As the Spirit Moves, Part IV: Henry G. Takes to Verse

She has been accomplishing perfect wonders on the Ouija board; she swung a wicked plan chette right from the start.

Ouija Board

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!


Originally published in the Post on May 22, 1920.

And Mrs. Curley, who is always so agreeable about doing anything like that, did some of her original child im­personations, in her favorite selections, “Don’t Tell the Daisies I Tolded You, ‘Cause I Promised Them Not to Tell”; and “Little Girls Must Always Be Dressed up Clean­, Wisht I Was a Little Boy”. As an encore she always used to give, by request, that slightly rough one about “Where Did Baby Bruvver Tum Fwom, That’s What Me Wants to Know,” in which so many people think she is at her best. Mrs. Curley never makes the slightest change in costume for her specialty–she doesn’t even remove her chain­ drive eyeglasses–yet if you closed your eyes you’d really almost think that a little child was talking. She has often been told that she should have gone on the stage. Then Mr. Bliss used to sing “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep,” and would gladly have done more, except that it was so hard to find songs that suited his voice.
Those were about the only numbers that the program ever comprised. Mr. Smalley volunteered to make shadow pictures and give an imitation of a man sawing wood, including knots, but Mrs. Both somehow did not quite feel that this would have been in the spirit of the thing. So the intellectual, Sunday evenings broke up, and the local mental strain went down to normal again.

Mrs. Both is now one of the leaders in the home research movement. She has been accomplishing perfect wonders on the Ouija board; she swung a wicked plan­chette right from the start. Of course she has been pretty lucky about it. She got right in touch with one spirit, and she works entirely with him. Henry G. Thompson, his name is, and he used to live a long time ago, up round Cape Cod way, when he was undeniably a good fellow when he had it. It seems that he was interested in farming in a small way, while he was on earth, but now that he has a lot of time on his hands he has taken up poetry. Mrs. Both has a whole collection of poems that were dictated to her by this spirit. From those that I have seen I gather that they were dictated but not read.

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

But then, of course, she has not shown me all of them. Anyway, they are going to be brought out in book form in the fall, under the title “Heart Throbs From the Here­after.” The publishers are confident of a big sale, and are urging Mrs. Both to get the book out sooner, while the public is still in the right mood. But she has been having some sort of trouble with Henry, over the Ouija board. I don’t know if I have it quite straight, but it seems that Henry is behaving in a pretty unreasonable way about the percentage of royalties that he insists must go to the Thompson estate.

But aside from this little hitch–and I dare say that she and Henry will patch it up between them somehow–Mrs. Both has got a great deal out of spiritualism. She went about it in the really practical way. She did not waste her own time and the spirits’ asking the Ouija board questions about who is going to be the next President, and whether it will rain to-morrow, and what the chances are for a repeal of the Volstead Act. Instead she sat right down and got acquainted with one particular spirit, and let him do the rest. That is really the best way to go about it; get your control, and make him work your Ouija board for you, and like it. Some of our most experienced mediums agree that that is the only way to get anywhere in parlor spiritualism.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *