Today’s Spooky Legend is taking us back to a game we probably all played back in junior high: Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, courtesy of Jessica Sims’ (aka Jill Myles) Bathsheba from BEATY DATES THE BEAST (available now from Pocket Books), the first in the new Midnight Liaisons paranormal romance series which I called, “Super sexy, super fun, and full of super hot shifters.” Want to see for yourself? Enter the giveaway to win a copy. See details below.
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Bathsheba on Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board
So…back in the day, I was a big fan of slumber parties. What teenage girl isn’t? Well, if you’ve ever been to a slumber party, you’ve probably played everything from Ouija boards to Bloody Mary. My favorite was always “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.” In theory, it’s about harnessing your powers of levitation to lift a friend off the ground. Or it’s about summoning spirits to cause him/her to levitate by the focus of your mental energy. Or…something along those lines.
(Mostly, it’s just about freaking your friends out.)
How the heck did this turn into a party game, anyhow? It’s kind of weird, and random. It dates back to the seventeenth century, and probably earlier. The purpose behind it was probably a link to spiritualism and séances. Back then, levitation was considered frightening and something done by spirits and witches. If you do a little bit of digging on the internet, you can find that the earliest recorded reference of “Light as a feather, stiff as a board” is in Samuel Pepys’s diary in 1665. I even found the entry online if you want to read it! Pepys’s friend told a story of walking the streets of France, when he came across a boy (dead or almost dying) lying in the gutter. The girls whispered a chant over him, and then all placed a finger on him and lifted him into the air.
(Pepys did not write whether or not his friend peed in his pants.)
After that, it sort of lingered on the edges of urban legends and eventually became a party game in Victorian times. The Victorians were fascinated with séances and death, and ‘light as a feather, stiff as a board’ became a popular pastime (though no one says if it really worked or not). The person being the ‘corpse’ would be the center of the small group, and the others would try and channel spirits to raise their friend into the air. From there, it moved on to slumber parties and the present day equivalent – recording video of yourself doing it and then slapping it up on YouTube.
(If you want to see it in a movie, I recommend ‘The Craft’ which is a really fun movie about four teenage witches. It’s one of my favorites, though the whole ‘witch’ thing is not exactly my area of expertise.)
If you want to give ‘Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board’ a try yourself, the rules are pretty simple. You need a volunteer to be the board/corpse and lay on the floor, as stiff as possible. Your friends place two fingers under you and begin chanting “Light as a feather, stiff as a board.” They chant it over and over again, and begin to try and raise you into the air after a certain period of time has passed. Sometimes it’s after twenty chants, sometimes after a hundred.
Does it work? Well…I don’t know of anyone that’s actually lifted into the air. Lord knows it never worked for me or any of my friends, but we were weird, goofy kids. There’s also the basic commonsense theory that if you get seven people trying to lift someone that’s a hundred pounds…it’s not hard to do. But the next time you have a slumber party, it’s worth a shot!
And then, call the agency and let me know if it worked.
About the author:
Jessica Sims lives in Texas. She hates writing a bio, so something cool will undoubtedly go here later when she actually thinks of something interesting to write. She has some cats, but what writer doesn’t? She plays video games and confesses to reading comic books. And she likes writing, but that one was pretty obvious.
Visit Jessica Sims online:
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Giveaway provided by Pocket Books
One copy of BEAUTY DATES THE BEAST by Jessica Sims
Available now from Pocket Books
Single human female to join charming, wealthy, single male were-cougar for a night of romantic fun—and maybe more.
Me: The tall, sensuous, open-minded leader of my clan.
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My turn-ons include protecting you from the worst the supernatural world has to offer. Ready for an adventure? Give me a call.
Vampires and doppelgangers need not apply.
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**Don’t forget to visit Dark Faerie Tales today for her Spooky Legends guest blog with Kimberly Derting author of THE PLEDGE**