Health Magazine

It’s Friday! Who Wants to Play Gobolinks?

By Chp

-Contributed by Michelle Breckon.

While scanning CHP photographs of various apparatus and psychologists, I found a fun game buried in the collection, and I wanted to share it: gobolinks! It’s not hard – you need ink, a piece of paper, and imagination! It’s like an inkblot, but it’s purpose is amusement rather than psychological analysis.

First you drop some ink onto the paper, and then fold the paper in half. Unfold the paper, and look at the design that you just created. Do you see an animal? A mask? A goblin? Whatever you see in the ink blot you created, now comes the fun part: write a brief poem telling the story of the image that you see.

This used to be a game that people played in the 1800’s, where several people would all create a poem on an image and an appointed judge would read all of the poems, study the ink blot, and then choose a winner.

Take, for instance, “The Butterfly Man.” I can see the image that someone had in mind when they saw their ink blot. Can you see the Butterfly Man?

It’s Friday! Who Wants to Play Gobolinks?

However, there are some gobolinks that are more complex, like “The Bears and the Harlequins.” If I squint, I can see it, but the creator must have had a vivid imagination!

It’s Friday! Who Wants to Play Gobolinks?
I find these gobolink images to be very amusing, I think we should bring them back as a party game! Would you play this with your friends?

For more information on gobolinks, the Center for the History of Psychology has some in the still image collection or you can find a copy of Gobolinks or Shadow Pictures For Young and Old by Ruth McEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine.

Michelle Breckon is a practicum student from Kent State University’s Library and Information Science program. She is working  with the Center for the History of Psychology’s still image collection. 


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