In 2004, I and two of my buddies were still relatively young, and reckless. We also had an ardent interest in the paranormal, and had, among our possessions, lots of gadgets supposedly used to connect with the supernatural.
Among those gadgets was an Ouija Board, and its accompanying planchette. We had had it for several months, but had never experienced anything particularly exciting with it, despite several sessions in which we asked it several questions.
But on New Year’s Day, 2005, something did happen:
The board spoke to us.
For the uninitiated, the Ouija board is essentially just a square board, and on its surface, there are several writings. On the top left corner is the word “YES”. On the top right corner is the word “NO”. In the main, central region of the board are the letters A to Z, arranged in two rows of 13 letters each. And at the bottom, center of the board, is the word ” GOODBYE”.
The planchette itself is just a smaller, heart-shaped board, placed on wheels, such that it can move freely on top of the Ouija board. The pointed end of the heart shape is used to determine which word or letter on the board the planchette is pointing towards. Some planchettes have a pencil on this pointed end, for automatic writing, but ours didn’t.
With the above two gadgets, it is assumed that anything from the other world can be able to express itself fully to humans, by moving the planchette around on the board.
On New Years Day, 2005, at about 3 in the morning, I and my buddies placed the planchette on top of the board, and then held our hands together around it. Then, in a slow, clear voice, I said:
“Is anyone out there?”
For a full 30 seconds, nothing happened. We were almost giving up when, suddenly, the planchette slowly, hesitantly, moved upwards, and to the left of the board.
We were all startled.
We hadn’t really been expecting anything to happen.
We all looked at each other for moment. Then, turning back towards the board, I said, once again in a slow pace:
“Are you a spirit?”
The planchette didn’t move. It stayed right on top of the “YES”. Realizing that this wasn’t a clear response, I refined my question:
” Are you dead?”
And this time, slowly, but gathering speed, the planchette moved. And then stopped at the top right corner of the board.
By now, the three of us were trembling slightly. We were both terrified and fascinated by what was happening in front of our very eyes. And we decided to push on.
“Are you in hell?”
At this, one of my friends turned towards me, and said:
” It can’t be in hell. It’s not dead.”
But as soon as he said this, the planchette moved. To the extreme left, top of the board.
This last response from the board puzzled us. But we continued.
“Who are you?”
The planchette immediately started moving. No hesitations at all. Whoever… or whatever was controlling it, was clearly getting adept at it. The planchette moved first to the letter “M”, then “A”, then ” S”, then “H”, then “A”.
We had no idea what that meant. Couldn’t tell if it was a name or something else. But we pressed on.
“Where are you?”
The planchette moved. “O”, “D”, “E”, “S”, “S”
The planchette stopped moving.
Once again, we had no idea what those letters meant. We glanced at each other, puzzled. Then I asked:
“Are you in this world?”
And we waited.
The planchette never moved again. It remained on top of the S.
I asked it several other questions, but it didn’t respond again. Not on that night, nor since then.
Still feeling a bit scared, we packed the Ouija board and the planchette into their respective boxes. Then we all spent the night together. No one was willing to go home alone, at that hour of the night, after what we had just experienced.
The following morning, we woke up to a bright and sunny day. The events of the day soon had the terrors of the previous night receding from our minds. What remained was a nagging feeling about what exactly we all, collectively had clearly seen. But we decided to keep the event among just the three of us.
Time moved on. Weeks passed. Months.
But two years later, in early 2007, I met MASHA.
I was idly surfing the internet, early one morning, in 2007, when two words suddenly leapt at me:
It was the headline of a certain article in the Yahoo News webpage:
MASHA’S BODY FOUND IN ODESSA’S CATACOMBS
Feeling a bit sick, and starting to tremble a bit, I quickly scanned through the article.
Apparently, Masha used to be a Ukrainian teenage girl who had gone missing on New Years Eve, 2004. The background was that she, and her friends, had gone into one of the tunnels in the extensive catacombs of Odessa, in Ukraine. There, the girls had partied the whole night, and had got themselves very drunk.
Somewhere in the course of the partying, Masha must have left the rest of the girls, and wandered off into the tunnels, by herself. Perhaps she had gone to relieve herself. Or perhaps, in her drunken state, she had decided to explore the tunnels alone. Either way, she went, and never came back.
The catacombs of Ukraine are the biggest and most complex in the world. They cover more than 2,500 km in length. The maps that exist for them are very scanty on information, and some of the tunnels are not even documented. Even an experienced explorer, armed with maps and torches, can easily get lost.
So the moment Masha went away from the rest of the girls, she was doomed.
The friends of Masha, upon realizing that she was no longer among them, went and reported to the authorities. Several search teams were organized over the next few days, in January, 2005. But after a week or so, everyone gave up on the search. There was no way that Masha could be alive at that time, alone, without food and water, and in the freezing temperatures of Ukraine outdoors.
It took two years before her body was finally found, by accident, eight kilometers from the place where the girls had had their party. Eight kilometers deep into the pitch black tunnels of the catacombs. To have gone that far, Masha must walked for almost three days, in the impenetrable darkness, alone, hungry, thirsty, and getting more and more desperate as the hours went. Finally, she must have started to lose her mind, and slipped into delirium, before collapsing onto the floor, and slipping into a coma, then death.
But clearly, before she had lost her mind, Masha had reached out, to us.