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Eight Paranormal Games to Play At Your Own Risk

As someone who lives in the cold bed of science, I’m not a superstitious person. I am, however, a little tiny-stitious, which is why all it took was the spirit of late October, some curiosity, and a small nudge from a friend to send me spiraling down a rabbit hole of frightening internet research. 

There was a time in fifth grade where all the kids in my class were obsessed with Bloody Mary. Most were too scared to actually attempt anything, but some took turns performing the ritual at home, and then came back to school whispering about seeing her face in their mirror. Maybe I just had a creepy childhood, but the point is that my foray felt like a remix of my elementary school years: many instructions, not very many results, and a lot of unreliable witness testimony.

Nonetheless, it was a fascinating two days, and by the time I finally emerged from my reading cocoon, I had done more than dip my toes into the spookier parts of the web. 

So sit back, relax, and put out some candy. Here are eight paranormal rituals and games to try this Halloween.

Proceed—if you dare.

THE RUNNER

This ritual game is perfect for anyone looking to duplicate something. All you need is a long passageway with no windows, a wager, and good running shoes.

And blood—but don’t worry! That’s just for drawing the starting and finishing lines of the track. While anything involving blood magic is generally regarded as dangerous and unpredictable, the Runner ritual is surprisingly straightforward; it takes a lot of foresight and preparation, but it should be relatively safe as long as you follow the instructions closely. 

The objective is to summon an “opponent” and race them on foot. If you win, your wager is duplicated. If you lose, your opponent takes your wager. Your wager can be anything that physically exists and can be copied, though it is strongly recommended that you don’t make your wager a living thing. 

The race is less about speed and more about stamina. Your opponent’s pace will be a little faster than yours, but they will run at a constant speed. If you vary your speed and run in bursts, you will be able to overtake them and win. Just remember not to look over at them, and not to say anything except what is written in the instructions. 

Lastly, depending on whether you win or lose, a few things will be behind the finish line. If you lose, that thing will be nothing—your wager will be gone, as your opponent has taken it as their prize. If you win, your wager, its duplicate, and a small piece of paper reading “AGAIN?” will be waiting for you. Do not play again. You won’t win, and this time your item isn’t the only thing being wagered. 

After all, there are worse things to lose.

RED BOOK

Also known as El Juego del Libro Rojo, Red Book is a divination game similar to the Ouija Board, where players ask an entity questions through—as the name suggests—a red book.

The game requires at least two participants, a candle, and a hardcover book with no pictures. Players sit around the lit candle in a dark room and pass the book around to each other, asking questions out loud. The asker has their eyes closed and opens the book to a random page, and then places their finger on a random spot on the page. The sentence under their finger is interpreted as the entity’s answer.

As with the Ouija Board, players must ask for permission to enter and leave the game. It’s also not recommended to ask about your death or anything that would anger the entity, though no questions are explicitly prohibited.

Still, be careful with your words. Some knowledge is better left unknown. 

GHOST PAPER CHALLENGE

The Ghost Paper Challenge is a summoning ritual in which the participant invites a spirit into a room and communicates with it by sliding a piece of paper under a door. Like in Red Book, the player may ask whatever they want; however, they are limited to only three questions. 

The questions are written down one at a time and fed halfway under the door to the room of the player’s choice. If the summoning is successful, the paper and writing utensil are pulled through to the other side, and then slid back out with the spirit’s response. Repeat for the next two questions. 

There are many places in the ritual where things have the opportunity to go wrong. If the response to your question tells you to leave or is hostile in any way, then do not proceed. If the paper does not reappear after it is pulled to the other side, definitely don’t proceed. Apologize and thank the spirit for its time, before ending the ritual as per the instructions. 

The spirit may even try to open the door, in which case, you would need to run very fast.

But no matter how the ritual ends, it’s important to keep the door shut until sunrise. Nobody knows what happens if you open the door before daylight, but it definitely can’t be anything good.

DARK MUSIC

Dark Music is less of a game and more of an experience. It is, in its essence, a ghostly concert.

In this ritual, the participant summons a spirit to play an instrument, and then sits out of view behind a salt line to listen. Although the intention is amicable, the spirit has a hair-trigger temper and can be easily angered by any perceived slight against their playing, such as loud breathing from the participant. Because of this, there are two ways to end the ritual: the Thankful Way (for when everything goes well), and the Forgiving Way (for when it doesn’t).

Lord help you if you ever have to use that second one.

Overwhelmingly, what will keep you safe during this ritual is showing the proper amount of respect towards the spirit. If you’re rude, unappreciative, or a noise violation like me, then—well. It’s been nice knowing you, I guess.  

RED DOOR, YELLOW DOOR

Ever wished you could explore the deep horrors of your psyche? Well, here’s your chance.

Red Door, Yellow Door reminds me a lot of Inception, in that it involves exploring the inner workings of your mind through imagined, dreamlike settings. The “subject” lays with their arms sticking up in the air and their head in the lap of a “guide”, whose job is to steer the player through the game.

The phrase “Red door, yellow door, any other color door” is chanted by the guide and any other players in the room until the subject has slipped into a trance. Once they see doors in front of them, they lower their hands to stop the chanting and signal the start of the game.

From here, the guide will ask the subject questions about their surroundings, such as the color of the doors or the objects in the rooms they lead to. As the point of the game is exploration, there is no set end time, though some sites say you should stay no longer than an hour. 

Some rules to keep in mind while playing:

  • If you enter a room filled with clocks, leave immediately. Clocks can trap you in your trance.
  • Light colors are generally better than dark colors.
  • Likewise, stairs leading up are always better than those leading down. 
  • If you encounter an old woman, don’t speak to her and leave the room.
  • If you encounter a man in a suit who fills you with dread, end the game. If the guide is unable to end the game, get as far away from the man as you can.
  • If a door or room makes you feel uneasy, listen to your gut and avoid it.
  • In an emergency, the guide may need to shake you roughly to wake you.

All in all, Red Door, Yellow Door is a low-risk game. As long as you’re careful, you likely, probably, won’t see anything too disturbing.  

ELEVATOR GAME

The Elevator Game is an urban legend ritual that originates from East Asia. It’s thought that if the buttons of an elevator are pressed in a certain order, it will take you to the spirit world. 

Due to its popularity, the details of the game vary wildly depending on where you look. Some sites say that only one participant is allowed, while others claim the game can be played with more (though having more than two players may risk the possession of one of them). However, all of them agree on the order of the buttons, and the woman on the fifth floor. 

The game should be played in a building with ten or more floors, starting on the first. The order of the floors is as follows: 4-2-6-2-10-5-1. 

When you reach the fifth floor, a woman may enter the elevator. She may seem familiar. Don’t look at her. Do not touch her, do not speak to her, and do not respond to any of her questions. Whatever you do, do not acknowledge her. She isn’t human, and may decide to take you for her own. 

If the ritual is successful, pressing the first-floor button at the end should take you to the tenth floor. Exiting the elevator will bring you to the spirit world, which is identical to our world except that all the lights are off and electronics don’t work. Reportedly, if you look outside, all you’ll be able to see is a glowing red cross in the distance. 

I’m actually planning to play this with a friend on Halloween, so if I don’t post any more articles after October 31, 2021—well, you know why. 

11 MILE GAME

The 11 Mile Game is a wish-fulfilling ritual. It requires a car, a set of back roads, and nerves of steel.

The objective is to make it through all eleven miles of the road. The road is otherworldly and does not exist in the real world; the player must find it by driving with the thing they most desire in mind. Apparently, it’ll be obvious when you reach it. 

From there, it’s simply a matter of survival. For every mile driven, distractions will begin to appear. The temperature will drop, and the player may begin to see menacing shadows from the windows or hear voices outside—or within—the car.

Here are some tips to stay safely focused on your journey:

  • Don’t roll down your windows. Something could get in.
  • Don’t turn on the radio in your car. If it turns on by itself, then do your best to ignore it. Don’t distract yourself by trying to turn it off. You can’t.
  • Under no circumstances should you get out of the car until you’ve reached the end.
  • Keep your eyes on the road. As you progress, it will become more precarious, with many twists and turns. Take care so as not to crash.
  • Try not to drive over 30 mph. You could have an accident.

If all goes well and you complete all eleven miles, you’ll find your wish waiting for you in your pocket, your backseat, or your trunk. If your desire wasn’t something material, then drive home. It will begin to manifest sometime in the next few days.

Just keep in mind that things may not turn out the way you want them to. As the old adage goes: be careful what you wish for. 

HIDE AND GO SEEK ALONE

Pretty much every webpage I go to says the same thing: DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME. YOU WILL DIE.

This is one of those games that basically just amounts to “Invite a demon into your house, try not to die.” You know, fun stuff. Others that fall under the same category are the Midnight Man and the Dry Bones Ritual, which are a few of the many that weren’t able to make this article. 

The short version is that the player animates a stuffed doll with a malevolent spirit, and then challenges the spirit to a game of hide-and-seek. In order to play, all the lights of the house must be turned off, aside from the television, which will change depending on the position of the doll or the presence of any unwelcome visitors

Hide and Go Seek Alone is meant to be played, as it says, alone. Playing with another person may result in someone getting possessed, and playing with someone else in the house, even if they have not joined the game, can result in them being unintentionally found instead. Safeguards such as saltwater and religious imagery must be used as a layer of protection to help keep you hidden.

Because you don’t want to be found by the doll. You don’t. You really, really don’t. 

So, still feeling brave? Click a link and give it a try. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Jenny Nguyen

CU Boulder '25

Jenny is a freshman at the CU College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in MCDB with a computational biology minor. Her interests include astronomy, debate, Pokemon, and a variety of TV shows and movies ranging from the average slice-of-life to a good, bone-chilling horror flick.
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