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Friday, September 26, 2014

Light as a Feather, Still as a Board

I honestly meant to write more about Liza Bean and Fuzzy (see yesterday), but my attendance was required at The Planning of the Second Annual Chili Invitational, stayed up way too late for a school night, and talked about the following.

Reader discretion advised.  (Not really.  I just like to say that.)


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.

21 comments:

vanilla said...

Me neither. Definitely of the devil.

Shelly said...

No Ouija board here, either. The howl of the coyotes on a dark, rural night was enough to get my imagination going.

Delores said...

Tried the ouija board once...the darn planchet ran off the board straight at me and I never touched it again lol.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
..... who do I contact about the tea which is now sprayed across the keyboard???>>>>>>>

"...only four tv stations and had to go to theatre for films..." You forgot the bit about how self-scaring was about the only available adrenaline rush then; extreme surf-boarding with a difference...

I once rose half way to the ceiling. it was Guide Camp - any badge for that? YAM xx

joeh said...

Are you kidding? DId you not read or see "The Exorcist?"

Captian Howdy...hello.

I never messed with them after that. Of course I was like 27 then and we had maybe 12 TV stations counting UHF.

Eva Gallant said...

The Exorcist..the book...gave me nightmares....Ouija board? No way!

jenny_o said...

I was like Shelly - rural living had enough scary REAL things; I didn't need any help getting my hair to stand on end!

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Oh, man! You took me right back to 1982 with this. The slumber parties! We raise "Hoss" from Bonanza, you know. I saw his shadow on the wall!

Elephant's Child said...

No Ouija Board here. And I am pretty certain that at least one of my brothers was possessed by a demon. Repeatedly.

Daisy said...

brings back memories of Girl Scout camp and telling scarey stories in the dark. This included shining a flashlight from under my chin to give my face a spooky "glow"! :-)
Daisy's Barbara

Jocelyn said...

I HAD to use the Ouija board in order to find out the name of my future husband. Turns out, I would marry a Tony.

Do not tell my Byron there's another coming after him.

Geo. said...

My older sister used to get me to participate in Ouija Board sessions. We had some success communicating with unseen forces. But our board was fashioned by occult artisans working in a little-known enclave of the psychic sciences called Hasbro.

Rose L said...

Let's see...I was once told that a Ouija board had demons in it so that is why to not use one. Hmmm...
I do not think the manufacturer has someone using a magic spell to place a demon into each board they make. Highly implausible.

River said...

Your title drew me right in.
I watched the movie The Craft, just last weekend and it has that scene where three girls lift the fourth using that method, then they take their fingers away and the girl just hovers until the mum of one of them breaks the spell by coming in with fresh towels.

fmcgmccllc said...

Yes, I did that and yes, she floated. It was so great.

Leenie B said...

It took a whole lot more imagination to survive childhood with only a couple of tv channels and one movie theater. That's why we make such good readers and writers, Pearl.

Linda O'Connell said...

You sure took me back. Remember when TV went off the air after the nstionsl anthem?

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I would love to use a Ouija board but have never done so and doubt I ever will

Jayne Martin said...

I used to love all kinds of scary stuff as a kid. Now the world is a scary enough place all on its own. I don't think I need to seek out the next one. I'll be seeing it soon enough. :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Tried it once and swore my friend tugged that little wedge to get the board to spell out her wishes. No fun.

Daisy said...

My cousin had an Ouija board. I can remember playing with it once with my siblings and cousins. As I recall, an argument broke out about who was pushing it which way, and eventually the game was abandoned as being very boring and we moved on to Mystery Date or the game of Life or some such thing. I don't think you are missing much by not being allowed to play with it. :)