Everyone is familiar with the childhood sleepover favorite Bloody Mary. You go into a darkened bathroom and whisper her name three times into the mirror, where the horrible phantom will appear and attempt to drag you off into the darkness.
Bloody Mary is a classic, but there’s plenty of scary games that have been updated for the internet generation of paranormal thrill-seekers, all you have to do is look at the popularity of viral sensations like the Charlie Charlie Challenge, which to this day still has many terrified parents convinced that it’s an authentic way to communicate with the other side.
But what if it was? A new, intricate spirit summoning ritual has swept the internet, and the results have been so terrifying that those who choose to attempt the complicated steps often come back so terrified that they vow to never repeat the ritual again. Are you brave enough to call on the Three Kings?
There’s a very good chance you’ve never even heard of the Three Kings Ritual (not to be confused with the Mardi Gras Voodoo ritual of the same name); no one had heard of it until 2013, when redditor FableForge took to the r/nosleep subreddit to post a thread about the fabled Three Kings Ritual rules under the title “Please don’t actually try this”. FableForge then went on to explain that what he was sharing was a “relatively safe way in which you can access the Shadowside”.
“I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t be afraid of the Shadowside; chances are you’ve already seen it after all, and merely think it was just a “recurring dream”. I will tell you there is no need to be ignorantly afraid of it, though. There is a difference. Ignorance fuels fear and fear can give that place a lot of juice to run on. You have to be big on preparation if you want to try this.”
The rules are very specific, and the ingredients and setup are equally important in order for the ‘game’ to go off successfully, though not once in the post does FableForge actually tell the reader what exactly will happen if the ritual is successful. That has been tasked to the countless people who have conducted the ritual over the past three years and lived to tell the terrifying tale.
Three kings ritual
Here’s how to try Three Kings yourself. You’ll need:
A very large empty and quiet room, preferably without windows. If windows exist, you need to be able to cover them and ensure total darkness. Basements usually work well, if they’re roomy enough.
A pack of candles (you’ll only use 1, if all goes well), and a lighter.
A bucket of water and a mug.
Two large mirrors (like the one on your dresser. Don’t worry, they won’t be harmed. Or if they are, it’d be the least of your concerns).
An alarm clock.
An active cell phone (don’t forget to charge the goddamn battery!)
A loved one willing to follow rules and go along with all this madness.
A small toy or dear object from your childhood.
And here’s how you’ll set up the ritual/game space:
Start setup at around 11 PM. Place one chair in the center of the room, facing north (this is important). Place the other two chairs exactly to the left and right, facing your throne. The distance between your throne and that of your queen and fool should be about the length of your arm to each side, more or less.
Place the two large mirrors on the queen and fool chairs left and right of you, facing you (and each other). Try your best to have them stand at a 90 degree angle (or else you may get more or less than three kings). If you sit on your throne facing straight ahead (north), you should be able to perceive your own reflection in each of the two mirrors without actually having to turn your head nor your eyes to do so. If you see your own reflection in the corner of your eye, just barely there, then you’ve done it right.
Place the bucket of water and the mug in front of you, just barely out of reach.
Place the fan behind you, turn it on. Don’t set it to maximum power -medium or low is usually enough. Leave it on.
Turn off the lights, leave the door open and go to your bedroom.
Set the candles by the side of the bed, next to a lighter, your alarm clock and your cellphone (leave it charging).
Set your alarm clock for 3:30 AM.
Turn off the lights and sleep while holding your power object, get some rest.
What happens once you begin the ritual at 3:30am:
Wake up at 3:30 AM with your alarm clock. Turn it off, but don’t turn on the light. You have exactly three minutes to light your candle, grab your cellphone, and make your way to the dark room to sit in your throne. You should be seated by 3:33 AM. Don’t forget your power object! Check for potential red flags: if your cellphone didn’t charge for whatever reason, abort the mission. If the alarm didn’t go off exactly at 3:30 AM, abort the mission. If you find the dark room door closed (remember you left it open) abort the mission. If the fan is turned off (you left it on) abort the mission.
(Side note: if you have to abort the mission due to any of the above, leave the house with your loved one. Go to a hotel or something. There’s no need to run; you have time to grab a jacket and your keys and what not, butleave. After 6 AM the coast should be clear.)
If all is going as planned, you can proceed and take your throne. DO NOT look directly at either of the two mirrors besides you. DO NOT let the candle go out. The fan is behind you. You must protect the candle with your body, which is standing in between (there’s a reason for this; as you’ll soon see).
Look straight ahead, at the darkness. Not at the candle, not at the mirrors, just straight ahead. Eagle-eyed readers surely noticed I didn’t say during setup which chair was queen and which chair was fool. That’s because it’s your job to find out. And from their point of view, you are either their queen or their fool, too. Hence three kings.
Time and time again FableForge warns the player to not look into the mirrors or at the candle, but to keep your eyes forward, and whatever you do, DO NOT let the candle go out.
“Did I mention not to let the candle go out? That’s what the fan is for. You’re protecting the candle with your body, but if your body were to be suddenly moved then the fan would turn off the candle. That’s backup number 1. Your loved one is backup number 2: at 4:34 she has to come in the room and call your name. If that won’t work, she has to call your cellphone. If that won’t work, she has the glass of water and the bucket. She can’t touch you though -that’s a newbie mistake. Backup number 3 is your item of power, the toy, or locket or whatever object of strength you brought along for the ride. It’ll show you the way if shit hits the fan.
Multiple back ups. You gotta be like a boy scout if you do these things. If you half-ass it, half-ass it all the way so that it won’t work. Worst you can do is take it seriously enough for it to work and not seriously enough to be prepared for the consequences.”