I have an Ouija board related post for you today.
I was wondering if there were any cases of Ouija board related deaths in the media when I found out about a case back in the 1930's and thought I'd write about it here.
It was November, 1933 in Prescott Arizona. Mother and daughter, Dorothea Irene Turley and 15 year old Mattie Turley, were engaged in an Ouija board session in dimly lit room at their family home.
The pair placed their fingers on the planchette as it slid across the board from letter to letter and commanded “Kill your daddy”. It assured them that nobody would find out about it.
Dorothea had instilled a deep belief of the supernatural in her teenage daughter.
15 year old Mattie knew that she must obey the commands relayed to her by the spirit board. She knew she must kill her father, an ex-US naval officer by the name of Ernest Turley, in order to free her mother.
Dorothea had decided that her life should take a new direction. She had grown bored over the years and had her sights set on marrying a handsome and wealthy cowboy by the name of Brent Pearce; she assured her daughter that disposing of daddy was the most efficient way to do it.
Back in the days of her youth, Dorothea was a much celebrated local celebrity. She had won the title of “Miss American Venus” in 1917. The competition had 50,000 contestants, hopeful women and girls from all across the States competing to see who came closest to the measurements of the famous statue, Venus de Milo. Dorothea was almost exact and took the title. Despite her many offers of proposals at the time, she chose to marry Ernest Turley, a handsome and charismatic sailor.
They eloped and had to children together, a son named David, and a daughter, Mattie. Letters of congratulations flooded in, but Dorothea’s fame would finally fizzle out.
When Ernest retired from the Navy, they moved to California for business reasons. Dorothea, no longer recognized in her new town, had become bored and began to dabble with the occult. She developed asthma, which resulted in the family taking a long vacation in Arizona, on advice of a doctor who informed them that fresh air was the best remedy for her ailment.
Up in the mountains of Prescott, Dorothea had regular sessions with her talking board, consulting it about almost everything. She attempted to search for gold on the property, and grew more and more disgruntled with her husband’s inadequate salary.
She enquired about his life insurance policies, asking how to claim the $5,000 payout in the event of his untimely death.
Armed with her orders from the spirit board, young Mattie shot her father twice in the back with the shotgun he had given to her as a gift.
Ernest, believing it was an accident, scolded her about gun safety before telling her to, go seek help.
While he was in recovery, a local sheriff unraveled Mattie’s lies, when he pointed out that the wounds her father had sustained didn’t reflect her statement about accidentally dropping the gun and it going off from 30 feet away.
She broke down and confessed that the shooting was intentional, and that was obeying the commands of the Ouija.
Ernest died the following month, on Boxing Day at a naval hospital.
The handsome, wealthy cowboy, Kent Pearce, despite witness statements from his teenage apprentice and a neighbor that he and Dorothea seemed romantically involved, was not a suspect in the case.
Dorothea was arrested for the intent to murder and sentenced with 15 years – life.
She appealed and was released in 1936.
Mattie was shipped off to a reform school in Arizona, where she would be kept until she was 21 years old.
Ernest is buried at St. Johns cemetery in Arizona.