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5 Terrifying Paranormal Games You Should Never Try at Home

Mike is a freelance writer exploring obscure media, wyrd tales, and cultural oddities.

Some find these paranormal games fun, while others find them terrifying!

Some find these paranormal games fun, while others find them terrifying!

When you're feeling bored and in the mood for something spooky, chances are you'll stick a horror film on or read a scary story. Maybe, if you're feeling adventurous, you'll even give an Ouija board a try. But for some, that isn't enough to fulfill their need for terror. So instead, they turn their hands to messing with spirits, demons, and ghosts via all manner of paranormal games.

Some of these games are said to have originated in ancient rituals. Others have their roots in creepypastas and urban legends. But whatever their origins, many who have tried them have sworn never to touch them again. And here we'll look at some of the most infamous of these games.

Just as a disclaimer, it's not advisable to play any of these games, even if you're a complete skeptic, because running around at night lighting candles and performing rituals is a recipe for disaster (though maybe less dangerous than a heated game of Monopoly). Also, each one sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, and we all know how those go. But if you do end up summoning a ghost or ghoul in the name of "good fun," know that you're on your own!

5 Spooky, Scary Games to Play at Your Own Risk

  1. The Midnight Game
  2. Three Kings
  3. Bloody Mary
  4. One-Man Hide-and-Go-Seek
  5. Daruma-San
The Midnight Game involves summoning a so-called "midnight man."

The Midnight Game involves summoning a so-called "midnight man."

1. The Midnight Game

Supposedly, the midnight game originated as an ancient pagan ritual designed to punish those who disobeyed the Old Gods. The gist of the game involves summoning a "midnight man" into one's home and then trying to avoid him between midnight and 3:33 am. Such is achieved by staying on the move and looking out for the signs he's near. These signs are said to include a sudden fall in temperature and strange whispers. So what happens if he catches you? Well, nothing pleasant, that's for sure.

2. Three Kings

Three Kings is a game but could also be considered a form of 'shadow work,' not unlike tarot, deep meditation, or lucid dreaming. It requires a dark room with no light and setting up two mirrors facing each other with a chair placed in the middle. Then, at 3.30 am, the player is to sit on this chair with a lit candle and look straight into the darkness (and not the two mirrors). The trick is then to enter a meditative state and see what happens.

People who have played this game have spoken of feeling or talking to an unknown presence or even entering an alternate dimension. Of course, these players are experiencing a psychological effect in all likelihood. But, in either case, beware that whatever you hear or see may stick with you long after the game!

You're probably familiar with trying to summon Bloody Mary in a mirror, but do you know about the older version of this game?

You're probably familiar with trying to summon Bloody Mary in a mirror, but do you know about the older version of this game?

3. Bloody Mary

You've probably heard of Bloody Mary, as it's one of the most famous paranormal games in existence. You might have even tried it before with friends gathered around a mirror. But what you may not have realized is that most people play the game wrong and for the wrong reasons.

The version of the game that most people know about generally involves saying "Bloody Mary" into a mirror and waiting for a blood-soaked woman to appear and attempt to maul you (because what else are you going to do on a Friday night?).

The historical version of the game is far less violent but equally scary and also kind of depressing. It was played by young women hoping to identify their future husbands. The game would involve walking backwards up the stairs while gazing into a mirror (a terrible idea in itself). If performed correctly, the young dame would see either a glimpse of their future husband or the skull of the grim reaper. As you may have guessed, the latter indicated that the woman would die before marriage.

Because murderous dolls are always a good idea, right? Right?

Because murderous dolls are always a good idea, right? Right?

4. One-Man Hide-and-Go-Seek

Do you want to play hide and seek but don't have a friend to play with? Well, you could always try summoning a demonic entity into a creepy murderous doll instead.

One-man hide-and-go-seek is another game said to be based on an old ritual that involves summoning a wandering spirit into the body of a doll or puppet and then playing hide and seek with the now-animated object. (Like creepy old dolls weren't terrifying enough, right?) As if bumbling through your house in the dark looking for or hiding from a potentially killer doll isn't bad enough, the game requires you to hold saltwater in your mouth, that you must then spit onto the doll in order to 'win.'

Perhaps that sounds like your idea of a good time. But maybe you'd be better off just finding a friend to play with instead?

5. Daruma-San

Daruma-san, or "bath game," is a Japanese game based on an urban legend. It essentially involves chanting "Daruma-san fell down" (possibly in Japanese) while washing one's hair in the bath in the dark. After a while, it's said that a presence will become known to whoever is playing. Apparently, they will also experience a vision of a Japanese woman falling onto and being impaled by a rusty faucet.

Once the player finishes washing their hair, they must say aloud, "Why did you fall in the bathtub?" Then, without waiting for an answer or pulling the plug, the player is to close their eyes and quickly leave the bathroom (all while avoiding falling over) and shut the door behind them.

Not scary enough for you? Well, good news! That's just the ritual to get the game started. The next day, a presence will stalk the player, slowly creeping up behind them. When she's getting too close for comfort, shouting "Tomare!" (stop) will temporary stop her in her tracks. But she'll continue creeping up on her victim until they catch a good glimpse of her and shout "Kitta!" ("I cut you loose"). Failure to do this before midnight supposedly results in Daruma-San entering the person's dreams, Freddy Krueger–style.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mike Grindle