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As the Spirit Moves, Part VII: Too Much Is Enough

Published: April 30, 2011

Originally published in the Post on May 22, 1920.

Unfortunately several of the husbands among our little circle have been markedly out of sympathy with the spirit movement.

They have adopted a humorous attitude I toward it which has seemed to be almost coarse to the more enthusiastic of the women workers. They use the Ouija board only to ask it such frivolous questions as “Where is the nearest place where you can still get it?” -which is particularly trying to those who realize the true seriousness of the thing. It is small wonder that they get no answer from the spirits when they go about it that way; no spirit is going to stand for that sort of stuff. There are too many demands on the spirits’ time for them to bother about calls which are not absolutely necessary.

Attempts to convince the more hardened husbands of the supernatural powers of the Ouija board have ended in nothing. Some of them when told, by way of positive proof, of the amazing messages which their own wives have received from the board, have even made open accusations of push­ing, which have a most led to an even division of the children, and a parting of the ways. Not since the dance craze came in has there been so much really notable matrimonial friction as there is over this matter of spirit communication. The Ouija board is not without—or, in fact, is with, if you do not mind plain speaking—its somber side.

As the Spirit Moves
by Dorothy Parker
Originally published in the Post on May 22, 1920.

Part I: The New, Prohibition-Era Pastime
Part II: The Age of the Ouija Boards
Part III: When the Bridge Hounds Were Unleashed
Part IV: Henry G. Takes to Verse
Part V: Aunt Bertha’s Snappy Work
Part VI: Mrs. Couch & Mrs. Thill
Part VII: Too Much Is Enough

Personally I find that I am rather out of things at the neighborhood social festivals. When the others gather round to exchange bright sayings of their Ouija boards I am left nowhere as regards adding anything to the general revelry. The spirits have not done the right thing by me; I can never get any action on the Ouija board. It isn’t as if I had not given the spirits a fair chance. No one was any readier than I to be one of the boys; the flesh was will­ing, but the spirits weakened, if you could put it that way. There I was, so anxious to make friends with them, and find out how all the folks were, and if they were still with the same people, and how they liked their work. And they would never even say so much as “Haven’t we had a poisonous winter?” to me. So if that is the way they are going to be about it why, all right. I can take a hint as well as the next one.

As for the community Ouija boards, any time the research workers want to store them away in the spare bedrooms with the rest of the bird’s-eye-maple furniture it will be quite all right for me. I am willing to call it a day and give the spirits a rest any time that the others are. I am not fanatical about the Ouija board; I am per­fectly able to take it or let it alone. In fact, I think that a reasonable amount of daily exercise on it is a good thing. It is not the actual manual labor that I object to—it is the unexpurgated accounts of all the messages received and their meanings, if any.

Sometimes I even feel that I could moil along through life if I never had to hear I another discourse on the quaint things that some local Ouija board has said. To put it in so many words-at a rough estimate–I am just about all through.

In fact, if I thought that you would stand for it I would even go so far as to say that I am Ouija bored.

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