By C. Michael Forsyth
BOSTON — With Halloween season in full swing, many concerned parents worry that their children may be possessed by demons – particularly after playing with a Ouija board. But experts say kids are four times more likely to need a house call from the local exorcist after playing the beloved game Chutes and Ladders!
In the movie The Exorcist, young Regan (Linda Blair) is taken over by a demonic entity after monkeying with a Ouija board. Since then, numerous Hollywood films have highlighted the risks inherent in contacting the spirit world through the sinister game, most recently Ouija: Origin of Evil. Evangelical leaders frequently warn the public about the threat. But a recent study of 164 exorcisms reveals that children are far more likely to be possessed during a round of the seemingly innocuous Chutes and Ladders.
“Surprisingly, Ouija boards don’t even rank among the top 10 games when it comes to triggering possession,” says Neil Loganski, a leading expert on the occult and chief author of the study. “Number two is Chinese Checkers, followed by Scrabble and Monopoly.”
A Ouija board is marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, and the words “yes”, “no” and “goodbye.” Players hold a small, heart-shaped pointer that seemingly spells out words on its own accord. Contrary to popular belief, it has no ancient Eastern roots. It was invented by an American businessman in 1890 as a fun parlor game.
“Turn out it had nothing at all to do with the occult,” Loganski reveals. “It was only later, during the spiritualism craze, that people began trying to use the boards to contact the dead. But the fact is, Ouija boards are terrible conduits for the supernatural. You’d have a better chance of getting in touch with your dead grandfather by talking into one of his old shoes. “
Ouija is typically played by teenage girls during sleepovers – which is one of the main reason demons avoid the boards like the plague.
“Demons select as their targets the most innocent among us,” notes Loganski. “Nowadays, it’s rare to find a 16-year-old American teen who hasn’t at least gotten to third base. Demons prefer victims whose minds are free of impure thoughts, highly impressionable and prone to believing in ‘imaginary friends.’ That’s why the simple games played in early elementary school are so much more dangerous.”
It’s not clear why Chutes and Ladders tops the possession list, but experts suspect it may have to do with the game’s origin in the mysterious Orient.
“The commercial version most of us are familiar with was introduced by game pioneer Milton Bradley in 1943,” explains Loganski, “but in fact the game dates back countless hundreds of years to ancient India, where it was known as Moksha Patam. It embodies sophisticated philosophical concepts such as karma and moksha, and was supposed to lead to enlightenment and spiritual awakening.
“Unfortunately, it now appears that it can also open the mind to the forces of darkness,” says the expert.
Around Halloween, when the barrier between the spirit world and temporal world is at its weakest, any board game – with the exception of Risk — can lead to possession, and even adults are vulnerable. Here, from the expert, are early warning signs that a player is under demonic attack:
• You become obsessed with winning, for example thinking “I’d sell my soul to land on Boardwalk.”
• Success rolling the dice seems to defy the laws of chance. Three sixes in a row are an especially ominous sign.
• While playing a game like Scrabble, suggestive words like “B-O-I-N-K” keep cropping up.
• Greed, one of the seven deadly sins, consumes you, as the drive to pile up fake money overwhelms all other concerns.
• Anger, another deadly sin, keeps filling your mind. “A normally mild-mannered player who rages at a competitor for ‘cheating’ in a voice that barely sounds like his own may be under demonic influence,” says the expert.
• You begin to overly identity with your playing piece, saying things like “You just knocked me over!”
• You develop sinful thoughts. “Lustful feelings about your neighbor’s wife ‘Miss Scarlet’ in the midst of a game of Clue is a red flag that the devil or one of his minions has entered your mind,” warns Loganski.
• You become hooked on a particular game, irresistibly drawn to play it again and again.
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
This story was satirical, as you likely realize. No one has ever been possessed as a result of playing Chutes and Ladders. If you found the article a fun read, check out the author’s collection of news satire, available on Kindle and in other eBook formats.