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What Is the Elevator Game? Rules and History of an Alleged Gateway to Another World

The Elevator Game

The elevator game is an urban legend that appears to have originated in Korea, as the earliest records of the elevator game were in Korean. Rules of the game began circulating online after the death of Elisa Lam in 2013. Lam’s body was found in a water tank above the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, and video footage of her before her death showed her in the elevator, acting strangely. Theories began to circulate that she had died because she had been playing the elevator game.

Since then, it has become popular in social media circles to attempt to play the game yourself. Many YouTubers have documented their attempts at playing the elevator game at all hours of the night to see what the outcome is. The elevator game rules are simple, so if you’re a thrill-seeker or a fan of the paranormal, you can attempt it for yourself, if you dare.

Elevator Game Rules

The first requirement to play the elevator game is that you must play alone, and you must be in a building with at least ten floors and an elevator that can reach all ten floors. It doesn’t matter what time of day you start the game, as long as you are the only person on the elevator. You must start over if other people get on the elevator at any point, with one exception that is covered in the rules.

  • Board the elevator on the first floor and press the button to go to the fourth floor.
  • When the elevator gets to the fourth floor, do not get off. Stay in the elevator and press the button to go to the second floor.
  • When the elevator reaches the second floor, again, do not get off. Press the button to go to the sixth floor.
  • At the sixth floor, stay in the elevator and press the button to go to the second floor.
  • When you reach the second floor, stay on the elevator and press the button to go to the tenth floor. At this point, some people claim to have heard a voice calling out to them. It’s important that you not answer or acknowledge the voice in any way.
  • When the elevator reaches the tenth floor, stay on and press the button to go to the fifth floor.
  • On the fifth floor, a woman may board the elevator. Some people say that she is a stranger; others claim that she bears a resemblance to somebody in their past. Either way, do not acknowledge her in any way; do not even look at her. The woman is not human. Some claim that if you acknowledge her, she’ll take you straight to another world with no chance of escape.
  • Press the button to go to the first floor. If the car descends to the first floor, the ritual has failed, and you need to leave immediately. Do not look back or speak; just exit the building and don’t look back. However, if the elevator ascends, the ritual has succeeded, and the car will rise to the tenth floor. This is your last chance to back out of the game. If you decide you don’t want to continue, press the button for any floor besides the first or tenth floors to cancel the game.
  • When you reach the tenth floor, you can choose to leave the elevator or stay on board. If you choose to exit, the woman who entered on the fifth floor may ask you where you’re going. If so, do not look at her or answer; just exit the elevator.
  • It’s said that at this point, you will find yourself in another world, sometimes called the “otherworld,” where electronics don’t work and everything is dark, save for a bright red cross that may be reflected in the windows. Do not lose sight of the elevator you arrived in; it’s the only one that can take you back.
  • If you didn’t leave the elevator, you can press the button to go to the first floor, wait for the elevator to descend, get out as soon as it reaches the first floor, then exit the building and return home without looking back or speaking at all.
  • If you left the elevator, you must use the elevator you arrived in and repeat the ritual: Go to floor 4, then floor 2, floor 6, floor 2, floor 10, floor 5, and then floor 1.
  • The elevator will begin to ascend to the tenth floor: You must press the button for any other floor to stop it before you pass the ninth floor. Then, descend to the first floor.
  • When you reach the first floor, do not exit until you check your surroundings carefully. If even the smallest detail seems off, you must stay in the elevator and repeat the ritual again until you are confident that you have safely returned to your own world. Once you are sure you are safe, you may exit the elevator and return home without talking or looking back at all.