Ouija boards – which are otherwise known as spirit boards or talking boards – are level horizontal boards that have the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words “yes”, “no”, “hello” (only sometimes in this word’s case) and “goodbye” printed on them, as well as a number of other symbols and graphics in some cases. Ouija boards come with a small piece of wood or plastic, roughly in the shape of a heart, called a planchette, which participants place their fingers on, supposedly in order to communicate with the deceased (the planchette moves around the board to spell out the things that the deceased want to say).
Although “Ouija” is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc., the term is generally used synonymously with any board that serves the same purpose – and in spite of the fact that it used to be marketed as a game, it’s something that many people believe shouldn’t be toyed with.
Certain religious groups in particular believe that using Ouija boards can result in evil spirits being summoned which, in turn, can result in demonic possession. Given some of the stories that have emerged through their use over the years, this is hardly surprising (heck, even the “good” ones prove they can open doors to places that could unleash something unwanted) – and that’s what this article is all about. Here are fifteen Ouija board stories that prove you shouldn’t mess with them.
15. The Story That Influenced The Exorcist
In the United States in 1949, an anonymous 14-year-old boy – whose case was documented under the names “Roland Doe” and/or “Robbie Mannheim” – attempted to make contact with his deceased aunt by by using a Ouija board. The aunt in question, a spiritualist named Harriet, had introduced the boy to Ouija boards when he expressed an interest in them earlier in his life.
After the boy had used the Ouija board to contact his Auntie Harriet, strange things began to occur; his bed violently shook, objects were thrown around his room, and raised red marks began to appear on his body. The explanation given was that he was possessed by demons and he was “exorcised” as a result.
As the exorcism was being carried out, the boy is said to have slipped his hand free from one of the restraints being used on him, snapped a spring from beneath the mattress, and used it as an makeshift weapon, slashing at the priest and cutting his arm, causing the exorcism to be temporarily postponed. Does that all sound familiar? Well it should, because the story was the basis for one of the scariest movies ever made: The Exorcist.
14. The Dead Dog
On Christmas Eve in 2013, Paul Carroll from County Durham in England decided to give using a Ouija board a try. Carroll, who has learning difficulties, wanted to contact the dead – and that’s apparently exactly what he did, as an evil spirit seemingly possessed Molly, the family dog.
Carroll dealt with the situation in a rather extreme way – by drowning Molly, chopping her into pieces, and dumping her in a drain. Eventually, Carroll was discovered and arrested. He went on to be charged and given a suspended sentence. But there’s another part to this particular story.
A mere week after Carroll’s guilty plea, his wife Margaret and her daughter Katrina made the bizarre decision to use that same Ouija board he had used earlier. It told them they were going to die and, a day later, they both took an overdose of prescription drugs and set their house on fire. They survived the fire, but they were both jailed for four years for committing arson, in spite of the fact that they claimed they were made to do it by the Ouija board.
13. Teenage Serial Killers
In December of 2007, in West Richland, Washington, Joshua Tucker and Donald Schalchlin, who were aged 16 and 15 respectively, used a Ouija board and asked it if they should become serial killers. After presumably receiving a positive answer from the board, they went on to ask it who they should kill first and it spelled out the word “mom.” Although they didn’t do exactly what the board suggested first, they did get to it eventually.
On the 19th of December, in Schalchlin’s home, the two boys spent some time drinking alcohol and cough syrup. At one point, Schalchlin’s 13-year-old sister, Elizabeth, was talking on the phone. For no apparent reason, out of absolutely nowhere, Tucker stabbed her in the throat with a knife. The boys then proceeded to hide the body and attempted to clean the blood up. When Lori, Donald’s 41-year-old mother, went searching for her daughter, Tucker attacked her too. Although she managed to call 911, the police weren’t quick enough. Tucker’s knife then broke, so Donald handed him a dumbbell and a meat cleaver to finish his mother off. She passed away en route to the hospital.
The boys then tried to flee in a car while they were still covered in blood and were arrested a short time later. Schalchlin was given a nine-and-a-half year prison sentence, while Tucker was given 41 years behind bars.
12. “It Knows Who You Are”
In 1977, a man called Gary Gilmore was sentenced to a punishment of death after he confessed to having murdered two men in Utah. The reason he gave for the murders? He blamed the fact that his, Bessie, had made contact with a demon using a Ouija board and the demon had cursed his whole family in various unfortunate ways.
One of his aunts was paralyzed, another of his aunts was killed, Bessie’s mother-in-law, Fay, had been driven crazy after conducting a seance in an attempt to get to the bottom of it all and, of course, Gary himself had been driven to kill.
After Fay had conducted her seance, that same night, Bessie claimed that she woke up with “an otherworldly thing” beside her in bed, at which point Fay entered her bedroom and yelled “It knows who you are!”
Gary had experienced terrible nightmares since he was very young and blamed all of his murderous behaviour on the aforementioned demon. He was executed by firing squad not long after he had committed his crimes.
11. A City Driven Mad
In 1920, the small city of El Cerrito – which is in Contra Costa County in California and forms a part of the San Francisco Bay Area – found itself featured in the national news when police there were forced to arrest a number of people who had reportedly been “driven insane” after they had used a Ouija board.
The seven people in question were said to be completely hysterical and were ripping off their own clothing, causing panic in the city and resulting in officials in the city banning usage of the Ouija board immediately. All 1,200 members of the city’s populace were examined by mental health specialists as a result.
The Fogarty brothers, who are famously members of the band Creedance Clearwater Revival, were originally from El Cerrito. It definitely makes you wonder if this creepy story is the source of their inspiration for their song “Bad Moon Rising!”
10. Help From Beyond
While this particular story proves that some spirits can apparently try to be helpful, it is still further proof that using Ouija boards can result in contacting unknown forces. So, while this particular event resulted in contact with a spirit attempting to provide assistance, that isn’t always the case – malevolent spirits are every bit as contactable.
It happened in 1978, when professors from the University of Bologna held a séance with a Ouija board with a view to helping them locate Aldo Moro – an Italian politician who had been kidnapped by the Brigate Rosse (Red Brigade) terrorists. The Ouija board spelled out the word “Gradoli”, which was a reference to a part of Rome known as “Via Gradoli.”
9. The Oklahoma Ouija Board Murder
Back in February of 2001, Oklahoma resident Carol Sue Elvaker, who had no previous criminal record and no history of issues with her mental health, inexplicably killed her son-in-law Brian Roach. Why? Elvaker claimed she had used a Ouija board and that it had told her Roach needed to be killed, because he was possessed by an evil spirit.
Elvaker stabbed Roach to death in his sleep, then, even more inexplicably, turned on her own blood relatives. She forced her daughter and granddaughter into her car, then proceeded to crash the car in an attempt to kill them both.
On that occasion, she failed, but she broke both of her own ankles. She still managed to run into some nearby woods after stripping naked, however, having claimed that the evil spirit that was inside her son-in-law had jumped into her body.
8. The Porcelain D-O-L-L
This particular entry is a little bit more mysterious than the others on this list, as we don’t have a date or a location for it, we just have the word of a Reddit user by the name of Jake Nichols, who recounted his Ouija board story in a thread asking users to tell of their scary paranormal encounters. Perhaps that mystery makes it even scarier than the other stories here – you decide!
Jake described the time he, his cousin and a few members of their extended family were using a Ouija Board one night in a home basement. Before they began, they took the decision to remove a rather creepy large porcelain doll from the basement and put it in another room. They specifically placed the doll face down.
When they began using the board, it first listed a string of numbers that Jake’s cousin quickly realized was his social security number, which absolutely nobody else participating knew about. The group then asked the spirit to make itself known in a more physical way and the board spelled out the word “D-O-L-L.” Remembering the doll they had removed from the basement, Jake and his other participating family members rushed to the room they’d placed the porcelain doll in to find it standing upright in the middle of the room.
7. Possessed Inmates
In the year 2000, a group of reckless inmates in a California county jail – all of whom were hardened Latino gang members from Southern California – scared themselves into a state of mass hysteria after using a Ouija board they had carefully crafted using a Scrabble set.
As a result of their experience with the board, the inmates all believed that they had been possessed by the devil and ended up causing such a commotion that officials in the jail went to the extent of calling in a priest to perform an exorcism on them all.
A representative of the Santa Clara County jail system described how the inmates made their makeshift board: “On the back of a Scrabble board, they created the moon and the sun and the letters – all the components of a Ouija board.”
6. Influencing A Jury
In 1993, the double murder of Harry and Nicola Fuller – a pair of newlyweds – in Wadhurst, East Sussex in England was the subject of a trial. 35-year-old Stephen Young was the suspect, having brutally shot the couple in their cottage with a view to stealing money from them.
The jury in Hove, which is also in East Sussex, convicted Young on the basis of having consulted a Ouija board about the case on the night before the verdict. They had all had a few drinks and, apparently, the board had spelt out the word “guilty.”
As a result, the judge on the case ruled the trial to be unsafe and ordered a retrial, describing the jury’s actions as a “drunken experiment.” While Stephen Young was indeed guilty, trusting the word of a spirit is not advisable!
5. Instructions To Kill
This story is a prime example of the truly terrible things that can happen when you mess with forces that you don’t understand – and why Oijua boards shouldn’t be messed with, period, because whether you believe in the concept of communicating with spirits or not, they can have some devastating effects on the people involved in their usage.
In Arizona in 1934, 15-year-old Mattie Turley killed her father by shooting him point blank with a shotgun. Why? Turley told the court during her trial that a Ouija board had told her she had to kill him. She described how her mother, Dorthea, had used the Ouija board and how it had spelled out the words “Daddy must die.” Her mother received a prison sentence but was released after just three years, while Mattie herself stayed in reform school until she turned 21.
4. The Ghost Writer
Like some other entries on this list, this particular story proves that not all spirits contacted using Ouija boards are evil, but it only further serves to prove that spirits can be contacted using them – and not all spirits are benevolent, so it’s best not to take that risk, just in case you reach an evil one.
This incident occurred in 1913, in Missouri, when a young woman by the name of Pearl Curran used a Ouija board to channel a spirit called Patience Worth. Over the course of the subsequent 24 years, Worth used the Ouija board to dictate no less than six novels and thousands of poems to Curran.
3. Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell
Any ghostly story that involves a kid has an extra element of creepiness by default, so while this particular story has a happy ending, the incident leading up to it is undoubtedly scary as hell.
It involved Hollywood couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and it occurred in the mid-1980s. Hawn, Russell and their nanny had decided to try out a Ouija board while the kids in the house were asleep and, when they asked the board who was with them, it spelled out the words “New baby Russell.” Hawn wasn’t pregnant at the time, but she continued asking it more questions, such as what it wanted to be (to which it answered “Happy”) and who was willing it in (to which it answered “Oliver”, who was Hawn’s eldest child).
Russell and the nanny participated blindfolded, so they had no idea what was going on, but Oliver suddenly came downstairs, having been awoken by a nightmare just as all this was happening – which is the most creepy part about this and seems like more than a mere coincidence.
After Hawn put Oliver back to bed, the adult trio asked the board one more question about whether the child would definitely be coming to her. The board replied “Yes. Bye bye mommy.” Wyatt Russell was born in 1986, not long after this incident.
2. The Possessed Orphan Girl
In 2014, Alexandra Huerta – an orphaned girl who was 16 years of age at the time – attempted to use a Ouija board with her brother and cousin in a shack in the remote Mexican village of Tepotzlan. They had used the powerful drug known as Brugsmania, which is used in shamanic rituals, after Alexandra’s guardians had informed the trio that they could contact her deceased parents using the board and the drug (which also goes by the name “Angel’s Trumpet” due to the shape of its large poisonous flowers).
A video was taken by paramedics as Alexandra was being taken away on a stretcher that shocked the world. She could be seen in the depths of “possession”, convulsing and speaking in tongues that were not her own.
Brugsmania is known to induce symptoms such as confusion, dark hallucinations, muscle paralysis and even death if taken in large enough doses, which could explain her actions. However, Alexandra’s guardians believe she was really possessed, saying “we are worried she may still be possessed by these demons” and suggesting that praying for Alexandra only served to make the demons angrier.
1. The Angry Wife
In 1935, somewhere in the United States, a 78-year-old man shot his wife in the back four times after her repeated consultations with a Ouija board. When he was arrested by police following the shooting, the husband told of his strained and stressful relationship with his partner after said consultations.
She claimed that she had received a number of messages from the spirit world regarding her husband’s infidelity with a neighbouring lady. She was also told that he gave the woman in question a large amount of money.
Every time she consulted the Ouija board, she would get extremely irritated and angry with her husband, giving him dark and dirty looks, before announcing that she’d discovered yet another one of his apparent lies.
Over a period of weeks, she tied her husband to the bedposts using wires and proceeded to whip his exposed body using knotted ropes, burned him with a red hot poker, and used a knife to repeatedly stab him in the shins. As a result of this torture, and with a gun to his head, the man confessed to what he was being accused of just to get his wife to stop.
When she was satisfied by his confession, the wife freed her husband and left the gun she had used to make him confess on their nightstand. Still terrified, he grabbed the gun and shot her in the back to prevent her from doing him any further harm. The murder was ruled a justifiable homicide by the courts, as the man was genuinely fearing for his life.
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