DEVIL BOARD, Part 2
[From the old MasonWinfield.Com archives, now unfortunately lost in the transition to this new website. (I’m working on that.)
This piece is in memory of Norma Davis Burt, a longtime neighbor and friend from East Aurora who passed away in 2004. I don't mean to imply that she was related in any way to something "devilish." But one summer night she talked to me and her son Craig about Spiritualism and the many forms of psychic communication. This was my first awareness of something like the Ouija board.
Norma would have made a fine teacher. She was a gracious Southern woman who saw Spirit shine truly through its dress of many faiths.]
I’m presuming you’re all familiar with the Ouija board, this tabletop tray covered with letters, images, numbers, and words (“Yes,” “No,” and “Goodbye”) and its felt-footed pointer (“planchette”). With your fingers on the latter, and the latter on the former, you and, usually, a partner, can sit there until something... (Ahem.)... starts to move the dang thing around and make messages.
In Part 1 of this piece I talked a bit about the history of “the Weej,” as some of us call it. I mentioned its role in the development of some of the famous psychics of the last two centuries. I could have said a lot more. But I should clarify something.
Tongue is firmly within cheek as I use the term “Devil Board.” It was the title of a sensationalist film, but very few things in the world are objectively evil. It’s the way people use them or the way people interpret them that earns the taint of “evil.” To imply that the Ouija board is Satanic is, it seems, a closed view.
Maybe I’m naive, but I see most psychic forces as having the “good” or “evil” of some natural power like fire. Fire can heat your house, it can burn it down.
There is deep irony about this simple device marketed by Parker Brothers as a toy or board game and introduced most commonly at junior high sleepovers: It’s the average person’s introduction to psychic communication, and it should probably be used only by people of experience. Many psychics and mediums consider it a dangerous thing to play with.
Let me make this plain: VERY few people run into psychic difficulties of any sort that seem to come from supernatural sources. The cases that come to my mind involve a greater likelihood of emotional trauma and “multiple personality disorder” than vengeful ghosts or demonic possession. However, people who become traumatized by the feeling that psychic entities are after them always have some experience in their past that “opens the door” to the other world. This is one of the constants. It’s like signing on the dotted line. You see it in folklore, too.
How few of us haven’t done something like that - go to a seance, have a horoscope done, play with the Ouija board - at least once in our lives? And how many of us have evil spirits after us? Nevertheless, this seems the indispensable first step to psychic trouble: Have anything at all to do with psychic communication.
The reason most of the experts think the Ouija could be dangerous is that it’s opening the door of the unconscious to all psychic comers. It’s like going to sleep at night and leaving the front door of your house open - on the East Side of Buffalo - with a “free beer” sign on the lawn. You have no idea who’s coming in.
There may be a few “tramp spirits” out there, as a friend of mine calls them. They may not be devils from Hell, but they are up to no more good than most human ne’er-do-wells who will exploit you without a worry. Like prison inmates who get hold of a phone, they have nothing to do but make calls. They’re not all that balanced to begin with, and they enjoy drama. At least it keeps you talking, right? And they have nothing but time. (Har. They’re spirits. They don’t have height, width, or depth.)
You need to look out for this personality type in the material world, too. Sometimes it comes in pretty clothes. Maybe you also better look out for the Weej.
Think of the other forms of reaching the other side. When you visit a psychic medium, it’s that person who takes the influences within and interprets them for you. (John Edward is doing the talking.) And that person is usually trained, at least by experience.
Tarot cards... Nothing goes inside you. These are simple physical objects whose patterns are interpreted.
Crystal-gazing.... Unless it's the Eye of Sauron, you’re the one doing the looking. You make the call.
Now, think of what happens with the Ouija board: You open yourself up to any influence, and invite it go through you to move the pointer. You even start out by asking it who it is. And so many people who use the Ouija board are untrained.
Let me say for the record: I think many Ouija board experiences are not truly psychic. Most of them are cooperative experiences between the neuro-sensors and the unconscious minds of the human participants.
Once in a while something else seems to happen, and some of the time people get freaked out.
Compared to other forms of psychic communication, the freakout quotient with the Ouija board is high.
Easy with the Weej.