Folk Belief

“We were in the park, this was in New Jersey…um like I think it was in Junior year of high school I’m not positive. Um, we had to go play outside because Serena, my friend who I was playing with, her mom didn’t like the idea of us playing Ouija board in the house and she thought it was kinda eerie just because…I guess it’s ‘cause she believe that it works, that you could recall spirits and she didn’t like the idea of having it in the house or of us playing it in the house so she made us go outside. So went to a park that was right by her house…me, her and my friend Christine… and we started playing with the Ouija board. We started asking “Is there anyone there? Is there anyone there?” and the pointer started moving. I don’t remember who we talked to or what they said or anything but pretty soon I got stung by…I don’t know what I got stung by. I just assumed it was a hornet or something but it could have been a little bit from a bug and it hurt really badly and I still have a scar from it actually but um…anyway, it was just really weird and it kinda freaked me out just ‘cause… I guess, of her mother making us leave and everything… so I already had it in my head that it was, you know, could be a bad thing that we were playing Ouija boards but….prior to that, um…we had played in her basement and it was just me and Serena I think when we played then. And we asked “Is there anyone there? Is there anyone there?” And it started moving and somehow or other, I think she asked “What year did you die?” And it had said the same year that her uncle just died…and she started asking it some more questions and she figured out that it was her uncle. And um, I think she asked for his initials…the initials of whoever we were speaking to and it was her uncle’s. And then she was asking a couple of questions like how her cousin was – her uncle’s daughter – and uh…whether or not he had seen or spoken to her grandmother who had died and she was just asking a couple of questions like that and…I didn’t really ask any questions because I didn’t really know him. I think it was that experience that made me believe it a little more because I don’t think that she would, you know, pretend…you know how they say people can push it but I don’t think she would have done that which is why it made me believe that it might be real. Plus with that whole sting thing. It was really scary, it wasn’t like he was freaking us out or anything…it was just kinda eerie, just kinda the thought that her uncle’s spirit could be like in the room with us. And the other time, it was just really strange…’cause I’ve never been stung by a bee or anything before and it would itch a lot afterward and I didn’t know what it was. It was just really weird and it left a mark.”

I think the Ouija board is a good example of folk belief because to some people it may be just a game but to others, it really is a way of communicating with the dead. Zakiya’s friend’s mother refused to let them play in her house because she believed strongly in the Ouija board and was afraid to “invite” the dead into her house. Perhaps this is out of fear that they may accidentally welcome evil spirits to their home. People who don’t believe in the Ouija board, however, may be skeptical about it and think people are just pushing the pointer themselves. Zakiya trusts her friend and doesn’t think she’s the type who would play such a prank but it could also very well be that her friend believes in the Oiuja board so much that she is subconsciously pushing it without intending to.

More information about the Ouija board as it relates to adolescents’ search of self-identity can be found in:

Tucker, Elizabeth. “Ghosts in Mirrors: A Reflection of the Self”. Journal of American Folklore: 2005.