A Small Change and a Ouija Story

We are relocating again, from one Residence Inn to another Residence Inn located closer to our new home. Turns out the one hour and fifteen minute commute isn’t ideal with toddlers, a baby and two dogs. It’s so tricky, in fact, that we are giving up a two-bedroom hotel suite for a studio just to avoid the hellish traffic. So please, forgive me, but I will publish the next ghost story (about an ex-paranormal investigator from Wellesley who has a word of caution for anyone considering dabbling in the field) next Friday.

In the meantime, I am beginning to receive some truly disturbing stories from readers, several of which have chilled me to the core. I’ve been granted permission to publish one of these stories. You all know that I have a bee in my bonnet about Ouija boards. The following tale backs up my fear, and then some. Here it is, in one reader’s own words. She wishes to remain anonymous and I’ve removed identifying information, but if you would like to discuss the situation further, or if you’ve had your own similar encounter, please message me and I will put you in touch with her directly. She (and I) consider this a true cautionary tale.


“Hi Liz,

I wish you had given me that Ouija board tip back in 1985 when I had just graduated from XXX.  I was just at that age where I had picked up so many bad habits that I just couldn’t move back in with my parents, so I did the next best thing, I walked down the street and moved in with my grandmother.  My grandmother ran a boarding house (think Lackawanna Blues) and she was kind enough to let me move into a tiny room off of her kitchen and pay her $100 a month.  My parents lived on the opposite end of the street in XXX, NY.  I had been fascinated with Ouija boards, and had started playing with one in my apartment before I graduated.  The fact that I had called forth an 18th century ghost that kept cutting off my TV, turning my lights on and off and drove my cat crazy wasn’t enough to deter me.  Nope.  The fact that my boyfriend (now husband) left my apartment at the crack of dawn one morning because he said a lady in old-fashioned clothing was standing over the bed and staring at him didn’t deter me either.  The fact that one night I was up late and saw this same woman with her hand on my bannister peering from the top step into my bedroom (like do I know you?) which made me scream, kick my door closed and play Prince songs until well after the sun came up still didn’t deter me.

Nope, I played with the Ouija board in my grandmother’s house.  Now remember this was a boarding house where people rented actual rooms.  People had lived and died in that house and I could remember at least three of them off of the top of my head.  There was Mr. XX who died of old age.  There was XX who died of cancer in his 30’s and I remember this kid XX who I grew up with – he rented a room from my grandmother with his girlfriend and they had a baby who died of crib death.  I remember all of these things.  So needless to say when I played with a Ouija in that particular structure all hell broke loose.

I really don’t like to talk about it but strange things happened, from my bed constantly shaking, to knocking on the walls.  Someone who looked just like my grandmother would walk into the room (my room was right off the door to the basement), go downstairs into the basement and I would come out later only to see my grandmother sitting at the table cutting up vegetables.  Round about this time my grandmother was starting to get Alzheimer’s.  I tried my best with her but she would forget where she parked her car and sometimes she would forget to eat.  My parents told me that they would take care of her and that it was time for me to move out.  My coming and going at all hours was inconsistent and I was too self-absorbed to be of any real consistent help.

Round about this time my sisters had moved out of the apartment that they were sharing upstairs from my parents (it was a two family home) and I was more than happy to high tail it from the ghosties that I had conjured up in my grandmother’s house.  I threw the Ouija board away…I think…I actually don’t remember what I did with it, but I’m pretty sure that I tossed it.  I moved into the apartment, never touched a Ouija and my boyfriend who was now my fiancé told me that I better not ever touch that shit again.  I agreed.

The bad thing was that even though I had walked away from the house and the Ouija, my grandmother couldn’t get away from it.  My mother used to tell me that my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s had gotten really bad, she couldn’t remember anything and she had taken to drinking beer.  My grandmother never drank the entire time that I knew her but now she would get her tenants to buy her cases of beer and she would drink it non-stop.  I stopped by to visit her a few times but she didn’t remember who I was and she had adopted this really creepy laugh that was NOT the woman who helped to raise me.  One time my mother said she came by to bring her dinner (my Mom took care of her every day, bathed her cooked for her etc.) and she said that my grandmother came to the door scooting her butt along the floor and walking like a crab.  C’mon the woman was 90.  My mother said it freaked her out completely.  I never told my parents about my Ouija games at my grandmother’s house and I can’t help but feel complete guilt about what I might have possibly let into her home.  I sometimes think that something from the Ouija possessed her and I live with an immense amount of guilt whenever I think about it.  My grandmother was a devout Catholic, she had just gotten old.  Eventually she passed away and I just hope that she went someplace peaceful.  My parents sold her house and it was flipped a couple of times.

About two years ago, I had just come from visiting my father (my Mom had died about 12 years prior and my Dad had remarried), I was in the car with my sister and I slowed down at the corner to look at my grandmother’s old house.  There was a little girl standing in the vestibule.  She was cute as a button and waving at us through the glass door.  But there was also something else.  A BEING… he was standing there with his hand on her shoulder and scowling…he had this hideous, monstrous frightening scowl.  It’s really hard to describe because he looked almost animated and he was wearing all black.  The little girl was still waving and my sister said to me…”Do you see that shit?  He’s not human, THAT IS NOT HUMAN!”  Eventually the little girl turned and opened the door behind her to walk back inside.  That thing was latched onto her back and slowly followed her inside.  Whatever I let into that house is still living there… and it just tears me up to know that it might be still hurting others.

You said that everyone has at least one ghost story and this one is mine.  Don’t know if you can use it, it’s short, but I have never admitted to anyone how playing with a Ouija board affected both me and my loved ones.  Playing with something like that opens a portal and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can let any damn evil ass demon or ghost into your life.  My children are now 22 and 20 and I told my sons that if anyone brings out a Ouija board around them to call me and I will come get them right away.  I told them that as children and 1x I did have to get my oldest when he was in elementary school and he was spending the night over a friend’s house.  The whole family was playing with a Ouija and he called me with a shaky voice.  I jumped into the car and brought him home.  I don’t play that shit…not after what I’ve seen can happen first hand.”

Ouija? I hardly know ya.

Nick was the first person to call me about my community board posting. Moments after I hung up with him to schedule our interview I received a text with a calendar invitation to our meeting. The entry was titled, “Interview with Nick Sayre, Paranormal Investigator.”

We met at Quebrada on a sunny frigid morning right before Thanksgiving. Nick absolutely insisted on paying for breakfast. He’s one of those people who say things three times, “No, no, no,” (when I offered to treat to breakfast), “Sit, sit, sit,” (when we were choosing a table). He was slightly controlling, but he pulled it off without being too offensive. Nick was a huge amount of energy, data and opinion stuffed in a tight package. I was overwhelmed before we even sat, sat, sat.

“You’re writing a book.” Nick stated.

“No, at least, not at the moment,” I said, “I’m just researching hauntings in Wellesley.”

“Right, right, right. I’m glad I saw your flyer. You know you should punch it up a bit, or put a notice in the Wellesley Townsman. You’re lucky I even gave it a second look, but my kid was checking out the community board for a chess tutor and the word ‘ghost’ caught my eye.”

“Well, I’m glad you got in touch,” I said, trying to swallow this constructive criticism graciously.

“I’m in Real Estate,” he said.

“Oh?” I replied.

Nick sat back with his legs spread wide under the table. I knew because I was trying to stay out of his way. He said, “Marketing, is key. If you want to get your message out, you need to know your audience.”

Got it. “Right, in your text you refered to yourself as a paranormal investigator. Is that something you do on the side?”

“On the side,” he affirmed, sitting forward in his seat. “I’ve seen some crazy shit. Shit that would turn your hair white.”

Bullshit meter engaged, I ran through escape scenarios. But, he had paid for my breakfast, I was a captive audience, I nodded and took a sip of my coffee, “What have you seen?”

“What haven’t I seen?” he said with a loud laugh.

“Right. So how did you become interested in paranormal investigation?”

“Sure, sure, sure, start at the beginning. Well, it all started with a Ouija board. My wife and I hosted a couple’s game night. It’s something we do with friends once a month and everyone usually plays dirty pictionary or whatever but I wanted to shake it up a bit.”

Pause. First, who was the woman who had married Nick Sayre, Paranormal Investigator? Then, what the hell was “dirty pictionary?” And then, I have to admit, I was raised Catholic. I feared Ouija Boards, heavy metal music and herbal remedies lest they lead to a 20 year pact with the devil. To me, playing a Ouija Board for game night was like giving your social security number to a telemarketer.

“You played with a Ouija Board for game night?” I asked-slash-demanded.

“Yeah, there were eight of us, four couples. Only five of us used the board though. My wife, her friend Jenn and her husband Dave wouldn’t play. My wife was afraid of it and Jenn said it was ‘against their religion,’ whatever the hell that means.”

“Are they Catholic?” I asked.

“Who the hell knows. They sat and watched us while we used the board. You know that religious bullshit is an excuse for anything. You’ve got these religious idiots refusing to vaccinate their kids because they think they are smarter than everyone and then they start fucking measles outbreaks at Disney World.”

“Yet another reason to avoid Disney World,” I said, agreeing with him but not wanting to get into it.

“Ha! Exactly. Talk about conspiracy theories.”

“Right,” What? I thought. “So only five of you played the game.”

“Yeah, five of us used the board. We all put one hand on the planchette and started asking the classic Ouija Board questions, like, ‘Are there any spirits here with us?’ and ‘Can you give us a sign of your presence.’”

“Did anything happen?”

“The planchette moved around to the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ written on the board. Everyone swore they weren’t the ones moving it. We started asking more specific questions.  Someone had the idea to ask questions that could be answered by numbers. Gary asked the spirit to tell us his house number. It was a good question actually; none of us knew it off the top of our heads, and I’ll be damned if the planchette didn’t spell out 1 – 9 – 9. His fucking house number!”

“No shit,” I said.

“No shit. I mean, Gary could have steered us that way, but I don’t think he did. So then we got a little creative with the questions. Maeve asked for her mother’s name and the board spelled out ‘S-a-r-a-h-H-e-r-e’. Maeve’s mother is dead, has been for about five years. Creepy, right? I can’t imagine that Maeve would do something like that, it would be a bit fucked up, no?”

I nodded in agreement and sipped my coffee.

“We were getting into it at this point, whatever we asked, it answered, pretty accurately. Then I asked the spirit to give us a sign of its presence again. And this is where everyone sort of disagrees on what happened next. I asked the question and Jenn said, ‘Don’t,’ like she was afraid something would happen. We all looked up and Maeve gave this little squeaky scream, which totally freaked me out because she was looking over my shoulder. Everyone jumped up and I turned to look behind me. Then I hear my son, Nicholas, who was upstairs sleeping, start screaming, “Mommy! Mommy!” My wife ran upstairs to calm him down and the rest of us were in a sort of embarrassed panic. Scared, but trying to laugh it off.

“I poured another round of drinks and we left the board alone until my wife came downstairs about ten minutes later. I asked what our son had been yelling about and she said he was repeating ‘doors, doors, doors,’ over and over again. His closet doors had been opened. She looked freaked out but said that we must have left them open by accident.”

“What did she see over your shoulder?” I asked, gripped with an overwhelming urge to look over my own shoulder.

“She just said she must have been caught up and scared and she thought she saw a weird shadow standing over me.”

“A shadow? Standing?”

“Yeah, it sounded ridiculous at the time. She’s like that, though. Has been since we had the kids. Dramatic,” He rolled his eyes and took a sip of coffee.

I wanted to give him a quick throat punch, but instead I asked, “Did you continue with the Ouija board?”

“No, everyone was freaked out and over it. We drank some more and then everyone had to go home to relieve their babysitters.”

“Aren’t you supposed to close the board, or something? Like end the communication?” I asked, remembering something that I’d seen in a movie.

“That’s just something from movies,” he said, dismissively.

“Then why did it pique your interest in the paranormal?” I asked, not liking Nick very much.

“It got results, that’s why it piqued my interest.” Coffee sip.

“What results?” I asked taking my own sip of coffee.

“For one thing, the doors. After that night, we started to have a problem with doors in our home.”

“How so?” I asked.

“They would be open when they should be closed and closed when they should be open. Especially in the kitchen. He loved opening and closing the cabinets there.”

“He?” I asked, chilled despite my warm coffee.

“My wife and I referred to him as The Ball. It was something my son said, his closet door did the same thing and he eventually got used to it. He’d say, “No, no, no Ball. Keep the door closed, please.’”

“Your son talked to something called Ball?”

“Yeah, we’d hear him in his room or in the playroom in the basement going on and on. It was like an imaginary friend.”

“I have a three year old, and honestly, I would be terrified if she were speaking with something and doors in our home were opening and closing on their own,” I said.

“My wife hated it, but it just fired me up. I wanted to know more. I did some experiments with the kitchen cabinets and then started researching online. I even checked some books out of the library.” With this he actually winked at me.


“How about your friends? The ones who played the Ouija board with you. Did anything happen with them?” I asked.

“Oh, totally. The two couples who I played with had strange things happen in their homes. One heard footsteps several nights in a row and the other – actually, they are our next door neighbors, Mike & Janet – they had some issues with doors opening and closing too. So then the McCarthy’s – the ones who refused to play because of their religion – convinced Janet to have the house blessed and then they planted St. Benedict medals at the four corners of their property.”

“That sounds pretty extreme.” I said, sitting back in my chair.

“Yeah, they couldn’t handle it,” Nick shook his head and leaned forward, “You know what? Here’s something I haven’t told anyone. I dug up the medals they had planted on our property line. Ha!”

“Why would you do that?”

“It pissed me off,” He said loudly.

“Why?” I asked.

“It just did. Once they put them in I couldn’t get it out of my head. That’s my fucking property line.” He was angry now, in a suppressed rage sort of way.

“Are you still friends with them?” I asked, feeling increasingly nervous around this tightly wound man.

“My wife is, but I don’t really talk to any of them any more. Too busy. Anyway I have the team now.”

“Right,” I said, “How did you meet your ghost hunting team?”

“Online,” he said. Then explained that he had been doing research about Ouija boards and found a chat room where he met and began a relationship with a group of three guys and one girl who call themselves the Metrowest Ghost Hunting Society (MWGHS). He goes out with them every Friday and Saturday night to sit in abandoned buildings, hospitals, and the occasional home of someone convinced that they have a ghost.

“Have you all ever seen a ghost? Or captured it on film or anything?” I ask.

“Oh man, have we seen things? You could say that,” he said with a forced laugh. “This one night, in this abandoned apartment building up in Danvers, we staked out a room where a little girl’s ghost had been seen. We set a ball in the middle of the floor and no one went back into that room the whole night. We video recorded the room and after reviewing the film we saw the ball move!”

“Whoa,” I said, picturing a dark empty hospital room, and a ghostly child moving a ball across the floor.

“Over the course of five hours, the ball moved three feet!” He said with enthusiasm.

“Oh,” I said, disappointed.

“That’s hard proof that something paranormal was happening in the hospital. You know paranormal just means, ‘above the normal’ or ‘out of the normal.’ Catching this activity is not easy.”

“Does your wife mind you doing this every weekend? I mean, does she mind that you are out looking for spirits?” I asked.

“She doesn’t love it, but you know, I work all week and I need an outlet. Everyone does.”

What about her outlet? I thought. Then asked, “It seems like you were having more significant activity in your home than what you are finding on your ghost hunts. Have you captured anything there?”

“You mean on film?” He asked.

“Yes,” I said, annoyed. What did he think I meant? Captured in a net?

“I’m not filming my own home,” he said as if that was the most ludicrous thing that had been stated in this conversation. “I am in touch with my home and my research lets me know everything that I need to know about it.”

“You’ve mentioned this research a couple times, what exactly are you doing?”

I noticed, not for the first time, that when I asked about his home or his family he started to rub the side of his head in a weird way. Using his middle finger he rubbed above his ear in a circular motion. There was actually a small circular bald spot there.

“I’m very in tune. I can feel when things are about to happen in my home, and actually, as I work with it, that feeling is starting to carry over to my investigations with the MWGHS. I had the feeling that spirit was with us in a home we were investigating recently. I asked it to give us a sign of its presence and just like that, we heard three taps.”

“But at home, you said when you work with it. Work with what?” I asked, pressing.

“The board.” He says, his middle finger tracing small circles above his ear.

“You’re still using the Ouija Board?”

“It’s the most effective way to contact spirit.”

“How often?”

He sat back, obviously agitated, “Whenever I need to.”

I considered for a moment, “What about your son?” I asked, “Does he still talk to the imaginary friend, Ball?”

Nick looked around and leaned forward in his seat, “He does, and so do I. I mean, through the board, of course. He spells his name, Baal.”

“What do you talk to him about?” I asked, pushing my seat back a little bit.

Nick smiled, “Everything. He predicts the future, knows things that will happen to me and my family, he even knew when my mother-in-law was going to die.”

“Oh, God, I’m so sorry.” I said, horrified.

“Yeah, well, what are you gonna do? At least I knew not to book a trip for the kid’s Spring break. But that’s not the only thing. Dates and events are great, but I am learning to, well, see things – and people – for what they really are.” At this he sat back in his chair, crossed his arms and scanned the bakery. “I know things because the board knows things.”

I didn’t know what to say. But I gave an awkward laugh and said, “Well, I hope the board doesn’t tell you about me!”

Nick Sayre raised one eyebrow and said, “I wouldn’t be here, telling all of this to a stranger, if I wasn’t sure of your future.”

“And what exactly can I expect in my future, Nick?” I asked, annoyed at his theatrics.

Just then a woman in head-to-toe Lululemon, long highlighted blond hair and Chanel sunglasses sauntered up to our table and declared, “Mr. Sayre! Oh! It is so good to see you!” She turned to me, “Are you selling? He is so great, honestly! Nick!” She turned back to him, “I have been meaning to email to get together for a drink or coffee or whatever. I’m on my way to Bar Theory, but I promise I will call.” Turning back to me, “He’s a genius! You’d better find somewhere else to live because your house will sell overnight! Bye!”

“Bye, Amanda,” Nick replied, watching the woman’s ass as she bounced away. He turned back to me with a smirk.

I was done.

“Well, Nick, thanks so much for talking with me. It was really, interesting,” I grabbed my purse from the back of my chair then reached to turn off the recorder.

Nick grabbed my hand.

I immediately tried to pull it away. He held tight.

“It was great to meet with you,” he said, holding eye contact like a freaking psychopath, “Before you go, I just wanted to say, congratulations.”

“For what?” I asked, snatching my hand away.

“Oh, better for you to be surprised, it is the way of life!” He laughed out loud and stood up. “Great to meet you. Let me give you my card, just in case you need it.”

I collected my things. literally shaking from rage and fear.

“No thanks, Nick,” I said, managing to sound relatively normal. “I have your email if I ever need to get in touch.”

Nick held his hand out to me. I ignored it and picked up my coffee. He let his hand drop, “See you around town,” he said, “Congratulations again.”

I nodded and said goodbye, desperate to leave. I could feel his eyes on my back as I left the crowded bakery.

About a week and a half later I found out that I was pregnant.

Renfield’s Re-Collections part 4 (The Threat is real!)

Greetings and salivations all you bulbous boils and ghastly ghouls!

I want to “Hell-come” you back for another chapter of useless horror information that no one knows better than this grave robber right here! It is starting to cook outside in the Texas heat, so I’ve taken to going inside and online for a little entertainment. Once again like a Bigfoot hunter, I have been searching for the mythical, the strange, and the all elusive horror collectibles that the old innerweb has to offer for sale. So sit back, grab your favorite cool drink, and sink like the Titanic into this week’s lesson of horror collectibles.

As always, Horror Writers and Renfield Rasputin are not associated with the sellers of the featured items and do not retain any interest or profit from the sale of such. Unfortunately…

Antique William Fuld “Talking” Wooden Ouija Board

ouija board


The concept of Ouija boards goes all the way back to the 1890s when it was developed as a parlor game by a businessman who thought to market it since supernatural gatherings such as séances were all the rage at the time. William Fuld, an employee of the company that first patented the board, is credited for the mass production of the commonly used board that we know of today. He coined the term “Ouija” from a combination of the French and German word for “yes”. He later high jacked the patent, changed the story of the history, claimed he invented the board, and retained the profits. He spent the rest of his days suing for copyright infringements. The joke was on him, when his heirs sold off the board’s trademark to Parker Brothers in 1966, when mass production started and later to toy maker, Hasbro, the maker of the board that you can buy today in Wal-Mart. (Sigh.) There is not a real way of determining whether a board is an actual William Fuld. While many religious groups have protested the manufacturing of the board over the world, it still remains a popular selling toy today. The price for a pre-Parker Brothers board varies on condition.


Tales from the Crypt Comic #46 EC Comics

Tales From the Crypt 46


Between Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and the Haunt of Fear, plus the variety of small publishers that were contributing to childhood “delinquency” in the 1950’s, these are the culprits that lead to the Comic Code of 1954. Passed by councils in Houston (I’m scratching my head right now since this is my hometown) but ruled unconstitutional by councils in L.A. (again scratching my head at that one). The code didn’t allow the words “horror” or “terror”. It also said there is to be no vampires, werewolves, corpses, anything that could be understood as sexual perversion, or anywhere that bad would triumph over evil (Seriously? Did anyone tell Disney about this?) This lead to publishers printing their publications in a larger size format and passing them off as “magazines” (Ah! Loophole! Duh-duh-duuuhhhhnnn!) The code went south in 2001 as led by Marvel, then DC 10 years later, and finally Archie comics just recently (Probably just so Jughead could finally catch a glimpse at Veronica’s boobs in the Riverdale girl’s locker room.) With iconic cover art and stories hosted by the puns-a-plenty Ghoulunatics, the “Crypt Keeper” (a more living version than HBO’s), “The Old Witch”, and “The Vault-Keeper” (each shared hosting duties to their sister titles). Many of the stories were made into the HBO production television series. The series was short lived due to the code but revived again as re-releases in the 90’s.  #46 is the last issue to be released. Expect to pay top dollar for any of the original issues despite their condition.


Boglins “Bog O Bones” Halloween Edition Puppet



Oh my Goth! Oh, how I always wanted a Boglin (and still do as I don’t have one yet.)  These were latex creature puppet from Mattel that were released in 1987. Due to the popularity of creature films at the time such as Gremlins and Ghoulies, these puppets sold rather well. The child would insert their hand under the tail and control the life-like eyes and mouth. There were three different styles to choose from and you could learn about your little boglin as their taxonomy was written on the back of their “crate”. I have to admit that I’ve never actually seen a Halloween version, only heard of them. Just as the hairy Boglins, ones that came in a toilet container of slime, the weeping pustule Boglins, they are scarce today! Boglins saw a re-release twenty years later but didn’t sell as well. The “creature” fad had left kids and they had moved on to something stupid like transforming enourmous robots or stupid wads of Fur believed to repeat your phrases so something very uncool like that.  I know that it is a little odd that a grown man wants to insert his hand up a latex creature’s ass, so don’t judge me! Boglins in good shape complete with their crate will go for about $40.


Frankenstein Cookie Jar Limited edition.

Frankenstein cookie jar


Yeah…I own one; and a Wolfman one as well! Had to throw that in there just to impress all the dead chicks! This jar was released in 1997 to prepare for 65th the anniversary of Universal Monsters. There was a Dracula, the Mummy (hardest to find), Wolfman, and the Frankenstein one. Each piece was limited to only 1000 pieces.  Treasure Craft was a huge company for collectible cookie jars since they had the rights to make such characters as Dennis the Menace, Mickey Mouse, and Kermit the Frog. I’m sorry, I’m trying to figure out how to tie in a Cookie Monster joke here. Cookie…Monster,…as in horror? Get it? See what I did right there? Nevermind, I’ve got nothing. I’ll be standing over there if anyone needs me. Due to such a limited production, each piece can fetch $90 easily.

Well, that is all for this week. Check back with me next week when I go dumpster diving through someone’s casket and critique their cheap costume jewelry, fake mink stows, and faux velvet lining.

Until you call on the dark,

Renfield Rasputin


Renfield Rasputin can’t think of a clever joke this week…So, there’s that.

Follow Renfield on Twitter at @renfieldrasputi (since his whole name doesn’t fit) and watch him drag the horror-writers.net Facebook page into ground since some genius thought it was a good idea for him to run it.