The History of Ouija Boards

The History of Ouija Boards

Why and when were these boards made?


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, 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:

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 17 Black-Owned Businesses Ship Baked Goods, Rosé, And Even Fried Chicken Nationwide

Eat your way through this country's greatest food — from your couch.

Call it the easily bored Gemini in me, but I'm constantly looking for new food to try. Usually, travel quenches my taste for new and exciting cuisines, but given the fact that international travel is not always a possibility, I've begun exploring alternatives.

In the interest of wanting to support the Black community and Black-owned businesses, and also wanting to try some of the country's greatest food without having to get off my couch, I started off (pessimistically) doing research, only to find that the options were vast.

Keep Reading... Show less

24 Beauty And Style Brands Donating To The Fight To End Police Brutality Against Black People

From small, boutique brands to legacy fashion brands.

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments