TALES OF THE OUIJA
Using a Ouija board is one way to try to communicate with the dead, as this article tells.
Mystifying and sometimes terrifying experiences
THE OUIJA BOARD continues to be a source of fascination, experimentation and concern among paranormal researchers and the general population. Our article on The Ouija Debate drew responses from readers who related their own experiences with the "talking board." Most of the stories were of a negative or frightening nature. (To be fair, however, people who have had a benign or neutral experience with the board would be less likely to respond.)
Those who experiment with the board often claim to contact spirits, some of who divulge their names. The identity of these spirits is usually impossible to verify. Once in a while, a spirit claims to be a well-known or historical figure – or even the devil himself.
Such was John M.'s experience.
"When I was about 11 or 12 years old in the late 1960s," John says, "I had a friend who claimed that he had a Ouija board where sometimes the planchette [the board's heart-shaped indicator] would move about on its own if he left the board out at night. Naturally, I was skeptical, having never seen a Ouija board that did much of anything. As kind of a joke, I told him to bring it over one summer afternoon and we'd try it. Sure enough, as we started asking it questions, the planchette would move about very rapidly and provide answers, or sometimes it would just point to yes or no. Since the movement was so fast for the pressure I was applying to the planchette, I was convinced my friend was moving it himself, but every time I asked, he denied it. Nevertheless, we were having fun and continued to ask questions.
"At some point I finally asked, "Who are you?" and the board spelled out S-A-T-A-N. I just looked at my friend and laughed, now even more convinced that he was the one doing the spelling. So then I asked, "What's your last name?" and the board spelled out R-A-S-P-U-T-I-N, which meant nothing to me, but I wrote it down. After we were done, I looked up Rasputin in the encyclopedia and was stunned to see that a man by that name lived in late 19th century Russia, and was feared because of his supposed occult powers. Knowing my friend, his age, and his level of intellect, I became convinced right then and there that the Ouija was for real and that my friend had not spelled that name out."
Even if the Ouija is capable of contacting the spirit world, is it likely that the spirit of Rasputin would speak to two teenage American boys? Or was some other entity just playing a scary trick?
The Ouija Strikes Back
On rare occasions, use of the Ouija has triggered physical manifestations and psychokinetic activity. Darryl D. claims that he and his friends were assaulted by something during a Ouija session.
"When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I had a Ouija," Darryl says. "My friends and I would gather in a basement at my friend Doug's house. We would turn the lights off, light some candles and sit around an old table that was in the house when his grandpa lived there. (His grandpa committed suicide in the kitchen.)
"One night when we where using the Ouija, a gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew out all of the candles.
"Another time, some girls came over to Doug's house and we started using the Ouija. We started to see strange shadows walking around the basement... and then it happened: the candles went out and we all heard this horrible scream. After we got the lights turned on, we noticed that one of the girls, who was sitting on a couch watching us, had blood coming from the back of her neck. The necklace she was wearing had been ripped from her neck and was laying on the floor about 10 feet from where she was sitting. She had two small charms on it; we found one inside of a small crawlspace under the stairs and the other was outside laying on the concrete in front of the back door. I have not used this Ouija since this happened."
I think anyone who experienced this would also put the Ouija safely away.
If, as it is claimed by some, that the Ouija can contact beings from unknown planes of existence, couldn't they perhaps give us information about winning the lottery or some other lucky numbers? Undoubtedly, this has been attempted many times. Clift S. says he tried it.
"Back in 1969, I was living in Tacoma, Washington, managing an apartment house," Clift tells us. "One night I used the Ouija board to see what I could find out. I didn't know what spirit I would get, if any. After awhile, it started to move, so I asked who it was, and the pointer spelled out DAD. It scared me.
"I never messed with it again until 1971 when my brother came to Tacoma to live. I was betting on horse races, so his daughter, who had a Ouija board, suggested we should see if we could find out the numbers of the horses who would win the first two races at Portland Meadows racetrack. So my niece and I used the Ouija, and it said the numbers would be 2 and 6 in the first two races.
"My brother, his wife, my niece and I drove to Portland to play these numbers in the daily double. Well, the horses came in 6 and 2 in the first two races – just the reverse of what the board said.
"I don't know if my niece has the board anymore, but I do believe you shouldn't use the board because it will either cause you harm... or make you do foolish things like we did."
The Ouija gave Clift the right answers, but not in a way that was useful to him. Was this the act of a prankster spirit?
The board isn't always a prankster. There are many cases in which the Ouija provides real, verifiable information that is not known by the participants. Andrea's experience is a compelling one.
"Two friends and I were talking about Ouija boards, and whether or not we believed in them. The two friends were firm believers in the board and its powers, but I was skeptical. Having a Ouija board myself, yet never using it, I decided to bring it to our next gathering and give it a try.
"At my friend's apartment we turned down the lights, lit a candle and went to work. Within a minute the planchette started to move. One friend asked if there was a spirit that wished to communicate with us. The planchette went to the word YES. Starting to think there was something to this, I had a question for this spirit. I had a brother my family lost touch with over two years ago. I asked if the ghost knew where he was. It answered YES. It spelled out quite clearly a street name in British Columbia, Canada.
"After finishing our session with the board and thanking the spirit, I searched the Net and found out there was one listing for this street in B.C. within the Fraser Valley, between Vancouver and the U.S. boarder. Upon searching the city's phone book listings under my brother's last name – there he was, plain as day. Having a very unusual last name, I knew it was him instantly. I tried the number, and it was his voice on the other line! I was stunned.
"Maybe there is something to Ouija. I don't know. The two friends knew I had a brother, but never met him. They also did not know my maiden name in order 'fix' the board's answer. I have no explanation except that I guess spirits do exist."
The reason many paranormal investigators advise against using the Ouija is that they believe it can open doors to realms that should remain closed. Ken M.'s cousin and friends learned this lesson the hard way.
"This happened on a hot August night in 1971 in the town of Lodi, California," says Ken. "Some people are more successful at conjuring up spirits than others with a Ouija board. Carol, my cousin who swears by the story, had quite a history of contacting both benevolent and malevolent spirits.
"On this particular night, Carol and her friend were at Carol's house with their boyfriends. Soon after they began, the planchette took on a life of its own and told them there was a robbery in progress at a nearby McDonalds. Everyone was quite skeptical.
Then the Ouija went on to describe the vehicle driven by the culprits: a station wagon, and that it was urgent. "Help, please help!" it spelled out.
"The men decided that the situation was too good to pass up, and just before they left, they told the women to not open any doors except for them. They drove off leaving the women with one shotgun and a box of shells. As their headlights pulled out of the driveway, Carol and her friend were terrified by a loud growling noise coming from the back door. Terrified, they braved enough energy to venture back to the door and were greeted by a loud scratching noise. As soon as they heard this, they scrambled back to where the shotgun lay and pumped shells into the chamber.
"As they got the shot gun loaded, a knock was heard at the door. Carol pulled the drape back and was relieved to find her boyfriend and his friend standing there. Full of terror, they let them in. They told the men what they had just encountered and what they had just heard at the back door. Still skeptical, the men went to the back door to investigate.
"They found the door was shut but when they opened it, they found long deep scratches along the door frame. Carol told me that she and her friend threw away the Ouija board that night."
Did the Ouija give false information just to get the men out of the house so it could terrorize the women? Scarier still, what would the women have encountered had they opened that back door?