Ouija Boards: Gateways to the unknown.


A harmless kids toy or a portal into the worlds beyond, that has been the subject of many different debates within the spiritual communities for years. I am sure many of you have had your own experiences that at on time or another involved this board and a planchet. However, what I want to talk to you about is the history of the board itself and the proper usage if you must use one. Like any divination device that you use to communicate with the other side, you should always exercise caution when you use it. You never want to end up in a situation with something that attaches itself to you or comes after you in a negative form or fashion.

My first experience with it was not an overall enjoyable one as a young teen and ever since then I always proceed with caution when dealing with anything that involves these boards. I do have one that I keep in the home but it is sealed away and not opened. I do not feel the urge to use it but it does reside in my home, as a collector’s item and limited edition from the Stranger Things Release.

I talk briefly about one of my experiences on our Para-Normal episode of our podcast:

According the the company the age for usage of this board is 8 and up!

What do you want to know? Ask your question with a friend using the planchette that comes with the board, but be patient and concentrate because the spirits can’t be rushed. Handle the Ouija board with respect and it won’t disappoint you! Ages 8 and up.

Ouija Game – Hasbro

How old is the oldest Ouija board?

Image result for ouija board

The board that became Ouija was born in 1886 in Chestertown, Maryland and named in 1890 in Baltimore where it was first manufactured. Since Ouija’s inception newspapers reported on its use as a way to communicate with the dead, predict catastrophes, solve mysteries, even commit crimes.

Ouija is a talking board first manufactured in the Unites States in 1890. A talking board is a board printed with letters and numbers that uses a sliding pointer to spell out messages in a mysterious way. As Ouija’s popularity grew in the wake of World World I, newspaper coverage spread about Pearl Curran, a St. Louis housewife who used Ouija to talk with the spirit of a 17th-century woman named Patience Worth. Mrs. Curran went on to publish Patience’s writings, many of which were met with critical acclaim.

This “Talking Board” fueled the curiosity of many at the turn of the century and still continues to do so today. Many children, young budding spiritualist, occultist, and more will turn to the board to seek answers, communicate with loved ones long gone and see if there is something after death. You know that whole age old question, is there something else out there? Are we alone? If not what is there here with us?

Now, it is okay to ask these questions, it is okay to ponder over the very meaning of life as whole but sometimes, just sometimes it is best for us not to poke and prod too much at the unknown, not to meddle in things that we do not fully understand.

Wooden Ouija boards cost $1.50 at Sanders & Co, 408 Main Street in Little Rock, according to this ad from the June 2, 1920, Arkansas Democrat. For Old News. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

If you’ve ever hovered over a Ouija board, you may have wondered, “What does ‘Ouija’ mean?”

The board game, which uses movements of people’s hands on a small device to send a “message from beyond,” is still a popular toy. But its history is less well-known, so I asked someone to help me understand the layered meanings of Ouija: Robert Murch, who has the unique distinction of being a Ouija expert. As the chair of the Talking Board Historical Society, he served as a consultant on the 2014 horror movie Ouija and recently celebrated his passion at the inaugural OuijaCon.

It turns out that the real meaning of “Ouija” is as pliable — and mysterious — as the game itself.

A sincere spiritualist movement arose in the second half of the 19th century. As Americans dealt with a changing country, life in the wake of the Civil War, and other drastic changes, some sought answers in a spiritual — but not traditionally religious — realm.

It was significant from the 1860s on, David Nartonis writes in his history of the spiritualist movement’s growth. Via the lecture circuit, seances, and other activities in which people attempted to talk to the dead, spiritualism became a significant cultural force. In 1868, for example, there were no less than 150 lectures on spiritualism advertised in the Spiritual Telegraph newspaper. That fad led to lots of unique business opportunities.

Ouija was just one of many talking boards of its era

“Talking boards existed years before Ouija,” Murch says. Some pre-1886 Ouija boards looked like Ouija boards, and some didn’t. Murch says early versions featured different ways of receiving messages. Some used dial plates, in which you pressed your hand on a device and the pressure directed a needle to different letters. Other fortune tellers relied on knocking sounds on the bottom of a table to convey messages.

Some devices even used planchettes (that’s the name for the thing you hold when you operate a Ouija board. Myth says it’s named after a French medium, but it’s a word for a small board dating back to medieval France). Often, these early planchettes had a hole so a pencil could write the answer.

The inventor of the 1886 Ouija board remains disputed — some credit a cabinetmaker named E. C. Reiche, while others say it was Charles Kennard. The most common belief is that Reiche sold his invention to Kennard, though it’s hard to know for sure (Reiche later claimed it was stolen). “According to Kennard,” Murch says, “he came up with the idea while sitting in the kitchen of his new house.” Kennard said he placed a breadboard on the table and held a teacup over it, the same way you’d hold a planchette over a Ouija board. As he watched his hand move, he realized he’d found a way to access his subconscious.

Though we don’t know the inventor, we do know that the Ouija board, made and sold by Kennard and his colleague Elijah Bond, represented a step forward for talking boards. Its design — an arc of letters, a planchette, and handy “Yes,” “No,” and “Goodbye” prompts — was unique.

Their board’s name was unique as well, with a surrounding mystical myth. That name came courtesy of Helen Peters, Elijah Bond’s sister-in-law. She had a reputation as a medium, so on April 25, 1890, she had a session in Baltimore with the entrepreneurs and the board. According to the letters and journals of the group, they asked the board what it wanted to be called. It spelled out “Ouija.” When they asked what it meant, it spelled “Good luck.”


But there’s also a more practical — and market-driven — explanation for the Ouija name. After the name “Ouija” was “sent” to the participants on that April night, Peters revealed she was wearing a locket that she claimed had “Ouija” written on it. “One of the theories of the locket,” Murch says, “is that Helen Peters was a well-read upper class woman. She likely read stories from English novelist Ouida. We believe she might have been wearing a locket that had ‘Ouida’ on it, and it’s possible that ‘Ouija’ was in her subconscious.”

There was also an exotic appeal to the name, which was meant to sound Egyptian. When the game earned a patent in 1890, it was as an “Egyptian luck board.” Egypt was in vogue in some spiritualist and performance circles (in 1888, to take one example, “Professor Canaris, Wizard of the North” bragged about the “Egyptian necromancy” in his show).

We can’t know for sure whether Ouija was a genuine expression of spiritualist beliefs, an Egyptophilic piece of flimflam meant to capitalize on those beliefs, or a little bit of both. But eventually, Ouija’s name took on an even broader meaning.

By 1901, after a few other transactions where Ouija production changed hands, entrepreneur William Fuld secured the rights to sell the hit board. He’d already gotten a patent for his own talking board, but Ouija was a mainstream hit that he coveted.


“William Fuld took over,” Murch says. “And he realized it didn’t matter what you called it if you bought it.”

“By the 1920s, people were using more slang,” Murch says, “and if you were playing the board, you were Ouija-ing.” Boards were changed to reflect that, and some even read, “If you call it we-ja or wee-gee, it still spells good fun.” The board still had mystical cachet, but it was no longer solely a mysterious spiritualist message or an allusion to a forgotten Egyptian god — it was also a game to be played with family and friends.

And that’s the meaning of Ouija that’s stuck since, especially after the sale of Fuld’s business — and Ouija — to Parker Brothers in 1966. That same year, it outsold Monopoly. Today, the board symbolizes everything from retro gaming to the scary movie that bore its name. And that’s probably appropriate. Ouija always did what we wanted it to, so it’s fitting that “Ouija” means what we want it to as well.

There are more rules to keep you safe using this board than you actually hear about, many know of the key rules. Never play alone, never play in a graveyard, and always say good bye, but those are not all you need to know when you decide to open a portal and pick up a spirit board. Be sure to read over these carefully before use!

Ouija Board Rules

Always create a protective circle for use, do not break the circle until you are finished.

1. Ouija boards are not a joke. Read up on what can happen when you use a ouija board before you use a ouija board.

2. The most important rule is to never taunt or goad a spirit to communicate with you through the Ouija board. This can have disastrous consequences.

3. Never ask a Ouija board when you are going to die.

4. Spirits who talk to you through your Ouija board can tell you anything they want. Just because a spirit says something does not mean it is true. A spirit try to win your trust by telling you they are a long lost relative or the spirit of a small child who needs your help. In reality, the spirit could be malevolent.

5. Never use a Ouija board alone. The more people with you when using a Ouija board, the better. This means there is more energy present to connect with a spirit. If not everyone can comfortably sit and touch the planchette, it’s fine to have some people just be viewers.

6. Do not use a Ouija board in your home. If you do connect with a malevolent spirit, the energy will be in your home and it will be harder to break contact.

7. One person in the group should be the leader. This is the person who will talk and ask questions while the group is using the board.

8. If you are using the Ouija board and are not the “leader”, you should keep your fingers on the planchette and remain silent. No one should laugh or ask whether it is “working” — this is negative energy which interferes with the process! Try not to decipher the words as the planchette moves. Your role is to close your eyes and focus your energy on the planchette.

9. The leader should not ask joke questions!!!

10. One person should be assigned the task of keeping track of the answers. They can write down the letters/words on a notepad and translate to the group what they think the spirit is saying. Try not to guess what the answers are in the moment. Write down what is happening and do that after the planchette stops moving.

11. Don’t leave the planchette on the board. When you are done using your ouija board, remove the planchette from the board. Even if you are just leaving the room for a bit, it’s considered bad luck to leave the planchette on the board.

The Public Domain Review

12. If you want to take a break, have one person keep their hand on the planchette to stay connected to the energy you’ve built.

13. Always end your session with the Ouija board by saying “goodbye”.

14. The location you use should be (ideally) dark and free of background noise. You can use a candle to light the board enough to see what the planchette may be spelling.

15. If a spirit starts communicating with you through the board by counting down or going through the alphabet, immediately end the session by saying “goodbye”. This is a common theme in ouija users who have contacted a malevolent spirit that is trying to leave the board.

16. If a spirit starts communicating with you by making the planchette make a figure 8 or infinity symbol, immediately end the session by saying “goodbye”. This is another way malevolent spirits have revealed themselves.

17. If you begin to suspect that you are in contact with a malevolent spirit, immediately end the session by putting the planchette on “goodbye”. It also helps to leave the physical space you are in to sever the energy between the group and the spirit.

18. If you speak to a spirit who identifies themselves as “Zozo”, end the session and say “goodbye” immediately. Zozo has been identified as a malevolent spirit.

19. Don’t use a Ouija board in a cemetery.

20. If you are experiencing depression, it may be good to avoid using a Ouija board. That kind of energy draws in malevolent spirits.

21. Never burn a Ouija board. This can do more damage than simply leaving it untouched in a closet. If you are having problems with a Ouija board, store the planchette and board separately.

Be safe out there lovelies!

Much Love and Many Blessings to you all!

~ Mrs. B


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