Four Old Ouija Board Stories

Last week Tripping on Legends got the board back out.  It has been years since I had used one, and maybe a decade since I had seriously used one to try and communicate with the dead.  Natalie, on the other hand, had not used one at all.

Watch the video where we explain what’s been going on in Natalie’s house.

Before we sat down and tried to talk to whatever was making itself known in her house, I felt I needed to give her some basics on the board.  This sparked my memory of the experiences I had early one looking into the paranormal and some of the stories I had collected.  Thought it might be time to dust some of them off to share with people again.

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Watch some of the Ouija board session from that night

 

Kelly

I was never really close to Kelly. I actually only knew her in passing and I would never have spoken to her. She was the head cheerleader and three years older than I was. When she graduated from high school she came back and became the assistant cheerleading coach and I would see her in the gym during practice or on the campus talking to old teachers. She was, from afar, someone who enjoyed life and gave back to the community she had gotten from.

While using the board with some friends, I was asked by a spirit to be given permission to come into the room. When I did, it said it knew me from high school. I asked her name and the spirit asked me to open up my freshman yearbook to page 17. It was the seniors. The pointer spelled out Kelly’s name, and she was the fourth picture in the first row on the page. I thought maybe it was a spirit just looking over my shoulder picking out a name a random until I got back together with an old girlfriend. She had been a cheerleader and once she asked me if I knew whether her old cheerleading coach, Kelly, had died in a car accident.

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Listen to the Tripping on Legends episode about it…

Sarah’s Board

When people tell me stories of unusual things that have happened when they have used the Ouija board, I always ask the same question: Where did you get it? Most of the time the answer is a confused look up as they painfully search their past and then a shrug of the shoulders. I understand that. Ouija boards seem to be the last true artifact handed down from generation to generation. Anyone who has looked for on at their local store can tell you to look in the board game aisle of the toy store to find your new glow-in-the-dark board. You can find one at your local occult dealer, but the casual user won’t go to one except near Halloween. Instead, boards are found in the attic or basement of their parent’s or grandparent’s house. They are found where the boxes and dust of the house have collected, under a quilt, on top of old books, or next to the old game of Operation with the funny bone long lost.
We take them out and breathe life into them, sometimes asking the people who use to use the board about it, but more often not knowing the history.
Sarah know the history of her board, and the colorful path it took to her is as interesting as the events she witnessed with it. The board was made in the 1930’s. It belonged to her great aunt who lived on a farm with her brother and sister, Sarah’s aunt. There was a fire in the barn where she kept the board, but it was untouched although most of the other things in the barn where lost. When Sarah’s aunt left the farm she took the board with her, and years later it ended up with Sarah’s grandmother who didn’t use it. Sarah found it while cleaning her grandmother’s house and has used it since.
Sarah brought the board to a friend’s house who thought she lived in a haunted house. They talked to a while to “nice” spirits before something else spoke up. It spelled out, “DIE DIE DIE” and the temperature in the room dropped. They tried to move the plancette to Goodbye, but it wouldn’t move. The lights started to go on and off and furniture began to move. Sarah’s friend felt cold hands on her neck and began to scream. Sarah threw the board against the wall and everything stopped.
Sarah’s had other occurrences while using the board, usually harmless or amusing like the time they talked to Marie Antoinette who spelled out, “I want your head,” and then had a book fall on her friend’s neck, but the experience at her friend’s house has left her shaken. She has blessed the board, but is still hesitant to use it.

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I’ve had some bad experiences with the board as well. Some have been discouraging and a waste of time, which I consider negative, but one was all out dangerous.

I had been dating a girl my freshman year of college who practiced Wicca, who I shall call Cindy. My roommates and I had wanted to use the board and asked her if she had any knowledge we didn’t. She promised to use some of what she knew to see if we could get anything stronger. I should start out by saying my dorm was the old Charlesgate Hotel, which is now apartments or condo or something. It is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Boston. I saw and experience several occurrences there, but this one was the most intense.

Cindy formed a circle using rope and invited each of us into it. As we entered she blessed us and had us repeat something I don’t remember. She also anointed us with a salt water solution she said it was for protection. When we were all in the circle she closed it and said another prayer. She then cleaned the board with more salt water, the whole time speaking softly under her breath.

We started to use the board and made contact with several spirits. Then a particularly strong spirit came on the board that I shall call Aza. I don’t remember the spirit’s real name or I might use it, although from what I heard I might chose a different name anyway. All I do remember was it had a lot of A’s, Z’s and B’s. After talking to us for a while, Aza told us she was a woman and that she was a witch from three hundred years ago. She surprised us by knowing a lot about us and some very personal things no one in the room would know about the others. She then said she wanted to channel.

Cindy was dead set against it and told us to get off the board and wash it. I was young and intrigued by it. I had never tried to channel a spirit before, and although I didn’t know the first thing about it, I was into doing something new. Cindy went through it step by step. All it really consisted on was deep breathing and opening myself up to Aza coming in. I was unsure what would happen to me, and Cindy didn’t know for sure. Aza might talk through me or just move my hands directly to the letters she wanted.

I started to feel a dull pain in my back and kept crouching over. I was getting really tired, and before I knew what happened, I was lying down. My hands began to rise off the floor, and when I tried to stop them I realized I no longer had control over my arms. I tried to sit up but couldn’t. I was paralyzed, but my hands kept moving. They started going for my neck, and my friends just watched, not knowing what was happening. As they tightened around my throat, my voice came back and I screamed for help. My friends had to pray my own hands from my throat. The whole time I could talk and tell them what was going on, but I couldn’t control my body. I fought against them, kicking and thrashing my arms to break their hold, and I was finally restrained because one of my friends was over two hundred and fifty pounds.

Cindy eventually started yelling at Aza to get out of me and saying prayers over me. Later she told me something about a spirit being able to take over a living person if they caused the physical death of that person, something that has been echoed by a few people I have talked to, but which other people tell me is not true. Cindy was finally able to get the spirit to leave by standing me up and propping me in front of a mirror. Aza, as it turn out, did not really want to be inside of a man.

A few months later a high school friend of mine who was there that night called me. He told me he remembered the full name of the spirit and had asked a friend of his who was into the occult and a practicing “wizard”. The man told him to never say the word out loud again. It seems we had made contact with a non-living spirit, something like a demon. He said that although it was probably not the demon herself, people who devoted their lives to her often took her name in ceremonies and that they were often practitioners of some pretty powerful black magic.

Read the story of Federal Government, another Charlesgate board story

Jay

A group of five of us had gone on an investigation that had proven somewhat successful. Although we had gotten no solid proof, there had been a history at the sight witnessed by one of us and I believe I made contact with something. Nevertheless, the lack of seeing a concrete apparition that night had left us a bit teased. We went back to Matt’s house and decided to use the board to try and get something.

It was pretty casual, and two people had fallen asleep by the time we got settled in. After a few spirits had talked to us, we got a man who claimed his name was Jay. Jay was very angry, and said he had been in the apartment for a few weeks because he liked watching Matt and his girlfriend. He was able to give a few details about things they had done over the past few days, and with each right answer, Matt’s jaw got closer to the floor. When talking about Matt and his girlfriend, Jay’s movements around the board were smooth and even. As soon as he started to talk about himself he got aggitated and moved quickly. He said he was going to stay and there was nothing we could do.

I had recently read in a book about an angry spirit that appeared to a woman who eventually brought in an investigator and a physic. In the story the physic had asked the spirit to ask for help from a friend or relative from the other side. He had said he was so mean in life he didn’t think anyone would help him. Someone eventually came and took him away. I was drawn to the story by a line the ghost said upon leaving; “She was the only one that could see me.”
I asked Jay to call to someone to help him. He said he didn’t like anyone and no one liked him. That was why he had killed himself. I asked about family and he got abusive to Matt, Jenna and I. I tried to calm him down and asked him to try at least. He told me someone was now with him. I asked him to reach out to that person, who he then said was his father.

Now, I try to be as skeptical as I can. If I allow my imagination to get the better of me, I can invent about anything. It is easy to say I just imposed a story I had read onto a situation. I can see that, but there was an added, uplifting aspect to the session. Jay never said good-bye. When I asked him to talk to his father, he said okay and the pointer stopped. I don’t just mean it stopped moving, it stopped in mid-spell. I was overwhelmed by a feeling that what had just happened was real, and I felt I had touched the spiritual side of my searches.

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The Haunted Schoolhouse

This is an older story of mine that I always considered an little piece of gold. I found it with the help of a librarian, and to this day I go back and forth on whether it should be considered a legend or a ghost story. It has a ghost, and a story for that matter, but falls into an older tradition. You can’t investigate it or prove anything, so what you are left with is an old story people believed in at the time but that has now been pushed to the shelf as tale. That to me seems like a definition of legend.  

I’ll let you decide.

The volunteer at the Newburyport library was sure the case had been a hoax.  Older people in town knew of the haunted house, or knew the old story of the dead child and class tortured for month by the odd winds, the voices and the floating arm.  The children had all seen the ghost of a boy in their classroom, but it had been disproved over one hundred, thirty years ago.  The case had been closed and the hoaxer had become infamous, but there was still a lingering doubt. 

In 1873, a twenty cent book was published entitled Expose of Newburyport Eccentricities, Witches and Witchcraft by someone calling himself H.P.  The small pamphlet included a story about a the ghost of a murdered boy who had come back to haunt the children of the school, and after its publication, the well known haunt became an open and closed case.  The truth, however, tells a slightly different story, and sometimes proving a fraud means having to ask more questions.  

By 1872, the Charles Street Schoolhouse had become a black spot of sorts for the community in Newburyport.  The building was falling apart and should have been remodeled decades before.  The heating system was ancient and the floors creaked when students thought about moving.  The drab color stuck out against the changing neighborhood, and most wished that it could be torn down.  

The school was a weigh station for the unwanted, “untidy”, students of the town and the leftovers from other communities.  They were the wayward urchins and the special needs kids of their time.  The sixty-three desks were always filled, rotating as pupils dropped out to work or because they had become bored.  

Lucy Perkins, the young teacher who accepted the job of instructing them, was known as an intelligent but sad woman.  She had worked at the school for two years, but when she was hired she was not told about the teachers before her.  The school committee kept why several teachers had quit suddenly.  

The children knew why.  

“The enemy to their public peace was supposed to be in the air, invisible, intangible and malignant, irregular but certain in its visits, and positive in it disturbances. “  

The schoolhouse was haunted.  In about 1860, a child had committed some “horrible” act in the school and had been given the appropriate punishment.  He was severely beaten and locked in the basement of the building.  He was left there the entire day and students were ordered to ignore his cries and moans.  When the school day ended he was helped home and died later that night.  The teacher, well within his rights as a disciplinarian, suffered no repercussions.  

While it is impossible now to say what the inhabitants of the school experienced in the next few years, the rumors say it was well known the place was haunted well before Ms. Perkins was hired.  She taught for two years without recording any negative instances, but late in 1871 things changed.  

The class was often made to suffer through 2-3 hours of knocks on the walls.  They came from the floor, from the ceiling, from the back wall and their own desks.  They often became so loud the students could not work.  A loud banging could be heard some days on the front door.  Several times Lucy tried to catch whoever was distracting her class, but there was never anyone there.  One days she opened the door and felt a person brush by her.  The children in the room also felt something enter the room and go by their faces.  

Doors would open and close by themselves.  A frustrated Lucy would lock the offending doors, but they would swing back open after she turned her back.  Clothes hanging from hooks in the back of the room would fall off.  Students suffered bad headaches and noises in their ears as atmospheric conditions in the room would changes dramatically from moment to moment.  A large vent located in the middle of the classroom was used to allow in fresh air.  It had a manual latch so heavy Lucy had to use all her strength to open it.  Sometimes the vent would open on its own or refuse to move no matter how she struggled.  

Lucy kept two bells on her desk to announce class and breaks throughout the day.  The bells would often ring by themselves in perfect time and in tones the bells should not have been able to make.  One time, during an outside break, one bell rang so loud all the kids lined up to reenter the building.  Lucy, outside and confused, unlocked the schoolhouse door to find the bell still on her desk and the room empty.  The children laughed, and she decided to start telling people what was going on.  

The school committee refused to hear her and most of the people in town believed she was crazy.  The story, however, was starting to attract attention to the town.  

Things intensified when the lights started.  While Lucy was conducting her class, a bright yellow light would appear through the window and remain shining “like the sun” for hours.  The light would come through almost everyday, even when the sky was overcast and there was no way the sun could be reflecting into the room.  

Once while Lucy was conducting her lesson, there were loud rappings from the attic.  She armed herself with a stick and took one of the young boys up with her to investigate.   The rapping was replaced by laughing as they climbed the stairs, but when they reached the top they found nothing.  As they searched the attic, they began to hear the same laughter below them on the bottom floor.  Running back down the stairs to try and nab the culprit, they found no one nearby and again heard the laughing upstairs.  

Until now the ghost had seemed playful and taunting but never really caused anyone harm.  It was a nuisance, but the class pressed on.   Then in 1872, the ghost finally took form.  The children began to see an oddly dressed boy standing outside looking in at them.  No matter how many times Lucy ran outside, she could never catch him.  The boy’s arm then started to appear inside of the room.  No one ever touched it, but they could see it floating in midair; the hand, arm and upper shoulder of a boy their age.     

In October things reached their peak.  The boy had already made several appearances to the children, but Lucy was finally able to see him for herself.  She described him as a boy of about thirteen with blue eyes and a sad mouth.  His clothes were of an older style and were brown and faded.  

Later that winter, the school committee finally decided to do something.  The whole town knew of the boy who had died fifteen years earlier and there was no silencing Lucy or redirecting the attention the town and its dilapidated schoolhouse was receiving.  They held séances over the next few months to try and contact the murdered boy and put him at ease.  The hauntings stopped, but most doubt it was communicating with the dead that caused peace to fall to the school.   

Historical research can be a tricky feat.  Old words can be translated and slang can be made understood, but euphemism is sometimes harder to nail down.  A prostitute becomes a woman of ill repute.  Alcoholism becomes a blackening of the gall bladder.  Lost to history is what people really thought of Edward De Lancy and his family.  

Edward lived near the haunted schoolhouse and his family was described as being eccentric and of “retired habits.”  He was said to be unsociable but with a good sense of humor and of “little sympathy with his local associates.”  Edward had received as a gift from a family member living in Europe some type of glass projection machine that could throw object far distances by catching the sun and then shining the trapped light.  He fiddled with smaller object before hearing of the odd noises in the school and the murdered boy.  He decided to project the image of a desolate schoolchild directly into the classroom, all the time laughing at the children down below.  

When the news came to light, Edward would entertain anyone who arrived at his house by throwing ghosts into the classroom and explaining the methods behind his practical joke.  The town considered the haunting solved, and as the author of the pamphlet writes, “Thus has Science given the world another proof of its power over the superstitions of the day.”  Nothing is said of what happens to the children or sad Lucy Perkins, but the case was lost to a locked file cabinet in the Newburyport Public Library.  The school is now a private residence and the latest owners report no loud noises, no odd laughter and no arm of a murdered boy hovering in their dining room.       

Questions still remain, however, and while Edward’s antics explain the most intense aspect to the haunting, they do not clarify all that happened in that schoolhouse.  While the atmosphere of the old building could have easily activated the imagination of the more undesirable students of the town, there was still Lucy Perkins and the other teachers who had quit the post.  There was no way Edward could have faked all of the haunting and never admitted to ever going near the school.  Rather the legend of the ghost and the murdered boy already existed and acted as his inspiration.  Someone might have been outside pounding on the walls when they heard it, but what about the laughing in the attic and mysterious bells that rang behind a locked door.   

What happened in the schoolhouse will never be fully explained.  Since the first unexplained cold spot, the town swept things under the rug and kept the truth locked inside the building.  People of the time did not want to face what might have been left behind by a boy beaten and left to die, but the story remains.  The school was once described as “dismal at best, and if built by the spectral-loving fraternity themselves for their special accommodations, it could not answer their purpose better.”  But the schoolhouse was more than just a prop or the backdrop to a story of tragedy, and if tragedy never rest, the murdered boy of the Charles Street Schoolhouse may never truly find peace.