Scary tales!

Many years ago, my Irish grandma (not that she was Irish, but she married into the Irish side of the family) came with us on our annual excursion to spend summer vacation with dad. Now, I normally didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her — she lived entirely too far away for me to pedal over on my bike and I didn’t have access to a car, so holidays and the occasional visits were all we got.

So, one day, my sister and I (being horror movie fans) decide to watch “Witchboard” — you know, that wonderful B-rated Tawney Kitaen movie from 1986. I can’t even remember what it was all about, except that it had a Ouija board in it.

The Ouija board

The Ouija board

Well, grandma saw the Ouija board on TV and kinda tensed up. She then tells us a little family secret.

Like most families back in the ’40s, the family was tight. There was like 8 or 9 brothers and sisters, and they were all married. And around every hunting season, the uncles would go to camp to go hunting, while the aunts would gather for a little “girls’ night out” fun. Well, except they wouldn’t go out. They’d break out booze and play cards and have a good ole time.

(If there was one thing I can say about my aunts — they were every bit as fiery and rowdy as my uncles — and sometimes the stories I hear about them leave me holding my sides from laughing. They were just an awesome bunch of ladies.)

So, the men are up at camp and the women are at home, drinking and playing cards. Well, I guess they got bored or maybe just wanted to do something different, because they break out the Ouija board and start asking questions. One of the aunts is pregnant, so they ask the board whether the baby will be a boy or a girl.

It spells out: D-E-A-D

I’m sure they figured it was a fluke, or maybe were a little creeped out and didn’t want it to end on that answer. Regardless, they ask it again: Will the baby be a boy or a girl?


After the second time, they’re definitely creeped out, so they put the board away.

Well, time goes by, and everything is all happy happy joy joy — except that the aunt who was pregnant is now sick. Her husband (who is the youngest of the uncles) asks one of his elder sisters (who was the oldest of the aunts) what she thinks he should do. The answer is something along the lines of “We’ll take care of her, we take care of our own.”

Well, things happen. Whatever it is that is making the pregnant aunt sick eventually kills her and her unborn child.

Grandma never touched a Ouija board again after that.

* * *

In college, I had a great group of friends. I mean, yeah, we were in a fraternity — but the crew I ran around with were friends before that (we had met in the opening weeks of freshman year), and similar to the story above, it was really cool because the girlfriends of my friends often seemed to get along really well.

Becareful what you ask ...

Be careful what you ask ...

Our “fraternity house” was actually a set of apartments that our brothers rented from an alum who was the landlord. There were 2 sides of the house — one was the “house” proper, the other was essentially living areas for 6 brothers. I think I was out studying at Hillman Library and just happened to pop by on my way home.

When I knocked on the door, I was surprised to hear a couple quick screams of shock. My friend Wendy (who was dating one of my friends) opened the door, laughing one of those laughs of relief. I asked what the heck was going on, and the folks there told me a freaky little tale.

Apparently, they had been playing with a Ouija board. It had been really active and then just stopped, right before I knocked.

Now, this time there were no tales of death. However, it was, apparently, answering questions with an uncanny accuracy. I mean, every single question, it was getting right. I can’t remember all of the questions they asked — but one sticks out in my mind: They asked what the middle name of a specific girl in the room was. Now, no one except for the specific girl knew her middle name, and she wasn’t on the board. And to add to it, she’s Muslim, and has an unusual name.

So, they asked the question, and the Ouija spelled it out.

No errors.




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