I don’t know whether or not any of you might have seen the news coverage a couple of weeks ago (Nov. 2 to be exact) about the crowd of several hundred QAnon supporters who had lined the street in downtown Dallas, Texas, some sitting in lawn chairs, just like for a real parade, waving small American flags and waiting for JFK Jr. to appear?

I kid you not, bizarre though it might be, they had been convinced that John Jr. had faked his own death and was now returning to run with Donald Trump as his vice-presidential running mate.

He never showed.

Equally bizarre, perhaps, was the fact that as my sister Joan and I watched this lunacy unfolding on the evening news, it reminded us both of the time, many years ago, when we also had been waiting in vain. Waiting for Elvis to appear to us on the bar. A true story that still makes us laugh.

Here’s what happened.

We had recently read a book called “Psychic Summer” in which the characters had been fooling around with a Ouija board. Spoiler alert: bad things happened, but we found it fascinating. Needless to say, we (my three sisters and I) bought a board of our own and in no time flat were set up around a small table in my sister Gail’s basement family room.

The room was pitch black except for the single candle flickering on the table. Three of us, to avoid anyone deliberately skewering the reading, fingers lightly poised on the small triangle with a needle dangling from its center, and one of us waiting with pencil and paper to record whatever might eventually appear.

When nothing happened despite our entreaties, we did as they had done in the book. We went upstairs, opened the door, and invited – out loud – the spirits to enter.

Back downstairs in the dark, the little triangular gizmo whose name escapes me began to slowly move. “Did you move it?” we all immediately shouted at each other, but the answer was “no.” The planchette (Joan just looked it up for me) was magically moving on its own, spelling out responses to our questions.

Someone who identified himself as Johnjohnjohn babbled nonsense.

The one who responded when we called for our grandmother lied like a rug.

Then we connected with my Aunt Bea, who had died a few years earlier, and what seemed like a productive exchange ensued. Cagey and not wanting to be taken in by a phony respondent, we asked Aunt Bea what her middle name was. It was only after she responded “Rose” that it occurred to us that none of us actually knew if that was right.

Tossed on the horns of dilemma, we decided to call one of my cousins to ask.

Nutty as it might sound, the conversation went something like this: “Hi. We were just talking to your mother on the Ouija board and asked her what her middle name was, but now we have no idea what it really was. Do you know what it was?”

“It was Rose,” Jeannie responded. There was great excitement on both sides.

Needless to say, my cousins soon bought a Ouija board of their own so they, too, could communicate with their mother. On our part, we promptly returned to our table in the dark with renewed enthusiasm.

Then Joan decided to call on Elvis to speak to us. My feeling was that he was way too important, dead though he was, to be chatting with the likes of us, but then, Bingo! Elvis suddenly responded!

We had been chatting back and forth for a little while when he told us that if we blew out the candle he would appear to us on the bar at the far end of the room.

And that, my friends, is how four reasonably intelligent adult women wound up sitting in a pitch black cellar in Woonsocket, staring intently into the dark, while somewhere out in the ether an overweight spirit in a tacky white pantsuit yelled “Gotcha!”

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.

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