Tap to Read ➤

The Strange History of the Ouija Board

Ashmeet Bagga
Trying to contact ghosts of loved ones needs various tools. Ouija board is a tool to talk to the spirits. We know its rules and dangers, but do we know its inventor? Read about its origin and history.
Ouija Literature!
Emily Grant Hutchings' novel Jap Herron: A Novel Written from the Ouija Board (1917) was supposedly dictated by Mark Twain's spirit with the help of a Ouija board.
Ouija boards are widely used by people especially teenagers during sleepovers to get a creep or two. However, there are lot of people who claim to use this board on a daily basis to get in touch with spirits or alien entities. They say Ouija board becomes a portal to other world, and many spirits can come and go as they please.
Many users who are not aware of its rules can sometimes leave a door open for such entities to enter our world. It's like leaving the back door open at night, not knowing who will enter through the back door, while we are sleeping. Typically a Ouija board has letters, numbers, and words such as yes, no, and goodbye.
Users hold a planchette on the board and allow the spirit to move it around. Many researchers claim that while using a Ouija board we think it's the spirit answering our questions, but it actually is our subconscious mind. It is a result of an ideomotor response.
Many scientists have carried out experiments using Ouija board, wherein they claim the answers we get from a Ouija board are similar to whatever is going on in our mind. The planchette is moved around by unconscious muscular exertions.
In fact, Brain Games ran an episode, which showed that the planchette didn't move when all the participants were blindfolded. The mystery is yet to be solved, if it is the work of our mind or maybe a spirit. Though the Ouija board practice seems old, but it was popularized in the 19th century.

Ouija Board History

It started in China around 1100 AD. According to the historical documents of the Song Dynasty, automatic writing method was used in it, known as planchette writing back then. It was used to contact the spirits, even though certain rituals and supervisors were required, it was widely practiced in Quanzhen School. But later it was banned by the Qing Dynasty.
 Many other methods of spirit writing were widely practiced in medieval Europe, Rome, Greece and India. Ouija boards were used by Greeks and also by the Romans in the fourth century.
 On 23 January 1854, Adolphus Theodore Wagner who was a professor of music, filed the first patent for this board in London. His board was known as, "A Psychograph, or Apparatus for Indicating Persons Thoughts by the Agent of Nervous Electricity." However this board was not used to contact any spirit, but to learn more about the thoughts of the users.
 It dates back to 1886, when an article in the New York Daily Tribune created a stir in the city. The article spoke about a tool used to get in touch with the ghosts. This rectangular shaped board had alphabets, numbers 1 to 9, and 'yes' or 'no' drawn on it.
►Year 1878 marked the beginning of spiritualism when Fox sisters of Hydesville reported that they got in touch with the spirit of a dead peddler. The 'planchette' was actually produced by a French medium 'M. Planchette'. Since these instruments were difficult to use, a less complicated form of communication was designed and the spirit board came into being.
 During the 18th century many people were buying planchettes. Elijah Bond thought about registering the planchette with a patent. This planchette was sold with a board, then known as the talking board. Therefore, on May 28 1890, Elijah Bond filed for the patent of Ouija board.
The patent was issued on February 10, 1981. Apart from inventing a Ouija board, he is also known to introduce other objects simultaneously with this board. Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard named the word Ouija which in ancient Egyptian language means 'good luck'. It was sold for $1.50c in Pittusburgh.
 William Fuld, who worked for Elijah Bond took over the board's production. However, in the year 1901, he started producing his own boards under the name 'Ouija'. William along with his brothers changed the Kennard Novelty Company to Ouija Novelty Company.
 William Fuld had the official rights on the Ouija board. He claimed to invent the board and said the word Ouija was derived from the mixture of French and German words, 'Oui' and 'Ja'. Both the words means yes in French and German language.
 After he passed away in 1927, his children handled the business till 1966. Due to the great depression, his children passed down the right to Parker brothers. Initially the boards were made from hardboard, tightly-pressed paper but nowadays it is made of cardboard, paper.
If you want to access it or already have, follow the rules to use a Ouija board. It's not necessary that during the séance you'll encounter only good spirits, you may come across an evil, demonic ones too. Although people use it to get more information about their past, present or future, many science experts claim it as the work of our subconscious mind.
Although it's a mysterious board, the history of the Ouija board game is quite plain and simple. It is devoid of any mystery or occult. Whether the Ouija board works or not is still very unclear. And while we figure out the truth, it'd be wise to stay on the safe side and to avoid toying with such things.