The Most Dangerous Games: Concentrate

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Previously: The Answer Man

I used to play the game Concentrate on the playground as a kid. Maybe you did, too. Interestingly, though, despite the morbid-sounding rhyme at the center of the game, my friends and I never actually considered it spooky or dangerous; we mostly thought it was a neat kind of mental simulation, a way to experience the things described in the rhyme without actually experiencing them. We also thought it might function as a light form of hypnosis, although none of us ever felt “hypnotized” by the end of it.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I recently discovered that it’s listed in rather a lot of places on the internet as the kind of game that qualifies as a Most Dangerous Game.

As a Metafilter thread from 2007 underlines, there are a lot of variations on Concentrate — and, in fact, this might be why it never seemed like a “ghost game” to me: It seems the version my friends and I used to play was missing a few key components. We didn’t include the needle verse, and we stopped after the verse about the knife; the conclusion of the game merely involved repeating the chorus one final time and calling it a day. All that business about ropes and being pushed off an imaginary building and seeing a color as soon as you open your eyes that purports to tell you how you’ll die? That was totally absent in my playground’s version.

Interesting, no?

Now, the way we used to play Concentrate, it wasn’t enough just to say the words — there was a specific rhythm with which they needed to be said. It wasn’t exactly a song; it did, however, have a sort of singsong quality that was essential to the whole experience. We used the pounding motions performed on the principal’s back as a metronome by which to keep time.

Since I was unable to find any recordings of the ritual featuring this “song,” I went ahead and recorded one myself (with the help of a voice changer app to disguise my voice and add a bit atmosphere. It’s, uh, not the most professional of productions, but it’ll get the job done). I recorded the version I played as a kid, so it’s a little shorter than the one included in the rules listed below; it’s more to give you an idea of how it’s supposed to sound. Once you’ve learned the basic rhythm, you should easily be able to add in the rest of the verses yourself. Feel free to speed the tempo up a little, too. Scroll down for an embed, or click over to Soundcloud to listen to it. (Note: I’ve had some trouble getting Soundcloud to play in Chrome, so if you experience the same issue, you might want to try a different browser.)

As always… Well, you know how it goes.

Players:

  • One principal.
  • One guide.

Requirements:

  • The Words.

Instructions:

1. Begin anywhere and at any time.

  • If you are the guide: Stand behind the principal. You should be facing their back.
  • If you are the principal: Stand in front of the guide. You should be facing away from them. Close your eyes.
  • NOTE: Steps 2 through 19 are to be performed by the guide. The principal should simply stand with their eyes closed throughout and experience the guide’s actions. The principal should NOT open their eyes until instructed.

2. If you are the guide: Make your hands into loose fists. Begin pounding lightly on the principal’s back in a one-two-one-two rhythm.

3. Following the rhythm set by your fists, speak or sing the Chorus of the Words:

Concentrate, concentrate

Concentrate on what I’m saying

People are dying, children are crying

Concentrate, concentrate

4. Cease the pounding motion. Proceed to the first Verse of the Words. The first Verse is as follows:

Crack an egg on your head, let the yolk run down

Let the chills run up, let the yolk run down

Crack an egg on your head, let the yolk run down

Let the chills run up, let the yolk run down

5. While you speak or sing the Verse, perform the following motions simulating the experience described by the Words (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

  • On the word “egg,” lightly tap your fist on the top of the principal’s head.
  • On the phrase “let the yolk run down,” open your fist and run your fingers down the principal’s back.
  • On the phrase “let the chills run up,” run your fingers up the principal’s back.

6. Return to the one-two pounding motion on the principal’s back. Repeat the Chorus.

7. Cease the pounding motion. Proceed to the second Verse of the Words. The second Verse is as follows:

Squeeze two oranges on your shoulders, let the juice run down

Let the chills run up, let the juice run down

Squeeze two oranges on your shoulders let the juice run down

Let the chills run up, let the juice run down.

8. While you speak or sing the Verse, perform the following motions simulating the experience described by the Words (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

  • On the word “oranges,” lightly squeeze and twist the participant’s shoulders.
  • On the phrase “let the juice run down,” run your fingers down the principal’s back.
  • On the phrase “let the chills run up,” run your fingers up the principal’s back.

9. Return to the one-two pounding motion on the principal’s back. Repeat the Chorus.

10. Cease the pounding motion. Proceed to the third Verse of the Words. The third Verse is as follows (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

Stick 10 needles in your sides, let the blood run down

Let the chills run up, let the blood run down

Stick 10 needles in your sides, let the blood run down

Let the chills run up, let the blood run down

11. While you speak or sing the Verse, perform the following motions simulating the experience described by the Words (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

  • On the word “needles,” stick all 10 of your fingers in the principal’s sides.
  • On the phrase “let the blood run down,” run your fingers down the principal’s sides.
  • On the phrase “let the chills run up,” run your fingers up the principal’s sides.

12. Return to the one-two pounding motion on the principal’s back. Repeat the Chorus.

13. Cease the pounding motion. Proceed to the fourth Verse of the Words. The fourth Verse is as follows (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

Stab a knife in your back, let the blood run down

Let the chills run up, let the blood run down

Stab a knife in your back, let the blood run down

Let the chills run up, let the blood run down

14. While you speak or sing the Verse, perform the following motions simulating the experience described by the Words (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

  • On the word “knife,” lightly pound one fist into the principal’s back.
  • On the phrase “let the blood run down,” run your fingers down the principal’s back.
  • On the phrase “let the chills run up,” run your fingers up the principal’s back.

15. Return to the one-two pounding motion on the principal’s back. Repeat the Chorus.

16. Cease the pounding motion. Proceed to the fifth Verse of the Words. The fifth Verse is as follows (NOTE: This Verse’s rhythm may be slightly different than that of Verses one through four; adapt as necessary):

Wrap a rope around your neck, wrap it ‘til it’s tight

Wrap a rope around your neck, and

PULL

17. While you speak or sing the Verse, perform the following motions simulating the experience described by the Words (repeat each motion whenever they occur in the Verse):

  • On the word “rope,” mime wrapping a rope around the principal’s neck. Do NOT place your hands around the principal’s neck; simply draw a line lightly around their neck with your hand to simulate the “rope” and release them.
  • On the word “pull,” place your hands on the principal’s shoulders and push lightly but sharply downwards.

18. Hold the principal by the arms. Lean in close. Whisper the following Words in their ear:

You’re standing on a building

You’re out on the ledge

You’re feeling very dizzy

You’re close to the edge

And someone

PUSHES YOU

19. On the word “pushes,” push the principal lightly but sharply forwards — just hard enough to make them lose their balance, but not hard enough to throw them to the ground.

20. To close the game:

  • If you are the guide: Instruct the principal to open their eyes and immediately describe to you what color they see.
  • If you are the principal: Open your eyes when instructed by the guide and immediately describe to them what color you see.

Concerning the Colors:

  • If the principal sees the color red: They will die by stabbing.
  • If the principal sees the color blue: They will die by drowning.
  • If the principal sees the color yellow: They will die by poison.
  • If the principal sees the color orange: They will die by fire.
  • If the principal sees the color green: They will die by falling.
  • If the principal sees the color purple: They will die by asphyxiation.
  • If the principal sees the color grey: They will die by illness.
  • If the principal sees the color white: They will die of old age and ascend to heaven.
  • If the principal sees the color black: They will die of old age and descend to hell.
  • If the principal sees the color brown: They will be buried alive.

Concerning the Rhythm and Tone of the Words:

The Words should be uttered by the guide in the rhythm and tone demonstrated in the following recording:

***

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[Photo via simpleinsomnia/Flickr]

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34 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous Games: Concentrate

  1. Finally a new post! Please update more often as I’m always excited to read about these spooky ritual games!

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it! I post twice a week (that’s what my schedule currently allows — gotta pay the bills, and the Patreon campaign for this site is still a fledgling), so check back on Wednesday and there will be a new a post!

      1. But its already Friday and I still can’t find a new post! Please update!

      2. Oh I am really sorry about my last comment saying that its already Friday and I still can’t find a new post! I was actually talking about ‘The Most Dangerous Games’ section. I didn’t realize that you might have posted something in the other sections! Please pardon me for my rudeness in my previous comment. I have realized my mistake now.

  2. Hypothetically speaking, if you play this game and the principal sees a color besides one of the ones listed, what happens?

    1. i would guess that it would be a mix of the colors that make that color (e.g. if you saw pink, it would be a mix of red and white, so perhaps you would die by stabbing during old age or die by stabbing and go to heaven..?)

  3. Another great post, as always! Thank you for giving me something to look forward to every few days (づ◔ ͜ʖ◔)づ

  4. I rarely ever comment on anything and I mostly don’t love paranormal stuff (I prefer true crime) but I’ve read through your dangerous games series more times than I can count. They’re amazing and so well written!! thank you for giving me things to read while I eat ice cream and proctasting tell ♡♡

  5. Another great post! This website has never disappointed me! And thank you very much for posting the game ‘Charlotte’s Web’ on my request. I’m only 12 but I’m still interested in reading about these ‘dangerous games’.

  6. I played this game all the time!!! It’s really fun and not that creepy… I saw white then pink… um…

  7. Why can’t you wrap your hands around the person’s neck? Will it simulate them choking on a rope and then dying?

  8. Purple Girl The Horror Fan: I’ll sometimes post quick administration updates on Fridays, but main posts go up on Mondays and Wednesdays. (One of the goals of the Patreon campaign is to enable me to post more frequently — since I don’t currently earn any substantial income from TGIMM, I have to make sure I can pay my bills with other, paid work, which cuts down on the amount of time I have to devote to the site. I’m hoping that the Patreon campaign will bring in some additional income, which will in turn allow me to spend more time here.)

    1. So nice and kind of you! Please read the comment I just posted apologizing for my rudeness!

    2. Bye Lucia, I need to go study for my exams now! I am in seventh grade. Wish me luck for the exams!

  9. I really love these dangerous games! Will you do the Stalking Game, The Wall, or the Black Phone rituals?

    1. I think the Black Phone ritual is just a shorter version of The Hooded Man Ritual, and as for the Stalking Game and The Wall, I will go look them up right now! Thanks for commenting their names! At least it gave me something new to read!

  10. So… do you know what happens if you see a color that isn’t listed? I’ve done this before and saw pink…
    (Directed to Lucia)

    1. Hi! I’m actually going to answer this in an upcoming edition of the Most Dangerous Games FAQ, but my working theory is that pink can be filed under red. (Historically, the color was actually considered to be “light red,” which I think is interesting.)

    2. i would guess that it would be a mix of the colors that make that color (e.g. if you saw pink, it would be a mix of red and white, so perhaps you would die by stabbing during old age or die by stabbing and go to heaven..?)

  11. Really, though, it’s kinda similar to a game we play in Korea. Except, it’s more of… the light hypnosis type than anything, really.

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