By Rachel Birdsell
Last week I took some Ouija boards up to my shop in Eureka Springs to use as Halloween decorations. A couple stopped in and when the woman in the duo took one look at the boards, she turned to her male companion and said, “We can’t stay in here. They have one of them devil boards.” I wanted to tell her that we also have Satan himself working for us on weekends, but I didn’t think she’d see the humor in it.
I was quite stunned that someone would actually leave a shop because of a Ouija board. I wasn’t sure what she thought would happen and was kind of scared of what her reason might be. But she’s not the only one who thinks that Ouija boards are of the devil. Ouija boards are said to open portals that allow demons to enter and if you burn one, you’ll set all manner of deviltry loose. I decided I needed to find out just what was and wasn’t true about these devil boards.
I collect vintage Ouija boards because I like the cool graphics on them, but I’d never used one before. I decided that a go at the Ouija board was a logical first step in discovering what all the hoopla was about. So, I grabbed one of my devil boards, took a deep breath and began my descent into the unknown. I didn’t have a planchette so I used a glass dome magnifier in its place. I started with a simple question just in case I made contact with a demon whose brimstone wasn’t the brightest in the box. “Dear Ouija Board Demon, what is my name?”
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to use the “dear” part like I was saying a prayer or not, but since I was raised Baptist, it just kind of slipped out. I didn’t receive an answer. I thought maybe my Ouija board demon was offended because I asked it such a simple question, so I upped the difficulty with my next question. “Dear Ouija Board Demon, who gave me my first kiss?”
I still didn’t get an answer. I thought perhaps Ouija board demons don’t answer personal questions, which would make them kind of useless. But, I persevered.
“Dear Ouija Board Demon, who is going to win the Presidential election?” I still didn’t receive an answer. In fact, the only thing I experienced during my devil board session was that my cat stared at me like I was an idiot the entire time. He’s so judgmental.
I have tried in vain to find scientific evidence of the power of Ouija boards, but all I’ve come up with is anecdotes that usually start with “OMG!” and end with 23 exclamation points. I’ve thought long and hard about why my Ouija board session was a failure and have narrowed it down to following:
1. I’m not a teenage girl. From my extensive research on the subject which consisted of a five minute Internet search, I’ve discovered that Ouija boards seem to work particularly well for this demographic.
2. My clothes weren’t skimpy enough. In the movies, the Ouija board always works for the girls who are scantily clad.
3. Dome magnifiers are too heavy for demons to move around.
4. As crazy as it sounds, Ouija boards are just a piece of cardboard or wood with some letters and graphics on it.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.