WASHINGTON, March 3, 2017 — The bulletin was filed under the whimsical category “weird news.”
In late February, a mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, demanded that authorities fire a Clement J. Zablocki Elementary School teacher for bringing a Ouija board into her classroom.
“The kids have been asking for a scary story and I got the [Ouija] board … to answer some of their questions,” the teacher explained in an email to the angry mom.
But the parent said her 5-year-old boy is too frightened “to go to bed at night, to be in the dark, anything alone,” she told Milwaukee’s ABC affiliate WISN.
Consider the story a testament to the acceleration of America’s secularization.
The Ouija board, sometimes called a spirit or talking board, gained wide popularity in America at the conclusion of the First World War, with grieving families employing it to speak to the estimated 116,561 American war dead.
Today, this porthole to another world is considered a diversionary toy to entertain impressionable 5-year-olds—in an odd display of nonchalance by an adult.
Grady Louis McMurtry, a student of mad occultist Allister Crowley (“The Beast”), told author J. Edward Cornelius that the conjurer once told him the Ouija board “was not a toy to be played with lightly, and that the average person walks on dangerous ground when using the board. In fact, he said, knowing what he does about the board, he’d never use it casually. This bewildered me while piquing my curiosity.”
Crowley, it must be remembered, claimed he could summon demons.
In 1993, accused killer Stephen Young, age 46, was told to stand and face the jury. The ‘twelve good and true” were about to decide the insurance broker’s fate.
Was he guilty or not guilty of the brutal murders of Harry and Nicola Fuller, shot in their East Sussex cottage?
“Guilty,” said the panel.
However, it was how they arrived at their verdict that caused the British judiciary to, well, flip their wigs: Four of the jurors used an Ouija board to speak directly with the murder victims.
The verdict was overturned and a new trial ordered when the Ouija board incident was discovered. The second jury also declared Young guilty of murder.
Young’s spectral accusers had the last laugh.
Official Catholic doctrine is less sanguine concerning Ouija boards. The church cites the Old Testament prohibition against “divination” (seeking answers by supernatural means):
“There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer.”
So says the book of Deuteronomy.
The late demonologist Ed Warren, whose exploits were depicted in the “The Conjuring” films, told biographer Gerald Brittle:
“The Ouija board has proven to be a notorious passkey to terror, even when the intent of communication is decidedly positive in nature. Of the cases we respond to, four in ten concern individuals who have raised inhuman spirits using a Ouija board. I was one of a few people who examined the official records of The Exorcist case. That case … occurred in 1949, and do you know how it originally got started? By using a Ouija board!”
Novelist Brian Aldiss once said, “When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults and they enter society, one of the politer names of hell.”
A hell one Milwaukee school teacher blithely introduced to a classroom full of innocents.