It was the fall of 2009, just before Halloween, and simply put, we were bored. I wasn't in the mood to tackle that feature assignment about Sedona vortexes I had started for one of my journalism classes. And the high was somewhere around too-cold-to-go-for-a-stroll and not-cold-enough-to-stay-indoors-and-get-cabin-fever-again. So, we threw on our respective peacoats and headed to the closest store where we could kill some time: Walmart.
"So… what are we doing here?" Frank asked me.
"Maybe we should get a board game."
"Oooh... How about the Ouija board?"
I had always found Ouija boards fascinating. I'd played with one before, but it hadn't been a particularly exciting experience. It spelled out a name we'd never heard before, everyone ran out of the room, and we didn't really talk about it again.
But this was why I needed to try it again. I had to know if these things actually worked.
We purchased the $10 Ouija board, took it home and sat cross-legged on the floor. Then we stared at each other, completely clueless of what to do next.
"Do we need to bless the home or something?" Frank asked.
"Where would we even start?" I replied. We placed our fingers onto the board. "Let’s just ask a question and see what happens."
"Are there any spirits that want to talk to us?" Frank asked.
"We'd like to speak to a spirit. Hello? Anyone there?"
"Maybe your apartment is too boring for this," I said. "Maybe it would work somewhere else."
We headed to a cemetery and threw a blanket down right next to the spookiest headstone. The weather was perfect: overcast, chilly, gloomy. Just the right amount of creepy.
"Are there any spirits out there who want to talk to us?" I asked. And then we tried three more times without success.
"This sucks!" I'd had it. Obviously there weren't any ghosts, but Frank wanted to try one last time.
"Are there any demons out there who want to talk to us?" he said.
I nearly screamed. "What the hell, Frank?"
"Are there any demons who want to say something?" he repeated. "Tell us your name.”
When the planchette scooted to the left, I jerked my head up to stare at him. "Don't mess with me, Frank. This isn't cool."
"I'm not doing anything."
It slid across the board, slowly, to "yes" in the top left corner.
"Yes, so someone does want to talk to us. What's your name?” Frank asked as I quietly shit my pants.
It moved back to the start, then back to "yes."
"Huh? What's your name?"
It slid to "no," quickly this time.
"Who is talking to us?"
We followed the planchette as it moved down to the row of numbers. First "6." Then to the center of the board, back to "6," looped around and then "6" again.
"Holy crap. I can't do this," I said, shaking my head. "We no longer want to talk to you," I said, vaguely remembering the "rules" to using a Ouija board — that you need to tell the spirit goodbye, let it go. "Please leave us now. Will you leave?"
At lightning speed, the planchette moved straight to "no."
Frank threw his hands up in the air, stood up and walked away from the board. "I'm done. We’re done."
"You can't just take your hands off the planchette! We were supposed to let it go. Come back so we can do that. Because if we don't, it'll stick around and follow us or something."
"No, that's bullshit. I'm done."
I sat there, dazed by what had just happened, then slowly took my fingers off the planchette and packed up the board.
"I'm freaked out. I can't be alone right now. Can we go somewhere? I need to be around as many people as possible for a really long time."
After an hour and a half roaming the mall and 30 minutes in the food court, I convinced Frank we absolutely had to try to get the "demon" to leave us — if it was following us around, and I was clearly convinced it was.
This time we headed to my apartment, which was closer to the mall. Again on the living room floor, the board between us, I started:
"Are there any spirits who want to talk to us?"
I asked five more times, and Frank looked at me. "What are you doing? You know it's not a spirit. It's a demon. So, are there any demons who want to talk to us?"
"Are you serious? Why do you keep doing this?"
The planchette moved slowly to "yes."
"What's your name?" Frank asked.
It moved down the board again, to "6," then looped around and back to "6," and again.
"6-6-6 again," I said, intent on driving this spirit — er, demon — away. "Please leave. We no longer want to talk to you. Will you leave us?"
Again, quickly, to "no."
"Please leave us now."
It moved sharply down the board in a 45-degree angle and back up to "no."
"Please leave us now!"
The planchette didn't move for a few seconds. We looked at each other, hopeful.
Until it slowly began to move down the board to the "0." We were stumped. We weren't sure what was about to happen. It moved to the left to "9," then continued to "8, 7, 6..."
"What's going on?" I asked.
"5, 4, 3..."
"I'm really freaked out. Do we let it continue counting down?
"I have no idea."
Silence. We sat as still as the planchette. We sat there for a few seconds. "We no longer want to talk to you. Please leave us!"
My roommate's dog bolted off the couch, ran halfway up the stairs and began barking at the door.
Startled, not thinking, we took our hands off the board, and I walked up to the window and parted the blinds. "No one's at the door. No one's outside."
The dog kept barking.
I opened the door and walked out to see if anyone had passed by. Nothing. When I came back inside, the dog was upstairs, on my roommate's bed. I sat down across from Frank on the floor, and we stared at each other, not sure what to say.
"So what do we do now? Do you think we'll be OK?" I asked, when suddenly I felt freezing cold, my teeth chattering. I wrapped a blanket around me, thinking it was just the weather, from walking outside. But I couldn't seem to get warm.
"Are you cold? I'm freezing," I said to Frank.
"No, I'm good."
"But it's so cold my spine hurts."
Frank scooted the space heater over until it was directly in front of me, no more than a foot between me and it. "That should help."
But it didn't. My skin felt ice cold. Five minutes had passed, and I couldn't get warm. And for whatever reason, at that moment I called my sister.
"Wait, so the board counted down from 9 to 1? What does that mean?" she asked. We had Googled it afterward and found out from several websites that you should never let it count down or else it will (or wishes to) escape. Oops.
What we didn't know was that all we had to do was force the planchette to "goodbye” and flip the board over. (Face-palm.)
"And then the dog started barking at the door," I told her, still shaken. "It was weird, so I opened the door, but no one was there."
It was then when I realized she had me on speaker phone, because her boyfriend at the time chimed in with a loud "holy shit!"
"What? What does that mean?" I asked.
"You basically let the demon into your home," he revealed.
And who knew if that last part was true. I wasn't about to stick around to find out. I packed up and left that apartment about a week after it happened.
After grabbing my last bag, I opened the door and turned toward my roommates sitting on the couch.
"All right, I'm off, guys," I said with a wave. "Oh, and I accidentally let a spirit or demon into the home. 'K bye!"
I wish I could say that was it, but things have happened since then… But that's another story for another day. My advice to you? Just don't. Don't use the Ouija board. And if you do, research the dos and don'ts (something we clearly did not do). But really, I advise you stay away, even if you think you know what you're doing. You're likely still not ready.
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