Tuesday, January 6, 2015


by Chris Chaos

The Ouija Board, what is it? Is it a source that provides a method to contact spirits, a way to contact the recently deceased or just a child's game? The following is a brief history, background and uses concerning the mysterious board.

In ancient times, circa 1100 AD, there were crude primitive interpretations made that the modern Ouija Board was fashioned after. India, Greece, Rome and Medieval Europe all practiced and had similar methods of spirit writing.

Elijah Bond introduced the board on July 1st, 1890 as a simple board game and parlor trick, it was considered harmless and was not involved as a spirital board. During World War 1, Pearl Curran popularized and thus secured the board as a staple in the occult field.

William Fuld, Elijah's foreman, took over production of the boards from Elijah Bond and called them Ouija, in which he claimed it mean "good luck" in Egyptian or "yes" as a combo of French and German. Over the years, Fuld sued many others for trying to produce their own boards. Fuld died in 1927, his estate sold the business to Parker Brothers, which in turn was sold to Hasbro in 1991.

The board displays all letters of the English alphabet, numbers 0-9, the words yes and no, hello and goodbye, along with symbols representing the sun, moon and stars. Players manipulate a planchette, which is a small 3-legged device with a hole in the middle or a pointer of some sort around the board. However, users often feel the planchette is moving of its own accord rather than responding to their own unconscious muscle movements (ideomotor action).

"The Ideomotor Effect"
The ideomotor effect refers to the influence of suggestion or expectation on involuntary and unconscious motor behavior. The movement of pointers on Ouija boards, of a facilitator's hands in facilitated communication, of hands and arms in applied kinesiology, and of some behaviors attributed to hypnotic suggestion, are due to ideomotor action.

The unaware and fascinated by the board treat it as a tool of the devil, a gateway to possession or some other object tool to contact the dead. Some Christians feel it is demonic, despite being debunked by common sense and the scientific community. Many boards, along with Harry Potter books, were burned back in 2001, in New Mexico by Christian groups who deemed them "symbols of witchcraft". Human Life International wanted Hasbro to be prohibited from marketing the board since they thought they were portals to talk to spirits.

There are many stories that people tell concerning the bad after effects of using a board, along with a movie coming out shortly entitled OUIJA. According to Dr. Carl Wickland, he treated cases of, "several persons whose seemingly harmless experiences with automactic writing and the Ouija board resulted in such wild insanity that commitment to asylums was necessitated." back in 1924. SOURCE: Thirty Years Among the Dead by Dr. Carl Wickland. 1924.

Many believers feel that spirits are guiding their hands in spelling out words, but for the true test all you have to do is blindfold the user and see if the results are the same. Each and every (blindfolded test subject) test shows that the accuracy of letter selection comes out garbled and in true scrambled alphabet soup style.

But in all reality, there is no demonic connection to the boards; the only power they have is the power you give them. For the most part they are just ploys to separate fools from their money.

"If there really is an afterlife, I'll bet the best way to contact it is through a plastic, mass-produced board game from Milton Bradley!" --Mad Magazine

"The planchette is guided by unconscious muscular exertions like those responsible for table movement. Nonetheless, in both cases, the illusion that the object (table or planchette) is moving under its own control is often extremely powerful and sufficient to convince many people that spirits are truly at work...The unconscious muscle movements responsible for the moving tables and Ouija board phenomena seen at seances are examples of a class of phenomena due to what psychologists call a dissociative state. A dissociative state is one in which consciousness is somehow divided or cut off from some aspects of the individual’s normal cognitive, motor, or sensory functions."
(Hines, Terence. (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 47)

An interesting side note story from the author: "I was at a yard sale many moons again and saw a really old, wooden, over sized Ouija Board and was afraid to ask about the price. But after looking at it for a few minutes I finally asked and they simply said, "$1." So I grabbed it up with the quickness and headed home. It was a beautiful piece and I had plans of mounting it on the wall. Looking it up online I found they were incredibly rare and had a value of about $400-500. Sadly, due to the various moves I had over the years the piece was lost to time."

(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey. He is a filmmaker, a business owner, writer, urban explorer and investigator of the odd and weird, a proud parent, happily taken and a connoisseur of hot wings. Chris can be reached at AxisVideo@aol.com)

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