“Levitating” at a Slumber Party

The informant discusses a game she would play with her friends at slumber parties when she was a child, which involves levitating someone.  She holds this game as a fond memory from her childhood growing up in Fullerton, CA.  The informant is now 57 so the game was played in the mid to late 1960s.

The informant explains that late at night all the girls at the slumber party would choose one girl who they would try to levitate that night.  The chosen girl would lie down flat on her back and every other girl would gather around her sitting down with legs folded underneath you.  Each girl would put both hands with their first two fingers under the chosen girl and the girl would go into a trance-like state.  From person-to-person around the circle they would say, “Your bones are turning, your bones are turning.”  After that is repeated enough all of the girls would rotate saying, “you’re dead, you’re dead.”  Then at some moment when people felt that the chosen girl was light or in a trance they would try to lift person with two fingers.  The informant notes that all the girls thought that the person did indeed feel as light as a feather.  There was a belief that they had somehow lightened the girl.

This folklore shows young girls interests in magic and the supernatural.  The act of trying to levitate a girl indicates each girl’s curiosity with magical powers as well as themes of death and altered states as seen with the lines “you’re dead” and “your bones are turning.”  The game demonstrates young girls exploring with ideas of mortality and life after death for the first times.  Understanding more complex ideas such as death is important in this time of life.