Let me start with a little proviso to this true story. I am a Born-Again Believer, a Christian and I do not believe in ghosts or that they inhabit homes or people. I do however, believe that demons (fallen angels) exist--also that they inhabit homes and sometimes people. My husband still finds it hard to believe that I grew up in a "haunted" house. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe, but it's true. At the time, my family and I were unaware of the danger. And that's when our troubles began. . .
Growing Up Haunted
(Part 1 of 5)
New Orleans, LA
The fad of the day--Ouija Boards (pronounced wE-ja) seemed to turn up everywhere--on the shelf right next to the Monopoly and Scrabble games. As a child, I can even remember playing the game with friends during school recess in public elementary school.
If you've never heard of them, Ouija Boards, also known as spirit boards or talking boards have been around since 1848, and in other forms long before. The boards became wildly popular--associated with the birth of modern spiritualism. Supposedly, the name Ouija, either means "yes, yes" in two different languages (French oui and German ja), or was given by a "spirit" consulted on the board and is a close approximation to an ancient Egyptian word meaning "Good Luck." Others theorize the name came from the Moroccan city of Oujda (also spelled Oujida and Oudjda).
My family and elementary school friends thought it great fun to ask a question and have the planchette (French for "little plank"), move of its own accord to answer. "Will I be married? What year? To whom? Who will be the next president?" The planchette would move from letter to letter, number to number to answer each question--sometimes at a maddeningly slow pace, other times with rapid precision. How it worked--none of us knew. Maybe our minds moved it with mysterious telekinetic powers? Or maybe we answered our own questions subconsciously. Maybe ghosts moved it?
Nobody ventured much of a plausible guess. And though the main game piece actually moved on its own, nobody stopped playing. Crazy.
An aunt introduced my mother to the game. Of course, the word "game" is key. A game is all the Ouija Board was to my mother, to my aunt, to kids like me, to most people who played. In fact, I viewed the game as another version of the 8-Ball. Remember the black ball you would propose a question to, then turn over to to small window on the underside and the answer would appear from the cloudy murk of fluid inside the ball?
But the Ouija Board was something different. Words, names and entire sentences seemed to form out of thin air, whether bidden or not. Yes, sometimes the planchette would suddenly move whether or not anyone laid a hand on it. How spooky is that? Yet, as I said earlier, none of us really stopped to consider what manner of "toy" we were tampering with. I wish we had.
Next week (Saturday, October 8th), the Ouija Board plays a game of its own. . .