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Ouija-board Causes Susto

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.paranrmal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.satanism,alt.lucky.w
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Ouija-board Causes Susto
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 05:20:44 GMT

I believe that this is a case of susto, a particular type of spiritual
terror that is found in Mexican culture. -- cat

Spirits spook Santa Clara County inmates after Ouija-board session
San Jose Mercury News
[undated -- late Aug. or early Sept. 2000]

A circle of inmates set a Ouija board on the floor and gathered around.
They leaned in, and, together, prayed to the devil. At one point,
inmates said, they lightly placed their finger on the board and called
up the spirit of a woman.

They asked the spirit how she died, then followed the message indicator
around the handcrafted board as it spelled out: ``I was murdered.'' They

asked how, then watched the indicator move letter to letter, spelling
out "investigate."

The inmates were spooked. But the game wasn't over. According to Santa
Clara County Jail officials, the inmates went from asking a few
questions to praying to Satan to three of them screaming out loud after
they thought they were possessed by demons. The bizarre situation became
so intense, jail officials said, that correctional officers immediately
called in a priest who, one by one, blessed 29 prisoners as he sprinkled
them, and then the group's dormitory, with holy water.

"We have never, ever had anything like this occur here," said
Bryan Peretti, county department of correction spokesman. 

The Ouija board -- a plain board with the alphabet and words Yes, No and
Goodbye printed on it -- is said to have been around, in some variation,
for hundreds of years. Some sit down to the board out of curiosity,
others to seek spiritualistic or telepathic messages.The jail inmates,
all documented gang members, said they spent an entire night earlier
this month crafting the board. They used the underside of a Scrabble
game as the base, fancily penciled in the alphabet, and shaped a piece
of cardboard into a teardrop to use as the "message indicator," which,
in theory, mysteriously moves from letter to letter, spelling out
messages, after a question is asked.  Then, on three separate nights,
four to five inmates gathered at one time in the bathroom: It's the
darkest place in the dorm, with just a flicker shining in from afar.
Before long, inmate Isaias Velasquez, 21, said he and others thought
they felt a presence in the bathroom. They asked the board if anyone was
in there, and the teardrop began spinning uncontrollably, he claimed.
Everyone bolted. When they went back in, Marcos Vasquez said, he looked
at the board on the floor, then turned to face the others. "I felt cold
and bigger," the 26-year-old said. Inmates thought that Vasquez was 
acting, but the drama continued. By the third day, three inmates,
including Vasquez, feared they might be possessed. They tore up the
board and threw it away.

But on the morning of Aug. 5, two correctional officers -- who never saw
the inmates toying with the Ouija board -- said they heard screams
coming from the inmates' dorm. They went inside and confronted a 
chaotic scene in which inmates were crying and flailing their arms.
Peretti, the corrections spokesman, said officers soon realized the
inmates "seriously believed" they were possessed. After interviewing all
the inmates involved, jail officials said they don't believe the fear
was feigned. They called the priest away from his other prayer duties
and asked that he bless and counsel the inmates. The clergyman then
spent two days counseling the three inmates most overpowered by fear. 

Marilu Edder, who has been director of Detention Ministry of the Diocese
of San Jose for about 15 years, said this is the first time she has
heard of the county's jail inmates using a Ouija board. But it's
not unusual, she said, for some to pray to the devil.

Most of the inmates involved were Hispanic, Catholic and probably
overcome by guilt, she said. "They were doing something they weren't
supposed to," Edder said, "and they were probably fearful what they
might have done."

According to an internal memo about the incident, the priest told
jail administrators one thing that he neglected to tell the inmates:
that the Catholic Church doesn't believe a person can become
possessed through use of a Ouija board. Edder declined to say whether
she believed the board could evoke spirits. "It's not for me to say
whether they are or are not possessed.We need to honor whatever people
think is going on with themselves," Edder said.

The board, she added, goes into the same grouping as tarot cards
and fortune tellers. "It's nothing to play with." Vasquez is now taking
that advice seriously. The inmate, who has tattoos that run up his arms
and cover his chest and neck, said last week that he was counseled
twice, and still has a hard time sleeping. He still can't explain what
came over him, but said one thing's certain. He's never touching a Ouija
board again.

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