Sometime during my last year at St Peter's Cof E High School (1974), rumours started to get about that a group of friends were messing about with an ouija board. The story went that they had experienced some fairly dramatic happenings (such as witnesing objects hurtling through the air) had become quite scared and had given up in fright. Independently of this, a group of two or three girls and myself (who had previously got into the habit of playing cards together at lunch-times) decided to have a go at school. We didn't have a ouija board, so we made do with an upturned drinking tumbler. We made up an alphabet on paper squares and proceeded to conduct a number of sceances. I should, perhaps, mention that my high school was immediately adjacent to a cemetary and the room in which we conducted our sceances overlooked it.
The first two or three sessions were innocuous affairs, of which I can remember little. I have vague recollections of never receiving any "messages" other than "yes" or "no" - paper squares with these responses were part of the "alphabet" provided. I also have the recollection that there was never any sense of threat, neither in the uninteresting "messages" nor in the atmosphere surrounding our dabblings. Occasionally, the glass would start to circle round and round in a confused manner. When this happened, we always took our fingers away from it and - of course! - it then stopped moving. My best friend, David Bickerton, never took part in these events. He knew what was going on, but always went home for lunch with his mother, as he lived just down the road.
The final occasion that we held a sceance was quite different in character from the others. For the first time, a girl who had been part of the first group of friends mentioned previously (I think her name was Gillian) took part. Not only did she take part, but she took control of the proceedings. I cannot recall whether it had previously been usual or not, but on this occasion for certain, we had placed a copy of the Bible under the coffee table that we were sitting round. As the sceance proceeded, the glass started to circle, as it had done before. I must have then started to go into some kind of trance, because my recollection of events is obviously distorted and the account which David Bickerton gave me afterwards makes more sense to me than does what I recall.
First I will tell the story as I remember it.
Gillian took an altogether more directive approach than we had been accustomed to adopt. I cannot now recall exactly what she said or did, but she definitely sought to control the situation, rather than simply reacting to whatever might happen. I think that she may have tried "to contact a particular spirit with which she had past experience of dealing", but with no obvious success. When the glass started to circle, I suggested that we should take our hands away, but Gillian said not to. I did not notice what anyone else did, but I for one did not remove my hand. Then someone took the Bible from under the table. I told them to put it back - thinking that it wasn't good to have the protection which I perceived it to afford removed. Then someone held a crucifix close to the circling glass. I was not aware who this was, or from where the crucifix had come. The glass started to circle less quickly and the radius of the circles grew less. I said that the crucifix should be removed, but I have no idea why I said this. I was dimly aware that everyone except for Gillian and I had removed their hands from the glass and that it was circling rapidly in a circle of sizeable radius. I then became conscious of feeling "stifled" mentally - that is the best description I can give. It felt as if a spiritual or psychological pillow was being pressed down upon my consciousness. Then I somehow became convinced (as if some external agency had informed me) that if only I could make a noise (I am now not sure whether this was any sound whatever or else some particular word or noise) that I would be all right. Eventually, I managed to make a/the sound, and I broke out of the daze into which I had drifted. I found myself staggering from the table into the unexpected arms of my friend David, who then told me his version of events.
He had gone home for lunch as usual. I do not know whether he had any idea that Gillian was going to be involved in our proceedings that day. While at home, he had had "a vision" of what was going on back at school. He had seen the goings on as if he'd been looking down from one corner of the ceiling. He had grabbed a crucifix (David was an Anglo-Catholic) and returned to school. When he arrived, he saw one of the girls who had been taking part in the sceance remove the Bible from beneath the table in order to read from it. She had become worried because of how events were developing and felt that reading the text would be more effective than simply having the book lie there. When I had her replace the Bible, David had held the crucifix which he had brought with him close to the glass, but had removed it when I told him to do so. He had then witnessed me remove my hand from the glass and return to more normal behaviour.
Many years later (in about 1986), David and I met up once more while I was living in Harrow, North West London. I asked him what he could remember of these events and he told me that he could remember nothing whatsoever. Sadly, I have lost contact with David now and have never seen him since.