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Monday, September 30, 2013

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

Saturday was the Autumn Brew Review.  True to my intention, I done tested a number of brews.  (They were delicious.)  I attended an open mic last night (feedback for Pearl:  slow down and get closer to the mic!).  

I said all of that to say this:  I had no time to write.  

And now:  a repost from 2011.  Enjoy.  :-)


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.

32 comments:

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

oh yes -I attended many a sleepless slumber party where our main activity was the seance. For some reason, I recall that we raised a character from "Bonanza" I think? The heavy-set guy?

Leenie said...

Some day maybe all those dead old tv's will rise from the landfill and come into town. But they won't be looking for brains. They took those from us long ago. BWWAAAAHAHAHAHA!

Indigo Roth said...

Pffft, scaredy cat. I vocally summoned the spirits while doing a group glass-o-mancy thing. Half a dozen of us, a subterranean WW2 base in the dark, with a fingers on a glass on a rough table, moving it around like nobody's business. Hell yeah, I have spirit. Roth x

Simply Suthern said...

I didnt know anybody with a Ouiji Board growing up but we heard all about them at church.

Battleship and Mouse Trap were much safer games.

And if you found a real dead mouse he was light as a feather and stiff as a board.

Pearl said...

Dawn, we put a gal under in 9th grade. Or maybe it was the Boone's Farm. :-) All I remember was that she claimed to be married, which we thought was hilarious.

Leenie, LOL! The TV stole my brain years ago. Since then, I've discovered most of my life runs a lot more smoothly...

joeh said...

Did you not even see "The Exorcist?" You do not mess with Captain Howdy!

Pearl said...

Indigo, glass-o-mancy! I don't believe that's allowed around here. :-)

Simply, I didn't see an actual Ouija board until I was in high school -- and then I was vaguely afraid of it!

Pearl said...

joeh! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Do not mention Captain Howdy!


Aaaaaaaaa!

Ray Denzel said...

dawn
that would be hoss cartwright-dan blocker!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I remember one week with a Ouija board in college. Freaked us ALL to death and we threw it in a dumpster!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Sorry, I still stay clear of Ouija boards. No interest a'tall.

I guess we did our share of scaring each other as kids but I'm not fond of being scared or reading or watch horror. Much rather an adventure.
:-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Pearl said...

Ray, good job! :-)

Green Girl, that's kinda how I felt about it.

Sia, I have a great fondness for supernatural horror -- I think I find it preferable to the everyday horror (which is probably why I rarely watch the news!)

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

Oh thank you for the Bloody Mary reference, I had totally forgotten about that!

We have a Ouija Board, I bought it for a sleepover one time. It creeps me out.

Our family also planned a seance for Halloween one year just to make it fun for our daughter who was getting too old for trick-or-treating. Now THAT was a fun night. We are a weird family.

jenny_o said...

One party I went to as a young teen involved a Ouija board. I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about then and I still can't. All we ever spelled out was alphabet soup.

Pearl said...

Girl Next Door, seances! Oh, there's some weirdness for later in the evening!

jenny_o, the only time I used one it mostly spelled out sex jokes and suggestions that I make the guy I was with a sandwich. :-)

Mel said...

Oh the simpler times! I lived a parallel life in rural Delaware too, in an old creaky farmhouse and a rampant imagination.

How is it that we did all the same spooky sleepover things across the country? I still remember the goosebumps when the body seemed to float! The fear was delicious.

And ouija boards are bad joojoo in my family. I won't play with them, to this day.

Wasn't it fun, though, when imaginary things were all we were afraid of?

Best of luck at your next open mic night!

Slick said...

Well. I almost freaked when I read Dawn's comment! When I was a kid I was invited to a slumber party and they tried to call Dan Blocker (Hoss of Bananza Fame) from The Great Beyond. I was hiding behind a door 'cause it spooked me. All of a sudden, there were screams and about six girls hauled ass out of the room. They said the board lifted into the air.

Daisy said...

I'm not a fan of being scared. I went to enough slumber parties as a kid where we tried to scare ourselves silly, that I no longer have a need to do that. There's enough real-life scary stuff around without trying to summon up more! :)

Susan Kane said...

If I were you, I would still not play the Ouija board. My school friends drew one out on construction paper in 4th gr. and went into the storage room at school. We all ran out screaming when we read the preditions.

Delores said...

Only did the Ouija board thing once...the little planchet ran right off the board at me. Haven't touched one since.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

As gullible as I am with older brothers that I had, I turned a tale or two on my sister. Fright night.

You had FOUR TV stations? Wow, you must be a young squirt!!!

Just like Bill Cosby says in one of his comedy routines when he was being chased by Chicken Heart..."spread the Jello"!!!!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

PS....here is a link to Cosby's "Chicken Heart"....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhwF2d8QyvU

River said...

I never even heard of ouija boards until I was an adult, then we had no need for one as the kids and I all loved watching horror movies, so we got our "scare" fix weekly.

Daisy said...

Brings back memories!

Gigi said...

"Light as a feather; stiff as a board" "Bloody Mary..." We ALL did this as children. (Thanks for the memories) But my question is this...HOW did we all know to do this back in the "un-connected" day?

Pat Tillett said...

Oh Yeah! We used to scare the crap out of ourselves with things like this. The worst for me was scary stories around a camp fire in the middle of nowhere.

You know what I do for fun these days and we sometimes find ourselves in some pretty spooky places.

I do believe in things that go bump in the night, but I don't freak out about it.

Geo. said...

Let's see, conversing with sentient souls at a table far removed from their corporeal bodies. There's something familiar about that, very familiar.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

One of my wedding presents was a ouija board. I really wanted towels, but we played with it anyway and had an interesting honeymoon.

Bossy Betty said...

Oh! This makes me want to get a board and play with it excessively!

Linda O'Connell said...

My dad's ghost stories were better than any ouija board. Great post, Pearl.

Misha Gericke said...

Hehehe I didn't really mess around with stuff like that.

I guess that living in two real haunted houses cured me. :-P

Diane Tolley said...

We tried to bring Winston Churchill back from the dead. It was my idea. I had a report due on him and Google hadn't been invented yet.