Spiritualism in America.
In the early 19th century spiritualism became an obsession in America. The belief that we could communicate with the dead became popular. People back then would have “table turning” parties where participants would place all their hands on the table and ask for the spirits to communicate with them. The spirits response would be to shake and move the table around. Holding a séance in the attempt to contact spirits and past loved ones was also very popular, as was spirit writings by mediums. In 1862, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincolns wife, held a séance in the Red Room of The White House. Her 11 year old son William had passed away from fever. Mary was a huge believer in spiritualism and had hired a Medium to help her make contact with her dead son. Questions were asked by the medium and the spirits responses where knocks on the wall, spelling out their message. Many prominent people of this era would hire mediums to help them connect with dead loved ones. If you were considered a good medium you could do well financially.
The first “Talking Boards” appear
Starting in the 1880’s, the first “Talking Boards” hit the country. No one knows where they came from and their popularity spread fast by word of mouth alone. Now anyone could speak to the dead without having to pay a medium. These first boards where made by hand. They had writings on them such as “Yes, No, Goodbye, Goodnight”, and letters on them. It used a small moveable table, or “planchette” that you placed your fingers on, and it would spell out the answer to you question, one letter at a time.
The word “Ouija” is born
Charles Kennard of Baltimore Maryland was a fertilizer salesman who was always on the lookout for a way to make money. When he saw people using this new talking board he was sure it would be the next big thing to earn him his fortune. Not knowing anything about spiritualism or the occult, he partnered with Elijah Bond, a local attorney, and Elijah’s 28 year old sister Helen Peters who was a medium. With the help of Helens ghostly experiences, they developed the board into a mass marketable item. The name “Ouija” pronounced “Wee-Jah”was said to have come from one of Kennard’s spiritual sessions with Helen. There is some discussion that Kennard may have gotten the name from a locket that Helen wore with the name “Ouida” on it, and that maybe he had misread it. The first boards on the market were made from recycled wood, mostly taken from old coffins.
The misinformation of the inventor of Ouija Board
In 1892 William Fuld, an American businessman, inventor and entrepreneur, filed for a patent on the Ouija Board. Although he did not invent the Ouija Board his marketing and manufacturing of the board from the 1890’s to the 1920’s, along with strong media coverage, credited him with it. William would also label “Original Ouija Board” and “Inventor” on the back of the boards which added to this misinformation, leading many to consider him as the inventor.
Ouija boards today
In recent years the Ouija board has slowly grown in popularity again. Peoples increased curiosity in the paranormal has spurred this growth, along with its appearance in movies and writings. People now purchase boards for the spooky nature that they offer and not so much for the spiritualism as in early times.
The big question that people want to know is whether or not the Ouija Board really works, and does it bring forth evil, satanic spirits. An article published on Catholic.com answers the question, “Are Ouija Boards Harmless?”. There are many paranormal investigation teams that will not use a Ouija Board as they believe it can open a portal to negative forces, stating “they can open a door to the other side, and you don’t know what is waiting to come through”. Unlike a K2 EMF Meter, or recording devises that are used to find evidence of spirits that already exist at a particular location, the Ouija Board conjures up spirits from who knows where!
A Personal Side Note On The Ouija Board…
Although this website is dedicated to information and products related to the search for the unknown and paranormal investigating, I personally do not agree with, or promote the use of Ouija Boards. I do not feel that these are “toys” to be played with. There are many serious and true stories of people using Ouija Boards and bringing evil spirits or entities into their homes. Getting rid of these can be a serious undertaking, if not impossible. Spirits exist in this world whether you believe it or not. Some are good, and some are VERY bad. Every culture on every continent of this planet describes the afterlife. There are things here that we simple don’t understand or even know about yet. If using a Ouija Board offers any chance at all of bringing forth evil, or opening a portal to a world of negative energy that can only do us harm, is it really worth playing with?
However, if you insist on using this item, please be sure and research the PROPER method in which to do so. There are “Do’s and Don’ts” that you absolutely need to follow.
I would love to hear your opinions or experiences you may have had regarding the Ouija Board. Please feel free to leave a comment below,or if you have any questions please contact me at my email, [email protected]