hyakumonogatari kaidankai

Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales)

Step 1: Gather 100 candles and a few brave friends.

Step 2: Find a room where you won’t be disturbed and set the candles in a broad circle around yourselves.

Step 3: Light the candles.

Step 4: Turn off the lights.

Step 5: Take turns telling ghost stories. Blow out a candle for every story told.

Step 6: Once the final story is told, you will see a ghost.

(I’ve seen this with multiple variations, and this is a stripped down version not using the three rooms or mirror. Threats to life, limb and soul are the responsibility of anyone trying this ritual and are not the responsibility of this party. Please note that, unlike One Man Hide and Seek, this ritual does not have a way of bringing the ghost’s visit to a clear end.)

October Day 25

lotusmist’s post reminded me of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai, translated to “A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales”, a game that started in the Edo Period. 

“The game was played as night fell upon the region using three separate rooms. In preparation, participants would light 100 andon in the third room and position a single mirror on the surface of a small table. When the sky was at its darkest, guests gathered in the first of the three rooms, taking turns orating tales of ghoulish encounters and reciting folkloric tales passed on by villagers who claimed to have experienced supernatural encounters. These tales soon became known as kaidan. Upon the end of each kaidan, the story-teller would enter the third room and extinguished one andon, look in the mirror and make their way back to the first room. With each passing tale, the room slowly grew darker and darker as the participants reached the one hundredth tale, creating a safe haven for the evocation of spirits.

However, as the game reached the ninety-ninth tale, many participants would stop, fearful of invoking the spirits they had been summoning.

While the exact origins of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai are unknown, it was believed that it was first played amongst the samurai class as a test of courage. In Ogita Ansei’s 1660 nursery tale "Otogi Monogatari” a version of the game was described in which the narrative tells of several young samurai telling tales in the Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai fashion. In the tale, as one samurai finished the one hundredth tale, he began to extinguish the candle when suddenly he sees a giant gnarled hand descend upon him from above. While some of the samurai cowered in fear, a swipe of his sword revealed the hand to be merely the shadow of a spider.