Author Topic: Celebrity Ghost Stories  (Read 4015 times)

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Offline PPI Karl

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I thought it was time to start a separate thread for this show--which airs Saturday nights, 6:00 p.m., on the BIO Channel. 

I never thought I'd hear myself saying that any show with the words "Celebrity" and "Ghost" in the title would be worth my time.  (Anyone recall that stinker, Celebrity Paranormal Project?)   However, after becoming really disenchanted with the way that paranormal investigation shows sensationalize, skew, falsify, and misrepresent paranormal "evidence" and the techniques in the process, I respect the ironic honesty of people who are mainly professional actors, revealing their stories in a fairly straightforward manner.  It's kind of like sitting down to interview our clients:  I pick out the parts of their stories that I think would be interesting to investigate and other parts that seem more a matter of psychological influence.

Anyhoo, I watched the latest episode this weekend and one of the stories, from Ugly Betty's Michael Urie, was about . . . <wait for it> . . . a Ouija board.  I know there's a great deal of debate over Ouija boards in the community.  In fact, it's one of those issues that really polarizes us.  I'm not a skeptic about Ouija boards; I have no doubt on the matter that they are fraudulent.  (I know, I know--fire away!  ;))  However, what I find fascinating about Ouija board stories like Michael Urie's is that they have the force of real faith behind them.  Even inveterate skeptics like Urie who later relent about Ouija boards seem to change their faith in order to give their experience the power it seems to carry.  Saturday's episode made me think about some of the psychological reasons that Ouija boards work so convincingly to get under people's skin and make them think that they're channeling the forces from beyond.  One in particular, its ritual aspects, strikes my fancy.

I teach Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" in one of my classes.  Jackson scandalized and outraged America in 1948 with a story about a small town in an alternate reality where every year the community is compelled to participate in a lottery that stones to death one of its members.  Jackson received bags and bags of hate mail and death threats over this one story alone, and in particular over one image near the end of the story, in which a toddler is given a stone to throw at his own mother.  The point of our discussion of this story was to determine why people would participate willingly in a ritual that would sacrifice their own--as a correlative to the contemporary issue of why people would participate in a culture of death-dealing.  The answer, of course, is cowardice:  they are compelled to participate in order to diffuse their responsibility for this and every other death by stoning that preceded it; they'd rather sacrifice their own individuality in order to carry the lighter load of a communal guilt, rather than expose themselves as individually guilty and carry the considerable weight of that.

Similarly, people hide behind the ritual of Ouija board manipulation because of their shared culpability for having participated in the violation of another person's dignity.  Whether or not anything personal comes through the board is irrelevant; the subconscious desire to see one of their own violated, inhabited, and controlled is like an act of rape, and rather than face the reality of those feelings and be responsible for them, they select rituals and communities in which they have no particular identity and no single feeling of guilt.  Sharing the guilt with everyone else becomes, not just seductive (classic group mentality), but part of the whole process--i.e., part of the "game".

In Michael Urie's case, he admits early on that they should have respected their friends wishes and not used the homemade Ouija board that allegedly conjured the spirit of her dead childhood friend, Billy.  Billy was, apparently, an unpopular kid at school and kind of isolated, and Urie's friend obviously felt a great deal of conflicted emotion about his death, which continues to haunt her emotionally and psychologically.  However, instead of assenting to the likelihood that someone in the group of four or five people moving the planchette was aware of her story and risk making himself an accessory to one or more people's vicious nature, he and his friends make the ritual and board, itself, the culprit.  The act of contrition in this, and in so many other stories involving Ouija boards, is to destroy, discard, or even bury the game.  (Personally, I would tie it to the back of a goat and send it off into the dessert to perish.  ;))  The solution in these cases is to exonerate themselves by creating a ritual whereby the board carries the weight of their sins and is punished or destroyed, getting everyone "off the hook."  Does that sound the least bit familiar to anyone?

I'm just brainstorming this issue, so feel free to poke holes in any of this analysis.  However, to my mind, the one thing that makes Ouija really work for people is the feeling going into it that you're doing something wrong, so that in order to remove that feeling, the board must do or say something that you can punish in order to reverse your involving and "cleanse" your sin.  Whatcha think? 
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Offline PPI Tracy

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Okay...here is my take.  (I won't shoot though...I'm a pacifist   0:<  )

I think the Ouija Board is kind of like believing in ghosts:  There are some that don't have any faith or belief in it...until something happens to them.  Until they have an experience that they cannot explain.  Until they see something or have something occur, that defies logic.  If we have the least bit of belief in spirits, ghosts and the afterlife, then we have to have an open mind when it comes to the OB.  If we discount the possibility of it being something other than a toy, then we are doing exactly what some have done to our clients:  Told them they were crazy for believing in ghosts and that it is all in their imagination.  Told them it can all be explained away. We are being hypocrites.  We have to at least leave a door open for the possibility of the existence of something that we do not understand.  We don't call those people who claim to see ghosts, "Liars" or "Crazy People" do we?  No.  We leave open the possibility that they have experienced something that is truly paranormal.  The same thing goes with a Ouija Board.  We have to leave it open to the possibility. 

I know what I experienced as a 12 year old kid and it scared the sh*t out of me.  I know my experience was real, I know that the dent in my mother's bookcase wasn't a figment of my imagination.  Three people witnessed it.  I know what began to happen in that apartment in Huntington Beach after the fact. It scared me so badly that I don't even want to type it out.  All I know is that it changed my life. 

There are people that do not believe in ufo phenomena.  They are completely closed off to the idea.  Some of these same people are also closed off to the idea of anything paranormal.  However, on both fronts, there are enough individuals who have experienced certain things where these areas are concerned to ignore or minimize it.  Too many occurrences to be discounted. 

I know when I was watching this particular episode; Paulina Poritzkova stated that her husband, Ric Okasek of The Cars didn't believe in ghosts at all.  He even made fun of her and thought it was "silly" that she read books on the subject and had seen a ghost herself.  I found myself aghast at the fact he didn't believe. I thought, wow, how close minded. Especially for someone so creative. Usually, that is not the case. 

As investigators, we have all gotten the reactions of people who think we are nuts, crazy, loony, when they find out what we do.  We have all been laughed at and called "Ghost Busters" in reference to the movie.  Poked fun at, made fun of.  "Don't get slimed", I've even been told.  ?What ever floats your ghostie boat??as they snicker and walk off. They look at you like you have three heads.  We all know how that feels for us.  If we have the same attitude towards anything in the paranormal field, while we ourselves believe in ghosts, or at least the possibility of them, then we are doing that exact same scoffing as those people who do it to us.  We cannot treat it as a paranormal smorgasbord.  You can't take some of that, some of this, put that back, take extra helpings of this.  We have to look at it as a whole and leave open the possibility.  There is so much to the paranormal in general that we don?t even know.  So much we can?t figure out, but we are trying.  Case after case.  Book after book.  Discussion after discussion.

Regarding the Ouija Board, I'm not personally hurt or offended if someone doesn't believe in it.  All I am saying is that we can't be close minded to it.  I know what I saw and I know what happened.  That was real.  That is one of the reasons that I have always left an open mind when people talk about anything in the paranormal realm. 

I hope I am making sense.  It's just my opinion though.  But it makes sense to me.   

Offline PPI Jason

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I watched this episode as well and actually really enjoyed it. But as to whether I buy into their statements, the jury is still out.

I agree with Karl. I think that there is something to be said for the influences of "the collective" on us as individuals. My favorite Twilight Zone episode is the one where the neighborhood experiences a power outtage and then they each manage to trick each other, collectively, into thinking they are being invaded by aliens. I also agree with the idea of blame transference that Ouija Boards afford us. In many ways, the devil himself is something we want to have so we can have someone to blame for our own bad behavior.

But, just as Tracy said, all this doesn't necessarily preclude the validity of Ouija Boards, or the existence of the devil for that matter. I have not had any personal experiences with a Ouija Board, so I can't give a valid view on it's viability . I don't disagree that it is possible that spirits could use it to communicate with us. If I didn't think that was at least a possibility I would never go on a paranormal investigation. But, by the same token, because Ouija Boards are generally used in the context of a "group" of people, it just opens up a whole world of possible variables that make it difficult to discern what is "spirit" and what is "psychological" and what is "hoax." One person could be having a genuine experience while another could be having a laugh.

So, in a truly non-committal fashion, I can't say for certain that Urie's Ouija Board experience was true, misunderstood, or fabricated. But I believe that it could be any of those.
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Offline PPI Karl

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Good responses.  Me likey.  Anyone else?
If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

ljiljanac

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You all are making very good and interesting points, in my view.  My take on the Ouija Board is a bit of all of it.   ::|

I tried the Ouija Board in my dad's old house and noticed nothing different...still the same stuff going on.  I stand by my statement and belief that my dad's old house was and may still be haunted!  Based on this strong belief of mine, I would have expected something to happen with the Ouija Board or activity to increase or change.  Nothing happened.  Nothing changed.  I can attribute nothing of what I saw, heard, or felt in that house to the Ouija Board.

Throughout my years of reading paranormal books, watching special effects in movies/T.V. advance, learning about new "ghost" applications on computers/I-Phones/whatever, and watching the Paranormal go mainstream, I trust people less and less to be honest or objective about what they have seen, heard, experienced, obtained, or whatever is ghost related.  My skeptic-meter is shooting through the roof right now!  Also, I believe strongly in the power of suggestion and people's tendency to "play the game", blend in, and essentially turn into a paranormal lemming because that is what is expected, or that is what people are set up to believe.  I'm honestly surprised that Coach or Chanel hasn't made a "ghost" tote bag that Paris Hilton could carry her personal ghost in.  Ghosts are the new chihuahua accessory! 

For these reasons, until proven otherwise, I believe the Ouija Board to be a toy...a game...and nothing more.  I do, however, remain open to and intend on remaining open to any fact (in evidence, of course) of the Ouija Board being more than just a game.    :P 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2010, 10:14:34 PM by PPI Lillie »

Offline PPI Debra

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Ouija boards were a part of almost every household in upstate NY. They have quite a history up in them there woods.
Unfortunately, they also are the subject of extreme superstition among the same people.

Personal examples:
Debra's mother to Larry after meeting him in 1994: "Did you know Debbie is a witch? She cursed our pet cat with a Ouija board when she was a kid." {truth: this never happened.}

Debra's mother , Christmas 2009: "Your brothers don't want anything to do with you. The Ouija board and voodoo dolls were too much for them when you were children."
{truth: my family is prejudice and disapprove of my multicultural life. The ouija board is an excuse.  The ouija board was a game my mother bought for the household. There never were voodoo dolls.}

Ouija boards were part of game playing in my home town. Everyone used them. I never saw anyone possessed, or haunted because of it.

I agree with Karl and Jason about the probable connection between the ouija board and the subconscious, and collective unconscious.
 
I also feel "channeling" is in this same category. There's a book; Other Powers, by Barbara Goldsmith, that shows how spiritualism influenced the political landscape during the suffrage movement. It seems that channeling spirits was a way to undermine the repression of the era. It's also a fringe activity that can easily be written off as harmless. The same type of pattern was noted in Haiti with the Voodoo possessions and the revolution overturning the French.

It seems to me that Ouija boards are a similar tool: a way to get around social taboos, and consciously or unconsciously empower people, without them having to admit responsibility.

I am not saying this is always the case.



« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 01:40:03 PM by Debra, PPI Consultant »
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Offline PPI Tracy

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What I find over and over again when it comes to the subject of the paranormal, is that people have very strong opinions on the board.  Either they do not believe in it, hands down (no pun intended) or they almost recoil when it's mentioned.  I met an old friend for dinner last night (no...I had no fava beans or Chianti) and we ended up talking about the paranormal.  My friend, who's name is Phil, grew up with my brother and I, on Kona Drive in Huntington Beach.  XXX Kona Drive, Apt X.  Jeez....still sends shivers up my spine.  |8x   I won't come anywhere near that street, to this day. Anyway......That was the house we did the board in.  Phil was witness to a lot of stuff that happened in that apartment over the course of about 4 years. During dinner last night, when we got to the subject of the board, his wife literally physically recoiled in her seat.  All she said was, "evil".  I didn't bother to ask her why she felt that way.  The deer in headlights was enough to squash my curiosity.  (not really, but she could take me out in one karate chop so I thought it best for me to stifle myself).

What I wonder is if the board is like doing an evp session.  Sometimes, ghosts come out to play.  Sometimes, they don't.  I guess that would stand to reason.  I also wonder (and I know we've talked about this before) is what makes the board any less dangerous than doing an evp session. I mean, we don't invite something to work through us, right?  Not like channeling, allowing something to take OVER your body.  Let's just say for argument sake (friendly argument) that the board is real.  Okay, so what would make it any more dangerous than doing an evp session.  Perhaps you are calling upon something to come in, that might not already be there?  I don't know.  The same thing could happen with .....okay, it just hit me.  With the board, it is communicating with you "directly" in real time so to speak. With an evp session, you wouldn't hear it until later and most likely it wouldn't be anything like having direct answers to direct questions, again in "real time".  I guess both types of communication could be nonsensical but it seems that if the board works, (argument sake here) that would be a live conversation.  Am I coming through clear?  I feel really foggy.  Perhaps I need a channeling session with more coffee.

Anyway....lay it on meh, folks.   {8I
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 01:54:58 PM by PPI Tracy »

Offline PPI Karl

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I know the public is potentially following this thread, so I just wanted to give out a shout to any forum guests who might be reading this and let them know that these debates are something the PPI team members do intentionally.  It's part of our "think tank" approach to investigating, researching and writing about the paranormal.  The great thing is that, even though we have very strong individual opinions on this particular topic, it always comes across as a dialogue and not a sparring match.  (I'll leave that to Brian Harnois and Donna Lacroix.)  Our team members genuinely love and respect one another, intellectually and personally, so no matter what the tone of this thread may sound like to the unprivvy ear, whatever disagreement we may seem to have is really more like a conversation over home brew. :D 

FAO PPI Team Members:  Anyone else think it would be cool if we reserved a meeting simply to video ourselves carrying several topics worth of discussion like this?  We could be the The Paranormal View. ;D  Anyone? ? ? ?

Anyhoo, back to the topic.  I guess one of my common complaints about the use of the Ouija board is that, as a method of communication, it relies on our trust that no one among the participants of the game is manipulating the outcome, consciously or subconsciously.  I just don't have that degree of trust--not even in myself.  I suspect that most people don't.  That's why people don't use the board on their own.  The immediacy of the results is the part of the appeal of the Ouija, but that too makes me raise an eyebrow.  I would love for the results of  EVP work to be immediate, but the personal and subjective mood in which EVP is captured would probably bias my ear to hear things that not only might not be there, but which are influenced by the consensus of, or strong voices among, the participants in the EVP session.  (This oracular technique of real-time EVP interpretation is why I lost respect for those putative "EVP experts" Debbie and Mark Constantino.)

However, I'm still piqued enough by the phenomenon for us to want to study it further, and to conduct some tests on the use of the board that have some controls built into them.  It should be real interesting!

Once again, thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful comments on this topic.  (Cue K.C. and the Sunshine Band: "Keep it commmmming, love.  Keep it coming, love.  Don't stop it now, don't stop it . . . "  Okay, I'll stop it.  Carry on.)

If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

Offline PPI Debra

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While researching the Ouija board, I found two fascinating facts:

      * Pulitzer prize winner James Merrill used it to write The Changing Light at Sandover.

      * Bill Wilson,co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, used the Ouija board to contacts Spirits. He claims these spirits gave him the 12 step program. (Pass It On pages 278-279)



       
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 01:40:34 PM by Debra, PPI Consultant »
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Offline PPI Tracy

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While researching the Ouija board, I found two fascinating facts:

      * Pulitzer prize winner James Merrill used it to write The Changing Light at Sandover.

      * Bill Wilson,co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, used the Ouija board to contacts Spirits. He claims these spirits gave him the 12 step program. (Pass It On pages 278-279)



       

Uh....really?  Wow.  I did not know that.  Interesting.  Gonna have to read up on that.  Thanks Deb.

Offline PPI Tracy

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FAO PPI Team Members:  Anyone else think it would be cool if we reserved a meeting simply to video ourselves carrying several topics worth of discussion like this?  We could be the The Paranormal View. ;D  Anyone? ? ? ?


Sherlock....you are pure genius! 

Offline PPI Debra

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FAO PPI Team Members:  Anyone else think it would be cool if we reserved a meeting simply to video ourselves carrying several topics worth of discussion like this?  We could be the The Paranormal View. ;D  Anyone? ? ? ?


Sherlock....you are pure genius! 

I think it's a great idea!
"If you're after gettin' the honey, don't go killin' all the bees." -Joe Strummer

ljiljanac

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lol  Too funny of an idea, Karl.   :D   I'M IN!!   ;D

Back to the Ouija Board...I also believe that people tend to either pass it off as a game or tend to cringe from just the mere thought of one being near them. 

In terms of an EVP session versus an Ouija Board session, I have seen plenty of EVP sessions (real life and T.V. of course) that yield either no results or benign results (meaning the worst thing that happens is an EVP'er (my addition to PPI-isms   ;)  ) states words to the effect of "Get out", and the like.  I have never seen or heard of benign results from an Ouija Board depicted on TV, movies, or by word of mouth.  Everytime anyone talks about their experiences with an Ouija Board or shows an OB session on TV or the movies that yield results, it's always some horrible threat by some demon as the planchette is being flung into someone's eyeball (okay that was for effect, but you know what I mean).  Do I believe it?  Yes and no.  I believe what people say is quite probably what they saw happen.  I wasn't there, though, and have no idea if the planchette was directed by a participant or by an entity. 

I believe that Ouija Boards were "typecast" (if you will) long ago (as early as the 70's if not earlier) as being evil and as being portals to hell that allow only demons (remember the signs on the other side of the Ouija door "Demons Only, No Angels Allowed") to pass and/or communicate.  I mean....What happens in horror movies when people want to call on the dead brother of the college coed who is having a Valentine's Day party at a remote cabin by a lake where a psycho killed 50,000 people last summer with an axe and is now escaping a mental hospital on his way to Manhattan to fight a mangled burned psycho who likes to murder people in their sleep when he's not chasing prom-goers down the halls of their school and dumping a pail of blood on top of the prom queen??????  (Ok so I got a little carried away there, but you get the drift).  Do they pull out a Crucifix???  No.  Do they light a bunch of candles and repeat out loud, "Light as a feather, stiff as a board"??  No.  Do they turn on their digital recorders and ask for the dead psycho to present himself and speak to them???  No.  They pull out.............................an Ouija Board.

I often wonder what would happen if we started to turn the reputation of the Ouija Board around throughout society by teaching school kids how to play Ouija on rainy inside days, issuing every student their own Ouija Board and requiring them to use references via their Ouija Board on their reports ad term papers, and by training every employee on how to "communicate" with an Ouija Board to further their goals of promotion, etc etc etc.  We did it with computers.  Would an Ouija Board be as scary then?  Or as evil?

Offline PPI Debra

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I often wonder what would happen if we started to turn the reputation of the Ouija Board around throughout society by teaching school kids how to play Ouija on rainy inside days, issuing every student their own Ouija Board and requiring them to use references via their Ouija Board on their reports ad term papers, and by training every employee on how to "communicate" with an Ouija Board to further their goals of promotion, etc etc etc.  We did it with computers.  Would an Ouija Board be as scary then?  Or as evil?

Even I feel a little weird about this idea, put the point is interesting.
 
I don't think that there has been an objective text written about the history of the Ouija Board.

 From the bit of research I did earlier, it seems to have been a creative tool for people.
Not just writers, but musicians as well: i.e., Mars Volta & Metallica. And Alice Cooper got his stage name from an Ouija board. (I suppose using Alice Cooper as an example could cause people to run screaming....)
"If you're after gettin' the honey, don't go killin' all the bees." -Joe Strummer

ljiljanac

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I often wonder what would happen if we started to turn the reputation of the Ouija Board around throughout society by teaching school kids how to play Ouija on rainy inside days, issuing every student their own Ouija Board and requiring them to use references via their Ouija Board on their reports ad term papers, and by training every employee on how to "communicate" with an Ouija Board to further their goals of promotion, etc etc etc.  We did it with computers.  Would an Ouija Board be as scary then?  Or as evil?

Even I feel a little weird about this idea, put the point is interesting.
 
I don't think that there has been an objective text written about the history of the Ouija Board.

 From the bit of research I did earlier, it seems to have been a creative tool for people.
Not just writers, but musicians as well: i.e., Mars Volta & Metallica. And Alice Cooper got his stage name from an Ouija board. (I suppose using Alice Cooper as an example could cause people to run screaming....)

Very cool info, Debra   :)   This sounds like my next PPI article.  All about the Ouija Board.  :)

Offline PPI Tracy

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Well, maybe they aren't that dangerous after all. 

In a "Smokey the Bear" voice: "No one has ever been killed or seriously injured by a Ouija Board.  Unless hit over the head with one."

Offline PPI Karl

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By the way, for our forum visitors, there's another extremely interesting and well versed discussion of this topic under the Open Forum, which I highly recommend:
http://www.pacificparanormal.com/forums/index.php/topic,2796.0.html

Back to the Ouija Board...I also believe that people tend to either pass it off as a game or tend to cringe from just the mere thought of one being near them. 

In terms of an EVP session versus an Ouija Board session, I have seen plenty of EVP sessions (real life and T.V. of course) that yield either no results or benign results (meaning the worst thing that happens is an EVP'er (my addition to PPI-isms   ;)  ) states words to the effect of "Get out", and the like.  I have never seen or heard of benign results from an Ouija Board depicted on TV, movies, or by word of mouth.  Every time anyone talks about their experiences with an Ouija Board or shows an OB session on TV or the movies that yield results, it's always some horrible threat by some demon as the planchette is being flung into someone's eyeball (okay that was for effect, but you know what I mean).  Do I believe it?  Yes and no.  I believe what people say is quite probably what they saw happen.  I wasn't there, though, and have no idea if the planchette was directed by a participant or by an entity. 

I believe that Ouija Boards were "typecast" (if you will) long ago (as early as the 70's if not earlier) as being evil and as being portals to hell that allow only demons (remember the signs on the other side of the Ouija door "Demons Only, No Angels Allowed") to pass and/or communicate.  I mean....What happens in horror movies when people want to call on the dead brother of the college coed who is having a Valentine's Day party at a remote cabin by a lake where a psycho killed 50,000 people last summer with an axe and is now escaping a mental hospital on his way to Manhattan to fight a mangled burned psycho who likes to murder people in their sleep when he's not chasing prom-goers down the halls of their school and dumping a pail of blood on top of the prom queen??????  (Ok so I got a little carried away there, but you get the drift).  Do they pull out a Crucifix???  No.  Do they light a bunch of candles and repeat out loud, "Light as a feather, stiff as a board"??  No.  Do they turn on their digital recorders and ask for the dead psycho to present himself and speak to them???  No.  They pull out.............................an Ouija Board.

I often wonder what would happen if we started to turn the reputation of the Ouija Board around throughout society by teaching school kids how to play Ouija on rainy inside days, issuing every student their own Ouija Board and requiring them to use references via their Ouija Board on their reports ad term papers, and by training every employee on how to "communicate" with an Ouija Board to further their goals of promotion, etc etc etc.  We did it with computers.  Would an Ouija Board be as scary then?  Or as evil?

FAO Lillie:
You should brainstorm a range of questions to pose during our Ouija board experiment to extend or test some of these interesting ideas.  I remember back in the 1960s when I would use the Ouija board with my friends, we'd always throw in some general knowledge questions--which, I suppose, makes sense since an eight-year-old's limited frame of reference for interrogations of this sort is either TV quiz shows or school tests.  It's almost as if we were priming the board for the good stuff:  "Who killed JFK?" or "Are you Marilyn Munro?" (like she had nothin' better to do than respond to random inter-dimensional calls from children).  In hindsight, I feel that the quiz show questions were asked in order to prove to ourselves that the board was working, because they were questions that eight-year-olds could answer, themselves, without needing to use a life-line.  It would be worthwhile to frame a series of questions in which participants are likely to know the answers already, and to intersperse those with questions that they don't, or cannot, know the answers to, as a way of gauging what types of communication the board most seems to favor.

. . . I don't think that there has been an objective text written about the history of the Ouija Board.

 From the bit of research I did earlier, it seems to have been a creative tool for people.
Not just writers, but musicians as well: i.e., Mars Volta & Metallica. And Alice Cooper got his stage name from an Ouija board. (I suppose using Alice Cooper as an example could cause people to run screaming....)

FAO Debra:
I love the idea of Ouija being a focus for imagination and creative knowledge.  This, of course, is the concept of "oracle" that the game actually plays with as part of its design.  I was aware of Merrill's Ouija-inspired poetry, but I hadn't thought about that in a long, long time.  It occurs to me that the only thing really distinguishing Ouija from other oracular "games" such as Tarot and I Ching is that it lacks the legitimacy of the latter, despite that it seems to have been the centerpiece to almost every spiritual ritual since Madame Blavatsky (which, obviously, it hasn't; I'm just hyperbolizin').  If you were going to write such a text, or if you were looking for such a text, what sorts of criteria would you want it to address?  Let's say, you were going to develop a guide to using Ouija to inspire creativity and divine insight.  What would the chapter titles be?

What I find over and over again when it comes to the subject of the paranormal, is that people have very strong opinions on the board.  Either they do not believe in it, hands down (no pun intended) or they almost recoil when it's mentioned.  I met an old friend for dinner last night (no...I had no fava beans or Chianti) and we ended up talking about the paranormal.  My friend, who's name is Phil, grew up with my brother and I, on Kona Drive in Huntington Beach.  XXX Kona Drive, Apt X.  Jeez....still sends shivers up my spine.  |8x   I won't come anywhere near that street, to this day. Anyway......That was the house we did the board in.  Phil was witness to a lot of stuff that happened in that apartment over the course of about 4 years. During dinner last night, when we got to the subject of the board, his wife literally physically recoiled in her seat.  All she said was, "evil".  I didn't bother to ask her why she felt that way.  The deer in headlights was enough to squash my curiosity.  (not really, but she could take me out in one karate chop so I thought it best for me to stifle myself).

What I wonder is if the board is like doing an evp session.  Sometimes, ghosts come out to play.  Sometimes, they don't.  I guess that would stand to reason.  I also wonder (and I know we've talked about this before) is what makes the board any less dangerous than doing an evp session. I mean, we don't invite something to work through us, right?  Not like channeling, allowing something to take OVER your body.  Let's just say for argument sake (friendly argument) that the board is real.  Okay, so what would make it any more dangerous than doing an evp session.  Perhaps you are calling upon something to come in, that might not already be there?  I don't know.  The same thing could happen with .....okay, it just hit me.  With the board, it is communicating with you "directly" in real time so to speak. With an evp session, you wouldn't hear it until later and most likely it wouldn't be anything like having direct answers to direct questions, again in "real time".  I guess both types of communication could be nonsensical but it seems that if the board works, (argument sake here) that would be a live conversation.  Am I coming through clear?  I feel really foggy.  Perhaps I need a channeling session with more coffee.

Anyway....lay it on meh, folks.   {8I

FAO Tracy:
To some extent, I believe that EVP sessions do--and have--resembled the alleged dangerous qualities of Ouija.  For example, whenever a former teammate used to announce that he felt hands touching him or that that his back would become really, really hot, something he did almost every EVP vigil I shared with him, I frequently held the suspicion that he was inviting these to happen.  And who could blame him.  As investigators, we all are hoping for the tangible experience of making contact with the other side.  However, when such evidence is always subjective and singular to one person's perception of it, does it mean that person is inviting into himself and channeling an unseen entity, or is it a psychosomatic expression of an inward desire?  In this former team member's case, there was a history (which I won't go into) that could well have made these experiences a catharsis for him, or perhaps a projection of something else he couldn't deal with.  (I'm tossing around psych terms now like I'm an expert; caveat lector:  I ain't no expert.)  It's hard to know if the source of those experiences was outward or inward, and it's why we almost always had to throw out the evidence as unreliable.  The phenomenon, of course, occurs all the time in audio analysis and in our interpretation of EVP, which we know to be a crap shoot even when the EVP are quite clear.  (I'm pretty sure that, in "Purple Haze," Jimi Hendrix sang, "I kiss this guy," not "I kiss the sky."  Prove me wrong. P^/)

Hey, what about if we did a series of EVP sessions whilst conducting Ouija board sessions?  Or, what if we had a Ouija session in which all the questions were about the Ouija board, itself?  What kinds o' questions would we have to ask to establish the workings of the board, the motivations of the "source", and so on's?
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 01:00:14 PM by PPI Karl »
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Offline PPI Tracy

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Reposting from Karl (in orange): 

Hey, what about if we did a series of EVP sessions whilst conducting Ouija board sessions?  Or, what if we had a Ouija session in which all the questions were about the Ouija board, itself?  What kinds o' questions would we have to ask to establish the workings of the board, the motivations of the "source", and so on's

Karl - I think that would be a great idea.  We obviously cannot do this while at a client's home but maybe at Union Hall or an investigator's (brave investigator's) home.  No....NOT mine, thank you very much.  Sorry....better safe than....yeah.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 01:52:39 PM by PPI Tracy »

Offline PPI Karl

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I'd be fine doing at my place, if y'all like.  (We can always revert to sixteen-year-olds and do it at a local cemetery.  I'm joking . . . joking, I tells ya.)
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Offline PPI Brian

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To some extent, I believe that EVP sessions do--and have--resembled the alleged dangerous qualities of Ouija.  For example, whenever a former teammate used to announce that he felt hands touching him or that that his back would become really, really hot, something he did almost every EVP vigil I shared with him, I frequently held the suspicion that he was inviting these to happen.  And who could blame him.  As investigators, we all are hoping for the tangible experience of making contact with the other side.  However, when such evidence is always subjective and singular to one person's perception of it, does it mean that person is inviting into himself and channeling an unseen entity, or is it a psychosomatic expression of an inward desire?  In this former team member's case, there was a history (which I won't go into) that could well have made these experiences a catharsis for him, or perhaps a projection of something else he couldn't deal with.  (I'm tossing around psych terms now like I'm an expert; caveat lector:  I ain't no expert.)  It's hard to know if the source of those experiences was outward or inward, and it's why we almost always had to throw out the evidence as unreliable.  The phenomenon, of course, occurs all the time in audio analysis and in our interpretation of EVP, which we know to be a crap shoot even when the EVP are quite clear.  (I'm pretty sure that, in "Purple Haze," Jimi Hendrix sang, "I kiss this guy," not "I kiss the sky."  Prove me wrong. P^/)

Hey, what about if we did a series of EVP sessions whilst conducting Ouija board sessions?  Or, what if we had a Ouija session in which all the questions were about the Ouija board, itself?  What kinds o' questions would we have to ask to establish the workings of the board, the motivations of the "source", and so on's?

I agree -- it's difficult to determine why some people experience such things and others in the room at the time do not. It becomes suspiscious when it happens during every EVP session, because truth be told, not all EVP sessions yield results. Are they psyched up and opening themselves up to such experiences, or are they faking it? I have always suspected the truth lies somewhere in between. They might simply misinterpret the tug of fabric or the movement of hair on their arms as paranormal in origin, and they could be reporting what they honestly believe with no intent to deceive.

I had a unique opportunity to conduct an EVP session while an investigator used a pendulum. Unfortunately, it yielded no conclusive results, and I picked up nothing which seemed to corroborate the "answers" indicated by the pendulum. It would be interesting to conduct an EVP session while using an Ouija Board.   
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010, 02:42:00 PM by PPI Brian M »
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Offline PPI Jason

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I thought we had already discussed this and that we were going to do Ouija Board experiments at the pool house at Debra's complex. I thought we had decided that we were going to use several different boards, that we were going to blindfold the participants, and that we would randomly rotate the board in order to try to duplicate William Benjamin Carter's experiments in the 1850s when he advanced his theory about the "Ideomotor Effect." I thought we even planned to video tape the session and keep several recorders running for potential EVPs. It's been so long, did we really plan all that or am I just imagining things?  ???

Just to add, Tracy hit on an idea I had mentioned the last time we had this discussion, i.e. that the  use of the Ouija Board may be no different really then an EVP session. I can never be certain, but my opinon leans toward the idea that Ouija Boards are just toys, nothing more. However, I acknowledge that there is a very real possibillity that legitimate paranormal activity can and does occur. So by combining these ideas I think I can say that if something paranormal happens during a Ouija Board session it could be that it would have happened with or without the board. If there had been no board, may the spirit would have thrown something or changed the temperature or something other than move a planchette.

And while it could be argued that EVP sessions provide for delayed responses while Ouija Board sessions provide for immediate responses, couldn't it also be argued that during EVP sessions we frequently ask the spirt to "tap twice if you're here" or "throw something if you want us to leave" or "change the temperature 2 degrees"? Aren't those all immediate response activities? I really think EVP sessions and Ouija Board sessions are more similiar then most of us would like to admit. The main difference may be that the Ouija Board introduces the challenge that, if not done properly, it's responses to questions could be subconciously influenced by the participants.
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Offline PPI Tracy

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I thought we had already discussed this and that we were going to do Ouija Board experiments at the pool house at Debra's complex. I thought we had decided that we were going to use several different boards, that we were going to blindfold the participants, and that we would randomly rotate the board in order to try to duplicate William Benjamin Carter's experiments in the 1850s when he advanced his theory about the "Ideomotor Effect." I thought we even planned to video tape the session and keep several recorders running for potential EVPs. It's been so long, did we really plan all that or am I just imagining things?  ???


We did talk about it.  You aren't imagining things.  We just wanted to drag your a$$ into the discussion.   ;)

Thank you for playing!  ;D

Offline PPI Tracy

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Just to add, Tracy hit on an idea I had mentioned the last time we had this discussion, i.e. that the  use of the Ouija Board may be no different really then an EVP session. I can never be certain, but my opinion leans toward the idea that Ouija Boards are just toys, nothing more. However, I acknowledge that there is a very real possibility that legitimate paranormal activity can and does occur. So by combining these ideas I think I can say that if something paranormal happens during a Ouija Board session it could be that it would have happened with or without the board. If there had been no board, may the spirit would have thrown something or changed the temperature or something other than move a planchette.

What I wonder is if the planchette would move if NO one had their hands on it.  I mean, what about having hands on it (other than someone subconsciously moving it  - like the pendulum fiasco, Brian...and no, I didn't buy it either) makes it move.  If a spirit is there, they are there and no amount of hands on a piece of plastic should matter.  This last weekend, I did that investigation up in [redacted].  While we were sitting in the bonus room, one of the heavy doors in the tv cabinet came flying open with a huge amount of force.  The hinges did not allow this thing to move freely on it's own.  In fact, when we shined the flashlight on it, it was STILL moving.  So, if a spirit (assuming that's what it was) can do something like that, why couldn't it move a piece of plastic.  Or make a flashlight turn on and off to answer questions like it did for us at this investigation as well?   :-\
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 12:10:04 PM by PPI Karl »

Offline PPI Karl

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I thought we had already discussed this and that we were going to do Ouija Board experiments at the pool house at Debra's complex. I thought we had decided that we were going to use several different boards, that we were going to blindfold the participants, and that we would randomly rotate the board in order to try to duplicate William Benjamin Carter's experiments in the 1850s when he advanced his theory about the "Ideomotor Effect." I thought we even planned to video tape the session and keep several recorders running for potential EVPs. It's been so long, did we really plan all that or am I just imagining things?  ???

"Did I dream this dream, or did it dream me?"  Our plans are still to do our Ouija carrying-ons at the Copa Cabana at Debra's complex.  What I had in mind when I proposed using an EVP session wasn't so much to merely record some of us at the Ouija board, but to use an EVP vigil as a sort of blind test, to request or direct the answers that come up during the Ouija play; that would require at least two groups (which, or course, is what we were planning) being in adjoining rooms with some degree of sound-proofing between them, or it could be time delayed:  "Oh Great and Powerful Cabana Spirit, we humbly beseech thee to say Peewee's 'Secret Word' during our friends' session in thirty minutes."  Naturally, the same could be done in the opposite direction:  people at the board could "ask the spirits," not just to send them a message, but to transmit the same message by electronic voice imprint to a group of us in the next room.  A variation on this theme: we could do an experiment where two groups of people at Ouija boards are separated from each other and make requests for certain answers to be transmitted to the other group's interaction with the board.  It sounds a bit like "You sunk my Battleship!" but the idea is to make the communication less influenced by the hands on the planchette and more directed by the questions, themselves.  I think it would make kind of a neat addition to our attempts to duplicate the Carter experiments.

I'd love us to set a date for this (but we should do that in a private board on the forum).
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Offline PPI Karl

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What I wonder is if the planchette would move if NO one had their hands on it.  I mean, what about having hands on it (other than someone subconsciously moving it  - like the pendulum fiasco, Brian...and no, I didn't buy it either) makes it move.  If a spirit is there, they are there and no amount of hands on a piece of plastic should matter.  This last weekend, I did that investigation up in [XXX].  While we were sitting in the bonus room, one of the heavy doors in the tv cabinet came flying open with a huge amount of force.  The hinges did not allow this thing to move freely on it's own.  In fact, when we shined the flashlight on it, it was STILL moving.  So, if a spirit (assuming that's what it was) can do something like that, why couldn't it move a piece of plastic.  Or make a flashlight turn on and off to answer questions like it did for us at this investigation as well?   :-\

Your idea seems reasonable to me:  if ghosts want a thing done right, they should do it themselves.  This is where I begin to distrust much of the explanations about Ouija, because people start inventing folklore to defend it and rationalize its unpredictability as a method of prediction.  In very little time at all, one begins to develop a list of rules about how Ouija works and what displeases the spirits.  When I was a kid, the most important rule of Ouija was never to lose or damage the brass "needle" in the planchette, for that was the source of Ouija's power of divination; I don't know who came up with it, 'cause it weren't in the literature that came with the game.  However, the belief was, if anything happened to the needle, you might as well buy a new board.  (I don't think Milton Bradly was making replacement parts in those days. ::|)  In hindsight, that was just a bit of "planned obsolescence" nonsense circulated probably by the game manufacturer in order to get people to buy a new Ouija board regularly; after all, that damned little "needle" was just a brass nail, and it was not attached or held down by anything other than gravity, so of course it was going to get lost.  Still, one bit o' folklore inspires another:  don't use contractions; don't let your fingers leave the planchette at any time or the spirits will snap back into their dimension; participants must sit at a table facing each other; etc., etc., etc.  Let's face it, it was MB's version of a seance, for ages 6 and up.  My point is, as soon as we overlook incongruities and illogical statements about the Ouija communication process, like the one you're point out, Tracy, people become unreasonable apologists for the board's poor performance.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 12:10:38 PM by PPI Karl »
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