Thought Catalog
December 27, 2016

I Played The Elevator Game And I Did It Wrong, The Woman Followed Me Back

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What is the issue?
via Flickr - timlewisnm
via Flickr – timlewisnm

First off, before I say anything else, I want to make it absolutely clear that under no circumstances should anyone play the ‘Elevator Game to Otherworld’. If you’re curious about it then please, just stop. If you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work then please, please, please, don’t ever try it again. I tried it and now I’m pretty sure I’m fucked.

Here’s how it started. About a year ago I was reading about the death of Elisa Lam and happened upon a couple of websites about the elevator game and a lot of conjecture that Elisa had been playing this game prior to her disappearance. For those not familiar with the case, she was later found dead in a water tank on top of the hotel where she was last spotted. Just prior, she’d been seen acting really strangely on one of the building’s elevators. The CCTV of it is easily found if you’re really interested but anyway that’s what got me mildly interested in playing the elevator game.

I read instructions for how to do it in a few different places (there are slightly different versions, I don’t know why) and it creeped me out. I closed my browser and then honestly didn’t think about it again for months until I happened upon another article about it on this very website in May. It contained more info on the “game” than I’d seen in any one place before and I became absolutely convinced the game was complete bullshit being handed around the web as a quick way to get reads from people interested in Elisa Lam. The community that’s obsessed with her is relentless, like, they’re really completely obsessed with her. I know because my boyfriend is one of them and that’s how I came to considering playing the game myself.

My boyfriend is sweet, he’s kind, but he’s also very into missing persons stories and the idea of the paranormal being a real thing. These are things I find mildly interesting every once in a while but they’re not always on my radar like they are for him. So, one evening when he wouldn’t stop with the spooky Elisa theories I asked him if he’d stop talking about it if I played the game and showed him it was fake.

He agreed, the bet was made, and that’s when I knew he thought it was fake too. If he thought it was real then there’s no way he would have wanted me to play the game which just goes to show how much of a distracting fantasy being interested in this stuff is for most people. Like, who would agree to the proposition that their girlfriend should play a game that could possibly result in them being stuck in another dimension forever? No one, that’s who.

Anyway, so I took notes on the game to take with me and identified a building where I thought I wouldn’t draw attention to myself in any way that might cause me to mess up the game’s order and thus be ruled invalid by my true believer boyfriend. I won’t say which building because I wasn’t supposed to be there and they likely don’t want the attention but it’s in downtown Atlanta where I live.

Now, if you’re familiar with the game at all then you know there are concrete steps you have to take in perfect order to do it right. These steps are consistent across every version of the game I’ve ever read. The only things that aren’t consistent are the consequences of doing the steps wrong and exactly what “Otherworld” is actually like. As a result, I was able to plan with confidence so there wouldn’t be any question about doing it right or not later.

It took about twenty minutes before I was able to take an elevator alone. It was a new elevator (the building is fairly new) and there was absolutely nothing creepy about it, no music in the elevator, nothing. So, I started the steps of the game. Here they are.

1. Enter the elevator from the first floor by yourself. If anyone else gets on then understand that you cannot continue from the first floor and wait until the elevator can be taken alone.

2. Press the button for the fourth floor.

3. Do not get out when the elevator reaches the fourth floor. Stay in the elevator and press the button for the second floor.

4. Do not get out when you reach the second floor. Stay on the elevator and then press the button for the sixth floor.

5. Do not get out when you reach the sixth floor, remain in the elevator and press the button for the second floor.

6. Do not get out when you reach the second floor. Stay on the elevator and press the button for the tenth floor. Some have reported hearing a voice calling to them on the second floor during this middle section of the ritual. Do not reply. Do not answer in any way.

7. Do not get out once you have reached the tenth floor. Stay on and and press the button for the fifth floor.

Everything was dull up until this point. I didn’t hear anything at step six when I hit the button to take the elevator to the tenth floor. Then I started step eight and I fucked up completely.

It has been reported by some that a woman may enter the elevator on floor five. She may appear as a stranger who wishes to engage with you. More importantly, she  may appear as someone you know. It is important that you do not acknowledge her in word or glance. If the elevator you are in is reflective then stare at the floor or the buttons only.

A woman did get on at the fifth floor. The problem is that I never had an opportunity to not look at her because I was looking at the lights above the doors telling me which floor I was on and it startled me when the elevator suddenly stopped. By then I was already looking at the door and she was getting on.

This was so stupid of me. It’s so obvious that I should have been facing the corner where the elevator buttons are, not staring at the lights telling me which floor I was on the whole time.

I immediately thought, “okay, no biggie, this is bullshit anyways” but I have to tell you I was extremely nervous and as I hit the button for the first floor and the elevator started moving again I made sure to look down at the floor. That’s when she started talking.

She was a tiny thing, I’d seen that as she got on, and pretty. Her hair was a light blonde and she had striking green eyes and freckles. She started talking about how there’d just been an accident on the fifth floor and asked if I would go back with her to help. This was totally nonsensical. She’d just gotten on the elevator in the hopes that someone might be there and then go “help?”

I didn’t speak. It was too weird. No way I was going to speak to her.

She said it again and this time she sounded like she was getting angry. Again, I ignored her. The third time was very different.

“Hey, you fucking cunt bitch, I’m talking to you. You fucking cunt.”

Holy shit, I can’t tell you how scary that was. The hair on my arms was standing up and I got that dizzy confused feeling whenever something seems really and truly dangerous and you get that first hit of adrenaline. I’m sure I’d moved completely into the corner of the elevator at this point. I know I was staring at the elevator buttons and wondering what was taking so long to go just five short floors.

We should have already hit the first floor but we seemed stalled on the third even though I could still feel the elevator moving.

The next thing I knew, she’d gone from calling me a cunt to this kind of soft weeping. I would say that it sounded sad or even mournful but the truth is that it didn’t, it sounded despicable and pathetic. Remembering it now, the effect that her crying had wasn’t to make me want to console her. The effect was that I suddenly found her disgusting. For no reason other than the sound of her crying, I suddenly found myself hating her and she wouldn’t stop crying.

I could practically feel her body shuddering she was crying so hard and the wet sound of it seemed to fill the elevator, getting louder and louder until I simply couldn’t take it anymore. Hatred filled me and turning around I yelled “shut up” as I grabbed her by her blonde hair and smashed her head into the elevator door over and over and over again.

I couldn’t stop myself, blood spattered across the seam in the elevator door and still she kept weeping, the sound rising in pitch and shifting in pattern until it was no longer a cry but a kind of cackle.

She was happy. “Oh God no,” I thought, “she’s happy. This is what she wanted.” And like that I realized that I had not only looked at her when she came through the elevator door but I had acknowledged her and, worse than that, I had touched her, grabbed her hair, struck her. I’d given her what she wanted.

And then? *Ding* went the elevator door. We had arrived on floor one.

Turning, the woman’s face was no longer that of a pretty young girl but was contorted in a face of pure pleasure as if she had been relieved of a burden long carried and she stepped off the elevator and into the lobby, blocking my exit.

The door slammed closed and the elevator began a rapid ascent. I pressed every button on the elevator’s console trying to stop it but nothing responded. The buttons were dead. Faster and faster the elevator ascended until, with a loud creak and squeaking of the cables it came to a complete stop. The floor indicator light read “10”. The doors opened and…nothing, there was nothing. It was just the 10th floor of the building. On the right and left were offices with glass doors and windows. Inside people answered phone calls or appeared to be in meetings. Just your basic stuff.

I hit the elevator button for the first floor and the elevator moved smoothly downward. At the lobby, I stepped out and walked quickly out of the building and onto the street. I didn’t know what in the hell I had just experienced but I knew I didn’t want any part of it.

I immediately called my boyfriend and told him what had happened on the elevator and he just laughed and said he didn’t believe me. He compared what I’d told him to the things he’d read about Elisa Lam. He wouldn’t listen to me at all, so caught up his little spooky fantasy that all he could do was try to pick my story apart with the bullshit he’d read on internet forums. He said what had happened to me was impossible and that I was just making stuff up to try and win our bet. I hung up and shut off my phone.

This is the part I need you to really listen to. This is the part that matters.

The next morning, after going to sleep in my own bed, I opened my eyes and I was standing in the middle of an office building of some kind fully dressed. The light was dim and as I peered out the window I saw what I can only describe as a dead city. A faint dim light on the horizon illuminated everything with a crimson sheen that glimmered like a greasy film in the low light. There was no sound. I don’t mean it was quiet. I mean the place was absent of sound.

Ahead of me was an elevator and the floor indicator read “10”. I pushed the down button to call the elevator in such a panic that sweat seemed to instantly cover my body. The elevator arrived. The door opened. I got on and it took me down to the lobby where the low red light was gone and in its place was the normal lobby I had seen the day before and it was morning.

This has happened every night and “morning” for the past ten nights. During the day, when I’m out of my apartment I see the blonde girl’s face in every crowd but she always disappears once I try to focus on her.

On the sixth morning that I found myself in the building, the elevator quit working and I took the stairs down to the lobby and I’ve had to take the stairs every night since but they get longer and longer. Yesterday morning, after walking down at least fifty flights of steps I opened the stairwell door at the floor I was on and I was back at the tenth floor. It took what seems like hours to finally get out after that.

I am afraid that tonight I will be trapped. I can feel it in my bones that this is it. I will never be able to get out again. I’ve been trying to stay awake but I never can no matter how much caffeine I’ve had or what I’m doing.

Even worse, I saw the pretty young girl with blonde hair two nights ago on the stairwell. I didn’t see her clearly but more like out of the corner of my eye below me and I could hear light footsteps. She’s there. She’s in the building with me. She has something in store for me, I’m sure of it.

Please, do not play this game. It will be the end of you. “Otherworld” isn’t something to be fucked around with like a hobby or a spooky thing to try on a dare. It’s a prison and when I finally fall asleep I know I will have become its most recent resident. TC mark