What you are about to read is totally REAL and creepier than a Hollywood horror movie. Welcome to Scary Story Week on The Stir.
It was a dark and stormy night just before Halloween. Okay, so it might not have been dark and stormy, but it was nighttime and it was right before Halloween. I was a teenager in high school, over at my best friend Kate's house. And we were doing something we loved: playing with the Ouija board.
We sat quietly in the dim living room, legs crossed, knees touching, fingertips resting lightly on the iron-shaped marker. As we always did, we started out by asking in hushed voices, "Is there a spirit here?"
For those of you Ouija virgins, that's how you play. The thinking is that a ghost floating around nearby is what's making the thing move. What, you don't believe in ghosts?
Well, I was skeptical myself until that night. So there we were, in silence for at least a full minute. Nothing happened.
And then suddenly the Ouija came to life.
The marker swooped up to the word "yes."
"What's your name?" I asked.
"E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H," the "spirit" spelled out. We held our breath.
"When were you born?" Kate whispered.
There was a pause. "1-9-8-5," she said.
"When did you die?" I said softly.
Another, longer pause. The Ouija marker slowly made its way down to the numbers again.
"1 .... 9 .... 8 ......................... 5."
Kate and I gasped and let go of the game in shock. We were frozen in fear. The ghost who was guiding us tonight was a baby. A baby who'd died before turning a year old.
We looked at each other, wide-eyed, not wanting to keep going but not wanting to stop either. I always thought the spirit part of the game was silly, a gimmick. I believed in ghosts -- sort of -- but never bought that they were making the Ouija marker move on the board. I explained it away more scientifically: that the players' own mental energy was subconsciously behind it, even though consciously they weren't making it go from letter to letter.
That all changed that night. I could feel this baby ghost in the room with us. I could feel her presence, as if she were sitting right next to me. And so could my friend Kate.
Finally, my voice quivering, I asked what we were both thinking.
"H-how did you die, Elizabeth?"
The marker moved quickly this time. It's as if she were excited and couldn't get the answer out fast enough.
"F ... I .... R .... E," she spelled.
A tear rolled down my cheek. I looked across the eerie board at Kate and saw her eyes glistening too.
"How ... how old were you?" Kate said hesitantly.
"8," our spirit replied.
"Eight months old?" we both asked in unison.
Poor baby. Her poor parents. We had a million questions for her. Was it a house fire? ("Yes.") Was she sleeping at the time? ("Yes.") Did her parents survive? ("Yes.") We eventually went on to asking her questions about our own lives and what we had waiting for us in our future, like you're supposed to when you play Ouija. For the life of me, I can't remember anything about what was said about us. Only what we learned about her.
Maybe our baby girl ghost was getting tired or fussy. Maybe she sensed we were sad and wanted to make us feel better. Whatever it was, after a while, she suddenly started spelling out a message on her own.
"H ... A ... P ... P ... Y .......... N ... O ... W," she told us.
"You're happy now?" I asked shakily. "You're okay?"
"Yes," she said. "H ... A ... P ... P ... Y ....... N ... O ...W."
Then the Ouija marker slowly made its way down to the bottom of the board until it landed on "GOOD BYE" and went still.
"Good-bye, Elizabeth," Kate and I whispered. And with that, she was gone.
Have you ever met a ghost?
Image via Zoe Favole/Flickr