Shoebox Telephone (speak to the dead game)


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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


  • Credit to FableForge.
  • This game should be played at the end of the day.
  • You will know when the time is right to play. If you don’t feel it, don’t do it.
  • If you struggle to connect with the person you want to talk to, try someone else. They may not want to talk, or may not be able to.
  • You cannot prepare the letter or the telephone in advance. Ensure you follow the instructions in their proper order.
  • The shoebox must remain closed for a few months after this game.


  • An enclosed space to function as a phone booth, a closet/wardrobe or cupboard will work. It must be large enough for you to sit inside with the door closed.
  • A paper cup.
  • A shoe-box.
  • Around 4 feet of string.
  • A needle.
  • Scissors.
  • A power object, something linked to the person you want to contact.
  • A single sheet of paper.
  • A pen.


  • Turn off your mobile phone, TV, stereo, radio, computer etc. Ensure there will be no interruptions or distractions. Leave the lights on.
  • When you feel ready you should begin to write your letter. You should explain to the person why you want to talk to them. Be honest.
  • Never erase or correct any mistakes while writing. Don’t restart the letter.
  • Once the letter is complete you should tie one end of the string/thread to your power object.
  • Insert the needle through the center of the paper cup’s base.
  • Remove the needle, tie a knot in the thread and now you have your telephone handset.
  • Holding the paper cup up as you would a telephone, read your letter aloud into it. Include any mistakes you made. Read it exactly as it is.
  • Place the object and letter in the shoe-box.
  • Place the shoe-box on the floor of your phone booth.
  • Close the box, but don’t seal it. The string should emerge from beneath the lid and connect with your handset.
  • The handset should be left on top of the box. The scissors should be placed on the floor beside it.
  • Close the door to your booth.
  • Now wait for your phone call.
  • That night, or a night soon after you should dream of the person who you want to contact. When you wake from that dream it is time to take the call.
  • Don’t turn on the lights or speak. Head straight to the phone booth.
  • Check the booth and its contents. If the booth door is open, or the shoe-box/scissors are in different positions then abandon the ritual. Snap or cut the string to the handset without raising it to your ear.
  • If all is okay, sit down inside your phone booth.
  • Close the door.
  • Place the handset against your ear and cover your other ear with your hand.
  • It may take a while to connect. Don’t speak or move.
  • Do not touch the box. Some people say that gently tugging the string can help improve the connection, but make sure you don’t open the box by doing so.
  • Do not speak, only listen. You have said all you have to say in your letter. They may ask you questions, but do not respond.
  • If you want to terminate the call then hold the box closed with one hand and snap the string with the other (use the scissors if necessary).
  • Make sure the shoebox is stored somewhere safe where it will not be opened.
  • Dispose of the paper cup by burning it. Never put it to your ear again.

Safety first

Be careful not to burn or stab yourself.

Risk factor


Would I play?



3 thoughts on “Shoebox Telephone (speak to the dead game)

  1. This is going to sound kind of weird, but do you think it would be alright to try to contact someone like a pet (deceased), for example?

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