Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why There's a Ouija Board in the Kitchen


I am sure I have told several parts of this story before, but here is the whole thing from start to finish in one place.

We moved here 11 years ago, back into the house Matt grew up in.  It had been empty a while and then his sister and her husband lived here a while and moved out.  When his job in Tennessee ended, we opted to come back here.  The house was still full of things left behind.  His sisters took what they wanted, some things got bagged up to be given away, we moved some things to the attic and incorporated a few things to use ourselves-it was a process that took several weeks and during that time, the front bedroom closet was still full of not-our-stuff, mostly games, stacked on the shelves.

To get to the hall bathroom, you have to walk through one of the two bedrooms on the east side of the house.  Until Chan was 8 or 9, they all 3 shared the bigger bedroom for sleeping and kept their toys in the front bedroom, so I walked through the 'playroom' to access the bathroom instead of walking through their bedroom.  I guess it was just easier or less intrusive.  Either way, it took me past the game closet several times a day and more often than not, the door would be open and on the top of everything in there, there was a Ouija board and it liked to slide off onto the floor.

Now, let's back up a little and fill in my background and the house's background.

Mine: I am a preacher's kid.  My father had very few rules, we were surprisingly secular for a family of Baptists in Alabama in the 70's.  There were not many 'nos' growing up-from Daddy that is.  But one thing he did caution me about was a game friends were playing in 5th and 6th grades, where they'd light a candle and look into the mirror to call spirits.

I asked him about it and he said, "It's not a good idea to send out an invitation like that, you can't control what hears you."

Through my adult life, I shed the various indoctrinations of my childhood, holding them up to inspect and realizing I lack the faith required to not see the holes in the stories any longer.  This has been a struggle for me for many years and the shunning by folk who are hip-deep in their religions has done nothing to sway me back to the light.

But the one thing I have never, ever bucked was my firm belief that there are things we can't see.  Not 'all around us all the time' and more of an energy than a spirit.  That people acting with intent can create energy: that when something profound occurs, there's an after effect.  Think about the juju created by sexual tension, or the glow of love for a child or spouse-even a beloved pet.  Or the palpable energy of an angry mob.  You've walked into a room where people are having an intense discussion and 'felt it in the air', that tension, that high emotion-fueled energy.  You've felt someone's stare from behind you, or been subjected to a scare or the cold shoulder-and actually felt a chill.  Or been around that person who is takes your energy and you feel ebbed away just sharing space with them.  An emotional vacuum.  To some extent, people control energy.

My respect for my father and having been subjected to so little interference from him growing up made me very attuned to taking seriously what he did warn me about or asked me to do.  So much so that one of my biggest gut-aches to this day is not naming Ben 'Sam' which was Daddy's suggestion.  Ben's name is synonymous with thanking my lucky stars daily for Matt, so it's not like I dissed Daddy.  I just needed a Ben more than a Sam.  But it still bothers me that I let him down, in any way.

Add in my belief that energy can be created and to some extent controlled-especially by people who are running high on emotions-and knowing my father believed there is something out there and you have the perfect mix for totally avoiding Ouija boards.

Then I moved to a house where one fell out at my feet a few times a week.

The house.

The house was built around 1930.  It was added on to in the 50's and again in the 70's.  While Matt was growing up here, his sisters often saw a ghost of what everyone assumed was their great Aunt Ruth, though several other people have died here. It  has been lived in by various members of the same family since it was built, providing shelter as needed, for weeks or years.

I have had a few experiences here, but I have never seen Ruth nor have my kids.  I don't think the house is haunted, I think it has an energy and that energy likes the house full of people.  Or it could be that the house is a structure and needs to be kept clean, heated and cooled and dry and a house that is lived in is always in better shape than one that is empty.  You can often tell an abandoned house simply driving by it.  It has a vibe even without a For Sale sign.

Everything 'scary' that happened to me in this house happened before we lived here, with one exception and that was not scary, simply...odd.  Matt and I both saw the face of a woman as if she were made of mist, form and reform over the bed.  We both woke from a sound sleep at the same time-we were not up telling each other scary stories-and saw it at the same time.  Matt and his dad have had more encounters, that was the only time I saw anything.  And that was not an 'energy manifested' thing as we were asleep-then not asleep. So who knows what's really there?

I have read that people who are afraid of the dark are not in control of their house.  That's a feeling of power thing, not an actual human vs structure thing.  Kids are scared of the dark because they don't have physical strength or they worry, or are overwhelmed in other ways.  Fear of the dark is just another manifestation or symptom.  A confident kid isn't scared.  They control their house.

I don't fear the dark.  My fears are far more tangible and rational and are not unique.

Usually...

Well, after the board fell out AGAIN one afternoon, I scooped it up along with several more games and put them all in a box I had just emptied via our own unpacking.  The box got put on the porch and Matt's sister, Erin, moved it down the road to their aunt's house where many things were going to either be stored, in limbo to be claimed or heading to a huge yard sale for a church fundraiser.

I thought about the board many times over the next decade.  It kept falling out of the closet, not just a couple of times but so often it was a little disturbing. Was it trying to get me to use it?  Did I even believe in something like that-a object with a will?  Was 'someone' trying to communicate with me?  Maybe a previous occupant needed to warn me or disclose some valuable information!

Maybe it was gravity.
But.

(If it were a Monopoly board, I would not have thought of it again.)

Move forward 10 years. Matt's aunt moved into assisted living and her out-of-town kids got her house ready to sell.  Since they moved away, our county  went to single can collection-if it's not in the provided can it does not get picked up.  They continually piled boxes and bags by the side of the road and we got in the habit of going by after the regular collection and cramming the can full of the leftovers until after a few weeks, it was all picked up. Then they'd come pile up more over another weekend and leave again.

One afternoon I swung by and one of the last remaining piles had fallen over.  Laying out in the rain, in the road, in my path again, was the Ouija board.

I brought it back and put it in the kitchen.  And that is why it's there.
Waiting.

About Me

Unschooling mama from the start with 2014, 2016 and 2018 graduation dates. I enjoy camping, reading, swimming, hiking and photography.