The Ghoul on the Moon
Ouija knows all the answers. Weird and mysterious. Surpasses, in its unique results, mind reading, clairvoyance and second sight. It furnishes never failing amusement and recreation for the entire family. As unexplainable as Hindu magic—more intense and absorbingly interesting than a mystery story. Ouija gives you entertainment you have never experienced. It draws the two people using it into close companionship and weaves about them a feeling of mysterious isolation. Unquestionably the most fascinating entertainment for modern people and modern life.
The Bradbury Building looms bizarrely on the corner of Third and Broadway in Los Angeles. The architectural spectacle has been used by filmmakers like Ridley Scott and David Fincher for their films Blade Runner and Se7en, respectively.
A story behind this building is that in 1893, apprentice architect George Wyman consulted his dead brother through an Ouija board before beginning construction. George had little experience and lacked confidence in his abilities. His dead brother didn’t. According to George, through an Ouija board, his brother spelled this message:
T A K E B R A D B U R Y B U I L D I N G I T W I L L M A K E Y O U F A M O U S
George Wyman built it. And it made him famous.
Between 1913 to 1937, Mrs. John Howard Curran stunned the literary world when, through an Ouija board, she channeled an entity named Patience Worth and produced six novels, two thousands items of blank verse, and hundreds of pages of poetry. Her creative productivity was so extensive a magazine was devoted to her, named Patience Worth’s Magazine.
Of course, Mrs. John Howard Curran denied that the Ouija board was responsible. Many of her admirers refused to believe this.
On August 10, 1949, The Washington Post reported of an incident involving a Mt. Rainer, Maryland boy. The boy began displaying unusual symptoms after his family experimented with an Ouija board.
Symptoms like speaking in a low, guttural voice. Bodily twitching.
His bed shaking.
The movement of room furnishings from their usual positions.
Several articles followed. They elaborated on the boy’s tribulations. The failure of medical science. His cure via a Catholic priest.
In 1951, Fate Magazine followed up the story, which inspired fledgling author William Peter Blatty to fashion a novel around choice facts. The book was released, heavily altering the original story, in 1971 under the title The Exorcist.
Inmates in Santa Clara County Jail in 1991 created an Ouija board from a Scrabble set. The prisoners, Latino gang members from southern California, believed they had been possessed by a demon after a session with the board; causing such a ruckus that prison officials called a priest to perform an exorcism. A guard remarked on the prisoner’s ingenuity: “On the back of a Scrabble board, they created the moon, the sun, and the letters-all components of an Ouija board.”
The prisoners vowed never to dabble in such things again.
In Minco, Oklahoma, grandmother Carol Sue Elvaker, following an Ouija session, stabbed her son-in-law twenty-seven times, killing him. She then packed her daughter and two grandchildren into her Chevy Impala and drove toward Tulsa on Interstate 44. Along the way, she slammed into a road sign, attempting to kill herself and her family. Despite two broken ankles resulting from the accident, she vaulted a freeway median barrier, ripped off her clothes, and then ran naked into the forest. Police arrested and charged her with first-degree murder.
She was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Right now, little Missy Taylor is sneaking into her older brother’s room to steal one of his board games. She has little else to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Her older brother, Michael, is staying with his friend tonight and had already left,
Missy opens her older brother’s bedroom door, creeping inside, tiptoe, tiptoe, tiptoe. The black curtains are drawn, hiding the rainy Saturday afternoon outside overlooking Plymouth Harbor. She can’t see more than three feet in front of her. When her older brother left, he had told her not to go in his room, since he had just got a new game and he didn’t want Missy to play with it and break it.
Missy, of course, had to see the new game.
One of her favorite hobbies is playing board games, especially with her older brother. When he wasn’t in the mood, Missy would play the games by herself, sometimes reinventing rules to fit her solitary needs.
Nothing frightens Missy Taylor. Not snakes, spiders, thunder, the five inches of space underneath her bed, closets, a punch in the arm from her older brother, nothing.
She opens the closet door and begins pushing aside her older brother’s button down shirts, sweaters, and winter coats to get at the shelf behind. His wool sweater with the crisscross white and navy blue pattern gave Missy annoying itches every time she came into contact with it. She pulls the sleeve of her shirt down over her hand to push the sweater away to reveal the board game that littered the back shelf. Her snooping hazel eyes dart over the countless games, until stopping at the pinnacle of the cardboard stack.
Missy was always being told by her parents and kindergarten teacher how smart she was.
She taught herself how to read.
She taught herself the multiplication tables.
She could also be very curious and very inquisitive.
The word printed lengthwise on the top box perplexes her. It is unlike any word she has encountered before in her young life. She tries sounding out the odd word in her head. She tries sounding the word out loud.
“O…ouu…oui…oui…ji? Gee? Ou…ou…oui…gee? Ou-i-ge?”
She shrugs her tiny shoulders and snatches the box with the odd name. She gingerly puts everything back the way it was, closes the closet door, then the door to the room on the way out.
She passes by the living room, where her mother watches a news report, oblivious to her little munchkin calmly strolling by with a grownup’s board game underneath her arm. She passes the kitchen, where her father cooks pork chops.
Inside her room, little Missy Taylor places the box on her bed then closes her door. Opening the box, she scours through it to find the dice. She thinks how it can be a game and not have any dice; only a board, directions, and some funny white thing with a glass in the middle of it.
Among the plethora of superstitions and unofficial rules Ouija board users have, the ultimate and most sacrosanct rule is you do not play alone.
Little Missy Taylor sits legs crossed on the floor, placing the board and the funny white thing on the floor. She stares at the letters, the moon, the sun, the “YES” and the “NO.” She takes the funny white thing, which in the directions is called a word that Missy has difficulty sounding out and places it on the board in the center and stares at it. She wonders what she has to do now, so she looks at the directions again.
As she peruses the directions, the funny white thing moves.
Missy, little Missy Taylor, not frightened by anything, leans over the board, curious. She leans to her side. She lies down on the floor, trying to find any angle that would show her how the funny white thing moved. She taps it with a precocious finger, shifting the funny white thing slightly. She lays a finger on the funny white thing, and keeps it motionless. Underneath her finger, little brave Missy Taylor feels a quivering.
And the funny white thing moves again.
Missy clenches a fist away from the funny white thing. Uncontrollably, she cries out, “Who’s there?!” She slaps her other hand over mouth and stares in horror at the door, waiting for either Mommie or Daddy to come in, to see why she yelled.
Having read the directions to the game, Missy knows, sort of, how this is supposed to work, that when the funny white thing (or planchette, she figured out the word) passes over a letter, then another, it spells a word out. She supposed to be talking to someone, and she has to ask questions. She watches the planchette spell out the answer to her outburst:
I A M T H E G H O U L O N T H E M O O N
She tilts her head slightly, trying to puzzle it together.
“The what?” she says, almost involuntarily.
T H E G H O U L O N T H E M O O N W H A T I S Y O U R N A M E
Bear in mind, little Missy Taylor’s inquisitive precocious finger is not on the planchette, the funny white thing.
H E L L O M I S S Y
Missy giggles. “You have a funny name. Don’t you have anything smaller?”
The planchette points NO.
“How did you get such a funny name?”
I T I S N O T M Y N A M E I T I S W H O I A M
Missy plays with her hair, as she always does when she meets someone for the first time. She tries to think of questions to ask, since that is what the directions say she should do. So she goes with the usual questions that she asks any new person.
“How old are you?”
F O R E V E R
“That’s not an age! Use the numbers, silly!”
The planchette remains on the R. Missy cradles her head in her hand, her legs crossed, and eyes never wavering from the planchette.
“So, ghoul on the moon, where ya from?”
The planchette doesn’t move.
“Are you there? Hello?”
I A M H E R E
The box for the game on the bed behind Missy falls to the floor. Little Missy gives the fallen box a quick cursory sideways glance, just to see what it was, and then returns her attention to the board.
“There you are. So, what do ya want to talk about? Because if you’re what the directions say, there’s a boy in my class who keeps pulling my hair and every time he does it ruins the braid that my Mommie did for-“
W H A T I S A M O M M I E
“You don’t know?”
“Well, it’s a lady that takes care of you and she’s the most special person in your life because she’s always there for you. Just like Daddie.”
W H A T I S A D A D D I E
“It’s the same thing, except he’s a boy and smells funnier.”
I D O N O T U N D E R S T A N D
“It’s kinda hard to explain. But that’s the best I can do. So, do you have an Ouija board, too? Is that how you’re talking to me right now?”
“Oh, so how are you talking to me without one of these? Are you…dead?”
I A M N O T D E A D I A M T H E G H O U L O N T H E M O O N
“I know that, Ghoul, but…what are you? Are you a ghost?
I A M N O T A G H O S T I A M T H E
“I know, I know,” Missy says exasperated. “You’re not a very entertaining, whatever you-“
At the interruption, the Ouija board slides violently on the carpeted floor toward Missy until it barely touches her minuscule knees. She shrinks back against the bed, unknowingly crushing the cardboard box. The planchette begins making circles around the board, faster and faster, and then stops dead center. Missy creeps over to the board.
T H A T W A S N O T N I C E
Little Missy Taylor, so intelligent that she might skip second grade, undaunted by anything, who has never, ever been afraid of anything in her young life, is terrified.
In a tremulous whisper, Missy says, “I’m sorry, Ghoul. I didn’t mean to be rude. My Mommie says I in-ta-rupt all the time and it’s not lady-like.”
Missy hears a rattle, a minute shuffling, emanating from her closed closet door.
She hears a gentle tap…tap…tap…tap from under her bed, which causes her to leap onto her bed. She peeks over to edge to look at the board. “Is that you?”
No reply. Missy darts her head around the room, which has grown exceedingly quiet and cold.
Little Missy Taylor, frightened, chilly Missy Taylor whispers at the board, “Where are you?”
I A M H E R E
And Missy Taylor’s closet door opens.
“Hey babe, the pork chops are done,” Eric calls out from the kitchen, “Will you get Missy?”
Without a word, Marissa Taylor stands up from the couch and walks down the hall. Eric hears Marissa knocking, asking for Missy to come out to dinner, Marissa knocking again, then Marissa opening the door, saying “Missy?” as she opens it. Eric hears Marissa gasp, a gurgle, and then the door slam shut.
Eric stops stirring the potato soup he made as an appetizer and glances behind him. He exits the kitchen and walks down on the hall, stopping at Missy’s door. A light is on inside, and Eric sees the shadows of two feet moving back and forth, although he hears no sound coming from the door. He knocks on the door, says “Girls? Everything ok?’
At his question, the feet stop moving.
The front door to the Taylor home opens and Michael tiptoes in, making sure he doesn’t close the door too loud. He looks at his watch, which reads three o’clock A.M. He hopes no one was awoken, since he’s only coming back for his stash of weed underneath his night table drawer.
He slowly climbs the stairs and turns down the hallway, and stops.
His little sister’s room is open, the lights on, and his dad’s body lies half in the hall, half in Missy’s room. Michael goes to the body, and gasps, convulsing with attempted suppression of vomit.
Just inside the room, a large coagulated pool of dark blood surrounds the stump that is Michael’s dad’s neck. The spine had been pulled out from the wound, sticking out a few inches, the first vertebra broken off and sitting in the blood pool. The head, its countenance twisted in abject astonishment, sits boiling on one of the two lamps in Missy’s room. The heads eyes melting from the heat, dripping hot glue down the cheeks. The powerful light bulb gives the head a sickly flaxen luminescence. In the upper middle of Michael’s dad’s back, just below the shoulder blades, is a jagged hole into his body, just wide enough for someone to reach in.
On the bed lies Michael’s mom, her throat cut. Her legs are spread apart, exposing the groin area. To Michael, it looks as if a rabid animal had been gnawing on her mother’s private parts. Parts of the thighs are chewed and torn, with bits of entrails dangling out of the large hole between her legs. Her reproductive system is strewn about the room, along with myriad splotches of blood, some dad’s, some mom’s.
In the center of the room sits the Ouija board, with a human heart resting atop the planchette.
Michael vomits on his dad, the spew mixing with tears and tremors of incredulity. He doubles over, his hand stopping his body from hitting the floor in the gummy blood.
A giggle comes from the darkness down the hall.
Michael chokes, “Who’s there?”
A tinny voice says from the dark, “Me.”
And Missy Taylor, blood dried around her mouth, her jaw moving up and down, a pair of scissors almost glued to her hand from the amount of blood sticking to her, steps into the light to stand over her brother.
Little Missy Taylor swallows what she is chewing.
Michael says, “M…Missy?
Little Missy Taylor smiles.
She says, “I am not Missy. I am the ghoul on the moon.”