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Anna Nolan: I used to scoff at ouija boards, until the night a picture fell off a wall

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Ed Sheeran with Aimee Keogh on the Late Late Toy Show .

Ed Sheeran with Aimee Keogh on the Late Late Toy Show .

Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey.

Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey.

Spirit world: You never know what might happen

Spirit world: You never know what might happen

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Ed Sheeran with Aimee Keogh on the Late Late Toy Show .

As I was watching The Polar Express the other night, I had a mini-epiphany.

Don't laugh, one can absolutely get inspiration from movies aimed at those under the age of 10.

So, there I am, willing the boy to catch the golden ticket that is floating in the air, when the ticket master looks at the child (who is doubting the whole magical side of Christmas) and says: "Sometimes the most real things are the things we can't see."

This made me think a couple of things. Firstly - how sad am I? Secondly, I was reminded about the news recently that ouija boards are set to be a Christmas hit this year.

questions

A ouija board, as you know, has numbers and letters. The ouija is used in an effort to contact the dead. People gather around this board, place their hands on a glass or ring and ask the spirit world questions.

Seemingly, spirits can spell out answers and one can have a spooky wooky night. That's the light-hearted version.

But I will always remember a nun in my school talking to a group of us in sixth year.

It was a mature discussion. She said that whether we believe in God or not, we shouldn't mess around with something we don't understand. She felt that once you open a portal to another world there is no way of knowing how to close it.

Now, I am an atheist. I believe that there is no heaven and no hell. But I know that I don't know the answer to everything and that not everything can be explained.

I once filmed a documentary in America about ghost hunters and people who spoke to the dead. It was mainly a whole load of funny, entertaining, hog wash. But what was most disturbing was how the people who believed were affected.

One evening there were about 12 of us sitting around a table and the owner of the house wanted a ghost to leave his new home. He had been bugging them most evenings, moving furniture, switching off lights. The usual spirit stuff.

hoax

As we asked the spirit to show themselves, I started to giggle. But then, a picture on the wall fell off. Seriously. I am not joking. It fell off the wall.

I nearly bloody died. It could have been a hoax, the owner could have attached some string to the picture. Who knows?

But what I know is that the 11 other people were deeply upset.

If you invite something into your life, living or dead, you have to be ready for the good and the bad.

I don't believe in ghosts. But if you take out a ouija board and play with the unknown, you never know what will happen.

And more importantly, you never know how it will affect you.

 

It's time those for Christmas ads that make me want to laugh, cry...and puke

The lead up to Christmas is sprinkled with many twinkling delights.

There's the lights going up on your main shopping street, the Christmas parties and gatherings, the 12 pubs of Christmas and the sing-a-long to Frozen.

There's the ridiculous Black Friday madness that is attempting to take off in Ireland. And then, there's the Christmas advertisements on television.

Christmas ads have become the in-thing over the last few years, with companies staging minute-long mini-films.

With nostalgia on overload, we are cleverly manipulated to reminisce, to cry, to wonder and to buy.

When I was young we had to make do with the Kellogg's ad, where the little girl meets Santa who is munching on a bowl of Corn Flakes (like he ever would!).

feelings

And the Coca Cola ad - "holidayyyyyyys are comin, holidayyyyyyys are comin".

I love most Christmas ads. But there are some I despise, mostly the perfume ones.

The worst one is Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson talking absolute s**** to each other: "We should go back...yes, we should." Ewww. Shaddduppp!

So here's my general feelings about what is on offer at the moment.

The John Lewis one with the penguin - not as good as last year with the bear and the hare. The M&S fairies - annoying after the second watch.

The Aldi one with the big white house - I love it, I want to go to that house.

The Boots ad with the nurse getting home after a big shift (stop sniggering - a work shift) - that it makes me cry. The Dad bringing home a snow cloud - I want a snow cloud!

And of course the one I am waiting for - the Guinness ad. My all time winner.

Overall the Christmas ads are hugely entertaining. I might not always buy, but they certainly make me cry!

The Late Late just knocked my socks off

*Wasn't the Late Late Toy Show an incredible production? Ryan was his usual brilliant big-kid self and Ed Sheeran obviously fell in love with the show, asking Ryan 'Why dont we have something like this over in the UK'? I found out that there were a total of 269 children involved in the production - wow.  Congrats to all who worked their little socks off on that show.

* If you fancy a real Christmas treat, why not head along to the National Concert Hall on Monday, December 8? Whether you're in Dublin to do your annual big shop or you just fancy a magical evening, the Goethe Choir will be singing Bach's Christmas Oratorio and a selection of carols. What better way to kick off Christmas!

* I'm doing a pre-Christmas clear out of my flat. And I have come to the conclusion that there's nothing better than clearing out one area - your knickers drawer. It actually feels good throwing out those pants that have been hanging around for years, making their way to the top of the drawer only when all the others are in the wash. The ones that make you depressed and feel ugly as the exposed elastic chaffs your thigh. So be brave, be bold, give your bottom a treat and say goodbye to saggy, baggy briefs.


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