Ouija Boards

We certainly cannot have a ghostly blog without at least one mention of Ouija Boards. While they are sold today as games, the concept has been around for at least a hundred years and used as a potential means of communicating with spirits. Here’s a bit of history from the internet:

Two people sit opposite each other at a table. On the table is a rectangular playing board with two curved rows of letters, one above the other. The top row runs from A to M, and the lower row runs from N to Z. Just below these is a row with numbers One through Zero. At the top left of the board is the word Yes, and at the top right, the word No. Near the bottom of the board is Goodbye.On the board rests an odd little device, like a tiny heart-shaped table, with three legs that allow it to glide smoothly over the board’s surface. The two people put their fingertips lightly on the little table, the planchette, and it starts moving. The planchette moves from letter to letter, supposedly under its own power, and spells out messages, or answers yes or no to questions put to it.

And so begins a session with a Ouija board, a game which is also known as the talking board and the witch board. Ouija boards were immensely popular between 1890 and 1950, and dozens of manufacturers competed with different versions, sometimes claiming that the Ouija was much more than just a game. Capitalizing on the the craze for spiritualism, they didn’t hesitate to suggest that the Ouija was a portal to the spirit world, capable of putting one in touch with the dead of all ages.The Ouija board wasn’t so much invented, as it was refined. Communicating with the dead through spirit mediums swept the United States and Europe during the latter part of the 19th century. Seances were held, in which people sat around a table, waiting for the spirits to speak. The disembodied dead made their presence known by tipping the table, and knocking one of its legs on the floor. The taps were supposedly a code which the medium interpreted for her guests. But table tipping was a slow and rather boring way to receive the spirits’ messages. Some mediums chose to go into a trance and allow the spirits to speak through them. Others preferred automatic writing, believing that what they wrote while in the trance state came to them from the spirits. Numerous gadgets were also invented, some of them involving complicated gears and pulleys. Gradually, a simplified planchette and a standardized board evolved, becoming the Ouija board that we know today. 

I personally neither condone nor condemn the use of Ouija boards, but I would encourage those who do attempt to use them do so with extreme caution. Better to be safe than sorry. The only experience I’ve had with a Ouija board happened when I was very young and nothing really happened, mostly because both my friend and I kept accusing the other of moving the planchette. In those circumstances, I don’t think anything spiritual is going to happen. Either in a negative way or a positive way.

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2 thoughts on “Ouija Boards

  1. I think if anything, the board is a tool….and the tool is only as effective as the person using it. That’s why I don’t think it works with young children. I had thought an experience I had when I was younger was related to the Ouija board…but there were so many strange happenings in the house I grew up in, it could have just as easily been a coincidence.

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  2. I don’t think your use of the board as a child was related to the activity in your house. I think that would’ve gone on regardless of whether or not you’d used the board.

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