This is a classic Japanese ritual for summoning a ghost, called Hyaku-Monogatari (Hyaku=hundred, Monogatari=Tale).
The Modern Version (practiced since Edo-period)
Prepare a hundred candles.
You will need a group of people, up to a hundred in number.
Sit in a circle. Light all the candles and place them at the centre of the circle.
Make sure the room has no source of light save that of the candles.
One by one, tell one another ghost stories. As each story ends, blow out one candle.
When a hundred ghost stories are told and all the candles are put out leaving the room completely dark, a ghost will appear in the middle of the circle.
The Ancient Version (from a source written in AD1666)The ritual should be done at New Moon.
Prepare three rooms (or if that is impossible, two rooms will suffice), adjacent to each other. Preferably these rooms should be arranged in a way that they draw the shape "L" when viewed from above.
The room in which group gather should be completely dark; the next room likewise. The third room should contain a hundred andon (a lantern with a wooden flame and paper shade) and a mirror on a table.
The paper which the andon is made of should be blue in colour. All participants should also be attired in blue, and all should enter the first room without carrying swords. Put away any other weapons and such dangerous objects from the room (although there were some who would adorn the room with a sword, to ward off evil)
When a story is told, the storyteller has to grope his way in the dark to the third room where he is to put out one andon, look himself in the mirror, and return to the first room once more. The group are allowed to continue story-telling while the previous storyteller is away. The stories here do not have to be only about ghosts or monsters; they could be stories of enigma or a curse. When all the stories are told and the true darkness descends, something supernatural will happen.
In reality when they used to perform such ritual, they often stopped at 99th story and waited until the daybreak. It was because the true purpose of the ritual was to test one's courage, and they did not want the risk of actually summoning a supernatural being.
- The picture at the top shows a blue andon.
- The picture on the left shows Ao-andon (Blue Andon), one of the monsters which were said to appear at the end of Hyaku-Monogatari.
Ao-andon is a she-demon with long hair and horns and her teeth painted black, clad in usually white kimono.