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Monday, September 6, 2010

Light As A Feather, Stiff As A Board

We were not allowed to play with Ouija boards as children.

It was never my idea anyway. I was a wary, superstitious child, worried not only about whatever lived under my bed but how, if necessary, I would get rid of the vampires, werewolves, demons, or various other creature-feature types that may attempt to come through a window while our parents were gone.

The werewolves I thought I could handle – surely there was a gun somewhere in this trailer court? – and a vampire could be avoided entirely with garlic, something we always had plenty of; but I was always particularly concerned about demonic possession. My younger brother and sister – especially my brother! – looked like prime candidates for that sort of thing to me, and I kept a close eye on both of them every time my parents went out.

The odds of finding a priest in some of these trailer parks were pretty slim, after all; and have you met my brother?

He once tied me to a tree and left me there.

Everywhere we lived it seemed someone was staring into a mirror in the dark. “Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody –“ Of course you’d have to be crazy to finish that, wouldn’t you? I don’t even recall the point of the whole thing. Why were we saying that?

All I remember is that those two words, repeated three times in a row, were enough to send pre-pubescent girls all over rural Minnesota screaming hysterically toward a light switch.

“But Mom, why can’t we play with a Ouija board?”

“Because a friend of mine had a friend who used it once, and the board told him that he would be killed by Time; and of course he laughed. But sure enough, one day he was out walking and a large clock fell off a building and killed him!”

Had she been smiling when she said that, my mother? Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if she was pulling my leg. All I know is that I’ve never looked at a picture of Big Ben without imagining someone crushed under it, their last thought being “well, I’ll be danged. That lousy board was right…”

I tried to explain this to a nephew once, the delicious-ness of fear, the dark room, a friend lying on a table, everyone gathered around with their fingertips under her body, chanting “light as a feather, stiff as a board” over and over until – oh, for cryin’ out loud! – the body began to rise, not seeming to weigh a thing...

“Why would you want to do that?”

“What? Why? Well because, see, there were only four TV stations and you had to go to the theater to see a movie…”

“So you turned out the lights and tried to scare yourselves?”

Hmm. Well, yes. Something like that.

We were just playing around.




And I’m still not allowed to use a Ouija board.

22 comments:

Carol said...

Don't feel bad, I'm not allowed either.

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

We did all of that stuff.
And we had a Ouija board too, but we got tired of the horrendous spelling of the demons we attracted.

So we used the Ouija board as the floor to our homemade Barbie Dreamhouse. Because for some reason my parents wouldn't buy us a Barbie Dreamhouse...but the gateway to Hell?

Here ya go kids!

Gigi said...

You bring back such memories, Pearl! We did all that stuff too - and yeah, Ouija boards were not allowed here either.

vanilla said...

Verboten here, too. Then and now.

Fred Miller said...

I went to a Catholic college run by Benedictine monks and nuns. A few dumbasses in the freshman dorm got to messing with a Ouija board one night and got scared. Called the history professor, Father Justin. He calmed them down and then wrote an editorial in the school paper about it. Didn't use their names, but everybody knew who they were. We all had a good laugh.

The Fred Effect: Who the Hell is Justin Beaver?

savannah said...

a ouiji board? hell, sugar, i got the cold sweats when we visited the voodoo museum in new orleans! hand to god, i had to walk outside, cross the street and walk down to the corner store and wait for the MITM and mr. moose. *shiver* just made me scare myself thinking about it! xoxoxox

mrwriteon said...

My grandfather wouldn't allow a ouija board in his house because he thought they were satanic. Maybe they are. Hmm. He also forbade peacock feathers because they had the evil eye.

Herding Cats said...

The only time I used a Ouja Board, I was in college. It scared the crap outta me. I don't know if I believe in them, but I surely won't touch one again (just in case)...

GYPSYWOMAN said...

the last time i used my ouija board, 7-9 large pillar candles exploded in the room in answer to my question - haven't used one since - although i had used it previously for many years -

love your writing style, miss pearl!

Sam Liu said...

Part of me has always been compelled (and terrified) by the idea of ghosts and messages from beyond. Of course, my rational mind tells me that no such fanciful things exist...So I've never used a ouija board. I don't think I ever will. All the scary stories have put me off the idea!

Irritatingly Optimistic said...

Hi Just stumbled across your blog from...hmmm never mind, its gone.
Love this post. My grandparents used to scare me and my cousin to bed with stories of crazed midnight horses and fireballs shooting down chimneys. Love the Ouiji board in the dolls house story!
My opinion is never mess with things you dont understand. I had a very strange thing happen to me once. Totally unexplanable and I wasnt even drunk.

Now off to spoach around your blog if thats ok?
Gail

Jen said...

thanks for visiting my blog
I think youre better off not playing with those things
have a good day
oh and you do write well :)

A Mom on Spin said...

I used to be terrified of vampires myself. . .

Absolutely terrified!

Lynne H. said...

My ouija board never worked.. Hmmmmm

Cheeseboy said...

My parents did not allow us to have a Ouija board. Good thing too, they still scare the crap out of me.

Tempo said...

A fellow I went to school with and a group of friends used a board one night...within a year he went completely mad. He's still locked up somewhere or other. Scared the hell out of us and we sure never played the board again.

ISRAEL CARRASCO said...

I played with the Ouija once and at night the bed shook violently. So yeah, I wont ever use one again.

Gaston Studio said...

As children, we used to play with the Ouija board all the time and nothing ever happened, but as an adult, it could be scary. Perhaps, once one understands its real purpose, it comes alive.

pegbur7 said...

My question...if no one is allowed to use those Ouija boards....why do all their relatives seem to have one? That's what I want to know!

Have you met my brother.... love that. Sorry I hadn't been by in a while. I always enjoy your writing.

Jude said...

I also wasn't allowed to play with them! (What is it about these things that scare parents?)

Kate said...

My mom and dad made us ask the Ouija board what our new address would be every time we moved. They must be satanic. Making their kids do it.

Kelly said...

I never understood how a mass-produced piece of particle board becomes an instrument of evil. Maybe Parker Bros is actually the portal to hell.