Text Transcribed from Informant
“Going on a treasure hunt
X marks the spot
three straight lines
and a dot, dot, dot.
A pinch, a squeeze, a tropical breeze (exhales and flutters fingers)
blood gushing, blood gushing
According to my informant, he learned this “game” in elementary school. Generally a student will say the text above outloud, while using their fingers to act out the actions being described in the rhyme. When asked for his interpretation, my informant replied that this rhyme, and other rhymes like it, are called “giving one the shivers,” and that it was a popular folk game he played as a child.
When my informant starting telling me about this folk game, I immediately remembered playing it in my own childhood. I think the goal of the “game,” as well as its name “giving the shivers,” references what we now call ASMR. I find it fascinating that my informant and I grew up in completely different places; and yet, we still shared this childhood memory with the textual context being nearly identical. I think this folk game also speaks to the near universality of ASMR sensations, as well as adolescent inclinations to trying and recreate a head tingling sensation that doesn’t quite have a term for it.