It's Halloween, and we all know what that means: sugar comas, ghosts, witches, horror movie marathons, and for some, the obligatory sexy nurse/firefighter/zombie/tooth costume (yes, I saw a sexy tooth costume...I wish I were joking).
Anyway, Halloween is the perfect opportunity to explore all manner of creepy, mysterious phenomena that 364 other days of the year barely get a cursory consideration. Most of those explorations are in good fun and relatively harmless; just a fun way to get a cheap scare. Some of those explorations can have some undesirable effects. I'm speaking specifically about Ouija (or spirit) boards, which seem to be particularly trendy with the hipsters these days.
Many people dabble in Ouija board play during this time of year, in the hopes of either a.) disproving its ability or b.) scaring the stuffing out of themselves and friends. Some people never consciously experience any effects of using a board, while others can experience a variety of subtle or not so subtle effects.
The concept of the Ouija board is something that exists in many cultural traditions in a variety of forms. The difference is that the American culture was the only one ignorant (or bold) enough to take these spiritual communication tools out of the hands of skilled shamans, medicine men, witches, seers and sages and place it into the hands of naive teenagers and thrill seekers. Tools that were once used with reverence for those who serve as mediums between worlds were commoditized and mass distributed to a culture who thought they were just having a little fun.
Traditionally spirit boards have been used by those trained in occult practices to contact discarnate spirits for a specific purpose, usually related to healing. The reason these things were not produced for the masses in other cultures is that utilizing this technology takes discernment (usually gained through years of training, wisdom and spiritual knowledge). This was done first and foremost to ensure the safety of the one using the board and those for whom it was being used for, the community at large and in order to ascertain who or what one is calling on the other end, and how to manage those energies once they are contacted.
We've all seen the standard horror movie where the irreverent teenager or skeptical naysayer messes with one of these things and ends up opening a doorway and letting something in that terrorizes and/or possess an innocent family. Well, this happens although typically not in the highly dramatized way you see on film.
The Ouija board serves as a medium, a sort of spiritual cell phone that can, through the invocation of the user's wills and mental energy, invite a variety of energetic communications. It's not that the board itself is imbued with any special properties (it was made in a factory with other board games like Sorry or Monopoly) but rather the expectation, thought/emotional energy of the user and ground energies of the place it is used can activate and attract astral entities.
These entities can be benign and playful (willing to play along to give you a little scare) or sadistically mischievous or even malevolent. The latter entities feed off of the fear that they are able to incite in board users and as such get an energetic meal out of your terror and discomfort (fear is a hot commodity in the lower astral realms).
Very rarely are discarnate loved ones willing to use these tools because they prefer less invasive methods of contact (dreams, subtle feelings, etc). So if you use a Ouija board and something swears it's your dead uncle BooBoo, I'd be really skeptical about the validity of that claim (if you rule out that it's not your friend trying to freak you out by moving the planchette...which is part of the fun right?)
Some people think that simply putting the board away will eliminate these energetic pests (which are really just the spiritual equivalent of a flea) but unfortunately the entities can attach themselves to the board itself, and oftentimes the person (or people) who initiated contact.
While most people will not experience horror movie like hauntings they may experience other energetic effects like fatigue, depression, anxiety, or restlessness that may be uncharacteristic. This is because the energy that has attached itself is seeking experience through the person's emotional and mental system. These are sometimes beings who have never been human and what to take a ride through your energy/physical system to get a little taste of human life, or restless human spirits who linger in the astral realm trying to "feel alive" again through your energy system.
Once the entity has gotten sufficient experience/energy from the host it may either move on to someone else (a bit like a flea hopping onto another dog), dissipate and return to a latent state, or intensify its efforts and lodge further into a persons energetic system and auric structure creating a deeper layer of physical, emotional or mental disturbances.
Once in a while a person may experience external "haunting" like phenomena after the use of a board and in this case they have attracted a particular entity that is familiar with the collective expectation of what a haunting looks like and thus seeks to meet the person's expectation of being haunted through typical scare tactics. Once it has sufficiently fed on the fear (which could take anywhere from a few hours to many years depending on the strength of the entity) it may subside. A proper house cleansing by a light-focused energy worker or a a few home sage smudgings may help speed the process along and transmute the foreign energy.
So dabble in all the Walking Dead marathons, sexy tooth costumes and haunted houses you want this Halloween season, but unless you are a skilled medium, shaman or high plane energy worker (and even then these things shouldn't be used for light entertainment) I recommend steering clear of the Ouija board temptation.
Oh, and for those who may be saying, "I don't believe in that crap, I'm going to do it prove you wrong" these entities love you the most. There is nothing more thrilling than scaring the sh*t out of a skeptic, or riding their awareness in order to feed on the emotion of doubt. And if the above cautionary tale doesn't freak you out use a Ouija board, in an abandoned mental hospital while listening to a black metal album backwards, then report back on how you feel the next day. If you feel great after that you may be energetic teflon, and I salute you.