My friends and I used to do some seriously twisted shit at slumber parties. Imagine a group of seemingly sweet 10-year-old girls in suburban basement trying to conjure up the devil. And that is exactly what happened every time. We weren’t weird cult members or kids who listened to too much King Diamond. We were typical 80s kids with Debbie Gibson posters on our walls and Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. Sure, we would spend a few hours eating pizza, doing each other’s hair, and talking about boys…but the climax of the evening was always some type of supernatural evocation.
And we researched this shit- where to place the candles, what to say, how to stand- we knew our game. And as we tried to sustain our nervous giggles and fright, we endeavored to reach the dark side. It was scary, exciting and fun!
We tried evocation through many different means. Some weekends it was Ouija boards. Some weekends we would experiment with folk tales like Bloody Mary. Some nights we would try games like “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board”. But my favorite nights were when we would call The Nightmare Man, or as he is now commonly called in a contemporary version- The Midnight Man.
When we used to experiment with this evocation, I knew nothing about the actual history of the malevolent being we were conjuring, but apparently (well, according to ample Internet sources) this summoning technique dates all the way back to Pagan times. It was originally used as a punishment to torture those who disobeyed the rules of the religion. Supposedly, someone would call the Nightmare/Midnight Man, and then lock the victim in a house with him for the duration of the game. He had to closely follow the rules of else the Midnight/Nightmare Man would mentally torment him or in some cases kill him.
The currently accepted rules for calling this evil spirit of the night are a little different than I recall from my childhood. Our version (which I first heard about at camp) was called “The Nightmare Man” and involved chanting and multiple candles, and the punishment for not adhering to the rules of the game were horrible nightmares. “The Midnight Man” game made the internet rounds a while ago on both Creepy Pasta and 4Chan. The rules of this game are a little different, but the concept is still the same. So let’s play!
Adhering to the rules is incredibly important in the game, and violations, even being off by mere seconds, can supposedly result in torture, mental breakdowns, or death. While researching this piece, I found many sites insisting that the “Midnight Man” was real and not to fuck around with the game. But for the brave and steady-minded, here are the currently accepted rules as listed on the Creepy Pasta Wiki–
It must be exactly 12:00 AM when you begin performing the ritual. Otherwise, it will not work.
You will need a candle, a piece of paper, a writing implement, matches or a lighter, salt, a wooden door, and at least one drop of your own blood. If you are playing with multiple people, they will need their own of the aforementioned materials and they will have to perform the steps below accordingly.
Write your full name (first, middle, and last) on the piece of paper. Put at least one drop of blood on the paper. Allow it to soak into the paper.
Turn off all of the lights in the place you are doing this. Go to your wooden door, and place the paper with your name on it in front of the door. Now, take out the candle and light it. Place it on top of the paper.
Knock on the door twenty-two times. The hour must be 12:00 AM upon the final knock. Then, open the door, blow out the candle, and close the door. You have just allowed the “Midnight Man” to enter your house.
Immediately relight your candle.
This is where the game begins. You must now lurk around your now completely dark house, with the lit candle in your hand. Your goal is to avoid the Midnight Man at all costs, until 3:33 AM. Should your candle ever go out, that means the Midnight Man is near you. You must relight your candle in the next ten seconds.
If you are not successful in doing this, you must then immediately surround yourself with a circle of salt. If you are unsuccessful in both of your actions, the Midnight Man will create a hallucination of your greatest fear, and rip out your organs one by one. You will feel it, but you will be unable to react.
If you are successful in creating the circle of salt, you must remain in there until 3:33 AM.
If you are successful in relighting your candle, you may proceed with the game. You must continue to 3:33 AM, without being attacked by the Midnight Man, or being trapped inside the circle of salt, to win the Midnight Game. The Midnight Man will leave your house at 3:33 AM, and you will be safe to proceed with your morning.
Indications that you are near the Midnight Man will include sudden drop in temperature, seeing a pure black, humanoid figure through the darkness, and hearing very soft whispering coming from an indiscernible source. If you experience any of these, it is advised that you leave the area to avoid the Midnight Man.
DO NOT turn any of the lights on during the Midnight Game.
DO NOT use a flashlight during the Midnight Game.
DO NOT go to sleep during the Midnight Game.
DO NOT attempt to use another person’s blood on your name.
DO NOT use a lighter as a substitute for a candle. It will not work.
AND DEFINITELY DO NOT attempt to provoke the Midnight Man in ANY WAY.
Even when the game is over, he will always be watching you…”
So the big question is “does it work?”. That is for each of us to decide on our own. I’ve always been VERY skeptical about ghosts and the supernatural in general. But we definitely did experience some really bizarre and creepy stuff during our own adventures with the Nightmare Man, and apparently folks are still having disturbing adventures with their own Midnight Man as well. Is it just group hysteria or our brains wanting to believe there was more to life/death? Probably. But I will say, there is nothing more terrifying that having your candle go out in a pitch black house when a supposed evil spirit is lurking around.