Mary Beard talks doing Ouija board amid ambition to communicate with ‘reality beyond’

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Mary Beard, 66, is widely known for being a rationalist so admitting she and some friends once attempted to reach out the spirits from the “reality beyond” with a Ouija board, might surprise some fans. But she made it clear deep down she knew there was no one there, despite our conscious eagerness to believe that there is something else out there.

It didn’t work, of course – because there was nobody there

Mary Beard

Being an English scholar of Ancient Roman civilisation, Beard shrugged as she noted that being able to communicate with Caesar and women of the ancient world would definitely have satisfied her human ambition, but alas it’s yet to happen.

In a recent interview, she opened up on the first time she conducted a seance with some college friends.

“A long time ago, when I was at college, after a good night out I gathered round a Ouija board in a darkened room with some fellow students and we tried to reach the other side asking that famous question, ‘Is there anybody there?'” she smiled.

“It didn’t work, of course – because there was nobody there.”

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She added: “At no point then did I make contact with the spirits and I have never made contact since, even though, as a historian of the classical world, I would dearly like to chat with a Caesar or two.

“Even more than that, I would like to talk to those women of the ancient world who have been hidden by history.”

She explained that the urge to make contact with something out of this world continues to be “widespread” and dark arts – magic, witches and mysticism – have become ever popular again, despite the on-going pandemic.

But Beard noted she wasn’t the first of Cambridge scholars to try and reach out in such a way.

“In the late 19th and early 20th centuries my forebears, ‘stuffed-shirt’ Victorian academics and their wives, were preoccupied with the supernatural, and were regular users of Ouija boards,” she said.

“When I reflect that the same people who, in many cases, had written the tomes and the textbooks I used (and still use) also believed in seances and spirits, part of me thinks, ‘How silly,'” she told Radio Times.

But despite her own reservations, the 66-year-old revealed she refuses to dismiss the beliefs of others that the supernatural does exist, and confessed she has been called a witch on social media site Twitter.

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Mary’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times [RADIO TIMES]

“As I can confirm, women with long grey hair can make people anxious,” she explained.

“I know that well, as I have frequently been called a witch on Twitter.

“But instead of the accusation of witchcraft being used to put women down, perhaps women can use the power of witchcraft for themselves?”

She added: “I may not think I can talk to the dead, but that is something I really could believe in.”

Beard’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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