As Nita Hiltner, 22, sat before a Ouija board in the early 1970s, hands pressed to the planchette, she thought of the only story she’d ever heard about the board.
“My previous experience with one was about my friend whose mother did the Ouija board during the Korean War and found out her husband, my friend’s father, who was an Air Force pilot, was killed,” she said. “That is what the Ouija board said, and a couple days later, she found out it was true.”
A friend worked with her, fingertips also resting on the plastic triangle as it began to skitter across the board. Then something happened Hiltner hadn’t expected – the board worked.
“I did a Ouija board only once, and with an older friend,” she said. “I asked if I had lived before and it said, ‘yes.’”
Both women stared at the “toy,” sold by the toy company Parker Brothers since 1966, as the loose triangle moved without their effort.
“I know neither of us was moving the plate, or whatever it is called,” Hiltner said. “We were barely touching it.”
After the board told the two Hiltner had a past life, Hiltner probed for more information.
“I asked when I was born before, and it said 1757,” she said. “I don’t think I asked where, but I asked my name, and it said Francine or Frances Oakley.”
Then the conversation turned dark.
“This is where it gets weird,” Hiltner said. “I asked it what I did for a living, and it answered ‘tart.’ Now, I did not know what that meant, but my friend laughed and laughed, and I asked why, and she told me that meant I was a prostitute.”
Concerned and insulted, Hiltner decided she’d had enough and took her hands from the planchette.
“I know some Christians say this is the devil’s work and that it would say something like that to degrade you so I considered that as to whether this was all true or a lie,” she said. “But, I had no idea at that point what that word meant. I learned something that day.”
Decades later, the Ouija’s words came back when Hiltner met someone online she may have known before.
“I met my husband,” she said. “It felt like destiny because I was going through a divorce, and not long before I met him, I was saying to myself how unfair it seemed that my ex had someone and I had no one. We wouldn’t have met if (her usual online haunt) hadn’t gone down. We were the only ones online that night, it was late, so I said, ‘hi,’ and we began talking from there.”
Their online communication and attachment grew, and one night she asked him if he thought he’d lived before.
“Now, he was in Philadelphia and I was in California and this discussion was on the computer,” she said. “He answered, ‘yes.’ I asked of all the times that had existed, when had he lived before and he said 1700s, and I am thinking ‘1700s’ before he typed it.”
As she typed her next question, for some reason unknown to her, she thought the word “Boston.”
“I asked him where of all places in the world did he live at that time,” she said. “And a few seconds later, he typed ‘Boston.’”
Hiltner and the man are now married, and she still wonders if the information given to her by the Ouija board more than 35 years ago is true.
“I have tried to research the name I was given with the Ouija board, and I haven’t found anything, yet,” she said. “But I am almost certain I will find that name someplace.”
Copyright 2009 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. Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”
You can get Jason’s books on the paranormal, “Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us,” and “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to Missouri’s Most Spirited Spots,” at www.amazon.com.