Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jon Santa Cruz / Rex Features (582062k)
Ouija board with pointer
VARIOUS – 2006
I just read a post by Linda Lee on her blog, in which she talks about a bad experience she had with a Ouija board at the age of 14. That brought back a memory of my own bad experience with one when I was 16.
I don’t like to mess around with the occult. I’m not particularly superstitious, but I err on the side of caution, and my religion frowns on dabbling in the occult anyway. I make a slight exception for astrology; although I don’t really believe in it, it’s a great deal of fun and I don’t take it seriously, so I don’t see a problem with reading my horoscope, even if just so I can laugh at its inaccuracy later on, or how it’s so general it could apply to all of the other 11 zodiac signs.
Crystal balls, tarot cards, tea leaves, numerology–these things don’t creep me out, but they don’t interest me either, and most of it just seems rather absurd to me.
But Ouija boards are another matter. When my daughter was 16 a friend gave her a Ouija board (this seems almost like some rite of passage for teens) and I wouldn’t allow the thing into my house. She snuck it in anyway, and when I found it I tossed it in the trash–down the street. Marketed as a “game” by the Parker Brothers game company, Ouija boards give me the heebie jeebies. I don’t even want to look at one. There’s a reason for my discomfort with this “toy.”
When I was 16 (the same age my daughter was when she tried to bring one into the house), my boyfriend and I spent hours in his room consulting Ouija. We used to ask it about our future as a couple, how many kids we were going to have, where we would live, etc. (We broke up less than a year later. He’s currently program director of a well known New York area radio station and has 3 sons with his attorney wife, while I’m divorced and take care of my 2 cats on a housekeeper’s income. How our lives have diverged).
Anyway, back when I was 16 and my boyfriend was 17, we’d rush home after school to find out what Oiuja had to say. It was very addictive, and soon I found myself playing with it by myself, alone in my room. Several years earlier, the movie The Exorcist had come out. You may remember it was about a girl who became possessed by a demon after playing with a Ouija board alone, just like I was doing. I paid that no mind, even though the movie did scare me when I’d seen it. With the fearlessness of the young, I continued to ask it questions. I’d rest my fingers lightly on the white plastic planchette, and slowly the thing would begin to slide across the lettered and numbered wooden board, resting on “Yes,” “No,” or sometimes even spelling out a word, a name, or a number.
I thought this was all pretty cool, until one day when I was thinking hard about a question (which I can’t remember), and had not yet placed my fingers on the planchette. I looked down at the board and incredibly, the thing was moving all by itself! I watched with a mixture of fascination and horror as it spelled out the answer, all by itself.
I was afraid to touch it. I just watched, my eyes growing wider every second. I began to shake and felt the blood drain from my face. I had a strong feeling someone–or something–was in the room with me. The lights in the room flickered.
At that point, I picked up the entire board and the cardboard box that housed it, and ran with it to the incinerator down the hall (my mother and I were living in an apartment in a high rise). Without a second thought, I shoved it down the chute and slammed the metal door shut.
As I ran back to our apartment, I thought I heard someone calling my name. I ran inside, locked the door, and put on all the lights. I immediately took a shower because I felt contaminated from having touched the thing.
From that day forward, I never went near another Ouija board. I’m convinced those things are NOT something to be messed around with. I’ve known a lot of people who’ve described similar experiences using them.