I was thrilled when my story about growing up in an apparently haunted Victorian was selected as a republished finalist in 2013 (‘The Sibling,’ here). Then a few years ago I also shared how something bizarre I’d been experiencing for years finally got a scientific explanation.

The one I’m sharing tonight is not mine, it’s my mom’s, but she’s one of the most honest and skeptical people I know. It‘s also been corroborated by other people who were there and I’ve seen a clipped article that also shows that a certain thing happened. Names have been changed to protect privacy, for reasons that will be come obvious.

When my mom was a young high-school student Ouija Boards had became so popular that they’d even made their way into her small Midwest town, and they’d become mainstream enough that even her Lutheran parents let her get one for sleepovers.

The first night they ever played, their questions started off innocently enough. They asked things like, “Does anyone have a crush on me?” or “What will I be when I grow up?” The Ouiji Board was unresponsive at first but then it became more active, which was followed by good-natured accusations of who was pushing it, but they continued to play. The questions got progressively darker, until at one point someone asked, “Will anyone we know die soon?”

Okay, I’m a total skeptic like my mom but even I would never ask that.

My mom said that until then she hadn’t taken any of it seriously, but at that a chill went through her and she felt distinctly unnerved. The feeling intensified when the planchette slid onto the ‘E,’ then slowly crept over to ‘M’ - at which point everyone shot looks towards my mom. When it made its way back to ‘E’ she said she got a profound feeling of dread, and she jerked her hands away. Considering my mom is named Emelie, everyone understood why she’d react that way, and they stopped playing.

Obviously nothing happened to my mom. But less than a month later, my mom’s best friend’s boyfriend Emerson was tragically killed in a car accident.

Her best friend had been there that night. She’s the one who had asked the question.

...

When I was a little older and heard this story again, I said “You know, maybe it really was meant to have spelled out Emelie! If you hadn’t been taking it very seriously maybe one of your friends decided to mess with you, so that you’d be creeped out and get more into it.” But of course we’ll never know.

And yet... when visiting my maternal grandparents some summer, my friend and I found that exact Ouija board stored up in the attic. One day when there was a raging thunderstorm we brought it all the way down to the finished basement to play for the first time. This was middle school and we didn’t have cell phones yet, nor was there a clock in this particular room (and we weren’t wearing watches; we were young teens and it was summer vacation), so when we became immersed in the board we lost all track of time. Just like my mom had experienced, at first nothing happened but then it became active, and flew all over the place with answers to our questions about the spirit’s identity and origin. Like my mom I’m skeptical of these things, so I was convinced my friend was moving it and at certain point I said so, but naturally she denied it. As a test I held eye contact with her (so that she couldn’t try look around for the answer) as I asked “What time is it here right this very moment?”

The board immediately spelled out “2:31.”

We jumped to our feet and raced up two flights of stairs to the kitchen where I knew the nearest clock was located. It was 2:31.

I’m sure it was either one amazing guess or my friend has a freakishly good sense of time, but the experience made my mom’s story about the exact same board just a little bit more creepy...