The First Murder By Ouija Board

“One man’s ‘magic’ is another man’s engineering. ‘Supernatural’ is a null word.” —Robert A. Heinlein

In a Nutshell

After a Ouija board session on November 8, 1933 in Prescott, Arizona, 15-year-old Mattie Turley fired a shotgun at her father, Ernest Turley, inflicting mortal wounds. She’d shot him, she said, because “the board could not be denied.” She eventually pled guilty to attempted murder, was sentenced to a state reformatory, and received parole three years later.

The Whole Bushel

While her mother, Dorothea Irene Turley, operated the planchette during the séance, the Ouija board told Mattie to “shoot Daddy after he milked the cows” and assured her no one would discover the murder. Allegedly, Dorothea told Mattie she wanted to marry a handsome cowboy and getting rid of Ernest Turley was the simplest solution. Mattie and her mother used a deck of playing cards to apparently confirm the command, then the teenager shot her father, a former US Navy chief gunner’s mate, in the back. He later died at the hospital.

At first, Mattie tried to pass off Ernest’s death as an accident. She told the sheriff she’d been following about 30 feet behind her father when she tripped and the shotgun went off. However, the investigation revealed the victim’s wounds could only have been inflicted if the shotgun were held by someone standing upright and 10 feet away. Mattie confessed.

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Dorothea Turley was also arrested and tried for assault with intent to commit murder. She was convicted and was sentenced to 10-25 years. However, following an appeal, her conviction was overturned in 1936, and she was set free.

Show Me The Proof

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