Previously: The Mirror Box.
Parties are fun — as long as you don’t have uninvited guests. “The Hosting Game” also goes by the name “Don’t Look Back” for reasons that will become apparent as you read onward. As always, play at your own risk.
- 1 principal.
- A small, dark, empty room in your home (your “hosting room”). Ideally this room should have no windows; if, however, you do not have such a room available to you, a room with windows may be used provided that said windows may be completely covered up. No outside light should be visible from inside the room.
- A writing implement and paper.
- A clock, watch, or other analog timekeeping device. Do NOT use a cell phone, digital watch, or other digital device.
- 3 matches.
- Begin at night. Keep your timekeeping device and the matches on your person at all times.
- Turn off all possible sources of noise in your home. This includes telephones, televisions, computers, alarms, etc. Be thorough. If your hosting room requires it, draw the curtains or otherwise block the windows so that no light can be seen from inside the room.
- Enter your hosting room and turn on the light. If the room contains no lamps or overhead lights, use a flashlight, lantern, lit candle, or other portable light source. Candles, although correct in terms of atmosphere, may pose a fire hazard, so proceed with caution.
- Place your writing implement and piece of paper in your hosting room.
- Leaving the light source on, exit your hosting room. Go to the furthest point in your home from the room and call, “I’ll be ready soon!” Move from room to room of your home, repeating this phrase in every room, moving closer to your hosting room with each call.
- When you arrive back at your hosting room, use the writing implement to write the following message on the piece of paper: “You are invited! A gathering, hosted by [Your Name]. Takes place from [the current time] to [an hour from the current time]. Bring your friends!”
- Place the piece of paper in the middle of the hosting room.
- Stand in the doorway of the hosting room facing into the room and call, “I’m ready! Come on in!”
- Turn off the light and turn around. The open door to the hosting room should be at your back; you should be facing the darkness of your home. Take out your three matches.
- After a few moments of silence, begin counting out loud, starting at one and ending at 10. Do not look back.
- When you reach the count of 10, strike the first match.If the first match lights on the first strike:
- Hold it as it burns and greet your guests by saying, “I’m so glad to see you! Thank you for coming!” Hold the match until it burns down as low as you can bear.
If the match does not light on the first strike:
- Drop it and immediately proceed to the next step.
- Do not look back. Strike the second match.
- If the second match lights on the first strike:Hold it as it burns and greet more of your guests by saying, “I’m so glad to see you! Thank you for coming!” Hold the match until it burns down as low as you can bear.If the second match does not light on the first strike:Drop it and immediately proceed to the next step.
- Do not look back. Strike the third match.
- Do not look back. Strike the third match.
If the third match lights on the first strike:
- Say, “Now everyone is here!” and count from one to 10 once more. If you have done this correctly, you will be able to hear and/or feel whispering, rustling, or a quiet “thank you” behind you.
- Do not look back.
- When your timekeeping device indicates the gathering’s finishing time, say out loud, “Thank you for coming. Goodbye.”
- Walk to the nearest light source and turn it on. The gathering is over and your guests have gone.
If the third match does not light on the first strike:
- You have uninvited guests. Do NOT look back. Do NOT turn around. Do NOT pause to close the door. Run as quickly as you can to the nearest light source and turn it on.
This game is best played alone. Your guests may not feel welcome if they feel there is already a crowd present.
Once the gathering has begun, do NOT, at any point, turn around or look behind you.
Concerning Uninvited Guests:
Although turning on the nearest light source will end the gathering, do NOT assume that your guests have gone. It is recommended that you perform a purifying or cleansing ritual — as well as that you avoid dark rooms in your home from then on.