The Ouija Board has been a controversial object ever since its commercialization in the 19th century attracting skepticism, criticism, and popularity. Just mentioning it can conjure a spirited conversation.
Some people whole heartedly believe in the authenticity of Ouija while others question it or just flat-out consider it a hoax. And there’s several reasons to support all of those opinions.
The other common argument regarding Ouija Boards, also known as spirit boards, is whether it attracts malevolent spirits and serves as a portal allowing them to enter our lives or our bodies. There are many stories of people having frightening experiences when they come in contact with spirits who seek to do more than talking – as well as several Hollywood movies.
There is a lot for room for speculation based on the fact that people must place their hands on the planchette to speak with spirits. The natural movement of the body as well as jitters and jokesters can cause the heart-shaped piece to travel across the Board. Intent plays a part as well with the desire for a specific answer to influence the direction the planchette moves. Anyone who has used a Board has either asked their partner or been asked themselves “Did you move it?” So, yes, human error is a valid reason to doubt whether Ouija is real.
Another reason people discount spirit boards is because they are sold on the shelves next to RISK® and Monopoly® in the toy sections of stores. It’s considered simply a game to some…or trippy to the clerk selling them in a head shop.
And usually, if someone does not believe in the spirit world then they most likely don’t believe in Ouija either.
But for those who have used a Board there are times when it is mystifying and there’s no explanation as to why or how the planchette moved. You feel and watch the piece glide toward letters to spell out words you never intended.
Personally, I have not used a Ouija Board in decades and will never again because of my own experiences using it. As a teenager, my friends and I had a week-long fascination with it until the friend’s mother put a stop to it. And I’m glad she did.
Just like in the movies, it started out harmless. We teased each other about moving the piece and doubted that we could actually talk with spirits. With little success, we gave up after an hour but planned to try again tomorrow. The next day, we did make contact with a couple spirits asking them questions like their names and how they died. It was spooky. It was exciting.
The following day we wanted to connect with family members who had passed. We briefly spoke with my grandfather which I had completely forgotten about until writing this article. All I can remember of that conversation was asking him his wife’s name, how he died; run of the mill questions just to confirm whether it really was my grandfather. At that time, I knew little about the man but learned much more about him years later when I published his war journal My American Odyssey.
My friend, who owned the Board, asked to speak with her father who had died within the past year or so. She wanted to connect with her dad for the same reason people meet with me for readings: to see if he watched over her and to let him know that she missed him. Tears began to roll down her cheeks as the piece spelled out words. She was still mourning the loss of her father as any young girl would. At one point, her father’s spirit said that he was bothered by the fact that her mother was dating a man and bringing him to their home. Eventually, the pace of the planchette slowed then stalled. We consoled our friend for a few minutes before going home for the night. Now, I realize that we should not have left her alone. The poor girl had just spoken with her deceased father and, with her mother working the night shift and her brother overseas at war, she had no one there to comfort her.
A few days later, we returned to our friend’s home. She wanted to speak with her father again to ask him about her brother who was serving in the US Army in the Gulf War. She wanted to know if he would be safe and when he would come home. Almost immediately, I sensed that the atmosphere was tense, much different than the other night. The planchette circled the board over and over, gaining speed with each lap and the spirit’s answers were short and sometimes rude. The spirit told us that her brother would lose an arm in battle. Her face turned red and she tried to fight back the tears as she asked how her brother would be injured – maybe she could warn him. The spirit became vicious and taunting…so much so that we doubted it was even her father and when we asked the piece slid to “NO”. When we asked for the identity of the spirit the planchette began to swirl in figure 8s, faster and faster then raced right off of the Board.
We were all terrified and wanted to just pick up and leave. Our friend begged us to stay with her but we ran home. While we were all safe in our homes she was stuck there with the Board and the fear that the malicious spirit still lingered. Frightened, she called her mother who became upset by the news that we played with the Board. Hearing that we spoke with her deceased husband and the prediction that her son would be harmed was enough reason for her to confiscate the Board. Thankfully, that prediction never came true and her brother returned home safely months later.
To me, Ouija Boards can be like a magnet that can attract spirits – good and bad. Boards don’t need to be a portal because spirits are already amongst us. When you really think about it, any device people or paranormal researchers use to communicate with spirits can invite negative entities: EVP recorders, EMF detectors, spirit boxes, cameras, mirrors.
It all comes down to intent, parameters, and protection. If users want mischievous spirits to join them then that’s who will appear. Those about to use a Board should say aloud what type of spirits are welcome and which are not permitted. Just like during meditation or a reading, the living are in control. It is always a good practice for users to shield themselves with a white light of protection and recite a pray if they are religious.
But despite the safeguards and other people’s stories of good experiences, I will never use a Ouija Board again. Although my story happened more than 20 years ago the feelings of dread are still easy to relive. And now that I have learned how to speak with spirits directly, a Board is simply unnecessary for me.