The Ouija Board


Fresh Blood
Jan 7, 2020
Joking aside, you might be onto something - in the years of the First World War there was a greater interest in seances because of the amount of death around, people wanting reassurance about an afterlife. Could the same thing happen again?
The First World War mention brings to mind for me, something not exactly Fortean; but to my taste, affording considerable fun. This being the book The Road To En-Dor, by E.H. Jones: the most unusual prisoner-of-war-escape story which I have ever come across. (In this work, published not long after WWI, the author refers to the abovementioned upsurge in interest in attempting to contact the dead, during and subsequent to that war with its colossal "butcher's bill". ) By the way, I tried a search of the forum: it would seem that the book has not previously been mentioned hereon.

The book is autobiographical: the author, in the British Army in the Middle East fighting against Turkey, was taken prisoner by the Turks. He and fellow-inmates of their remote P.O.W. camp in the middle of Asia Minor, desperately bored, took to attempted ouija-board sessions; things so came about that he and a fellow-officer found themselves -- for a lark -- thinking up messages and deliberately and surreptitiously, spelling them out via glass on board: this ploy took off rather spectacularly, with most participants believing that it was "for real" and being highly impressed. The Turkish camp staff -- whose behaviour toward the prisoners spanned the whole gamut from sadistic to benign, this sometimes applying with one and the same man, according to mood -- come across as almost endearingly sloppy, inept, and thoroughly corrupt; the camp commandant and his minions became interested in the supposed communing with the spirits, and made an offer to Jones and his fellow-scammer Hill, to go into partnership with them re using their supposed supernatural connections, to quest for buried treasure which was thought to exist in the neighbourhood.

Jones and Hill took the opportunity of feigning to go along with this scheme of the Turks', in order to use the time outside the wire which it would entail, to try to escape and make for Allied territory. It so befell that their (highly complicated) plan went pear-shaped at the last moment: they adopted a fresh escape strategy, equally unconventional but this time nothing to do with the spirit world. With this, they sorta-kinda succeeded: after much suffering, they were able to get out of Turkey and back to their own side very shortly before the war's end in November 1918. As said -- assuming no deep layer-beneath-layer goings-on unknown to the escapers, then no putatively genuine supernatural element was in play; but I for one, find the book a most enthralling and entertaining yarn.


Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Staff member
Jul 14, 2014
An Eochair