MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
People in all cultures have long believed that communication with the dead is possible, and throughout time many people have claimed to speak to those who have shaken this mortal coil. Ghosts or spirit and demonic communication show up often in classic literature, including in mythology, the Bible, and Shakespeare’s plays.
In Victorian England, it was fashionable in many circles to conduct séances; Ouija boards, three-legged tables, and candles were used to try to contact the dead. A century ago mediums “in touch with the spirit” during séances would write pages and pages of “automatic writing,” the psychic’s hands allegedly guided by ghosts to convey lengthy handwritten messages.
Since that time ghosts seem to have lost their will or ability to write or even communicate effectively. These days the spirits as channeled through mediums seem to prefer a guessing game and instead offer only ambiguous, vague information.
Vague and nebulous information always leads to an interpretive moment where the so-called experiencer is given a word or a sign such as a knocking or tapping that indicate that something from the ethereal realm wishes to make some sort of contact.
Horror films began to reflect the public’s belief and concern that contacting of the dead could not only be the gateway to a more sinful and satanic necromancy, but invite possession by evil spirits.
In the 1973 classic, “The Exorcist,” for example, twelve-year-old Regan MacNeil is first contacted through a seemingly innocent encounter with an Ouija board. The entity she thought she was communicating with and whom her mother chalked up to as an imaginary friend called himself Captain Howdy but is later revealed as the demon Pazuzu that would soon possess her.
This fictional story alone has taken an innocuous spirit channeling tool and has turned it into a tool capable of possessing children and preparing them to be adepts of Satan himself.
The Ouija, however, is not needed when it comes to summoning the dead because there are other ways in which human beings can find spirits or at least gather together to conjure and communicate with the spirit world.
The séance was the most effective way, according to Spiritualist mediums, of communicating with the dead. In this manner, messages from the departed could be passed on to the living and the spirits could announce their presence by manifesting displays of the supernatural.
During the heyday of Spiritualism, scientists and psychical researchers investigated hundreds of séances and unfortunately, the majority of the physical mediums were caught hoaxing phenomena at some point in their career. Very few of them came away unscathed by the early investigators of the Spiritualist movement and the few who did remain as mysterious now as they were then.
Official gatherings to contact the dead prevailed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It wasn’t until after the movie, The Exorcist, that the spiritual movement was put under the microscope by the born-again Christian movement.
However, in the rebellious 60’ and 70’s young people began to defy church leaders by participating in what could be called “party rituals” where dark and often frightening rituals were carried out by young people during sleepovers and parties.
While the Ouija board would often show at these gatherings, those whose parents directly forbid them to touch a witch board began improvising and creating ritualistic and often effective ways of scaring themselves while calling upon dark forces.
If the use of a board was forbidden for divination, young people would often take the route of using a mirror and a candle.
This is known as Enoptromancy.
In what is called the Bloody Mary ritual, a psychomanteum is created where a small, enclosed area is set up with a comfortable chair, dim lighting, and a mirror angled so as not to reflect anything but darkness intended to communicate with spirits of the dead.
During the ritual, Bloody Mary allegedly appears to individuals or groups who ritualistically invoke her name, usually by repeatedly chanting her name in a mirror placed in a room that is usually lit by a candle. The Bloody Mary apparition allegedly appears as a corpse, a witch or ghost; can be friendly or evil, and is sometimes “seen” covered in blood. The lore surrounding the ritual if she is summoned properly states that participants may endure the apparition screaming at them, cursing them, strangling them, stealing their soul, drinking their blood, or scratching their eyes out…
Another party or sleepover ritual is more or less a spell that is repeated by participants in order to summon ghosts to levitate a person.
One participant lies flat on the floor, and then the others space themselves around him or her, each placing one or two fingertips underneath the participant’s body. The person closest to the head commonly begins by saying “She’s looking ill,” which the others repeat; then “she’s looking worse” is spoken and repeated back. The general direction of the call-and-repeat describes how the prone person is looking worse and worse, followed by saying “she is dying,” and, finally, “she is dead.”
Variations of the spoken part of the game occur, with a common modern version the person being lifted is told a story about their death and asked to imagine it happening to him or her. It serves the dual purpose of “freaking out” the participants and convinces the participants that it will be easier to lift this person.
All versions end with the phrase “light as a feather, stiff as a board” chanted by the entire group except the prone person, who pretends to be dead as they attempt to lift their companion’s body using only their fingertips.
Some versions omit the story entirely and only the “light as a feather…” chant is used. Allegedly, after these repetitions, the person being lifted will seem lighter or even entirely weightless.
A few years ago, there was a demon conjuring game that kids were playing with a pencil called, Charlie Charlie.
In order to contact the demon, the instructions are to place two pencils on a piece of paper in the shape of the cross with the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on the paper. Participants then repeat the phrase “Charlie, Charlie can we play?” in order to connect with the demon.
If Charlie is there the pencils will move to indicate his answer.
There are some that say that there is no real demon answering questions. Skeptics say it is a ritualized version of playing with a magic 8 ball. However, there have been stories of people who have summoned Charlie only to forget to not say goodbye; this, according to top players is dangerous.
It is vital that you say goodbye to Charlie otherwise you leave a gateway open and Charlie’s so-called demon friends will harass you. This is similar to not closing a séance properly or not closing down an Ouija board by moving the planchette to “goodbye” on the board.
All of these methods of communicating with discarnate spirits can be explained with less complexity when we decide to acknowledge the mind’s capacity to manifest or conjure powers that have been deemed supernatural.
It may be confusing but we must understand that there is so much about us that we do not know. The dreamscape may have vital information about our being, how time is simultaneous and how we all feel and store images and sounds deep inside of us. We may even have stored in us past lives and possible pasts and futures that can be extracted.
The human brain is one of the most powerful receivers of all messages whether they be electronic or from some other source. Good or Evil the messages exist in a realm of multi-verses that are as infinite as the stars in the sky. Sometimes you can be a conduit and a receiver of inspiration and the voice of inspiration comes to you without even breaking a sweat.
All over the world, cultures have their shamans, medicine men, seers, occultists, fortune tellers, gurus, holy men, visionaries, and contacts that produce and put into zeitgeist ideas and scenarios that lead to predictive programming in the public.
They are capable of seeing numbers that appear in strange orders, combinations and cognitive connections. This is called, for lack of a better euphemism, “the pattern.”
From observance of the patterns, we begin to acknowledge what is called automatic writing or channeling.
In 1916, a prolific author by the name of Patience Worth was busy writing books, poems and plays. For nearly twenty years this author was writing thousands of pages and it seemed that there was no end in sight. Patience wrote that she was a native of Dorset, England who lived in the 17th century. She later immigrated to America and was killed by native people.
I know it all sounds peculiar and yet, it happened. How could a woman who lived in the 1600’s be such a successful author some 300 years after her death?
Pearl Curran, a woman who lived in St. Louis, was poorly educated with no formal education in history or literature. She played piano, read little, and wanted to be an actress. She dabbled in the art of divination, which was a past time for many people in that era and the use of spirit boards were common in those days.
During the afternoons, Pearl would have tea parties with her mother and a friend who lived nearby. Conversations would wind down and eventually lead to games played on the witch boards.
Mrs. Hutchings, Pearl’s neighbor, claimed that she never understood the appeal of the boards, because they delivered nothing but jumbled sentences and vague answers that no one could figure out unless someone took dictation.
One day the board surprised the ladies when this sentence was spelled out during one of the teas:
“Many moons ago I lived. Again I come. Patience Worth is my name”
This was the initial contact with Patience Worth. Her messages would come through the Ouija board when Pearl and Mrs. Hutchings placed their hands on the planchette. After many sessions with the board, it became ever more evident that Pearl was the one mainly responsible for the contact with the alleged entity. It seemed that when anyone would sit down with Pearl, Patience would come through the board and reveal her secrets to whoever wanted to listen.
For centuries, histories and texts have described the power to speak with discarnate beings. Magicians, preachers, popes, and prophets claim to have been influenced by spirits. Some have claimed the ability of automatic writing and scrying.
William Wordsworth, a 19th-century poet, gave us words to read if we ever wonder about our existence and purpose:
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The soul that rises with us,
Our life’s star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing
clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home” — Wordsworth.
From the casting of the runes to crystal balls, the person who wishes to transmit or receive a message uses the tools for pure showmanship. But in doing so, one takes the mind to a different level. It is the stepping stone to further divination.
The most popular tool that is used to contact the spirit world is the Ouija board. Never has a device been met with more controversy than this board adorned with numbers and letters, with its planchette pointer.
The reason it is so controversial is that on one hand, many say that the board is fake, while others claim that rather than getting simple responses from certain entities, you are opening yourself up to the influence of numerous spirits both good and evil. Another controversy, less commonly discussed, is that most people who have Ouija boards do not actually know the procedures to make them work, so they either project responses or get no responses at all.
We always hear that the boards are evil but I have concluded that the boards are simply oracles that allow for the human mind to channel archetypes in the collective unconscious.
Today’s marketing of a glow-in-the-dark Ouija Board claims that it has been “a mystery for over 30 years!” However, the first versions of the Ouija Board, in the form of “exploring pendulums” or “diviners” appeared in Europe more than 1600 years ago and possibly 1500 years earlier in China. But old-fashioned oracles of likely possessed little clues about how their magical equipment really worked.
When I go to the various ghost festivals and conferences – I always bring up the use of the Ouija board for séances all the time to mixed reactions. The negative reactions are ironic in my opinion because the same diviner that shuns the Ouija is the same diviner who uses pendulums or divining rods to find ghosts or to have questions answered from the beyond.
To me, it is no different.
The human mind is capable of channeling and through scientific explanations of ideomotor responses – they can bring things out of the unconscious even without the use of party favors.
Here’s how ideomotor action works. The planchette may seem to drag our hands along as it selects letters that spell out words, but it happens that muscular action does not always arise out of deliberate will or volition, or in fact, even upon our awareness.
“Dousing” sticks or “divining” rods which also appear to move strangely on their own work in exactly this way by amplifying muscle movements. The sticks respond to subtle unacknowledged suggestions.
The same can be said for the Ouija board. There is a subtle suggestion coming from the brain to the board, how we interpret the suggestions, whether it be an act of a spirit or that everyone has telepathically agreed to the movement of the planchette, is the real mystery.
The truth is that perhaps we are more in control of the Ouija board than we realize. This does not diminish its mysterious nature but it can explain that the human mind does and can open up to a chaotic or evil influence.
The human whose hands are on the planchette is the transmitter and it picks up through the unconscious mind the subtle nuances of what can be conjured in dream time.
We are selecting the letters on the board – we have to see the letters to get the message but the brain is the open conduit and you don’t need a board to conjure a message from beyond.
The Ouija board is telling us the story we tend to tell ourselves. The words it spells out can be said to be an open secret. Who is going to chastise a spirit for revealing a secret during a séance?
The Ouija board is a valuable tool that shows us what the mind is capable of and that is manifesting and conjuring aloof spiritual energy and commit it to an inanimate object with letters and numbers on it.
The Ouija board isn’t made in monastery staffed by demons and witches as a game to trap young kids at slumber parties.
Its power comes from a combination of psychology, parapsychology and the human need to find meaning in its deeper core affectations.
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS