If you type “Ouija Board” into YouTube, you’ll find countless clickbaity videos of groups of friends who claim to have summoned a demon or had a spooky experience with a spirit board. Although I highly doubt the validity of most of these videos, Ouija Boards have managed to capture the minds of horror fans and ghost hunters for well over a century. Blogtober got me wondering where Ouija Boards came from and how they came to be so big so here’s what I found out.
Ouija Boards as we know them today are a direct product of the rise of spiritualism and the growing interest in mediumship in the nineteenth century. A Baltimorean businessman called Elijah Bond got the patent for Ouija Boards way back in 1891, though talking boards were already popular at this time. There isn’t really much more to say about Elijah other than this fairly creepy detail, his gravestone has an Ouija Board engraved onto the back of it.
William Fuld is the next person of note in the mass-production of Ouija Boards as he oversaw the manufacture for Elijah. Eventually he became so invested in the product that he and his brother leased the Ouija Board name and set up a business together making them to supply the increasing demand. A feud drew the brothers apart though and resulted in William suing his brother for selling talking boards that were near replicas of the official Ouija Boards. William was making so much on Ouija Boards he even started creating Ouija-themed jewellery!
These days, the rights to Ouija Boards are owned by Hasbro, a toy and board game company.
The Scientific View
Aside from the whole, it can easily be faked explanation, scientists think there is another, more psychological theory as it how Ouija Boards work. This is the ideomotor phenomenon. Now, I’m no scientist but the basic gist is that the ideomotor phenomenon can explain how our unconscious mind can make our bodies move without our conscious mind recognising it. An example of our unconscious taking the reigns would be reacting when something is thrown at you without having to consciously think about it.
Our brains are so complicated and most psychologists and neurologists agree that there is so much we don’t know about them. What is known is that the power of suggestion is mighty. Most of the time, if someone attempts an Ouija Board session they are a believer in the paranormal and they probably want the planchette to move. This means their unconscious mind could respond by telling their hand to move it without them even being consciously aware of their movement.
All this brings me back to the start of this post, Ouija Boards make a great YouTube video. Watching that planchette move and spell out some message allegedly from the other side is undeniably spooky. But, for me, at least most of the time, a faked video is possibly all it is. Here’s the thing. I believe in ghosts and in cases of poltergeist activity, I do think it’s possible for ghosts to move things. Therefore, I think it’s plausible that a ghost could be moving that planchette but as for unlocking some portal to a ghost realm or this inanimate object being a hub of demonic activity, I don’t really buy it.
Slightly weird disclaimer before I go but I just want to say that although I don’t think Ouija Boards are demonic, just in case are, I wouldn’t recommend trying one because… well, you never know.
What do you make of Ouija Boards? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be back tomorrow for Blogtober Day 7.