There are several cautionary accounts here on YGS of bad experiences people have had using a Ouija board. My experience isn't necessarily bad but a bit on the freaky side.
Around thirty years ago, when I was between the ages of eighteen and twenty one, I experimented actively with a Ouija board. Initially I did this with one or two other people but soon I was using the board alone.
At eighteen I had moved (along with my brother) into my first place away from my parents. My brother and I rented a rather large two story condo in the town of Westmont, Illinois (the town I presently live in but at the northern tip). Initially my brother's wife and new born baby also lived there (he had married for the first time at eighteen) but their rocky relationship soon led to his wife and baby moving out.
Soon, in classic bachelor pad fashion, the condo became "party central" and there was literally a party of varying size going on every day. People came and went at times as if it was a bus terminal and I believe we had four different roommates over the course of the three years we lived there. I just know the neighbors were thrilled with the young and rowdy new renters!
I mention all of this to highlight how surprised I was at my brother's reaction when he discovered I was experimenting with a Ouija board. He became very animated and insistent that he didn't want it in the house. In an attempt to calm him down I assured him I only used it in my room but he was adamant that I should get rid of the thing. It has never been clear to me why he was so strangely averse to the Ouija board, as he was then a staunch disbeliever in all things paranormal, and I have wondered if at some point he had had an unpleasant experience with one. He never wanted to state anything on the subject other than, "Get rid of it!" I remember finding his reaction at the time both surprising and somewhat amusing.
Being a young, inexperienced guy, ignorant of the darker side of the physical world around me (much less the paranormal world), it certainly didn't dawn on me that there could be any real negativity associated with the Parker Brothers Ouija board I had!
A year or so after we had moved in, some friends brought over to one of our endless gatherings the girl I would end up marrying a few years down the road (it will be twenty four years this May). We hit it off right away and had many things in common. Paranormal subjects was one of them and we did use the Ouija board together several times. We received intriguing but generally vague messages and I decided to try it alone. In retrospect it is interesting to me that I did, for a short time, seem to become absorbed by it. I commonly would use the board before I would go to sleep.
At the time I worked driving a truck for a newspaper and had to get up, five days a week, at three in the morning to get to the warehouse which was around fifteen miles away. At that age I never had a problem getting two or three hours sleep before heading out for a full day of work. My then girlfriend (now wife) would commonly stay with me until I left for work and would regularly take a snooze with me.
One night she had left around eleven in the evening and I decided to try a single Ouija board session before getting a couple hours of sleep. Doing these single sessions intrigued me immensely at the time, as I knew that when the planchette moved beneath my fingers, another human participant wasn't moving it on purpose. It's very interesting to me to note that I remember very, very little of the actual sessions. I know I was regularly making contact with something, as words were spelled out, "yes" and "no" answers were given and I remember feeling enthralled, maybe spellbound is a better word, when the planchette would move under a power unseen. Vaguely I remember communicating with both a male and female spirit. At least they presented themselves as such. It is frustrating that clear details seem to have evaporated from my brain. What I do clearly recall about the night in question is finishing a session (and as usual for me not saying 'goodbye' or 'closing' the board properly) and falling asleep.
My alarm went off a little before three in the morning and upon awakening in the dark I could feel the torso and legs of another body pressed right up against me. I reached over this body, which I assumed to be my girlfriend, to switch off the alarm and turn on my bedside lamp. While reaching over this body, I remember having to slightly sit up to reach over it as it was pressed so firmly against me it made this otherwise simple action a bit awkward. The second the light went on I was stunned--There was nobody there! Quickly it dawned on me that Julie had left late the night before! It was discombobulating to think I had been laying next to an entity that had almost certainly gained access through the Ouija board. That said, I had to get to work and besides bringing it up to Julie later that day, I have to say that I never felt threatened or that whatever the entity was had any malice towards me (although that was the last time I ever used a Ouija board).
This incident elucidates why I feel (at least in this one case) the Ouija board could be described more as a briefly open door, or focal point, than as a portal. A few weeks ago there was a bit of a discussion on YGS about "portals" and how certain objects, the Ouija board among them, may serve as portals for entities/spirits, allowing an easier access point to the land of the living. Although the experience I had did freak me out a bit at the time, in retrospect I feel that whatever it was certainly showed no evil intent. Maybe it just wanted to briefly be close to a living person or even, literally, wanted a lie down.
I realize some people emphasize the need to perform certain steps to properly "close" the board and to even perform a cleansing or purifying of it and the house itself after it has been used. As I stated earlier, I was blissfully unaware of such thinking and never did anything other than put the board in a drawer. I would live in that condo for another two years without any paranormal incidents.
This is not to suggest that there are situations when it is probably necessary and helpful to perform some type of purifying/cleansing after contacting an entity/spirit through a Ouija board. I simply didn't know of such things when I was nineteen. Like most teenagers, I was in most ways naive and ignorant of any "bigger picture".
As a footnote, many years (and four houses later), on a snowy Saturday night, a good friend of me and my wife's had come over to hang out for the evening. Very late, and a number of drinks later, conversation turned to the Ouija board (which I still had) and my experience with it many years earlier. She said something to the effect of "we totally should burn it", whereupon we trudged out into the snowy night and burn it we did. That was the final end of my Ouija board.
Although I never had a bad experience with one (freaky but not bad), I have never used one since sharing a bed with an unseen entity. I suppose I was lucky, as my visitor could have turned out to have been something more menacing than a spirit trying to catch some z's! My experience is still something I would consider a cautionary tale however. If I had what felt like a solid person laying in bed with me, who knows what else could potentially be conjured and what attitude might accompany its visit.