Of all the magical tools in the world none is more misunderstood and misused that the infamous "Ouija Board" also known as a "Spirit Board", or "Talking Board".
The first commercially produced Spirit Board was patented by Elijah Bond in 1891 (U.S. Patent 446,054) and was originally marketed as a parlour game. Production of the Spirit Board was later taken over by and employee of Elijah Bond, William Fuld in 1901 who eventually started creating his own version which was Trademarked as a "Ouija Board" and was eventual sold by the Fuld family to the "Parker Brothers" toy & game company now a brand owned by Hasbro Inc in 1966.
What came before?
The precursor to the talking board was actually a form of planchette used for automatic writing. A pen or pencil would be placed through a small hole in the planchette, which in turn would be placed on a blank piece of paper, People would then place there hands on the planchette and let there hands drift eventually and hopefully resulting in the ink from the pen spelling out words or drawing pictures.
Why the scary reputation?
Spirit boards have a bad reputation in pop culture for a few reasons. The first reason is simple, business! Mediums saw the Ouija as competition, after all why would you fork out good money for an expensive Medium to contact your dead Grandparents when you can simply buy or make a cheap board and do it yourself. For this reason when the Spirit Boards started becoming popular even in 1886 before they even started being commercialy produced many mediums spoke out and warned clients about dabbling with powers they can't control.
As you can imagine certain religious leaders and Christian denominations "warned against using ouija boards" and say use of such devices can lead to demonic possession.
Probably the biggest reputation changer for the board was the release of the hit film "The Exorcist" in 1973. After this film was released Spirit boards got a serious reputation as being dangerous and have been a favourite to include in Horror films ever since.
I would like to note that the Ouija board is no more or less dangerous than any other tools used for similar purposes (such as the Pendulum). I'm not going to pretend you couldn't get into problems when trying to open doors to other realms but lets be fair prior to the release of "The Exorcist" the "game" even out-sold "Monopoly" in 1966 and given there must have been literalley thousands of people using the board without any real problems it simply isn't as dangerous as it's reputation suggests.
How does it work?
Most boards will come with an instruction booklet or instructions inscribed on the back of the board however I have reproduced a simple set of instructions below:
- Gather two or more participants (it is recommended one person takes notes).
- Descend into a visionary (alpha brain) state.
- Each participant should lightly place one finger each on the planchette.
- Ask a question and allow the planchette to move freely while the note-taker lists what is being spelled out.
- Once you want to draw the session an end you should thank the spirit (even if nothing happened) and ask the spirit to depart and physically direct the planchette to the "goodbye" marking, aternatively some people like to move the planchette in an anti-clockwise motion three times.
Most importantly you must approach and treat the board with respect!
Many Spirit Board users like to either say a prayer for protection before starting and most Magickal Practitioners have been known to perform spells for protection at the start and end of a session.
"The Ouija phenomenon is considered by most of the scientific community to be the result of the ideomotor response ... Various studies have been produced, recreating the effects of the Ouija board in the lab and showing that, under laboratory conditions, the subjects were moving the planchette involuntarily" this does not necessarily mean the Ouija board doesn't work and can't answer questions posed to it but there is currently no way of proving the answers aren't being given by:
- One of the users purposefully moving the planchette to spell words out.
- A user subconsciously or accidentally moving the planchette to spell words out.
- Spirits taking control of participants using the board during a state of minor possession to direct the planchette to spell out words and give responses.
There are probably thousands of different types of Talking Boards each with different names and sometimes made from different materials but they all pretty much work the same way. Below is a short list of some different types:
- Oracle Board
- Angel Board
- Magi Board
- Ka-bala-cast Iron Board
- Witch Board
- Cryptique Board
Why not download our Spirit Board Template and make your own.
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