As I scroll through my Facebook feed, I see a lot of videos of kids and teens using Ouija Boards. As curious as I am, I would never use one, but I am interested in the history of them and how they came about. Is it a tool of the devil? Or just a harmless game? Or is it the unconscious mind? I mean, why and who invented them? With Halloween around the corner, it is a perfect history lesson on what you curious people are actually doing when you use a Ouija Board.
According to Smithsonian.com, the board came out of the American 19th century obsession with spiritualism, which is the belief that the dead can communicate with the living. During the Civil War, people were becoming desperate to connect with love ones that had passed. During this time, it was "normal" to communicate with the dead. Today, it is seen as different to try to communicate, especially through the Ouija Board because it is seen as opening a portal for bad spirits to get through. This wasn't even thought of when the board was made by the first company called, Kennard Novelty Company. They were really just looking for a way to make money. As people wanted quicker ways to communicate with ones that had passed, Kennard Novelty Company came up with a faster way, the Ouija Board. Now, this board was not yet named, but the word had gone out quickly and when they had to come up with a name, they sat around the board and asked it and it spelled out "Ouija," and when they asked what it meant, the board spelled out "good luck." In order to convince people that the board worked, they had to do a demonstration, which worked and the Ouija Board was put on the market. People really had no interest as to how the board worked and the mystery is what pulled customers in. But in 1973, when the movie The Exorcist was made, it showed the girl who played with the Ouija Board by herself and she got possessed. This scared people and made there depiction of the Ouija Board different. This movie changed the outlook on the board. Over night, the board became known as a tool of the devil. It was being used more in scary movies usually as a portal to bring in evil spirits.
So how does the board work? Well the board is not powered by spirits or demons, they're actually powered by us. Those who have studied the mind call it the Ideometer Effect. In 1852, physician and physiologist William Benjamin Carpender, examined the automatic muscular movements that take place without the conscious's will or volition of the individual. Oujia Boards, pendulums, ect, they’re all devices where a small muscular movement can cause quite a large effect.
I found the history of this board to be particularly interesting and hope that for those who have been curious, this answered some questions for you!
If any of you want to learn more, go to this website: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-strange-..