Jefe's House

Ouija Log – 9/17/11

by on Sep.19, 2011, under The Sixth Boro, Theatre

Jeffrey Stanley in Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead. Photos by Steve Kelly.

Egypt and Israel Dominate Talks

The closing night show was so overwhelming it’s taken me an extra day to calm down enough to write about the Ouija session with some clarity. After 7 evenings of supernatural dissatisfaction for me personally during the brief run of the show and having to close every evening using the nuclear option I was about ready to give up on the spirit world as being able to reach out directly to anyone.

Enter M.

M. was an eager audience member in the final show who joined in with audience volunteer  S. to person the Ouija board. They were escorted away and left alone for awhile as usual to try their hands at the board, reaching out to the netherworld in the Hell Room before I returned with the rest of the audience to rejoin them and see if they’d tuned into anything. Here is the main highlight that left us all haunted, especially M:

QUESTIONER (M) (to Jeff): I’m really freaked out right now. I have goose bumps and my hair’s standing on end.

JEFF:  That’s normal when you’ve brought someone into the room. Something’s here with us. Do you want to quit?

M: No. I’m just letting you know that I’m freaked. My hands are shaking, I’m afraid I’ll mess up with the planchette.

JEFF: Why don’t you stop? I can take your place.

The power of theatre commands demons up from Hell and Angels down from Zion.

M: No, I want to keep going.

JEFF (to Ouija board):  What’s your name?

SPIRIT (or subconscious ideomotor impulse depending on your beliefs):  KHEF

JEFF: Khef?  I bet that turns out to be Arabic or Hindi (why I thought so).  I’ve seen a lot this week so let’s assume it’s a real language and not gibberish. Are you Khef?

SPIRIT: NO

JEFF: Oh.  Well, do you know what’s taped to the back of the grave photo?

SPIRIT: NO

M: Do you know anyone here?

SPIRIT: YES

M: Who?

SPIRIT: M—- (spelling out M’s name)

M: Oh wow. Do you want to tell me something?

Stanley seated before the everyouija.

At that the planchette shot down at breakneck speed to GOODBYE and refused to budge for anyone. Game over. We ended the session and all returned to the Blue Grotto and I wrapped up the show as usual, using the nuclear option — a personal disappointment for me but a fun way to end a show about Ouija boards.

Afterward M. stuck around as  I began to strike the set for the last time, eager to talk to me at length about her first mind-blowing experience on a Ouija board this evening. She needed to unburden herself; I’ve been there, I know what that’s like so I stopped my work and listened.  She was highly unsettled.  She explained to me that she’s Jewish and said that in the Jewish tradition it’s strictly forbidden to contact the dead.  I asked why she did it and — bless her heart — she said she did it to help me find the closure that I need. That was selfless of her but I hated that the experience had left her freaked out. In the end it’s only a show and not worth the trauma.

She said she has immediate ancestors who died tortuous deaths in the Holocaust and that she’d always been afraid to think about how they’d perished. Facing their cruel fate is her worst nightmare, and the thought of hearing directly from them about how they suffered has always been more than she could bear.

“Maybe it appeared to let you know they’re there, but went to Goodbye so quickly to avoid having to tell you what it knows you don’t want to hear, ” I suggested, “to spare you the pain.”

M: That’s exactly what it did. That’s what I’m telling you.

The Israel Stele

Then I get home and find out that KHEF isn’t Arabic, Hindi or even Urdu.   It’s  Egyptian.  It’s the name of an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph that means “to be laid waste or destroyed.”  A reference to the Holocaust in our case?   And this hieroglyph appears on the Israel Stele of all things, so-called by archaeologists because it’s the only ancient Egyptian document mentioning Israel by name.  And if you don’t know, a stele is a monument to the dead… Yeah. You tell me.

Good luck, everyone, with your own nightmares and ghosts, and thank you for your support for Beautiful Zion: A Book of the Dead.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • m.

    I love a good storyteller. When the show began that was what i thought was going to be the highlight of my evening. At the close of the show i was certain i could help you with your search.I have no idea why I thought I could have been any help, but that’s what i thought. It was an intense experience for S. and me. There was certainly someone contacting us and i felt as though we had the right chemistry to help you. Perhaps if I wasn’t so freaked I could have continued but my nerves and emotions got the best of me. I almost wish it weren’t my 1st time on that board. Your story telling was so compelling and i like you a lot. I hope we see you again soon.

  • S.

    It was a terrific experience to see and be part of the show. In the Hell Room, the planchette was moving very slowly for M. and myself at first. When it started to pick up speed I got goose bumps all over. We were hoping to make contact with the one Jeff was looking for and thought for a moment that we had but it turned out to be… well, it wasn’t them. All the best in your search Jeff! Great show!!

    S