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A Haunting Just Before Bedtime

I remember when I was a pubescent, three of my best buddies had the brilliant idea to bring a Ouija board over to my house. My family lived in a 1700’s farmhouse, so it only made sense that my house play host to anything spiritually entertaining. I was less than impressed with the idea. They, on the other hand, were thrilled.

They unpacked the game in my living room, setting it up center stage on my family’s favorite game table.

“Let us begin,“ Brendan whispered with his eyes closed.

Man, he was really into this.

With 40 finger tips hovering over the planchette (I had learned the anatomy of the game just moments before playing), the easy questions were asked first.

“Is there anyone here?” “Would anyone like to come say hello to us?”

“If you can hear us, can you please make a noise?”

“What is Chad’s favorite type of Spaghetti O’s?”

We sat there in the scented candle light. The only candle my mom could lend us was a Yankee candle called Paradise Kiwi, which provided the ambiance we needed, but also packed a pretty pungent tang which made it feel less like a seance and more like a caribbean book club.

Minutes went by, no movement. John was getting antsy; Chris pissed. Brendan was bored. I was elated. Maybe the spirits would wait us out, and we could pack this Milton Bradly classic right back up, and have it returned to Bradlee's before the weekend was over.

Then… moved.

“Did you move it?” “I didn’t move it?! Chris, was that you?”

“No way, wasn’t me!”

I wanted to admit it was me, but sadly, it wasn’t.

“Is there someone here with us?” Brendan inquired.

The planchette darted across the board diagonally and landed on “YES”.

“Freakin' great,” I thought to myself.

“What is your name?” Brendan followed.

With our fingers still hanging just above its plastic surface, the planchette crept its way back and forth, stopping on each of the four letters spelling the name “Ruth.”

“Ruth, nice to meet you,” Brendan proclaimed, in a tone that sounded almost proud to be opening up Satan’s chasm right here inside my living room.

John piped in. “Ruth, yeah nice to meet you………….where do you sleep?”

I pounced, “Damn it, John! I don’t want to know that!”

I quickly interjected, “Ruth, you don’t have to answer that. Uhhh, tell us your favorite color or what you’re wearing. We don’t need to know where you sleep.”

“Ruth, where do you sleep?” John repeated chuckling as his eyebrows raised.

The planchette began to do its thing. I….N…(oh God, no)….C….H…..A…..D….S…(please lord, no)….B…(make it stop).....E…….(no)......D….(shit).

“Shit” I said.


The boys smiled awkwardly, and John could only lend a halfhearted giggle; a giggle you might hear if someone knew you were about to be eaten by a lion, but they also knew it was their fault you were about to be eaten by said lion.

“Thanks for talking with us, Ruth.” Brendan sliced the silence. “We hope you sleep well this evening.”

The boys packed up the game, shoved it under the coffee table, and quickly got up to leave. It was 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night. “Well, thanks for having us, Chad” Chris stated. “Yeah, thanks.” added John. Brendan was already outside at the car.

The door closed behind them, and I stood in the kitchen, alone. I grabbed a Dove ice cream bar from

the freezer. Stress eating.

I grabbed a nearby blanket and headed to sleep on the couch.

Written by Chad on 4/1/23 while visiting his elderly neighbor who subsequently died later the very same day.

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