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Ouija Boards

Ouija Boards

Freaky Friday

I was going to write about something else this week, but as I was doing research I found this story from WISN, Channel 12 about a mom who wants a kindergarten teacher fired for using a Ouija board at school.

This is from the article, “An outraged mother is calling on Milwaukee Public Schools officials to fire a kindergarten teacher who introduced the young students in her class to a Ouija board.

The mom, who asked to not be publicly named, said the game was used on Friday in her 5-year-old’s classroom at Zablocki Elementary.

“They were shutting off the lights and making it dark and talking to spirits. That’s not something that should be at school,” the mother said of the game, which is said to be able to channel spirits.

In an email to the mother, the teacher said the Ouija board had been in the classroom since Halloween.

“The kids have been asking for a scary story and I got the board and moved the paper clip to answer some of their questions. They asked about scary characters in movies. I did not say there were spirits. It was all done in fun. I understand your concern. It was silly and I’m sorry. I will take the board home, and this won’t happen again,” the teacher said.

The family said the children are too young to be exposed to the concepts of Ouija boards, and they believe the teacher should just stick to curriculum.

The 5-year-old is now having nightmares, the mother said.

“He’s scared now to go to bed at night, to be in the dark, anything alone,” she said.

An MPS spokeswoman said the teacher was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”

  So, what do you think? Was this just a harmless game and the mom is overreacting? Or was this a dangerous incident that could have placed the children in harm’s way?

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of speaking with Dale Kaczmarek, who is the president of the well-respected Ghost Research Society.  We were both presenting lectures at a conference and we had a chance to chat between sessions.  I asked him what he thought about Ouija boards and he said that it’s like dialing your phone blindfolded, you never know what you’re going to get.  He also said that they have a questionnaire for people who want them to investigate their homes.  If they’ve used a Ouija board on the premises, their team won’t investigate.

In our book, Ghosts, Graves, and Groves both Ophelia Julien and I decided independently to do a chapter on Ouija Boards. Here’s a quote from Ophelia’s chapter. “Being curious about all things supernatural, it was just a matter of time before I decided to start playing around with the board, too. I think my sister and I did a few sessions, the giggly kind where you ask about boys and love, and the future, and boys, and love. 

Later on, I tried a session with my best friend from school, and that is what got me RIGHT OFF of ever using one again. We were playing at my house during summer vacation between sixth and seventh grade and got it into our heads to give the old spirit board a try. And, as expected, we asked about boys and love. Then we started asking other kinds of questions about our futures and the answers started getting a little, well, snarky. After a while, they seemed to be sliding right into hostile territory. Our questions were receiving mean, snippy little answers, like you might get from the mean kids in your class, except these seemed even darker than that.

So, then I got the brilliant idea of asking who was answering our questions. And the planchette spelled out B-E-E-L-Z-E before I snatched my hands away from that smoothly-gliding piece of plastic as if I’d been burned. My friend looked at me in surprise. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “What’s it spelling?”

“You don’t know?” I couldn’t believe she didn’t. I was already packing up the board and the planchette into the box, fastening it shut and thinking I would never touch it again.

“Who is that?” she asked.

I put the board away and dragged her outside into the afternoon sunshine before answering. (I had to bring her outside to answer her: we were in THAT house, the haunted house of my childhood.)

She never really understood why that bothered me so much. I don’t think I really understood exactly how disturbing that whole incident was until I experienced The Exorcist, both the book and the movie, some years later. Can we say Captain Howdy?

So now I do not go anywhere near those things. When my children were little, I absolutely forbade either of them having one in the house and as far as I know, neither of them ever dabbled in exploring that particular activity. At least, not when they were still young girls under my roof. And now, as adults, both of them understand where I’m coming from.

As Aldous Huxley once put it, “There are things known and there are things unknown and in between are the doors (of perception).” I think there are portals between this world and others, and as far as I’m concerned, a Ouija board is a huge, honking portal into dimensions I’d rather leave alone.”

In an interview with Dread Central Amy Adams from The Dead Files spoke about her feelings about Ouija boards. “There are a lot of dangerous things in the paranormal field that fledgling ghost hunters and even people just screwing around could find themselves facing. It’s really easy to do something wrong, and Allan had this to say about a very common practice – the usage of Ouija boards…

“Yeah, I don’t like Ouijas. The thing about them that is different than other tools is that it’s a summoning device. What you are doing is you are calling out things… whether it’s dead people or some kind of other scary thing, you are opening a door to let everything and anything in. People need to look at that. This is not just a game; it is a summoning device. You are summoning things to you. When you do that, you are in it for the long haul. You’re screwed.

I knew a man from Chicago who decided to come out to our neck of the woods and purchase a “haunted” farmhouse. He wanted to open it up for paranormal investigators and use it as a haunted rental for vacationers who wanted to have a ghostly experience.  The problem was, according to the former owners, the farm wasn’t haunted.  The new owner thought he could solve that problem by having a number of seances and inviting spirits in. It didn’t turn out very well.  I understand he’s had to call in a number of groups to try and cleanse the house, with not a lot of success.  A friend recently told me that he’s closed up the house and is trying to find new locations for his seances, locations that are less active.

As Amy Adams so wisely put it – he’s screwed.

Personally, I would never have a Ouija board in my house and all of my children have been taught never to play with one. I agree with the experts, it’s not a game, it’s a dangerous device that can open doors you won’t be able to close.

One final story for this blog.  When I was still collecting ghost stories in the Stephenson County area, a man came up to me and wanted to share his experience.  He told me that he and his wife had sadly divorced and that he now lived in an apartment and she lived about twenty miles away with his children in their home.  He had been listening to a radio program where someone was talking about the danger of having a Ouija board in their home and suddenly remembered that he had stored one in the house that his ex-wife and children lived in.  He called his ex-wife and asked her if he could come over and pick it up.  She agreed.

He drove twenty miles to get it, reached the house, went up the stairs and could not, for the life of him, remember why he’d driven to the house.  He visited with his family, then drove home. It was hours later that he remembered why he felt it was so urgent to go there.

He explained that he didn’t usually have memory loss like that, and it ended up happening to him several times, driving the twenty miles and going home without the board. Finally wrote himself a note and went to the house. He found the board in a hallway closet, took it out of the house and burned it.

He strongly believed that the board did not want him to find it.

Perhaps there was something on the other side just waiting for an invitation to enter.

Happy Friday!

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  1. Sheila Tully
    March 23, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    These boards are extremely dangerous but young people are using them as a game. My brothers and I had the same attitude 50 odd years ago. The boys were playing on it away from home and came home scared as it said it was coming for them. Later that night the both woke up screaming, with huge, red hand shaped welts on their backs. They soon destroyed it. Terrifying!!!

    • Terri Reid
      March 27, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      Oh, wow, that is terrifying!!! I agree – they are extremely dangerous!!! Thanks so much for commenting!! Terri

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