I come from a long line of people with a connection to spirits, or some kind of 6th sense. My maternal grandmother was a shaman in the countryside of the Dominican Republic. It is hard to believe, but she took care of the health and spiritual needs of a whole village outside of Bani. Ever since she was a small child she could talk to spirits. She then went on to be able to use them for healing. My mother and her mother had a connection even though my mother did not grow up with her. I remember countless times when my mother would tell the maids to prepare the guest bedroom because she was feeling her mother closer. And, sure enough, a few hours later she would be walking through the front door. I was used to my grandmother telling us things were going to happen before they happened. She told my future husband had not arrived yet but he had blue eyes and was a foreigner a year before he arrived in the island. He had blue eyes and was a foreigner and we were married 3 years later.
My “gift” is that I dream things before they happen. When I was younger I kept a journal by my bed that I wrote my dreams in. When they happened I would mark them. But later on there were things that I saw ahead of time that I wished I had not. So I learned to not remember them as often.
With that background in mind, it wasn’t very far fetched that we would play with a Ouija board. In 1973, Tommy and I did just that. We didn’t buy the commercial “game” they sell at stores since we were in the DR and had no access to one. Instead, we used scrabble letters, made a yes and no out of paper, used the coffee table and a crystal glass. It was large enough to place our fingers on the top, but small enough to be able to move it.
If you are not familiar with a Ouija board, the idea is that you invoke spirits using a small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic called a planchette to communicate moving it to point to letters and thus “receiving” a message. We started out believing this was just a game. A fun thing to do to pass the time in the hot Caribbean summer. But we soon learned better.
We started communicating with different spirits. Some were somewhat ambiguous while others were very direct. Then we met Leon. Leon was an old spirit who told us he had been watching over Connie, Tommy’s mom, all her life. He would “talk” with us almost every night. It was entertaining.
Tommy wanted to prove that no one was actually pushing on the glass and thus controlling the message, so we all used bobby pins which slipped if you tried to push the glass with them. The messages still came. So, we kept on “playing”.
One night, Tommy, his sister Gioia and I we were talking with Leon when another spirit took over the glass. The spirit told us it was my grandfather’s sister, tia Caona, who had been in the hospital in a coma for about a week. She told us that she was dying the next morning. I started asking her questions that only I knew the answers to and she answered them correctly. So, it couldn’t be anybody else pushing the glass. When it was over, I called my mother. She told me that Caona had just come out of the coma and was feeling better.
Caona never married and spent her whole life raising her brother and sister's kids. She raised my mother and uncle and to them, she was their mother. She was the one that saw them through sickness, homework, school and much more.
Later that night I went home late after playing and socializing at Tommy’s house. I went to bed but was quite restless. So was my dog Jupiter who slept in my bed with me.
My father built our house so that when you closed and locked the doors to the bedrooms, the rest of the house was completely sealed off from them. You could break into the living room, dining room and kitchen, but could never get to the bedrooms. There were two bedrooms and a bathroom along a very large hallway. One of the bedrooms was my brother Alex’s and the other my sister Jackie’s. There was a smaller hallway that connected from the large one and went all the way to my parent’s room. That door was also locked at night and you had no access to the bedrooms. My room also opened to that smaller hallway. My sister’s room connected to mine and mine to a bathroom that connected to my parent’s room. So, you could go from my sister’s room through my bedroom and the bathroom to my parent’s room, or you could go down the smaller hallway and bypass my sister’s bedroom, the bathroom and my bedroom.
I was lying in bed when I saw a white figure float down the hallway and by my bedroom door and towards my paren’t room. I say float, because it wasn’t touching the ground. My dog was trembling and I couldn’t move. When I was little, in the cartoons, when a character was afraid they drew ice cubes around the legs. I always thought that was funny. But, I can say for a fact that my feet felt like they had ice cubes around them. It seemed like an eternity before I could garner the courage to move and warn my parents. I walked towards the bathroom and opened the door. All I saw was my shaken little sister freaking out. She wasn’t expecting to see me and I wasn’t expecting to see her. So we stood there and screamed and screamed. She had seen this thing come into the bedroom and float over my mother. Needless to say, we woke the whole household. My father was not amused. Apparently, the night before, my brother Alex had felt something in the house and woke him up also. But they had not mentioned it so we wouldn’t get scared. My dad was not happy. He looked all over the house and, of course, couldn’t find anything.
The next morning, around 8 am, my mother got a call. Caona had just passed away. We don’t know if it was her spirit saying farewell to my mother. Whatever it was, it wasn’t in my mind or Jackie’s. We both saw it in different rooms. So, we couldn’t ever explain that one. And it wasn’t anything to be feared.
Since that night until I got married, Jackie and I slept together and we had the lights on all night.
You would have thought we would have stopped there, but we didn't. A few nights later there were a lot of people at Tommy's house. Every night people came buy to visit. We always had a few people over for dinner. Tommy's dad's table was a very famous one and his wine collection very extensive. After dinner we started playing with the Ouija. Our friend Nando was there as well as many other friends. A spirit came in that claimed to be his uncle who had committed suicide. Nando didn't believe in this stuff and didn't want to join in. So he wasn't going to play along. The spirit got more and more powerful and more and more demanding that he talked to him. Nando wouldn't budge. All of a sudden, the glass started going around and around and then it flew off of the table and shattered into dust. Tommy's dad got really upset because it was an expensive crystal glass (it seemed to work better than any other). Ever since that night we never played with it again.
So, leave those things alone. They are not a game.