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My Real-Life Experience With a Ouija Board, and Why I Will Never Touch One Again
A Bunch of Bored Kids
I was 13 years old; still too young to drive, but somehow old enough to score illegal beer. It was a typical Saturday night in Springfield, Virginia, and the usual gang of adolescents had gathered at my house.
Ten other broke teenagers with nothing to do sat around arguing about how to entertain themselves without having to spend any dough. Ideas like making prank calls or pulling the invisible rope trick on unsuspecting cars all came to mind.
Thanks to Caller ID, the poor teenagers of today will never know the joy of asking a bowling alley worker if they have “16 pound balls,” and then laughing as we yelled through the phone, “Then how do you walk?”
Buy Your Own Ouija Board
Ouija Be My Friend
As the group of teen deviants continued to fight about the night’s activities, one of my friends appeared at the door with a stack of board games. An audible groan shot up. “Not a game night again. Let’s go out and do something; I still have a beer I haven’t drunk yet.” This started another debate that would make the United Nations envious, until everyone voted based on what was in their pockets. There just is not much a 13-year-old can do without some jingle, so it was ultimately decided we would stay in and play a game.
The stack of games was presented to the teens. Each one was held up in the air and was submitted for the group’s approval. It was reminiscent of a baby being born and then held aloft for the tribe to inspect. One box after another was booed and voted down. We made our way through the whole stack until settling our gazes on the last board game. Finally, a flutter of positive chatter filled the room and a choice was made. This act, in and of itself, was amazing. The idea that 10 teenagers could all agree on one thing defied all the laws of known physics and probably tore a hole in the space-time continuum.
We gathered in a circle around a long coffee table and opened the box that read “Ouija.” I remember thinking it didn't look very scary; after all, it was made by Parker Brothers. There was nothing to it: just a fold-out board and one of those white, plastic things they stick in your pizza box to keep the cheese from sticking to the lid. I said to my buddy, “Read the instructions. How does this thing work?”
“We don’t need instructions; I have played this before,” he arrogantly answered me. “You take this planchette,” he said as he held up the little, plastic window device, “and place it in the middle of the board. Then you use two or more folks to hold it and ask it questions.”
My friend, who had deemed himself Ouija Master, laid the lettered board out nice and level on the beat-up coffee table. A few of us fellas grabbed onto the plastic triangle and prepared ourselves. The self-appointed Ouija guru spoke up saying, “Now, let’s ask it a question: who here will die first?”
“Damn dude, don’t ask it that right out of the gate!” I protested. The pointer skirted across the board as a creepy silence fell over the room. A group of hands pushed and pulled it until the planchette stopped on a letter. It slid to another letter and stopped until it spelled out a name.
V-A-D-E-R. I busted out laughing. “Really, y’all? Darth Vader will be the first to die?” The gang chuckled and continued playing. After about 20 minutes of the game spelling out cuss words and a long string of sexual positions that 13-year-old boys had only heard rumors about, we gave it a break.
The Ouija Master
After the ten of us passed around my two pilfered beers that I had ripped off my mom, I spoke up. “Let’s try this thing for real instead of making the board say 'penis' over and over.”
The Ouija Master agreed. “Alright, let’s take a guy and a girl, tape their eyes shut, and then blindfold them for good measure. If we do this right, there will be no way for them to see and steer the planchette.” The group approved the brilliant idea, and in no time a couple was hoodwinked into sitting in front of the witch-board. The lights were turned off, and candles illuminated the area to make our game more inviting to a spirit.
The leader shouted into the air, “Spirits, hear us! Come join us so we can meet you!” The two blindfolded victims did not move or speak. A dark feeling swept over the room, and for the first time that night the participants took what they were doing seriously. “Spirit, what was your name?” The planchette slowly came to life and staggered its way around the letters.
“W-H-O A-S-X” the board responded. For the first time in my life I felt a rush of supernatural fear surge through my spine. Apparently, I was not alone because others in my party also looked visibly uncomfortable. We all knew the couple operating the pointer could not see and we were positive they couldn’t be cheating.
The boy acting as a conduit answered the ghost and offered his name aloud. The witch-board replied by sharing its own name.
We Chickened Out
At this point, a few in the group were openly panicking and begging us to stop, but like know-it-all teenagers, we pressed on. The couple was swearing up and down that they were not operating it and that it felt like something was pulling their hands. Before we could ask another question, the board asked its own. “W-A-T Y-E-A-R”
Half my group of friends was so frightened by this display that they actually left the room, but still we responded with, “1987.” I cut in and asked my own stupid question. “How did you die?”
The planchette picked up speed as if it was angry. “M-U-R-D-R” I didn't care that the ghost couldn't spell, I knew what it was trying to say. With that answer, I chickened out and walked away. The others followed my lead and a mass exodus headed out to my porch. Too frightened to get anywhere near the Ouija board, we sat outside in the cold for almost an hour. I finally went back in after I realized I left the candles burning. I turned on all the lights and doused the flames. Nobody would come help me put the game away; they just stood and watched me through the large glass patio door.
I was still so shook up that I figured it was best to not even touch any part of the witch-board. I ran to the kitchen and returned with some tongs. I treated the game like it was toxic waste and used the tool to place the board and planchette back into its box.
The group never really talked about that night ever again; everyone just pretended it never happened. The incident freaked me out so bad, though, that to this day I won’t get anywhere near that “game.” Maybe we overreacted a little bit, but we were kids and had never actually seen anything from the other side yet. I know I am a big chicken, but I still won't get near one after seeing the board actually work, to this day.