Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Talking Board

Candlelight could not reach the corner shadows. The sound of breathing was loud in our ears. Soda pop coursed through our veins.

And then it moved.

Slightly, but it was enough.

“Did you do that…,” we squealed. Our answers were always denial.

“I’m not moving it, I swear!”

For many teenagers, playing with Ouija boards is a rite of passage, sort of like levitating your friends with your fingers. If you’ve never done these activities, you haven’t missed anything.

Except lots of squealing and a certain level of anxiety about the Universe.

I’ve noticed something curious. When I was a kid, I was told not to play with Ouija boards. It was dangerous. We might let something in. Never mind what that something would be, you could be certain it would be bad. Very bad.

The best way to get me to do something is to tell me not to do it, especially at the particularly rebellious stage of teenagerdom.

Here’s the thing. Everyone knows that malevolent spirits disguised themselves as kids who died too early. They would talk to us through the Ouija board, claiming to be the wandering spirit of a sixteen year old who drowned or died in a car crash or something horrendous, and we would be awed by everything the spirit had to say.

But we knew that talking to these spirits led to trouble. After all, look at my friend Aly*, who spent too much time talking to the spirits and ended up in the psyche hospital. Or look at my friend Dory* who flunked her exam because she stayed up too late talking to the board and didn’t study.

The thing I’ve always wondered is this: did these spirits follow Aly and Dory through the rest of their lives, interfering and being a general nuisance by knocking on the floorboards and such? Or did they fade away, lured by the call of other young people looking for a thrill with the board?

I lost touch with these friends long ago, so I’ll never know. I guess if I want the answer, I could always ask the board to give me a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But I think I’ll pass, for now.
Do people still use the Ouija? Do you get an answer? I’d love to know…

*Obviously the names Aly and Dory are not real names. And before you even ask, no, I’m not going to tell you their real names. Not for all the tarot cards in the deck. Because hey, I don’t want to attract the attention of those spirits that were bugging them, do I?

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