The Reason I’ll Never Again Touch a Ouija Board

Posted: April 8, 2015 in Life Lessons, Memories
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, this photo showed up on my Facebook news feed a few days back:

A Facebook share of a Ouija board marketed to little girls

A Facebook share of a Ouija board marketed to little girls

Clearly, the marketing for this version of the Ouija board tries to make it seem girly, fun and mysterious. It’s aimed at little girls, ages 8+. The person who posted it, and the other people who commented underneath the post in my feed were outraged that this was aimed at kids considering how dangerous many felt the game was.

To refresh your memory, the Ouija board is a game with a little pointer device (the “planchette”) used to ask questions of the spirit world. Lots of people believe it opens a portal best left closed, while others believe it opens players up to the whims of whichever person is secretly or unknowingly controlling the planchette. I’m not really a believer in this stuff (although I find it fascinating), nor am I very superstitious, but instead of scrolling by this post without a passing thought, I stopped and read through all the comments.

Because I, too, have a Ouija board story to tell. It’s true, and it happened to me at about age 10 or 11, circa 1990 or so. In my closet in my bedroom, there was a stack of games: Monopoly, Parcheesi, Sorry, and others, including an old Ouija board bought by one of my parents, probably some time in the 1970’s.

Our Ouija looked like this:

The Ouija game my family had in our closet.

The Ouija game my family had in our closet.

My best friend Sherry and I discovered the game one day while she was at my house, and we started to mess around with it, placing it carefully on our knees as they pressed together underneath the board, resting our fingers as light as we could manage on the planchette to avoid, “No fair, you’re cheating, you’re moving it!” comments.

One day, we were bored with playing in the “cabin” in the woods (a collection of items we borrowed from my mother, I’m sure causing her to endlessly wonder, where did [insert household item] get off to?)

“Let’s play a game,” Sherry said.

We stood in front of my closet, rejecting Monopoly (too long) and Sorry (we just played that last time!) She spied the Ouija board.

“Let’s play Ouija. This time, we’ll really try to see if we can get a spirit to talk to us!”

I hesitated. “Last time, it was just us moving it around.”

“This time we’ll do it exactly right. No cheating. I promise,” Sherry said, and X-ed over her heart.

I relented and we brought the game downstairs, where we both sat cross-legged on the living room carpet facing each other. Sherry put the board on our legs, her pale white skin pressing against my tan chubby knees, and I lifted the plastic planchette out of the box and placed it on the board.

“Barely touch it!” I said. “No pressing down.”

“And we’ll close our eyes after we ask a question so we know we’re not cheating,” Sherry said.

With these rules in place, we asked the usual questions we’d asked before.

Is there a spirit here that will talk to us? Yes.

Can you tell us your name? Yes.

What is your name? Jumble of letters.

“Was that Charles?”

“No, I think it was Chester.”

“Who ever heard of a ghost named Chester?”

After a while we got bored with our questions (What is the name of the boy who has a crush on me? How did you die, spirit?) and Sherry said, “Let’s ask it a question we know it has to answer right. But we’ll still keep our eyes closed so we’re not moving it to the answer.”

“How many brothers does Sherry have?” I asked. Three.

“How many sisters does Jaime have?” Sherry asked. Zero.

A little more than a week before, my black cat, Zippy, who was a bit of a whore, had a litter of five kittens. There were two grey, a black and two orange kittens in the litter. Sherry and I had been endlessly peeking in on the tottering babies, who would sleep, nurse, and tumble around in total cuteness.

“How many kittens does my cat, Zippy, have?” I asked. Four.

I peered across at Sherry’s face, covered partly by her thick, straight hair. One green eye looked back at me. “Don’t you have five?” she asked.


“One of us must have bumped it. Let’s try it again.”

I asked the same question. Four.

We asked the question different ways.



Always the same.

At that point, we gave up.

“Stupid game,” I grumbled. “I told you it was fake.”

Sherry looked doubtful. “Maybe it was just messing with us. Cause it knew we knew the answer.”

I shrugged. “Let’s do something else.”

I ran upstairs and put the Ouija game back on the stack of games in the closet. When I came downstairs, Sherry was petting Zippy as the kittens tumbled over each other and made their wobbly way across the carpet.

Soon, it was apparent there were four kittens there, not five.

“Where is the other grey kitten?” I asked.

Sherry was laying on her side, with an orange kitten perched on her shoulder and the black kitten trying to pounce on her hand, but mostly falling over instead. She looked behind her and under her arm. The other orange and grey kittens were nursing on Zippy, who was laying on the carpet in a patch of sun coming in the window.

I started looking around the living room, and Sherry slid both kittens over to Zippy to help look. We searched behind chairs, around the TV stand and by the plants.

No kitten.

“Maybe it wandered into the other room,” Sherry said.

“Or it’s hiding under something?” I suggested.

Sherry headed out toward the kitchen while I started looking under stuff. Sure enough, I soon found him. There was the grey kitten under the couch-


Tears sprang to my eyes when I saw the little furry thing, pink tongue slightly out, some orangey stuff out its backside. He must have been squished when the recliner footrest was closed, and he got trapped there and died.

I called for Sherry, and my mom and dad, and the lifeless grey body was taken away to be buried.

All the while, when the Ouija board adamantly pointed to four, it had been right.

Zippy only had four kittens.

We just didn’t know it yet.

Drawing by Jaime L. Hebert

Drawing by Jaime L. Hebert

What do you think? The skeptic in me says, correlation doesn’t equal causation, e.g. the Ouija game and the kitten are coincidental but unrelated. There’s a small part of me, however, that simply says, That’s spooky. Do you have a Ouija opinion? Harmless, or best left alone? Leave your thoughts in the comments!



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