Jun 09, 2019 I Brent Swancer

The Scariest Paranormal Games That You Probably Should Never Play

In the world of the paranormal there have always been games and rituals meant to scare us and which provide good entertainment on a dark and stormy night or at Halloween. We've all heard of the notorious Ouija board or games like Bloody Mary, but there are actually many other such "games" out there that claim to touch with the supernatural and paranormal. While for many these may seem like good spooky fun, there is a surprising number of people that seem to take them very serious indeed, claiming that they are truly dangerous. Here we will look at some of the more frightening of these paranormal ritual games, and how to play them, but just remember, whether you believe there is anything to them at all or not it is probably better to not play them. What's that you say? Oh you do want to play them? Well, alright but don't say I didn't warn you.

One of the most well-known of these scary games involves elevators and opening some sort of portal to some kind of spiritual realm or alternate dimension, for better or worse. The simply titled Elevator Game has very few real requirements in the way of actual equipment needed to play. You need only a building with at least 10 floors, an elevator, and to be completely alone on said elevator. The first thing you the intrepid, and quite possibly foolish, player need to do is make sure you are completely alone, and that no one else rides the elevator with you at any point during the entire process, lest it shatter the whole affair and put you back to square one. This is the reason why it is typically played very late at night, which just adds to the whole spooky ambiance of it all. So, take a good look around, are you alone? Are you sure? Good, then let’s get started. There are slightly different versions of the game, so let’s just go with the most commonly stated rules, shall we?

You need to get in on the first floor and then press the button for the 4th floor, but do not get out once the 4th floor is reached. Pretty easy so far, right? Now, once you reach the 4th floor you should push the button for the 2nd floor. This is where things will allegedly start to get a bit weird, as it is claimed that you will start to hear disembodied voices calling out to you at the 2nd floor, even imploring you to get off the elevator, but do not do this. Simply wait for the doors to close and push the button for the 6th floor, and again do not get out once the elevator reaches it, but rather go back to the 2nd floor and its ghostly voices. Now that you are back at the 2nd floor, go all the way up to the 10th floor and then come down to the 5th floor. According to the lore, this is where things will get pretty bizarre if you’ve done it right.

When the elevator stops at the 5th floor, there will probably be a woman who enters to stand there looming behind you. You may think that the game is ruined, as you are supposed to be totally alone, but rest assured this is part of the whole weird process. This stranger will try to start up a conversation with you, and may even claim that there has been a terrible accident on the 5th floor and that she needs your help, but under no circumstances are you to reply. You are to absolutely ignore her, don’t even look at her no matter how insistent she gets, not even her reflection in any reflective surfaces. If you are lucky she will just leave you alone, but if you are to acknowledge her presence in anyway, you’ve got major troubles. Players have claimed to have been attacked by the spectral woman, cursed, spat and ranted at, and even followed home to be harassed night after night by her banging on their doors and windows or stalked by her for weeks after the ordeal. Some victims have said that she will visit them in their dreams or haunt their homes to the point of insanity. Judging by player accounts of this mysterious woman she will steadily get very insistent and hostile as you ride that elevator, but trust me, ignore her no matter what she says.

Are you alright so far? Just let her rant away. Don’t look at her, and push the button for the 1st floor. Now, if you’ve done everything right up to now then the elevator should not move down to the 1st floor as instructed, but rather up, where it will stop at the 10th floor and open its doors to disgorge you into another dimension, although by all accounts it is not a pleasant place to be. The air is thick and heavy, oppressive even, and the windows are said to have a red frosting from a fiery glow beyond them. If you are brave enough to actually get off it is said that that woman from the 5th floor refuses to come with you, as if she knows this is a bad place, and that you will immediately become dizzy and disoriented. If you can bring yourself to look out the windows you will see a dead and apparently abandoned city sprawled out before you and an enormous flaming red cross in the distance, sometimes described as having corpses draped over it, as well as possibly inhuman shadowy shapes stalking through the desolate city streets below, and the whole time you can feel that strange woman just watching you, her eyes boring into you.

You will probably want to get back to the elevator at this point, but it will be harder than you think, with it seeming to pull farther away from you as you find the air becoming increasingly viscous and oppressive, like moving through water, but never fear, you should be able to make it back as long as you keep in a straight line. Once back into the elevator the woman will be gone, and you are to press the buttons in the exact same order as before. On the last step with pushing the button for the 1st floor floor, the elevator will supposedly try to take you back up to the 10th and that forsaken red tinted place with its roving demons, but you can avert this by repeatedly hitting any lower floor button, after which it will take you back to the 1st floor and the real world. It is then important for you to go directly home and to not look back, and be mindful of anything that seems off or something like "glitches in the Matrix," because this would mean you have not returned home at all and have to do it again. Congratulations, you have successfully played the Elevator Game.

Oh, there are a few rules that you must follow during all of this, and I suppose I should have told you this before you started. If at any time during the game you feel faint or like you are about to pass out you are to stop playing immediately, because if you are to lose consciousness in that elevator you will be claimed by this alternate dimension and never return home, stuck there forever. Also, on the last step of the game, if the elevator goes to the 1st floor rather than heading up to the 10th, you are to stop playing and abort the whole thing, leave the building, and do not look back. There is also the very important rule that once in that strange dimension on the 10th floor, you are under no circumstances to leave that room or try to venture into the city, because you will become disoriented and never find your way back, trapped there for the rest of your days with whatever those twisted black, prowling shapes are. Where is it supposed to be? Hell? Who knows? Of course this is all probably just an urban legend, but only one way to find out, right?

Somewhat similar to the Elevator Game is a lesser known game simply known as the “Hooded Man Ritual,” which has supposedly popped up on the Internet in recent years on sites like Reddit and The Ghost In My Machine. The ingredients for this ritual are fairly basic as these things go. Go get yourself two black ropes or cords of about five feet in length, a watch, a lighter or matches, some salt, sage, and a phone, preferably an old fashioned rotary phone but any will suffice as long as it is a corded landline phone and not a cellular phone or smartphone, as those will not work. Got everything ready? Is it night time? It will only work at night. Ready? OK, let’s begin.

The first thing you have to do is purify the area, preferably a darkened room, with the salt and sage, and then make sure all of the doors, windows, and curtains are closed. Now set the two black ropes near the phone and place the lighter or matches next to it. Make sure that your pockets are completely empty and sit next to the phone. Count to the number 13 and then, without picking up the receiver, dial “20496888.” Now is the tricky part. Tie one of the black cords around the phone receiver, lift it without touching it yourself, and dial “25515823,” after which you should count to 13 again and say into the receiver “Hello? I need a cab.” The you should untie the cord, remove it, burn it with the lighter or matches, and replace it with the second cord.

If you have done all of this correctly, you should look outside and find a black taxi cab parked outside. Do you want to continue? Really? Are you insane? Ok then, your call. Leave the house, lock the door behind you and get into that eerie cab, lie down on the back seat, and fall asleep. You will supposedly wake up at 3:30 AM, but you should go back to sleep at this time. When you wake up again you will find yourself on a strange, unfamiliar highway and there will be a hooded figure hunched over the wheel. Just stay calm, do not panic. Outside will seem as if it is another world and a place outside of time, passing increasingly alien landscapes, and when you have finally seen enough of this bizarreness you are to lean over and whisper into the driver’s ear “I have reached my destination.” You will then promptly fall sleep again, but when you awaken you will be exactly back where you started. You are not done yet though.

Now you need to go inside, lift the phone receiver with the cord, and dial “200082,” after which you say into it “Thanks for the ride.” Now untie and burn the second cord, bury the ashes of both cords outside, and sprinkle salt and burn sage over them. You are done! Now, there are some very important rules to remember during all of this. You are never to take the cab to the end of its route or to ride it for too long, so keep an eye on that watch. At no point should you panic or exit the vehicle without following the steps of the ritual. It you feel a sense of overwhelming threat or danger at any time during the process, or you should wake up at any other time other than 3:30 AM that first time, you should end the ritual immediately by telling the driver those magic words. It is another very spooky game that is most likely an urban legend, but are you willing to try it?

Is none of this scary enough for you yet? Do you feel you need a little more excitement in your paranormal game? Well, if there is not enough of a sense of immediate danger and not enough creepy dolls in any of these so far, then this next one is for you. Called Hitori Kakurenbo, or “One-man Hide and Go Seek,” the ritual started its life in Japan and supposedly uses dolls possessed with conjured ghosts or evil spirits to play the game. The very specific instructions for the game involve starting with a doll that has had all of its stuffing removed and replaced with uncooked rice, a fingernail clipping, and sewn back up with red thread, after which it is given a name. A television is then set up in the room and a bathtub filled with water, and the room is purified with incense. You are also supposed to keep a knife handy to protect yourself if things get rough, which says a lot.

When this is all done, the doll is supposed to be submerged in water at exactly 3 AM, and all of the lights to the house are to be turned off. Then you are to go to your hiding place, turn on the television, and then go back to the doll in the bathtub to tell it “I have found you, [Doll’s Name]. You are the next it, [Doll’s Name],” after which you stab the doll and snip the red threads to release the spirits within, put the doll back into the water, and go hide. At this point the instructions are for you to take a mouthful of salt water and hold it in your mouth without swallowing it and then hold the cup in your hand as you go out to look for the doll, which is now said to be gone from the bathroom and hiding somewhere else. When the doll is found, you say “I WIN” 3 times and the rest of the water is to be poured over it and the doll destroyed with fire. The TV is, eerily enough, meant to warn of any unwanted entities being invited in through the game, and one English language description of the rules rather ominously says of the process:

It is not generally advisable to emerge from your hiding place without both holding the salt water in your mouth and carrying the cup with the remaining salt water in your hand; should anything have found its way into your home during the course of the game, they will act as safeguards and protect you from any harm your visitor or visitors may attempt to inflict upon you. The purpose of the television is to alert you to the presence of these potential visitors. Should it begin to display abnormal behavior, do NOT, under ANY circumstance, leave your hiding place without the salt water.   Do not allow the game to go on for longer than two hours. Once it has been started, the game MUST be played through to completion. Do NOT attempt to abandon it partway through. To do so would result in disaster.

This may all sound like a pure urban legend, but there are scores of reports that say that it is real and that these dolls really do become possessed to walk about and hide. They are also decidedly malevolent in that they are said to cause nausea, panic, dizziness, and even death if the ritual is not performed correctly. One such account said:

I waited for approximately 1 minute but couldn’t feel any signs which would signify that the ritual worked.   After the 1 minute I started to feel the signs. I suddenly had to take deep breaths to breathe. I realized the temperature had drastically made its way down. The spare room in which I was hiding happened to be just beside the living room where the television was. Remember I left the television on a static noise channel? I swear I heard the static noise grow louder. I waited patiently despite the extreme conditions.   I started to feel nauseous at this point and I immediately knew it was time to end the game. I picked up the cup of salt water beside me took half of the salt water in my mouth but didn’t swallow it. Remembering the instructions I read on the internet, I got out of my hiding place with the half cup of salt water and started looking for the doll. Even though my jaws and cheeks started to hurt a bit I didn’t swallow the salt water.   I entered the bathroom to check out the tub but the doll was not there. I already knew this would happen but I just decided to check it out. The thought that a possessed doll was after my life gave me shivers. I was bare-handed so I decided to go to the kitchen to take another knife. By chance, if something went wrong I could use this knife for my protection.


I searched all the places on my way to the kitchen but there was no sign of the doll. I was happy because I finally reached the kitchen at this point. But when I entered the kitchen I got the shock of my life. The doll was lying on the kitchen floor. The knife which I gave it lay right beside it with an ADDITIONAL knife (which I didn’t give it). The doll had found another knife in the kitchen in the meanwhile. I quickly poured the salt water in the cup on top of it before spitting the salt water in my mouth on top of it as well. Then I said, “I win!” 3 times before leaning down and cutting the crimson thread with my teeth. I picked up the doll and took a lighter before heading to the lawn.   I was successful in burning the doll with a little help from the lighter. The fire stopped by itself when the doll was badly burned and was not recognizable anymore. I picked up the heated doll and headed towards the nearby dumpster. I dumped the doll in the dumpster and headed back home. Nothing happened to me because I did the ritual correctly BUT please don’t try this. I am too scared even now. It was a really, trust me, really scary experience!

Another account was posted on a Reddit thread by a commenter calling herself “sarahinjapan,” and she says that she and a friend named Akane went through the ritual and went to the bathtub where the doll, named “Erina” was. They then continued with the game, and the witness would say:

Then we ran out of the bathroom, turning out all the lights and switching on the tv in our hiding room to a static channel. Akane grabbed a knife and left the salt water on the table. We went back into the bathroom, and sure enough, the doll was there, in the bathtub, smiling serenely up at us from the bottom. “Erina, Akane and Sarah found you!” we yelled. We yanked it out, Akane stabbed the heart and made sure to sever a lot of the red thread before dumping it back in the tub.   “Erina is the second it! Erina is the second it! Erina is the second it!”, we chanted, then ran back to the family room with the tv going. We each took a gulp of salt water, making sure not to swallow it, then held our cups firmly before settling in the closet. Akane left open a crack of the door because she wanted to watch what would happen to the tv. It was a terrible, terrible idea. To this day, I wish we’d left the door closed. For the first five minutes, we were just waiting. Nothing was happening, and I felt relieved. Then, I heard the static of the TV begin to change. Without any of us touching the remote, the tv began to switch channels, fast enough that sentences began to form from the words of different channels.

Urban legend or not, the thought of playing hide and seek with a possessed doll is certainly rather unsettling indeed. Go ahead and play the game if you want, but I will pass on this one, thank you very much. So far, all of these games we have looked at have been one-player affairs. So what if you want a game you can enjoy with some buddies? Well, why don’t you try out the game “Charlotte’s Web”? A two player game, first you need to get some flashlights, a mirror, some kind of child’s toy, 2 chairs, and a table. Now, let’s set up the room. Put the two chairs right in front of the mirror and put the table behind the chairs in such a position so that you can see the table’s reflection in the mirror when sitting in the chairs. The toy should be put on the table in such a way as it appears to be between the two chairs in the mirror reflection. You and your friend need to make sure you are in a room where there is no light, so turn out the lights, draw all of the curtains and make sure this is done at night. This is where you will need your flashlights from here on out in order to see.

OK, now, it’s showtime. You and your friend now have to repeat “We want Charlotte’s Web” in perfect unison. That’s it, now you just wait. If you have done all of this right, a spectral child will supposedly appear after some time in the mirror reflection to approach and pick up the toy. This is “Charlotte,” and whether she is really the ghost of a child or not, she appears this way, although some have said she is a demon or something even darker still. Watch her reaction, because it is very important to the rest of the ritual. If she is not pleased with your offering she will discard it and disappear, sometimes even throwing a tantrum before she does. In that case, game over. However, if she looks happy and likes your toy she will communicate with you, answering any questions you may have for her. When you are done all you need to do is say “Goodbye Charlotte,” in unison and she will disappear.

Of course, like any game of this nature there are some strict rules to abide by. For instance, you are only to watch Charlotte through the reflection in the mirror and at no point should you try to look at her directly or shine your flashlights directly on her. It is unclear what happens if you do this, but it is considered to be very dangerous. Also, it is important to use only flashlights and not candles, as she is said to be very afraid of fire, and they will not work at best and make her angry at worst, and it seems from the lore that you wouldn’t like Charlotte when she is angry. Another caveat in some versions of this tale is that, although you can ask her questions, you should never answer any questions she may ask you. I’m not sure why, but just don’t do it. So yeah, conjuring up childlike entities that are possibly demons, good times!

Another multi-player game can have 3 or more players, indeed it is thought that the more players the better. For this one you need a good length of rope, a glass, an alcoholic beverage, a knife or scissors, a mirror for each person, and one camera with a flash. In a quiet, dark room, make a large circle with the rope, fill the glass with the alcohol, and place the glass in the middle of the circle. The players now sit around the circle at midnight and hold their mirrors on their laps, and at no point from here on out is anyone to step within that circle. Now you should all hold hands and close your eyes, after which you should one by one say aloud “We trust you.” When everyone has said it, you all then say in unison, “The door is open, please come in” three times and open your eyes to see, well, nothing at all yet, that’s what you need the camera for.

One of the players should pick up the camera and exclaim “I caught you,” before aiming at the middle of the circle a snapping a picture. That player then passes the camera to the next player in the circle and the process is repeated until all members have taken exactly three photographs. It is crucial to remember that if anyone feels dizzy, nauseous, or acts out of character at any time you should stop the ritual immediately and destroy the camera, and if you are using a digital camera it is forbidden to preview any of the photos you have all just taken until after the ritual is complete. When this picture taking is done, you all sit down and repeat three times in unison “It is time to go home,” before putting your mirrors face down on the floor and cutting the rope circle with the knife or scissors. The glass should be emptied outside, and you’re done. Don't drink it, you weirdo! If you have been successful you can now look at the pictures and apparently find everything from orbs, to strange blurs, to faces and apparitions in them. You just never know what you are going to capture with this game, it seems.

Maybe summoning ghosts and demons is not your thing and you and your friends just want to play a game where you can divine some good old fashioned forbidden knowledge.  If so, head on down to the library with some pals and get ready to play "The Library Ritual." The rules and steps for this particular ritual are very precise and strict, so you have to be quite vigilant that everything is being carried out just so. You will need a fairly eclectic mix of items, which include not only simple items like 13 candles, a quill, matches, and a small desk or table, but also odder things. You will also need a book about an ideology that has caused the death of many people, some drops of your blood, and a handgun. This should be interesting.

The ritual must be carried out from between the hours of midnight and 4 AM, and it must be at a library, the more spacious the better. Place the candles in a circle around the desk with the book upon it and light them, with exactly a 6-second delay between each one. Take that quill, dip it in your blood, and draw a circle on the first page of the book, then scrawl the names of the participants in the middle of the blood circle. You are now to call out “What is the most powerful weapon?” after which a disembodied voice should answer “Knowledge.” Pretty spooky, right? You haven’t seen anything yet.

You now take that knife you brought with you and stab it right into the book as hard as you are able to, and you will supposedly immediately feel a cold presence in the room with you, which is said to be a mysterious entity called “The Librarian,” who you have just summoned with a blood contract. This is where you put out all of the candles, burn the book, chair, and table, and really hope that The Librarian is not angry at you and deems you worthy. If the spirit does, then you will now find your self empowered with enhanced intelligence and sharpness of mind, with greater mental prowess than most people.

It sounds great, right? Well, there is some fine print to all of this, as there usually is with such things. If you are not worthy you will not be gifted this power, and if you do any of the steps wrong you run the risk of enraging the spirit, which can be dangerous to lethal. This is what the handgun is supposedly for, as this great and powerful spirit is said to actually be afraid of guns, or at least the noise they make, and will retreat if it is fired. You also cannot ever talk to the people your were with during the ritual for as long as you live, so you lose your friends. There’s also the small detail that the Librarian will supposedly stalk and haunt you for the rest of your days, never attacking but certainly watching you and definitely freaking you out, with some people supposedly driven insane by this. But hey, you're smarter now, so you win. I guess?

These have been only a few of some of the more frightening and supposedly dangerous ritual "games" floating around out there. It is almost impossible to trace the history of any of these, and since many of them spring up on the Internet on places like Reddit they can probably be taken with a huge grain of salt, urban legends in the making. Yet there are so many reports of people trying these games and having strange things happen that they, like the Ouija board before them, have legends that have taken on a life of their own. Whether any of it is real or not, it is all entertaining at the very least, and I'd say even the most skeptical person might be a little wary of trying any of them out. Just in case.

Brent Swancer
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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