What is an Ouija Board?
The sole purpose of an Ouija Board is used to interact and connect with the deceased ones. Ouija Board acts as a medium that connects the dead spirits and their living loved ones as a means of talking with them.
A board that has all the alphabets written over it with numbers 0 to 9 and the words ‘hello, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘goodbye’ additionally with some symbols and graphics is called as the Ouija Board.
Also known as the Spirit Board and Talking Board, it is a flat piece of plank that also uses a small heart-shaped material made of wood or sometimes plastic known as the Planchette as an indicator. The Planchette is the piece that moves over the board, as a means of response or answer, when a player asks a question to some soul. Today, there are many other options for having varied shapes for the Planchette.
There are so many criticisms and debates regarding the way how an Ouija Board works for individuals. Even the occultists have varied differences in their opinions regarding this method; some mean it as a positive transformation and others state it as a warning or a caution to use them since they may turn horrible when used by inexperienced users.
From causing mental disorders to the players to getting them automatically into suicide, the Ouija Board is a dangerous activity for the ones seeks them. Even things have been recorded where individuals who tried contacting their loved ones have been reported to have welcomed some other beings without proper knowledge. Even the ones who had a successful period of communication had some negative energy saved in their rooms.
History Behind The Ouija Board
Elijah Bond is the man behind creating the Ouija Board during the 19th century (1892). He named it as ‘Ouija’ since it had its meaning as ‘Good luck’ in Ancient Egyptian language and also ‘yes’ from the French and German words – ‘Oui’ and ‘Ja’. It then took great success and became a business for him that had sales in an unbelievable way from the Americans.
Bu then – since ancient times, Ouija Board has evolved with so many myths and issues concerning its methods. Around 1100 AD in China, the first mentions about the board were in the manuscripts of the Song Dynasty. It was termed as an automatic writing method and was also called as ‘Fuji’ method of Planchette writing.
Under the Jin Dynasty was the Quanzhen School that fully focused upon having a means of necromancy and communion with the dead and spiritual world. They performed these acts with proper religious rituals and other deity processes. This continued as a central process until it became forbidden by the Great Qing of the Qing Dynasty.
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From Greece and Rome to medieval Europe and Ancient India, there were so many eras with full of mediumistic practises and rituals for contacting the unseen world.
The world-famous American Civil war had people from the United States to make contact with the deceased loved ones. So many business mediums took over the act of Ouija Board as helping the survivors getting in touch with their dead relatives.
After the periods of 1890s Ouija Board were seen as a product of commercialization where people started to buy them for their own sake from industries and businessmen and moreover, there were a number of members who took and turn to get various patents for it. Some of the world-famous of those patents from numerous individuals includes:
- Patent no.1,352,046; 7 September 1920: Frederick H. Black-“Message Interpreting Device” or “Psychic Messenger”
- Patent no.1,422,775; 11 July 1922: Leon Martocci – Pisculli- “(Magnetic) Toy”
- Patent no.462,819; 10 November 1891: Charles W. Kennard-“Talking-Board”
- Patent no.1,476,158; 4 December 1923: Grover C. Haffner-“Psychic Instrument”
- Patent no.2,511,377; 13 June 1950: Raymond S. Richmond-“Finger Pressure Actuated Message Interpreting Amusement Device”
- Patent no.446,054; 10 February 1891: Elijah J. Bond – assigned to Charles W. Kennard and William H. A. Maupin- “Ouija or Egyptian Luck Board”
The Ouija Board Novelty’s employee William Fuld was the only person in this world to have the most number of patents and copyrights for the Ouija than anyone else. He even had 21 resignations signed from 3 countries. The etymology of the word ‘Ouija’ as ‘Yes’ was by Fuld in 1901, which is accepted and followed till today. Until his death in 1927, he had a lot of designed materials for the Ouija Board and even sued the works of other American members.
In the year 1991, the famous company Parker Brothers, known for the boards, was sold to Hasbro, which is the current patented brand for all the Ouija Board’s rights.
Religious Uses of Ouija Board
Ever since the history of the Ouija Board, many Christian denominations have varying criticisms regarding the way Ouija’s perform. The Roman Catholic Christian apologetics organization – Catholic Answers (for instance), states that the Ouija Board is far from being harmless and it is a system of divination. They state it as a process of seeking information from supernatural sources.
There was the rise of criticisms from various religions stating that the Ouija Board gives information that should only be in the hands of God, and so, many people still see it as a tool of the Satan.
Along with the books of Harry Potter in 2001, the fundamentalist groups burnt everything along with the Ouija Boards in Alamogordo of New Mexico. This is seen as a symbol of witchcraft. It was also to be noted here that a representative from the Human Life International had labeled the game as a portal to communicate and interact with the spirits and had called for Hasbro, the world-famous board game and Toys Company, to prohibit the product from marketing them.
Even though there are so many cultural forewarnings about the after-effects of playing Ouija Board, it is evident that the teenagers, without any concern to religion, play Ouija for the thrill and seeking sensations. Christians see them as a route to the demonic possession and give warnings at times. This gave rise to the legend tripping – Ostension; it is a form of dare or checking the reality and truth, wherein account to Ouija Boards, adolescents start playing the game for the thrilling experience they would like to witness.
Scientific Explanations To Ouija Board
‘Ideomotor effect’ is the actual science behind the movements observed during the act of Ouija Board play. William Benjamin Carpenter was the first person to describe this phenomenon in the year 1852. He states that the ideomotor effect is the reason behind a peg or a piece of an object moves over the board as a result of our thoughts. He adds saying that our muscular movements are independent of our conscious thought from the mind.
This psychological phenomenon of Ideomotor effect was thus resulting in the movements of the Planchette and not any ghost or spirit. Michael Faraday described the same effect in 1853 by investigating it with the table-turning, which people thought some spirit’s presence and movement.
Various science experiments have been proved successful in the Ideomotor effect and were also taken as a serious theory in fields like neurology, psychology, and the Pseudo-sciences as well. Psychologists notably call this movement from our unconscious thinking as a human’s dissociative state; this is a condition of the state where a person’s consciousness somehow divides or cuts off from a few phases of the individual like normal motor, sensory, and cognitive functions.
Again, there were several criticisms from various fields of science and sociology stating different opinions like Ouija Board’s functions are ‘half-truth’, ‘vestigial remains’ of primitive belief-systems’, etc. which were all changing as times passed.
Famous People Who Use Ouija Board
- World-famous writer Sylvia Plath wrote the book ‘Dialogue over an Ouija’ in the year 1957. She even wrote a poem based on her experiences with the game.
- The co-founder of the Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson tried contacting the dead souls during his Ouija Board séances.
- Emily Grant Hutchings wrote a book named ‘Jap Herron’ in the year 1919 in Missouri, which he stated that the person who dictated it fully was her old acquaintance Mark Twain through the Ouija Board. Skeptics stated that the book was false and Mark, dead or not, could who have not written such a material.
- Former Italian Prime Minister ‘Romano Prodi’ when taken an oath and asked for where previous Prime Minister Aldo Moro was held by the Red Brigades, it was found that Giorgio La Pira, former mayor of Florence who passed away the previous year had said this in his Ouija Gameplay. Still, people were in a dilemma whether to believe it or not.
- The rock band ‘The Mars Volta’ wrote an entire album – Bedlam in Goliath in the year 2008, based upon their experiences with the Ouija Board. After strange things happening around their houses like the lead singer getting injured in his foot and the nervous breakdown of one of the engineers, they immediately burnt the board outside.