Duck, Duck, Goose


(c) Original Artist. All images remain the property of their creator.

Disclaimer: I am posting this for fun and because people enjoy reading about these things. If you choose to play any of these games then you do so at your own risk.

How to play


  • There are many variations of this game. I am basing this on the game I played as a child.
  • Never play this in complete darkness.
  • Spirits like to play games. They may blow out the candles. It is best to place each candle within a ring of salt/basil. If the candles should go out at any point, put on your torch and end the game.
  • Some rules advocate the use of blood. Never use blood. It’s bad.
  • Never play this at 3am or on All Hallows Eve or any of the other turning days (Midsummer, Yule etc).
  • Do not play this in a room with any mirror but the ones you bring. Cover up all other mirrors in the house to avoid trapping the spirits.
  • Do not leave the circle once the game has begun.
  • Do not be tempted to play back the recording until the game has ended.
  • Leave the area immediately after ending the ritual. Do not return to the room until the following day. Ensure that you clean the room properly after the game by following the instructions below.
  • Never use the photo of someone who has died a violent death or harbours any ill will towards you. Do not use a photograph of someone you do not know.
  • Never use black or red candles.
  • Never play this without a photograph. If you do, you could be inviting anything to play with you, from spirits to demons and some entities won’t be banished quite so easily.
  • Ideally, don’t play this in your own home.
  • If at any point you feel threatened, end the game.
  • If when you use the mirror, a face you don’t recognise is reflected, end the game.
  • Never try any form of automatic writing and never have any inanimate objects with you, such as a doll. No animals.
  • Always be sure of the history of the place you’re playing in. Never play this in the woods or in a cemetery. Also avoid playing it in a place of considerable age or that was once home to any sort of pagan rites.
  • Never use your real name during this game. Choose a different one, or simply refer to yourself as a number. This is important.
  • Read this on how to cast a circle. It would be best to do it this way, while also using the basil/salt and the candles.
  • If you get bored of questions some say you can play a version of duck, duck goose with the ghosts. You should move so that there is a space in your circle and face towards the exterior of the circle. Play as normal, but each person should run within the circle rather than crossing the basil/salt. If you win then it is said you will have good fortune. If you lose, then it is says that one among you will have bad fortune for the year to come. This is why it is very important to know who you are playing the game with. Spirits with an evil agenda may demand another price from anyone who loses the game and by entering into the game with them you have implicitly agreed.
  • Never risk the candles burning out. Do not play for longer than one hour. Some say that this is polite, others say there are more negative consequences for disobeying.


  • Salt/basil.
  • A torch.
  • A hand mirror (kept facing down).
  • A recording device.
  • Flask of chamomile tea.
  • 4 small white candles.
  • 1 large white pillar candle.
  • A lighter/matches.
  • 4 cloves of garlic.


  • Begin by smudging the room with sage. Once this is done create a safe space.

  • Choose a room near to the one in which you will be playing. Smudge that one also.

  • Put a layer of salt/basil across every entrance and exit of that room and place four garlic cloves in each of the four corners. The lights can be left on in this room. If at any point someone breaks the circle, you should all enter this safe space and remain there until you have ended the game.

  • Return to the play room.

  • Create a salt and basil circle large enough for everyone who wants to play the game. Leave enough room so no one will risk accidentally breaching the circle. You should sit close together and form a circle, leaving no spaces.

  • Cast a circle if you intend on doing so. 

  • Place each of the four candles at one corner of the circle and surround each with a ring of salt/basil.

  • You should each have a smudging stick and something to light it with. Make sure you have tested your torches at this point. It can work best if you make your circle within reach of a light switch (without having to reach outside of the circle).

  • Place your mirrors in front of you, reflective surface down.

  • Place the recording device in the centre beside your fifth, larger candle.

  • The chamomile tea can go wherever is easiest. You should all drink a small amount before you begin, ensuring there is enough left for the end.

  • Once you are all ready, drink a sip of tea before one of you lights each of the candles, saving the largest for last.

  • Turn on the recording device.

  • The person closest to the deceased should take the photograph/photographs that you intend to use. Say. ‘(Name of spirit), I honour you and request your presence beside our sacred space’ Repeat until each guest has been invited.

  • Everyone should take their mirrors. Each person should hold the mirror up so they can see behind them. If you see a face you do not recognise, immediately proceed to ending the game. It is said if this works correctly, you should see the face of the one you called. If they look angry then end the game.

  • Place the mirrors face down one more on the floor.

  • If all has proceeded as it should, begin by asking a question that only the deceased person would know the answer to. If when replaying later you hear a voice on the tape, but it does not know the answer to this question, erase the tape. Nothing it has to say will be of interest to you and spirits like to play tricks.

  • The next question should be, ‘Who is out there in the dark?’ If the candles go out, turn on the light/torch and end the game. Proceed to the sacred space and do not reenter the play room until the following day. This is very important. If this happens, never attempt this game in that place again.

  • You may now ask questions. Never ask when you will die, or anything unpleasant. They should be light-hearted. It’s also not the time to ask personal questions of the ghost that they would not have answered in life. It’s just rude.

  • You may amuse yourself how you wish until you are tired. 

  • At this point you should once again hold the photograph and say, ‘(spirit name), thank you for playing our game. Go now in peace and love.’ Repeat this three times.

  • Repeat the earlier exercise with the mirror, you should see no faces now.

  • Sprinkle the mirrors with basil/salt and place face down again.

  • If you have not already done so, turn off the recording device.

  • Each drink chamomile tea.

  • Close the circle.

  • Each person should light their smudging stick and walk calmly to the safe space. The door to the play room should be left open, the mirrors should remain covered if needed. Remain in the safe space for a minimum of two hours or until the sun comes up. After this smudge the entire house and scatter salt in each of the four corners, liberally in the room where you played the game. You should burn or destroy the candles and mirrors used in the ritual.

  • Play the recording device and see if you picked anything up. If it didn’t work, try again in a different place, or at a different time of day/night.  

Safety first

  • Be careful with candles and don’t throw salt in anyone’s eye.

Risk level

  • Medium.

Would you play?

  • I have played.

5 thoughts on “Duck, Duck, Goose

  1. This is really interesting but is it safe/possible to play at a park? And I was just wondering if you had luck doing it?

    • I would say that playing any game outside late at night has an element of risk as you don’t know who else is out there. It is one reason why it is suggested to play in a group.

      I have tried playing it, but I can’t say anything especially interesting happened. Sorry.

  2. I was just wondering, can you play with multiple people or alone? My cousin has always been interested in these rituals (she’s very dark) and wants to try it but with me. By the way, I love your blog! I hope you’re journey to find more stories brings you to places of the unknown. Good luck!


    • Hey,

      You should be fine to play that game with your cousin. If the games must be played alone then I’ll state that somewhere along the way 🙂 If you play make sure to cast the circle though.

      I’m glad you like the blog. I’m looking for some more games at the moment. There will be an entry on the history of monsters coming up soon.

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