Ouija Boards

Ouija Boards

Definition: Supposedly the name “Ouija Board” is derived from the French and German words for “yes” (oui and ja). The device is used to supposedly contact immaterial  spirits who control the hands of the human participants for the purpose of answering  questions. These questions can involve the nature of the afterlife, events which  occurred while these spirits still existed in the physical realm, or events which will  occur in the future (divination). The Ouija Board has often been used by both kids  and adults as basically a game, but it has also been used by people who are “true  believers” in the presence and power of spirits.

A Ouija Board is a simple device, consisting of a flat board covered with all the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and four words written large: Yes, No, Maybe and Goodbye. In addition it comes with a triangular object, a bit larger than a fist, resting on three short legs. This is called a planchette, and one corner is used as a pointer.

The original version of such boards consisted just of the planchette and paper – a pencil was put through a hole in the planchette and the “spirits” were supposed to transmit their messages in this fashion. This design was changed in the late 19th century by Isaac Fuld, a Baltimore toymaker who added the board with letters and numbers, thus simplifying the transmission of messages. Sales were tremendous, especially after World War I when millions of people were mourning the loss of loved ones and were anxious to get some sign, any sign, that they might still “exist” in some fashion. 

For tax reasons, Fuld insisted that his Ouija board was not a game but rather a  scientific instrument. The government attempted to impose a tax upon his sales like they  did with other games, something he fought all of the way to the Supreme Court. He lost.

Today, all rights and trademarks are owned by Parker Brothers because Fuld’s children sold the business in 1966. Although they no longer manufacture it, anything which was not made by them is not an authentic Fuld board. As it currently stands, it is operated by having one or more people sit at the board with one or more hands on the planchette and they ask questions of spirits. The planchette is then supposed to move about the board, pointing to the answers – numbers, words, or letters which spell out more specific information. 

In practice, the answers are produced by the ideomotor effect, not spirits. That this  is the real cause was recognized even early on – the original patent for the Ouija  Board included the statement that “A question is asked and by involuntary  muscular actions of the players, or through some other agency, the frame will  commence to move across the table.” 

It is also interesting that if opaque paper is placed over the board, hiding the letters and numbers from the people who are using it, the “spirits” are no longer able communicate. Are we really supposed to believe that these spirits are unable to see through plain paper?

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Scrying Board Divination (Storm Moon)

Scrying Board Divination

(Storm Moon)

Scrying boards, such as the popular Quija board, date back at least to the time of the fourth-century Roman emperor Valens. In its first year of full production by Parker Brothers. Quija boards outsold their other favorite game Monopoly.

To perform this ritual, you will need a large piece of construction paper, a magic marker, a small wine glass and at least one other person.

At midnight, draw a small circle the size of the top of the wine glass in the middle of the piece of paper. Draw a line up from the circle to the top of the paper, down from the circle to the bottom of the paper, from the right-side to the edge, and from the left-side to the edge. The paper is now divided into four sections with a circle in the middle. Label the section in the upper right “Yes” the section in the upper left “No,” lower left “Yes,” and lower right “No.”

Place the wine glass upside down in the middle of the paper, covering the circle. With two people on opposite sides or four people on all four sides, each person put one finger on what is now the top of the glass. One of you needs to ask a “yes or no” question out loud. Wait for the glass to move on its own, free from deliberate help. You will know this because its movements will be fluid rather than jerky.

When you perfect this divination board, you can improve upon it by writing a circle of letters on the paper. Do this by writing the letter “A” at the top of the page and then making a circle around the page with the other twenty-five letters. This configuration of the board gives you the option of moving beyond yes and no questions.