Think of your favorite Hollywood actress, past or present. Almost anyone will do. No matter who you think of, chances are she has a secret. No, I'm not talking about her skincare regimen, or her hairstylist, or whatever crazy diet she might be on. I mean, sure. Lots of glamorous Hollywood types do those things, but many---more than you would think---don't need to go through the trouble. They literally "wake up like that," more or less, and it's all because they get a little bit of help from Red Helen.
Who's Red Helen? You might be thinking she's some beauty guru to the stars, or a plastic surgeon or something, but you'd be wrong. No one knows exactly who---or perhaps what---Red Helen is. Some say she's the infamous Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in history, the face that launched a thousand ships. Others say that the name "Helen" is a bastardization, or possibly a combination of the words "Helpful One." Still others of a more religious bent say the name refers to the great inferno below, hinting at possible demonic origins. Whatever Red Helen is, once you've let her into your life, her effects are undeniable.
Summoning Helen is almost deceptively simple. All you really need are a handful of items that can be found nearly anywhere. These include a red taper candle, some fresh rose petals, a standing or vanity mirror, and a knife. Simple steak knives have been known to work, although Helen tends to favor people who's choices show a little bit more class and discernment. A ritual dagger, such as you might find in an occult supply store, would be best, but there's really no need to break the bank. Sincerity is more likely to win Helen over than any one item used to summon her.
Once you have everything you need, you are ready to make contact with Helen. Wait for a Friday night. One during a full moon might be best. The light the moon provides will prove useful. Choose a quiet room in a quiet house where you can be sure you will not be disturbed. Interrupting the ritual at any time before its completion will result in failure. At approximately 11:30 PM, turn off all lights in your chosen room and disconnect any electronic devices. Simply covering them up will not be enough. Everything must be totally unplugged. Take no more than thirty minutes to accomplish this task, as the ritual must begin no later than midnight.
Once your electronics are unplugged, you are ready to begin. Sit opposite the mirror with the candle before you. Clear your mind and steady your breathing. When the silence in the room becomes something you can feel on your skin---like an oppressive, dark blanket---take a handful of rose petals and sprinkle them clockwise around the candle. As you do this, recite the following rhyme:
"Helen's looks are lovely, Helen's looks can kill.
No one has escaped her, no one ever will."
This rhyme, combined with the action, invites Helen to join you. If she has accepted your invitation, you'll soon feel a strange warmth on your face, as if someone has just held their hands over a fire and then touched your cheeks. If you feel this, continue with the ritual. If, however, you don't feel the warmth after three minutes, then without hesitation, you must stand up, leaving everything as it is, walk out of the building and sleep somewhere else for the night. Do not return to the site where you attempted the ritual until eight o'clock the following morning at the absolute earliest. The reason for this is simple. Sprinkling the petals and speaking the rhyme causes something to join you no matter what. If you don't feel the warmth on your face, then what has come to join you is not Helen. Theories range as to who or what it is, but all agree it's not something you want to be alone with in a dark room in the middle of the night.
However, if you do feel the warmth, then you must proceed to the next step. There is no turning back now. Light the candle and let your gaze linger on the flame for a moment. When the moment feels right, look up from the flame and gaze into the mirror. Whatever you see, do not flinch or make a sound. Before you will be your own reflection, but every imperfection you have will be magnified to utter grotesqueness. Everything you hate about yourself will become prominent. You may want to scream, or cry, or avert your eyes, but do none of these things. Simply look and accept your own ugliness. Failure to do so will plunge the room into darkness, and then there will be no help for you.
You must gaze at your hideous reflection for what will feel like hours, and then something remarkable will happen. Slowly, all of your features will soften, gradually forming themselves into the most beautiful version of you that you've ever seen. Not even your most vivid fantasies will be able to match the beauty you see before you. This, it's believed, is Helen's way of showing you how the world will see you if you welcome her into your life. In that moment, you will feel all the joy and satisfaction that an appearance like the one you see can give you. You will almost lose yourself in euphoria when, suddenly, the face will become grotesque again. When this happens, it is your cue to perform the next step.
Pick up the knife and, without hesitating, drag the blade across your cheek. The cheek you select doesn't seem to matter, but the skin must be broken and blood must be drawn. This act shows Helen two things. The first is that you are willing to part with whatever makes you ugly. The second is that you are willing to suffer to receive and maintain her gifts.
As for your reflection, you will now have an accurate view of yourself as you are at this moment, bleeding gash and all. Once this is the case, the ritual has ended. Pinch out the candle with your fingers, but otherwise leave everything as it is and promptly go to bed. Do not tend to your wound as you normally would, but leave it open and bleeding. Only after the clock strikes eight in the morning can you clean up your ritual space and receive medical treatment if necessary. The story you tell the doctors to account for your wound is entirely up to you, but do not give away the secret of Red Helen. If someone is meant to find out about Helen, it will not be because you told them. Helen will arrange some other means of letting them know.
Whether or not Helen has accepted you will become apparent soon enough. If your ritual has failed, your wound will become infected. At best, a hideous scar will form, and you'll be disfigured for as long as you live. At worst, the infection will spread into your bloodstream, and you will die. However, if you have been successful, then you'll find that your wound heals very quickly---more quickly than it should---and leaves behind no trace of ever having been there.
Should you find yourself successful, the benefits of Helen's influence on your life will be immediate and unmistakable. People of all kinds will clamor to be near you. New doors and opportunities will open up in places you never thought to look before. If you happen to be an actor or a model, you will never be without work, and legions of fans will worship you, all on account of your remarkable beauty.
There is, of course, a catch, however. In return for all that she has given you, Red Helen must occasionally be “paid.” As a beneficiary of Helen's, falling in love with somebody marks that person for "collection." It may be immediate, or it may take years. Occasionally, Helen will even allow you to marry and form a whole life with that person before wrenching them away from you, but the result is always the same. One day, there will be a freak accident, or a surprise heart attack, or something similar. It's unavoidable. And some may argue that it's only fair.
And what happens if you steer clear of love? Well, that might work for a time, but it won't get you very far. As far as anyone can tell, Helen doesn't like feeling cheated. She won't kill you, though. But when you wake up in the hospital, and the doctors tell you that no amount of reconstructive surgery will help you, you'll wish she had.
Written by Jdeschene