Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scary Paranormal Games


We don't usually think of games when we consider the paranormal. The paranormal is something to be cautiously investigated, researched and taken seriously, not trifled with in something as frivolous as what we'd consider a "game."

We're not talking about the harmless games children play at Halloween or even the various paranormal-themed action and role-playing computer games available. We're talking about the games that are played in the dark of night that truly can be paranormal in nature and have unexpected, even terrifying results.

Games such as "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board," the Ouija board, "Bloody Mary" and spoon bending seem to be favorites of teenagers particularly. At parties, sleepovers and when the opportunity arises to sneak into an abandoned or rumored-to-be-haunted building, these games are very often played. Teens like them not only because they challenge the unknown, but also for the same reason they love horror and slasher movies - they like to be scared.

Adults and paranormal researchers usually discourage such games - particularly the Ouija and Bloody Mary - because of the negative psychological impact they can have on the participants. Whether the game players are merely scaring themselves or they really are tapping into negative realms, many researchers advise that these "games" are best left alone. And for that reason, we cannot recommend their practice. Light as a Feather and spoon bending are more harmless and may have a scientific basis, but some argue that any game that has elements of the unknown should be avoided.

SPOON BENDING

Psychic Uri Geller is most often credited with the phenomenon of spoon bending. While skeptics claim this feat is nothing more than magician's sleight of hand, others say that it is a psychic phenomenon that just about anyone can accomplish.

It's so easily done that spoon-bending parties have been held. On these occasions, the host brings a load of spoons and forks (forks are probably used more often than spoons because it's more dramatic to get the tines all twisted), usually bought cheap from a thrift store. The party goers are asked to choose a utensil they believe will bend, and sometime during the course of the event, most of the spoons and forks indeed do bend and twist, seemingly in defiance of all logic and the laws of physics.

In short, the method goes like this: Invite people to the party that you know and like. Create a relaxed atmosphere of fun and laughter. Ask each participant to choose a utensil that they believe "wants" to bend. (They don't all want to bend.) It's even suggested that you ask the fork, "Will you bend for me?" Then hold the fork vertically and shout, "Bend! Bend!" Rub it gently with your fingers.

If the utensil does not begin to bend, divert your attention. Focus your attention on something else. Some even say that this inattention to the utensil is vital in getting it to bend. When it succeeds, the fork or spoon will bend easily. Contrary to popular belief, the utensil will not just start twisting of its own accord (although this has happened on rare occasions). Rather, the utensil becomes so malleable that it is quite easily bent and twisted with the hands using almost no effort - as if it were made of the softest metal.

Although I've never had any luck with bending spoons or forks (I've always tried it alone and not at a festive party), some have been able to easily twist several forks into impossible shapes, as the photo on this page shows. If there is something to this phenomenon, it seems to be more of a natural one than supernatural.

LIGHT AS A FEATHER, STIFF AS A BOARD

This levitation game has been around for decades. I recall my wife telling me that she and her friends tried it at a teen party - and it worked.

The most common version of this "trick" requires at least five people. One person, the victim, lies relaxed on the floor with eyes closed. The other four participants surround her, one on each side, one at the head and one at the feet. Each of the participants places two fingers of each hand beneath the victim. With their eyes closed, they begin to chant, "Light as a feather… stiff as a board…" over and over. With just the slightest effort, the participants are able to raise the victim off the floor in what appears to be the defiance of gravity.

Does it work? In addition to my sister, I've heard from a number of other people who attest that it does. I have never witnessed it personally. Some contend that it can work with just three people, which would be even more astounding. There are also variations on this levitation trick involving a chair. If there is any truth to this, as freaky as it seems, I would again say there is more of a psychological explanation to this than anything. You can read more about HUMAN DIAMAGNETISM GRAVITY ANTENNA LEVITATION here.

BLOODY MARY

The conjuring of Bloody Mary has been a favorite way for teenagers, girls in particular, to scare themselves silly. The appearance of the Bloody Mary spirit has become the stuff of urban legend, yet many have testified that she really does appear.

Basically, the ritual goes like this: stand in a darkened or lightless room where there is a mirror. Stare into the mirror and chant "Bloody Mary" 13 times. The gruesome spirit of Bloody Mary will appear behind you in the mirror.

There are many variations on the ritual, any of which a brave teenage girl will try, usually on a dare. Sometimes a lighted candle is required in the dark room. You must chant the name three times, six times, nine times - even up to 100 times, depending on whom you ask. Another variation is that you must spin slowly in place while you chant Bloody Mary's name, glancing in the mirror with each turn.

An excellent article by Patty A. Wilson in the June 2005 issue of FATE magazine gives the complete history of the Bloody Mary legend, saying that the most likely origin is the life of Mary Stuart. Also known as Mary Queen of Scots in 16th century England, she was involved in many plots, intrigues and murder. She was executed in 1587, and it is her bloody corpse that appears in the mirror when beckoned.

Yet another tradition says that the evil spirit is none other than Satan's spouse. (I didn't even know he was seeing anyone!)

Although the biggest worry with Bloody Mary is that the participant will succeed in scaring herself into hysterics, we occasionally hear stories about people who really did see Bloody Mary in the mirror. Usually these tales come through a friend of a friend and are, of course, impossible to verify. Because of the ritualistic nature of this game and the invocation of a spirit in the process, this game could be more dangerous than the others in opening up the possibility to demonic manipulation.

OUIJA BOARD

The Ouija is undoubtedly the most well-known paranormal game in the world, mainly because it can be found in just about any mainstream toy store. It's the commercial version of the "talking board," which may date back centuries.

For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Ouija is a game board on which are printed the letters of the alphabet and the words "yes," "no" and "goodbye." Two players place their fingers lightly on a planchette or pointer, then ask questions. The pointer then seems to magically slide around the board, spelling out answers.

While some contend that the movement of the pointer is just the result of unconscious effort by the participants, or the "ideomotor effect," (see the article, "Ouija: How Does It Work?"), members of various religious groups are joined by many paranormal researchers in warning that the Ouija may indeed be opening a door to the spirit realm. Dark and sinister forces, they say, can enter our dimension through this door, sometimes with chillingly negative consequences. (See below "Tales of the Ouija" for some of these experiences.)

Because of this possible negative impact, many researchers advise that the Ouija should not be used under any circumstances. From a Christian perspective, it clearly encourages occultic activity that could open the door to demonic manipultion.

TALES OF THE OUIJA

The Ouija Board continues to be a source of fascination, experimentation and concern among paranormal researchers and the general population. Most stories of the experementors are of a negative or frightening nature, though others are neutral or benign.

Those who experiment with the board often claim to contact spirits, some of who divulge their names. The identity of these spirits is usually impossible to verify. Once in a while, a spirit claims to be a well-known or historical figure – or even the devil himself. Such was John M.’s experience.

“When I was about 11 or 12 years old in the late 1960s,” John says, “I had a friend who claimed that he had a Ouija board where sometimes the planchette [the board’s heart-shaped indicator] would move about on its own if he left the board out at night. Naturally, I was skeptical, having never seen a Ouija board that did much of anything. As kind of a joke, I told him to bring it over one summer afternoon and we'd try it. Sure enough, as we started asking it questions, the planchette would move about very rapidly and provide answers, or sometimes it would just point to yes or no. Since the movement was so fast for the pressure I was applying to the planchette, I was convinced my friend was moving it himself, but every time I asked, he denied it. Nevertheless, we were having fun and continued to ask questions.

“At some point I finally asked, "Who are you?" and the board spelled out S-A-T-A-N. I just looked at my friend and laughed, now even more convinced that he was the one doing the spelling. So then I asked, "What's your last name?" and the board spelled out R-A-S-P-U-T-I-N, which meant nothing to me, but I wrote it down. After we were done, I looked up Rasputin in the encyclopedia and was stunned to see that a man by that name lived in late 19th century Russia, and was feared because of his supposed occult powers. Knowing my friend, his age, and his level of intellect, I became convinced right then and there that the Ouija was for real and that my friend had not spelled that name out.”

Even if the Ouija is capable of contacting the spirit world, is it likely that the spirit of Rasputin would speak to two teenage American boys? Or was some other entity just playing a scary trick?

The Ouija Strikes Back

On rare occasions, use of the Ouija has triggered physical manifestations and psychokinetic activity. Darryl D. claims that he and his friends were assaulted by something during a Ouija session.

“When I was about 14 or 15 years old, I had a Ouija,” Darryl says. “My friends and I would gather in a basement at my friend Doug's house. We would turn the lights off, light some candles and sit around an old table that was in the house when his grandpa lived there. (His grandpa committed suicide in the kitchen.)

“One night when we where using the Ouija, a gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew out all of the candles.

“Another time, some girls came over to Doug’s house and we started using the Ouija. We started to see strange shadows walking around the basement... and then it happened: the candles went out and we all heard this horrible scream. After we got the lights turned on, we noticed that one of the girls, who was sitting on a couch watching us, had blood coming from the back of her neck. The necklace she was wearing had been ripped from her neck and was laying on the floor about 10 feet from where she was sitting. She had two small charms on it; we found one inside of a small crawlspace under the stairs and the other was outside laying on the concrete in front of the back door. I have not used this Ouija since this happened.”

I think anyone who experienced this would also put the Ouija safely away.

The Ouija Gamble

If, as it is claimed by some, that the Ouija can contact beings from unknown planes of existence, couldn’t they perhaps give us information about winning the lottery or some other lucky numbers? Undoubtedly, this has been attempted many times. Clift S. says he tried it.

“Back in 1969, I was living in Tacoma, Washington, managing an apartment house,” Clift tells us. “One night I used the Ouija board to see what I could find out. I didn't know what spirit I would get, if any. After awhile, it started to move, so I asked who it was, and the pointer spelled out DAD. It scared me.

“I never messed with it again until 1971 when my brother came to Tacoma to live. I was betting on horse races, so his daughter, who had a Ouija board, suggested we should see if we could find out the numbers of the horses who would win the first two races at Portland Meadows racetrack. So my niece and I used the Ouija, and it said the numbers would be 2 and 6 in the first two races.

“My brother, his wife, my niece and I drove to Portland to play these numbers in the daily double. Well, the horses came in 6 and 2 in the first two races – just the reverse of what the board said.

“I don't know if my niece has the board anymore, but I do believe you shouldn't use the board because it will either cause you harm... or make you do foolish things like we did.”

The Ouija gave Clift the right answers, but not in a way that was useful to him. Was this the act of a prankster spirit?

Ouija Answer

The board isn’t always a prankster. There are many cases in which the Ouija provides real, verifiable information that is not known by the participants. Andrea’s experience is a compelling one.

“Two friends and I were talking about Ouija boards, and whether or not we believed in them. The two friends were firm believers in the board and its powers, but I was skeptical. Having a Ouija board myself, yet never using it, I decided to bring it to our next gathering and give it a try.

“At my friend's apartment we turned down the lights, lit a candle and went to work. Within a minute the planchette started to move. One friend asked if there was a spirit that wished to communicate with us. The planchette went to the word YES. Starting to think there was something to this, I had a question for this spirit. I had a brother my family lost touch with over two years ago. I asked if the ghost knew where he was. It answered YES. It spelled out quite clearly a street name in British Columbia, Canada.

“After finishing our session with the board and thanking the spirit, I searched the Net and found out there was one listing for this street in B.C. within the Fraser Valley, between Vancouver and the U.S. boarder. Upon searching the city's phone book listings under my brother's last name – there he was, plain as day. Having a very unusual last name, I knew it was him instantly. I tried the number, and it was his voice on the other line! I was stunned.

“Maybe there is something to Ouija. I don't know. The two friends knew I had a brother, but never met him. They also did not know my maiden name in order ‘fix’ the board's answer. I have no explanation except that I guess spirits do exist.”

Ouija Growling

The reason many paranormal investigators advise against using the Ouija is that they believe it can open doors to realms that should remain closed. Ken M.’s cousin and friends learned this lesson the hard way.

“This happened on a hot August night in 1971 in the town of Lodi, California,” says Ken. “Some people are more successful at conjuring up spirits than others with a Ouija board. Carol, my cousin who swears by the story, had quite a history of contacting both benevolent and malevolent spirits.

“On this particular night, Carol and her friend were at Carol's house with their boyfriends. Soon after they began, the planchette took on a life of its own and told them there was a robbery in progress at a nearby McDonalds. Everyone was quite skeptical. Then the Ouija went on to describe the vehicle driven by the culprits: a station wagon, and that it was urgent. "Help, please help!" it spelled out.

“The men decided that the situation was too good to pass up, and just before they left, they told the women to not open any doors except for them. They drove off leaving the women with one shotgun and a box of shells. As their headlights pulled out of the driveway, Carol and her friend were terrified by a loud growling noise coming from the back door. Terrified, they braved enough energy to venture back to the door and were greeted by a loud scratching noise. As soon as they heard this, they scrambled back to where the shotgun lay and pumped shells into the chamber.

“As they got the shot gun loaded, a knock was heard at the door. Carol pulled the drape back and was relieved to find her boyfriend and his friend standing there. Full of terror, they let them in. They told the men what they had just encountered and what they had just heard at the back door. Still skeptical, the men went to the back door to investigate.

“They found the door was shut but when they opened it, they found long deep scratches along the door frame. Carol told me that she and her friend threw away the Ouija board that night.”

Did the Ouija give false information just to get the men out of the house so it could terrorize the women? Scarier still, what would the women have encountered had they opened that back door?

Conclusion

These are only a few of many verified tales concerning these scary paranormal games. Like any of these games, I have never tried them myself and do not plan to, though I have heard stories from trusted friends and family members that testify to the fright and unease of all the above "games". Because of this they should not be played with, as questionable phenomena could bring negativity or evil in ones life unknowingly. In the case of the Ouija especially, there are many reported cases of demonic possession resulting from its use. If this doesn't convince you to avoid it, then I don't know what will.
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