Tag Archives: Ouija Board

Ouija Boards in Portland and Palm Springs

J. has always had a fascination with the supernatural. From her strong belief in fairies, forest and water spirits, and ghosts growing up, she held onto her belief in the paranormal well into her teenage years.

“The summer after ninth grade, I was gifted a ouija board from one of my mom’s friends. I had always loved horror movies and anything that had to do with ghosts or spirits–people on ‘the other side.’ That summer, I went to Palm Springs for a family trip. That was the first time I used the ouija board. Me and my friend who had come with us sat down to try it out one night, and we contacted a spirit named Dino. He said he was an older man, around his 50’s–he was a nice spirit. He told us that him and his brother had grown up near the area we were staying, and that he remained in that area because he was waiting for his brother to return.”

That wasn’t the only time that J. used that Ouija board. J. was my best friend in high school, and after she came back from that trip and we started sophomore year together, the Ouija board was the main event of every sleepover, birthday party, and even casual after school hang out sessions. The first time we pulled it out in Portland, Dino visited again. He had followed J. home from Palm Springs, saying she was the first person he had been able to connect with from across the grave.

Not all the spirits we encountered were nice like Dino, though.

“I remember we were both here the night of my 16th birthday party. Remember? That’s when all the really crazy stuff happened and we decided to stop using the ouija board.”

I do remember that night. This is how J. gave a run down of the events:

“All of the girls had come over to celebrate my birthday and we couldn’t wait to pull out the ouija board. We were sitting in my living room downstairs, all gathered in a circle on the floor. You were sitting out because you always refused to touch the board–so lame.” She laughs. “Anyways, we started playing and the first spirit we contacted was a 10 year old girl named Rose. You were freaked out because that was your middle name and something only people in your family called you. It started to get scary because she told us that she was outside the door and needed us to let her in. All of us got super scared and I think it was Avery who got up and ran to lock it. After that, she told us she had a message but all of us had to power off our phones so that we couldn’t share her message. Then, she told us that one of our friends from school was in danger–that he was going to be in a car crash that night. All of a sudden, we all panicked, saying we needed to use out phones to call and check on him. She let you, actually, turn on your phone and text [L] to ask if he was with that friend and to make sure he was okay.”

“After that, she started counting down from 10, which we all learned is really dangerous and you’re not supposed to let them reach zero or they could enter the house or even one of our bodies and like, possess us. We had to quickly say goodbye–that’s really important, too. If you leave a spirit without saying goodbye they get really mad and some bad things can happen.”

After the first attempt at the ouija board that night, and our crazy experience with Rose, J. wanted to try again, but this time in her spooky attic. All of her late great grandmother’s old clothes, furniture, and paintings were up, and she thought it would heighten our connection to something across the grave. When we went up there, we came into contact with Dino again, but he soon revealed that he was actually an evil spirit named Zozo. We had heard about Zozo before, and he was supposedly more evil than the devil himself. Long story short, he threatened to break our friend E.’s fingers if I didn’t join in and put my hands on the planchette. After refusing, he wouldn’t let us say goodbye, and we all got really scared before eventually forcing him to leave.

“That was the last night we ever did Ouija. I still carry the board in my car, but all of us are too freaked out to try again.”

For more information about the infamous, malevolent spirit, Zozo, see here: https://www.bustle.com/life/what-is-zozo-read-this-before-you-ever-touch-a-ouija-board-again-12197819

Ouija boards can be seen as a kind of contagious folk belief, because one has to come into contact with the board and the planchette to be able to contact spirits.

The Devil’s Curse in Guam

Original Script: “Okay so this is crazy…but basically my friends dad is in the marines, and he is usually based in Guam or San Diego like at the Marine base. So, she was born in San Diego and lived their the majority of her life, when her dad would be deported she would stay with her grandparents. Anyway, while in Guam, her dad would go to bars with his friends when they had some time off… Well one night they were bored…or something, so they all went to someone’s house and there was a Ouija board and they started playing with it. And they were all drunk too so that made it worse. So, they asked a couple of questions and actually did work, so they got freaked out and wanted to get rid of it and they ended up throwing it away. But the friend had gotten the board from someone that lived there. Like the Island is still an old world nation so they still have a lot of old cultural things and they believe in demons attaching themselves to a living person. A couple days later he found it under his bed and thought, ‘who the hell is playing tricks on me it must of been one of my friends or whatever.’ So he went to throw it in a dumpster far away from where he lived because it still freaked him out a little bit and so nobody could find it and put it under his bead again. However, a couple of days later he found it under his AGAIN, and he was like, “No this is bullshit,” so he burned the Ouija board because he didn’t want to mess with it anymore. A couple days later, he found it under the bed, AGAIN. It literally unburned, like how the hell does that happen? And he got so freaked out he went to priest, the priest had to keep in the church because the Ouija board was possessed and had to close the portal that created the bridge between the spirit world and the living—so spirits and demons couldn’t come into where they were living. The priest had to go to all of the people who participated in the Ouija board and had to bless where they were all living. However, I don’t know if it worked because at her house she was possessed, like I’m not friends with her anymore because she acted that way…like her family is haunted, cursed! I would never mess with a Ouija board, that stuff brings in bad shit.”

Background Information about the Piece by the informant: Kamilah and her mother have always been spiritual people. The belief in witches, demons, and angels is strong to Kamilah’s mother however, it is even more so in her home country—Nicaragua. Kamilah has always believed that spirits and demons haunt Ouija board and had repeated multiple times that she would never participate in the practice of the Ouija board in fear of letting a devil haunt her and her family.

Context of the Performance: Ouija board usage in Guam

Thoughts about the piece: As a firm believer in never using a Ouija board, I have to say this story chilled me to the core. The legend of the demons in Guam is an interesting one. In this account of a Ouija board, the unexplainable—like the board ending up under the father’s bed and the board being mysteriously unburned—becomes prominent. This legend shows the prominent cultural influence of Guam and their old-world mindset. It also shows their belief in the demons and spirits not only attaching themselves to a Ouija board but also these entities attaching themselves to the living.

However, what fascinated me the most was the extent of the curse of the Ouija board. This curse of the girl’s father, travelled over seas to San Diego, where inevitably the whole family ended up being affected. Even though Kamilah was not a first account of the story happening in Guam, she was the first account of how the curse had affected the entire family, to the extend where it terrified her so badly that she had to cut ties with them. I believe this example of the legend of the Ouija board is relative to not only the Guam culture, but also the American culture. Even though, the people of Guam were terrified of the Ouija board, for example the priest having to lock it up in the church so that he could seal it properly, it also shows how an American, Kamilah, even I, were chilled by the story of the board. Perhaps, it is because of the unknown that scares us, but the aftermath experienced by Kamilah was what led her to believe that the family was cursed. Nevertheless, I do wonder who gave the father’s friend the board, for if the people of Guam were so afraid of them, was it considered an act of revenge to give the board to someone else? Nonetheless, this story demonstrates how legends can transcend upon different cultures, affecting them the same way—instilling a feeling so powerful that it influences people—in this case the feeling was fear.

Sespe Ouija Ghost

TO is a student at the University of Southern California, and current president of SC Outfitters, the student-run outdoors club.

TO shared an Ouija board encounter with me that took place on her first retreat:

“We were backpacking for our first guide retreat in the Sespe Wilderness near Ojai, and someone decided to bring an Ouija board. My friend Mac told us that a long time ago, exactly where we were camping, there was a troop of Boy Scouts that got caught in a flash flood and all drowned, so we decided to try and summon them with the Ouija board. We tried to get in contact with them, and the board spelled out “J X I,” which we were convinced meant “Jimmy.” We asked Jimmy if we could talk to him about the afterlife, and he said “no.” We attributed this to him being a young boy who wasn’t allowed to talk to strangers, so we let him go…I slept with a knife under my pillow that night, I was so scared.”

I asked TO if she had been back to that campsite since, and if she remembered hearing or seeing anything unusual.

“I’ve never been back to that specific campsite, no. We’ve done guide retreats in Sespe since but we seem to purposely avoid that campsite…new guides who weren’t there that first year want to go back and try and talk to Jimmy again, but I’m going to say no. I don’t remember seeing anything, but I was so on edge I thought every noise that night was the ghost of a Boy Scout or something.”

My analysis:

Campfire ghost stories are even scarier when they take place where you’re campfire is located, but people seem to enjoy telling these kinds of legends while out in the wilderness. Ouija boards are a fun folk object, but also a terrifying one, used to start and further new or existing ghost stories. TO says whether or not her friend made up the story of Jimmy and the Boy Scouts is uncertain, but her reluctance to return to the campground indicates she at least somewhat believes him. It also turns into a fun story for her to pass down to new generations of guides/members of the club, and possibly something they can one day go back and test, to begin creating their own sort of folklore for the club.