An Old Board
When I was in sixth grade my sister and I would go with our parents on the weekends to garage sales. My father collected antiques and my mother enjoyed looking for knick-knacks. I'd always protest but my mom would say, “Come on Amber, don't be a party pooper!” Of course my sister would follow through by making farting noises and calling me a "pooper." It was usually pretty boring but our parents always gave us a few dollars to spend, which at a yard sale can go quite far. ”
One Saturday morning we were rummaging through boxes of old toys at one sale and discovered a wooden board with letters and numbers burned into the surface. The owner noticed us examining it and came over to ask if we liked it? I had no idea what the thing was.
He explained that it was a magic board that you could use to speak to angels and friendly spirits. He said it was kind of like a phone to heaven. The board itself was pretty beat up but our curiosity got the better of us. We purchased it for 3$ along with a copy of the board game Clue.
When we got home that afternoon we played Clue first. After growing bored, we pulled out the Ouija board and started fooling around. The owner gave us some basic advice on how to use it but we weren't sure if we were supposed to spell the questions out, or just ask the board directly?
Nothing seemed to work. My sister Julie kept asking it dumb questions like who will Amber marry, and then would make it spell out Jason. Jason was this creepy fat kid with red hair and pimples who always stared at us from across the street but would never say anything. “How many kids will Amber and Jason have?” she'd ask, and then make it point to 9. “Will Amber and Jason live in a van, down by the river?” The planchette moved to Yes. Little sisters suck.
Bored we threw it in the closet along with our copy of Clue. Forgotten it stayed there for a couple weeks until one afternoon we were so bored out of our minds, we decided to pull it out again. Our favorite uncle, Ron was babysitting but he was glued to the television watching baseball. We again tried to make the board work, but it would just spew out gibberish. It almost seemed like it was trying to form words and sentences, but what it said didn't make any sense. Frustrated we again tossed it back in the closet.
Later we asked uncle Ron if he knew how to use a Ouija board. He nodded and gave us a few suggestions such as starting out by moving the pointer in a circle, holding the board between us in our laps, and to try to take it seriously. No Jason jokes! He also suggested that we write down what the board told us even if it was gibberish because it could be a puzzle, or something that might make sense at a later time. I think he was just trying to get rid of us so he could get back to watching the ballgame.
After dinner my sister and I again gave it a try. With the board between us in our laps, we began to move the planchette clockwise around the board. We asked if anything wanted to talk to us. Nothing happened for awhile then I remember being surprised to feel the planchette jerk forward for a moment. I asked my sister if she'd made it move? Looking startled, she shook her head negatively.
I asked if something was there? The pointer moved to the Yes.
“Where are you?” I asked. The board spelled out Coniecto tellus which I quickly wrote down.
“Are you a friendly spirit?” I asked. After a pause, the board spelled Valde everto est meus amicus.
“What happens when we die?” asked my sister. The pointer spelled out Vestri animus mos exuro in lacus.
I then asked the spirit if it loved Jesus. The board spelled Miserabilis meretricis and then stopped working. We tried for a few more minutes to get it to work but together came to the conclusion that Ouija boards are simply boring.
We took the paper to our uncle who told us that it looked like a foreign language. He didn't know what it was but told us that he might know someone who would. We let him keep the paper and forgot about it.
Uncle Ron would keep an eye on us sometimes when Mom and Dad went out on date nights. A couple weeks later he returned. After our parents left he immediately took me aside and asked for the Ouija board.
“Why?” I questioned.
“Just get it!” he said forcefully, his voice startling me.
I brought it to him and he immediately took it out to the back yard. I watched him through the window as he took a saw from my Dad's shed and cut it into several pieces. He placed the pieces into a brown paper bag which I watched him toss into the trunk of his car.
He wouldn't say anything else about it other than to make us promise not to ever touch another Ouija board. He told us that if we were good girls and would keep our promise, he would drive us right then to the toy store to buy a new game. We enthusiastically agreed. He even bought us ice cream on the way home.
He never spoke about his weird behavior again and we soon forgot it. It wasn't until several years later when I was in college that I finally found out why he'd acted so strangely. He'd come to visit me at my dorm and was dismayed to find out that I no longer attended mass. I told him there was no reason to because there is no God and that I was an Atheist, just like my then boyfriend. He was horrified, although to his credit he didn't lecture me.
A week letter I received a letter from him that went something like this.
"Amber, I love you and God loves you. There is also evil in this world. Remember when you wrote down what that Ouija board said a long time ago? I kept it. My pastor translated it for me. I hope you'll reconsider your choice to turn your back on the church. If evil exists, then God most certainly does as well.”
With the letter he included a translated copy of what the Ouija board had told us. Whatever it was that had contacted us, it chose to speak Latin.
"Where are you?"
Coniecto tellus. The infernal regions.
"Are you a friendly spirit?"
Valde everto est meus amicus The great demon is my friend.
"What happens when we die?"
Vestri animus mos exuro in lacus Your souls will burn in the lake.
Do you love Jesus?
Miserabilis meretricis. The first word means wretched, the second refers to a woman that sells herself on the street.
I'm now happily married with children of my own. We occasionally miss a Sunday now and then, but for the most part we always attend mass. I'll forever be grateful to my uncle and I miss him dearly now that he's in heaven. I wrote this for you Ron.