From joyous singalongs about death to summoning evil spirits in the mirror, we count ten of the creepiest children’s games throughout history!
10 – Ring Around the Rosie,
- Everyone knows Ring Around the Rosie, the singalong children’s game where participants join hands and skip in a circle. However, not many realise that the song’s sweet lyrics reflect a dark and disturbing period in English history.
- Scholars have studied the song’s rhymes and concluded that the joyful little song is about an outbreak of Bubonic plague that affected London in 1665. Check out these lyrics:
Ring around the Rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.
- Apparently, the roses are a euphemism for the deadly rashes victims develop around their eyes; posies are a preventative measure or are used to mask the smell of death; and the a-tishoos are sneezes – which are symptoms. We all fall down doesn’t mean everyone’s had too much eggnogs; it means they’re all dead.
- With all this in mind, it’s kind of fucked up that little kids sing along to this.
9 – The Candy Man,
- The legend here goes that the Candy Man can be summoned if you say his name five times while looking into a mirror at midnight.
- If it works, a pair of red glowing eyes will appear in the mirror and you’ll have mere seconds to turn on the lights and run to the brightest spot in your house. If you don’t, Señor Candy Man will kill you with his terrifying hook hand.
- I guess The Candyman doesn’t like to share his lollipops.
8 – Concentrate,
- This staple of kids’ sleepovers messes with participants’ senses and is designed to show players how they are going to die.
- It’s a two-person game, where one person sits behind the other. The seated person must stay silent and keep their eyes closed, while the person sitting behind them recites a creepy-as-shit chant, punctuating each line by gently thumping their fist on the other player’s back.
- The chant contains lines like concentrate, concentrate; stick ten needles in your sides; let the blood drip down; stab a knife in your back; and people are dying, children are crying.
- Aggressive pokes are added at each verse and the game ends with an imaginary noose tied around the player’s neck. The player is then pushed from an imaginary building and asked what colour they saw.
- Each colour corresponds to a different death, but – spoiler alert! – all but one of them are fucking brutal.
7 – Three Kings,
- Three Kings is a creepy children’s game involving mirrors, chairs and a whole lot of bravery. Beginning at precisely 3.30am, three chairs are arranged in a semi-circle and players take their seat in the centre chair – their throne.
- Players must focus on the darkness in front of them. A lit candle makes moving shadows and a fan creates white noise. Players may ask spirits whatever questions they have and a response will come from one of the mirrors. One contains the queen spirit and the other contains the fool, so you may not be able to trust the information you receive.
- During this game, the player’s brain takes the moving shadows and white noise and creates hallucinations. Some say this is a way to communicate with spirits; others believe it’s about talking to your subconscious. Either way, don’t try this on magic mushrooms. It’s just not worth the hours of therapy.
6 – Don’t Look Behind You,
- Like Voldemort and Fight Club, this game must not be talked about unless the speaker is extending an invitation to play it. It’s basically What’s the Time, Mister Wolf with a spirit and is played in complete darkness alone or with a brave group.
- Facing the wall, players say, ‘I want to play a game. I will count to x before I turn around. When I turn you must freeze. You may only move when I am not looking. The game ends when the light comes or when you touch my right shoulder.’
- Players are allowed to conceal a flashlight on their person and can lay marbles or chips on the ground to warn them of the spirit’s approach.
- Supposedly, spirits view these types of games as a way to secure a host, so paranormal enthusiasts say not to take them lightly. Whatever plays with you may keep following you afterwards…