followed the selection of the Speaker, rather than coming before it.)
Can you play this game in a haunted building?
Sure. It’ll certainly up the danger factor, if that’s what you’re hoping to do.
What if I laugh at the creature? It only says no negative emotions.
That’s… not strictly true. I quote: “Do not respond. Do not react. Do not interrupt. Do not betray your feelings in any way, no matter what the creature tells you.”
Don’t laugh at the creature. “Do not respond,” “do nor react,” and “do not betray your feelings in any way” cover all forms of emotion, positive or negative. You want to remain as neutral as possible.
And how long do I have to wait to wake up if it’s the wrong place or time? And if I’m not awake, what if I don’t know how to wake myself up?
As far as I know, there’s no time limit for waking up, per se — when you wake up, it will be 7am. If the clock says anything other than 7am, then you are not awake yet and still dreaming. No outside sources are permitted to wake you at the appropriate time (alarm clocks, friends, etc.), so you’ll have to wake on your own. This is why it is suggested that you become skilled in lucid dreaming before attempting this game; if you are skilled in lucid dreaming, you should be able to wake yourself up. We’ve also covered lucid dreaming in another game (The White Kimono Game); head here and scroll down to the Additional Notes section for pointers and resources on the subject.
What if I’m given a different item from what is listed?
You won’t. If you performed the ritual correctly, those are the only possible outcomes.
What if you have a bad dream before the six days of good dreams are up?
Again, you won’t. If you performed the ritual correctly, and the outcome was such that one of the results is six days of good dreams, then you’ll have six days of good dreams before your dreams return to normal—full stop.
Can I talk to the creature after it does/says everything it should?
No. Don’t say anything to the creature other than what’s specified in the instructions.
Is it ill-advised to leave the room if it’s the wrong room/time?
Yes, it’s ill-advised. Don’t do that. If you “wake” and you’re not in the room in which you fell asleep and it is not 7am, then you are not awake. You must wake yourself first.
I share a room with someone else. Is it permissible to let them sleep there if they won’t disrupt the ritual?
It’s probably not ideal, but it might work. It’d be difficult, though, especially if you’re a light sleeper and they get up or move around at all during the night (or if they snore!).
I don’t get the position of things. Are you inside the sheltered room or not? Is the flute inside or outside?
Here, I made a rough diagram that may help. The whole picture is the sheltered room (walls delineated with a thick, black border); everything else takes place within it:
Note, though, that your hiding place doesn’t necessarily have to be inside the same room as the door/instrument set-up — if you’re performing the ritual in a house, for example, you could go hide in another room in the house if you wanted.
If I wanted the spirit to play an instrument that requires both the fingers and mouth to play (i.e. a recorder or an ocarina)? Would I have to prick both my lips and a finger?
That’s an interesting question — I’m not actually sure. You might do both just to be thorough, or you could try with one or the other and see what happens. I suspect one would only be able to answer this question accurately through trial and error, although I suppose even that might not be foolproof (that is, it’s possible that what works for one person might not work for another).
Why is it necessary not to go between the instrument and the door?
A commenter put it best: “Well, it’s never a good idea to stand between an entity and its way out.”
When you say “hiding spot,” do you mean anywhere out of sight of the instrument, or an actual hiding spot, such as a closet or under a bed?
The more hidden the hiding spot, the better. There’s no point hiding if you’re just out in the open, is there?
When we play the instrument for 10 seconds, how do you NOT show off?
Play something incredibly simple, without embellishment — the kinds of things people tend to learn when they’re first starting to learn an instrument would be a good choice (“Hot Cross Buns,” “Chopsticks,” that kind of thing). This is especially important if you’re proficient in the instrument — don’t add any little flourishes or play something overly complicated.
Would drums work for the instrument of choice?
I don’t see why not.
When it says “do not play music in that location again,” does it just mean not play like an instrument, or don’t play music at all, including like music from an MP3 player?
As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s usually better to err on the side of caution, so I would recommend not playing music at all in that location again, even if it’s a recording. If you’re the sort that likes to tempt fate, you might feel differently… but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
It says that if the instrument is broken to play it. What if the instrument is too broken to be played?
Find a way to play it.
You don’t want to know what happens if you don’t.
Can your hiding spot be outside?
I don’t think so; that’s more like leaving the premises than hiding. Plus, you probably won’t be able to hear the music if you’re outside.
Can you carry a paper with the instructions into the hiding spot?
That should be fine.
Can you show a friend or family member the recording?
If you performed the first coda, sure; if you performed the second coda, nope. Also, reminder: No matter which coda you performed, don’t upload the recording to the internet.
Would the results vary if I use an instrument I have deep emotional ties to, as opposed to buying a new one?
I’m not actually sure. You could always try it and find out.
Should the instrument be tuned up before beginning the ritual?
I mean, probably. It’ll be a much more pleasant experience for everyone/everything involved if it is.
Would your voice be an acceptable instrument? If you can’t play an instrument, can you sing instead?
Probably not. Consider: The game requires you to leave a instrument in front of the door — but you can’t leave your voice in front of a door. The instrument could be broken during the course of the ritual — so if you use your voice as your instrument, that means that you could be broken during the course of the ritual.
If you can’t play a complex instrument, choose something simple. Even a kazoo would work — you don’t need special skills to play a kazoo.
What if you use a mirror that’s already mounted to the wall? Do I just put my face up as close as I can to it in order to anoint it with my breath?
It’s not advisable to use a wall-mounted mirror; remember, you have to smash the thing as part of the ritual, and a huge looking glass that’s stuck fast to the wall is a lot harder to break than a small hand mirror. If you must use a wall-mounted mirror, though, then yes, just get your face as close to it as possible. Breathing on it in this manner should still cause it to fog up.
What happens if someone in the room doesn’t breathe on the mirror?
Then they’re not actively participating the ritual. They’re a bystander only, so they’ll neither suffer the consequences nor reap the benefits.
I tried to create the black mark on the mirror with a flame and the mirror broke on its own. What happens now?
That’s not a terribly good sign; it sounds like your bad luck has already begun before you’ve even completed the first act. Since there’s no way to abort this ritual, you’ll have to see it through to the end anyway — but be extra vigilant throughout the night. The stakes were already high, but a mirror that breaks on its own may raise them even higher.
If you had a group of, say, 50 people, would every player get a smaller or minimal amount of bad luck?
Yep; that’s why large groups are recommended for this. However, if you all make it through the ritual in one piece, each person will also likely earn a smaller or minimal amount of good luck as a prize. Making it low risk also makes it low reward.
Can I break the mirror with a hammer?
I don’t see why not.
Could I break the mirror, then stay all night in my room reading a book or watching Netflix? Not much bad things can happen if I just stay on my bed… right?
I wouldn’t recommend doing this. If you stay in one spot all night, it’ll be really easy for bad luck to find you. Your room may not be as safe as you think.
Can the bad luck affect people you care about or other people around you?
Not unless they’ve participated directly in the game — or unless they would be negatively impacted by what happens to you as a result of your bad luck.
Can you leave your house during Act II?
Sure. In fact, if you performed Act I in your house, then you must necessarily leave, re: Act I, Step 6. Otherwise, though, your only goal during Act II is to survive; exactly how you go about surviving is up to you.
How long will the good luck remain?
It depends on the mirror you use to perform the ritual. Per the source, both the amount and the duration of your streak of good luck is “equivalent to the amount of negative energy that was in the mirror.” Brand new mirrors will yield only a few days of mild good luck; old or antique mirrors however, may yield “months or even years” of powerfully strong good luck. Additionally, using a mirror to which you have a personal connection will result in “good fortune… more suited to your particular tastes and desires.”
What if I were to start the ritual at one place, then leave and go to a different place? Would I still need to keep moving and go to different places?
Technically, you don’t need to keep moving throughout the course of the ritual and your night of bad luck; you can choose to stay in one place if you like. It’s only suggested that you move around because the bad luck following you might have a harder time catching up to you if you’re always on the move. There’s no single place, or collection of places you need to be in to play this game; you can do it wherever you like.
Just… be strategic about it. You’ll increase your chances of success if your strategy is a good one.
What happens when she catches you?
You don’t want to know.
What happens if you don’t cut her loose and she follows you into your dreams? Is there any way to stop her?
If you fail to perform the “Kitta!’ command correctly, you’re sunk.
What if your bathtub is not in a bathroom? My bathtub is in a basement separate from my bathroom. Does that matter?
I mean, honestly, I’d argue that any room with a bathtub in it is a bathroom, even if the room doesn’t also contain a toilet, a sink, etc. (It’s a room in which you bathe, right? Ergo, it’s a bathroom.) As long as there’s a door you can close somewhere in the vicinity — that is, as long as the bathtub is in a space such that you can get out of the tub, drain it, leave the area, and close a door behind you when you leave — then it’s a bathroom, and it will work for this game.
Will a combination bath/shower work? It has both the tub faucet and the shower faucet and it has tub walls.
Yep, that should be fine. Most homes these days have those kinds of tubs, anyway. If it’s a bathtub with a faucet, it’ll work.
Why can’t you just wake up the next morning and do the “kitta” command then?
She might not be close enough for it to work. Remember, you have to have her in your gaze in order for the command to work — but, as the rules state, it’s likely that when you turn to look you’ll see nothing. She’ll only occasionally be visible; she’s very good at being sneaky. You have to catch her in the act in order for the command to succeed.
Do you have to keep the water in the tub?
Step 7 of the Prelude specifies, “do not drain the tub.” So, yes — you have to keep the water in the tub for the duration of the game.
What happens if you open your eyes during The Prelude?
At best, the summoning will fail. At worst, something terrible will befall you. Keep ‘em shut.
Can I place items to hide in before the game commences?
I don’t see why not.
If you’re running for home base, is it possible for the spirit to catch you from behind?
If there is someone at home base that you didn’t play with when you’re ready to end the game, are you and your friends just stuck at home base forever?
Maybe. It depends, though. Are you willing to strike a bargain with the additional player?
What do we get from playing this game? I mean, is it just for fun or is there some sort of a reward?
There’s no reward. I’ve mentioned this a number of times across the site, but it’s worth reiterating: Not all games have rewards. Not all games have goals beyond simply surviving. Some games exist only for the purposes of tempting fate.
What if the presence refuses to start a match with me?
Then the ritual has failed — I’d stop pressing it and try again later. You can’t force someone to play who doesn’t want to, even if that someone isn’t human.
What’s the reward for winning and the cost of losing?
Not all games have a prize, but everything has a price. There’s a key to the price of this one in that phrase you’re not supposed to say.
If I am Player B and decide to blow out a candle, what happens?
Don’t do that. That’s cheating. Player A won’t take kindly to you stealing their turn.
Are there any “loopholes” in answering each question?
I’ll quote the rules back at you here: “You must answer each question truthfully; however, you do not have to answer each question freely or completely. Guard your secrets, for giving them up could result in disaster.”
Do with that what you will. I would imagine your interpretation of that stipulation would affect the outcome of the game quite substantially.
Would it be possible to play this game with a non-alcoholic beverage (like water or juice or something)?
I mean, you could try, but it might not work (and, indeed, might result in making the other player kind of angry). The requirements ask for wine; water and juice aren’t wine.
Are you contacting Satan or just some sort of demon?
I think that depends on your own personal belief system, and/or the belief system of the church in which you choose to perform the ritual. (Remember, per the game’s Additional Notes: “While this ritual is largely presented with regards to Christianity, this is not the only belief system in which the ritual may be carried out. The ritual may be adapted for any belief system, as long as it has as one of its core tenants a sense of right and wrong and/or good and evil.”)
Can you perform this game if you’re an atheist?
Again, you don’t necessarily have to believe in God and/or Satan in order to perform this ritual. If your belief system — whether it involves deities or not — has a sense of right and wrong or good and evil at the heart of it, you can perform it.
Since you are not allowed to lose sight of the opponent, does that mean that I can’t blink?
You can blink. Just don’t close your eyes for longer than the space of time it takes to blink, or look away from your opponent at any point.
What happens if you look him in the eye?
The source has some info on that.
But seriously — don’t do it.
You probably won’t make it out of the game in one piece if you do.
What happens if you let him out of your sight?
It’s said that if you look away, he’ll escape from the mirror while you aren’t watching.
And, uh… let’s just say you don’t want to be in the same room with him if you can help it.
I understand that we are not allowed to bring any religious objects or iconography associated with the belief system, but if there are already crucifixes or something in the church?
That’s fine. You just can’t bring any in with you or have them on your person, specifically.
How many times can you do this? Would it be possible to skip to multiple new worlds?
As many times as you like, presumably. Yes, you likely can skip to multiple new worlds; just know that you probably won’t be able to find your way back to any of them after you leave — or to your original world.
If I travel to the other world, will my friends and family exist? Will my house still be there? Will all my belongings be where they were?
Not necessarily. They might be there. They might be there, but be slightly different. They might have once been there, but aren’t there any longer. They might not be there. They might never have been there.
There’s no saying, really. And once you’ve gone, you can’t ever come back.
Don’t undertake this game lightly.
If you do this ritual again once you’ve arrived in the other world, will it take you back to the one you started off in?
No. Again, there is no way to return to your original world after successfully playing this game. Do NOT play it unless you have no intention of returning home.
Can you take another object with you to the other world?
I don’t believe so. You could always try falling asleep with the object you wish to take with you held in your hand, but I wouldn’t necessarily count on it working.
What if I tried to take my phone with me — would I be able to call one of my friends from the other world?
Again, I wouldn’t count on it working. Even if you managed to take your phone with you, there’s no guarantee that phones work the same way in the world in which you ended up, or that the phone would be able to call another world. You might just end up calling whoever has your friend’s number in your new world, rather than your original world. Or your phone might not be able to complete a call in your world. Or your phone might just not work, period, in your new world.
What happens to your body once you go to the other dimension? Will it disappear? Or do you just look like you’re in a coma in your original dimension?
Unknown. Given that this particular game seems to be about physically transporting yourself to another dimension, I suspect that your body and mind move as one — that is, you just vanish from your original dimension completely and reappear completely in the new one. But I suppose it’s possible that your consciousness could jump dimensions without taking your body with you…
If you’ve completed the paper — drawn the hexagram on it, written the words “FED UP” on it, etc. — but you decide at the last minute you don’t want to go, what do you do?
If you’ve completed the paper, but have NOT put it under your pillow and gone to sleep, then there’s still time to back out. You could just throw the paper away, but to be safe, I would burn it and dispose of the ashes (ideally somewhere far away from your own home).
Can you play and win the Gambler’s Game, then play this game, or would that be considered cheating?
Unclear. I would argue that playing the Gambler’s Game specifically to gain the luck obtained from it — or any other game where the prize is luck or good fortune — with the intention of using that luck to win the Dice Game is rigging the game; it’s stacking the proverbial deck in your favor. And since rigging the game is a surefire way to anger your opponent in the Dice Game… well, let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend doing it.
Can a chair be near/pushed into the table, or does it need to be nowhere near the table?
No chairs. Remove them from the game room.
What happens if you wish for a material object and you lose? If you wager for, say, a pair of new shoes, do you get a pair of dirty, worn-out shoes instead?
It depends; the consequence might not always be the same. (“Opposite” is a broad term, after all.) In the case of the shoe example, I actually suspect you’d be more likely to, say, end up losing a pair of shoes you already had (or maybe losing every pair of shoes you already have) — or perhaps even suffering some kind of injury to your feet.
One of the things you’ll probably want to consider before you make your wager is what it might cost you if you lose.
What if I wished for $100 on my doorstep the next morning, and I really needed it? Will he be angered?
No, that kind of wager won’t anger him; why would it? Wishing for $100 if it’s something you really want abides by all of the required rules for making your wager.
What if you wager something for another person to obtain, but you yourself want it as well? Say, a specific car, for example?
That sounds like a false wager to me — wishing for someone else to get something, but for selfish reasons (that is, so you can use it yourself) — which would anger your opponent. If you want the car for yourself, wish for it for yourself. If you truly want it for the other person, and not yourself, wish for it for them. If you want both of you to have the car, be honest about that in your wager.
What if you wish for something that affects other people as well?
As long as it’s not harming them, as long as it’s something you truly desire, and as long as it’s not an impossible prize to grant, that should be fine.
Is it worth the risk?
That’s something only you can answer for yourself. For some people, it might be; for others, it might not. Think carefully before you decide to play.
Would you need to buy dice, or could you make them yourself?
You probably use homemade dice, but there’s an element of risk in doing so. There’s a greater chance they might accidentally be weighted in favor of one side, simply due to the fact that handmade items typically have more irregularities in them than mass-produced, machine-made items. If you’re confident in your ability to make a pair of dice that isn’t unevenly weighted or irregular in a way that could be construed as rigging the game, then go ahead. Otherwise, though, it might be safer to use a pair of standard, store-bought dice.
Could I wish for a personal enhancement, like vampire teeth or functioning wings?
Depends. Vampire teeth, probably; that’s just a cosmetic change, after all. If you really wanted to, you could file your own teeth into fangs yourself; you wouldn’t necessarily need to play this game to get them.
Functioning wings, probably not — if, that is, you mean functional wings that are a part of your own physical anatomy. (Working within the confines of our reality, that wish would likely qualify as an impossible wish.) I suppose you could ask for functional wings that are more like a hang glider or something. Specificity is key when it comes to making your wish.
Take a look at the “Concerning Your Wager” section again. If you have to jump through a bunch of mental hoops to justify how your wish could be possible, then it’s probably not the right wish to make.
Also, bear in mind that if you lose, then what your opponent wins is the opposite of what you wished for — and usually the most damaging opposite possible. If you wished for vampire teeth, for example, you might find yourself with no teeth, or suffering from some other dental-related disaster. If you wished for functional wings, you might find yourself falling from a great height with nothing nearby to save you.
You won’t know what form his prize will take until it happens — but know that the cost for losing is steep.
Say I wished for every kinetic ability that existed. Would that count as being impossible/ungrantable?
Again, if you have to jump through a bunch of mental hoops to justify your wish being possible, it’s probably not the right wish to make.
Can I lead myself through the ritual? (i.e., can I do it without a partner?)
I wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll have no failsafes if you do it alone — and no one to pull you back to reality if you get lost in there.
Are candles required?
Yep. See: General.
What’s the purpose of the candles?
Partially to set the mood; partially to encourage the meditative state required to make the game work; and, if you believe in magic, partially to add a little boost to the proceedings. Candle meditation is an actual thing — some people find it easier to let go of their thoughts when they’re focusing on a physical object, rather than a mantra, and candles are a useful anchor. Candle magic, meanwhile (which I don’t practice, by the way — I’m just putting it out there for people who might be interested), also uses candles as a focus point, usually in conjunction with a specific color in order to achieve specific goals.
As for why you can’t just use a flashlight? This is conjecture on my part, but if the candles have to do with magic — well, electricity is a modern invention, and technology and magic don’t always get along terribly well.
Is it possible to use protective objects during this ritual?
Possible? Sure; whether or not they’ll do anything, though, remains to be seen, since the instructions don’t list them as a requirement. But if having one around helps to keep you grounded, then by all means, hang onto it while you play the game.
If you play Doors of Your Mind again, do you encounter the same corridor as the one before or a new one?
I think that depends on the state of your mind each time. If you’re at a similar place in life as the first time in terms of how you view, think about, and process the world, the corridor will likely be the same; if you’re not, it’ll probably be different. Remember, the corridor is basically a representation of your own mind, so whatever’s going on in your brain will be reflected in how the corridor looks — and vice versa.
Does the room have to be completely silent?
Since this is a low stakes game, it probably doesn’t have to be; however, you may find it hard to concentrate (and therefore difficult to actually get the game to work) if there’s excess noise.
Can you hear your partner’s voice once you’re in there?
Yes, although exactly how your mind filters it and presents it to you might be a little different than what you’re expecting. It’ll vary from person to person — it might sound like a booming voiceover for some; for others, you might not hear a voice at all, but rather see visual cues drawn from whatever your partner is saying; and for still others, it might be something entirely different. Remember, though, your partner is responsible for guiding you out, so however they choose to do that, there will be some sort of communication going on.
Can anyone give me a list of things to look out for?
Unfortunately not. No one else knows what it’s like inside your head but you, so the only person who could provide any sort of list for things to look out for would be you yourself.
How long are we supposed to rub the person’s temples and/or how long does it take them to be considered “ready”?
As long as they need. Don’t rush it. You’ll know when the time is right.
Can there be multiple people in the room with you while you play this or guide someone else?
As long as they’re quiet, I don’t see why not. Since this game has relatively low stakes, I suspect that observers would be fine, as long as they don’t interfere or do anything to draw attention to themselves while it’s in progress.
Should the words which are to be said in the beginning be in English only, or can we translate them to the language which the player is comfortable with?
Play the game in whatever language with which you’re most comfortable. You’re exploring your own mind, after all.
If you find yourself at the end of the corridor with no doors left to explore and the time has not run out, what do you do?
You could go back and revisit some of the doors you’ve previously explored. Or you could ask your guide to bring you back.
Or you could walk back down the hallway and see if any new doors have appeared.
The hallway isn’t necessarily static.
Do I need the skills of a lucid dreamer to play this game?
You do not need lucid dreaming skills to play. You’re not sleeping in this game; you’re doing something closer to guided meditation. The distinction is important.
Can you end the ritual at any time, or does it have to be after an hour?
You can end the game before an hour is up if you like, but don’t stay in the corridor for longer than an hour.
You… might have a hard time coming back if you do.
What happens if he visits you again, but you don’t invite him?
You’ll immediately want to begin with Step 1 of The Game (Run. Hide. Do it quickly and quietly), then play through to the end. You’ll have to stay vigilant, though; keep your ears open at all times. You never know when that rattling noise will announce his returning presence — and trust me: You don’t want to miss it when it happens.
Is using salt appropriate for this ritual?
Hypothetically, I suppose you could (quietly!) draw a circle of salt around yourself when you hide; although I’ve never seen salt included in any versions of the instructions, it might add some extra protection. I wouldn’t rely on it to keep you totally safe, though.
Would a wish for someone else’s well-being be considered “steep?” Say, wishing for a partner to stop drinking or for a close relative to be as happy as possible?
The only kinds of wishes you’ll want to stay away from are those that wish harm on another person. These examples both seem to be about helping others (how lovely!), so I think they’ll probably be fine.
Does he search for you while you’re hiding?
If you have to leave your house, will you be able to? Will he try to chase or follow you?
I’m taking “will you be able to” to mean something like, “will he try to stop you?” — to which I believe the answer is, he might try to impede your escape, so seriously, get out of there as quickly as possible. He shouldn’t be able to follow you once you’ve gotten out the door.
When returning to the room at 3 a.m., can you do so normally, or do you have to avoid getting caught until you recite the phrase?
You’re not safe until you complete The Farewell. Tread carefully until the ritual has been closed.
Can I wish for love from my crush?
You can, although I wouldn’t recommend it. Would you be content knowing that the only reason the object of your affection loved you is because you basically forced them to do so?
What’s a good hiding place?
That depends on your specific location. Only you know your space well enough to be able to determine what its best hiding places are. Generally, though, I’d recommend going for the last place anyone would think to look for you.
Does the hiding place have to be in a different room than the biggest room in my house?
Not necessarily, although it’s recommended. He knows the rules, too, so he’ll know that you spent the waiting period in the biggest room in your house — which means that’ll be the first place he’ll look.
When you return to the biggest room in your house at 3:00am, do you have to hide while going there, or is it safe to be out in the open?
Be careful while you’re making your way to the room; he’ll stick around until you tell him that he’s no longer welcome. Once you get into the room, close the door, and speak the words in The Farewell, however, there is no need to remain hidden.
Can you wish for a winning lottery ticket or something like that?
I don’t see why not. Essentially, you’re wishing for good fortune.
If I lock the door of the room I’m hiding in, will it work to keep him out?
I doubt it. The entities summoned by these kinds of games can’t usually be stopped by mere locks.
How will I know if the spirit is near me?
You’ll know. You’ll probably hear him, at the very least. (Remember, this guy is known for the strange, rattling noise he makes.)
What happens if I played the game, but I don’t invite him?
You… can’t. You have to invite him to play the game. Playing the game means you have to invite him. You can’t do the one without the other.
How does one acknowledge the head of the table without speaking?
There are any number of ways one might do this, but a simple nod of the head or a bow should suffice.
How are you meant to eat with the chairs facing away from the table?
A lot of the “do it backwards” instructions for this game are actually open to interpretation. If the chair is facing away from the table, you sit on it normally, grab your plate from the table once you’ve been served, put it in your lap, and eat that way, that could count as eating backwards. Or, if the chair is facing away from the table, you sit on the chair backwards — that is, so that you’re still facing the table, even if the chair isn’t — and you wat with your plate on the table that way, that could count, too.
When the ritual talks about “preparing the meal,” does it mean that I have to actually cook a traditional meal? Or would other forms of food preparation work? For example, frozen foods to be heated in a microwave, or ready-made meals bought from a convenience store or a fast food delivery, assuming that no one speaks and that all aspects of acquiring and preparing it are also done in reverse?
The labor of actually cooking a meal is important here. Cooking a meal for someone can be an act of love; it provides nourishment both literally and metaphorically and is therefore full of meaning. As such, it’s unlikely that simply ordering delivery or buying a ready-made meal — e.g. meals that don’t require any actual labor by you, the person performing the ritual — would have the desired effect. Indeed, I’d argue that trying to cut corners this much might be taken as a slight or an insult.
However, there are probably a few shortcuts that are acceptable. For example, if you’re serving steamed vegetables as part of your meal, frozen veggies steamed in the microwave are probably acceptable. The key part here, though, is the whole “as part of your meal” thing; if the only effort you put into making the meal is sticking a frozen burrito into the microwave, again, it’s not likely to have the desired effect.
The meal you make doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but you do have to put in the effort of actually making it.
What about using sign language?
Sign language is a way of speaking; it’s just not an aural one. Formal languages are a no here, so that means no sign language, too. However, general gestures that aren’t part of a full language system may be permissible — for example, if someone picks up their fork before all the guests have been served, you could probably shake your head at them or other signify that they shouldn’t be doing that.
How do you find an elevator with no one on it or getting on it except for the lady?
That’s up to you. Be resourceful.
What if you want to do it with two or more people?
My guess is it probably won’t work. I don’t know whether anything negative will happen; at best, though, I suspect that the elevator will just function as it normally would (no strange passengers getting on or off, no trips to anywhere else, etc.). It might be interesting to try doing it simultaneously with someone else in a building that has more than one elevator — each of you picks an elevator, you begin at the same time, and hopefully reconvene in the building’s lobby at the end of — but I can’t vouch for the safety of this possible variation.
What happens if you talk to the woman?
I’m not sure anyone has ever done this and been in a position to report back afterwards.
What happens if someone who’s not the young woman gets on the elevator?
I’m pretty sure that will just cause the ritual not to work. I’d abort the whole thing and head back down to the lobby; you can always try again later. If you’re worried that the new passenger might be the young woman in disguise — which isn’t something I’ve heard of happening, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything — err on the side of caution by averting your gaze.
How am I supposed to tell if whoever got on the elevator is the young woman without looking at her?
That’s what your peripheral vision is for. Elevators are generally pretty small, so you should be able to spot enough details about the new passenger from the corner of your eye to be able to tell whether it’s a young woman or not; just avoid looking directly at whoever it is. The important thing is not to make eye contact.
What happens if no one gets on at the fifth floor?
Remember, it’s not a given that the young women will show up; if she does, it’ll be on the fifth floor, but she won’t necessarily put in an appearance. Count yourself lucky if no one gets on then — it’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Can you play in a see-through elevator?
I don’t see why not.
Does time run the same speed in the Other World as it does here?
Can you take a picture of the woman on the 5th floor so you know what she looks like?
I mean, you could try — but I’m not totally sure the picture would come out properly.
Shouldn’t we help this poor woman on the 5th floor to get out? What if she’s stuck there, too?
That’s what she wants you to think.
How long can you safely stay in the Other World?
It’s never safe.
What do I do if the elevator stops at a different floor in the middle of the steps — say, floor three — and people get on? Is the game finished then? Do I need to do anything special?
I think that just means that the ritual didn’t work. You’ll have to abandon ship, so to speak, and try again later.
What if you don’t cancel the ascension on the way back?
Then you won’t get home. You might, in fact, get stuck in the Other World. Do yourself a favor and cancel the ascension in time.
Can you play this game in a building that doesn’t have just 10 floors?
If the building has more than 10 floors, yes. If it has fewer than 10 floors, no.
What if you chose to leave the elevator, but never get back on?
…Enjoy your new life in the Otherworld, I guess? You can’t come home if you don’t get back on.
What would happen if you bring paper and a pen with you, and instead of talking the woman on the fifth floor while she asks “Where are you going.” You write a response and give it to her without looking at, touching, or talking to her? Would that be considered as breaking the rules?
I’m not sure it would be considered rule-breaking, per se… but I also don’t think anything good would come of it. The key point here is that you’re not to acknowledge her at all. Writing out an answer to her question and giving it to her is absolutely acknowledging her, even if you don’t look at, touch, or talk to her.
I wouldn’t do it, if I were you. To do so would likely be granting her permission to keep you — and once she’s gotten you, she’s not likely to let you go. Ever.
Can you prevent the woman from getting into the elevator on the fifth floor? Say, by immediately pressing the “close door” button as soon as you see her?
I mean, you can try… but I wouldn’t count on it working.
Remember, though, that she doesn’t always appear. If you arrive at the fifth floor and there’s no one there, count yourself lucky, breathe a sigh of relief, and carry on.
If you even manage to find stuff that you can easily “carry,” can you bring stuff/items in the real world? And if you do, will there be consequences/bad luck or something?
The wording of this question is a little vague; I’m unclear whether you’re asking if you can bring things from the “real” world with you into the elevator when you start playing, or whether you can bring things you find in the Otherworld (if you choose to get off the elevator at the 10th floor) back with you to the “real” world. (“Real” world, in this case, means your original reality.) If it’s the former, then, I mean, yes, you can bring whatever you have on your person with you when you begin. If it’s the latter, I… wouldn’t recommend bringing anything back with you from the Otherworld. There won’t necessarily be consequences… but there might be. After all, you’ve purposefully upset the balance — you’ve brought something that should be in one world to a world where it shouldn’t be. That’s probably not going to end well — for you, or for anyone else.
What do you mean by “abstain from alcohol or other substances for 24 hours?” Would one need to fast from food and water for 24 hours, or just other intoxicating agents?
No need to fast or avoiding eating or drinking; just avoid recreational substances — drugs, alcohol, etc. I’d also be careful about taking prescription or over-the-counter medicine prior to playing, though, so if you have medication you need to take regularly to maintain your own physical or mental health, you may want to skip this game. Don’t stop taking your medication just to play it.
How will you know if your question was unacceptable?
You’ll know. Typically, the questions that will be asked of you will have clear, correct answers — either factually correct or truthfully so. Know your facts, and don’t lie.
What is the significance of the number four (or 44, or 444) in this ritual?
Unknown, precisely, but for what it’s worth, the number four factors prominently in the tenants of many major religions, including Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Taosim. Additionally, many natural phenomena occur in sets of four (the seasons, the classical elements, etc.). Meanwhile, the number 444 is a Harshad number — that is, it’s a base 10 integer that’s divisible by the sum of its digits (4 plus 4 plus 4 is 12; 444 divided by 12 is 37).
If the spirit starts hunting you when the candle goes out and you don’t light it in time, could you put a circle of salt around yourself as well for extra protection?
Well, bear in mind that the creature could begin hunting you in two different situations — either in the waking world, or in the dream world. In the waking world, it’s possible that a salt circle might protect you; however, it’s also possible that it might not. Better to keep moving and prevent your correspondent/opponent from finding you at all than risk them finding you and finding your potential safeguard to be ineffectual.
In the dream world — in the library-labyrinth — you may not even be able to lay down a salt circle in the first place; it depends on whether your dream self has thought to bring some salt along for the ride. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that the same kinds of safeguards that work in the waking world, like salt circles, will be similarly effective in the dream world.
I wouldn’t bank on salt in either case, if I were you. It seems like an awfully big risk to take.
Can I play UNO with him?
You can try; I’m not sure whether it will work, though, as UNO requires a specific type of deck, rather than the standard 52-card, four-suit deck. If you don’t feel a slight chill in the air after starting the game by saying the words, “Let’s play,” however, then you’ve got your answer: Do not proceed.
In Step 7, “If you win,” what if I don’t draw blood?
Then you’ve failed to meet one of the necessary conditions to reap the rewards. The Gambler won’t be able to claim his prize — he lost, after all — but neither will you receive the gift of being able to win any gamble.
What if an outside force (whether it be a draft of some kind, a fan, anything that can move light objects) flips the gambler’s deck around and I look at them? Does that suffice as cheating or at losing condition?
If you didn’t cause the draft that flips over the cards, either directly or indirectly, then I don’t think it necessarily counts as cheating or a losing condition; I think it might just nullify the game.
However, I would argue that it’s your responsibility to make sure that the quiet room really is quiet — and that means taking every precaution to ensure that nothing can disrupt the game before you start playing. If the windows are open, close them. If there’s a ceiling fan in the room, turn it off (and certainly don’t bring a portable fan into the room, let alone bring one in and turn it on). If there’s a vent blowing air around, close it.
Don’t take any chances. You’re gambling enough as it is.
Does the notebook have to be blank?
Unknown. Try both; see what works.
Is there a chance that the person you contact may not actually be your loved one?
That’s always a danger when you play this kind of game.
What happens if you leave the game midway through?
Don’t leave without closing the game out properly. It… won’t go very well for you if you just stop and leave it unfinished.
Why is version three the most dangerous version of this game?
This one involves summoning Veronica herself — and given how Veronica died, it’s to be expected that she might be a bit… angry. It’s said that failing to show proper respect for the dead while playing version three of the Game Of The Scissors And The Book might incense her further—and sometimes, she’s known to take offense to slights that are only perceived.
She’s not to be trifled with, our Veronica.
If you have four people in the house, but only two are playing, will the two that don’t play be affected by the game?
Probably not… unless they’re in the room that’s on the other side of the door you’ve decided to use to play the game. There’s really no telling what might happen if that’s the case.
Is it okay to have pets in the house?
As long as you can ensure they won’t disturb you while you’re playing the game, I believe so, yes.
May I use my phone just to check I’ve done everything right, or does “no light except the candle” mean actually no light whatsoever?
It means no light whatsoever. Don’t use your phone. Write the rules out on a separate piece of paper and check your work by the light of the candle if you must.
What do you do with the paper when you are done with the challenge?
Honestly, I’d burn it and dispose of the ashes far away from your home — just to be on the safe side.
Can I play this at midnight? Or does it absolutely HAVE to be at exactly 3am?
I believe it has to be 3am. If you’re feeling daring, you certainly could try it at midnight, though. It might not work, but it might be worth a shot.
Can the Spirit of the Door duplicate items?
If you believe Kyle “Stromedy” Godfrey’s videos, yes, if you ask it nicely and it decide to grant your request. If you think his videos are hoaxes, probably not.
(Personally, I think most of the sensationalist “3am Challenge” videos on YouTube are hoaxes, but that’s just me.)
Can you ask the Spirit of the Door for wishes or desires?
You can try, but be prepared for the possibility that you may not get them. The Spirit of the Door is more of an informational or knowledge-gathering entity, rather than a wish-granting one. You’re not summoning a genie, after all.
Can you sell your soul to the devil?
Why on earth would you do that?
What happens if the spirit tries to open the door during the game?
I… suggest you run. Fast.
Can I use a flameless candle?
Probably not. The burning flame is important; an LED light just isn’t the same.
What happens if someone opens the door after you’re done playing the game, but before daylight?
Nothing good, that’s for sure.
Why can’t you use four or 13 coins?
It’s not explicitly stated, but I assume it has something to do with the connotations of both numbers. (In a number of cultures, including many East Asian cultures, four is considered an unlucky number, frequently due to its similarity in many languages to various words for “death”; meanwhile, in many Western cultures, 13 is considered similarly unlucky.) Additionally, when it comes to 13 in particular, the more coins you use, the harder it is for you to win — hence the recommendation that you use no more than 10.
To Learn Your Future: Would it be wise to color code the candles so you don’t forget which one belongs to which principal?
That would certainly be one way to make sure you didn’t forget. However, it might be worth looking into the meanings of certain candle colors before you decide to use them; they might cause some unintended side effects if you’re not careful.
To Learn Your Future, To Test Your Love, and To Choose Between Two Suitors: Can’t we just write the names of who the candles and nuts belong to in order to keep track of which is which?
That’s another method you could use — although I’m not sure how that would work with the nuts used in the Two Suitors game. The nuts might be too small for you to read anything written on them; besides, once they’ve been tossed into the fire, the shells might scorch such that you can’t read them at all. Also, one commenter did point out that “tampering with the candles could mess up the ritual,” so proceed with caution.
To Conjure An Image Of Your Future Love: I’ve heard of a variation on this ritual being done on the first of May, which is apparently the last day of Walpurgisnacht. Out of curiosity, is that a feasible alternative, especially for those of us who missed Halloween?
Maybe! It’s worth a shot, at any rate. For the curious, you can read more about the connection between Walpurgisnacht and Samhain here.
Can I use my house as the building?
As long as it fits the requirements, sure. As is true for many ritual games, though, you might want to think twice about using your own home. Do you really want this dark shadow fellow knowing where you live? Do you really want to invite him into your home?
Would it be okay to use an enclosed candle holder to keep it from going out while running?
A lantern or something will probably work fine. Just make sure whatever you use isn’t totally enclosed or airtight — a flame can’t burn if there’s no oxygen.
What happens if you play on a day that’s not Halloween?
The best-case scenario is that it simply won’t work. It could, however, turn out significantly worse than the best-case scenario. It’s not recommended that you perform this ritual on any other day than Oct. 31.
Can more than one player participate?
Yes, but as noted in Step 2 of the Invitation, they have to participate willingly. If there’s anyone present in the building who does NOT wish to play at the time you intend to start playing, don’t play. See The Invitation: Step 2 for more details.
Do I have to observe just one room after the invitation, or should I check all the other rooms?
Only one is required, but you certainly could check any others if you like. Just make sure to perform the required actions laid out in Steps 9 and 10 of the Invitation based on the state of the rooms when you’re done checking.
Can I use this ritual to contact my dead dog? Would I be able to record it barking with a voice recording?
I’m not certain it will work — this ritual is intended to contact humans that have passed — but you can certainly try.
Can I use this ritual to contact someone I didn’t know very well or can’t really remember?
You can try, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Not only is it less likely to succeed if you can’t recall many details about the person you wish to contact, but — more importantly — your chances of bringing in an Uninvited Guest are much, much higher.
What if you try to contact someone when you aren’t sure if they’re dead? For example, what if they went missing and haven’t been seen for a decade?
You won’t know until you try. If you attempt to contact someone whose status of life is unknown and your attempt is successful, then you could take that as confirmation that they’ve passed on in the intervening years since their disappearance. If your attempt is unsuccessful, then either a) they’re still alive, or b) the ritual failed for some other reason.
What if you try to contact someone you have a lot of resentment towards?
Again, you won’t know until you try. I suspect that if the person you’re trying to contact knows that you feel hostile towards them, they might be less likely to respond — but then again, maybe they’d be drawn to the challenge. Your mileage may vary, both depending on yourself and the person to whom you’re reaching out.
Should we use fresh chicken bones for the ritual, or can we use bones from fried chicken or such?
Bones from fried chicken should work — no need to, uh, slaughter a chicken immediately before you begin. My impulse was to use bones from a rotisserie chicken. Just make sure you clean them adequately before beginning.
If we lock the room we use to hide, is it considered cheating/will it anger the entity summoned?
I understand the impulse to do so, but I don’t know that there’s much to be gained from the locking the room. First, it’ll be a dead giveaway to him that that’s where you’re hiding. And second, I… don’t think locks will keep him out.
What if you fall asleep while he’s hunting you?
Depends how you sleep. If you’re generally a quiet sleeper and don’t thrash around too much, then you may stay hidden enough for him not to find you. But if you snore, or if you tend to move around a lot, or if you sleepwalk, then he’s probably going to find you, either due to the noise you’re making or because he managed to catch sight of you.
Bear in mind, too, though, that even if you’re a quiet sleeper, he might still find you — and if you’re asleep when he does, you’ve got virtually no hope of escaping.
Do you have to hide in the dark room, or can you hide anywhere in the building?
Do NOT hide in the dark room — hide elsewhere. (This is specified in the rules—your hiding place should NOT be inside the dark room.
Why do I have to perform a cleansing ritual before and after the game?
Should you attempt any of these games, it’s a good idea to perform cleansing rituals as a matter of course — even if they’re not included in the instructions. When performed after the completion of a game, they’re a way to keep whatever you may have invited in — intentionally or unintentionally (sometimes opening the door to one guest allows a gatecrasher entrance, as well) — at bay. And as for why you need to perform one at the beginning of this particular one? I like to think of it as clearing the way for what’s to come. It’s a lot easier to walk along a path that’s been swept clean than it is to travel one that’s full of brush and brambles.
What are you meant to see during the cab ride?
That depends entirely on you.
Is it okay to play this game if there are other people asleep in the house?
Unless the instructions state that it’s okay to play with other people in the house, I wouldn’t (see: General). Typically just being in the presence of a ritual being conducted automatically involves someone in it, and it’s kind of a dick move to expose someone to this kind of stuff without their go-ahead. If they get caught in the crossfire, so to speak, it’s on you — and I wouldn’t want something like that weighing on my conscience.
What happens if I dial the wrong number? Do I have to restart?
You’d probably have to restart, yes. You can’t really hail a cab if you don’t actually call the cab company.
Can I ask the Hooded Man questions?
I wouldn’t. That’s not what he’s there for.
How much do I pay the Hooded Man when the ride is finished?
You don’t. Pay him, I mean. Just thank him for the ride, and follow the rest of the rules. That should be enough.
Do you need to have a working landline to perform this ritual?
That’s an interesting question. My assumption was that a landline was, indeed, required; however, the instructions don’t actually say anything about the phone needing to be connected. It might be worth trying the ritual with a disconnected phone; the worst that could happen is that the ritual won’t work with it.
Is the Hooded Man good, bad, or just neutral?
Mostly neutral, I think, but you definitely don’t want to anger him.
Should I write my full name, or just my first name or a nickname?
Most of the games that require the use of a name stipulate the full name — first, middle if you have one, and surname, a la the Midnight Game — so I imagine you’ll get a better result using the whole thing, rather than just your first name or a nickname. Be careful, though — names have power, and detailing your full name requires you to relinquish your hold over it. Whatever you give that power to? Let’s just say it may not have the best of intentions.
What happens if I look back?
I wouldn’t. There’s a reason this game also goes by the name “Don’t Look Back.”
Is there any reward for this?
Nope. The winning condition for these games doesn’t necessarily mean you get a prize.
What constitutes a “room?” Bathrooms? Walk-in closets? Attached garages?
Theoretically I suppose they could all count, although I wouldn’t recommend any of them. First off, the room has to be empty, so you’d have to take out everything you’ve got in any of those spaces and move them somewhere else. Additionally, the closet would be an enormous fire hazard (do you really want to be lighting a whole bunch of matches in relatively close quarters?); attached garages usually have a lot of windows (e.g. it would be a pain in the ass to cover them all up); and in the case of the bathroom, a) I’m not sure the room would be empty enough (things like the tub, sink, etc. would be… uh… difficult to remove from the room), and b) most bathrooms have mirrors in them, and I’m not sure it would be advisable to play this game with a mirror present in your hosting room. Mirrors have a habit of amplifying whatever you’re doing — adding one to the mix here might cause the game to become unpredictable, and therefore a lot more dangerous.
What if the match blows out suddenly after it lights?
This is conjecture on my part, but I think it might depend on whether or not you’re able to greet your guests before it blows out. If you are, then you can proceed as usual; if you’re not, though, then I would treat it as a match that failed to light.
What happens if the first match lights, the second match doesn’t, and the third match does?
Then you can proceed following the instructions for the third match having lit. You’re only in big trouble if it doesn’t — in that case, you’d want to run to the nearest light source and turn it on immediately.
What do you do if none of the matches light up with the first strike?
That’s actually explicitly stated: “You have uninvited guests. Do NOT look back. Do NOT turn around. Do NOT pause to close the door. Run as quickly as you can to the nearest light source and turn it on.” I advise you do as the rules say.
When do they leave? Do they ever leave?
If the ritual has been performed correctly, your guests will leave when the gathering is over. If the matches fail to light… well, I wouldn’t be so sure.
How would our time-keeping device indicate that the gathering is over?
Remember, when you sent the invitation in The Invitation: Step 6, you wrote down on the piece of paper, “You are invited! A gathering, hosted by [Your Name]. Takes place from [the current time] to [an hour from the current time]. Bring your friends!” The gathering lasts no more than an hour, and you yourself specify precisely when that hour occurs. You’ll just have to keep an eye on the clock; when an hour passes from the time you told your guests the gathering begin — or, put another way, when the time-keeping device indicates the time you told them the gathering would end — then it’s time to wrap things up.
When the match has burned such that I can no longer hold it, do I blow it out, or do I flick it in the air?
Extinguish it completely; then drop it on the ground. Make sure the match is no longer burning before you drop it. How you extinguish it is up to you; if blowing on it is your preferred method, then do that. Again, just make sure it is out COMPLETELY before you drop it. It’s a fire hazard, so take common sense precautions to guard against it. You might want to think about keeping a fire extinguisher nearby while you play, for example.
Can you do this in a house you’ve lived in for five years, or does is have to be new?
I think that’s too long. It’s got to be a place that you’ve either just moved into, or one into which you’re about to move.
Can others be in the room while you play this game?
There’s nothing that says they can’t be, but it’ll probably be more effective if you’re alone.
Can you explain the 5th and 6th step of the Main Event through pictures? I have a hard time imagining how it would be executed.
Sure! Here’s a top-down diagram:
The black square is the table; the blue square is the mirror square; the red dots on the corners of the blue square are the blood; and the orange-y yellow dot at the center of the blue square is the candle. The cross in the lower right-hand corner is where you should be standing. The arrows indicate where you should look. (Note that the location of the red dots and where you yourself stand and look will change depending on which corners you decide to anoint with your blood. This illustration should give you the general idea, though.)
Each mirror/cardinal direction is related to a different aspect of life/spirit, right? So, do you anoint the corners that correspond to the aspects of your life you’re most interested in viewing?
Something like that, yes.
A follow-up question:
But isn’t that a little like “Three Kings,” where the most dangerous part isn’t turning towards one of the mirrors — it’s turning your back on the other one? What if what you aren’t being shown is worse (or more vital) than what you ARE seeing?
I think the difference here is that you’re not summoning any particular entities (or portions of your own mind, depending on what you think is really going on in Three Kings); you’re choosing to look through a specific window with a specific view. Also, the mirrors in this case don’t make a point of lying to you, whereas in Three Kings, what you see in the mirrors may not always be truthful. You could always play the game again at a later date and choose to look at the portions of the mirrors that represent what you didn’t look at before.
Two more things to bear in mind: One, the future isn’t necessarily fixed; and two, some things are better left unknown. If you chose to look specifically at the mirrors that represent a certain aspect of your life, maybe there’s a reason for that — and a reason you chose not to look at the others.
Is it preferable to visualize a staircase with more stairs, or with fewer stairs?
Unknown, but I’d stick with about one flight of stairs — usually somewhere between 12 and 16 steps. More steps or multiple flights might make it hard to keep track of how many circuits you’ve completed.
Is there a minimum amount of stairs in the staircase for this to work?
Not as far as I know, but again, about a flight is a good pick. Less than that and it may not work as well. (There’s a lot less to visualize, for one thing.)
What if the staircase in question has a landing in the middle, and then more stairs? Do I ascend and descend the stairs to the top, or simply to the landing?
That’s up to you. If the number of steps between the bottom and the landing is small, I’d continue through the landing and go to the top; if there are more, though — say, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 steps — then you can probably stop at the landing.
Is it recommended to imagine the staircase in the place you live in?
That’s one option, but it’s not your only option. If a staircase in the place you live is one you know extremely well, then yes, that’s a good choice. But if there are other staircases you know as well or better — staircases that aren’t part of your home — those are fair game, too.
Also, it’s worth noting that it’s only recommended that you choose a staircase you know well. You can technically visualize any old staircase. You’ll just have the best results if you use one you know in real life — one you can describe down to the last detail.
Do you know of any negative consequences that could happen as a result of playing this game?
None specifically, although all of these kinds of games carry some risk — even if they’re relatively “safe.” You are, after all, opening yourself up to an awful lot when you play these games of games; there’s no telling what might be able to latch onto you as a result.
Can you do this ritual more than once?
Yes. Be careful, though; you don’t want to make your mind too vulnerable. Your guardian spirit isn’t the only thing you might encounter here.
Is there any other method of getting the hairs, or do you have to pluck them?
You can also a pair of scissors or another bladed item to cut the strands, but if your hair is of an adequate length, it’s probably unnecessary to do so. If you have very short hair — for example, if it’s shaved almost or entirely down to your scalp — you may need to allow your hair to grow a bit before retrieving the hairs.
What happens if you’re seen while placing the bundle in the outdoor space?
At best, the ritual simply won’t work. At worst, it might attract something that’s… not your occult twin.
What happens if the bundle is disturbed during the seven-day period?
See previous question.
I assume that when your twin appears, it will do so somewhere in/around your home?
Not necessarily. If you’re at home the night they’re meant to appear, then yes, they’ll likely appear in or around your home, as well. However, they might show up “at any time and in any location” — it all depends on where you yourself are that night.
What happens if you approach or interact with your twin? Does it turn hostile towards you?
Again, not necessarily — but generally, it’s not advisable to interact with your own double.
What happens to you after your twin leaves?
The rules don’t say. My sense is that life just carries on as usual — although this is dependent on making sure that you dispose of the supplies used to perform the ritual properly, and that what you actually summoned was your occult twin in the first place. If you don’t dispose of the supplies, or if it turns out you’ve summoned something other than your occult twin… all bets are off.
Are you in any danger if, when your twin disappears, you haven’t learned anything?
And again: Not necessarily (and, honestly, probably not — assuming that you did, in fact, summon your occult twin, not something else). The point of the ritual is to learn something about yourself, though, so putting in the work — the examination of yourself, the introspection, whatever you want to call it — is an essential part of the process. As long as you make a good faith attempt to figure out what you’re meant to learn, you should be fine. (And if you’re not going to put in the work, why even bother performing this ritual in the first place?)
Is it recommended to burn the cloth immediately after the occult twin vanishes? Can I burn it a day later?
Sooner is usually better than later; I’d burn it as soon after your occult twin vanishes as possible.
What happens if you fall asleep?
At best, the ritual just won’t work; at worst… I’m not sure you’d want to find out. It’s not usually a good idea to begin a ritual and leave it unfinished.
Is the alarm really the ONLY safeguard? Can someone in the real world wake you up?
As specified by the rules, yes, the alarm clock is your only safeguard. You could try instructing someone in the real world to wake you up at the appropriate time (similarly to how The Three Kings works) — but people aren’t always reliable. If you attempt to play with no alarm clock, choose whoever you ask to wake you up wisely — and make sure they know what to do if they’re unable to wake you.
If I don’t ascend the stairs in time (over 12 hours), does that mean I can’t wake up forever? There is no way out?
Something like that, yes.
Can we use a mobile phone as the alarm?
Yep. Just make sure there’s no danger of it running out of battery power while you’re playing. You might want to leave it plugged in while you play.
Is there any chance that something that will try to kill you during this ritual?
There aren’t any monsters or entities that will actively hunt you while playing, as far as I’m aware — but as in the Doors To Your Mind, your mind is not always your friend. Tread carefully; there are other ways for the darker areas of your mind to trap you or ensnare you. Make sure you ascend the staircase before the 12 hours are up.
Is there any possible chance of playing this game by accident? For example, if your mind keeps going to the vision of the staircase and you descending it? Or do you have to be completely calm, collected, prepared, and intending to play the game before beginning or even starting?
The preparation for this one before you even get as far as envisioning the staircase is pretty extensive, so my sense is that it would be difficult to accidentally start playing. The implication is that you can’t just imagine a staircase and go; you need to be in the right frame of mind and existing somewhere in the right conditions in order to even begin the journey, let alone take it fully.
However, it’s also possible that the more times you play the game, the easier it might become to start it by accident when you don’t mean to — kind of like how, the more practiced you get at something, the easier it becomes for you to do almost without thinking. Just, y’know… something to keep in mind.
Can I set my alarm for earlier than 12 hours from the start of the game?
You can, but the alarm clock is meant to be your safeguard in case you don’t wake up naturally before 12 hours are up. As such, I don’t really know that there’s much to be gained from doing so.
Is it considered cheating if we tie our eyes with a blindfold, wear headphones that block the sound, etc.?
Does the jack o’lantern that you light have to be homemade, or can it be store-bought?
To be perfectly honest, I have never encountered a store-bought jack o’lantern. Homemade, home-carved jack o’lanterns made from store-bought pumpkins? Sure. But a fully-carved jack o’lantern bought from a store? That’s a new one for me.
Even if I don’t personally have access to these kinds of jack o’lanterns, though, I believe that as long as the jack o’lantern has been carved from an actual pumpkin (or a turnip, if you want to get super historical about it) and properly lit, that should get the job done — although I also suspect that the protection it provides might be stronger if you carve your own jack o’lantern yourself. Just don’t use a jack o’lantern made from a fake pumpkin. It’s got to have grown from the ground.
Is there any reward for playing this game? Or is the challenge the point of playing it?
I’m pretty sure the challenge is the point of playing it.
Can people who don’t celebrate Halloween play this game?
May as well give it a try!
The rules say to play in a place where we’re unlikely to be disturbed. Does a cat scratching or meowing at the door count as being disturbed?
Yes. (I have cats; I know persistent they can be when they want something. They’ll absolutely disrupt the proceedings if they start scratching at the door or meowing incessantly.)
Most other rituals specify that there be no other people or pets present when you play. Would it be okay to have people or pets around as long as it doesn’t distract me?
The short answer is yes, it’s okay — but it’s not going to be an optimal situation for you (or for anyone or anything around you, for that matter). From the Additional Notes section of the instructions: “Although it is not required that you clear the space of any other people or pets before beginning, it is recommended that you do so. Should you choose not to clear the space of others before beginning, do NOT open the door to the game room before completing the ritual in its entirety. To do so would put anyone else in your home in terrible danger.”
Would this game still pose a potential danger for the next year, if you’re renting and end up moving before the next Halloween?
Yes. No matter where you are — even if you’ve moved thousands of miles away from where you performed the ritual — always light a jack o’lantern on Halloween each year after.
Do not forget.
Does the jack o’lantern in subsequent years have to be lit specifically with a candle, or would any light do?
I suspect a candle is probably best — electric or battery-powered sources of light don’t have quite the same power as a candle does — but if you’re, uh, feeling brave, you could always try swapping the candle for something a little less flammable. If you do, please report back and let us know how it goes (assuming it works well enough for you to be in a position to report back, that is)! For what it’s worth, there is precedent for using flameless candles in rituals and magic, so, y’know, there’s that.
If the candle doesn’t go out, even if the sun rises and/or a housemate comes to check on you, would you still be in danger, or would the presence of either chase off the opponent?
If the candle does not go out — ever — no housemate in the world can protect you from what might be coming for you.
Can you start a friendly conversation with the Wise One while he’s eating?
Nope. The rules stipulate not to break eye contact, not to scream, not to run away, and not to speak. Let him eat in peace, or suffer the consequences.
What happens if you ask him a question and he doesn’t give you an answer? Do you abort the ritual, or does he just kill you?
I actually don’t think this is likely to happen. Look at the summoning as a contract of sorts: If you’ve held up your end of the bargain, he’s bound by the contract you’ve forged to answer your question.
Of course, if you break eye contact while you’re asking him, then you’ve broken the contract yourself — which means that he no longer has to hold up his end, either.
What are we to do with the doll when done using it? Do we destroy it, or do we make sure it never gets damaged or used again?
None of the above, actually. As far as I can tell, the best course of action is to, yes, make sure it never gets damaged (so, uh, don’t destroy it) — but rather than making sure it’s never used again, it actually seems to be encouraged that it be used repeatedly to perform the ritual.
In this academic work on the related tradition of Nini Towong, it’s implied that the same doll is used each time the ritual is performed (“When once, Pak Suwardi told me, this doll was fashioned out of a basket fish trap, the doll that the troupe now employs is a more durable and handy prop that was made in 1980”). In this academic work on jelangkung itself, it’s also implied that the same doll is routinely used each time the game is played (“Sudibyo confirmed the reports and told me that the Jogjakartan ghoul Sumilah was the spirit that regularly possessed his jailangkung”). And in the 2001 Indonesian horror film Jelangkung, it’s implied that you must not leave the doll behind when you’re done playing; you must take care of it — or else terrible things will happen to you.
I have a question concerning putting the red candle outside the front door rule. I live in an apartment and outside my door, the lights are on in the hallways, 24/7, blazingly bright. So, would it be a massive problem for me if I did any of the front door activities, considering the quiet room is supposed to be as dark as possible? I mean, once I open the door the light pierces through. Is this going to ruin (not to mention having a lit candle in the hallway in the first place – fire hazard and all) the ritual from the get-go or am I okay this early on in the game?
I think you should be able to adapt this one for apartment dwelling fairly easily. After all, even the front doors of many single-family dwellings are likely to let some light in when they’re open (street lights, neighbors, etc.). You’ll just want to try to minimize the amount of light that gets in — specifically the amount of light that gets into the room of the apartment you’ve chosen as your playing space — as much as you can.
My suggestion for doing so would be to use the room furthest away from your front door as possible as the quiet room — that is, if your apartment’s door opens to, say, a living room or common area, use a bedroom or a bathroom as the quiet room. If you live in a one-room studio apartment or similar situation, try using the bathroom — or maybe just try situating the kissing chair setup in the corner of your studio that’s the most shielded from the light spilling in from the front door.
Just make sure that you’re being safe with the lit candles! If the only available space for you to use as the quiet room is too small for you to have lit candles around safely, then you may need to skip this one.
Okay, so you’re not supposed to touch your guest — but what if they touch you?
They won’t. Not if you refrain from touching them, as well. Don’t touch them and they won’t touch you. If you touch them, though, all bets are off.
If the ritual fails and I need to turn on every light in my house, but not open any doors, what do I do about the lights/light switches that are behind the doors?
Note that, while making the preparations for the game, nowhere does it say to open or close any doors to rooms or closets in your house; the only door that is of consequence is your front door. So, the doors to the rooms should still be open, while the doors to the closet will likely be closed (unless you leave your closet doors open all the time as a matter of habit).
Sources for this game state not to open any doors or windows, should you achieve a failure condition — so, knowing this, and knowing what the likely stated of the doors in your home are after you finish making the preparations, we can interpret this rule to mean: Turn on all the lights in the rooms of your home; your ability to do so should not be impeded, as the doors to the rooms of your home will be open. However, do not open any other doors in your home — doors to closets or other storage areas, the front door, any back doors or doors to garages if you have them, etc. — at this time. If your closets have lights in them, you need not turn them on, so long as you leave the doors closed.
Also, remember that you are not to open any windows at this point, either.
Is asking your guest how they’re doing as your first question wise? After all, asking how someone is doing is respectful and polite, right?
At best, I suppose it’s neutral; inquiring after someone’s well-being is often viewed as polite, but under certain circumstances, it can also be invasive. It’s also not quite the kind of question this game deals with, and there isn’t much to be gained from asking it. You can always try leading with it and seeing what happens, though; your demeanor will help distinguish a polite inquiry from an invasive one. Your guest may still decline to respond, though, so be prepared to accept whatever answer they give you — even if it’s a non-answer.
What kind of spirit is Kokkuri-san? Is it good, evil, mischievous or something else?
It’s best not to think of Kokkuri-san in terms of whether it’s “good” or “bad”; the truth is that it’s not wholly one or the other, but somewhere in between. “Mischievous” sounds about right, though. As noted in my introduction to the game, the word “kokkuri” is usually written these days with the characters 狐, 狗, and 狸 (ko, ku, and ri) — meaning “fox,” “tengu,” and “tanuki” — which has led to Kokkuri-being thought of as a kind of fox-dog-racoon spirit. Foxes have a reputation in Japanese folklore as tricksters and shapeshifters; tengu look sort of like dogs and are thought of as either gods or yokai; and tanuki — which are actually real — are thought of as mischievous creatures. More on foxes in Japanese folklore here, tengu here, and tanuki here.
Can I open both a door and a window together?
There’s no need to; one or the other will suffice. Indeed, I’d be careful opening more than one egress — you might let something else in at the same time as you’re welcoming in Kokkuri-san.
Can I play this game outside?
I… don’t actually think that will work. The opening and the closing of the window is important; you can’t really do that if you’re outside.
Does the coin have to actually, physically change hands, or can I spend it on a gum ball machine or self-check-out kiosk or something similar?
A vending machine or kiosk would probably be okay, but to be perfectly honest, I think it might be preferable to spend it in such a way that it physically changes hands. There’s something about the coin passing from one person to another that has a certain sort of power to it that simply dropping it in a vending machine does not.
What happens if we somehow lose the coin?
While playing, or after finishing? I’ll admit I’m not totally sure how you’d lose it while playing; unless it flies off the board and vanishes out of sight, it doesn’t seem likely to happen with this one. It’s not like Sara Sarita, where you’re tossing the coin every time you ask a question; your eyes and fingers should stay on the coin and the board the entire time.
If, however, you do manage to lose it while playing, I imagine the result wouldn’t be too dissimilar from what might happen if you lose it afterwards, before you manage to spend it: Bad.
You must keep your fingers on the coin during the entire game, and you must spend the coin when you’re done playing.
Can I still perform this ritual if I myself have wronged someone even just once?
Nope. You cannot have wronged anyone. The ritual will backfire if you have — that is, your own fortunes will decline, while your enemies’ will rise.
What do you mean by “you yourself do not need to be outside”? Can I be on a balcony?
Yes, that’s fine. You just need to be very high up, with access to the open air. The example given in the Additional Notes section of the game is being on the top floor of a building with the window open; a balcony is similarly A-OK.
Can I do this in the building I live in?
If it’s very tall and the highest point allows you access to the open air, yep.
What’s the clock for?
Timing. It has to be near or precisely midnight in order for the ritual to work. (This is noted in the “Preparation” section.)
Can you blink, or is that considered breaking eye contact?
Eye contact isn’t necessarily the same thing as staring, so I think blinking is fine. Just don’t turn your gaze away.
In the event that you have to break the mirror, will you also have seven years’ bad luck?
That depends on whether or not you believe in that particular superstition.
Do you have to say her name out loud for it to work, or can you just say it in your head?
My understanding is that it has to be out loud.
Does the lipstick have to be in classic stick form? Or can it be a liquid lipstick or a cream?
I suspect probably any lipstick would work; the reason it’s a suggested item is because lipstick generally draws on mirrors really well. I wouldn’t recommend using a liquid lipstick, though (particularly a long-wearing matte one); it’ll be a more difficult to write with (you’ll have to keep dunking the applicator into the tube), and it might be harder to clean off the mirror once it’s dried.
Do you think she’d grant a wish for a specific person to fall in love with me?
The reader who asked this question elaborated in their comment that the person they have in mind is already in a relationship with someone else; “Basically, the only way I’ll get a chance with them is if magic is involved,” the reader wrote.
Here’s how I responded on the original post:
“I mean, you COULD… but would you really want to be in a relationship with someone who only loves you because you manipulated them into it by magical means? That takes away their agency and free will — which doesn’t quite sit right. It’s not real love; it’s forced love, which isn’t really love at all.
“I’d recommend letting whoever it is go and looking elsewhere, especially since they’re already in a relationship with someone else. I know it’s hard, but you deserve someone who loves you both deeply and honestly of their own free will. Everyone does.”
The short version is this: You could, and it would probably work — but I’d think really hard about the implications of what it would mean for the resulting relationship before going through with it. (The same goes for any other game with a winning condition that results in a wish granted — 11 Miles, etc.)
What if, instead of making a wish for yourself, you wish for something like Lady Spade’s lost beauty to be restored to her? What would happen then?
I don’t think she would have the ability to grant that kind of wish; if she did, she probably would have restored her own beauty long ago. You might curry favor with her, though.
It says the mirror “may be a fixture of the room.” Does that I can only use a mirror that’s a fixture of the room, or is any type of mirror usable?
You can use any type of mirror. It may be a fixture of the room, like a bathroom mirror that’s affixed to the wall; however, it doesn’t have to be a fixture of the room.
What if you don’t know the person’s name, but rather a username, or alias? Would this ritual work then?
Unknown. Sources state that you must use the person’s full name, and I would argue a username or alias isn’t their full name — but I suppose you can always try and see what happens.
Just… make sure that you’re not being flippant about the whole thing. If you are, things could go south — for you, and for other people — very, very quickly.
What if you want to find a celebrity or a famous person, but you have never met them in real life? How will you write the last place you saw them?
If you’ve never seen them in real life, you won’t be able to use this ritual to find them. Also, it’s worth noting that most of the experiences (and the original story) regarding this game have centered only around those who used it try to find someone they actually knew. If you attempt to use it to find someone you don’t actually know, it’s unlikely that it will work.
What if the person we try and contact has passed away? Would the ritual simply not succeed and/or not work? Would it give you the location of their final resting place? Would it tell you the location of the afterlife?
Good question, but unfortunately unknown as of this writing. My sense is that the ritual would likely simply fail, although the possibility of it retrieving the location of the person’s final resting place is intriguing. I think it’s unlikely to tell you “the location of the afterlife,” but that’s just me.
What if I can’t remember where I last saw the person I want to find?
Then they’re… probably not the right person to use this ritual to find.
If you’re not good at remembering addresses, would it be okay to write down the address on the final envelope/letter on a separate piece of paper, then burn the envelope/letter?
That’s… probably fine. After all, it’s only recommended that you burn the final envelope and letter, not a requirement that you do so; technically you don’t have to burn them. (It’s just probably safer that you do.)
Just… be careful. And maybe burn the separate paper — the one onto which you copied the address from the final envelope — when you’re done with… whatever you intend to do with that information.
Can you just wish to not die if you lose?
I mean, you can, but if you lose, then your wish won’t be granted — so if you’re making the wish specifically to guarantee your safety while playing the game, then it won’t work. Your wish only comes true if you win the game.
What if I’m lights out and then the power goes out? Do I still lose?
Yes, you still lose. Electrical failure due to power outage will result in an automatic losing condition, regardless as to which player has been assigned to which light status.
If it looks like I’m going to lose, could I just forcibly hold he nearest light switch in the “on” position until 4am?
That would be cheating.
Could I purposefully play in an Arena prone to power outages during a thunder storm and choose lights out in hopes of a power outage?
That would also be cheating.
Don’t try to rig the game in your own favor before beginning.
It won’t end well for you.
If I were to block off a door leading to a room, will it still count as a room?
If a space meets the conditions laid out in Additional Notes — that is, if it is “an enclosed space within the Arena with at least four walls, a floor, a ceiling, a means of entering and exiting, and a light source” — then it counts as a room, whether or not the door is readily accessible. Blocking off the door doesn’t eliminate the door; the door still exists — you’ve just made it harder to get to.
If you lose as Player One and become Player Two, and you win in another game, does that mean you’re free to be with the “living?”
Unknown. Remember, it hasn’t been proven that Player Ones who lose do, in fact, become Player Twos.
But if that were to be proven to be the case… well, maybe. It certainly would give Player Two incentive to win.
Can you bring any items into the room with you to help pass the time? For example, a drawing pad, or book of some sort? It might be boring just to sit there with nothing to do other than listen to the ticks of the clock.
Nope — no additional items are permitted. The point of the game is to listen to the clock; if you’re not going to do that, then you may as well not play. It won’t work if you’re not focused solely on the clock.
Can you take food or water into the room with you?
Nope. Eat a good meal before starting. Water is permissible, though; it’d be dangerous to go that long without it.
What if I play in a room with no windows but with things in it like — maybe a living room set up in a basement? Do I have to take out the stuff or can I leave it?
You can leave it. This one doesn’t require the room to be completely emptied before it begins. Indeed, having a living room set-up in your chosen room might be useful; it’ll give you somewhere comfortable to sit for the 24 hours over while you’ll be playing the game. Just make sure that you don’t place your candle near anything flammable, for safety reasons.
What happens if you sleep during the hours you aren’t necessarily supposed to be sleeping? Is that okay, or will it affect the rest of the ritual?
My sense is that, if you fall asleep during the ritual at any point when you’re not supposed to be sleeping, the whole thing will just fail.
I also suspect, though, that it might be… uh… difficult to sleep, under the circumstances. After hour three, I think you’ll be, at best, too occupied by everything else that’s going on to fall asleep. At worst, you’ll probably be in too much pain or anguish, emotionally or otherwise, to fall asleep.
What happens if you don’t destroy the clock?
You don’t want to leave that thing ticking where you can hear it after you’ve finished this ordeal.
Is an analog wrist watch okay to use for the clock?
As long as you can hear it audibly tick, that should be fine.
Do I have to read the story out loud for it to work?
Nope — the rules only require that you read it in some way, shape, or form.
What if I answer “no” to her question?
Don’t do that.
Can you use an action figure for the doll?
Sure. As long as it’s not made of soft materials and represents a human character, it can be used for the doll.
What happens if the doll is plush?
At best, the game simply won’t work; at worst… well, things could get bad, fast. The rules specifically say not to push a plush doll, so… don’t use a plush doll.
Can you create more than one scapegoat doll in order to make the game easier on yourself?
You could try, although it may not have the effect you intended. It’s possible, for example, that creating more than one scapegoat doll could diminish the amount of power they each hold.
Re: The hiding place room — if the entire room is the hiding place, can you sit anywhere in the room? Or should you hide somewhere within that room?
My understanding is that the entire room is the hiding place; however, if you wanted to exercise an abundance of caution, you could also hide somewhere within the room, as well. Just make sure that wherever you choose to sit — even if it’s in a hidden spot within the room — you sit cross-legged on the floor with your back to the door.
Would it be considered cheating if you wore black from head to two and hid in the shadows? Like camouflage?
I don’t believe it would be considered cheating, no. The rules don’t specify what you can or can’t wear while playing the game. Note, though, that the doll may not need to see you to find you — so, wearing black won’t guarantee your safety.
Just, y’know… something to bear in mind.
Can we use a chest or trunk instead of a lockbox?
As long as you can lock the chest somehow, yep! The “lockbox” can be any kind of box, whether it’s an actual lockbox or not; you just have to be able to lock the box securely.
Do both of the participants have to have been close with the departed loved one your question concerns, or is it permissible for only one of the participants to have been close with them?
Unclear. You’ll probably have the best results if you were both close with them, but sources don’t specify either way. Remember, though, you’re not speaking with the departed person — you’re speaking with an intermediary about the departed person.
Is it “cheating” if you squeeze the other participant’s hands once it “feels right” (re: Step 13 in The Ritual)?
Maybe not cheating, per se, but it’s probably not ideal to do so. I would argue that if you have to signify to someone that the moment is right, then that’s actually a sign that the moment isn’t right. If all goes well, you should both naturally open your eyes at the same time. If you don’t, then enact the procedure described for the situation in which only one principal opens their eyes.
Can one principal say the Korean while the other asks the question?
No. Both players must speak the opening and closing incantations together in unison. However, the question may be asked by either one player alone or both players together.
In all situations, the box shouldn’t be opened, and it should never leave your home. But what if something else happened to it outside your own control, like it washed away in a flood or a tornado blew it away and it was lost?
You’re… probably out of luck, then.
Will this work instead with like, a best friend, or a family member? Like a dad/mom or a sister/brother, or someone you have an unshakable bond with that you aren’t with romantically?
My gut says no — the point of the game is to test a romantic relationship — but I suppose you could always give it a shot and find out. If you do, report back and let us know how it went.
Though the Other can’t physically harm Participant 2, can they intervene or stop Participant 2 from going back to their partner? Like locking them in the room, etc.? Or, can the Other mess with the time-keeping device and/or clocks in Participant 2’s house?
The thing to bear in mind about this whole game is that the Other is trying to convince Participant 2 to stay with them. In order for the Other to win, Participant 2 must actively choose to stay with the Other, rather than returning to their partner (Participant 1).
The Other’s goal is to persuade Participant 2 to make that choice. The choice cannot be made under duress.
If you are Participant 2, can you sleep at any time during the 24 hours, or do you have to stay awake?
You can sleep. During those 24 hours, you’ll be living your life the same way you normally would; you’ll just have to resist the temptations of the Other while you’re doing it.
But don’t neglect to wake up in time to get back to place where you left Participant 1.
What if Participant 2 decides to go with the Other, but then regrets their decision and tries to free Participant 1?
Too late. Once the decision has been made, it cannot be unmade.
If you are Participant 2, think carefully before you make your decision.
If Participant 2 fails to release Participant 1 when the time comes, does Participant 1 become an Other?
Unknown, but possibly. It’s a similar question to one that’s been asked of the game Lights Out: If Player One loses, do they become the next Player Two? The theory hasn’t been definitively proven in either game — but it hasn’t been disproven, either.
If I’m Participant 1, can I bring a book or something to pass the time?
You know, I’m not sure. The rules don’t note that something like this would be permissible, but they also don’t flat out say not to bring anything extraneous with you, either. If you’re okay with not knowing how it’ll all shake out if you do bring a book with you, you could certainly try it.
Is Participant 1 in any danger before Participant 2 makes their choice?
That depends what you mean by “danger.” I’d argue that just by undertaking the ritual in the first place, you’ve already put yourself in danger; the threat of your partner choosing the Other instead of you hangs over the entire game. But if you mean being in physical danger from, say, other entities that might be found in the red corridor with you while you wait, then no, I don’t think you are.
Must Participant 1 remain at the end of the red hallway until Participant 2 makes their choice?
Yes. Don’t return to the stall (or, y’know, where the stall was at the start of this whole thing) until a full 24 hours have elapsed.
Can Participant 2 reopen the door early?
No. You must wait the full 24 hours.
What if Participant 2 reopens the door even a minute late?
Then Participant 2 has missed their window; they’ve effectively chosen the Other. If Participant 2 wishes to open the door, they must do it after exactly 24 hours — not a moment sooner, nor a moment later.
What happens if you are Participant 1 and you are in the bathroom stall and you “do not proceed” in Participant 1: Step 8? Do you just go home? Do you stay?
Go home. The ritual failed; leave the premises and maybe think twice about going back to that public restroom in the future.
What if you tried to kill the Other? Would that do anything? Could it help you?
Unknown. You could try; it may or may not have the effect you’re hoping for, though. It’s worth remembering that the Other may not necessarily be mortal, or even human.
If Participant 2 chooses the Other over Participant 1, can Participant 2 perform this ritual again with the Other as Participant 1 and swap them out for another Other?
I mean, Participant 2 could try — but the Other is unlike to agree to becoming a Participant. The ritual will not work if either Participant forces the other to perform it; both parties must consent before beginning.
When I finish, do I have to sleep in my safe room?
Sounds like a good idea.
So If I don’t win… does that mean I won’t wake up in the morning?
In the house I’m living in right now, we have a split-up backyard; we have one small court pretty much surrounded by our house, and then behind that, there’s the garden. The Man in the Fields should “spawn” behind me in the garden, right?
Admittedly I’m having a little trouble understanding this particular setup, but I believe he would probably spawn behind you in the garden, yes. If the court is surrounded by the house, it’s not quite the same thing as a backyard or back garden (and I mean “garden” in the British sense here); the garden you’re referring to would likely function as the “field” here.
I think, at least. Without a picture, I can’t say for sure, so tread carefully.
Can you “cheat” by playing the game in an empty house?
I mean, sure, but what’s the point of doing that?
What if there are things in your backyard or garden that can be opened? Do I have to close those, too?
Nope — just the stuff inside your house.
Say there’s a giant box and a small box within. Do I have to close both?
Do I have to close books or apps on my phone?
Should I close my mouth and eyes when I’m done?
If you don’t live alone, will the Man in the Fields go after other people in the house?
Yep. That’s why the preparation for the game instructs you to clear the yard and house of other people before you begin. Exposing people you know and/or care about to extreme danger without their consent is… uh… not a nice thing to do (to put it mildly).
Can you get a head start by closing some of the things in your home before you begin?
Nope. Something about The Invitation opens everything — so if you close it before you start, it’ll be open again by the time you finish The Invitation. You’ll just have to close it all again.
What happens if your neighbor looks at the scarecrow?
I, er… don’t know that they’ll be able to see it.
But if they can… probably nothing good.
What happens if you forget to close something outside of your safe room?
Then you’ve failed to complete the task at hand — and given him an opening to get inside your house.
You don’t want to let him inside your house.
It’s not going to end well.
Do the pencils have to be unsharpened when you begin playing?
Nope, they can be sharpened; they just have to be the same length. The “don’t sharpen them” rule only applies at the end of the game.
What happens if you sharpen the pencils after you’re done playing with them?
Don’t. Just don’t. You don’t want to find out.
What if you accidentally drop the pencils while playing?
Unclear. No result is specified in the rules, so possibly nothing. Just to be safe, though, it might be worth ending the game and trying again another time.
What will happen if I burn the paper that has my blood and name on it?
This one first popped up in a Search Terms from the Black Lagoon post, but now seems like a good time to revisit it. As far as I know, burning the paper used to summon the Midnight Man isn’t a step that’s included in any of the versions of the rules out there; as such, I can only answer this one based on speculation. If you burn the paper after the conclusion of the game, it’s possible that it might function as a purification ritual — kind of like the way you’d burn the paper cup at the end of performing the Shoebox Telephone ritual or burn the doll after finishing One-Man Hide and Seek. Again, don’t take this as gospel — I’m definitely extrapolating here from what I know about how fire functions in other rituals — but burning the paper and scattering the ashes afterwards might help keep the Midnight Man at bay (remember, just because you successfully finished the game without getting caught doesn’t mean the Midnight Man is gone for good).
However, if you burn the paper while actively playing the Midnight Game?… Well, let’s just say that I’d avoid putting yourself in this position at all, if I were you. I get the feeling it might just piss the Midnight Man off. You don’t want that. Trust me.
Will a lighter used to light the candle anger the Midnight Man?
Nope. You should be fine.
Can you create several salt circles before the game, then run to the closest one as needed?
I wouldn’t. The idea of creating a salt circle around yourself is to build a protective wall; in this case, the wall is meant to stand between you and the Midnight Man. Laying out a bunch of salt circles in advance, then trying to run into them, would functionally be the same thing as building a bunch of actual walls, then running headlong into them — either you’d do a lot of damage to yourself, or you’ll just knock the walls down. In either case, the protective power of pre-drawn circles would be useless; either you’ll be stuck outside of them with the Midnight Man snapping at your heels, or you’ll have blasted holes through them, thereby allowing the Midnight Man to follow you right inside.
You can apparently cut a door through any salt circle using something called an athame, but if you’re trying to save yourself from the Midnight Man, I don’t think you’ll have time to cut the door, get through it, and close it before he gets to you.
What about an uninvolved observer — will it work if someone follows you around who’s in the house, but not playing the game?
There are no uninvolved observers. If you’re in the house, you’re in the game — whether you like it or not.
What if there are people sleeping in the house who aren’t playing the game?
Oh, good gravy, don’t do that to them. You’ll put them all in terrible danger. See: General.
If I fill hula hoops with salt beforehand, could I throw one over my head and be considered safe?
Ooo, good question. Theoretically I suppose it might work, although you’d have to make sure that the hula hoop was packed completely full. If there’s a break at all anywhere in the line of salt within the hoop, that leaves the Midnight Man an opening to come in.
What does the Midnight Man look like?
I don’t know that anyone who’s seen him has been in any condition to say.
I have a wooden front door, but there’s a window taking up half of it. Does that still count, or must it be entirely wooden?
You know, I’m not actually sure. I suspect that probably an all-wood door is preferable, but you can always give it a shot and see if it works.
What if someone walks through the wooden door I choose while I’m playing the game?
Probably nothing good, although I can’t say for sure. If you know of someone who likes to spring surprise visits on you, I would tell them ahead of time whatever you need to in order to ensure they don’t do that on the night you’re planning to play, whether that’s telling them you’re out of town or just telling them that that’s not a good night for company.
Do we have to prick our finger, or can we just cut a random part of our skin to draw blood?
As far as I know, there’s no reason the blood can’t come from somewhere other than your finger — but I wouldn’t recommend just slicing yourself open. I don’t practice Wicca, but it’s my understanding that blood magic should never use more than a drop or two. Pricking a finger is ideal for this reason; giving yourself a jab with a sterilized needle will only give you a couple of drops, so there’s no danger of accidentally spilling more than you need. (Using a ton of it won’t result in anything good.)
If you stay in the salt circle until 3:33am, you won’t win, but he won’t either. Is it a draw?
Something like that, yes.
What if you sleep inside the salt circle mid-game?
To be fair, it’s an interesting question; staying inside the salt circle should keep you relatively safe; however, it’s also stated in the instructions that going to sleep in the middle of the game is to be avoided. What happens when those two rules come together? It’s possible that sleeping inside the salt circle will protect you while you snooze… however, you also run the risk of being caught off your guard. What if you roll over in your sleep and disturb the circle?
Or, worse — what if the Midnight Man tampers with it while you’re not paying attention?
What if I live in an apartment complex? Will the game continue past the part of the building that I live in? I don’t want to endanger the rest of the building.
Good question — although unfortunately I’m not sure I can answer it with any sort of certainty. It’s possible that the “borders” of the playing space, so to speak, would be determined by the walls of your apartment; if you only call your specific unit “home,” then that might be what matters here. However, it’s equally possible that the Midnight Man might consider the entire building fair game as a playing space. The rules don’t specify that the game must be played in your home, after all; all it requires is a building. If you’re worried about the other residents of your building, then I’d err on the side of caution and avoid playing this one in your apartment.
Do I have to use regular salt or can I use Epsom salts?
I don’t think Epsom salts would work. They’ve got a different chemical makeup; sea salt and table salt are made up of sodium and chloride, while Epsom salts are made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. These differences matter.
What if you make a circle of both salt and pepper?
That would just dilute the salt, making it much less likely to protect you. Don’t do it. This isn’t a cooking experiment.
Can you use older blood? For example, blood you gathered a week ago?
Nope. The blood has to be fresh, and it has to be drawn during the ritual itself.
What happens if you turn the lights on and blow out your candles before 3:33am?
Don’t do it. That’s a surefire way to get caught by the Midnight Man.
What happens if you are not able to relight your candle in 10 seconds and you are not able to create a salt circle?
You lose. He wins. I’m sorry.
If you are successful at creating the salt circle, what happens if you leave the circle before 3:33am?
If you leave the safety of the circle before 3:33am, he’ll almost certainly catch you… which means you lose.
What will happen if you play the Ouija board during this game?
I wouldn’t. Ouija boards generally require players to be stationary in order to be used — but if you don’t keep moving, the Midnight Man will likely catch you.
If my friends play the game and I’m in the same house, can I make a salt circle before even starting the game and just stay there the whole time?
I mean, you could… but the safest thing to do would just be to leave before the game begins. Remember, there are no bystanders in this one — anyone who’s in the house at the time the game commences is playing, whether they like it or not.
Could you put a line of salt in front of the door you use to summon the Midnight Man?
I assume your reasoning for doing this would be the idea that the line of salt might stop the Midnight Man from entering your home. But the point of summoning him is to play his game — so, why would you even bother summoning him if you’re not going to play? If all you want to do is summon an entity, choose a different game.
Am I in danger if I’m not performing the ritual, but am watching somebody else perform it over a camera/screen?
As long as you’re not in the building where the game is being played, you should be fine.
Is it possible to trap the Midnight Man in a circle of salt by leaving a gap and then finishing it if you see him?
I’m not sure it works like that; the salt is meant to protect you, not trap him. You could try, but are willing to risk it if it fails?
If I played this game with a pet in the house, would it be dangerous for the pet?
Can I leave my front porch light on, or does every single light attached to my house have to be off?
When in doubt, err on the side of caution — turn off everything, porch lights included.
Are you able to use your phone as a clock while playing this game?
I wouldn’t chance it, re: the stipulations against turning on any lights or using any flashlights (a phone can be used as a flashlight or other source of light). If you want to keep track of the time while you play, use a regular wristwatch — ideally an analog one.
If someone in my apartment building starts playing, does that mean I have to play, too? Or is it just the people in that apartment?
Variations on this question come up with some degree of frequency in a variety of games like the Midnight Game — and honestly, I’m not sure there’s really a satisfactory answer yet. I can see how the argument might go both ways: If only the people dwelling in a specific apartment have summoned the Midnight Man, then it would make a certain amount of sense if he stalked only that apartment; however, it would also make sense that if the Midnight Man is summoned, then the entire building he’s been summoned to would be fair game for him.
Given the danger inherent in these kinds of games, though, it’s probably best to assume that the most dangerous answer — that is, that the entire building is fair game — is the correct one. That’s… just usually how these kinds of things shake out.
(My sense, by the way, is that — assuming that the Midnight Game is fictional/creepypasta, rather than an ancient pagan ritual — the game was originally created with single-family homes in mind, rather than multi-family homes or apartment buildings. Hence the confusion: If the original creator lived in a single-family home when they conceived of the story, they might not have bothered considering how the game might be affected if it were played in other types of living situations.)
What about if you start the game and never finish, but move somewhere else?
He doesn’t give up that easily.
If you start this game, you must finish it — win or lose. And if you do something expressly against the rules while you play, then he’s pretty much guaranteed to win.
Don’t let him win.
If you play with more than one player, can the players talk to each other during the game?
I mean, you could, but I wouldn’t. If you talk to each other, you’ll be making noise — noise he could hear and use to track you and find you. Additionally, you’ll probably have an easier time hiding if you split up; to talk to each other, you’d have to travel and/or hide together the entire time. (Using cell phones or walkie-talkies isn’t advisable. The only outcomes of using them are negative: At best, they just won’t work; worse, using them will create noise the Midnight Man can use to track you; and at the absolute worst, they’ll count as using flashlights due to the additional light they throw out — and using flashlights is expressly prohibited.)
Does the candle have to be a specific color?
Nope, it can be any color. It might be worth experimenting with candle color based on the colors’ meanings, though.
Can you have a friend present in the room while you play?
I wouldn’t. It might not work properly with more than one person present. You could probably have a friend wait outside the room in which you’re playing, though.
If I accidentally break the mirror during the ritual, what should I do?
That qualifies as an emergency; follow the instructions in the section headed, “In The Event Of An Emergency.” If you’ve somehow managed to shatter the mirror completely, you might try throwing the sheet over all the shards of the mirror, gathering them up inside it, tying the whole thing up into a bundle, and then removing it from the premises and destroying the whole thing.
Make sure you gather up every last piece of the mirror, though. Leaving behind even the smallest splinter of glass could be catastrophic.
Even if you successfully complete the ritual, is it advisable to destroy the mirror and dispose of the shards?
If you complete it successfully, it’s not necessary to destroy the mirror and dispose of the shards; that’s only something you need to do if an emergency occurs. Simply ending the game as specified in the “Closing the Window” section should suffice.
I’d be careful using that mirror for its regular purpose in the future, though.
What if you stop looking through the window before the second alarm goes off?
That’s fine; you should still be able to close the window if you stop looking through it early. You just don’t want to overstay your welcome.
To close the window, could you turn on the lights, and open your eyes, and throw the salt at the mirror at the same time?
I don’t think that’s necessary; indeed, it actually might make it harder to close the window, rather than make the window close more firmly. (When you’re trying to do too many things at once, there’s much more room for error.)
What if the salt misses the mirror?
That constitutes an emergency — you’ve failed to close the mirror properly. Proceed to “In The Event Of An Emergency.”
Which option of closing the window is the most recommended?
Any of them should work; choose the one you think will be easiest for you to do. (For example, if you have bad aim, you might not want to choose the one that involves throwing salt at the mirror.)
What happen if I let the “window” become a door? Is it bad for me?
With a window, all you have to worry about is something possibly being able to look through it at you.
With a door, you have to worry about something possibly being able to cross through it into your world.
It’s… not advisable to let in things that shouldn’t be here.
Can I use the same mirror to play another Most Dangerous Game?
I wouldn’t. It’s dangerous enough just using the mirror for its intended purpose after completing the ritual with it, let alone using it for another ritual.
Can you use the mirror to look into a specificworld?
I don’t think so. I don’t think you get much of a choice.
What do you think would happen if we used a hand-held mirror? Is it just that it’s too small? Is it that it can’t stand on its own?
Yeah, the issue is that it won’t be able to stand on its own. You could try to prop it up with something, but the danger of it falling down is very, very high; for that reason, it’s not recommended that you do so. However, a small mirror like this one, which has a convertible handle that can be made into a stand, should work just fine.
Why is touching the mirror or opening your eyes an emergency?
Windows are generally safe as long as you’re only looking through them from a safe distance away. If you get too close, something could reach out and pull you in.
You wouldn’t want that to happen, now, would you?
What happen if the mirror is accidentally broken when I’m in the other world?
Well, you shouldn’t be in the Other World; you should be viewing it. The mirror functions as a window: You’re on one side of it; the Other World is on the other side of it; and when you look in the mirror, you’re looking through the window (not actually climbing through the window into the Other World).
This is why you’re not to touch the mirror while you’re looking into it.
But in any event, if the mirror breaks while you’re playing, that constitutes an Emergency Situation. See the second question listed here for what to do.
If you do actually touch the mirror while performing this ritual, though — and if doing so brings you out of your own world and into the Other World — and the mirror breaks while you’re over there?
You… probably won’t be coming home anytime soon.
Can you use a bucket instead of bathtub?
I wouldn’t. The instructions specify a bathtub for a reason.
Is it possible that Mr. Eyes might be a player that failed the challenge — and when you fail, you become the new Mr. Eyes?
It’s possible, yes. See also: Lights Out.
Is there a prize or a benefit to playing this game?
Not really, no (unless you consider your continued existence to be a prize). You don’t play this game to improve your luck, or to learn knowledge, or to gain any other benefits; you play so you can say you did it. You play for the challenge. You play for the thrill.
In the multiplayer version, if he doesn’t appear to you in the water during the Summoning, are you still playing?
If you don’t see him, he’s chosen not to challenge you — so, no, you’re not. Follow an adjusted version of Step 7 of the Summoning: Leave the premises immediately and don’t return until daylight. Leave the draining of the tub to the players he haschallenged (they’ll have to do that in Step 8). If he hasn’t challenged anyone, everyone should leave until daylight, then return and drain the tub.
What happens if you use a phone, tablet, or computer to play the song and it just buffers?
Honestly, I would just avoid putting yourself in this situation in the first place; too much could go wrong if you try to stream the music while you play. If you’re using a device like a phone, tablet, or computer to play the song, make sure you have the file downloaded and are able to play it offline.
After the game, does it mean that nobody can be alone in that room again, or is it just the player who has to be careful?
Just the player, I believe. Although if you’re bringing someone else in afterwards, it wouldn’t hurt to warn them.
What happens if you play it in some abandoned building and not your home?
I mean, that’s… probably the safest way to do this whole thing. You won’t have to worry about going back in that room again afterwards if it’s in a building you don’t plan on ever returning to.
Does your wish have to be written in Russian for this to work? Do you have to count in Russian?
I actually think you can perform both of those parts of the ritual in whatever language with which you’re most comfortable. The words used to perform the “If Anything Should Go Wrong Procedure,” which must be said in Russian, are a special case.
But if you wanted to play it safe, you could certainly perform the whole ritual in Russian, from start to finish.
Must you say the failsafe phrase in the native language, or are you allowed to say it in your own language?
The failsafe phase must be said in Russian.
Can you purposefully use a matryoshka set that doesn’t have a lot of details on the dolls to make it easier to play?
I mean, as long as it satisfies the other requirements — that is, if it has an odd number of dolls—sure. I think, though, that even though the risks won’t be as great if you use a simplistically deigned set, the rewards won’t be as great as they would be if you used a more intricately designed one, either — similarly to how sets with a fewer number of dolls carry less risk, but also less reward, than those with a greater number.
Do the dolls have to look like humans, or can they look like, say, animals?
They don’t have to look like humans. A set that’s designed to look like animals, or anything else, should work just fine.
You’re supposed to have a candle for every doll, but is it okay to have more candles than dolls?
Yep — just set aside the extra candles before you begin the “Making The Wish” section. (The idea is to gather more candles than you think you’ll need prior to starting the game so that you already have enough on hand to continue after you start taking apart the matryoshka sets and identifying which set you’ll be using to perform the rest of the game.)
Do the dolls really need to be facing the mirror? Can you touch the dolls and rotate them in order to look for the details instead?
Short answer: Yes, they do need to be facing the mirror, and no, you can’t pick them up. The longer answer, which I had previously posted in a comment on the Nesting Doll Game’s page, reads as follows:
“The instructions in the source links don’t state that you can pick the dolls up while you’re examining them, so I wouldn’t touch them once you’ve set them up — the reason the dolls’ faces are supposed to face the mirror is so you can examine their reflections during the memorization step. My sense is that it would be too easy to complete if you were allowed to pick them up (there’s more of a challenge if you have to memorize them through their reflections, which makes sense, given the worth of the reward if you succeed); besides, there’d be no point in setting up the whole mirror-dolls-candles arrangement if you were just going to pick up the dolls again during the memorization step.”
Are you picking just one element to summon, or can it be all of them?
My understanding is that you have to summon all of them — you can’t just summon one.
What’s the second flashlight for?
Backup. In case the first one stops working for any reason.
What if both flashlights break or if all the batteries die?
If you’re well prepared, you shouldn’t have to worry about that. If all of your flashlights and/or batteries fail, though, you’re going to have a much harder time moving around your playing space quickly and efficiently — which means it’s going to be much easier for whatever you’ve called upon to find you.
Should you keep salt nearby?
Maybe. There’s no guarantee it will work, though.
What if you fall asleep?
Is falling asleep more dangerous if you do it when your flashlights stop working?
Don’t. Fall. Asleep.
Seriously. I mean it.
If you have someone else with you while you play this game, will they get possessed?
Probably not, although it might not be incredibly safe for other people to be around while you play.
For what it’s worth, I’ve heard tell of a multi-person version of this one (which I suppose makes it less “one-man hide and seek” and more “hide and seek with a ghost”) that involves each person having their own cup of salt water and their own hiding place; I believe each person also has to be “It” before the doll is, but beyond that, I’m not totally sure what the rules are.
What happens if you turn the lights on before the game is over?
Do you really want to make it any easier for the doll to find you? Because that is exactly what turning on the lights will do.
Does the television have to be tuned to white noise?
You know, I’m actually not sure — that’s a good question. I don’t think it has to be, but you certainly could try it. In all the versions of this game I’ve found, the instructions only state that if the television starts displaying abnormal behavior, it’s considered a warning sign. Given that a television could display abnormal behavior in either situation — tuned to an actual channel or tuned to white noise — I assume it’ll work either way.
When you stab the doll, could you use something other than a knife or scissors? Would a toothpick be a safer bet for first-time players?
Given that you need to use the sharp edge to cut open the doll such that you make an opening big enough to allow you to remove the stuffing, and use it to cut the tread… well, I don’t think a toothpick would work for that.
What if you were to keep something like a cart from inside the building with you through the whole thing? Would she say you cheated because you used a weapon even if you got it DURING the game?
Unless the cart was already present in the building before you decided to use it as your playing space — that is, if you put it in the building specifically so that it would be there for you to use while playing the game — then it’s cheating. If it was already there before you decided to use the building as your playing space — that is, if the cart belongs to the building itself — then it’s fair game to use as you see fit while playing.
Remember, however, that the list of cheating behaviors described in the rules include the caveat that they are “included, but not limited to.” Just because a cheating behavior isn’t listed doesn’t mean that it’s not cheating.
Any attempt to rig the game in your favor may be considered cheating.
It won’t help you.
In fact, it will probably hurt you.
Do the mirrors have to be placed inside the rope circle, or outside of it?
Outside, I believe. From the inside out, the arrangement should be as follows: Drinking glass; rope circle; mirrors; participants.
Would this be considered a good “beginner” ritual?
I wouldn’t do this one until you’re more experienced. Although it’s less complicated than some of the other games we’ve looked at here at TGIMM, anything with red flags ups the danger factor, and this one has a lot of them. I’d consider it kind of a mid-level game. If you’re looking for a beginner game, try something like Concentrate or the Doors Of Your Mind instead.
Can you use a Polaroid camera and just lay the photos facedown after you take them so you don’t look at them?
That should be fine, yes.
Does the alcohol have to be a drinkable kind of alcohol, or can it be something like rubbing alcohol?
Unfortunately, it does have to be drinkable. It’s specified as a beverage, and rubbing alcohol isn’t a beverage. If you’re not of legal drinking age in your country and therefore unable to acquire an alcoholic beverage legally, you’ll want to skip this one until you’re old enough to do so.
What if you forget to take the Jokers out of the deck?
At best, the whole thing just won’t work; since the answers to the questions are dependent on suit, and Jokers are not one of the four standard suits, then you’ll just end up with a lot of nonsense.
Of course, I suppose it’s possible that the presence of the Jokers might be attractive to spirits with a mischievous streak… although they’re likely to wreak all kinds of havoc if summoned.
Why is the First Principal the only one to say “Goodbye” at the end of the ritual?
The First Principal is essentially functioning as a medium. This means that they’re the primary means of opening and closing the lines of communication with the spirit or spirits. It’s mostly a convenience; it can get confusing if there’s more than one person managing the bookends of the ritual.
Should I burn the deck of cards when I’m done with the ritual?
You can if you want. That’ll certainly prevent the deck of cards from being used for anything else ever again.
Can I rip the cards apart and throw them away?
Yep, that would work, too.
Can I contact someone specific with this game? E.g. a dead friend or relative?
I wouldn’t use this game to try to contact someone in particular; that’s not its function. Instead, you might want to try something like the Shoebox Telephone.
Can I use a deck of cards that isn’t new? For example, if I inherited a deck from someone who has died — could I use that?
I… wouldn’t. The results will likely be very, very unpredictable. Bear in mind, too, that you absolutely should not use the deck you use to play this game ever again after you’re finished — so it’s probably bet not to choose a deck to which you have some sort of personal or sentimental connection.
Can I use the deck of cards for playing solitaire after I used it on this game?
No. According to the rules, the deck should not be used again, for any purpose, after it has been used to play this game.
Can this game affect other people who are in the building, but not necessarily the room, where you’ve chosen to play?
Folks in other rooms should be fine. Heck, folks in the room you’re playing in should be fine. It’s fine to play with more than one person or with bystanders; additionally, this game is generally safer than something like, say, the Midnight Game. Just make sure that no one else will attempt to use the pack of cards you used to play the game after you’re done.
Can you use a homemade deck of cards?
You can try. Your results might be unpredictable, though. Also, make sure that you’re okay with potentially destroying the deck when you’re done; that’s still the best way to make sure no one will ever use the deck for anything else again afterwards.
You say that Bystanders are optional? Does this mean that the chant in Sleeping, Steps 11-13 does not have to be performed for the ritual to succeed?
Bystanders are optional, but Steps 11 – 13 of Sleeping are not. If not Bystanders are present, the Guide alone should perform the chanting.
What are the “hearts” supposed to look like once you start seeing them? Like the adorable drawings children make? Like the organ in one’s chest?
Both. Either. Neither. Your hearts won’t look like anyone else’s hearts. But you’ll know them when you see them.
How long does this game last?
It’s as long — or as short — as it needs to be.
For the single-player version, can you have a friend present?
Nope. That’s why it’s called the single-player version. See: General.
Can the Raven Man answer questions about the future?
Probably; if you ask him for information, he’ll give it to you, and I assume knowledge of the future is included under that umbrella. I just wouldn’t count on him being particularly clear about it — he’s likely to obfuscate things somewhat.
What happens if you disrespect the Raven Man?
Do you really want to piss him off? Seriously?
Can I play this game alone?
The rules state that at least two participants are required, so if you tried with only one, I don’t think it would work.
What happens if not everyone gets permission to enter or leave the game?
Keep asking until everyone has permission. You don’t want to know what happens if you try to enter or leave the game without it.
What happens if the prepared book only contains the word “yes?” Will that change whether the ritual succeeds?
Well, the book shouldn’t really be prepared; chosen, yes, but not prepared. I also imagine that, if you wanted to use a book that had only the word “yes” in it, you’d likely have to make that book yourself specifically so you could use it for this purpose (do you know of a book that’s actually in print that consists of nothing but the word “yes?” I sure as heck don’t, but maybe that’s just me) — and honestly, that sounds a little like cheating to me. I wouldn’t do it; trying to stack the deck in your favor during these kinds of games usually ends up hurting you more than it helps.
When you ask for permission or an answer to a question from the spirits, you have to keep your eyes closed. Do the other participants have to keep their eyes closed, too?
I don’t think they do, actually. The rules don’t specify that anyone other than the person doing the asking has to keep their eyes closed, so I think it’s probably safe for others to keep their eyes open. The same is true if someone else is asking for permission or for an answer to a question — if you’re not doing the asking, I think you can keep your eyes open.
What if the book I want to use has a red cover and is mostly just words, but also has a small design at the beginning of each chapter that matches the overall theme of the story? Could it still be used, or should I find another book to use in its place?
Find another book. There should be absolutely NO images of any kind in the book, including small designs at the beginnings of chapters.
What if where we place our finger in the book is an empty spot?
That would fall under the heading of a “negative or nonsensical answer.” Try again.
If you never get permission to enter the game and decide to just give up, do you need to ask permission to leave the game?
Nope. If you never entered the game in the first place, there’s no need to ask permission to leave it.
Does it matter if there’s a small picture on the cover of the book?
Actually, I think that might be okay; the rules only specify that there can’t be any pictures inside the book. If you want to be extra safe, though, you might try removing the dust jacket from the book; often, hardcover books simply have plain covers underneath their dust jackets. As long as the book is hardcover and red and has no pictures inside — only words — you should be fine.
Is it bad to knock on the book?
What happens if you don’t destroy the clock?
You don’t want to leave that thing ticking where you can hear it after you’ve finished this ordeal.
That… should be fine, as far as I know. I’m not sure what knocking on the book would actually achieve, but there’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t do it.
What actually happens when you summon the Red Man?
That’s for you to find out, although bear in mind that it might not necessarily be the same for everyone. Here’s one experience; here’s another; and here are some theories (including the possibility that the Red Man is a tulpa).
Is it dangerous to communicate with the Red Man?
I mean, nothing about this ritual — or any ritual, really — is exactly safe, so…
Should you perform a banishing before or after burying the paper and candles?
I wouldn’t perform one before; you’ll want to close the ritual before doing anything else. It’s probably not strictly necessary to do one after the burial is complete, either, but you could perform one as an extra precaution if you like.
This may count as referring to time keeping devices, but when you are meant to speak till 3am, could you memorize the appearance of the room at 3am the night before you play the game and use that as an indicator of time?
I mean… you could, but I don’t really know that doing so would be at all helpful. Besides the fact that how a room looks at, say, 2:50am isn’t that different from what it looks like at 3am, memory is also imperfect. You might fail to remember how the room actually looks.
You’re better off working on developing your own sense of time — that is, getting better at estimating how much time has passed without checking a clock — before you attempt to undertake the game. This might help.
I’m assuming that this would be cheating, but if you wanted to create a lane for yourself and your opponent (so he couldn’t interfere with you during the race), could you make the bloodlines ahead of time, then rest for a day or so and race him after you’ve recovered?
That’s a good question — I’m actually not sure. My gut says no; I think it has to be fresh blood in order to work. But I suppose you could always try and see what happens.
Can you use someone else’s blood for this game?
Nope. If a game specifies that you draw and use your own blood, you must draw and use your own blood. At best, using someone else’s blood will cause the ritual to fail; at worst, though, you could be putting the person whose blood you used in terrible danger. (You might also be at additional risk yourself — if you try to game the system by using blood other than your own, whatever or whoever you’re trying to summon might not be too happy with you.)
If ritual fails, can I keep my wager, or do I have to leave it?
You can keep it. If the race doesn’t begin, the wager isn’t in effect. If you want to be extra safe, you could leave it where you placed it until daylight and pick it up after the sun has risen.
Do I throw the coins over my left shoulder or my right one?
I don’t think it matters. Whichever feels the most natural to you (which might depend on whether you’re right- or left-handed).
What happens if the coin or coins land on the edges or standing up? Is that the same as a maybe?
It’s highly unlikely that the coins would land in that fashion, but I’d interpret it as a refusal to answer.
Could you bring index cards or use Google Translate to help you speak?
I wouldn’t necessarily rely on Google Translate; it’s… not always incredibly accurate. It also doesn’t instruct you about how to actually pronounce what it produces, so if you’re not familiar with the Spanish language’s rule of pronunciation, it might not help you much even if the translations were accurate.
Index cards might be more useful — if you know someone who speaks Spanish, you can run your questions by them and make sure that what you’ve written down is both grammatically accurate and pronounced correctly. Better yet, if you don’t speak the language yourself, choose someone who does speak it as your partner.
If you are still in the game, can you still proceed to perform another ritual?
I wouldn’t; the results might be… unpredictable. That’s just me, though. If you feel like taking an even bigger risk than you already have, you could give it a shot yourself. But if things go south, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Can you play this game with one person, even though it says you need two people?
I noticed a lot of people in comments mentioned seeing a black dog, or a black shape, or hearing a dog barking after playing the game or being unable to leave. I know that a black dog can represent a spirit or a demon, but I find it interesting that it’s a dog in particular. Any theories as to why a dog?
Good question! I’m just spitballing here, but given that Sara Sarita is believed to be Mexican in origin, I think it’s worth noting that dogs feature prominently in Mesoamerican folklore and mythology — typically as figures associated with death. In Aztec mythology, for example, Xolotl — Quetzalcoatl’s twin sibling — was the god of both lightning and death; he’s often depicted as a huge, monstrous dog, or else a dog-headed human. The Dog of Xolotol, meanwhile, was said to have been created by Xolotol for two purposes, according to NatGeo: Both to “guard the living” and to “guide the souls of the dead through the dangers of Mictlán, the Underworld.” Additionally, Mesoamerican burial sites have been found time and time again to contain not just human remains, but also those of dogs — suggesting, again, that dogs were believed to have served as guides for recently-departed souls newly arrived in the Underworld.
It’s perhaps a bit ominous that black dogs seem to be associated with the Sara Sarita game, according to so many accounts of those who have played. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that playing the game is to invite death, but, well… it’s… something.
When it says you must turn your mobile phone off, does this mean you turn it off completely and then turn it back on again?
Nope. Turn it off, and then keep it off.
If it rings while it’s off, then you know the ritual worked — because it shouldn’t be able to ring, and yet it is.
What happens if you are asleep at the time of the last phone call?
Don’t fall asleep while playing this game.
Generally speaking, unless the rules specify that you should go to sleep, or that you should go about your daily routine as usual (which would, by extension, include your bedtime), it is NOT recommended that you fall asleep while playing any of these games. It’s not usually safe to do so.
If I decide I want to abort this game, can I just not answer his call?
I don’t think he would like that very much. You’re the one who called him first, after all; he probably won’t take kindly to being bothered if you’re not planning on following through.
If you’re at all on the fence about playing this one, then it’s probably best to err on the side of caution and not begin it in the first place.
Do all Copies reside in the same realm/universe/etc.?
Not necessarily — particularly if we’re dealing with a multiverse kind of situation.
Are Copies and non-Copies mixed within realms, or are the realms strictly inhabited by Copies or non-Copies?
My sense is that Copies and non-Copies don’t coexist alongside each other in the same realm, but that’s just a guess on my part.
Then again, it’s also worth considering that, while you might consider yourself the non-Copy… your Copy might consider themself the non-Copy.
That is, they might consider you to be their Copy.
Just… something to keep in mind.
What if we’re the Copies?
What if, indeed.
How close a connection do I need to have to the person I try to contact?
This question came up in an r/ThreeKings thread; the Redditor who posed it was curious about whether s/he could try to contact someone they’d never met, like a dead author. I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer, although I suspect that you’re more likely to complete the ritual successfully if you’re trying to contact someone you know or knew. First off, there’s no guarantee that someone like Shakespeare would want to call some stranger back via astral telephone; second off, there’s a much higher probability of dialing a wrong number if you lack a firm connection to the person you’re trying to reach. My two cents? Sure, you can try, but consider it for the advanced Shoebox Telephone player only. Beginners should probably stick with someone to whom they are or were close.
Why do I need a power object and why must it be connected to the person I’m talking to?
It’ll help the call go through and keep the connection clear. Think of it like the phone number for whomever you’re trying to ring — not placing an object with some sort of meaning for them in the box is kind of like picking up the regular phone, punching in random numbers, and hoping you get a hold of the person you meant to call.
What happens if I call someone who doesn’t speak my language?
Then you probably won’t be able to understand them. It’s a telephone, not a translation service.
Could you contact Rocky Balboa with this?
Given that Rocky Balboa is a fictional character, I’m going to go with no.
(And for the curious, yes, this question is actually sitting in my moderation queue. Hi there, trolls; how are you today?)
If you mis-dialed someone and they acted like the person you wanted to talk to, how would you know?
That would depend on two things: How well you knew the person you meant to call, and how well-calibrated your own personal bullshit detector is. If you’re generally not great at being able to tell when someone is lying, you might not be able to tell a faker from the real thing.
Can you call the same person twice?
Theoretically, yes, although I wouldn’t do it too often.
Would calling the same person multiple times cause the spirit to gain power and possibly be able to break through?
I don’t think so, but again, I’d avoid playing this game enough times that this could become a possibility in the first place.
Could you use this to contact non-human beings, like dead pets?
I mean, you could try, but I suspect that most of our pets, however smart they were, would probably have a hard time picking up the phone.
Could doing the Hooded Man Ritual before this increase our chances of getting the number of a malevolent entity?
That’s an interesting thought. I don’t think so; the Hooded Man Ritual uses an actual telephone, whereas you make your own with the Shoebox Telephone game — a distinction which I suspect might matter a good deal.
I could always be wrong, though…
Does the person need to be dead? Could the person be alive?
My understanding is that the person should be dead; however, I suppose it’s always possible that you could dial the consciousness of someone living. If they reply, it might be the auditory equivalent of astral projection or something.
What if you don’t know if the person is alive or not? Does that make calling a wrong number more likely?
This is is conjecture on my part, but I’d say yes. The more you know about a person — the clearer you can hold them in your mind while making the call — the better. Think about it like dialing an actual phone number: If you think you know someone’s number, but you’re not totally sure you do, you’d expect there to be a higher chance of dialing a wrong number if you actually tried to call them, right? Same deal here.
Also, here’s your reminder NOT to dial a wrong number under ANY circumstances.
Does the person you’re calling being a blood relation increase the likelihood of dialing the right number?
For some people, maybe, but for others, perhaps not. I believe a call is more likely to be successful if you dial someone to whom you were close; not everyone is close to their blood relations. If what you mean here is “family,” then I think it depends on whether you’re the kind of person who considers your family to be only the people related to you by blood, or whether you consider your family to be the people you choose to be, regardless of whether they’re a blood relation.
If I can’t turn the lights on, then how will I know if the paper cup is knocked over or the shoebox is open? If I have to try to feel it with my hands, won’t touching the open shoebox result in something bad?
Unless your room is absolutely pitch black, with literally no light p0llution coming in from anywhere (unlikely — a total blackout is extraordinarily difficult to engineer), you’ll probably be able to see enough to tell if something is off. If your room really is that dark, then feel with your hands… carefully.
My friend disappeared three years ago. We were just friends online, so I don’t know anything about him; all I know for sure is that he suddenly disappeared without a trace. I don’t know the email or other accounts, either. Can I ask what happened to him through this ritual?
Sure. I can’t promise the answer will be super clear, but you could absolutely ask this question through the Shuffle Game.
However, I’m curious, Dear Reader, whether you meant to post this question on the Shuffle Game’s page, or on, say, the Letter Ritual’s page. Given the details you’ve provided in your question, it sounds like you may have meant to ask about it in relation to that ritual — and if that’s the case, then no, I don’t think you’d be able to use the Letter Ritual to find your friend. You would need both their full name and a physical address of the last place you saw them in order to perform this ritual; since you don’t have access to either of those pieces of information, though, it would be unlikely to work.
Does your shuffle number have to be greater than one? The number I have more significance with is one, and since it’s implied that the shuffle number has to be greater than one, do I have to choose another number that has significance to me? Or can I just stick with one, unless there’s some consequence behind that?
Most sources explicitly state that you’ll have best results using a shuffle number that’s greater than one, but less than 10. You can try using a number outside those parameters, but your results may not be as reliable.
If you cannot conceive of using any other number but one, or you try using one as your shuffle number and find the ritual ineffectual, you may wish to try one of the variations laid out in the Possible Variations section — perhaps the “Contacting A Specific Spirit Or Entity” variation or the “Indicator Song” method.
Is there a way to terminate the ritual? Like if you ask the “forbidden” question and then decide you don’t want the consequences, or if you decide that you don’t want to play anymore during the ritual?
There’s no need to terminate, halt, or stop the ritual mid-stream; if you decide you’re finished playing, simply allow the song that’s currently playing to finish, then press “stop” or turn the music player off. (This procedure is detailed in Asking Your Questions, Step 11.)
However, if you ask the one question you should not ever ask — there’s no coming back from that. You can’t just do the thing, and then decide you don’t want to deal with the consequences; the consequences are yours to deal with whether you like it or not, because you chose to do the thing.
If you’re not prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions, do not ask this question. (See: What Not To Ask.)
Can this ritual work for TVs or cellphones?
Possibly! If your phone is capable of playing music, absolutely. (See: Additional Notes for information about acceptable devices, music libraries, etc.) As for television, I’m not sure; as far as I know, TVs don’t usually have a “shuffle channels” mode, which is typically a key component of performing this ritual. You could always try and just manually flip through channels, though, I suppose; just be prepared for the possibility that it might not work.
For what it’s worth, Netflix has been testing some shuffle options for a while now; if the service does end up implementing one as a full feature — or if you have access to the test — you can always see how this game works using TV shows and movies instead of music.
What do you do if your device isn’t working?
Find a new device or a different option. You can’t play this one without a working music player.
How dangerous is this game?
Not very, comparatively speaking. However, some might argue that there’s always at least a little bit of danger when you reach out to forces beyond… all this. Use your judgment. Don’t do anything unnecessarily rash.
What counts as an “outdoor location?” Does it have to be something like a park, or is a backyard or garden good enough?
Any outdoor location works, so yes, a backyard or garden is fine. Given that the instructions specify drawing a circle in the dirt, I would recommend being somewhere where there’s actually, y’know, dirt on the ground. (That is, it might not work if you just try to trace a circle on asphalt or a paved surface or something.)
If we’re asked for our address, should we give the address of the outdoor location, or of our home?
Your home. That’s where you get your mail delivered, right?
So, there’s no way to end or abort this game? Just running until whatever is chasing us catches up with us?
Correct. If you decide to start this game, make sure you really want to play it before you begin.
What happens if I turn the radio off?
I’m not completely sure, but I can think of a couple of possible outcomes. One would be that your good fortune simply halts; the rules specify that your good fortune will carry on as long as the radio is on, so if you turn it off, it’ll just stop. The second — and for what it’s worth, I think this is probably the most likely outcome — is that you rush yourself immediately to Step 1 of The Price.
The third, though, is admittedly the most intriguing to me: I don’t really know that the radio can be turned off.
Can I just change the batteries?
Well, I mean, you could — but I don’t think it’ll have the outcome you’re hoping for. Similarly to what might happen if you turn the radio off, I suspect that changing the batteries is effectively a shortcut to Step 1 of The Price: At best, it might be seen as you forfeiting your good fortune — and at worst, it might be seen as you trying to cheat.
No one likes a cheater.
Especially not whatever you’re messing with when you play these sorts of games.
Why do I have to run?
It all goes back to that rule about equals and opposites. So, you know how, with the radio playing, your luck will always be good? All that bad luck has to congregate somewhere. And once the radio isn’t around to protect you from it anymore… well, you do the math.
And how long do I have to keep running?
Don’t stop. Ever.
What if you play again and get a new radio next year? Can you keep it going?
I don’t think it would so much keep it going as compound the overall effect of the whole thing; as such, I wouldn’t recommend playing more than once.
And that’s assuming that you are able to play it again the next year, too. I’m not sure you will be.
When I get the package, can I just abort the ritual, leave the package unopened, and get free stuff from it?
You won’t really be getting free stuff — if you don’t open the package or continue with the ritual, you don’t get to reap the rewards. But yes, I would imagine that if you get the package, but don’t actually put the batteries in the radio, you’d effectively abort the ritual.
That said, though, it’s not usually a good idea to leave a ritual unfinished.
What happens if I do not turn the radio on after receiving the package?
Honestly, you may as well not have started the ritual; that’s the whole point of the thing, after all. But again, I’d be wary of starting something you don’t intend to finish.
What were to happen if the weather forecast is wrong, or the snowman melts or is destroyed by something else during the game?
At best, the ritual will simply fail to work. At worst, it could be… catastrophic for you.
Why can’t I use a staircase with more than 16 steps?
Mostly because doing so would take a ridiculously long amount of time. Remember, you’re performing this ritual uninterrupted, and you have to devote an hour to each step. 16 steps means 16 hours — which also means not eating, drinking, using the restroom, or taking care of any of your other basic needs during that time.
What happens if you don’t remove or destroy the objects?
These sorts of games often leave out the details of what happens if you fail to take care of an essential step. It’s a storytelling device; what our imaginations dream up to fill in the blanks is often much more frightening than any definitive answer could be.
That said, though, I can offer this thought without killing too much of the fun: Should you decide to abort the ritual, removing and destroying the objects must necessarily be done. Failing to do so will likely cause the abortion not to work — which means you’ll be stuck in a home with an unfinished ritual and something nasty creeping around. Needless to say, this is not an advisable situation in which to put yourself and anyone else who lives with you.
In The Main Event, Step 8, what does it mean by tearing the picture of your home but not letting it fall to pieces? Do you just make tears in the picture while leaving it whole as opposed to tearing it up?
Yep — think of it as tearing notches in the photo, rather than tearing pieces off the photo.
What happens if you use a photo that doesn’t meet the three requirements?
It probably just won’t work. You know how a batch of cookies won’t come out quite right if you leave out one of the key ingredients while you’re baking them? The same thing goes for the requirements for any given game or ritual.
What happens after the Stranger has left with your gift and the person’s name?
Your environment will return to normal, although don’t forget to complete the follow-up steps after the Stranger has gone (wipe the word from the door, lock it, blow out the candles, wait until sunrise to unlock the door, and burn the photograph).
If I correctly complete the ritual, can I do it again?
You always can try it again; whether you should, though, is something entirely different. I wouldn’t — and that goes for most of these types of games. Unless the instructions explicitly state that it’s okay to give it another shot, I’d consider most of these games a one-time experience.
In this case, I’m not sure the Stranger would take kindly to being asked for favors on the regular.
Do you have to stay awake the whole night?
Unless the instructions for any given game specify that you should go to sleep, it’s probably safest to stay awake; that way you’ll be cognizant of anything that might happen in the space around you before the safe time rolls around. That said, though, as long as you stay in the room with the door closed after the Stranger departs, you’ll probably be more or less okay, even if you fall asleep.
So it’s like a spiritual hitman?
Kind of, yeah.
How long will it take to hear the three knocks?
If the knocks are forthcoming, they might not happen instantly, but they’ll occur in short order. You won’t be waiting for an hour for them or anything.
How will I know if the gift is not approved?
What do you do if the door doesn’t have a lock?
Don’t perform the ritual. The rules stipulate that the door must have a lock, so if your door doesn’t have one, at best, it won’t work, and at worst… well, let’s just say the lock is there for a reason.
When should you burn the picture? Do you have to wait until morning, or can you burn it right after blowing out the candles and wiping the name?
I think you have to wait until sunrise; I’ve always found the burning of the photograph to be the very last step, after locking the door, blowing out the candles, wiping the name, and waiting until the sun is up to unlock the door again.
Could you use a digital picture of the person? If so, would you just have to delete the photo or would you have to burn the device it’s on?
I wouldn’t. Technology poking its head where it shouldn’t be has a tendency to muck up the works somewhat. Plus, the ritual is very specific in stating that the photograph itselfmust be destroyed by fire — so I don’t think deleting it will work (that ignores the fire instruction), nor do I think that burning the device would work (you’re burning the device, not the photo). The details matter.
Can the photograph be of yourself?
It could… but then you’d just be offering yourself up to the Stranger. If you value your life, then don’t use a photograph of yourself.
What if you are filming the ritual with a camera? Can you look at the Stranger through the camera?
Nope. Even if you’re looking at the Stranger through a camera, you’re still looking at him, which you’re expressly not supposed to do. Don’t do it.
I also wouldn’t bring any electronic devices into a ritual unless they’re a Requirement, but that’s just me.
If you use your phone to take the picture, do you just delete the picture, or do you just not use your phone?
Do NOT use your phone to display the photograph during the ritual. If you take the picture on your phone in preparation for the ritual, email it to yourself and print it out so you have a hard copy to use. Then delete the image file from your phone. Use the print-out during the ritual — and don’t forget to burn it to ashes when you’re done.
Can you throw the mirror out of the window instead of smashing it?
No. You must destroy the mirror as described, leave it in the room until after the sun has risen, return during daylight, and dispose of it as far away as possible.
Throwing it out the window is insufficient.
It might even allow something to… escape.
Can I use a Polaroid camera?
Nope; it has to be digital. DSLR cameras are only digital. As is pointed out in the Additional Notes section, you can try adapting the ritual to use a smartphone’s camera capabilities — but it’s not recommended that you do so for the reasons identified.
Is it okay if my camera has flash?
Good question; unfortunately, though, none of the sources I’ve found for this one have anything to say regarding the flash. Because the instructions from all these sources are very specific about setting the shutter speed such that it can operate under low-light conditions, my sense is that you’re meant to leave the flash turned off. Further supporting this idea is the fact that any pictures you take while the flash is on will likely be hard to examine. (The flash will reflect back at you through the mirror.) So, my sense is that the camera can be equipped with flash, as most modern cameras are; however, you should turn the flash function off before beginning to play.
Again, though, there’s nothing explicitly noted about the flash either way in the sources for this game. You could always try it both ways — once with the flash on, once with it off — and see which one yields the best results. Know, though, that it’s gamble no matter what you do.
I lost my mirror. Help.
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Can I sleep in my bedroom after I’m done playing the game? Or do I have to sleep somewhere else forever?
You can sleep in your own bedroom after you’ve completed the ritual. You just can’t sleep in it during the ritual.
What if you can’t draw very well? Can you make the eye you draw stylized, or does it have to be as realistic as you can make it?
It’s okay if you don’t have incredibly strong drawing skills. The important thing is for the eye you draw to have the same kind of feeling as the one you see in your mind.
Do I have to dial the number manually, or can I put it in my contacts list or on speed dial?
Interesting question. You could try, although it may not work; my sense is that manually dialing is preferable, largely because I think it comes down to intention. In order to make successful contact, you typically have to really want to make contact — and taking the time and making the effort to manually dial really underlines your intention. Just hitting speed dial might be a little too easy, you know?
What happens if you don’t hang up hang up immediately for Condition D? Can you talk to the spirit?
Nope. That’s not what this ritual is for. If you want to talk to someone, try the Shoebox Telephone or the Answer Man.
For what it’s worth, my sense is that leaving the line open might invite something into your home that you really don’t want there.
Is this game safe to play with friends?
Nope. The second step is to clear the house of all other living creatures besides yourself — that includes humans. This game must be played alone.
What should you pray to if you’re not religious?
Do you have a non-religious life philosophy or an ethical code you try to follow as you live your life? Pray to that. That’s what’s meant in the introduction as “any of your own personal beliefs, whether they’re religious, spiritual, or simply moral or ethical,” and as “whatever deity, being, concept, or principle in which you believe” within the rules themselves.
Can you write down the numbers that you see or are you forced to just remember them?
Rely on your memory. The rules say specifically that you must remember them — not that you should write them down. Plus, I would be wary of bringing any objects into the game you intend to use directly for the purposes of playing it that aren’t in the rules; it could cause something to go wrong. And lastly, the act of writing something down in the middle of the game could also result in something going wrong — you might get distracted from what the rules say you should be doing, for example, which could have disastrous consequences.
What happens if you forget the numbers?
See: Waking Up, Step 1, “If the television is off.” Pay particular attention to this section of the rules: “Do not lose sight of the date revealed to you on the television screen. Your clock is counting down. Should you reach the end without having made the necessary adjustments to live a good and just life, whatever may or may not come for you after death will be… unpleasant.”
If you forget the numbers, that means you’ll have forgotten the date — which, in turn, means you’ll have dramatically decreased the chances of your reaching said date without having made the “necessary adjustments to live a good and just life.” And if you haven’t lived a good and just life by the time the date arrives… you’re in trouble.
Don’t forget the numbers.
If something goes wrong and I need to destroy the television, can I stay in my home after that or should I leave? If I must leave, is it safe to come back even after the sun has fully risen?
I would leave, wait until the sun rises, return home, and destroy and dispose of the television, in that order. If you have to leave, you must leave immediately, and it’s only “safe” (well, safe-ish) to return after the sun is up. At that point, the television is in as neutral a state as it’s likely to be in, so that would be the best time to destroy it and remove it from your home. After that, your home should be safe.
Can I do this game to see if there are any spirits or entities in my current home?
That’s not really what this game is for. It doesn’t tell you whether there’s anything in a particular location; it tells you whether you yourself are sensitive to spirits in general, and whether you’d be likely to see or sense them in any given location. To see if there are any entities in a specific spot, try the Triple Mirror Game instead.
What could happen if you visualized any other place than your home? Like your school? Or some place you really dislike? Would you call more negative energy or put yourself into danger? Or would it not work? I guess the point of visualizing your home is that you feel most comfortable there and it’s less dangerous, right?
Well, as noted in the rules, a “home” doesn’t necessarily need to be a literal place that you lived; it just needs to be anywhere you felt “at home” — comfortable, secure, happy, etc. For example, if your actual house or apartment or what have you wasn’t a place where you felt at home, but you absolutely felt at home at, say, your public library, then visualize the library.
However, do NOT visualize somewhere you really disliked. At best, the ritual won’t work; at best, the ritual will be dangerous.
What if you see something that’s not human, but is a domesticated animal, like a dog or a cat?
My sense is that this outcome is unlikely; however, you can think of domesticated animals like dogs or cats — particularly if they were once your own pet in life — as falling in the “human” category. (Perhaps “earthly” might be a better term.) If you see something that is definitely not of this earth, though — something otherworldly — then that’s what you want to look out for. (Note, by the way, that some animal-shaped things are not animals in the human or earthly sense. These kinds of beings would fall in the not-human or otherworldly category.)
If I see someone I know from my daily life, but I feel something… off about them, does that fall into the “Not Human” category?
Maybe. They might not actually be the person you know; they might be something masquerading as that person. Listen to your gut. Trust your instincts. Tread carefully.
What if you still live in your childhood home and use it for the ritual? What happens if you’re literally in the room where you see something non-human?
That’s a good question; I’m not really sure. If you were going ton play this game using your childhood home, and you still live in that home, I would maybe try playing somewhere else — make sure you aren’t physically in your home when you play. The outcome, I believe, is still the same — if you see something non-human, that’s, uh, not necessarily a great sign—but I don’t know that you’ll necessarily be in any danger after you end the game and go home. Again, this game doesn’t test whether there are any entities in the location you visualize; it tests whether you’re sensitive to spirits in general.
A lot of that is conjecture, though. It might be safest just to wait to play the game until you’ve moved out — or to use a different “home.” (See: A “home” is not necessarily the place you live in.)
Do you have to imagine the people that are there with you, or do they just appear?
Unclear. My understanding that they should just appear — they’re manifesting on their own; you aren’t manifesting them — but that’s mostly conjecture.
Does it matter if bad things have happened in the home you plan to visualize? I don’t necessarily dislike the home, and I’ve had plenty of good memories there, but there were also traumatizing memories for me as a kid which still affect me today.
If it’s the place you have the strongest connection to, then that’s the place to use for your visualization. Take care of yourself, though — if visualizing a place that brings up traumatic memories for you causes you distress, make sure you have a support system or coping mechanisms in place for yourself beforehand (even if the place also has a lot of good memories attached to it).
What if I have to leave my home and I have pets?
Take them with you. The safest thing, though, would probably be to make sure they’re out of the house before you begin the ritual — have them spend the night with a friend or another trusted pet sitter. Besides the fact that you’ll have to gather them up and transport them elsewhere in the event of a red flag occurring, they also might affect the ritual itself. What if your dog starts scratching at the door to your throne room while you’re in the middle of the ritual? What if your cat wanders into the throne room while you’re sleeping? The unpredictability caused by the presence of a pet might cause some undesirable (and possibly dangerous) results.
What actually happens if you stay in the house?
Nothing good, although I think it varies from person to person.
What happens if you look directly at or in the mirrors?
According to FableForge, there’s “some risk of psychological trauma” if you face either of the mirrors directly at any point during the ritual. Weird shit happens when you look into mirrors in the dark; given that a lot of what happens during the Three Kings ritual stems from what’s already going on in your own brain and/or subconscious, you could end up seeing something that seriously fucks with your head (remember Troxler’s Fading and the Caputo Effect?). Wrote FableForge on r/ThreeKings:
“I’ve seen people who saw crazy surreal stuff and were able to forget it after a while, and I’ve also seen people who simply saw themselves but with a certain wrong facial expression, and could never get over it…. I suspect that facing a mirror implies agreeing with its premise, to the point where the anthropomorphized expression takes over and dominates over all other options. It’s not ‘possession’ precisely, since after all it’s just a side of yourself taking over, but it’s still not something I’d like to go through if I could help it.”
Interestingly, though, FableForge also noted that one of the people who helped them develop the original set of instructions held that the biggest risk isn’t facing one of the mirrors — it’s turning your back to the other one.
Where should your partner be when you’re in the throne?
Your partner should remain in your home for the duration of the game (until 4:34am) — but they should NOT be in the throne room with you. They can hang out pretty much anywhere else in your home while you’re completing the main event, but you’ll probably want them to stay within shouting distance of the throne room. If you encounter any red flags before starting the main event, make sure your partner (and anyone who might be in the house with you) vacates the premises along with you. It’ll be safe to return at 6am.
What’s the point of this game?
It’s kind of open-ended, but I think it functions similarly to hypnosis or meditation. You might learn something… but bear in mind that it might be knowledge you were better off not possessing.
Are the beings in the mirrors psychological or spiritual?
I think they’re psychological, since so much of what happens during this one comes from your own subconscious — but that’s just me. It might be different for you.
What will you see in the mirror? Please give details.
I doubt any two people have ever seen the same thing in the mirror; it’s a highly personal experience. Besides, doesn’t giving away all the details take the fun out of the story?
What happens if you provoke whatever you see in the mirror?
Probably nothing good.
What happens if you go over the time?
Don’t. That’s what your partner is for — to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Can you put a circle of salt around the throne chair to protect yourself just in case?
You can, although honestly, I’m not totally sure it’ll do what you intend it to do. After all, nothing is literally coming after you; it’s all in the mirrors, and in your mind. A salt circle around you in the physical world can’t really protect you from what’s going on inside your own head — and indeed, it might actually trap you in there.
What is your partner supposed to do with the bucket of water and the mug?
Take mug, submerge in bucket, fill with water, splash in face.
(It sounds much cooler if you’re left to figure it out for yourself, but there it is spelled out in case you need it.)
What if I decided to use a Bible as my power object? Would that upset any entities?
It’d probably be fine; I doubt it would cause any upset. Again, we’re mostly dealing with what’s going on in your own head, not a literal devil.
What do you mean, “if your body is suddenly moved, the fan will blow out the candle, ending the game”?
Pretty much exactly what it says. The extinguishing of the candle closes the ritual; if you’ve set the fan up correctly, and your body is moved out of the path of the breeze, the fan will blow out the candle and close the ritual.
This is true whether or not your body has moved of its own volition.
What if you don’t want to wait all the way until 4:34 in the morning? Can you have your friend end the game?
Nope. If you start the ritual, you have to play it through to completion, even if it doesn’t seem like anything is happening. There’s no half-assing it when it comes to these sorts of games; leaving a ritual open and unfinished is a recipe for disaster.
If you day to stay until 4:34 and the game is ended, do you have to leave your house and return at 6?
Nope; that’s only the case if you notice any of the red flags between waking up at 3:30 and sitting in the throne at 3:33. If you play successfully until 4:34 and close the ritual, there’s no need to vacate the premises.
What do the queen and the fool represent?
That depends on who the king is.
Can I play this game if I only have one eye?
That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure; you could try, but I don’t know whether it would work because of the way peripheral vision works. If you do give it a try, let me know how it goes for you — I’d be really interested to know the answer to this one.
Would I not be able to play this game if I played Daruma-san or a game where I could no longer look in mirrors?
Oooo, that’s another interesting one. My gut says you probably shouldn’t try any mirror-heavy games if you’ve previously played one that ends with you needing to avoid mirrors from here on out, but that’s just an educated guess. The same goes for games with a finishing condition requiring you to avoid being in dark places for too long.
What happens if the candle goes out in the middle of the entity answering your question?
That would end the game… although honestly, I’d be a little worried about what exactly blew the candle out, if it wasn’t you or the fan.
How does your partner know if something is wrong or you didn’t do something right?
That’s what the final three steps are for: If, at 4:34am, they call out your name and you don’t answer, they’re meant to call your cell phone; then, if you don’t answer your cell phone, then they’re meant to go into the room and use the mug and bucket of water. Those are their cues to pay attention to; they mean you’ve been rendered unable to close out the ritual yourself.
What happens if the mirrors on the chair fall over before or during the ritual?
That’s… probably not a good sign. If it happens before you come back at 3:30am to take your throne, then I wouldn’t proceed. If it happens while you’re on the throne? I would find a way to blow out the candle and end the ritual.
If your partner had to come into the room to end the ritual, should they also avoid looking into the mirrors?
Probably. That seems like the safest choice.
What would happen if you purposely broke the mirrors? Say, combined this ritual with the Dark Reflection Ritual?
I wouldn’t recommend it. Three Kings and the Dark Reflection Ritual are both high-risk games, so I feel like it would be really unsafe to combine the two of them.
Do you teleport to the cottage, or is it that you are stuck in your mind and when you open your eyes you are still in your imagination?
Either. Both. It’s up to you to decide how you interpret the situation.
Does everyone have to imagine the same details? If all participants imagined a different cottage each, then, which of the imagined cottages would be their destination?
Who knows? All of them, maybe. Consider this: How do I know that the shade I think of when I think of the color blue is the shade you think of when you think of the color blue? They’re both blue, regardless.
Now, instead of the color blue, think of a cottage. The cottage I think of and the cottage you think of may not be the same thing, but they are both still, for all intents and purposes, the cottage.
It’s possible for all of them to exist at the same time.
It’s possible for all of you to exist in all of them at the same time.
What matters is your perception of the space, and being in that space with each other.
Some advice: Don’t overthink it. It doesn’t all need to make sense. It just needs to be.
How big does the crossroads need to be? One big enough for vehicles to pass (asphalt road, etc.), or can it be any road/path intersecting one another (dirt path, stepping stones, etc.)?
The size of the crossroads or what it’s made of doesn’t matter. As long as it’s a crossroads, it satisfies the requirements.
My home is next to a crossroads. Can I play the game there?
Sure. Any crossroads will work.
How much does your location factor in the success of this ritual? The rules state that this game can be played anywhere, but I’d think that it wouldn’t really work “properly” if you played it in crowded areas. Are the odds of being found by some strange entity better in places where there’s less traffic by humans?
Maybe. But maybe not. The game can be payed at any crossroads, in any environment. That’s all we need to know.
In The Summoning: Step 8, by “stranger,” should we take this to mean a supernatural entity of some kind?
Maybe. But maybe not. The stranger is someone on whom you have never before laid eyes. Ever. That’s all we need to know.
In The Summoning: Step 8, define “someone you know.”
Any person you’re familiar with and can identify on sight. It could be someone you know personally, someone you’ve seen but not met, a public figure, etc. If you’ve seen them before in any way, shape, or form — in person, on television, in a photograph, etc. — then they’re “someone you know.”
Can I do this while walking my dog, or will that endanger her?
It probably won’t endanger her, but it will probably make the whole thing much harder to do. Trying to keep your face covered while wrangling a dog seems like it would be tough. If you want to ensure success, I wouldn’t add in any unpredictable elements that don’t need to be there; it seems like it would be making it unnecessarily difficult for yourself.
Also, even if it doesn’t endanger your dog, it might endanger you. If you fail to keep your face covered because you’re distracted by your dog… it’s not going to end well.
How do you know if the stranger is gone if you’re covering your face?
You’ll know. You’ll be able to sense it, the same way you can tell when someone or something has either entered or left a room that you’re in, even if you weren’t watching the door when it happened.
What happens if you really don’t know the answer to one of the questions?
A requirement for “winning” the game — insofar as this game can be won — is answering all of the questions correctly.
Failing to answer is functionally the same as answering incorrectly.
Do not fail to answer.
Do not answer incorrectly.
If there’s light on in the room, but all the other conditions are met, will the game not start at all, or will something worse happen?
The game likely just won’t start.
What if you don’t say “I accept” in Opening The Void: Step 7?
At best, the game just won’t continue; at worst, something… untoward might happen.
Really, just don’t start this game unless you intend to follow it through to the end.
What does Veronica consider respectful treatment?
Just, y’know… don’t be a jerk. Be polite; don’t be rude; don’t try to provoke her; don’t treat her flippantly; etc. Don’t treat the game flippantly, either; she’ll know if you’re not serious about it, and she’ll know if you’re mocking her. Thank her for her time. Don’t make any demands of her. Deference is the watchword here.
How would bystanders be affected by this ritual? Are they impacted by any of the results afterwards, or do the results only affect the principal player?
It’s usually safe to assume that if you’re in the room, you’ll be affected, even if you’re only watching and not actively participating.
Don’t set yourself up as a bystander unless you’re okay with putting yourself in harm’s way.
How would you say “Veronica Jaja?” Using the English “J” sound as in “jar?” Or Spanish “J” like “haha?”
The Spanish “J” sound. The game originates in a Spanish-speaking region, after all.
Could you, hypothetically speaking, play with a Braille deck of cards — for example if you’re blind and have no other way to play? Seems like your opponent wouldn’t like you bringing a reader with you.
That should work! As long as it’s got 52 French-suited cards in it, a Braille deck should be fine to play with. You’re probably correct that your opponent wouldn’t like you bringing a reader with you, although perhaps they might make allowances in the name of accessibility.
Do we say the wager out loud? Or just in our mind?
Say it out loud. Make sure that what you’re wagering is perfectly clear.
Your opponent, however, may make their wager known in… other ways. Pay attention.
If the deck runs out of cards, how on earth do you end the game if part of the ending procedure is turning the undealt cards face up? Are you just stuck?
From the Additional Notes section: “If you play long enough that the deck runs out of cards to deal, you may, if desired, gather up the discard pile, shuffle it, and continue dealing from it. However, this is NOT RECOMMENDED and should be avoided if at all possible.”
So, you can keep going — but don’t let it get to the point where you have to reshuffle the discard pile to keep going if you can help it.
How long do you have to keep running if your opponent has the queen?
As long as it takes.
Does the kind/brand of kibble matter here?
I don’t believe so, no. Any variety of cat food kibble should get the job done.
Could we use spoonfuls of wet cat food in lieu of kibble?
You could try, but I’m not sure it would work. It would also probably make the game much, muchharder, simply because lumps of wet cat food are harder to pick up and transport across a room to a bowl than hard kibbles are. And what happen if you miss a bit of one lump?
I wouldn’t recommend it, is what I’m saying.
Couldn’t your partner just tell you where the kibbles are?
No. That would be cheating.
But the rules don’t say anything about a penalty being dealt out if you cheat.
That’s true, but it is, by and large, a terrible idea to cheat while playing a Most Dangerous Game. I would argue that the rules of a game shouldn’t need to specify “no cheating”; if you’re playing a game, it should just be understood that cheating won’t be tolerated. Besides, why even bother playing at all if you’re just going to cheat? There’s no point challenging yourself if you remove the actual challenge before you even begin.
What if you speak two languages equally well? Or if the language you technically learned second is the one that you’re less proficient in?
Good question. I’m not sure; I suspect that in that case, you might want to use the language that you either don’t use on a daily basis, or in which you consider yourself to be less proficient. If you really wanted to be certain, though, I’d chose a third language. After all, the instructions just say that the language you should use must be a language other than one you primarily speak — it doesn’t say it specifically has to be a second language. If you’re a polyglot, for example, and you speak multiple languages, you’d probably want to choose the one in which you’re least proficient.
What if you can’t wake up?
I mean, there’s a ghost stalking you in your dreams. What do you think will happen if she catches you? Nothing good, that’s for sure.