When my family moved from New Hampshire to New Mexico, we stopped for
a visit with my wife's family in Oklahoma. As soon as we got in the door,
my sister-in-law, Karyn, said, "Oh, good! Now Ben can show me how to
work a Ouija board."
I didn't like that idea and said, "No, I'm not allowed to do that." But I didn't feel right about it.
When I went to the bathroom, a thought popped into my mind, Why? She asked, but I did not want to open this subject here, because I did not want my in-laws to know how crazy I was. The same thought came again: Why shut them out?
Finally, I jacked up my courage and marched back into the living room. I told Karyn I was not allowed to work a Ouija board with anyone because the signal came through me so strong the other person would have no choice but to think I was just pushing the planchette around the board. I told her I had stopped using the Ouija board--and discovered automatic writing. She wanted to see how that worked. So did the rest of the family. I did not want to try it in a group, much less this group, but the same thought kept repeating: Why shut them out?
They all gathered around: my wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law. I told them I don't do sťances, and tried to explain the difference between prayer and mediumship, but it didn't seem to matter. With large reservations about what I was doing, and desperately not wanting to make a fool of myself in front of these people, I went ahead with it.
The first communications were from the spirit-friends I talk with fairly often. Ila asked them about some deceased friends of hers, and I received answers, but not direct contact with her friends. Then the handwriting changed, becoming very small and cramped: Lawrence, I will not forget my solo flight, Oct 28, 1957.
Lawrence and Ila looked at each other and then back at the writing. Lawrence got up and left the room.
I asked, "Who is this?"
My hand wrote, My name is Will.
Ila said, "That's my father. I recognize his handwriting."
I had never met him. I said, "But I thought his name was John."
"John William, but the family called him Will, and some of his friends called him Bill. Can you ask him something for me?"
"Ask him yourself. I think he can hear you."
"Should we tell Mother?"
Don't scare the wits out of the old gal.
Lawrence returned with his father-in-law's private pilot log book. Will's first solo flight was in the 1940's. Then someone remembered that he died in 1952. They all turned and looked at me.
I was embarrassed, aghast at this obvious error, and tried to take myself out of the loop: "Well, whoever you are that wrote this, it looks like you missed."
My hand wrote, Did not miss. Check date, and slowly re-traced the year: 1951. Apparently, I had misread the last digit, as a 7 instead of a 1, probably because I don't write the number one with a little sloping line on top.
Lawrence flipped through the log book. It was the date of Will's last solo flight, during which he had fulfilled a boyhood dream by flying over the old family farm and looking down on it from the air. Ila remembered her father had told her how he used to lean back against a haystack, look up into the sky, and day-dream of "Being up there, looking down here"--long before airplanes were invented.