Cyber Ouija?

evilsprout

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#1
Anyone ever thought of making a Cyber-ouija board, in Flash or Shockwave, say, where the participants place their fingers on the mouse rather than an upturned glass?
 

JamesWhitehead

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#2
Not sure about that exactly, Sprout. I think the forces
unlocked by the Ouija board depend quite a bit on people
being physically close.

Automatic writing, though, has been much explored by software
developers. I used to play with a great little programme called
MacPoet which generated poetry and prophecies by fitting
words into sentence templates.

It had a pretty good strike rate of producing memorable lines.

The author of the software, a Canadian psychologist saw it as
an exercise in dadaist art and was fascinated by our ability to
read meanings into things. Classic Fortean theme really.

I have a log somewhere of the best lines and unless you
behaive yourself, I will dig them up and post them in this
thread. ;)
 

NilesCalder

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#3
Why bother with a mouse? Sling in a random number generator to control the 'glass' and see what results. Although I for see a possible problem with all those dregs of the spirit world occupying a computer somewhere... a new twist on the old "Possessed Computer" theme.

Niles
 

evilsprout

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#4
A few years ago I made an automatic writing program in BBC BASIC, which produced random letters as if writing was appearing on the screen. Absolutely nothing scary was written :( (but then again, any discerning spirit would probably avoid an Acorn Archimedes!)

True about a random number generator controlling the cyber-ouija board, but surely the mouse would make a more fun user interface?! And if ouija-boards are, as one school of thought says, the subconcious musings of those holding the glass, it will yield better results!
 

rynner2

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#5
I used to write BASIC progs on my old Amstrad, and I did have one for creating oracular pronouncements. Unfortunately I haven't kept the listing, but as far as I remember it had a number of basic sentence structures like

" The [adjective] [noun] [verb] a [adjective] [noun] at [adjective] [place]"

Then there were lists of all the words which could go in the brackets. The computer would randomly choose a sentence structure and plug in random words. The results were sometimes nonsense, sometimes amusing, and occasionally sounded mysterious and profound!

(The above structure might have produced something like
"The black knight met a weird dwarf at a frozen waterfall"!)

Great fun!:p
 

NilesCalder

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#6
Hmmm... if only you could link it directly to the 'random' activity of millions of people online. Then we could see the subconcious musings of the whole internet :D

Niles
 

The late Pete Younger

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#8
Niles Calder said:
Why bother with a mouse? Sling in a random number generator to control the 'glass' and see what results. Although I for see a possible problem with all those dregs of the spirit world occupying a computer somewhere... a new twist on the old "Possessed Computer" theme.

Niles
I think mine's possessed already, lots of cold spots, it freezes me out all the time.:(
 

JamesWhitehead

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#10
For trollface and anyone else curious about the automatic
writing from the MacPoet programme, I have posted the
an account of my January sessions at the following URL:

Automatic Writing Page Archived.

This was the better material, probably two thirds was
rejected as too murky. The sentence structures and verse
types can be modified by the user but I have stayed with the
defaults supplied. [Truth to tell the instructions for adding rules
are extremely opaque.]

At the bottom of the page there is a slightly macabre attempt
to use the programme as an oracle to comment on the
Indian earthquake, which had just happened. It came up with
a striking verse. The programme, I should stress, has no
thematic classification of words, it just selects them as parts of
speech to be fitted in the templates.

Rereading the material just now, I found plenty of words and
phrases which seem to be suggestive of the 11th September
events. Mention of terrorism and the eagle, even of answering
machines now seem to have a meaning they did not have in
January. Illusory, of course. New York fiends, even are mentioned
but the context seems to be a high camp nonsense song.

NB: American references abound in the set word-lists - even the
swear words are coded as US Presidents. Bizarre touch that.
I will dig out the author's name and website as he deserves
full credit*. He has since written a more advanced writing programme
called Janus. I have not succeeded in downloading this intact but
may give it another go.

The programme does have a rather depressive personality and
loves psychobabble so any session will tend to produce introspective
and doom-laden material.

Yup, you could go mad playing with Ouija. :eek!!!!:

Edit 05.11.2018: Dead website link updated to lead to the archived version.
*The author of the software was a Canadian named Chris Westbury.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
#12
That's really good. I particularly liked no. 4; "Not I will be scientist-Alien". "Out of her powers has metamorphasized an ill cleavage. " Now, that's class.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#13
James Whitehead's MacPoet page

:eek!!!!:
'The dying Beaurocracy is an icy cross' Hmmm......nice.

'An Assassin Omits' is quite interesting, but honestly, 'An anal aunt' ?!?? Oh dear.
At least now I understand the 'Zingy Blancmange' reference I saw on one of the boards.
All in all, lots of fun. Does anyone know of a similar program for the PC?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#14
Back (vaguely) to topic!

Just did a search on google for cyber ouija, it looks as if someone did produce something, but there only seem to be 2 obvious refs, one site has moved, and the other crashed OE - proves that no good comes of meddling with the beyond I guess!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#16
Evilsprout said:
A few years ago I made an automatic writing program in BBC BASIC, which produced random letters as if writing was appearing on the screen. Absolutely nothing scary was written :( (but then again, any discerning spirit would probably avoid an Acorn Archimedes!)
I wrote similar little programs for my ZX81 and Electron when I was a sprog. The idea was that if I concentrated I could influence the results. I didn't expect anything to happen, and it didn't.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#17
On the subject of the mind affecting computer-generated random numbers, may I draw your attention to 'Direct Hit' on page 8 of FT 152.
Morphogenic fields, the collective Unconcious or complete pants? I don't know, but it's an interesting piece.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#21
PET 4032

Slacker said:
I wrote similar little programs for my ZX81 and Electron when I was a sprog. The idea was that if I concentrated I could influence the results. I didn't expect anything to happen, and it didn't.

I wrote an ESP program with computer generated playing cards on a Commodore PET 4032 when I was a teenager. Still got it somewhere.
 

Leaferne

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#22
James Whitehead said:
Not sure about that exactly, Sprout. I think the forces
unlocked by the Ouija board depend quite a bit on people
being physically close.

Automatic writing, though, has been much explored by software
developers. I used to play with a great little programme called
MacPoet which generated poetry and prophecies by fitting
words into sentence templates.

It had a pretty good strike rate of producing memorable lines.

The author of the software, a Canadian psychologist saw it as
an exercise in dadaist art and was fascinated by our ability to
read meanings into things. Classic Fortean theme really.
Was it Ken Stange at Nipissing? I used to be chummy with his wife. :)
 
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