A recent Facebook post prompted me to write about the notorious Ouija board today. The question posed was whether anyone would like a table made to look like an Ouija board, since the poster had made one with the intent to sell it. I, for one, thought it was a clever idea and the attendant images of the finished work showed it to be of a subtle and sophisticated design. However, some of the visitors commented that they would NEVER have a Ouija in their homes and cited bad experiences (hear tell or otherwise) associated with its use, namely the oft-dreaded invocation of demonic forces.
This seems to be a commonly held belief these days, but it wasn’t always the case. This innocuous board, which derives its name from the French and German words for “yes” (oui and ja, respectively), was a game invented in 1892 by Elija J. Bond. Its release coincided with a booming interest in Spiritualism at the time and the Ouija fast entered into the culture.
Since the mid-1960s, the Parker Brothers Company has mass produced the Ouija board “for entertainment purposes”.
Still, there are those who adamantly refuse to associate themselves with the board and its insidious little planchette. Paranormal writer and authority Rosemary Ellen Guiley blames this on the slew of horror films and novels that have used the board as a convenient (and some would argue lazy) device for the introduction of some evil force.
While I don’t personally believe the board does anything, I could agree that it might be a tool for focusing ones mediumistic talents. However, it is more likely that like the modern computer, we only get out of an Ouija board what we put into it. If we see demons lurking within every shadow, we’re likely to find them.