Three Kings Ritual: Just a Game or Dangerous Spirit Communication?

Is The Internet-Famous “Three Kings Ritual” Just a Game or a Dangerous Glimpse Into the Spirit World?

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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?

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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.” – FableForge 

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.

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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.
  • A fan.
  • 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).
  • Three chairs.
  • 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.” -FableForge

Personal experiences with the Three Kings Ritual

Hundreds, if not thousands of people have attempted the Three Kings ritual since it was posted, and most have some kind of experience that falls squarely into the terrifying category.  Many people report spending their hour and thirty-four minutes in, what they feel, is the presence of two (usually) evil spirits.

Quite often people will report actually watching spirits manifest in the mirrors in their peripheral vision. In many cases, there will be some kind of auditory communication with the Kings, and more often than not, the experience leaves the ritualist pretty shaken up:

“After a few minutes of nothing happening, I hear something from the darkness towards the door. It’s faint singing in a language I can’t understand, and the blackness turns into a mass of shadows that look like people. They’re all marching from the right to the left, like they’re on parade; and as they pass I can’t help but feel elated. After a couple of minutes of this going on, I noticed a second noise.

From the chair to my right, was the sound of someone writing something down. It was a scratchy sound too, like someone using one of those old quill pens (god I love those things). I wanted to ask what it was writing down, but I was too afraid of the answer to go through with it. Especially when the room was full of moving shadows (even if they did look like they were rejoicing). The scribbling on my right ceased, and then a voice from the chair on my left spoke up.

It said my name, and then started listing off every good deed I’d done in my life. Big, small, valiant, accidental, all of them. Even ones I’d done when I was a little boy and forgotten about. And as the voice listed these things off, the writing on my right resumed… When my girlfriend called for me, both voices said goodbye, the shadows and music faded away, and I heard the chairs scrape against the wood floor. ”  –mjkoenig

Some people have even gone into full trances while performing the Three Kings, to the point where the ritual could only be ended when their backup person used the the first failsafe:

“Out of the corner of my eye, the mirror to my right looked like there were water droplets falling down it, like the windshield of a car during a downpour. I felt a tear fall down my cheek, I’m not sure if it was because I was terrified or because of the sheer sadness that filled the room. … From the corner of my eye, I noticed that the mirror on the left looked lighter somehow. The only way I know how to explain it is when you turn the brightness up too high on your computer screen. Terrified, I made sure to keep looking forward at the wall.

The next thing I remember is getting splashed with an entire bucket of cold water. My safety person had called my name without a response, then called my cell phone several times with no answer, then eventually came into the room and brought me back to reality with the bucket of water. According to them I was sitting straight ahead with the candle clutched in my left hand and my right hand in front of me at face level, like I was holding it against someone else’s.” – throwawaykings

In some cases people have undeniably profound experiences that have the ability to change them as people:

“Suddenly the candle I had started flickering. I’m not talking about a little bit either; I was legitimately getting scared it was going to go out. It looked like it was dancing around, and was casting strange shadows all around me. Immediately after I felt two distinct mental presences crash into me. From the left side I felt an overwhelming sense of anger, depression, hate, and what generally felt like evil incarnate. From the right came these feelings of happiness, joy, and kindness, and was the complete opposite of the opposing force. It felt like I was no longer one person, but was instead three entities fighting it out inside of my body. I remember feeling squished inside my own body, and I was starting to shake. It was like nothing I’d ever felt before. I at one point was sure I was going to be pushed out of my own body, and could feel what can only be described as ego death.”  –DP4man

Is Three Kings just a game? Or a genuine magick ritual?

Sure, there are a lot of ways we can explain away the experiences people have during the Three Kings Ritual. Maybe they’re tired, already pre-conditioned to be scared, and probably expecting something strange to happen, but what if what the experiences reported by these countless experimenters are real? Just because it originated as a piece of internet creepypasta doesn’t negate the fact that that thousands of people have put quite a bit of focus and energy into performing what is, when it boils down to it, a very detailed ritual.

I’ve personally have never performed the Three Kings Ritual, mostly because I’m a big scardy-cat, but that hasn’t stopped me from being fascinated with both the real and fictional reports that have popped up all over the internet since 2013. Whether you believe it’s a real magick ritual intended to make contact with the spirit realm or just Bloody Mary for the i-generation, you can’t deny that there isn’t part of you that kind of wants to try it now… right?

Have you performed the Three Kings Ritual? If you have, tell us about your experience in the comments below, tweet us @WeirdHQ, or leave a message on Facebook.


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Dana Matthews

Dana Matthews

Co-founder, Editor, Writer at Week in Weird / Planet Weird
Managing editor, occult museum curator, and paranormal TV junkie, Dana has been actively investigating the strange and the unexplained for two decades. When she’s not telling ghost stories or penning articles about real haunted places, she's chasing mysteries with Planet Weird. Learn more about Dana.
Dana Matthews

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I strongly urge anyone not to do these types of rituals. They are real, and are highly dangerous. If you are a non beleive in such things, that’s fine. But, it’s does not make any difference. Evil entities are out there just waiting for an opportunity to step into our world. I have also wrote a letter to Hasbrouck about the manufacturing of the oijoia board. I know kids are curious about death and will do things on a dare, but tampering with the spirit world is nothing to experiment with. Negative spirits can hurt you, even kill you, or… Read more »

Sounds like the last meeting I had at work.

I still don’t understand why people take the stories on ‘nosleep’ at reddit as fact, considering it states quite clearly on the board, that the stories are fiction. It’s a place to write scary stories, FICTIONAL scary stories.

How you can be so stupid as to call on spirits? Really, people, this is nothing to be messing around with! It’s like playing with a Ouija board, you are too likely to get something you don’t want, that wants you. And I’m not talking in a good way here. These things are not to be taken lightly, they are not games. You endanger your life and your very essence doing these kind of things. And it’s even more stupid and irresponsible to post this kind of thing where gullible people will try it.

Robert Charles Mickam do we dare!

Let’s do it!!

I got a new smudging kit in case it brings any more bad juju into the house!

I can think of much easier ways of calling up spirits than this.
Having said that, it’s the old method of totally believing whatever you are doing. If you invest enough belief, then it may well just work, even if the results are out of your own head.

These experiences may be caused by the DMT the pineal gland in the brain releases when you sleep. What baffles me is that if it’s a DMT experience, it lasts many times longer than a DMT trip from smoking DMT. I have met entities during psychedelic experiences and possibly entered a spirit world. My psychedelic experiences range from profound to…. meh. I’ve never had a bad or scary psychedelic experience though.

I agree! It’s like toddlers playing with chainsaws 🙁

I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to Reddit-based lore. That being said, this ritual seems so specific in instructions as to kind of freak me out. The same is true for the Elevator Game. The more specific and detailed the instructions are, the freakier the game seems. I haven’t tried this, nor do I intend to. My husband would refuse to be my safety person and I couldn’t ask my young kids to “help mama try out some reddit paranormal type game.” Just no. However, I am hoping someone else goes all full-on scientific method on this ritual and… Read more »
i to am a big scaredy cat…so, doing it myself is out of the question….but being ever so slightly selfish, would love also like Lacey said to hear someone else do this, i know, sad isn’t it,….”i know, lets find someone else to put their mortal being and soul in potential danger,” but lets face it, no body here is that much of an innocent pure angel, i know we’d all like to get feed back from someone who actually went ahead and tried this out…… SO, if you do, be a sport, and let us know how it went..???
Exactly – “someone else take the mortal soul hit for us, and while you are at it, please document everything thoroughly & edit for grammar before posting.” Lol. It’s hard to take any Reddit paranormal experience story seriously. After a while, they all start sounding the same too – weird noises, black shadow in shower, dog barking at door etc. I imagine a majority of Reddit commenters either make stuff up or wildly embellish, then add just enough grain of truth so they don’t get moved to the /nosleep board (where everything is fiction). Ideally, a skeptic with some room… Read more »

Edit: Maybe I wouldn’t do this at work. Afternoons tend to be slow, though, and that’s the only time I have an opportunity to do this.

However, it would be super embarrassing if my boss or assistant were to walk in on me in the supply closet, in full candle-mirror mode. I could maybe make up something about meditating but I’d probably never live it down.

If you’re innocent and don’t know any better,I think it’d be ok. If you are serious and have intent… no telling what energies one might expeirience? Looking back, if I would have known then what I know now, as far as kids “games”.

NO WAY. I LEAVE THOSE THINGS ALONE.

Would love to see you guys try some other famous games- such as The Midnight Man, Hitori Kakurenbo, and the infamous Bloody Mary 🙂

This game that I just played is going to scare me for the rest of my life 🙁

What are the consequences of this??

What you’re doing here is playing tricks on yourself with those old stand-by’s, mirrors. When you stare into a mirror long enough your own image begins to distort and change. Now, do this by flickering candlelight alone ( that’s what the fan is for, and the white noise, like TV static, creates a base for no end of illusions) in this set up and you got jumping shadows and your own shifting reflection on either side. Voila, you’ve got spirits dancing, whispering, writing and crying and whatnot.

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