A plastic triangle skittered across the surface of a game board. A group of preteen girls, including Inez Pace of St. Louis, didn’t believe anything supernatural moved the piece because, after all, the Ouija board was a toy.
“Early in my teenage years, my friends and I would often play with the Ouija board when we would have sleepovers,” Inez said. “We would ask harmless questions as to how many children we’d have, who we’d marry, etc.”
Nothing really out of the ordinary happened to the girls during their play sessions, “and certainly nothing too scary,” Inez said. The friends eventually outgrew their interest in Ouija boards until the spring semester of 1983 while Inez attended Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.
“One boring night, my dorm mates and I decided to use the common room’s Ouija board,” Inez said. “At first it seemed harmless enough. We’d ask silly questions and our spirit named Sarah would answer us.”
Inez and her friends were quickly entrapped by the board, feeling “compelled to use the board as often as possible.” Then a friend named Tracy from another floor attended a Ouija session, and their harmless play turned sinister.
“We started asking Sarah how she died, how old she was when she died, and finally what she looked like,” Inez said.
Sarah told the coeds she died at 23 when she was hit by a runaway horse and carriage. But Sarah’s answer to the final question sent the girls running.
“When we asked Sarah what she looked like, she spelled out ‘like Tracy only different eyes,’” Inez said.
One young woman in the group asked Sarah to show them.
“Tracy was a red head with green eyes,” Inez said. “Sarah spelled out for us to look at Tracy and instantly her eyes turned blue and her facial features became sharper.”
Tracy screamed and said an electrical current had run through her body.
“We all became excited and told Tracy what happened,” Inez said. “Of course, she wanted to see it, too.”
Sarah spelled out for Tracy to take a mirror and look in the window behind her. As Tracy looked into the mirror, she saw someone standing in the room’s window – a window that looked over a treeless courtyard from three floors up.
“We looked and saw what appeared to be a head looking in at us,” Inez said. “We asked the spirit, ‘are you Sarah?’ It went to ‘no,’ so we asked, ‘who are you?’”
The girls didn’t wait for the entity’s entire response.
“It started to spell S-A-T-A … that was enough for that me,” Inez said. “I knocked the center piece off of the board and told everyone to go to their rooms. We were pretty frightened – the (figure in the window) did not look like a lady at all.”
As Inez struck the center piece off the board, the room grew cold enough the students saw their breath. They ran from Inez’s room to another girl’s room and began praying.
“We were so frightened that none of us could sleep; we held vigil that evening to make sure nothing was going on in my room,” Inez said. “Around 2:30 a.m., we decided to get a snack from the vending machine and as we walked by my door, the alarm clock went off. It had been set for 6:30 a.m.”
One of the girls entered Inez’s room to shut off the alarm and found the windows thrown open and sheets pulled off the beds.
“As she bent down to turn it off the alarm, the two necklaces she was wearing became entwined and started to choke her,” Inez said. “When she got to the hallway she removed her necklaces and noticed that the cross had been moved from one chain to the other. That was enough for us.”
When the sun rose, the girls went to the Catholic house on campus and told the priest what had happened.
“He came to my room that day and blessed it with holy water,” Inez said. “He also removed the board from the dorm and burned it. We got a stern lecture that as Catholics we should know better than to use something like that.”
Inez graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in communications and theater in 1987. But she didn’t live in that dorm room for much of that time.
“It took me a while to get the courage to return to my room to sleep, and even then I always had someone stay in the room with me,” Inez said. “The following year I requested a different dorm to reside in.”
Copyright 2007 by Jason Offutt
Got a scary story? Ever played with a Ouija board, heard voices, seen a ghost, UFO or a creature you couldn’t identify? Let Jason know about it: Jason Offutt c/o The Examiner, 410 S. Liberty, Independence, Mo. 64050, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address and telephone number. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
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