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.” – 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.
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
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.
“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
“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
“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
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?