Remember That Time We Contacted The Dead?

24 Mar

Do you remember that time when we was about ten or eleven years old, it was the spring time, and that kid that everyone was a bit afraid spent the morning telling us about how he was able to speak to the dead? And do you remember how he told us it definitely worked, cos he’d done it at home the night before, so he knew? Remember the looks on our faces? I definitely remember the look on yours. And then when he told us that we could do it too. All we needed was this thing called a Ouija board, even if we never woulda known then that that’s how it was spelt, if forced to hazard a guess we would’ve probably spelt it weedgie board, and a coin. That was all we needed, he told us, to talk to the dead! Man, I remember the look on your face. But wait, shit, we haven’t got a weedgie board. What’s that? It doesn’t matter, you say, because we can make one ourselves on a piece of A4 paper? And it just so happens that we’ve got a photocopier in our classroom with a tray full of A4 paper. Remember the excitment when he told us that? Breaktime couldn’t come soon enough that day, could it? Even if deep down inside we knew that what that weird kid was telling us couldn’t possibly be true, we knew that we’d make our weedgie board, form a circle around it, put our fingers on the coin and nothing whatsoever would happen, even if we knew all that really, we still couldn’t fucking wait for breaktime, could we? What if it was true? It couldn’t be though, could it? Why we were even entertaining the idea? Roll on breaktime!

We didn’t have to wait til breaktime though for our juices to really get flowing, did we, cos remember how fifteen minutes before break that kid told the teacher he was going to the toilet and when he returned five minutes later he only produced a weedgie board from his pocket, that he had made in the cloakroom! Yes! Remember that? Course you do! You don’t forget those days. Ever. Everytime the teacher went over the other side of the classroom he whipped it out on the table for us to marvel at. Remember how big he had written the words ‘YES’ and ‘NO’ up in the corners? And remember the alphabet and numbers written in the circle? And remember how that weedgie board looked absolutely fuck all like any Ouija board you’ve ever seen since? But it was the only weedgie board we’d ever seen, so it had to be proper, and besides, this kid had done it at home the night before and he knew what he was talking about, alright?

Remember how at the time the obvious question never crossed our minds, ‘What sort of weird home life has this kid got if he’s conducting séances at night?’ And that kid didn’t even have any brothers or sisters, man! So I wanna know who the fuck was introducing him to this stuff? His parents? ‘Hello, Childline?’

We’d all heard about it by breaktime, hadn’t we? The whole class was muttering. Remember how we had to lose the majority of the group, sneak away quietly, so that we could speak to the dead in peace? We laid the weedgie board down on the table and I gave that kid a 10p coin from my lunch money. And he quickly told us again how it would work. We were just to put our fingers on it ever so lightly and then he would ask if any spirits were there and wanted to talk to us, and if they did then he’d ask them questions and the coin would move. Yea of course we felt nervous, but we also felt a bit silly for feeling nervous cos we knew that really this kid was full of shit, didn’t we? Course we did! If this were real don’t you think we would’ve heard of it by now? Don’t you think our parents would’ve taught us about it? We were ten or eleven years old, we knew everything about everything already! We knew this kid was full of shit! Still, it wouldn’t hurt to humour him, give it a try, go through the motions, just to be able to say for sure that he was full of shit.

We put our fingers on the coin, didn’t we, all five of us, or was it six? I think it was five. Or it might’ve been six. My memory is a bit hazy when it comes to the numbers. We all put one finger each on the coin and that kid told us all to be silent at all times otherwise we’d break the contact. And no one was to take their finger off the coin until the conversation was over. And it went without saying, obviously, but no one was to use any force to move the coin. Just gently rest your fingertip on the 10p, he told us, and the spirits would do the rest. Remember that feeling of excitement in the pit of the belly? Man, that was an exciting moment! And then he started. Is there anyone here, he asked, is there anyone from the spirit world here? What the fuck?! The coin’s fucking moving! It’s moving to the Yes box! What the fuck?! Who’s pushing it? I know it’s not me! I hope the others don’t think it’s me, cos it’s definitely not me! And the coin moved all the way to the Yes box, didn’t it? I dunno about you, but I couldn’t believe what was happening. And then he asked it its name. And the coin started moving again. It moved to a letter of the alphabet. I can’t remember which one. I wish I could. I wish I could remember the name it spelt out. Maybe you remember. And then he asked it some other questions, like if it was a male or a female, I remember it was a male. And he asked him when he had died, and the coin moved to four numbers, 1 9 3 7, or some other year around that time. And we was all watching this coin move and all wondering who the kid was that was moving it. Well, apart from the kid that was moving it, he wasn’t wondering anything. Or was he? Was I the one moving the coin without even realising it? Our minds were full of questions. Full of ’em! But all the while we carried on. And then the kid went too far, didn’t he, and asked some dark question, I think it was when he was going to die and how? And the coin started moving. It started spelling something. And then the bell rang and the teacher appeared to call us into class. And that kid quickly hid the weedgie board and we all dispersed, feeling quite shaken. We’d just spoke to a ghost, man! We had just spoke to a ghost!

We didn’t do any work at all for the rest of that morning. How could we concentrate on academic topics when we had just dabbled in the supernatural? At ten or eleven years old. We talked incessantly about our experience. Fucking roll on lunchtime!

Lunchtime came but we weren’t afforded the same luxury of peace and seclusion that we’d enjoyed at breaktime. By now every kid in the class, not to mention most of the other classes, had heard in great detail of our earlier conference with a dead man. Everyone wanted to witness it. Everyone wanted to put their finger on the coin. But not everyone could, so other than the same five or six of us as at breaktime, the rest of the people formed a large semi-circle around the action. Is there any spirit there that wants to talk to us? The coin started moving again. Some kid in the crowd shouted ‘You’re moving it with your finger!’ And then the kid conducting this little chinwag with the dead shouted ‘No, no one is moving the coin actually! It is the ghost that is moving it! If you don’t believe me then watch the coin as it moves and you will see that it is slowly spinning at the same time! No one could do that even if they tried! So there!’

What the fuck did he just say? The coin’s spinning? What? Right, ask it another question! ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ And when the coin started moving again we all leaned in close over it, all of us together, everyone wanting to see, and then we did see, didn’t we? That coin was ever so slightly spinning! And you could hear a pin drop. Our ten or eleven year old minds were absolutely fried. And we all just looked at each other saying nothing. And then that large shadow loomed over us. The teacher. And we all just looked up at her, frozen. And when she realised what it was that she had caught us doing, that strange look came over her face, like she herself had seen a ghost. We didn’t realise then, did we, that the cause of her shock was the sight of the faces of about thirty kids looking up at her, all white as a sheet and speechless, and on the table beneath them was a crudely crafted Ouija board. That would take any adult out of their comfort zone! And her initial anger seemed to instantly turn into one of concern. She picked that weedgie board up and tore it in half, and then we all followed her in a trance to the classroom, still stunned into silence.

We didn’t do any work for the rest of that day. You probably remember that the teacher spent the afternoon talking to us as a class about how we should never make, play with or even talk about a weedgie board again. And it seemed so important to her. And now I can see that that was the worst possible route she could have chosen, because as ten or eleven year olds, when you think you’ve just had a chat with a ghost, if an adult that you trust then heaps all of this importance onto never taking part in the practice again, your ten or eleven year old brain’s immediate and natural reaction is to tell you,  ‘If she’s as afraid of weedgie boards as this, and she’s a grown-up, a teacher no less, then they must be real! And in that case, we just talked to a dead man. And that dead man started telling that weird kid how he was gonna die. Our ten or eleven year old minds are not ready for this shit!

When we got home our parents had a concerned look on their faces. The teacher had rang them, told them what we’d been doing, told them it had shaken us up, told them to give us a talk. And they did give us a brief talk, didn’t they? Well, mine did. I seem to remember you telling me yours did as well. But the talk was almsot exactly the same as the teacher’s. Nobody explained anything. Not really, anyway. The simple jist of it was that it was stupid, dangerous, and something we should never do again.

Dangerous? Our minds couldn’t comprehend what all the adults were going on about. Why was it dangerous? If it was dangerous then it had to be a real way of communicating with the dead, didn’t it? Why was everyone acting so serious about what we had done? There had to be something to it! If that teacher had just chuckled to herself when she’d walked in on us and then made a remark like ‘Oh you silly things, what’s this you’re playing with? Let’s just leave that inside while you all run along and play in the sun,’ we never would’ve given it a second thought. We would’ve just had it confirmed that that weird kid was full of shit. But no the adults drummed it into us that it was dangerous and not a toy or a game. But they never actually told us anything about it. ‘Yea but Miss, did I talk to a ghost or not?’ ‘Well no, of course you didn’t.’ ‘But Miss, you don’t sound very convincing.’

Funny thing is though, despite the unforgettable day we’d had and all the mad questions it had left unanswered in our heads that night, we never really messed around with weedgie or Ouija boards much in school after that. We quickly got bored at ten or eleven years old. Always looking for something new. Still, don’t you sometimes lie in the dark having random memories, and once every few years this one pops up, and you always find yourself asking the same question, Was that coin really spinning? 20 years ago. And so begins the inward trip.



One Response to “Remember That Time We Contacted The Dead?”

  1. ChasingWaterfalls March 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Haha so true!

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