Popularized after the first World War, Ouija Boards have been a common tool used for divination by spiritualists. While those who believe in the power of these spirit boards advise discretion to those who are inexperienced with communicating to entities beyond our realm of perception, since Milton Bradley began marketing the board alongside their other wildly popular games it’s become almost a right of passage for teenage thrill seekers to attempt to contact beings from the other side.
According to court documents, Donald Schalchlin and his friend Joshua Tucker had been out Christmas shopping in hopes to find a gift for Schalchlin’s mother. When their search came up empty, Tucker encouraged Schalchlin to purchase a Ouija Board the boys had spotted during their shopping trip. Schalchlin obliged and took the Ouija Board home with them that night. The next day two members of Schalchlin’s family would be dead.
Reports state that Tucker’s behavior changed drastically after the purchase of the spirit board. Tucker, who had been living with the Schalchlins at the time, told Donald Schalchlin that he fantasized about raping and killing people. Drinking heavily, Tucker turned to the Ouija Board the boys had picked up during their shopping trip and asked if he would become a serial killer. The board allegedly replied a resounding “YES.” Schalchlin believed that Tucker had called forth the spirit of Satan through the board that night and had become possessed.
On December 20, 2007, West Richland, Washington police would receive a 911 hangup call from the Schalchlins’ home. By the time they arrived on the scene they found 15-year-old Donald Schalchlin and 16-year-old Joshua Tucker attempting to flee in a white truck. A neighbor told reporters from NBC that when police arrived, “The screaming was like a machine, for lack of a better term. Something agonizing, someone yelling, ‘Pigs must die, death to all pigs’, things like that.”
After taking both Schalchlin and Tucker into custody, investigators walked into a bloodbath. Just inside the front door lay the body of Donald’s younger sister, 13-year-old Elizabeth Schalchlin. Tucker had taken a kitchen knife and sliced the teen’s throat as she had been talking on the phone.
Police would find the second victim, Donald’s mother Lori Schalchlin, lying motionless in the back bedroom. According to a report from The Seattle Times, Lori had walked in as the boys attempted to clean up after murdering 13-year-old Elizabeth. Tucker began chasing Lori and stabbed her several times. When the knife broke, Schalchlin handed Tucker a dumbbell and a meat cleaver to finish the job. While she was alive when investigators arrived on the scene, she succumbed to her injuries en route to the hospital.
Though Schalchlin’s claims of demonic possession were cited in the official court documents on the case, these claims were never presented to a jury. Tucker pleaded guilty to the murders and was ordered to spend the next 40 years behind bars. Schalchlin, who prosecutors determined had been an accomplice to the crime but had not committed the murders himself, was offered a plea deal. In exchange for a guilty plea, he was sentenced to only nine and a half years, in spite of protests from his surviving family members.