FOLLOW THIS BLOG! And . . . The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter
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You might be thinking that the coolest gift you can give this holiday season would be a Ouija board. And to that I say, “No! No! No!” There has long been a debate over whether or not the spate of disturbing occurrences associated with Ouija boards can also be attributed to other seer tools such as Tarot Cards, and the like. To that postulation let me offer that I’ve never had the same level of menace after spreading my Tarot cards as I have with using Ouija. Frankly, I think Ouija boards are dangerous in that — in INexperienced hands — they offer a portal to malevolent entities that most Ouija board users are either not aware of, or don’t know how to close off.
When I was thirteen I attended a slumber party which was held at the home of a playmate whose parents took us to church the next morning – a Christian family. I note this as ironic because most Christian and Judeo religions consider the use of Ouija a serious sin. What happened at that session hooked me on Ouija and ultimately I wore my Spiritualist mother and Catholic father down and for my sixteenth Christmas there was a Ouija board waiting for me under the Christmas tree.
Published in my book, ‘The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter’, here is what transpired:
I knew it was wrong – that I shouldn’t. But I did it anyway. I begged and begged for a Ouija board until, on my sixteenth birthday, my wish was granted. The Catholic Church considers using a Ouija board a venial sin, so it was unusual that I would have received something so occult from my parents, who were Catholics. I was delighted.
Summoning the “Oracle” was the perfect slumber party pastime – innocent fun, or so my friends and I thought. My girlfriends and I would wait until midnight, giggling and gossiping as we watched the clock move closer to the Witching Hour.
All of my slumber party friends were totally keen on sorcery and black magic. A set of fortune telling cards, the ability to read tea leaves, and my Ouija board were my plies to the In Crowd. And, it didn’t hurt that I had lived in New Orleans where sessions with Bourbon Street fortunetellers and Voodoo witches were the norm for a teenager.
It was October, the beginning of my junior year. Halloween was just two weeks away as this one particular slumber party took shape. As midnight approached we all trouped to the kitchen to load up on snacks; bowls of popcorn, grab-fulls of candy bars, and bottles of Coke, which would see us through our séance with Ouija. It would be our first session with my new board, hoping to awaken “The Power.”
From the kitchen, we scampered back to my room where I ceremoniously lit candles, placing them on the floor around the séance table. We turned off the overhead light and the candles began sputtering, spitting, and casting long shadows on the walls of my room. Then midnight struck – twelve chimes from the grandfather clock in our living room. The last chime echoed down the hall, bouncing off the darkened walls. Four of us took our places at the séance table where the Ouija and its planchette had been placed, waiting for us.
I looked into the faces of each of my friends and announced, “we should begin now.”
The candles cast shadows across the room leaving each girl’s face in half darkness and half illuminated by candlelight. My best friend, Marty, and I were guiding the planchette – her fingertips perched on one side of the lens, my own fingertips on the other. I’m sure our first question had to do with whether or not one boy, or another, liked us. We waited, trying not to giggle, hoping for the planchette to begin its journey.
It didn’t take long before the lens began its circular motion, signaling that dark forces had arrived from Beyond to join us. Marty and I looked up at each other, her eyes were wide, disbelieving. I furrowed my brow and shook my head, discouraging her to react. I did not want to upset the circular motion of the planchette. Lindsay had already discounted the power of the Ouija as a “phenomena of static electricity, or ideomotor action, or some other method of scientific influence”. I was sure that her brother, the science whiz kid of Federal Way, Washington had given her the words of this dry explanation. I didn’t want her, or any of my other friends to interrupt any force that I felt was trying to reach us. The seconds ticked by as the Oracle continued its journey around the board.
The planchette, its lens stopping on one letter at a time, would slide and then stop, slide and then stop. Lindsay wrote down a letter on a scrap of paper each time it stopped. She felt she was the only objective witness.
B – E – E – L – Z – E – B – U – L It was giving us nonsense. Was it a code, or the initials of several boys Marty would date? (She was dating Darryl at the time.) Her own initials were MAR for Martha Anne Robinson.
“It’s not working,” was Marty’s conclusion as she broke the code of silence and dropped her hands into her lap.
The others grew impatient. If Ouija wasn’t going to disclose to Marty her one true love, why should it work for them?
“Let me see that,” demanded Peggy. Lindsay’s scrap of paper with its series of letters passed from hand to hand as we each tried to determine the code of the Ouija’s message. We were musing about the combination of letters, intent on the scrap of paper that Peggy now held. We were completely absorbed in deciphering its message; all quiet, intently studying the meaning.
“What’s that?” yelped Mindy. She was staring intently at my closet doors, which were intended to slide back and forth on a center-clip track.
“Are they swinging?”
Yes, indeed they were; actually swinging back and forth. The clip that kept the two sliders on track weren’t working, or something. The doors weren’t sliding open and shut; they were beginning to swing back and forth, hitting against the clothes hanging in my closet and then swinging into the open room as though the clip was not holding them at all. Lindsay stood up. Debbie began gulping and crying.
“Flip on the light!”
Bunched together like a football huddle we stumbled in the semi-darkness toward the light switch. Marty flipped her palm up, across the plate. Nothing happened. By this I mean the overhead light did not go on. At least we had the candlelight.
“I want out,” Debbie sobbed.
We heard the closet doors slide open. I am sure that, although it was 1967 and we were on the cheer squad, where such language was not tolerated, someone said, “Fuck us!” We started giggling, all except Debbie, who was in complete meltdown.
“It’s your dad, right?”
“My dad hates this stuff. He thinks it’s BS,” I whimpered. “Now everybody be perfectly still and shut up. I don’t want to wake up my parents.” Years of domestic tumult had allowed me to perfect the skill of compartmentalizing so that the sheer terror I felt could be set aside until later. Under no circumstances did I want things to get so out of control that my dad would have to be summoned from a sound sleep.
The closet doors stopped swaying. No one said a word. The doors hung quietly, on their track, perfectly still.
“I don’t think this is really happening,” I offered. The only problem with that analysis was that it was happening – and the collected conscience of six high school girls was recording it. No one spoke, hoping that I was right, that the power of the Ouija had not lashed out at us from the other side of eternity. Calm. It was stone quiet except for the sound of our breathing.
We heaved a sigh of relief. Peggy spoke first, “What the hell was that?”
We were still staring at the closet doors, now in a hug of collective horror. The closet doors held our attention because it sounded like they were sliding open. And yes, once again, there they were moving.
“Please, please, call your father,” someone pleaded.
“No way am I waking him up for this. It will be over before I would be able to convince him to get out of bed.”
“Try the light switch again.”
Then Peggy spoke. I mean that it was Peggy speaking, but it was not her voice. It the most unnatural sound I had, or have, heard since. Tuvin guttural chanting would be the closest description to what we heard. “You will be in love with him, long after he is dead.”
It did not help dissuade us that the message was irrelevant since the Vietnam War was in full swing in 1967. Debbie was hugging her knees as she sat in a tight bundle on the bottom bunk of my bed. Marty and I were looking at Peggy who was staring into some void, trance-like.
Lindsay was angry, “This is such bullshit.” She strode across the room. I thought she was preparing to storm out, or to wake up my parents herself.
Suddenly we were bathed in blinding light. She had flipped the light switch, which this time had worked. We were momentarily blinded but stumbled away from each other – and certainly kept our distance from the closet. Peggy flopped down on the bed, exhausted and sweating. Marty and Mindy were showing Peggy every concern as Debbie continued to sob, “I didn’t like that one bit!”
Lindsay grabbed her pillow and sleeping bag, “I’m sleeping in the living room!”
Silently I slid my Ouija board back into its box and dropped the planchette in after it. I carefully folded the tabs into place to keep the box lid shut.
“I can’t go home, I’d wake up my mother,” Debbie was sniffling, thinking only of her escape. “But, I’m not sleeping in this room.” She followed Lindsay into the living room.
My friends were a bit distant toward me over the next month or so. But, eventually things returned to normal. I went to confession, lied, but kind of skirted around telling the priest what had happened by confessing to using Tarot cards. I was sentenced to a stern papal lecture and the usual penance: saying several rosaries.
Football season started, followed by midterms, and then Christmas – the Christian holiday. As was usually the case I ultimately told my mother what had happened that night. She was truly fascinated, but I am convinced that, like me, she never told my dad.
The strange occurrences that plagued our house took an uptick after that night and my mother, convinced that it was the influence of the Ouija board, spoke about getting rid of it. But, ‘the how’ of it all stumped her. Burn it? If it had a soul, burning it sounded dangerous for all the backlash it might cause from the unexplained dark sources of our lives. Simply throw it in one of the garbage cans? About that time she and my dad took instruction and renewed their vows in an attempt to exorcise my mother’s torments.
Time passed and finally one day she announced to me, “The Ouija board is gone.”
Nearly forty-five years have passed since that night but my memories of the Oracle’s horrific powers have not.
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Do you have experience with Ouija boards? Are you planning to buy a Ouija board as a Christmas gift for someone? Let us know – comment below and join the discussion!