Thursday, August 11, 2011

Do you Ouija?

Get ready to read about one of the most controversial games in the world: The Ouija Board. I realize that there are a wide range of opinions about these boards, and I look forward to hearing what yours is. Many people won't even touch a Ouija Board, for fear of invoking evil spirits. Yet, most of us take as big of a risk when we participate in online discussions. We blog, tweet, and otherwise reach out into the unknown with no idea of what is on the other side of our screens. Like people sitting around a Ouija Board, we expect to have a positive reaction - until we don't.

Since there are good and bad people in the world, it makes sense that there would be good and bad spirits. I assume that an earthbound spirit would remain more or less like they were in life. So it seems just as possible to run into a positive spirit as a negative one when playing with a Ouija Board. Playing with one of these boards is comparable to typing an opinion on an online message board and waiting to see what kind of answer you receive. You might hear from someone who agrees with you, someone you writes meaningless things you don't understand, or an angry person who says vile things to you. Negative responses from a Ouija Board or another internet user can be surprising and at times scary. This is because in both cases, you cannot see who you are communicating with. This adds a bit of mystery and excitement, but also a potential risk.

Awhile back, I was talking Ouija Boards with my blog buddy, Holly (who you may know as Hiyoko). Both of us own antique Ouija Boards. Mine was made during the 1950s, while hers predates the 1950s. The boards are quite different in style, since Hiyoko's board is Canadian and mine is American. Let me show you the differences. Here's mine:

This is the standard version most Americans are used to seeing. I took a photo of my 1950s board, but my 1990s board looks just like it. The planchette on the older one has a metal needle while the new one is all plastic. Here's Holly's Board:

Both of our boards were designed by William Fuld. Mine predates the ones released by Parker Brothers.  Hers was made by The Canada Games Company.

After seeing a Canadian Ouija Board, I wanted to see a European one. According to my British sources, Ouija Boards were for the most part not sold in England. There is evidently only one shop in England where a person could get a board. That shop is The Sorcerer's Apprentice in Leeds. The board they offer actually comes with a dial you can spin.

This is the best photo I could find of that board. My blog friend Sandy, who you probably know from gave me some possible information as to why there aren't many Ouija Boards in England. She pointed me to various acts that have been passed. Basically, these laws have prohibited psychics from making a profit from any readings not advertised as "entertainment". Prior to that there was a "Witchcraft Act" banning witchcraft. If you would like to learn about the history of these laws, click Here and Here.

I have to share a favorite Ouija Board I ran into online. It was designed by the Halloween artist, Lew Lehrman. He mostly paints haunted house portraits from the photos people send him of their homes. Anyway, he designed the beautiful Ouija Board below. You can see it in more detail: Here

Here's another beautiful board!

This picture was sent to me by my blog friend Holly. (This is a different Holly from the one mentioned above.) You probably know this Holly from her blog:

Anyway, while Holly and I chatted about this blog post, she mentioned that he friend, Vanessa actually constructed her own Ouija Board. Vanessa did a really great job on this Emily the Strange themed board!

The planchette is adorable too! I just love Emily the Strange. If any of you have designed your own board, send a picture of it to me and I'll add it to this post!

As long as we're talking Ouija Boards, I have to share my favorite episode of I Love Lucy! This episode is titled "The Seance" and it aired in the first season of the show, back in 1951. If you've seen this episode, you know where I got the title for this post. :) You can watch it here in its entirety: 

If you don't have 30 minutes to spare, here's a five minute video showing the highlight of the episode. All you really need to know going into this is that Lucy has planned a seance.

If anyone could tell me who plays the Mr. Merriweather character, I would appreciate it! I know I've heard his voice on some old radio programs and other TV shows.

This is probably not going to come as a surprise to you, but I've had some experiences with the Ouija Board. Mostly I was just goofing around with friends and receiving nonsensical messages. Sometimes the planchette would just hover around aimlessly. There was an incident where a candle somehow caught the tablecloth under the Ouija board on fire. Other than that, things were pretty uneventful.

I do have a scary personal story involving a Ouija Board, but the scary part doesn't involve me actually using it. When I was in high school, a friend and I double dated. The four of us would often hang out at her house. My friend's boyfriend had an "interesting" brother who had spent some time in prison. I'd heard a lot of stories about him. The main stories involved an underground Wiccan group he supposedly belonged to. Both my friend's boyfriend and mine swore they'd seen this guy break a window just by staring at it for a long time.

One day I was informed that his brother was being released from prison and would be hanging out with us on his first day out. I'll never forget the surly look that was on his face when I met him. He had long, wavy hair and was wearing a shirt with "I'll sleep when I'm dead" printed on it. He didn't say "hello" back when we met, and he continued his silence through the entire night! I seriously did not hear one word from this guy.

Well, the four of us hung out and watched a movie at my friend's house for a few hours, while the grumpy brother sulked by himself in the corner of the room. After a while, we got bored and decided to play with the Ouija Board I'd brought over. We had messed around with the board many times before, so this was nothing new. The only difference this time was that we could not get the planchette to move. Not one bit. We tried for an hour or so! All the time we patiently waited for the Ouija Board to get in gear, I had the weirdest feeling. It's hard to explain the feeling I had, but it was a little like the uneasiness you feel when you're being watched but you're unable to see who is watching you.

The next day at school, I ran into my friend. She told me that she'd talked to her boyfriend on the phone and he told her that his brother put some kind of cast over the board so we would be unable to use it! Evidently, he thought Ouija Boards were evil.

Perhaps he would have been more comfortable with the Angel Board, which is similar to the Ouija only without those pesky demons. Or so it is advertised. I'm not sure if a beautiful, angelic board would protect you from anything negative, but intention does count for something. If you're curious about that board, here it is:

I realize that it's a little difficult to see what's going on here. This is more or less a Ouija Board printed on a light blue background with an angel in the center. I find it interesting that many people online call the original Ouija Board evil, but say this is one is alright. I would be curious to try this board right after using the original Ouija Board to see if the results were any different. Some people believe that we are all moving the planchette ourselves, as our subconscious spells out the messages. If this is the case, our subconscious might believe the Angel board is safe and therefore spell out something nice?

I'm honestly not sure what I believe about Ouija Boards. In my experience they are fun and entertaining, but we've all heard the horror stories others have had with them. Sometimes I know my friends were moving the planchette to freak me out, other times it felt like it was lightly gliding along by itself. Sometimes it would just hover near "goodbye". I'm going to keep an open mind, like I do with a lot of "occult" topics. I think we shouldn't fear what we don't understand, although I know that's a natural reaction sometimes. Maybe a little bit of wariness balanced with curiosity is healthy.

Oh, and you know I had to add something spooky to this blog post! The message in this video is eerie, even if you think the guy is moving the planchette, himself.

So...What I'd like to know is:

I'm sure that many of you have personal Ouija Board stories and I would love to hear them! 


  1. I've never used a ouija board before, but I have friends who had creepy results with it and were able to 'talk' to a dead person. Still, as long as I don't have a creepy experience myself, I have difficulties believing in it.

    And the creepiest movie scene with a ouija board is definitely the one from Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Have you seen this? It's excellent.

  2. Great post!

    My personal favourite style of Ouija board is the one that you have. I just think it's classic and quite pagan looking with the sun and the moon which I really like!

    Once when I was about 16 I had a couple of friends around to stay with me at my dads which was very close by a cemetery! We made our own Ouija board from cardboard and a small glass used as the planchette. We said the usual 'protective' spell, lit two white candles and placed a bowl of water in the room as protection from the spirits and covered any mirrors, then we started.

    All 3 of us promised each other beforehand that we were going to be deadly serious about it. We waited a while and then the glass started moving slowly. I couldn't feel any pressure from either of my friends directions so I was sure it wasn't them moving it on purpose. We asked the 'spirit' for it's name and it spelt out BUM.. I know it sounds dumb but we assumed it was maybe initials. A little longer into the sitting it spelt out my name which was quite creepy! It said that it was male and in it's 30s but I can't quite remember the exact age it gave. That's all I can really remember but my friends have sworn to this day that neither of them were pushing it on purpose and I do believe them.

    I tried bidding on a parker bros board on eBay the other day but it went for stupid money! I wish they were more easily available here in the UK but I'm not settling for a new board.. I wan't a used board with a bit of history and maybe a few ghosts attached :p

    I'm in the opinion that an Angel board is exactly the same as a Ouija board/Witch board - you could paint anything you like on the board but it doesn't change it's purpose which is communicating with the dead!

    The story about the creepy guy is very weird indeed! Maybe he has telekinesis!

    Did you know Kirk Hammett from Metallica has a Ouija board guitar, it's so cool! xxx

  3. I never had any bad or paranormal experiences using the board but my daughter's friend April had all kinds of bizarre stuff happen to her. I wrote a few posts on her experiences. Just go to my blog and type in "Ouija" or "April" in the search engine.

  4. I love your style of Ouija board best. I actually have a little zippered storage pouch, that I bought from Etsy a while back, with the Ouija image on it. It's a very beautiful design.

    It's interesting that America seems to have marketed the Ouija board as an innocent, benign entertainment for slumber parties, etc. I don't think they were ever banned in Australia, like the U.K., but they have always been regarded as an occult object. You may remember me mentioning that we were not allowed to have one in our home when I was growing up. My father, a Crown Prosecutor (D.A.) had a nasty murder trial that he worked on involving teenagers messing with Ouija boards in a cemetery. 'The Exorcist' has pretty much sworn me off using them anyway... just in case.

    That's a really good analogy you make about between Ouija boards and the internet. I suppose that an evil spirit isn't bound in the same way by physical geography or needing to find out your personal information, that some creep on the internet is though. However... I have had my blog hijacked recently by unauthorized Groupon links, so I guess you could argue that I opened my internet portal to the evil spirit of Groupon!! An exorcism is definitely in order!!

  5. P.S. In spite of my Ouija caution, I have to say that the guy with the murder victim was a bit of a wuss! If I made the decision to go through with it, I wouldn't back out just when things were getting interesting.

    The poor ghost was asking for a little help and the guy has an attack of the vapours. The spirit is in dire need and he's off to have a cup of tea and a lie-down!! Man up, old chap!!

  6. Oh... just one more thing... I agree with VainGlorySinner that the Angel board is the same as the Ouija. To me, doorway is a doorway. I don't think you can control who comes through just by making it look all sugar and spice... okay... I'm going now... promise!

  7. I didn't know the whole history about these so this was a great post!!

    That episode of I Love Lucy is one of my faves!

  8. I once used a virtual ouija board--which involved using the mouse cursor as a planchette, and a photo of a ouija as wallpaper. The results were, to be honest, nothing short of mundane. I didn't get anything but random letters.

    Honestly, I have no faith in ouija boards and the like. I don't see how a piece of wood and a magnifying glass can pierce the veil of life and death.

    Penn and Teller did an interesting experiment with ouija. They blindfolded three ouija users. The responses they got were nonsensical. They repeated the experiment, but turned the boards around. This also produceded nonsensical messages.

    Ultimately, I think ouija boards are just another tool people have designed to help probe the unknown. Its another attempt to gain control over the uncontrollable--death.

    Now, if you'll excuse me...I have to realign my chakras.

  9. I'm pretty sure the last time I "Ouija-ed" was with you in high school. :) I would be interested to try it again, though, especially considering all that has happened these past couple of years.

  10. I've never tried Ouija-board and I won't. As much as I'm fan of horror-stuff I feel that dead need to be left alone so no any kind of seance for me, thanks. I don't think that mortals can control what can creep out of the spirit world when the doors are open there. I do like the look of Ouija boards (yours especially) as an ornament.

  11. I had a Ouija Board once , but it didn't work right. I wanted my money back.

  12. I rea a wonderful book that had a chapter about the Ouija board in it and and it described severa heavy users of the board who had converstations with spirits on it who told them the board only contacs those trapped in hell. That chapter alone would keep me from using it, but I've heard so many horror stories about the board that I stay awa from it just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.

  13. I've loved reading all the comments so far! Your comments are surprisingly (at least to me) anti-Ouija. I'm going to have to answer this in several chunks, because blogger has issues when you write comments that are really long. I think the cut off is something like 4,000 characters at a time. Anyway, here we go!

    Vanessa ~ Yeah, I think a lot of things are like that. You don't know until you try! Ouija Boards wouldn't be as mysterious and spooky to me if I hadn't messed around with one. Do you remember any of your friends' spooky Ouija Board messages?

    I've never heard of that movie! The title is scary enough. :) Thanks for the suggestion, I think I'll look for that one.

    VainGlorySinner ~ Thanks for your help with this post! I'm glad that you enjoyed reading it. :) Yes, I love my style of board too. The first picture in this post was taken from my board. It's the bottom left corner.

    How cool that you were able to play with that Ouija near a cemetery! Talk about setting a mood. It sounds like you took lots of precautions beforehand. I'm not familiar with covering mirrors with this sort of thing. Is that done so the spirits can't enter a mirror? There are lots of urban legends about mirrors. Maybe those stories have something to do with that. After the things I've heard/read lately, I'm thinking you're very brave to play with a Ouija Board as a British person. I say this because it seems like there's more fear towards these things in Europe than America. So, I'm guessing you probably heard more warnings against Ouija Boards than I did growing up?

    BUM, hey? Hmmm...Yeah, that could be a set of initials. You could always check that nearby graveyard for stones that say BUM. Maybe a spirit floated over? :)

    I'm not familiar with the term "stupid money" but I like it. I might have to use that one...You want a used board? I'll let you know if I see one online at a good price. The shipping might be pretty high if you're trying for one from the U.S. It's funny, but I don't even know where the older board I have came from. It might be my mom's but she doesn't overly remember it. It probably goes back further than her, judging by when it was made.

    I can definitely see what you're saying about the Angel Board. If it really is spirits you're communicating with and not your subconscious, I think it doesn't matter what's on the board. I could be wrong about that. Certainly there are some very religious people online who would not agree! This reminds me of something a little off the topic. I ran into one of my favorite fairy artists online recently and she refuses to paint fairies anymore. She only paints angels now, because she decided fairies are evil. What the heck? (Her recent paintings are of the same women with different wings.)

    Yeah, he was a creepy guy. I have no idea what happened with him. He could have telekinesis. I was blowing off the stories about him until I experienced the incident above. I know he could have just made that up after we couldn't get the board to work, but I actually believe he did something that night!

    I have seen Kirk Hammett's Ouija Board guitar online. I actually ran into pictures of it while looking for photos for this post. It's very cool!

  14. Adsila ~ I will definitely check out your blog posts! Thanks for letting me know about those. I'm always interested in hearing other people's Ouija Board experiences!

    Little Gothic Horrors ~ Oh, you crack me up! You just keep coming back for more, don't ya? :) There are so many beautiful Ouija items on Etsy. Just search "Ouija Board" on that site (as I'm sure you have) and lots of things come up! I'm actually considering some of the Ouija jewelry... I find it interesting that you have anything with a Ouija Board on it, because of your background. I thought all of the Ouija would have been scared out of you. :) Yes, I do remember your story, because it's quite memorable. I didn't remember the part about them being in a graveyard, though. I'm curious about further details! The topic of Ouija Boards, combined with a murder is intriguing. Did these kids claim that the Ouija Board told them to kill someone? Or did someone actually die in the graveyard while playing with the board? Yikes.

    Yes, the Ouija board (depending on your upbringing) is portrayed as just a party game here. I can tell that it is viewed much differently outside of the U.S. I'm starting to suspect that little girls overseas weren't playing "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board" at their slumber parties either...

    You are interestingly the only person who mentioned the comparison between spirits communicating through a Ouija Board and people communicating through the internet. None of us really know who's on the other end. In my opinion, a Ouija Board is safer, because you can stop playing and put the board in its box if you get fed up. People can continue to harrass you in any number of ways on the internet. Although, some people would argue that entire possessions and hauntings were brought on by Ouija Board use.

    A portal to the evil spirit of Groupon! You're so funny. :) I can't think how and why your account would be hacked. You seem like the last person to upset anyone, so it must have been a random Groupon blog haunting! How are you planning to exorcise this pesky little demon? On the other hand, I've heard Groupon can save a person some money! I've never tried it, myself.

    OK, you further cracked me up with your thoughts on the Ouija Board video! Yes, I agree if you're gonna do something, do it right. The poor spirit was probably thinking "What the heck? I thought someone was helping me here."

    I also agree that a door is a door - and that doesn't just apply to Ouija Boards. I think that any time a person invites something into their lives (especially without knowing what that something is) it can lead to trouble.

    LuLu ~ I would have loved to have delved further into the history of Ouija Boards, but that would have been the never ending blog post. :) I'm glad you enjoyed what I did put up! Yeah, that Lucy episode is a classic! I laugh at that no matter how many times I watch it.

  15. The Groupon demon is not just happening to me. It's apparently a Firefox issue. Anyone with Firefox add-ons may have this nasty little intruder attached. I completely exorcised it by removing the entire Vuze toolbar, but other people may well be seeing these links on my blog if they're using Firefox.

    Actually, I didn't even realize it was happening at first because I often use Safari as my browser, but if you use Firefox with any add-ons, you will see random words, highlighted green and underlined, popping up all over the place, that link to Groupon. I was so annoyed about it being on my blog! They seem to go for particular words like "help" and "prize", for example. I changed "prize" to "award" and got rid of one, but "help" was part of a quote. I was seeing little green "helps" all over the internet before I junked the add-ons. I hope Firefox sorts this issue out!

    I'm seeing my Dad tomorrow afternoon, so I will ask him for more details on the Ouija trial.

  16. Oh dear! I'm making a bit of a habit of this, aren't I? Just wanted to comment on what you said about the fairy artist. Isn't it interesting the way fairies have had a real image overhaul, lately? They used to be seen in a sweetly, sentimental Victorian way, and now they are being portrayed more as evil entities. I've just bought a novel called "The Replacement" which is supposed to be about nasty fairies.

  17. Johnny Zombie ~ Oh, I don't know about virtual Ouija Boards. I bet I could find one easily enough if I googled it. I would think that would be harder to do than using a traditional board, because a mouse would be heavier to move. It sounds like your results were more or less like mine were with an actual board!

    I didn't know about the Penn and Teller experiment. That's very interesting. Those guys come up with all kinds of entertaining ideas!

    Yeah, people will go to great lengths to both defy and deny death! I hadn't considered the Ouija Board as a way to control death, so much as make contact with it. I can see what you're saying, though. I guess the scary part of a Ouija Board comes when you no longer feel in control of it. The thought of something dead being in control could scare anyone!

    Have fun with your Chakras! :)

    Marisa ~ Sure, if we have time while you're still in town, we outta whip out the board for old time's sake. Is there anything in particular you'd like to ask? I feel goofy even volunteering for this, after reading some people's comments...

    Mrs Munster ~ I meant to ask your feelings about this earlier, since you're European. It sounds like your opinion matches most of the European opinions I've read online. I'm guessing that Ouija Boards aren't available where you are either? I've never done anything I'd call a seance, really. Looking back, I was pretty casual with my Ouija Board use. I wasn't even trying to contact one person in particular! Thanks for the compliment on my board. :) I hadn't thought of using one of these as a decoration, but that's not a bad idea. There are lots of beautiful products printed with Ouija Boards out there. I should at least sit it out on Halloween for our party.

    Max Evel ~ What did you want to happen with your Ouija Board? Did you just have an uneventful experience?

    Jessica ~ Do you remember the title of that book? I would be interested in checking that out. I haven't heard the spirits trapped in hell theory, but I can see how reading that book would discourange a person from using a Ouija Board. In my personal opinion, any spirits reached on the board are in limbo. I would think anyone in heaven would have better things to do than chat through a Ouija Board. :) I'm somewhat undecided about my feelings on Hell, but that's a whole other blog entry in itself. That would be a topic that could get the comments flowing...Anyway, I do believe that there are spirits that have not crossed over into whatever kind of afterlife you want to call it. I think those are the ones people see as ghosts, or communicate with through devices like the Ouija Board. It's not like any of us really know, since we're still alive! :)

  18. Little Gothic Horrors ~ You're back! Haha, Yes I'm getting used to you being here. :) I'm enjoying your comments, and it's fun to get a conversation going!

    Oh, I actually do use Firefox as my browser! Uh Oh. I never noticed the little green links on your blog. Hopefully you took care of this. That makes a lot more sense than you being the only one with this problem.

    I would be quite interested in anything your dad has to say about the trial. If this is a delicate subject with him, please don't bother pressuring him for the story. As interested as I am, I don't want anyone stressed out on my account! The trial must have really affected him from what you told me. A friend and I went out tonight and I mentioned the Ouija Board trial in the car. Just after I told her that, we passed a graveyard!

    Some of the things the fairy artist said on her web site drove me nuts! She does beautiful work, but she has developed a really judgmental mindset! She went from building an entire business on fairy art to calling fairies evil! I love the old Victorian fairy illustrations. They are so adorable. Yeah, there does seem to be this trend of fairies with attitudes now! Although, there have always been stories about both good and bad fairies in Ireland. I guess bad fairies are nothing new, but it seems they've only recently been illustrated that way. I'll have to look for the book you're reading. That sounds interesting. Just from today's comments, there are two books and a movie I want to check out!

  19. Hey! I've used a quija board before and the only time anything ever happened was when one friend of mine was around. When she wasn't nothing happened, so my friends and I figured she was the one doing all the "magic." As for the guy in the Lucy episode, I don't know his name, but he has been in an couple episodes besides that one!

  20. Stacey ~ Hmm...Well, it sounds like either your friend was moving the planchette or her presence brings out the spirits? Did it feel like she was controlling the planchette?

    Yeah, that guy does turn up on a lot of old shows. I know I've heard his voice on some radio programs from the 1940s. I'm sure if I do a little research, I'll find out who he is!

  21. Wow! Never has so much memories of sleepaway camp and 80s horror come rushing back in my head. I never had any luck with the board, though I never did try the canadian. Looks like a better feel for me since I have a western tennis grip.

  22. Copyboy ~ I'm glad that my blog took you down memory lane to the spooky parts of your childhood. :) Summer camp sounds like the perfect place to play with a Ouija Board. It would go perfectly with those campfire ghost stories! Which part of this post reminded you of 80s horror movies?

    Oh, I'm not sure a Canadian board would come with more mojo attached to it, but who knows? Haha! A Western tennis grip...