Friday, 11 October 2019

Ouija - A Warning to the Curious




Ouija Boards. Harmless bit of fun? Or something more sinister?

 I have certainly had a scary experience with a homemade variety, many years ago, in my misspent youth. As a result, I will never go near them again. But more of that later.

My late mother used to tell a story of when she and some ATS friends, during World War II, decided they were going to have a bit of fun and set up their own homespun Ouija board, using a pack of Lexicon cards and a thick glass tumbler. Each of them placed one finger, lightly on the glass. It worked almost immediately. At first they asked it relatively mundane questions and received predictable answers, but then, out of the blue, the glass suddenly started shooting around the board, circling faster and faster. Mum said something felt different about the glass. Up until then, she could easily have believed one of them could have been manipulating it, but now, it was as if the glass had a mind of its own.

 Then it started to spell something out. Just one word that struck fear into all of them.

“Die”.

They stared at each other for a few moments until one brave soul (not my mother, she was too scared) asked, “Who?”

Suddenly the glass shot out from under their fingers and across the table, coming to rest in front of a quiet young woman called Desiree. The others looked at her in open-mouthed horror, but she laughed it off. “Silly game”.

Two weeks later, Desiree deliberately rode her bicycle into the path of the London express train.

She had been one for keeping her personal life very much to herself and it was only after her death that her friends learned how violent and unhappy her marriage had been. She came from a well-to-do family and her marriage to a young man from another similarly connected family had been presumed since the two of them were children. She had done what her parents insisted upon and married him. He had a drink problem and regularly beat her. In her world, divorce was unthinkable. She could see no way out.

Could she have thrown the glass at herself? Maybe as some last ditch, but too subtle, cry for help? The young women considered it, but it seemed impossible owing to the angle at which she was sitting and the position of her lone finger on the glass. We will, of course, never know, but neither Mum nor any of her friends ever played with a Ouija again.

 I had known of this story for maybe ten years, but still I had to have my own experience, didn’t I? Two female work colleagues and I did just as Mum and her friends had done and used a lexicon pack, plus postcards with ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Goodbye’ on them. Needing a fair amount of space and lacking a table big enough, we set up on the (thankfully clean) floor of the Ladies’ washroom. We placed a heavy glass water tumbler in the centre and each positioned one finger lightly on the glass. Giggling with nervous anticipation, we started.

My colleague Mary asked the usual question, “Is there anyone there?”

The glass began to move, gently circling the board.

Mary again piped up, “Who are you?”

Now it started to spell out something, until the name “Richard” emerged. Although a relatively common name, this rang no bells with any of us.

I gained a little confidence now. “Do you have a message for one of us?”

The glass moved to “Yes”.

“Who is your message for?”

“M A R Y”

My other colleague, Josie, and I looked at Mary. She had gone a little pale but nevertheless asked the inevitable, “What is your message for me?”

Nothing. The glass didn’t move. We sat in silence for a few moments, exchanging glances. Then Mary asked, “Are you still there?”

The glass skimmed around the floor, pausing at letters and moving off so rapidly it was hard to keep up.  The words were mainly four letter expletives – and they were directed at Mary. This did not feel the same as the seemingly innocuous Richard. Under my finger, I felt the glass pulling away. Josie said she felt the same. So did Mary.

Random words now. ‘Devil’, ‘Satan’, ‘Evil’. But then it spelled out, ‘Devil F***s Mary’. She let out a scream, took her finger off the glass and backed away.  The glass pulled even stronger. It tugged itself away from Josie and I - who were sitting next to each other - hurled itself across the floor and smashed against the far wall. The impact shattered the glass. We stared at it like idiots for a minute or more and I am certain I did not imagine the chill in the room. We all experienced it. That was the first and last time I ever messed around with a Ouija.

Oh I know, mass hallucination. One of us must have pushed the glass. There are a myriad of perfectly sane and logical explanations but… you weren’t there. You didn’t feel that glass tug away from us. You didn’t see the way it shot across the room, as it someone had hurled it with all their strength. This was a heavy Duralex glass. The sort you could often drop on the floor and they would virtually bounce. At the time it made its dramatic exit, just two of us had one finger each, lightly, on the glass. One was me and I know I wasn’t moving it at any time. The other was Josie. Trust me, it would have taken far more than one of her fingers, plus a degree of skill in the art of throwing, for her to have achieved that result.

You only have to tap in ‘Ouija boards’ in your favourite search engine to find a whole host of cautionary tales, warning people not to use them. Some have had far more violent and frightening outcomes than I have. Whether users really do tap into something supernatural or not, it’s clear that some highly undesirable results can – and do – occur.

If you’re still determined to go ahead and ‘have a bit of fun’, nothing I say will stop you.

But don’t ever say I didn’t warn you...

We are the Thirteen and we are one

4 Yarborough Drive looked like any other late 19th century English townhouse. Alice Lorrimer feels safe and welcomed there, but soon discovers all is not as it appears to be. One of her housemates flees the house in terror. Another disappears and never returns. Then there are the sounds of a woman wailing, strange shadows and mists, and the appearance of the long-dead Josiah Underwood who founded a coven there many years earlier. The house is infested with his evil, and Alice and her friends are about to discover who the Thirteen really are.
When death's darkest veil draws over you, then shall shadows weep

The Darkest Veil is available from:

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

The Darkest Veil - Out Now!

When death's darkest veil draws over you, then shall shadows weep


4 Yarborough Drive looked like any other late 19th century English townhouse. Alice Lorrimer feels safe and welcomed there, but soon discovers all is not as it appears to be. One of her housemates flees the house in terror. Another disappears and never returns. Then there are the sounds of a woman wailing, strange shadows and mists, and the appearance of the long-dead Josiah Underwood who founded a coven there many years earlier. The house is infested with his evil, and Alice and her friends are about to discover who the Thirteen really are.

We are the Thirteen and we are one

Excerpt

“I think we should probably get started, if we’re going to do this.” For the first time, Diana sounded unconvinced. Whether she transmitted that uncertainty to me, or whether I already felt it, I didn’t know, but the time had come. Seeing the table set out that way, a niggling doubt began to snake its way up from the pit of my stomach. Lena’s warning flashed through my mind. With sheer force of will, I suppressed it. Stuff and nonsense. That’s all.

I took a deep breath. “Okay, Vicky, have you got a notebook and pen with you?”

She waved both at me.

“Great. As we agreed, you write everything down, but you don’t need to touch the glass and you shouldn’t ask any questions of anything that may make contact with us. The rest of us should each place a finger lightly on the glass.”

Suzie coughed. “Should we turn the main light out or something? I could put the table lamp on so we can see the cards.”

“Good idea,” I said and Suzie obliged.

In the gloom, the atmosphere grew heavy in the room, not helped by a fug of tobacco smoke that hung in the air.

I took another deep breath and my heart beat a little faster.

We each rested the forefinger of one hand on the glass.

I cleared my throat. “Spirit, are you there?”

Another nervous giggle from Suzie.

“Ssshh.” This from Diana. Next to me, Vicky waited, notebook open, pen poised.

I tried again, as Lena had advised. “Spirit, this is a safe place. Are you there?”

The glass trembled. I caught my breath as the floorboards creaked beneath our feet.

“Oh my God!” Suzie snatched her finger away. “Did you feel that?”

“Yes.” My voice wobbled. “Please put your finger back, Suzie. We need our combined energies.”

Suzie did so, without another word. No one else spoke. I guessed everyone was as taken aback as me. This hadn’t happened yesterday evening.

“Spirit, is that you?” I asked.

The glass trembled again. Diana gasped. The tumbler seemed to be struggling to free itself. It began to shift. It slowly moved around the circle as if trying to familiarize itself with new surroundings. I watched in fascination as it snaked its way around the table.

The glass stopped abruptly, against one of the white cards. “Yes,” I read. Vicky wrote it down.
Suzie, Vicky and Diana were silent. As leader, I had to ask the questions. I had my next one ready, but with such a dry mouth, I could barely get the words out.

“Spirit, thank you for joining us. Please, will you spell out your name?”

The glass shot over to the white card on the other side of the circle—the one that read ‘No’.

“But why won’t it tell us its name?” Suzie asked.

The glass trembled violently, then darted around the board, stopping at letters and moving on so fast I could hardly keep up.

I called the letters to Vicky. She wrote them down. We were all breathing heavily as the glass moved faster and faster, gaining momentum all the time. Finally, with one massive tug, the tumbler flew off the table and smashed against the wall.

Suzie leaped up and snapped the light switch on. We blinked in the brightness and stared at the broken glass on the floor.

“What the hell happened?” Suzie asked. “Who moved that bloody glass?”

I shook my head and looked around at the shocked, white faces of my housemates.

Diana recovered first. “I don’t believe any of us did. Alice, what did Lena say we should do when something goes wrong?”

I struggled to collect my thoughts. “She said…we can do one of two things. We can either stop. Well, I suppose we have anyway. But we could start again if we choose to. Or we could call it a night.”

“I prefer that option,” Diana said, rubbing her hands together. “Does anyone else feel cold all of a sudden?”

I nodded and hugged myself. The room had grown chilly in the last few minutes and my breath misted when I spoke. “Shall we see what Vicky’s got?”

Vicky had been forming words from the letters I had shouted out and stared at her notebook.

I prompted her. “Vicky?”

She looked up at me. “Oh, you’re all going to love this,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Does any of it make sense?”

“It makes sense all right.”

“Then tell us!” Suzie’s impatience bordered on anger.

Vicky glared at her. “Fine. It says ‘We are the thirteen. We are one. He is coming for you. He will take you with him.’”

 The Darkest Veil is published by Crossroad Press and is available from: