The Creepy Mystery Behind the Seven O’clock Man

If you have a penchant for a creepy mystery, then Bonhomme Sept Heures, or the “Seven O’Clock Man,” will send shivers down your spine. This enigmatic figure from Quebecois folklore is the stuff of nightmares, a character woven into the fabric of childhood fears and parental warnings. But what makes Bonhomme Sept Heures one of the most intriguing and unsettling figures in folklore?

Getting Your Kid to Bed on Time

Bonhomme Sept Heures is a figure that looms large in the imagination of Quebecois children. The legend goes that if children misbehave and don’t heed their parents’ warnings, this eerie character will come to take them away precisely at 7 o’clock in the evening. It’s a chilling tale used to encourage good behavior and obedience in youngsters, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

To avoid angering this menacing figure, the Quebecois use the more amiable term “good man.” However, the true horror lies in the stark simplicity of the Seven O’Clock Man’s appearance – he’s just an ordinary man  with a heavy sack slung over his shoulders, a sack that is believed to be filled with terrified children. To shield himself from the biting cold of the night, he wears a heavy hat and a thick coat, adding an eerie layer to his appearance.

His sinister purpose becomes apparent when he sneaks into the bedrooms of children who are supposed to be sleeping. If he finds them awake, he seizes them and mercilessly stuffs them into his ominous sack. It’s said that all children who were unfortunate enough to be taken by this sinister figure were either consumed or mysteriously vanished, never to be reunited with their families again.

Historical Roots

The legend of Bonhomme Sept Heures has been passed down through generations in Quebec. It’s a classic example of folklore used to instill discipline and respect for authority, especially among children. The fear of the Seven O’Clock Man has been a powerful tool in teaching youngsters the importance of obeying their parents.

While the core concept of Bonhomme Sept Heures remains consistent, there are regional variations in Quebec. In some areas, he is known as “Bonhomme Neige,” a figure associated with winter and the importance of staying warm and safe during the cold season.

Interestingly, there are only a few variations of this spine-tingling tale, some of which have roots in other folklore, while others are the result of translations from English to French. In one version, the Seven O’Clock Man possesses powers akin to the Sandman, wielding magical sand that helps lull children to sleep when blown into their eyes. This particular variant seems to be a more recent addition, casting the Seven O’Clock Man in a somewhat benevolent light. It suggests a shift away from parents scaring their children into sleep and towards a more soothing method of ensuring a peaceful bedtime.

Bonhomme Sept Heures is more than just a creepy bedtime story; it’s a cultural touchstone in Quebec, serving as a reminder of the importance of good behavior and parental guidance. 

Tim Kane

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History of the Ouija board — From Witchboards to Ouija

The Ouija board’s origins are deeply rooted in the Spiritualism movement of the 19th century, a period of intense spiritual exploration. To understand the history of the Ouija board, we must first travel back to the heart of the 19th century, when the Spiritualism movement was sweeping across America. Delve into the captivating history of the enigmatic Ouija board, a tool that has fascinated, terrified, and intrigued people for generations.

Seances and Talking Boards

In the wake of the American Civil War, the country was gripped by an overwhelming sense of loss and grief. Families were torn apart, and many were desperate for a means to reconnect with their departed loved ones. This despair led to the emergence of Spiritualism, a movement that claimed to bridge the gap between the living and the dead.

As part of the Spiritualism movement, seances gained immense popularity. Mediums would gather with those seeking contact with the deceased, holding sessions in dimly lit rooms filled with incense and mysticism. The movement was greatly influenced by the Fox sisters, who claimed to communicate with the spirit world through mysterious “knocks.”

The Talking Boards, also known as Witch Boards, made their debut during this period. These boards featured the alphabet, numbers, and simple “yes” and “no” responses. Participants would place their hands on a planchette—a heart-shaped or teardrop-shaped device with a window—allowing spirits to guide their movements to spell out messages.

The Birth of the Ouija Board

In the 1880s, E.C. Reiche, a Prussian immigrant and undertaker, began creating prototypes of these talking boards on the side. It was these prototypes that would eventually evolve into the Ouija board. 

Charles Kennard, an entrepreneur with a keen eye for opportunities, actively promoted what he claimed to be his invention of the talking board to potential investors. His persistence paid off when local attorney Elijah Bond took an interest. Bond, who had a sister-in-law with strong mediumistic abilities, saw the potential in the talking board. The Kennard Novelty Company was incorporated on Halloween, 125 years ago, marking the start of mass manufacturing of Ouija boards as we know them today.

Helen Peters and the Ouija Name

According to legend, Helen Peters, the sister-in-law of Elijah Bond, was using the Ouija board when she asked the board what it wanted to be called. The board, under the influence of unknown forces, spelled out “O-U-I-J-A.” Intrigued and curious, Helen inquired about the meaning behind this peculiar name. The board replied, “Good luck.” Though, in reality, the name was written on her necklace locket at the time

With a desire to protect their invention, Charles Kennard, Elijah Bond, and Helen Peters sought to patent the Ouija board. However, their journey faced a roadblock in the form of the patent chief, who was skeptical of their claims. He agreed to grant them the patent under one condition: they must use the Ouija board to reveal his name.

Helen Peters took up the challenge, and with the Ouija board’s guidance, she successfully spelled out the patent chief’s name, securing the patent for the Ouija board. This peculiar incident cemented the board’s mystique and added an extra layer of intrigue to its history.

Tim Kane

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