Friday, November 11, 2011

Of Ouija Boards and Missing Records

The house Mike grew up in was always strange.

“In this house, furniture would lift up off the ground or you would hear someone calling you from another part of the house when no one was home,” Mike said. “There have been times when witnesses saw curtains open and close of their own accord. One summer, while we were away, the local kids sat across the street from the house and saw the living room windows open and shut on their own.”

Their pet dogs avoided certain parts of the house, especially the attic where the bedrooms were.

“There were times when things that were lost would fall from the ceiling out of nowhere,” Mike said. Although his family was convinced the house was haunted, “the ghosts that were there never made any attempt at harming us,” so they had no desire to move.

But the idea of ghosts in the house didn’t keep Mike from playing with them.

“When I turned 17, I had an accident in gym class requiring that I stay off of my feet,” he said. “My friends came over to visit and we started to play with the Ouija board.”

The friends immediately hit on something. The planchete skittered across the board under the light touch of their fingers, spelling out a name.

“A man named Irvin Cobb came through who claimed he was the guardian for my sister,” he said. “At the time, my sister had a diamond ring that she couldn't find and he told her to go to her room.”

She went into her bedroom and turned on the light, but didn’t see her ring anywhere. She went back to Mike’s room and said the board was wrong.

“The board was emphatic that she go back to her room,” Mike said. “When she turned on the light, she looked around and the ring just popped up from the floor of its own accord.”

Mike’s friend Patricia remembers that day well; she kept notes during the Ouija board session.

“It was 1979 I was a senior in high school,” Patricia said. “We actually got hooked. I remember the year since I asked what I got on a test and the response was, ‘you should have studied harder.’”

Although other “spirits” spoke to the high schoolers through the board, Cobb was the most active, and the most curious.

“He told two cryptic comments that we have not as yet determined,” Mike said. “The first was ‘the noise of silence’ and the other was ‘the reddening of the blood.’ For the blood comment, after many years, we assumed it meant caesarian births because all the young ladies present at the time ended up having.”

The silence warning is still a mystery.

After the teenagers packed up the board and left Mike’s house, Patricia went to the library and looked into Irvin Cobb.

“She did a search and learned that Irvin Cobb was a writer,” Mike said. “He had an autobiography and when she went to take it out, it was not available. When it finally came back to the library she was amazed to discover that the book had last been taken out in 1945.”

Another cryptic message, written by Cobb, appeared in the back of the autobiography.

“There was a comment to the effect that rather than say goodbye, he would say, ‘until we meet again,’” Mike said.

Cobb (June 23, 1876 – March 11, 1944) was an American humorist and at one time the highest paid newspaper reporter in the country.

Patricia took her notes of the Ouija session home, locked them in a box and slid it under her bed.

“Years later after we grew up, went to college and moved on, we happened to get into contact again,” Mike said. “She went into the box to locate the papers to see if there were any predictions that came true.”

But something was wrong.

“All the notes that were locked away had disappeared,” Mike said. “The lock wasn't broken and she was the only one with a key.”

Even though the Ouija board session didn’t frighten Mike (he didn’t find the experience negative at all), it, and the missing records, did frighten Patricia.

“I had all the notes and kept them under my bed and one day they just disappeared,” she said. “I have never touched a Ouija board since. I rarely talk about that experience except to say I do believe that board does work. While I was very curious it did scare me.”

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, P.O. Box 501, Maryville, Mo., 64468, or Your story might make an upcoming installment of “From the Shadows.”

Jason’s newest book on the paranormal, “Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters,” is available at Jason’s blog,