Ouija boards as we know them came into existence as a game in the mid-1800’s, when spiritualism and channeling were fashionable. Previous to this the first historical mention of something similar to a Ouija board is found in China at around 1100 B.C.[The word “Ouija” is a mix of the French and German words for “yes.” Adolphus Theodore Wagner first patented Ouija boards, or “talking boards,” in England in1854. In the patent, Wagner called his invention a “psychograph” and it was supposed to read people’s minds. By 1861, Frenchman, Allan Kardac, was describing the Ouija board as a tool with which to open communications with the spirit world.
Modern Ouija boards were then developed by inventor William Fuld, who sold his patent to Parker Brothers in 1966. The Ouija boards sold by Parker Brothers consist of a rectangular game board that is covered with a woodcut-style alphabet, the words yes, no, and good-bye, and the numbers 0-9. Also included is a heart-shaped plastic planchette. The planchette is the ‘pointer’ that glides over the board under the direction of supernatural forces and form comments and questions by pointing them out.
Although marketted as a toy, there are people who believe they can be harmful. Some people believe that “evil demons” pretend to be cooperative ghosts in order to trick players into becoming spiritually possessed. Some Ouija board users claim to have had bad experiences related to their by being haunted by “demons,” seeing apparitions of spirits or hearing voices after using them. Some paranormal researchers claim that the majority of the worst cases of demon harassment and possession are caused by the use of Ouija boards.
How does a Ouija Board work? Believers claim that humans are a channel through which the spirit can alter the world. Sceptics believe that it is all down to small and subconscious movements of the hand. This is known as the ‘ideomotor effect’. Some would also argue that mediums communicate on a deep near unconscious level so it is also likely that a spirit could direct the users of a Ouija Board in a similar manner.
Although I have never used a Ouija Board myself, my mother dabbled with them as a teenager. I would probably try using one once, but having been strongly warned off them by my mother, I would not want to make a habit of it. Here is an experience my mother once had with a Ouija Board:
“Many years ago when I was about 13, I used to go out with a lad from a local town. One evening we were in his bedroom with four other friends, and we decided to play with the Ouija Board. One of the other lads was against it and refused to take part, so he sat on a chair by the wardrobe and as we asked the spirits questions he took the mickey, saying we were pushing the glass etc.
We contacted a spirit whose name was Jack and he had been a sailor. The lad by the wardobe laughed and took the mickey again, saying he knew what sailors were like and making bad comments. My boyfriend and I were amazed by the contact and asked lots of questions of this Jack, but it became difficult because of my boyfriend’s mate taking the mickey. We began to lose track of what we had said and started to ask silly things. I think the spirit became annoyed because a moment later there was a loud bang and the lad by the wardrobe had blood trickling from the side of his mouth. Well, we got out of the room and ran downstairs like hell. Once we had calmed down in the kitchen the lad told us what had happened: the bang we had heard was his head going back and hitting the wardrobe. He said that something or someone had hit him in the face, hence the blood and the cut lip. Well it was not any of us that did it! To this day I will never forget it and the look on the lad’s face. We never played with the Ouija Board again in that house and my boyfriend burnt all the letters and the board. Very strange indeed.”
Ouija – By Sylvia Plath
It is a chilly god, a god of shades,
Rises to the glass from his black fathoms.
At the window, those unborn, those undone
Assemble with the frail paleness of moths,
An envious phosphorescence in their wings.
Vermillions, bronzes, colors of the sun
In the coal fire will not wholly console them.
Imagine their deep hunger, deep as the dark
For the blood-heat that would ruddlr or reclaim.
The glass mouth sucks blooh-heat from my forefinger.
The old god dribbles, in return, his words.
The old god, too, write aureate poetry
In tarnished modes, maundering among the wastes,
Fair chronicler of every foul declension.
Age, and ages of prose, have uncoiled
His talking whirlwind, abated his excessive temper
When words, like locusts, drummed the darkening air
And left the cobs to rattle, bitten clean.
Skies once wearing a blue, divine hauteur
Ravel above us, mistily descend,
Thickening with motes, to a marriage with the mire.
He hymns the rotten queen with saffron hair
Who has saltier aphrodisiacs
Than virgins’ tears. That bawdy queen of death,
Her wormy couriers aer at his bones.
Still he hymns juice of her, hot nectarine.
I see him, horny-skinned and tough, construe
What flinty pebbles and ploughable upturns
As ponderable tokens of her love.
He, godly, doddering, spells
No succinct Gabriel from the letters here
But floridly, his amorous nostalgias.