So I owned a Ouija board as a kid. My grade school friends and I would play it during sleepovers. We named it Reinhold because that’s what it said its name was. That was likely the most significant thing that happened with that board as I don’t think my friend and I were too familiar with such a name and, as such, probably didn’t script the Ouija board as we did usually.
However, it wasn’t a super old creepy looking Ouija board or anything.
It was a generically produced Ouija board which came in a cardboard box and had a nice little sponge mat on which the small plastic heart-shaped indicator sat when stored. I mean, this thing looked mass-produced.
Thus, we reasoned, it couldn’t really be a spirit board and a way to communicate with the dead and/or Devil because it was made by Parker Brothers which made harmless board games.
First of all, the games Parker Brothers was known for are:
- Monopoly (objective: have more money than everyone else and also make everyone else goes bankrupt)
- Risk (objective: successfully colonize and start wars when you have to)
- Clue (objective: someone was murdered and you’re all suspects because you’re all bad people and so it’s not a stretch to think you murdered someone at a dinner party and you all turn on each other)
- Trivial Pursuit (objective: recite all the stupid shit which life, a too-often-trivial pursuit in itself, contains and which you’ve stored in your brain bank)
- Pay Day (objective: prepare yourself for successful consumerism)
So the Ouija board fit right in with the rest. We kids just didn’t think corporations were evil at the time.
Later Hasbro bought Parker Brothers because Hasbro had played Monopoly as a child and knew all about the strategic advantage of hostile corporate buy-outs and takeovers.
Regardless, I’m not sure why I owned a Ouija Board board game. For the record, consider this a cautionary tale and don’t play with Ouija boards.
I mean, as bored, sad and lonely as many of us may be, the goal of reaching dead people or evil spirits is just not something that feels healthy or helpful.
But we humans are not known for making healthy choices.
For instance, kids still play Bloody Mary. You know, the game where you go into a bathroom, shut the door, turn out the light, and stand in the dark, staring at your reflection while chanting “Bloody Mary,” over and over?
And then one of two scenarios plays out:
- You aren’t dead because Bloody Mary did not appear in the mirror and did not step out of the mirror to kill you.
- You are dead because Bloody Mary appeared in the mirror and then stepped out of it and killed you.
And, usually, you get the first scenario and then you’re upset about it.
It’s a no-win game.
Of course, I can’t talk because I owned a Ouija Board
and my friends and I played it often.
Well, my friend Kassi and I weren’t really “playing” as much as we were trying to orchestrate all of the messaging the entire time.
We each felt we had mastered moving the indicator without looking like we were moving the indicator. Of course, we weren’t “working together” to fool our other friends, so, often, Kassi and I would be physically pulling on the indicator to get it to go to a letter of the word we were independently trying to spell out which was usually on the other side of the board where the letter the other was actively, stubbornly, trying to reach at the same time was located.
And we each could have earned an honorary degree in Theater and Dramatics for our ability to feign genuine shock-innocence if we were ever accused of moving the indicator.
Which we often were.
Really, we spent very little time playing the Ouija board because we were usually accusing each other/ being accused of moving the indicator.
And, usually, one of us was moving the game indicator.
So if Reinhold the Ouija Board did have spirits trying to communicate through it, they would have had to get in line and been really forceful.
In any case, I’m still convinced that we somehow let something in and it has wreaked havoc here and there and I have no one to blame but corporate America and myself.
The reason I give a little back story, beyond how I’m unemployed and have little to do but ramble and rant here, is because the freakiest thing that ever happened involved a beloved, familiar object and I can’t help but think my childhood playing of Reinhold the Ouija board is to blame.
For a single year, my husband and I rented the first floor of a house in Madison, Wisconsin. The house was very close to Camp Randall and sat next door to a house which contained about four million drunk college students who were known to burst into an a cappella rendition of “Sweet Caroline” at any given time.
And the single person who lived above us in the converted attic of the house was always having sex.
Loud, loud sex.
I share all this because we only experienced one incredibly spooky thing while renting that flat but maybe more happened and we simply couldn’t hear it over the ever-present low roar of debauchery.
Or maybe it’s because I’m haunted BECAUSE I OWNED AND PLAYED WITH A OUIJA BOARD AS A KID.
Either way, again, this is a cautionary tale.
Late one night in December 2012, my husband and I were both sound asleep in our bed when we were simultaneously woken by a completely unnerving loud noise.
Specifically, it was the melody of a music box.
Every year my maternal grandma bought me a music box for Christmas. Previously, they were stored in the basement of my parents’ house and then brought out around Christmas time each year. Yet, many of the music boxes were lost in 2007 when a severe flood struck the area and, consequently, most of my music boxes were destroyed.
David and I were living in Scotland at the time so, when we returned to the States, one of the first things that happened is my dad formerly gifted me my remaining music boxes. As an adult, I was now responsible for storing my own Christmas music boxes.
Therefore, this had been the first year I brought out the Christmas music boxes and set them up around our flat when the holiday season rolled around.
And it was one of these music boxes which just started playing at full speed at three o’clock in the morning one December night.
I glanced at the digital clock on the bedside table after being dramatically woken.
It was seriously three AM.
We were both woken at three AM by a crazy loud music box which was playing “Away in a Manger” to its mechanical heart’s delight.
I blinked a couple times and looked at my husband and he looked at me and, while it was unsettling as fuck, I certainly wasn’t thinking that the sweet manger music box was playing on its own. Rather, I assumed someone had broken into our flat and had a really distorted sense of humor as they had taken the time to wind up a music box.
I asked my husband, “Are you going to check it out?”‘
David did not share my concern that someone had broken in and preferred to just lay there, feeling whatever was happening was most certainly out of our hands and should be ignored.
But that music box was playing and I needed to understand how and why.
The music box in question was just on the other side of our open bedroom door. So, when I turned and put my feet on the floor, I could see the music box sitting on the side table in the living room and I could also see it turning as it played.
Thus, I grabbed the baseball bat which I kept in our room, rose and carefully crept closer. I was terrified of looking to the left of the door frame as I was still certain some creep had broken in and was now hiding in the dark.
But when I stepped into the living room and turned, there was no one standing in the space to the left of the door. However, the small door which had enclosed the staircase which used to connect the two floors of the house but which had, in the house’s conversion into two separate flats, been turned into stairs that went nowhere or, more accurately, into the floor of the upstairs apartment,
and that door was now wide open.
And that was just weird. Still, no one was hiding in the Stairs That Went Nowhere space.
The music box continued to play as I worked my way around the flat, going room to room, checking the doors and the windows and the closets and the cupboards.
But everything seemed locked and secured, and I found no person hiding in our flat.
The music box continued to play throughout my search of the flat. A very creepy feeling subsequently fell over me as my unsuccessful hunt led me right back to the music box which was now winding down.
I just stood in front of it. My attention was now focused exclusively on this music box. I watched it slowly grind to a halt, the notes gradually plinking and plunking their way to silence.
When it had stopped moving and making sound, I stared at it some more, worried it would jump back to life as soon as I moved closer.
But, eventually, I moved forward and picked up the music box to examine it. I looked to see if it had the “pause lever” some music boxes have. If it did, I would think that perhaps the music box’s activity had been paused sometime in the past and, that night, “air” had somehow moved that lever and caused it to suddenly activate.
But this music box had no pause lever. The only way to get it to play music was to manually turn the circle on its bottom.
Given the speed at which it had started playing, and how it took minutes to finally wind down, the music box had to have been wound tightly. It would have taken multiple twists.
And there was no one there to turn it.
I could not explain it.
I eventually went back to bed and… waking to the sound of that music box playing at full speed at three o’clock in the morning on the dot is the single, creepiest, unexplained thing that I’ve ever witnessed.
And that was the only odd occurrence that happened in that flat and with my Christmas music boxes.
The music box had been new as each was when my grandma gifted it. I couldn’t remember which year my grandma had given it and I didn’t have any memory attached to it beyond how it was one of the older music boxes and had been with me throughout my life.
Maybe it had been traumatized by the flood of 2007 and, one night, it just had to scream.
In any case, I’m glad I only bring the music boxes out for one month of the year.
And, while a music box activating in the middle of the night almost seems scripted by James Wan, it really happened.
My husband would happily back me up and still feels absolutely no qualms whatsoever about not getting up to investigate that night.
4 thoughts on “Ouija Boards Pieces, Music Boxes and Other Shit That Shouldn’t Move On Its Own But Does Anyways”
Your grandma took such care to pick exactly the right music box for you ..
Yes indeed! And… oh just wait… a new post will be how that music box started playing… the only “spooky” thing that’s happened in our Milwaukee apartment but… I took it as a sign that Grandma or Grandpa were checking in. I’d love to hear more history of this music box if you know it, dear aunt! Love you!
Ooh this one gave me lots of dread. I love it. So spooky!
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Is it wrong for me to be please by this, dear Cory? 🥰 And yay we survived!🖤🖤