A Salutary lesson about hidden terror
This startling real-life account of occult oppression is true and verifiable.
It was originally published in 1987 by the Society for the Advancement of
Religious Knowledge. We reproduce it here with their permission in an attempt
to alert the public to the terrible dangers inherent in dabbling with Ouija-
Boards and gain support for our political campaign to ban them. Anyone
wishing for more information or who would like to assist in our campaign to
rid society of this menace should contact us at the address given below.
MALCOLM'S STORY-begins in 1984: We relate it in his own words as he originally told it.
I first became interested in the powers of the Occult by chance when I was 15.
A friend introduced me to a group of teenagers who met at lunch-times at
school to work a Outjaboard which they had hidden behind the lockers in the
changing rooms. The teachers didn't know anything about it. At first I didn't
realise just how disastrous this would be for my life and how close it would
bring me to murder.
I became hooked but to start with I didn't want to go with them because I had
heard weird stories about strange things happening when a Ouija-Board was used
but one boy, the oldest in the group, kept on insisting. He said that he had
made the ouijaboard himself after seeing a picture of one in a book he saw in
a library and that it was just a piece of card with numbers and letters on it.
It sounded a lot less frightening than I had at first thought. I just didn't
expect the tremendous changes and unhappiness in my life which was to follow
from the use of that Ouija-Board.
There were five of us in the group and we sat down cross-legged in a circle
with the board resting on our knees. There was a sort of thrill in it because
we knew that making a.Ouija-board was sort-of illegal. The first time we used
it nothing much happened so Derek (the older boy) said that the board wasn't
sensitive enough. He took off the glass and put a school dinner-knife in the
centre telling us to touch it with the tip of the little fingers of our left
Almost immediately it began to spin and point to letters & numbers. It all
happened so quickly that we began to get jumpy. One boy became very frightened
and said that he wasn't going to touch it anymore so Derek made him write down
what the pointer was spelling out instead. We got some really weird messages
and everyone's hair started to stand on end. There was a terrible atmosphere,
it was so thick it was difficult to breathe. I can feel it now as I remember
Derek had made the ouija-board from a piece of cardboard. It looked really
neat. He had drawn a circle and then divided it into 32 sections like a
compass. Beginning at the top they were each filled in clockwise with
consecutive letters of the alphabet. After Z he had written 'NO' then 1,2,3,4
and back at the top again 'YES'.
As the knife-point stopped on the letters we called them out to Phillip. The
Ouija spelled out QBCUX41U. No-one knew what it meant but Derek remembered
that spirits sometimes had difficulty in accurately transforming their
thoughts into letters and messages had to be deciphered phonetically. Derek
figured that the spirit's name was Kewbee or his initials were Q B and the
message was that Kewbee could see all of us but one person. (Kewbee sees you
EXCept for one of you). Phillip got frightened. He said that this must mean
that one of us didn't exist or was soon to die. Derek asked the board if this
was true and it said 'YES'. I remember feeling my heart lurch. Derek said we
should ask Kewbee to name who it was that was going to die but the rest of us
wouldn't let him and stood up dropping the board and breaking the link with
For days after everyone that took part was really scared and jumpy, even
Derek. Phillip told me he had had nightmares and wouldn't touch the Ouija
Board ever again. I had too but didn't want to let anyone know I was scared.
Then strange things began to happen at Phillip's house. First the telephone
would ring and nobody would be there, then there would be a knock on the door
but when it was opened nobody could be seen.
Derek said that it was Kewbee trying to call Phillip to use the ouija-board
again. Maybe, he said, Kewbee had another message for Phil?. This panicked
Phil who immediately got the idea that Kewbee was going to tell him that it
was HE who has the person in the group who was going to die. Phil said he was
going to tell his parents but we said he shouldn't worry and made him promise
not to because we didn't want to get into trouble. We were all very scared.
The next thing was when Phillip's parents visited the Mr Lewis our headmaster.
Phillip had told his parents about our Ouija sessions and we were all hauled
up in front of Lewis. The Ouija-Board was taken from us and confiscated. I was
given a letter for my parents who went barmy. I had never seen them get so
upset before. This was something other than anger, it was fear. They banned
me from using Ouija-Boards ever again.
Phillip was still having trouble at home. He still had the occasional
nightmare and was continually in depressed moods about Kewbee getting to him.
All the family began to discover strange things happening. His Dad said there
was a presence, a kind of evil smell, at the top of the steps on the landing
and his mum said that objects she put down in one place had moved to another
place when she came back to them later.
Phil's parents were regular churchgoers and had been to talk to the minister
to see if he could help. Their minister was from the Pentecostals and he said
that the only way Phillip would be free of the demon Kewbee was to take
deliverance ministry. I didn't know what this meant at first but now
understand that it is a posh term for exorcism. Phillip said he was just as
frightened of the Exorcism as Kewbee but his parents had agreed to have him
exorcised without consulting him so he was stuck with it.
At this point the local newspaper came round to report on the Ouija-Board
session. They wanted to do a story on Phillip's exorcism and to have the rest
of the lads there as well. My dad refused. He's not very religious and didn't
want to have anything to do with it. They set the date for the exorcism the
following Sunday evening.
I lay awake that night trying to figure out just what had happened to cause
this strange train of events. Somehow I felt Philip was more in danger from
the exorcism than Kewbee. I figured that the whole thing hinged on Derek's
analysis of Kewbees' message. I reckoned that what we needed was specialist
advice but surely the Pentecostal minister WAS a specialist so that was
allright. In desperation I prayed, but the nagging doubt hadn't gone.
Still there was uncertainty in my mind. Who would be the experts on things
like this? Suddenly it seemed obvious. The people who were experts were those
who made, sold and used the Ouija's in the first place. Surely THEY would be
the people who could explain all this? It was a risk. Perhaps I would get
myself into deeper trouble? Perhaps get so deeply involved that they wouldn't
let me out. I thought of Phillip and the rest of my mates. I had to take that
At lunch-time the next day I skipped school and nipped into Smith's. I found
the section on occult and spiritual books and picked up PROPHECY magazine.
Turning to the section on Occult Book and Equipment suppliers I scanned the
advertisements. They all seemed to have notes in saying that they only
supplied goods to over 18s. There weren't any near Walsall anyhow so I chose
the largest advertisement and made a note of their number.
When I got to the telephone box my heart was in my mouth. I figured that as I
was using the telephone they couldn't see how old I was and so might be
willing to help.
"Hello, is that the Shamans' Apprentice?" I asked.
"Yes, what can we do to help?"
"My friends and I were thinking of purchasing a Ouija-Board can you tell me
something about them?" I thought I would play daft and test them; see if they
really were experts.
"What do you want to know?" The voice sounded kinder than I had anticipated.
"Well, where they were developed, how they work etc."
The guy immediately launched into a blaze of information; he REALLY knew what
he was talking about. It was like a light going on.
"The Ouija-Board is just one of a number of devices used as aids by people who
want to develop their latent psychic powers. Associated paraphernalia are
Auto-Writing Planchettes, Psycho-kinetic Isolation boxes and voice-boxes or
spirit trumpets. All of these devices, in varied forms were developed at the
latter part of the last century when spiritism became popular. The Ouija-
Board is in fact a preliminary aid to developing towards mediumship and taking
control of one's supra-conscious powers. A gentleman by the name of William
Fuld, a German immigrant to the U.S.A. was the first person to market Ouija-
Boards and sold millions of them as parlour-games to children. The business
became so big that he registered and trade-marked both the names Ouija-Board
and Talking Board. Ultimately the trade in Ouija-Boards became so fruitful
that Pallitoy, the large American Toy Conglomerate bought Fuld's rights and
reproduced the board, using his name and trademarks right up until the middle
sixties. At that time they were being imported into the U.K. and distributed
nationally by Waddingtons games (makers of Monopoly). Thousands of kids and
adults have used Ouija-Boards pre and post war without any adverse
This was total and utter sanity on the subject. I remember thinking how
constructive this information was compared to my parent's terror and the
Minister's mumbo-jumbo about demons. Here was a man who really knew all about
the thing. My fear started to evaporate and I suddenly realised that Philip
WAS in great danger. His planned exorcism was coming more and more to seem to
be mediaeval quackery which might do more harm than the Ouija session.
I put another few 20ps in the box.
"But what about the stories about demons and spirits" I said "Aren't Ouija-
"How can they be evil? Its a piece of board with letters on. It's like a
crossword without clues or a page from a book, that's all, except that in the
case of a book the meaning of the page is made up for you. With a Ouija-Board
you make it up yourself. "
"Make it up Yourself!" The man had said the magic words. Could it really be
that all this fear and controversy had been caused because we made up Kewbee
out of our own fears? I asked the man. He said:
"The British public have been kept ignorant by the media. There are too many
people about who think that a Ouija-Board is inherently evil. They pass on
this bias to others who actualise their fears when they use a Ouija-Board.
What they do is unleash their imaginations, that is all. Their own
preconceptions fool them into thinking it is for real.
"During the sixties American religious nuts got it into their heads that the
Ouija-Board was definitely evil. They concluded this because they believe that
spiritualism itself is an evil which is forbidden by the Bible. This is wrong,
spiritualists are actually devoted Christians. The fundamentalist's campaign
of propaganda was so pervasive that even today many people throughout the
world believe that Ouija-Boards are so dangerous that you only have to touch
one to become possessed and you regularly see journalists writing ridiculous
articles about the dangers of ouija-boards built upon hearsay cases which upon
investigation turn out to be unverifiable third hand anecdotal testimony.
The guy was in full swing but it all made sense:
"The Ouija-Board is a method of liberating your consciousness and opening up
psychic sensitivities. " He said. " Fundamentalists and evangelicals don't
want you to be independent they want you to be inter-dependent upon THEIR
dogma, hence the legends about horrors of Ouija Boards. It's a bogey-man
device. Are these self-righteous people trying to save you or control you?
That's the question you need to ask yourself.
"The strangest thing about ouija-boards is that despite the common-belief in
the horrors of ouija-boards there has never been one authenticated case where
really evil things have occurred. Occasional dabbling results in small
frights but this is not what the fundamentalists are alleging. They are saying
that the Ouija Board is a link with the devil. This is unproven popycock. We
have sold THOUSANDS of ouija-boards over the past ten years or so. We have
never had one instance of anything going wrong. In fact if there are any
complaints it is usually that the board has not worked as well as the
purchaser thought it might. Yet the fundamentalists have won in that they
have conned people all over the world into believing their unfounded tales.
That a little bit of wood with printing on it is the embodiment of evil.
"During the 1960s these evangelicals began a campaign to ban Ouija-Boards in
the U.K. Backed by media pressure they succeeded in embarrasing Waddingtons
into stopping sales of the William Fuld board. They succeeded in imposing
censorship based on hysteria. Ouija-Board horror stories are simply
archetypal myth. Neighbourhood rumour and all that. "
"All right" I said, feeding the telephone-box again, "But I saw the knife spell out the
message from Kewbee with my own eyes". That at least was real."
The man asked me to explain how we made and used the board. When I had
finished he laughed.
"I suppose I could say that this is your own fault" he responded " We only sell
Ouija Boards to over-18s because they are usually more in command of their
emotions than teenyboppers. Perhaps the most important aid with a Ouija-Board
is a set of proper instructions written by experts who have used them. If
those who carped about the supposed dangers of Ouija Boards actually listened
to people who use them then they wouldn't build a mythos around the things and
kids like you wouldn't get themselves into hot water defying their parents and
going ahead with mind-experiments in the wrong way.
"Nevertheless" He continued. "Kewbee could have been many things: the result
of random involuntary movements of the hand; the subconscious desire of the
group to complete their preconceptions about the Ouija; even one of the kids
taking cruel advantage and manipulating the fears of the others"
For a moment Derek's name popped into my mind, but the man went on:
"However I suppose the best explanation would be simply that you were using
the wrong end of the knife."
"Wrong end of the knife?"
"Right. You see you and your friends assumed that the point of the knife would
indicate the letters. You must never assume anything when you undertake
psychic exploration of this kind. Neither must you assume that any messeage
spelled out are meaningful or true until tested against known controls."
Of course! Why didn't I think of it sooner. This guy was saying that we had
got it wrong. If we had recorded the letters which the HANDLE of the knife had
pointed at then the REAL message would have been given. This was my chance to
save Phil from that awful exorcism. If I discovered the second message the
first would be proven fake. I quickly thanked the man at the Occult Shop and
put the phone down. Rushing home I tried to form a detailed image of Derek's
home-made board in my mind. It was too difficult to do, I had to have it
written down in front of me.
It meant I had to remake the Ouija Board.
I ran in through the back door. On my way through the kitchen I opened the
cutlery drawer next to the sink and took the first knife which came to hand.
As I saw its blade glinting I remember thinking; 'that's sharper than the one
we used before'. I raced up into my sister's bedroom and grabbed a large piece
of art-card from her art-folder; she wouldn't mind.
"Is that you Malcolm?" I heard my mother shout up the stairs.
"What are you doing?"
"Nothing." I replied.
I took my dartboard from the back of the door and used it to draw a circle on
"What do you mean NOTHING... you must be doing something. What are you doing
up there Malcolm?"
"I'm allright Mum"
As I drew in the circle and it quadrants on the board I heard mum's footsteps on
the stairs. I didn't have much time. It had to be done accurately so I got the
right letters. Got the right message. Before they stopped me.
By the time Mum had got to my bedroom I had the first few letters drawn in
place. She stood in the doorway, horrified.
"Your making a Ouija Board?" She said. "A OUIJA BOARD!" she shouted it out
loud so my dad could hear her downstairs.
A distant voice began complaining.
"STOP IT!" shouted my mum, "John come and stop him he's making a Ouija-Board
in the house"
"I've got to Mum, I've got to. There's another message you see. Another one
which might clear it. all up."
"What are you talking about? You're mad, you're not having one of those filthy
things in MY house. John; quick Come and stop him "
I heard my father bound up the stairs as I quickly finished scribbling in the
last section. I glanced at the board for a final check. It looked okay. All
I had to do now was check off the letters on the opposite side of the circle,
the ones that the handle of the knife would have been pointing at.
"What are you doing you silly young fool?"
"Look dad, it isn't what you think, I've got to check this out. We could
have all got it wrong, all been put through a lot of nonsense because of our
own ignorance about these things. There are things we don't know about. It could
My father snatched the Ouija Board from me with one hand and pushed me
backwards with the other. I fell back on the bed tears welling into my eyes
with frustration. Why were they doing this to me? They had not ever behaved
this way to me before.
"You're not playing about with these bloody things lad, you don't know what
your dabbling in. Next thing you know you'll be into all that Satanist stuff."
"Don't be silly dad" I protested "You don't know what you're saying, you've
been conned like everyone else. Ouija-Boards are not dangerous it's just a
board with letters on it. All I want to do is check something. It will only
take me a couple of minutes. You can sit with me while I do it if you like"
My dad's eyes widened in anger. He took one step forward and grabbed me by the
scruff of the neck. His strength frightened me. As he began to lift me from
the bed my left arm reached out to steady myself and my hand found the knife.
"He's got a knife! Watch him John! He's possessed! The Devil's in him....."
Later that night after the police had been and gone my dad banished me to my
bedroom with the threat of a visit to the Minister in the morning. I thought
deeply about what had happened. I loved my dad, I didn't want to hurt him.
Had I really meant to pick up that knife? I never used it. It was kind of a
last ditch method of trying to stop them and take control of the situation
- to keep them off me.
They wouldn't see reason and I didn't like them. They weren't like the placid,
fair and easy-going parents I knew them to be. Rushing me, forcing me,
blaming me. Full of fear. Over what? A psychic crossword?
The man in the shop was right. There were people so bound up in ignorance and
fear that they were willing to behave like frightened animals and harm those
they loved. My mum thought I had become possessed. It was SHE who was
possessed. Possessed with a double dose of ignorance and intolerance.
Still. It had happened. There was no going back now. I would be watched and
treated suspiciously for months. I would be forced to submit to the
Minister's exorcism and have to attend church regularly even though it meant
nothing to me. I realised that they were trying to take over my mind. They
wanted not only to control my body and my situation, but my soul as well. I
hadn't understood about Soul until then, but I knew now that that is what they
were after. My individuality, My thinking Self. My identity.
Well they might be able to force me to go to bed, to attend church and to
listen to the religious gibberish, but they couldn't rule my mind with
ignorance unless I gave up and allowed them to. Would I allow them to? Had I
the capacity to resist?
I sat bolt upright in bed. It was a crystal clear night and the moon shone
through the cracks in the curtains. My heart suddenly squeezed with excitement
and anticipation. I MUST find out.
I carefully opened the curtains to let in the moonlight. The silver orb was
nearly full and bathed me in a strange way. Silently I took a piece of paper.
There was plenty of light once my eyes had become accustomed to the eerie
glow. I patiently and accurately drew a circle and pencilled in the sections.
Next came the letters. Using a ruler laid across the circle I carefully worked
through that first fateful message which had been so responsible for turning
my life upside down.
To an outsider seemingly meaningless words but words which had had
the power to provoke discord, controversy, fear, changes in peoples lives and
ultimately, perhaps, violence. What was that secondary message pointed out by
the handle of the knife?
What other cataclysmic happenings would occur if I transcribed it?
I waivered. On reflection perhaps it would be better for us all to leave that
stone unturned? What was I saying? That's EXACTLY what the ignorant want.
To compound the terror and succumb to the fear. This was MY life, I had to
learn about these things MYSELF, not third or fourth hand through some
Minister or Parent who were themselves hidebound with fear-of-consequence. I
had to spend my life in MY way, unhedged by the perimeters of fear of someone
else. It was my right to do so. I HAD to find out.
I tore a clean piece of paper from my pad and slowly and deliberately wrote
out the corresponding letters from the opposite sectors on the circle. As I
completed the transcription the full meaning of the message dawned; almost
simultaneously the bedroom door opened and my father walked in.
"What are you doing now you deceitful little monkey? What have you got
I stared at the words once again and then at my dad. It couldn't have
been worse. He would never believe me. No-one would. The humorous irony
flooded over me and I laughed uncontrolably. I knew it would only make things
worse, but I couldn't stop myself. The illicit laughter was delicious.
I handed him the piece of paper and he looked down at it.
On it was written the letters - A. R. S. E. H. 0. L. E.
In the split second it took for my Dad's eyes to register I suddenly became
aware that, completely unwittingly and without one malevolent intention on my
own part, I had become the victim of a chain of events caused by medieval
superstition, ignorance and fear. A situation which had at once bound those
with small and narrow minds but which had ironically released me from bonds
which I was unaware were being applied to my destiny by others.
Derek's Ouija-Board was a lump of card with words on yet it and others of its
like had utterly incarcerated millions of people whilst at a stroke freeing
me from the bonds of ignorance.
One thought was uppermost as my Dad moved menacingly towards me:
That kewbee knew a thing or two.