Excerpt from Ouija/Bored

Who was its previous owner? Did it have several? I visualized a teenaged boy with a face like a moth. He wore a ruffled tux and held Black Masses in a split-level ranch house. I visualized an old man who missed his deceased cat. I visualized the sexless wife of a NASA propulsion specialist who lounged in Frederick’s of Hollywood palazzo pants, and she hoped that at least ghosts would keep her company.

Whatever its uses, thoughts of the Ouija board started to fill me with a low-level anxiety.

I told Ross about my freshman year at college. I met a girl who fashioned herself as a witch. Towards the end of the semester, she stopped going to her classes and spent every day from morning to dusk talking to ‘the spirits of dead children’ on her board. She told me they wouldn’t leave her alone.

As an avowed atheist I had no reason to fear an old piece of cardboard manufactured by the Milton-Bradley Company…yet my tension was growing. During a lull in the conversation, I picked up the board and said to Ross:

“I don’t know if I should keep it.”

“Get rid of it!” he said, “I would have never picked up the thing.”

“The thing is, now it knows we picked it up.”

“We? Don’t get me involved.”

As children of the seventies, both Ross and I grew up on horror movies where ventriloquist’s dummies and kitchen appliances would come to life, as if possessed by malevolent forces from beyond. No inanimate object was safe.

“It’s going to stick to us!” Ross said.

“Suppose I left it out on the street corner,” I speculated, “…but no. It would be too close to me. It would detect the presence of The One Who Brought It Here.”



illustration and photo montage by Jennifer Robin


(Read the rest of Ouija/Bored in Death Confetti: Pickers, Punks, and Transit Ghosts in Portland, Oregon, published by Feral House.)