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Ouija board, how many dark secrets

Ouija board
Ouija board

Hands up who has not tried or wanted to try at least once, to conduct a seance. Communicate with the afterlife, open a communication between living and dead, has always been one of the desires of humanity, if only to get an answer to the question whether there is some form of “life after death” that is not only that offered by the various religions.

If in ancient times to be able to contact the spirits of the dead people, people used to call priests, soothsayers or oracles, in the modern era, the mediums have made their appearance or, alternatively, techniques of recording and analysis of the Evp (Electronic voice phenomena).

Ouija, the spirit board

For those who don’t want to rely on external aid or modern technology, there is a “classical” alternative, to appeal to the Ouija board, also known as spirit board or weegee box. What is it about? A flat table, usually wood or plastic, on which are printed the letters of the alphabet and the digits from 0 to 9, in addition to a “yes” and a “no”.

A mobile indicator (sometimes a glass), that would be moved by the will of the spirits came into contact with those who are holding the seance, can freely move along the surface composing words, letter by letter, or providing positive or negative responses to the questions.

According to some similar tablets would have been used since ancient times, even by Pythagoras, other sources report its use in China already around 1,100 BC. Certainly it was already commonly used in the nineteenth century until three businessmen, Elijah J. Bond, Charles Kennard and William Henry Ashton Maupin, patented a specific model (which also has the word “Goodbye”) putting it on the market in 1891.

Ouija table as an "adults" toy

Ten years later an employee of Kennard, William Fuld, took over the exploitation rights of the tablet by putting it back on the market and giving it the official name of Ouija. In 1966 the brand was sold to Parker Brothers (famous for having patented the game of Monopoly) in 1991 came under control by Hasbro, the second largest producer of games in the world behind Mattel.

Ouija board
Ouija board produced by Parker Brothers

To Ouija board, however, are related many scary stories, which is unusual for a "toy", even for adults. Many of you have heard of the risks of attracting the “larvae”, evil spirits who pretend to be the dead with whom table users try to get in touch, in order to frighten them, making them mischief or even attempting to possess them.

Curiously, this kind of story has multiplied since the seventies, especially after that in 1973 movie, The Exorcist, arrived in theaters around the world. William Friedkin’s masterpiece was inspired by a true story of a boy of 13 years of Maryland, in 1949, and disturbing news has been circulating for years, like that of the death of 10 people related to the production of the film during the filming before the distribution in theaters.

A series of incidents related to the Ouija table

One of the actors (Paul Bateson, in the movie an X-ray technician) was then arrested for the murder of Addison Verrill, as well as being suspected of being the author of a series of serial killings, which, however, was never proved.

In The Exorcist is just a seance began as a game by actress Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter Regan MacNeil to allow a demon to take possession of the girl.

The success of the movie and the negative definition given by the Christian religion to all kinds of spiritual practices that involve a communication of the living with the dead they ended up marking the Ouija board, which acquired a halo of a largely unjustified mystery.

By the way: would you use an Ouija board for a seance?

Tags: Ghosts, Magic, Paranormal