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
"The Ideomotor Effect"
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
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
(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)