Clarissa Johal: September 2018

Friday, September 28, 2018

Frightening Friday-Collecting #Ouija #paranormal

Photo courtesy of felinebird via Flickr
Mainstream religions (and some occultists) associate the use of Ouija boards with demonic possession, opening portals, and an invitation to evil spirits.

I like Ouija boards. There. I said it. My head didn't spin around or anything. I don't know when I became fascinated with them, nor do I remember where I acquired mine. According to eBay, it's an antique. 
The last time I "played" with my Ouija board was in high school. Our school theatre was reportedly haunted, as all good theatres are. One rumor stated a student hung herself in the dressing room and could be seen over your shoulder when you gazed in the dressing room mirror. Another stated a student committed suicide in one of the bathrooms, which explained why the showers turned on and off by themselves. Yet a third rumor stated a student died on-stage and now sat in the audience to watch rehearsals. Sometimes, you could see their shadow in one of the seats. 

When we asked the teachers for details on these deaths, they were vague. The school was over a hundred-and-fifty years old, they'd say, it probably had many buried secrets. Why would we want to dig up anything so macabre? Well, we'd argue, because we've seen some weird things and want to know if the rumors were true. Unfortunately, we were dismissed with the excuse they weren't allowed to speak of such things. 

But theatre students are persistent. And when word got out that I owned an Ouija board, well...sorry Mr. B. When you thought your cast of Midsummer Night's Dream were rehearsing, we were calling upon spirits of the dead in the dressing room.

Fast forward to years later. Would I "play" with an Ouija board now? Probably not. While I don't feel the board itself is dangerous, the invitation may be. I'm still undecided on whether the board is a tool of divination or the subconscious at work. Regardless, I don't dabble. I collect paraphernalia because it still holds a fascination. I have several T-shirts, a blanket, necklaces, earrings, sunglasses, hair clips, a pair of socks, a business card holder, cellphone case, wallet, mug, spatula, computer sleeve and even a pair of undies.

However, the Ouija board I used in high school is in the attic. My teens keep bugging me to dig it out so they can look at it, but I'm reluctant. The board holds secrets. Secrets of what a group of high school kids contacted in that haunted theatre, years ago. Secrets of what should have stayed buried. Secrets we probably didn't need to know.
And secrets that, for now, will stay in my attic.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

#Haunted Okiku Doll - #FolkloreThursday

Photo courtesy of  Stewart Butterfield via Flickr
The Okiku doll has resided at the Mannenji temple in the town of Iwamizawa, Hokkaido prefecture since 1938. According to the temple, the traditional doll had short cropped hair, but over time it has grown to about 25 centimeters long, down to the doll’s knees. Although the hair is periodically trimmed, it reportedly keeps growing back.

The doll was originally purchased in 1918 by a 17-year-old boy named Eikichi Suzuki. He bought the doll as a souvenir for his 2-year-old sister, Okiku. The young girl loved the doll and played with it every day. The following year, Okiku died from a cold. The family placed the doll in the household altar and prayed to it every day in memory of her.

Sometime later, the family noticed the hair had started to grow. This was seen as a sign that the girl’s restless spirit had taken refuge within the doll. In 1938, the Suzuki family moved and placed the doll in the care of Mannenji temple, where it has remained ever since.

Nobody has ever been able to fully explain why the doll’s hair continues to grow. One scientific examination of the doll concluded that the hair is indeed that of a young child.

I was unable to find a photo of the doll under the Creative Commons license (and I never post photos in my blog unless I have permission). You can view the actual doll via YouTube:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Writing With Persistent #Ghosts During the Month of #October #amwriting #paranormal

Ahh, the month of October. October is always an interesting time in our house because things go a little haywire. One year, the hot water heater exploded, another year it was my car. Last October, my husband and I both witnessed a weird pocket of electricity bursting in the air. It was like an invisible light bulb exploded in the Otherworld. Who knew they used those? Speaking of, we go through more light bulbs than usual during October. Way more.
This year, I've decided to keep a daily diary, of sorts. I plan to document all the things that go amok in our house. Check back daily, as I'm sure I'll be adding more entries. The craziness is starting a bit early this year, so we're going to start this diary on:

September 24

Feeling unsettled today.  I heard someone walking on our back deck around 3am but when I checked, there was nobody there. It wasn't an animal unless the local raccoons have decided to wear boots and walk bipedally. There's a freaky thought.

Zeus kept barking and growling at empty spots in the living room while I was trying to do some research and work on my opening chapter. Everybody's a critic.
I decided to sage downstairs and went upstairs to do the same. While I was smudging the hallway, I heard heavy footsteps crossing the attic. I considered calling my husband like a damsel-in-distress but knew there's no way anyone could break into our house, much less get into our attic, without Zeus pitching a fit.
Time to man up and check it out. I am woman, hear me roar. (Which is exactly what I did. I figured roaring like a lion was enough to scare any ghost into thinking I was just plain crazy.)

It was spooky up there. No signs of animals or anything else.
Back to writing...

September 25

My coffee maker decided to turn on/off by itself this morning. I'm writing it off as a very thoughtful ghost anticipating my caffeine needs. If they could just figure out how to fill the coffee pod, we'd be set.
Back to writing.

There were strange noises coming from the haunted room upstairs. Both cats and Zeus were sleeping on the couch, so it wasn't them. Zeus knows he's not supposed to be on the couch but I decided to ignore my shameless dog and the noises upstairs because I had too much work to do.

The garage door kept opening and closing at random times this morning. I checked repeatedly to see if something was triggering it and couldn't see a thing. It behaved itself for the rest of the day, so... *shrug*

Of course, just as I drove away to run an errand, it decided to open on its own as a final farewell.

September 27

My daughter mentioned before bed last night that her ceiling fan kept turning on by itself. It was kind of freaking her out so I smudged her room - again. At this rate, I may have to grow my own sage bush.
The living room light kept flickering and going out last night. When I went to fetch a lightbulb, it came on again as if it was just messing with me. I gave up on my late night writing and went to bed early. I can take a hint.

Aaaand...the garage door continued to act up yesterday. I would literally wait for several minutes before I drove away - just to make sure it stayed closed. When I got home, it was wide open again. We'll see if it sorts itself out today. It's getting annoying.

September 28

The hallway light turned on by itself today. Everyone was sitting in the living room. I went to check and...there you go. Weird but I'm getting used to weird at this point.

The lights in the living room keep flickering on/off. At some point, I'll replace the lightbulbs. I'm waiting for them to stay off, which technically gives me a reasonable excuse. Until then, I'll enjoy the light show.

October 3

This morning, I was on my way downstairs to start breakfast. It was dark in the hallway, Nutmeg was on her kitty post and I swear Sushi-Ball was by my feet (I literally saw the shadow form of a cat). I bent to pet him but there was nothing there. When I turned on the hallway light, Sushi-Ball was sitting at the very bottom of the stairs. He ran away from me and was totally freaked out (very unlike him, he never runs away from me). Makes me wonder if Clover was paying a visit--we lost her several months ago. RIP Clover. We miss you.

October 9

There was scratching last night on the sun (or moon, depending on the time of day) roof in our bathroom. I took a flashlight and went to check to see if some animal was trying to dig its way in but there was nothing up there. I literally pointed the flashlight at where the sound was coming from and there was nothing up there. I went back to bed feeling a bit unsettled. My boot-wearing raccoon from September 24th is apparently a "ghost" boot-wearing raccoon, and with huge claws, because the scratching was loud.

I've been having nightmares lately, which I typically don't have. Not "regular" nightmares but seriously scary nightmares where I'll wake with painful adrenaline surging throughout my body. Not cool, dream self. Get it together.

I've felt like someone was following me around the house the past few days. A couple of times I actually felt a breeze behind me as if someone had rushed by. Very disconcerting.

Today, I had to replace a total of three light bulbs. One on my reptile aquarium, one in the bathroom, and one in the living room. Coincidence? I would normally agree but all of them blew within the space of an hour. I verbalized to my house ghosts that I'd appreciate another means of getting my attention. I've heard of ghosts leaving pennies lying about...dollars would be even more appreciated. We'll see if they were listening because that would be pretty cool.

October 15th

I keep my elliptical in the living room corner. Today, one of the pedals went down by itself, and it takes a LOT of effort to move those pedals. But hey, who am I to judge a ghost who needs a bit of exercise?

October 18th

The Halloween lights outside have decided they simply must be on in the daytime, even though they're programmed to turn on only at night. Happy Halloween.
Zeus has been stuck to my heels from the time I rolled out of bed this morning to now (1:01pm). No idea why, but he's acting like an 80-pound scaredy-dog. Poor guy. I don't know what's spooked him but this is where I draw the line, house ghosties. My dog is off-limits.

October 19

Yesterday, it was the dog, today it's the cat. I was writing and heard meowing upstairs. When I went to check, Sushi-Ball was sitting in my daughter's bathroom, meowing at the empty shower. For a moment, I almost thought he was meowing at someone (he's very social and it was that kind of meowing) but of course, the shower is empty. I asked him what was up and he settled down on the carpet and wouldn't budge. He's still up there. Do the ghosts want to take a shower, or are they just chatting with my cat? *shrugs* Back to writing.

Our back door in the daytime
October 20

The light in the living room (see September 27th) continues to garner for our attention by sporadically flickering on/off. It NEVER does this any month but October.

Our outside Halloween lights randomly turn on/off. Again, they've been programmed to only turn on at night but...

Last night, I saw a white form run past the back door. It was about the size of a person, so it startled me. When I went to check, there was no one our back porch. They would have had to literally hurl themselves over the railing and then contend with the fact our backyard gate is locked.

October 24

Yesterday, my daughter said Zeus started barking at her and then the stairs. It kind of freaked her out, especially because earlier, she said she'd heard walking around in the attic. I checked but, as usual, the attic was empty.

Zeus was acting weird this morning. He suddenly began to carry his bone around, whining all over the house and then wanted to take it outside. He NEVER does that. In fact, he hasn't given this bone the time of day since I bought it for him several months ago. He'd only do something like that if there were another dog around.
Sooo, either Jasmine's spirit stopped by for a visit or we have a new ghost dog. (Jasmine was our dog who passed away last year. We miss her.)

So, I'm bringing this post to a close. It's November 5th and the light in the living room spontaneously stopped flickering once Halloween passed, the garage door stopped malfunctioning (and we didn't do a thing to fix it) the fan and lights in my daughter's bedrooms stopped turning on/off, and my cats and dog have all stopped acting strangely. The scratching sounds coming from our bathroom sunroof ceased and my elliptical seems to be behaving itself. Probably because it misses me. The footsteps in the attic? They occur throughout the year but I haven't heard a single footstep this past week. Funny how everything just...STOPS...once the calendar page turns to November. I have no explanation for that other than the old belief that the "veil" between our world and the Otherworld thins around October. Maybe there's something to that belief.

Have a good Thanksgiving!