‘Tis the season to let slip our more superstitious selves, to let irrational fears creep out of the creaky woodwork. However, statistics show that only a scant number of Americans are sincerely wary of cat crossings, salt tossings, and such. A mere 20% of people surveyed across the U.S. by Statista in 2014 believed walking under a ladder was indeed a bringer of bad luck. And the percentages just dwindle from there, with other common superstitions gaining credibility in the low double-digit percentiles.
To put these superstitions to the test, I took it upon myself to embark on a full day of investigative foul play, goading the fates of misfortune, small and large.
My first apology goes out to anyone who might’ve passed by a girl super-stomping in vigorous concentration on every downtown crack of sidewalk. That was me. The second apology is awarded to my moms. Watch your back, moms.
You may have also heard me whispering the little jinx I whipped up special for this day of incurred doom, something along the lines of “I jinx myself on this day, a tempt of fate’s foulest play…” This seeming psychosis was only agitated more while I loitered outside Robnette’s Hardware, vexed by the wire-strapped ladders, trying to squeeze under the small angle of space during lulls in pedestrian traffic.
I am not a person who looks like she might be interested in a casual browse of hardware, so paranoia of arousing suspicion quickly set in. Especially when standing under the sliding ladder inside, stepping out and under again just to make sure I’d extracted enough juju juice.
The meddling ran rampant at home where I broke a mirror, spilled some salt, freed some umbrellas, spewed a slew of Bloody Marys at my dizzied, candle-lit reflection and for extra measure, took turns writing 666 a total of 13 times with my partner in crime, a.k.a. my boyfriend—he’s a double agent—on each other’s left arm. Only conclusive finding so far: candlelight and spins do wonders for distortion. Still, I wouldn’t have called me Mary.
To spice up the intensity, we took a nighttime stroll to the cemetery to step on some graves. And here, my sincerest apology. I am so sorry to those offended. There was already a sense of unholiness in the title. You can’t be too surprised.
We crept in, tread lightly on a few tombs, and low and behold standing still and serene just a few yards away was a buck. Some divine symbol, guardian of the deceased? It sure seemed so.
As we made our way back a black cat crossed our paths, I sh*t you not. How lucky our bad luck f*ckery had become! I was incredulous and admittedly shook, nerves on the rise given our final incitation: a full-on Ouija seance.
My weariness sits more with spiritual contact than with the Ouija’s mystical powers. Let’s just say I saw some sh*t as a young’un that I would not dismiss as imagined but at the time felt terrifyingly real. And in regards to this, a psychic once said I should never mess with a Ouija board.
Ask anyone and chances are they have had or know of some horrible Ouija mishap. In fact 65% of Americans believe the game is dangerous. Science and psychology now attribute the planchette’s migratory powers to the ideomotor effect, our unconscious motor skills.
Despite these facts, I was still trembling when we laid our blankets out on the park at midnight. We lit the candles, drew a few breaths, put fingertips to planchette, summoned all malevolent entities in earshot, and…
Nothing. And again, nothing. Back at home, nothing. We even left the planchette idle on the board all night, a huge Ouija no-no, and woke to it the same. I would have even burnt the thing if not for the promise of a refund at Target. Side note: You cannot imagine my disappointment when I opened the box of my new Ouija board. Anyone born before the millennium will understand my outrage at Hasbro’s new design, a crap piece of cardboard and cheap hunk of plastic that lights up, batteries not included. What sh*t.
Since my doomsday, our greatest misfortune was Kyle stepping on a tack. Perhaps all I’d really done was cause this most tragically anticlimactic ending, and for that, dear reader, I bestow upon you my last apology. Who knows, though, a lot can go wrong in seven years. At least I’ll have a mirror to blame.
by Stevie Beisswanger