I've personally never had a dark encounter with a Ouija board. I don't keep one around the house, either. In speaking to Denise, she told me pretty plainly that she doesn't really give Ouija boards much weight in terms of good or evil. It's largely people, she said, that can dictate why an object can change from a simple definition of a board game to something else entirely.
Though, by her own admission, she has only encountered this once.
And so begins Part 2 of our interview. If you missed Part 1, click HERE.
E.M.: I want to talk about the not so happy endings--the darker stuff. Can you share something specifically that didn't end as neatly as the music box?
Denise: Let me just start off by saying that I'm not someone who will go into a home, look at an object, and automatically sign off with "yes, it's haunted. Yes, it's demonic. Yes, everything that makes you feel safe is over now." Very, very rarely does even a seasoned investigator come across something that can't be remedied to an extent. That being said, I've had two really negative encounters that have always stayed with me. And even now, after so many years, I keep those incidents close. It's not that I expect something bad to happen when I'm on a new case, but I do keep in mind that it has happened before, and to not let my guard down.
E.M.: You and I spoke in depth before about Ouija boards and if they should be considered a toy or a tool, etc. I think it's important to state that you are NOT a proponent of having Ouija boards taken off the shelves at places like Target, and also your reasoning behind it. Can we start there?
Denise: Sure. I simplify this into two concepts: people and intent. There are people in the world who are wonderful and loving and full of optimism. And then there are other people who have ill intentions. Or, there are vulnerable people who get lost and seek out answers in very dark places. They're drawn to something that may seem otherworldly and magical, but that something is actually very, very bad. A Ouija board, in my opinion, is not dangerous if you aren't dangerous and if your head is in a healthy place. If you aren't abusing it or utilizing it outside of its purpose, then it's fine. It's all about the intent. A Ouija board is just a piece of cardboard with letters and numbers on it. Someone with a bad intention (and in the right place at the wrong time) can change that. Or some thing with a bad intention can change that. Does it happen all the time? Absolutely not. In fact, you probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning multiple times vs. having something horrendous happen because you used a Ouija board. But, that I *know* it happened is how I form my opinion. So no, I don't write to Hasbro about these Ouija boards and beg them to stop producing them. Do I own one? No. Would I buy one? No. But again, to be clear, these are predominantly harmless. We have to consider the intent and the people.
E.M.: So, 6 years ago you were in Arkansas on a case.
Denise: Yep, a tiny town about 2 hours from Little Rock. Lots of old homes, but well maintained. The subdivision, I recall, had pristine white picket fences around several houses. I remember thinking how nuts it was that a case this dark was seemingly coming out of Mayberry.
E.M.: What did you know about the case?
Denise: The family had been essentially destroyed. That's what I knew. The woman's name was Linda. She lived alone in her house after she divorced her husband. They had one son who died of a drug overdose 9 months prior. Linda's younger sister, Rosa, had moved in semi-temporarily because Linda wasn't handling the death very well. So the living situation, at least from what I gathered, had been very somber for nearly a year.
E.M.: What experiences were they having?
Denise: Linda claimed she was seeing an apparition of a man, or at least a dark shadow of a man. At first, she'd see him standing at the end of the hallway. She'd see him for only a moment, and then he'd vanish. The way the house was set up--it was a pretty small ranch. The front door opened into a living room. Behind it, a kitchen. Directly to the left, a hallway that led to the bedrooms. When she'd spot the apparition, she'd be facing the end of the hallway from the living room. In the beginning, she wrote it off as her sanity diminishing. But over time, she noticed the apparition seemed to be getting closer to her.
Denise: Yes, Physically, it was getting closer to her. In the beginning, it was at the end of the hall. After a couple months, it was halfway down the hall. At that time, Linda claimed she could make out red eyes. They were staring at her. She was staring back. Then it would dissipate.
E.M.: Was the sister living there when this started?
Denise: Rosa moved in after Linda confessed she was seeing an entity. I think Rosa thought it was either all in Linda's head, or maybe it was Linda's son trying to say a final goodbye. So when Rosa moved in, she brought a Ouija board.
E.M.: And the intention was to reach out to the entity?
Denise: Yes, I think Rosa thought one way or another, it might give Linda some peace. So they did a couple seances with the board. Linda said nothing spectacular happened. The board was left in Rosa's room, and the two women left for a long weekend. When they returned is when the fun started.
E.M.: So, beyond just the entity in the hall?
Denise: Rosa claimed there were scratch marks on the board upon their return, but she initially wrote that off. The house was old. At one time, Linda explained they had had mice; thus, the scratches could have come from a rodent. So she called the exterminator, who came out and reported there were no signs of any new infestations. But the night after the exterminator came, the toilet began flushing by itself.
E.M.: And it wasn't a plumbing issue?
Denise: According to Rosa, she woke up one night thinking she was hearing whispering. She inspected the house and found it was empty, except for Linda and herself. She was walking past the bathroom door and suddenly the handle on the toilet turned and the toilet flushed.
E.M.: Wow. And that was just the tip of the iceberg?
Denise: The nightly whispering continued. So Rosa continued utilizing the Ouija board. Her last session was particularly disturbing. She and Linda were reaching out to the entity that they believed was in the house. They no longer believed it was Linda's son, but they 'named' the spirit Henry. Here's where the problem escalated. Rosa tried to make a deal with Henry. She said if he needed to stay in the house, they would let him. But he was not allowed to frighten them.
E.M.: Wait, wait. wait, wait. So she invited Henry to stay?
Denise: I think her heart was in the right place, but by inviting the entity to stay, she put out the welcome mat for trouble.
E.M.: I always question people who invite things like this to stay. I understand she was trying to make a deal, but...
Denise: I believe they didn't see the true harm in Henry. I think likely they saw him as a surrogate for Linda's deceased son. But after the session ended, things began to take a darker turn. A week after this deal was made, Rosa said she would wake up and find Linda sitting in a room in front of the Ouija board. She wasn't coherent or responsive, but was sitting in front of it, completely still. Rosa caught her doing this 2 or 3 times in a row and finally asked what in the world she was doing.
E.M.: Did Linda realize she was doing it?
Denise: No. According to Rosa, Linda had no idea how she was getting out of bed, much less why she'd find herself waking up in front of the Ouija board.
E.M.: Was that the incident that made Linda look for help?
Denise: They had a really, really bad night. Linda didn't want to talk about it at first, but I got the indication that it -- the entity -- attacked her physically. Linda contacted me about 48 hours after this incident, and there was definitely a sense of urgency.
E.M.: When you arrived, besides the cozy neighborhood, did anything stand out to you?
Denise: No, the house seemed very normal. But when I encountered the Ouija board, it was definitely strange. I mean, psychologically I have to clear my head because I don't want any residual fear or stress from the homeowner rubbing off on me. It's my job to be logical and not emote to anything I encounter. And truthfully, I had never encountered any object that immediately affected me.
E.M.: Were you afraid of the Ouija board?
Denise: I think my thought process was to remove it, but at the same time, I didn't even want it in my car. So instead, I had to question Linda and Rosa about exactly what they had been doing. What I learned was the board was still active.
E.M.: Can you clarify active?
Denise: Of course. Active means they made contact with a spirit and never closed the Ouija session. Active boards that begot negative activity are extremely dangerous.
E.M.: Who do you lean on? Did you have anyone you could call for help?
Denise: I asked the ladies if they had any religious affiliations. Linda had stopped going to church after her son died. I called my pastor, as well as another investigator that lived only a couple hours away. Luckily, they were both able to meet me at the house.
E.M.: I always get curious about that process -- about bringing in spiritual advisers.
Denise: I'm always respectful. I would never push anything on an individual. Linda and Rosa were supportive of my calling the pastor. When he arrived, I filled him in on what was happening, and he asked if he could do a blessing on the house and the two women. They both agreed.
E.M.: And the board?
Denise: The other investigator and myself took it outside, off the property.
E.M.: At the time, had you dealt with an active Ouija board before?
Denise: I had not, but the other investigator had. He immediately submerged it inside a tote of water. After the pastor was done blessing the house, along with Linda and Rosa, he came outside and performed a blessing on myself and the other investigator, and also on the board.
E.M.: Did the blessing, in a way, deactivate the board?
Denise: Honestly, I wasn't sure. But we kept it submerged in the tote, put the lid on it, and transported it as it was.
E.M.: Wow. And where is it now?
Denise: Objects of this magnitude, we don't disclose its location.
E.M.: So it's not in the Warren's museum, or any museum?
Denise: It's in a safe place (laughs).
E.M.: Is submerging Ouija boards in water always how to 'contain' them, if that's the right word?
Denise: Well, what I've found is every case stands on its own. Every case is unique. For this case, we did what we thought would be the safest outcome for everyone.
E.M.: Once the board was removed, did the entity leave?
Denise: Linda and Rosa said the activity began to subside immediately after the board was removed. Another pastor came to do an additional blessing. I keep in touch with Linda relatively regularly, and she says the activity has basically stopped. And she has not seen the shadowman in the hallway since the first time my pastor blessed her house.
E.M.: Truthfully, I'm not sure I could have stayed in the house after something like that. Kudos to Linda.
Denise: She seemed to heal from the experience. She spent so much time grieving and feeling angry, then this entity arrived. When things spiral out of control, it's easy to lose perspective. Linda's in a much happier place now. And I'm very glad things ended up how they did for her. It was bad for a long time.
E.M.: What's next for Denise?
Denise: Another phone call to return, and another case to follow...
Denise had other amazing stories during our interview, but I chose to share what I felt were the two most compelling.
Do you have any paranormal stories? COMMENT BELOW!
PS: It's almost HALLOWEEN! If you want a steal on some cheap and ghoulish reads, check out my diary trilogy for only 99 cents each! XOXO
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