Earlier this week, the “Charlie Charlie Challenge” started taking the Internet by storm. But whether or not you feel comfortable leaving your fate up to a pair of pencils and some sort of ghostly presence (or, y'know, gravity), it's worth noting that this isn't the only game of this sort floating around out there. There are loads of games like “Charlie Charlie,” and thanks to the Internet, the rules for most of them are just a Google search away. Feel like tempting fate today? Maybe today's the day that you really, really want to creep yourself out?
I've mentioned before that I consider creepypasta to be the modern day equivalent of the urban legends so many of us grew up telling at sleepovers and around campfires; games and rituals like "Charlie Charlie" are no different. I would even go so far as to call them a particular genre of creepypasta — one that gets its punch from making you, the reader, into the star. This is probably why I spend so much of my free time reading them, although I'm generally too chickenshit to try them out myself. (Here's where you can read more creepypastas, if you make it through the below games.)
Do I believe any of these games actually work? To be honest, not really. I suspect that some of them — the ones that are closer to meditation than an alleged summoning of a ghost or demon or whatever — might yield more tangible results; however, your mileage is likely to vary in each and every case. If you do give any of them a shot, though, I'd recommend taking them absolutely seriously: Don't cut corners, and don't treat them as a joke. Even if you don't really believe in them… well, better safe than sorry, right?
A Redditor going by the name FableForge posted the instructions — or “recipe,” as it later became known — for The Three Kings on the r/NoSleep subreddit during the summer of 2012; it became so popular that it spawned a subreddit of its own devoted entirely to games and rituals of this sort. The setup involves shutting yourself in a room with two mirrors at 3:30 in the morning and… seeing what happens.
The mirrors should be set up on two chairs facing each other, while you yourself settle on a third chair placed between them. Your chair is your “throne,” making you the King; the mirrors are your Queen and your Fool, although you may know not which is which. It's also worth noting that, from the Queen and Fool's point of view, you're either their Queen or their Fool. The game is called The Three Kings, remember?
As for what the point of the ritual is? That's a little less clear. The idea is to access what FableForge calls “the Shadowside,” although why you would want to go there — or even just peek at it through a window — sort of depends on each individual. Personally, I think it functions kind of like hypnosis or meditation; you might learn something — just make sure that whatever you think you might learn is something you actually want to go through with. Some things, we're better off not knowing.
Allegedly this one originated many, many years ago in Japan; I haven't been able to find out anything about its origins beyond that, though, so it's possible (and likely, I think) that the whole “this is an ancient Japanese fortune telling ritual!” thing is just meant to add to the mystery of it. Anyway, the good news is that Tsuji-ura is a little less involved than some of the other games on this list: All you have to do is find a comb and something to cover your face, take them to a crossroad when it's dark out, run the comb over your teeth three times to make some noise, and chant “Tsuji-ura, Tsuji-ura, grant me a true response” three times. If a stranger approaches you, cover your face; then ask them to tell your fortune — but don't push it if they refuse.
Fun fact: The word “Tsuji-ura” also refers to a Japanese, rice crack-based version of a fortune cookie.
The Doors of Your Mind, which I'm fairly certain originated on the Three Kings subreddit, is relatively low risk compared to a lot of other games and rituals; basically it's a form of meditation, with the goal being simply to explore the contents of your own head. Visualizing the interior of your mind as a long corridor with many doors and rooms shooting off of it allows you to take your time walking through everything, potentially helping you sort out problems or maybe just learn something about yourself. Be warned, though: There could be some unpleasant or downright nasty things lurking in there. It's not unheard of for threatening personages to appear and lock you in one of the rooms — and getting locked in can sometimes… complicated things. Also know that you don't have to open every door; if you get a bad feeling from one, you might want to leave it shut.
The object of The Dark Reflection Ritual is to boost your luck, although you might have to battle through a whole bunch of absolutely terrible luck in order to get there — and I'm talking some Final Destination-level shit here. You can perform this one either solo or as part of a group; to get it going, find a mirror (a small hand mirror is best), look your reflection in the eye for a few seconds while focusing on all your negative energy, breathe on the mirror til it fogs up, and then hold it to a burning flame until a black smudge appears on it. Lastly, smash the mirror — and get ready to be on your guard. Throughout the rest of the night, bad luck will apparently follow you, getting increasingly more dangerous as the hours go by. If you survive until dawn, though? Congratulations! It's said that your luck will magically become good, ensuring success in pretty much everything you do for an unspecified amount of time.
Is it worth it? I'm not sure. You'll have to find out for yourself.
Another one from FableForge, The Shoebox Telephone involves constructing a sort of astral telephone out of a shoebox, a string, and a paper cup, and trying to “make a call” to someone who might not be on our plane of existence anymore. Like The Doors of Your Mind, it's relatively low risk; however, be careful of dialing a wrong number. I don't know what happens if you do… but I don't really want to find out.
I will freely admit that I have no earthly idea why anyone would actually want to play The Midnight Game. It sounds (theoretically, at least) extremely dangerous, and “winning” it doesn't seem to bestow any benefits on you. Maybe it's for the thrill of the whole thing? Or something? Allegedly it was used as a punishment during Ye Olden Dayes, but similarly to Tsuji-ura, I suspect that's just a fiction tacked onto the story to make it freakier.
Anyway, this particular game is an all-night event; after you summon the Midnight Man to your place of residence via the sort of blood magic it's not generally recommended that anyone do, ever, you spend the rest of the evening moving about your house and trying to avoid him. What happens if he catches you? Well, depending on who you ask, he'll either trap you inside a hallucination of your worst fear for a few hours, or he'll rip out your innards. Fun!
Oh, and even if you make it through the game unscathed, don't assume you're safe from the Midnight Man forever. He might still be there… waiting.
The prize for winning The Gambler's Game is the ability to win any gamble, no matter how slim the odds might be. You get to pick the game, although Blackjack is preferred; just don't try to cheat. The Gambler doesn't take kindly to cheating. The ritual might look kind of goofy to anyone who doesn't know what's going on — essentially, it will seem like you're playing a card game with yourself — but just because you can't see your opponent doesn't mean he's not there.
The cost of losing is steep, to say the least.
This one bears some similarities with The Shoebox Telephone, although it uses a regular ol' cellphone instead of one made out of a shoebox and you don't get to pick who you call. It's also a heck of a lot more dangerous. Before you start, you'll have to make sure you're alone in the house, as well as comfortable with hanging out in your bathroom and staring into the depths of your toilet for an extended amount of time.
Are you ready? First, turn off all the lights in your home and lay down a line of salt outside the bathroom door; then grab your phone and a flashlight and lock yourself in the bathroom. Calling your home phone number from your cellphone might result in… well, something picking up the other end. If that happens, hang up immediately. If you see a change in the surface of the toilet bowl water or hear a noise from somewhere inside your house, hang up immediately. Actually, you know what? Just don't try to make that call in the first place. It's probably safer for everyone.
Too freaked out to try one of these games on your own? The Answer Man requires 10 players, so maybe there's safety in numbers. Gather everyone together into a circle; then have all players take out their phones and call the person to their left, making sure you all hit “send” at the same time. Most of you will probably get a busy signal… but it's possible that one person might get through to the Answer Man. You can ask him any question you want — but know that for every question you ask, he'll have one to ask in return. And if he doesn't like your answer… you're going to have a bad time.
I feel similarly about One-Person Hide and Seek as I do about The Midnight Game — namely, why the eff would you even play it? But again, I suspect a lot of it has to do with thrill-seeking, so if that's your thing, then go forth (carefully). This one involves preparing a doll or stuffed animal to be the other player; first it's your job to find it… and then it's the doll's turn to find you. If you successfully avoid it, you'll have to go find it again yourself to end the game — but be warned: You may not find it where you left it.
And while we're at it, here's how a grown-ass woman uses "Charlie Charlie" to make all her decisions: