I've always wanted to try a parlour game called Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (A Gathering of One Hundred Supernatural Tales), also known as 100 Ghost Stories. It's difficult to gather people with enough time to swap ghost stories, so some friends and I conducted a variation over Skype.
My sudden suggestion led to an impromptu session that only maintained the fun of the game, not the tension. In our variation, each participant told a limited amount of stories and lit a corresponding number of candles.
One of the earliest documentations of this game appears in Ogita Ansei's "Otogi Monogatari" (Nursery Tales), which is from a collection of ghost stories published in 1660 called Tonoigusa (Night Watch Grass).
The traditional Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai requires three adjacent rooms, with the furthest one branching off to the side (like the letter L). After each story, the storyteller must travel to the furthest room in the dark, extinguish a paper lantern, and gaze in a mirror before returning. Unfortunately, I was unavailable to find a decent video, so anyone who's curious will have to watch a condensed version from an anime.
The contemporary version of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai is played by placing 100 candles in the centre of a room or around the participants, in the form of a barrier. The players take turns sharing stories with the stipulation that the storyteller blow out a candle at the end of his/her turn. The stories may be fabrications, urban legends, or personal experiences.
The tension in Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai stems from the superstition that the telling of ghost stories attracts spirits. Once the last candle is blown out, the barrier protecting the participants dissipates and they are at the mercy of phantoms.
The rendition of Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai I participated in was enjoyable thanks to the discussions that arose and one friend who set a rhythm to the game. Here are some of the stories we shared:
The "Smiling Man" is a cautionary tale that comes from the subreddit r/NoSleep, which hosts original horror stories. The most popular stories are compiled in a series of podcasts. "He Called Me Dintzie" and "5 Bed House with Cheap Rent"are brief contrasts of personal encounterss from YourGhostStories. "The Tipsy Turtle" is a short story from Pu Songling's Liaozhai Zhiyi (Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio) , which is a collection of short stories. "Photographic Memory" is a creepy microstory from Jezebel's 2013 compilation of reader submissions. Lastly, The Okiku doll is an urban legend from Japan that originates from WWII.
Photo Credit: William Au
Video Credit: FUNimation
William Au is a student in the Professional Writing program with a love for storytelling that spans every medium of expression. His free time is spent sleeping, partaking of new experiences, and indulging in books and films. He helps run the Video Game Club at Algonquin College and collects children's books.