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Okay, so... a while ago, a friend of mine sent me an intriguing URL, saying, "I suggest we do this sometime." Of course I'm talking about The Midnight Game, which everybody in /r/nosleep has known about for a couple years at least. If you're unfamiliar, here is the set of rules.
For those who don't want to read all of that, the gist of it is that you write your name on a piece of paper, put your blood on it, light a big candle and then put them both in front of your (wooden) door. As the time nears midnight, you start to knock on your own front door, twenty-two times. The twenty-second knock has to be the stroke of midnight, and you then blow the candle out and relight it. Doing this is said to invite the Midnight Man into your home, where you must walk around in complete darkness with the candle as your source of light. If the candle goes out, it means he's near, and you have to light your candle within ten seconds or make a circle around yourself in salt and stay inside of it. Other things that can happen are the room can go cold, you could hear a whisper, or even see a humanoid figure as you're walking around. This continues until 3:33 AM, whereupon if you've done everything correctly, you have won the game. If you lose, there are threats of insanity or even death.
A couple other things to mention: I have seen renditions of this where it is said that the Midnight Man will make you hallucinate your fears. From the experience I had from 12:00 to 3:33, I either think that part was not super integral to my experience or I didn't fuck up bad enough to hallucinate. Also, it is taken as direct provocation to try to chide the Midnight Man. I'll explain my colossal fuck-up a bit further down.
I, like most generic Redditors, don't have any belief in the supernatural, and I like to test little things like this as a way of amusing myself. And (until this weekend) I've had zero respect for anything of this sort. I come into this sub to read Creepypasta, but I'd never had a genuine paranormal experience, to the best of my knowledge. Just this past Friday, I remembered suddenly when my friend told me about the Midnight Game. Since I wouldn't have an opportune time to do this otherwise, as I live with my mother and she's been spending the night often at my grandparents' house to help care for them, I call Ryan up and ask if he's still in, which he replies (and this is verbatim), "Shit fucking yeah. I've been waiting for this call." Splendid. My friend (who we'll call Ryan, because his name is Ryan) picks up two giant-ass Morton salt shakers on the way over at around 10. Alright... Ryan is basically the same as me: smartass-ish about things like this, but still a little apprehensive of the dark and (as he admitted when he'd told me about it), he would never do this on his own, but would totally if someone else was with him.
So before I continue, I figure I'll give you pictures of my house's interior so you have a frame of reference. I took them just now, and uh, I guess I'll be spoiling the account of what happened with one of these photos.
Here: Album of house (with descriptions of rooms).
If you don't want to look or don't care to, that's fine for the most part, but I have to draw your attention to the two photos of my backroom. While that room was definitely a mess before we played the game, it wasn't nearly like that. The backroom (called a Florida Room) is basically a quarter of the house's square footage, so we naturally wanted to include it so we would have as much space as possible. I'll explain how it got to be the absolute wreck it is now, as I now go through the chronology of the night. All the times are roughly accurate. I was wearing an analog watch and could check it every so often. Here we go.
Ryan and I are getting our materials ready so we can write, prick, and knock all in the allotted timespan. Ryan suggests that we throw the fuse, since turning on lights means losing the game, but I don't really feel comfortable with fumbling around with all that. We just need to be disciplined about not turning anything with power on and we'll be good.
11:59 PM to 12:00 AM
We execute our name cards really well and I end up doing the honor of the knocking. Ryan helps me synchronize the knocks and I get it right on the dot. We blow out our candles and reenter, lighting them again. As soon as we both have things lit, Ryan lets out an, "OoOooOOoh", and we both laugh and relax a little.
12:00 AM to 12:45 AM
You're supposed to move around or the Midnight Man is able to find you or something, so we creep slowly, tracing the wall and staying in the more open rooms. We start to go towards my bedroom, but Ryan says he feels like it would be too cramped. Both of our candles are doing just fine, and as Florida nights are this time of year, the house is as hot as expected. As we walk around, we talk and joke a little bit, though we were definitely both nervous to some degree.
12:45 AM to 12:55 AM
Ryan asks me if we're allowed to eat during the game. I actually hadn't a clue and told him to go for it, if he can avoid opening the fridge (since I'm sure the light would disqualify us from the game). I actually don't know what he ate, because I forgot to ask and was distracted by what he said when he came back into the living room. With a full mouth, he says, "When is the night man supposed to arrive?" And... goddamnit. Goddamnit I wish he hadn't said that, because I reply with, "Night man? That's..." and in a moment I regret more than anything, I began to sing, "Day man, uh-ah-uhhh, champion of the night man..."
"UH-AH-UHHH," Ryan chimes in. In an instant, both of us are singing "The Nightman Cometh" from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Doing that was the single most stupidest thing I did, because the night was not the same from that point on.
The only reason I remember the exact time is that I was looking at my watch by candlelight, when the motherfucker just went out. I didn't think I could panic like such a little girl, and I quickly relight it in no more than five seconds. "Shit that was close," I say (or something like that), and Ryan looks at me silently. He makes a weird face and I ask him what's wrong.
"What did you say?" he asks me, and I repeat myself.
"I said 'shit, that was close',"
He waves his hand and says, "No, no, I heard that. What did you start to say right after that?" Apparently, he had heard "me whispering" words immediately following what I'd said. We move over towards the bathroom and the hallway pretty quickly.
We've been walking around slowly, but with a bit more purpose than before. No more joking around, not much talking between us except necessary communication, we both feel a little more humbled than we had when we started. We both start to go from my bedroom and towards my mom's room, and that's when I look to the right and into the hallway bathroom. There's a fucking figure just standing in the tub, partially obscured by the drawn curtain. Our candles remain intact, so I grab Ryan's shirt firmly and speed-walk towards the kitchen. Ryan didn't even ask me what was going on. Once we got to the far end of the kitchen, I ask him if he saw it too. He did. At this point, Ryan asks me if there was anything in the rules that lets you opt out of the game. He really didn't want to continue, but he was too scared to turn on the lights and find out what happened from there, so he continued with me. I don't know what I'd have done if he left.
We're staying in the kitchen and garage area, going back and forth between them and I'm basically holding my breath whenever we go through a threshold, since I just expect to see him there. Things seem to calm down a bit, until at around this time, I realize something horrible. "Ryan," I ask, "where is the salt you bought?" I didn't ask him because I didn't know, but because I didn't want to have to say it. He answered just as I thought he would.
Damnit, damnit, damnit, son of a whore. We talk it over for a minute, and basically conclude that we absolutely need the salt if things go wrong. We start towards my room.
Even though the kitchen and the bedroom are barely more than a ten-second sprint from one another, we don't dare do that. Any quick motion is basically just begging for your candle to go out, and I can't help but feel like running will provoke him. We inch our way towards the hall, and finally we have the same view of the bathroom that we had before. I make myself look because I can't not. If he's still there, I want to know.
And... nothing. I just see a dark bathroom and nothing but that. I think that was the most relieved I felt all game, which is stupid because (as other players have mentioned) it seems like optimism is enough to draw him to you. I walk through the hallway and into my bedroom, and I can see the giant cylinders of salt sitting right in front of my computer monitor. As soon as I grab one of them, the room goes cold. Of all the fucking rooms in my house that never gets cold, it's my bedroom. My bedroom is the hottest in the house due to shitty insulation, and yet I suddenly have the urge to shiver. I turn around immediately with a saltshaker in hand and another under my arm, and motherfucker...
Two things immediately catch my eye: (A) I don't see Ryan, who had been behind me up until the hallway to the bedroom; I do, however, see the glow of his candle coming from around the corner. I take a moment to wonder why he didn't come in to help me (since I only have one free hand due to the other grasping a candle), and I get my fucking answer: (B) the subtlest, most disturbing bob of a head to my left, right over my bed. I swear to you all, there was a figure just sitting in the middle of my bed, and his head had just moved. Between the cold, the lack of Ryan near me, and now this man who is silently perched on my bed, I lose my shit.
I run straight out the door, my candle miraculously staying lit. But I drop the saltshaker that I'd had in my armpit, and I emerge with only one of them. I expect Ryan to get mad at me, but I round the corner and his eyes are so wide that I become startled again. "Go, go, go, go," he says right before his candle goes out. I feel awful for this, but I kept booking it back to the kitchen, turning around as soon as candlelight reappears from behind. I don't know how long it took him, but it definitely didn't exceed ten seconds. I try to apologize to him and he tells me that, in all honesty, he'd have done the same.
1:50 AM to 2:30 AM
We decided to basically avoid the eastern part of the house, since both times of seeing him involved him in my bathroom or bedroom, and the living room was where my candle had gone out the first time. We also discuss the saltshaker situation, coming to the mutual decision that, if one of our candles fails, that person will circle themselves and give the shaker to the other person to continue on. At this point, that happening is my biggest fear: for Ryan's candle to go out, him have to plant himself in the house, and me have to go traversing on my own for the rest of it. Even though we had a forty minute period of absolutely nothing, there wasn't a single ounce of relief to come with each passing minute. Relief felt like weakness to me, and weakness felt like something the Midnight Man would see.
2:30 AM to 2:40 AM
We decided to go into the Florida Room for the first time all night. It extends so long across the house that I feel like there are so many chances to see him just lurking, but I feel like staying in the kitchen and garage and dining area is going to do us in, so we enter. We have a tiny bit of light coming through the terraced windows from streetlights on the avenue next to ours, but it is barely a glow. This room is still very much dark, and we do the only thing we can think of: pace up and down it slowly, hoping that the last hour or so will go well.
If you looked at the pictures, you'll see that there's a futon at one end of the room. Ryan and I sat on it to rest for just a few minutes, since we'd basically been on our feet since midnight. Like an idiot, I let myself get hopeful at what time it was, how we would be done with this nonsense in a really short period, and how we survived the mi—he's right fucking there. I look up and see the blinds parted just a smidgeon, and before I even look up and see the darkened figure, I get off the bed and dart straight ahead. I run to about halfway through the room and, in the most terrifying second of my whole life, something comes CRASHING down on me. My overactive imagination can only assume one thing: the Midnight Man materialized through the glass slider and pounced on me like a fucking hunter from Left 4 Dead, but after a second or two, I realize that what's on me is flat and scratchy.
Ryan shouts out from behind. At first I assume it's because he saw me get hit by the chunk of ceiling that had just swiped the side of my fucking head, but no. His candle has gone out again. Still holding mine, I turn (a great deal of pain still on my mind) to see him booking it towards me. "Light your candle!" I yell, but he doesn't respond to that. I notice now that he isn't even holding his candle anymore, but the saltshaker. He does something that I had never even thought of: he starts to pour a salt circle around the both of us, an amorphous boundary that seems to connect just fine, and it's absolutely huge. Even though I have a lit candle, I'm inside of it with him, and his face looks absolutely horrified. A brief terror comes over me: "Now I have to go play by myself for the rest of the night," which is followed immediately by a sudden realization: "No I don't." And I blow out my candle.
2:50 AM to 3:33 AM
Oh Christ, I... I almost don't even want to talk about this part. The first thing my mind conceives upon blowing out the candle is that I made a really fucking stupid decision. This is followed by reminding myself that I'm already in the salt circle, and Ryan even says to me, "Good, good, I'm really glad you did that." The two of us are just sitting on this disgusting floor, the salt border honestly looking like more of an acorn than a circle, but there aren't any gaps.
We sit and there is nothing but complete silence. My pupils are still getting cozy with the idea of dilating after all that candle time, but I swear I'm seeing movement over on the futon where we had been. I don't ask Ryan to turn and look with me. I just want it to end. Throughout the nearly three-quarter-hour we spent in that cramped salt acorn, we both got chills at completely separate times. I heard a whisper, "No, no, no, no, no," like a mantra for about thirty seconds, and when I look at Ryan to comfort him, I'm horrified to see that he isn't the one saying it. By the time the watch hit 3:33, we hadn't moved. We didn't leave the damn thing until at least 3:40. Both slowly and silently, we got up and turned every light on in the house.
The afterword of this whole experience? I went to the bathroom to see what kind of a mark that ceiling piece had left. As you could see, the piece of ceiling that fell was clearly part of an already deteriorating room. The rest of the ceiling had fallen last summer, but there was no activity back there since. The fact that another large chunk would just fall as we were playing the Midnight Game, right after seeing him and right as I'm underneath it, is staggeringly horrible. It has been a few days, so it isn't nearly as bad as it was, but this is the small gash that I was left with.
I have had horrible nightmares the past two nights. Horrible. People I know in places from my childhood, they'll be talking to me normally and calmly, and then suddenly their eyes are pupil-less and their tongue is wagging, almost as absurdly creepy as the original Evil Dead (only realistic in a way that I cannot and will not describe). None of my dreams have involved the Midnight Man, but I can't help but feel like I lost. We shouldn't have shared the same salt circle, because that was never verified as workable in the rules. I shouldn't have blown out my fucking candle myself, even if I was in the circle. The circle was, as said, barely a circle. How the hell have past players managed to do a circle in the dark?
I don't know if I'm being tormented or if I'm just paranoid. Ryan and I spoke the next day, and he had a nightmare as well, but his had to do with drowning and being resurrected and drowning again. I haven't spoken to him yet today, so I don't know if he had another bad dream tonight.