Reasons Not to Play with Ouija Boards by: Jaden Braniff
Reasons Not to Play with Ouija Boards
There was a time in my life that I didn’t believe in ghosts, the ethereal, or the power to influence the minds of others. This all changed when my sister taught me how to create a Ouija board with a pen, some paper, a crystal wine glass and a few lit candles. To this day I regret having that knowledge but remain thankful that my eyes were opened.
Like any other game played among friends, there were jokes at each other’s expense and more innuendo thrown around the table than cases of beer cooling in the fridge. During that time in my life most of the music my friends and I listened to was angry and filled with the screams of eighties metal singers. That being said, it was only a matter of time before the questions we asked the home made Ouija board began to take a turn towards the macabre.
We wanted to speak to the spirit of guitarist Randy Rhodes but it was a creature named Liz that answered. She toyed with us, and for a time had us convinced that the rock icon was with us. At first it seemed harmless enough but like most children that play with fire, we learned of the consequences a little too late. The essence we were speaking with was in no way benign.
There were many times before that night that if I concentrated hard enough, I could influence the glass on the table to move where I wished, to answer my friends how I saw fit; it had always made for a little bit of fun. In truth, I believe that each of us in turn had such conviction in our answers that that night, that we influenced each other’s responses. That was however until the connection between whatever we were speaking with and my friend Rich had become so strong that none of us had the strength to control the home made board. Liz was establishing not only a foothold in Rich’s house but in our lives.
That night we experienced power fluctuations in a house that had no wiring issues, a family pet that behaved unlike he had ever before and the more we spoke to her, the more predominant the events taking place in the house became. Items on counters moved and fell over without the slightest of breezes. The glass began to move on its own and the flames of the red candle would jump an inch from the wick to unbelievable heights, fluctuating with Liz’s mood as we asked her questions. What we experienced that night was so unnerving that five young men who watched at least one horror movie a week chose to burn the handmade board and never lay a finger on the crystal glass again. Unfortunately for my friend Rich, this did not end the connection that he had with this creature. It would take great strength of will to be rid of what would eventually be described to us as the swamp witch from the movie “Legend”.
To say that Rich was my best friend would be an understatement. He was and remains in no uncertain terms, my brother. He helped me to stand up for myself and taught me that I didn’t need to be like everyone to be liked. We were honest with and trusted each other like brothers do and he was welcomed in my house as family. It goes without saying that when Rich told me about what he saw and heard in the days to come, I believed him.
After that daunting night, Rich had attempted to make contact on his own and the result was just as powerful as it had been before. He felt his house vibrate from one end to the other and on a winter night where the trees that surrounded his home did not move, a blast of cold air whipped through him as he stood in his living room. It was the middle of January in a city that could reach minus forty degrees Celsius in the blink of an eye. Rich’s house was very well insulated and any breeze without an open window was impossible. The apex of Liz’s game was about to take shape and neither Rich or myself were quite prepared for what was about to happen or the ramifications that it would have on our lives.
The mother of a good friend of ours, I’ll refer to him as Vince, had explained to us just what it was that we were playing with. We had invited the spirits and allowed them a connection to this world, be it for good or ill. Vince’s mother quickly took to helping Rich learn how to cleanse his home and with what we were dealing with it could not have come too soon. The link we had opened to the other side had made its way into the house that I lived in with my parents and we found ourselves battling shadows of our past; shadows that we were unaware wished us harm.
Rich had described a dark man that he had seen in the upstairs spare room. The confrontation between them did not lean in Richs’ favor as the fury he felt was more than he was prepared for. We described this dark figure in great detail to my Mother and Father and the shock and fear they displayed were a good indication that the truth had been spoken. It was now time for this to all to come to an end and for me, it started with a dream.
I remember with such clarity that as I write this now, my skin shivers. My friend Rich and I were for some reason in the back yard of a house that I only lived in until the age of four. As we walked into the back yard, the foliage surrounding us began to wither and die. The ground grew dark and holes began to sink into the earth spewing flame and smoke into the sky. As I stood on solid ground, the ground beneath Rich’s feet began to swallow him, dragging him down. He shouted my name and screamed for my help, holding his hands straight out in hopes that I would catch him. As I snatched his hand, I somehow managed to find the strength to pull him to the safety of where I was standing. In a flash, Rich and I found ourselves in the front yard as a man wearing a brown cloak appeared. All that could be seen within his hood was a triangular pendant with a circular stone in its center. Feeling calm and safe, the three of us made our way to the back yard. The man raised his arms, closing the sinking ground and bringing the earth back to life. I had a telephone in my room beside my bed and can remember the time that it rang, 4:23am.
I had made the walk to Rich’s house many times but this was unlike any other. It was cold enough to see my breath through the scarf and hood that hid my face from the January night but something in his voice told me that my brother needed me. So I bundled up as much as I could and began the very cold long walk.
Side note - when a RCMP cruiser passes you by in the middle of January at four-thirty in the morning while your face is covered by many layers of clothing, don’t give them attitude when they draw their weapons on you for mistaken identity. It tends to put them in an even worse mood and makes the January air even colder. And yes, I nearly wet my pants.
When I arrived at Rich’s house the coffee was made and he was sitting at the table shivering. When he had called, all he had asked was if I could come over. There was no explanation, just a simple question. My first thought was that someone he cared about had passed away but what he told me caused my skin to crawl.
Rich had been lying in bed when his door opened. There was a small board that crossed the bottom of the entrance that kept his jack Russell terrier out of his room. At first he had shooed what he thought was the dog away but the door opened wider showing nothing behind it. Once the air in the room had finished stirring, a being hurdled over the barrier and although it had no shape or form, he could sense its presence. It jumped on to the foot of his bed and Rich saw the impression that it made in the blankets. The entity then took the form of a dark cat and lunged at him. Its claws reached his throat and began to change. Tendril like fingers wrapped around his neck and started to choke every breath from his lungs. He wrestled with the creature, trying to remove its grip on his neck and remembered calling out my name for help. The dark cat instantly let go and vanished, leaving Rich in peace. He then picked up the phone and called me at 4:23am.
I spoke with Rich last night to ask his permission to tell this story and the very reminder of it those days brought chills to his bones. We reminisced about the details with such clarity that my regret for knowing how to contact the other side re-surfaced and last night when I went to bed, I surrounded my home with the most brilliant white light that my mind’s eye could manage. When we opened that door, we affected all of the people we cared about and I would not wish these happenings on a living soul. There’s a reason that we are not meant to contact the other side. Desire does not diminish beyond the veil, it yearns for any connection that it can find regardless of danger that it may cause.
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