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In the world of folklore and superstition, the colour red has a mixed reputation. A universal colour of passion and romance, it is also connected with prosperity in countries including China. And yet, for many, the colour can signify something more sinister: danger, blood, even the Devil himself. It is perhaps, then, no surprise that many paranormal entities are associated with the colour red, from the impish harbinger of doom, the Nain Rouge of Detroit, to red-eyed werewolves, and bloodthirsty redcap goblins. One such unearthly entity is the Red Man. 1
Whether this being is one entity or many, is unknown, but he has been sighted all across the world, most famously as L’Homme Rouge at Paris’ Palais des Tuileries. He is said to have been first sighted at the palace as early as the sixteenth century, and is claimed to have been encountered by several famous figures in French history, including Louis XVI and Napoleon Bonaparte. In all cases, he is described as being “clothed from top to toe in scarlet”, with eyes “so piercing and unearthly” that they terrify even “the most courageous”. Most encounters seem to suggest he is a harbinger of death, often appearing to people before they meet their end. 2
And so, those who have not encountered the dreaded Red Man can sleep easy. Surely? Well, for those who would desire to, it is said that the Red Man can be summoned through a ritual.
The precise origin of the Red Man Summoning Ritual is unclear. Some say it originated in Japan, with red-cloaked entities being present in folklore there also. However, given the seemingly global reach of the Red Man, it is impossible to say either way. Whatever the case, those who have reported on the game warn against playing it, stating that the Red Man may very well be dangerous.
Even so, the ritual is described as easy to perform, the required equipment being a quiet room, a piece of paper, a writing implement, scissors, five candles, matches or a lighter, two mirrors, and red lipstick.
It is said that the ritual must be performed at night. Make sure the curtains and the door are closed. It must also be quiet for the summoning to work.
First, draw the simple shape of a man on the piece of paper and cut it out. Next, draw a line down the centre of the man-shaped paper. On the left side of the man, write your name. On the right side, write “rubeus”, meaning “red” in Latin. You should also draw a pair of eyes onto one of the mirrors using the red lipstick.
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When this is done, position the two mirrors so that they are opposite each other, a distance of about twelve inches between them. The mirror with the eyes should be placed on the left. When they are positioned, place the paper man in the space between the two mirrors, his left side facing the left mirror, his right side facing the other. He should be placed face up so that the words are visible.
Whatever happens, for the duration of the ritual you should not look into either of the two mirrors.
Next, take your five candles and place them about the paper man, surrounding him with a candle at his head and one at each of his limbs.
You should then turn off the lights. The summoning may now begin.
Proceed to light the candles one at a time, in the following order: the one by the paper man’s left leg first, then his head, next his right leg, then left arm, and finally his right arm. Once the candles are lit, take your scissors and cut the man’s body in half, along the line that you previously drew down his middle. Be sure to keep him within the circle as you cut him. Once again staying within the candles, move the left side of the man’s body closer to the left mirror and the right side closer to the right mirror.
Now, close your eyes and say, “Please come. Please come. I will not leave until you come.” In order for the ritual to work, it is alleged that this should be said six times.
With the incantation complete, blow out the candles one at a time: head first, followed by his left leg, right arm, left arm, and finally his right leg.
The Red Man should now be in the room with you. Be warned, however, that upon completion of the ritual and later dismantling of the set-up, he may linger.
For this reason, those who have performed the ritual strongly recommend never using the two mirrors ever again. The candles and paper man should also be disposed of. It is advised that they be buried far away from where you live, so that there is no chance of you ever encountering them again.
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