Appalachia Games

Blind Man’s Bluff

Blind Mans Bluff

According to the Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, the game Blind Man’s Bluff is as old as the 16th Century. It was a game I never liked playing as a kid. I was always afraid someone would get hurt-namely me! Its one of those games that makes grown-ups yell things like “Somebodys going to put an eye out!”

Frank C. Brown tells us the various names used for the game throughout the world:

  • Germany: Blinde kuh, blinde maus, blinde eule, piep maus, and blinde katze
  • Denmark: Blinde-momme, lege Mus i Morke
  • France: Mouch, colin-maillard
  • Italy: mosca, mosca cieca
  • And other english names: billy blind, blind harie, blind hob, blind bucky davy, and hoodman blind

The game begins with a person being chosen to be blindfolded from the group of game players-typically by a counting rhyme or by drawing straws. Once the person is blindfolded, they try to touch or tag one of the other players. If the blindfolded person tags another person-then that person has to be ‘it’ and the blindfold is switched to them.

The other players generally tease the person who is ‘it’ (blindfolded) and try to force them to run in their direction-then quickly move out of the way before they can be tagged.

All the games of Blind Man’s Bluff I participated in as a kid-ended up in total chaos until everyone decided to play something else and some of the games ended up with someone bawling their eyes out after they got hurt somehow during the game.

Did you ever play blind man’s bluff?



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  • Reply
    April 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    The way we played it was, the ones not blindfolded couldn’t move once the person with the blindfold on counted to a certain number; they had to freeze. Then the blindfolded person would move forward and hope to touch a body part of theirs, and the first one touched was “it” the next time.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    April 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Oh I always loved this one.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve always read about kids playing it (usually in older books) but don’t think I ever played — I don’t think it sounds like much fun…

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I can count!! I decided not to include the second comment.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Two memories:
    1) there was usually a defined boundary and a watcher to make sure the unblindfolded stayed within the boundary and to give directions to “It” so “It” would also stay in the boundary. This area was usually small enough that “It” had a bit of a chance of catching someone – when caught, that person became it and the former it spun them ten times before joining the melee.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    hi tipper, does anyone remember button button whos got the button.god bless. jean

  • Reply
    josé Luis
    April 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Hello Tipper
    This is a game that is always played and I remember it perfectly.
    When was blindfolded and made ​​to twist and turn yourself until you almost dizzy.
    Then the boys called the “blind man’s buff” and quickly we changed places.
    Here was always called “blind cock” or “blind man’s buff,” obviously in Spanish.
    “Gallo ciego” o “Gallinita ciega”.
    From Argentina, with a cordial greeting to all friends of the Appalachians, José Luis.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I think that Ethel sums it up very nicely. We usually found other, and more entertaining ways to hurt ourselves….

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Like I said earlier, we made up the rules as we went along…aka
    as Blind Kids Bluff rule changin’ game! ha…
    Oh, it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood…the birds are singing and playing games…If all those males singing staking out their territory…I will be overrun with baby birds this summer….PS….
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I remember playing this game. Never liked to be the one blindfolded tho. Don’t remember it being much fun cause we didn’t stay at it too long. Usually somebody got hurt or at least their feelings hurt.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    April 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Oh, I am sure some must have grown up playing the game wrong!
    All the kids were blindfolded, and one kid wasn’t. The object was for the kid to yell, “I’m gonna get’cha” on and on while the blindfolded ones had to move out of the way to keep the seeing “It” of sorts from tagging them….What do’ya think about that? That way either all the kids went cry’in home to Mama or
    all fall’in in a big clump laughing their brains out!
    Just kidd’in that version of “Blind kids Bluff” I made it up…but that would be the only way I would play Blind Mans Bluff…I hated that game!
    Absolutely made no sense to me except maybe it was to teach one to survive in their own back yard or woods…laughter or lol!
    Any way I think “I’m goin’ to get’cha” or “Blind Kids Bluff” would be more fun. At least when yellin’ “I’m goin’ to get’cha” IT person had a chance to move around, and not get tagged until his voice finally gave a blindfolded kid a chance to sneak up from behind to tag “IT”…
    Now then, I loved to play Pin the Tale on the Donkey…blindfolded and spun around, holding a paper tail with a pin stuck in it…more that one time a mean kid would stick the pin in a kid!
    More fun playin games…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

    All those blind-folded games were
    dangerous. I never liked playing
    games where I couldn’t see what was going on, and usually someone
    got led into a briar patch…Ken

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

    While I didn’t play the game but a couple of times, I always felt it was a game of trust – that your ‘friends’ would not send you into harms way. However, it really depended who was included in the game. Hide and Seek was a bit better even if you have a dog who gives you away every time.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Sharon-I forgot about the spinning-we did that too!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Sharon Schuster
    April 9, 2013 at 8:11 am

    After blindfolding the ‘blind man’ we would spin him or her mercilessly to mess up the sense of direction. I still carry the scar on my leg where I, blindfolded, ran into a jagged piece of metal that got stuck in my shin. I remember that game ending with me crying. However, I’m sure we probably played again.

  • Reply
    April 9, 2013 at 8:06 am

    We never did play Blind Man’s Bluff in my old neighborhood.
    I am glad to learn we didn’t miss out on any fun by not playing, and we found plenty of other ways to injure ourselves without stumbling around blindfolded!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I knew the game, but I don’t recall actually playing. Somehow, we never seemed to have something that would work as a blindfold if the game was suggested!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 9, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I too considered Blind Man’s Bluff reckless and pointless. How do you win? Its kind of a survivor game I guess. The winner is the one with the fewest scratches and bruises. Usually when the game started up I would wander off and look for snakes or lizards or something.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    April 9, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Yes, and we would generally try to lead the blind person into a tree or some other obstacle. This was more fun than the actual game.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    April 9, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Only a very few times. Like you it never seem to go any where, if you were quick the person blind folded would never tag anyone, and someone would get hurt from falling on something or hurting their self from just falling with a rag rapped around their head..

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