And that's how I found myself inside of a dirt pentagram asking questions of those long dead.
I have quasi-nostalgia for Ouija boards. Until a few days ago, I’d never used one in my life, but I have fond memories of people in the churches that I grew up in railing against it with fervor, along with backwards-played rock music and the Smurfs. Anything that whiffed of Satanism was shunned because, well, when you believe in the existence of the diabolic, you live your life in terror. Or at least you should. In their defense, this was a pre-Snopes.com era.
|Trademarked in the fine print.|
The strangest thing about this tool of the devil is that it’s a duly registered trademark of Hasbro, the same company that gives us Mr. Potato Head and My Little Pony. Satan himself can’t even release one of these boards without having to put the shoe on the other hoof and signing a contract first.
For my experiment, I wanted one of those classic-looking boards, the type that looked like it was printed on aged-brown paper as if it had been found hidden in the back of an old portrait or bought only after much cajoling from a long-mustached Asian man in an antique store.
So I bought the glow-in-the-dark version. To compensate for that, we picked a spooky place to conduct the Ouija session…our dirt-floored, stone-walled basement that was erected the same year that Ouija was trademarked. Well, I chose the basement. My wife hates it down there and wanted to do it in the living room with the TV blaring King of Queens or anything else that would prevent spirits from dropping by.
We waited for night to fall, grabbed candles, drinks, and the board, and then descended to either our doom or disgrace. The chairs from last year’s Cellar Cinema experiment were still down there, so I pushed them out of the way to give me room to draw a large pentagram in the dirt floor with a Halloween costume battle axe. This was mainly for style points, of course, and wasn’t in the directions that came with the board.
We then settled down into the dirt, careful not to erase any of the lines for fear of letting something into the protection of the circle or escaping out of it into the rest of our house, and then asked our first question.
“Has anybody died in this house?”
As I mentioned, the house was old enough that we figured it a plausible question. No answer. Not a rafter creak, not a cricket squeak. The directions said to wait 1-5 minutes for a response, and then move on to a different question. However, five minutes is a freaking long time when you’re sitting in a dirt pentagram with your fingers on a glowing piece of plastic. I don’t think we made it that long with any of our questions.
We then tried, “Do you have any messages for us?” which made me feel absurdly like I was walking past the desk of a secretary instead of trying to commune with the undead.
Another question, from me, “Is there something I should know about a caterpillar?”
We tried a few more questions, but after not even a twitch of the planchette, which stuck maddeningly between the S and the T, gave up, conceding that we’d lost the game somehow and went upstairs to pay our mortgage bill or watch King of Queens or something.
Anyway, if horror movies are any indication, then we have a few days still to see if we unwittingly unleashed anything into our home. I’ll let you guys know. But you might have to use a Ouija board yourself to contact us.