Hasbro's game comprises of a planchette and a classic Ouija letter board. My version, like many who have played the game (on a budget), consisted of handwritten letter tiles and an upturned tumbler. The letters would be placed on a flat surface in a circle. In addition there would be two additional tiles, one with "Yes" written upon it, and the other, "No".
Although intrigued, like the manufacturer Hasbro, and many sceptics out there, I was of the opinion that playing Ouija was nothing more than a bit of harmless fun. In fact, my opinion would remain unchanged immediately after playing it. There was just two of us playing, which sort of makes it less effective, but we persevered with the experience. Lights were dimmed, the music was turned off and a suitably eerie atmosphere was created. My playing companion and myself gently laid index fingers on the tumbler in fake-expectation
"Is there anybody there?" Not being familiar with any rules or guidelines, we proceeded with the charlatan medium's favourite seance-opener; we'd seen them on TV. For about ten minutes we repeated the question or variations of it, seeking spirit guides or some such. It was beginning to seem like a big waste of time, when something weird happened.
The glass moved!
Well, I say moved... it actually skidded across the table. The glass stopped at the tile with the word "Yes" scrawled across it. My finger leapt off the glass as though it had been burned. "You did that!" I shouted to my fellow player. He laughed and counter-claimed that I had done it. Both thinking each other were lying for the benefit of the game and a cheap thrill, suspiciously we continued with the game. Having established a 'presence' or a spirit guide, we proceeded to ask a multitude of questions. Some serious. Some stupid. My Grandmother had said you could ask the spirit any question you liked, but never ask it about death; she said they didn't like being reminded of being dead. Huh! What a load of nonsense. Of course, my playing-buddy asked a death related question. Someone had to!
"Will my dad be dead by Christmas?" he asked, not seriously. Like the dozens of times before, the tumbler whizzed across the table. As it was an open/close question, it came to a halt at "Yes."
"What a load of b******s!" he shouted. That spoilt the game. The glass should have gone to "No." It's amazing how one question would debunk the whole experience. We gathered up the letter tiles and threw them away and put the glass back in the cupboard. That was an hour's entertainment... we carried on with our night listening to music, playing pool, darts and getting drunk.
We never thought any more about it. Not for a while at any rate.
Now, on reflection, I can recall that strange things began to occur around the house soon after we did the Ouija game. At first I thought nothing of them. Things would disappear - one, maybe two items a month. Minor irritations really. I put it down to carelessness, but bizarrely I would never be able to locate them. Things like bottle-openers. How annoying it is to pick out a bottle of wine from the fridge to enjoy only to be unable to open it! A set of car-keys vanished once - thankfully it was the spare! But, things going missing wasn't the only unusual occurrence. Doors would be found open even though I would swear that I'd closed them. There were times when the house would feel unseasonably cold, no matter how much I tried to heat it. And then there were the answer-machine messages I'd wake-up to, even though the telephone hadn't rung. That was strange... and bloody annoying. For nearly six months I was being plagued by a phantom caller who left anything from a 10 second message to one measuring a minute; I would listen and hear nothing more than white noise. I should've had them analysed, but I was a bit scared to, to be honest.
But, above all these things, there is one thing that made me believe that playing Ouija is NOT a good idea. At the end of that year my playing-partner's father died. He had been in relative good health and his death was completely unexpected.
After that, the strange goings-on seemed to stop, but there was always an eerie feeling around the house, and the upstairs hallway always gave me the heebie-jeebies, to the point that I found myself running whenever I needed to pass through it. That feeling remained... right up to when I moved.
Had we unwittingly invited a ghost in to my house? I can't claim that I've ever seen a ghost, but there was definitely something peculiar happening. There probably is a rational explanation for what occurred, but I don't have it. There is definitely some unexplained phenomenon out there, of which Ouija somehow, and by sheer accident, plays a part.
With the release of the film "Ouija," interest in the Hasbro game increased vastly, despite the movie being panned by the critics and getting a 7% rating by Rotten Tomatoes. It became a best-seller on the run up to last Christmas, and the Toy Giant even released a pink version to appeal to girls. If you want to play a board game, my advice, stick with Monopoly.
A link to The Daily Mail's article is here.