Ouija Board

A Ouija board is used by some spirit mediums for purposes of contacting the other side. The instrument has two parts: a large smooth board, approximately 22 by 15 inches, and a three-legged triangular or heart-shaped pointer called a planchette, which slides easily across the face of the board. On the board the letters of the alphabet are arrayed in large, easily read characters in two curved lines; above to the right and left, respectively, are the words “yes” and “no.” At the bottom are the words “Good Bye” (on some boards the word “Maybe” is added). During a seance, spirit mediums who use a Ouija board will place their fingers lightly on the planchette, and the spirits will provide the energy to move it to answer yes or no questions or to spell out names and more detailed information.

On certain occasions, mediums may invite one or more sitters to place their own hands on the planchette so that they may feel the spiritual force controlling its movements and determine that the medium is not responsible for its actions.

Spirit mediums and certain psychical researchers maintain that the Ouija board has been instrumental in producing volumes of impressive communications from the other side and has also helped to develop hundreds of psychic-sensitives who have become adept at spirit contact. The Ouija board was first available for the American public in 1890 and was marketed as a parlor game. According to its creators, E. C. Reiche, Elijah Bond, and Charles Kennard, the name of the board was derived from the ancient Egyptian word for good luck. Egyptologists flatly stated that “ouija” was not an ancient blessing, and William Fuld, a foreman at Kennard’s company, agreed, protesting that he was the one who had really invented the board, fashioning its name by splicing together the German (ja) and the French (oui) words for “yes.”

In 1892, Kennard lost his company, and the selling of the Ouija boards was taken over by Fuld. It seems likely that the Ouija board was inspired by the planchette that has been used by spirit mediums for centuries as they received automatic writing from their control. This planchette is a roughly triangular or heartshaped object about four inches long and three inches wide, approximately one-eighth on an inch thick, and is mounted on two small legs which are generally padded with felt or equipped with small wheels or casters.

At the tip of the planchette is a hole through which a soft pencil or ballpoint pen can be inserted point downward to serve as a third leg. When the planchette is placed on a plain sheet of paper and the medium places his or her fingers lightly on its surface, the planchette will move across the paper and write messages for those sitters in attendance at the seance. The idea of the Ouija board may also be a modern adaptation of glass writing, a method still favored by some spirit mediums. In glass writing, a fairly large sheet of paper on which the letters of the alphabet are printed in a wide circle is placed on a table. On it, upside down, is placed a thin wine glass or a light water tumbler. Then the sitters, usually two and never more than four, place their fingertips on the bottom of the upturned glass. After a while, spirit energy is believed to enter the glass. As the glass moves, it will come to rest over certain letters which, when written out on a separate sheet of paper, will spell out intelligent messages.

Most people see them as a toy, something to play with. The fact that they were even mass-produced by games companies only adds to the ‘harmless fun’ factor. However, many expert mediums believe they should not be approached with such a nonchalant attitude. They say that countless people end up in dire straits simply from fooling around with Ouija boards; some experience mental breakdowns or relationships disintegrating, some end up possessed by spirits and some are even driven to suicide.

Skeptics believe that those mediums who use such devices as a Ouija board are not summoning spirits to provide the answers to questions put to the board, but are either consciously or unconsciously moving the planchette to spell out the desired answers. The same thing is true of those persons who use the Ouija board as a kind of parlor game and who may receive “spirit communications” that appear on first examination to be baffling and indicative of unseen intelligences hovering nearby. These people may have permitted themselves to become suggestible by the mood provoked by seeking spirit contact and may have allowed the answers provided by the planchette to reflect their unconscious thoughts, fears, or wishes. The people using the board all gently touch a pointer which slides around the board, forming words that answer the questions asked by the sitters. Officially, manufacturers of the boards say they works by tapping into the collective sub-conscious, but the item is generally regarded as a way to talk to spirits. Indeed, during the Second World War sales of the board peaked as people tried to contact loved ones lost in battle.

The Ouija board then had a resurgence in the 1960s during the days of heightened spiritual interest. It was overtly marketed as a game, but media stories questioning the effect of the board on people’s emotional, spiritual and psychological equilibrium led to the items being removed from high-street shops. The dangers people face when using the board are obvious. If the sitters are trying to contact the spirit world, then they are probably dealing with something about which they know nothing. Just from a common sense point of view, there are dangers involved similar to modern forms of communication; you never know exactly who you are talking with, no matter what they tell you. It is claimed that especially mischievous or evil spirits try to contact people who are using Ouija boards without any clear idea of what they are doing. But, like modern technology, viewed and operated in the correct, careful way, people can have a lot of enjoyment. Experts are particularly keen to warn people of nervous dispositions, who may be susceptible to unhealthy suggestion, to stay away from Ouija boards.

There have been reports of extreme activity during sessions, with inanimate objects moving independently and lights flicking on and off. There is also no scientific proof to say exactly what is causing the words to be spelt out. If people really want to try contacting the spirit world it is probably advisable to visit a reputable medium who can guide and control sessions. However, there are some Ouija board experiences that actually prove to be lifechanging successes. Many of the established mediums began their careers using Ouija boards, and there is a strong argument that the boards help you become more sensitive and appreciative of the spirit world. One such case happened in 1913 to Pearl Curran, a housewife from St Louis. Curran was dabbling with a friend’s board when a spirit supposedly called Patience Worth contacted her. Curran and this entity progressed and she started to practise automatic writing, resulting in the production of over a million words of poetry, drama and fiction.

Of course there was always the possibility that Curran was a naturally gifted writer and just pretended a spirit had initiated the writing. She may even have been the unwitting reincarnation of Patience Worth. In either case, the prose was of a good enough quality to be published and receive substantial acclaim from readers. However, not all experiences have this result. Both psychical researchers and skeptical investigators agree that impressionable children should not use the Ouija board as a game to be played late at night during slumber parties or sleep-overs. Often the messages relayed by the planchette—whether by spirits or the human unconscious—are of a profane and vile nature, revealing psychological weaknesses and primal fears. Whatever intellect is being harnessed, the fact is that with Ouija boards, like life in general, it is best to be careful with things you know little about.

(Taken from many sources)


Anonymous said...

Good post. I was first introduced to the Ouija board in my teens by my sister in law. The board reacted to my touch very easily.

A few years later, my husband and I used the Ouija board with friends as a game. That is until things started to feel weird. My husband even felt the negative feelings surrounding it and we agreed to stop using it.

Thank you for sharing this unbiased information. It will be a good guide for anyone who is curious about the Ouija board.

listen to the rain said...

Like this post..

I have one Ouija Board at home.. It is made of very beautiful wood, the paintings of the "supposed" guardian of the board is also meticulous and nice..

I used it before just for fun with my brothers. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. Still, I just kept the board for fun..

But good information though!

Anonymous said...

(Lea & Lizzie) Thanx for sharing ur experience with ouija board. Unfortunately, i don't have one, cause in my country (Indonesia) it's not very popular, but there is a similar game (traditional game actually) it's called Jelangkung, maybe i'll post it here some other time if i have collect enough sources

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