This article was previously published in The Bridport News
He was over six foot six, about eighteen stones, dressed from head to foot in bikers leathers, was shaking like a leaf and was standing on my doorstep.
It turned out that this particular ‘Hell’s Angel’ had managed to scare the living daylights out of himself and his girlfriend by ‘playing’ with an Ouija board.
‘Was he possessed?’ he sobbed. ‘Had something taken over his home? The man was genuinely terrified.
Following the popularity of the newly released horror film ‘Ouija’, Google have said that one of this year’s most popular ‘must have’s’ is a Ouija board. These are used to ‘contact’ the dead who might have some special message.
Although mediums have a history dating back centuries, the boards are a modern American invention dating from the end of the 1890’s.
They became popular after the carnage of the First World War which saw a dramatic rise in the incidence of spiritualism as the bereaved sought to contact lost loved ones, especially those with no known grave.
Have I ever dabbled with a board? Yes, once, at college when I was in my 20’s and it was very boring and disappointing.
Did I ever go to a spiritualist church? Yes, once, and found the experience depressing. It was a room containing lonely and grieving people lost in a deep sense of bereavement.
Did I ever go to have my fortune told? Yes, once, and she was closed due to unforeseen circumstances.
To have a faith is to believe in a spiritual world. That so many are interested in the boards show that people have an innate spirituality. Yet I would counsel much caution.
I have in the past been called upon to visit homes where inexplicable things seem to happen. I take it seriously because the people who live there take it seriously.
As Shakespeare’s Hamlet said ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
My advice: don’t dabble. Play Cluedo or Monopoly instead.
And my hairy biker? A cup of tea, some reassurance and a time of prayer seemed to work.