Of all the things ghosty and spooky out there Ouija Boards, and the like, scare me the most.
I know, I know you could say the actual "Ouija Board" is more or less a gimmick created to capitalize on the spiritualism craze at the turn of the century, but I've heard far too many stories of things going awry with "spirit boards" for me to want to experiment with them.
OK, fine, experiment with them AGAIN.
First was the obligatory "slumber party" experience with my cousin Natasha when I was 10. We sat in the dark on the floor of her bedroom with an Ouija Board between us, and attempted to contact a spirit, any spirit. Nothing happened, but of course I twitched my finger and gasped, "I feel a presence!" to hopefully get things going. Nothing got going, and we went to sleep.
My next spirit board experience, while also unsuccessful, was a little more macabre.
One day, when I was supposed to be at home sick form middle school, my mom and I decided to try and contact some spirits with what she described as the "Chinese Ouija Board." At the time, I was completely fascinated with Ouija Boards and spirit contact in general, so my mom, ever the ghost enthusiast indulged my obsession one gloomy afternoon.
We quickly scrawled out "Yes," "No" and the alphabet on a piece of paper, hunkered down on the floor of the bathroom (I don't know why we chose the bathroom), and tried to focus on the little ceramic plate of chicken blood between us that our fingers gingerly rested on.
Oh, did I mention my mom's "Chinese Ouija Board" involved a plate of chicken blood instead of a planchette? Gotta love my mom, but WHO DOES STUFF LIKE THIS WITH THEIR 13-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER? And where did she get the chicken blood from?
Ain't no chicken blood here!
Nothing happened, but that time around, I really wanted the plate to move. Mostly, and actually quite foolishly, because of this story that my mom swears is true:
When my grandmother, my mother's mother, was growing up in Hong Kong, the family had a few young girls who worked in the house doing cooking and cleaning. This may sound rather elitist, but in early 1900s Hong Kong, this was the norm.
Anyway, one of the girls was very into spiritual contact and would regularly play with a homemade chicken blood spirit board.
Apparently she succeeded in contacting a spirit, and with her fellow house girls, would spend hours asking this spirit questions and "chatting" with it.
Until things took a sinister turn.
The spirit started getting aggressive -- supposedly demanding attention and even moving objects around the house. At this point, understandably, the girls got scared and told it they didn't want to talk anymore. Wrong answer.
My grandmother's family and the girls all started hearing bangings coming from the walls of the house. Items would go missing, only to reappear in strange places. A man's voice, not my great-grandfather's, was heard around the house.
The girl who had initiated the contact started acting strangely. She became quick to anger and her appearance actually began to change. Eventually, my mom claims, she was institutionalized where she continued to be tormented by the spirit that had attached itself to her.
So who WOULDN'T want to play chicken blood Ouija Board?
Yeah, I know this story sounds a little too "Paranormal Activity-ish" to be true, but my mom's family swears it happened. Was that poor girl just the victim of a misunderstood mental illness? Did she actually start something that she didn't quite know how to handle? Or is this just a superstitious tale passed down through my weird family as a warning to leave the dead alone? (It should be noted that my grandfather was especially wary of the dead, as he maintains that he saw a "zombies" in his village growing up, being walked to their own burial. But that's a story for another time…)
I supposed it depends on what you think of spirit boards.
I won't go near them anymore.
Maybe I'm being a wizard level ghost nerd, but my fear in playing with an Ouija Board or spirit board is that I'll contact someone or some "thing" that is more malevolent than I intended. Ghosts can lie too, so I've heard, and the last thing I want is to be talking to some restless murderer ghost or demon, when I think I'm talking to my Uncle Houdini. (FACT: I actually had an Uncle Houdini.)
As nervous as spirit boards make me, I love hearing stories about them.
So tell me! Have you ever "played" with an Ouija Board or some kind of spirit board? Did it work? Have you, or anyone you know, ever attempted to contact a spirit?
I look forward to a sleepless night!