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  • Writer's pictureJoyce Slater

Story of the Month: Mark Twain and the Ouija Board

Back in 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri, some women gathered to use a Ouija board to talk to some of their crossed over relatives. When they tried to make contact, they instead got the spirit of Mark Twain. Twain told them he had another story to tell that he hadn’t gotten the chance to reveal before he crossed over. One of the attendees at this meeting was writer Emily Grant Hutchings, and she decided to write the story. Using a medium, she transcribed Twain’s story from beyond, doing it letter by letter with a Ouija board.

The novel, called Jap Herron, was published, but the public panned it, saying it was a terrible book. It was also close enough to Twain’s writing style that his daughter and his publisher sued Hutchings, whose publisher stopped printing Jap Herron. Hutchings went into obscurity. No one knows if Hutchings believed she was really transcribing a book by Mark Twain from beyond, or if it was a scam.

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