The Ouija Board

Ulalume

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It IS my subconscious, yes. It's given me warnings I've learned to heed. Once it gave me what felt like a kick in the gut, and once it felt like a kick on my rear end. Strangely, it doesn't fuss much about the habits I consider the "bad" ones. I've given myself a really bad time when my life has seemed stalled out and I believe I'm unproductive and incompetent, and it tells me, "relax, try to enjoy this time. Here's this other way you can look at things." And then even my runs of "bad luck" seem charmed and I learn something.
Oh yes, the unconscious can be wise indeed. There have been any number of times when my unconscious knew way more than my conscious did at the moment.

At the same time, I'm in doubt if that's really the cause of some of the particular nastiness that can come with the Ouija board. I'm also in doubt about it being "evil spirits" etc. as I see no good reason why these spirits would be more evil than average. There is something weirdly negative that comes out, though, IME.
 

Cochise

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Oh yes, the unconscious can be wise indeed. There have been any number of times when my unconscious knew way more than my conscious did at the moment.

At the same time, I'm in doubt if that's really the cause of some of the particular nastiness that can come with the Ouija board. I'm also in doubt about it being "evil spirits" etc. as I see no good reason why these spirits would be more evil than average. There is something weirdly negative that comes out, though, IME.
Agree about the negative vibe. Which mike make the mind susceptible like telling ghost stories while out camping at night.

But (and bear with me here) if there is an afterlife presumably the happy spirits are confident that there loved ones in due course will join them, but unhappy/mischievous spirits might want to screw people up. The other supernatural possibility is that the spirits contacted through the board are not human spirits at all.

I'm not saying I believe any of that, just throwing ideas about. It could be the group mind thing, but while that sounds much more rational there's no real proof of that either.
 

Ringo

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Just a little side note - In my last stage show, I had volunteers playing a homemade ouija board. I told them all about the haunted history of the building and that someone was murdered there. I gave then names, dates, events and details - even showing where the body was found.

They were then asked to try to contact the person who was murdered there. I had a large table with letters of the alphabet laid out in a ring and black and white photographs of possible murder suspects. An upturned glass was in the middle. The glass, with their finger resting on it, always moved. When I asked the "spirit" to identify the murderer, it moved towards one of the photographs. When I asked it to spell things, it spelled names and relevant information. People were quite shaken by it.

Of course, I had made the entire story up. No one had been murdered there. The names I gave were all ficticious and the photogrpahs had no connection to the building or its past. Yet somehow, we contacted the spirit of a person who never existed and got information about events that never happened. Or we didn't.
 
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Cochise

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Just a little side note - In my last stage show, I had volunteers playing a homemade ouija board. I told them all about the haunted history of the building and that someone was murdered there. I gave then names, dates, events and details - even showing where the body was found.

They were then asked to try to contact the person who was murdered there. I had a large table with letters of the alphabet laid out in a ring and black and white photographs of possible murder suspects. An upturned glass was in the middle. The glass, with their finger resting on it, always moved. When I asked the "spirit" to identify the murderer, it moved towards one of the photographs. When I asked it to spell things, it spelled names and relevant information. People were quite shaken by it.

Of course, I had made the entire story up. No one had been murdered there. The names I gave were all ficticious and the photogrpahs had no connection to the building or its past. Yet somehow, we contacted the spirit of a person who never existed and got information about events that never happened. Or we didn't.
To follow up on one of my suggestions above - if a non-human entity was trying to mess with them it wouldn't matter if you made the human up. Again, I am definitely not saying that's what happened, just that the assumption that IF something gets contacted it is necessarily human seems unwarranted. Perhaps its Loki.
 

Dick Turpin

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I’ll have a chat with the missus tonight, and ask her for more detail about the poltergeist activity her family experienced, after her parents had played with the board.

I do remember being told that the family gave the entity (if there was an entity) the nickname of George, and one evening whilst out visiting relatives the younger Brother, (who was around 3 years old at the time) said that George has taken the lightbulb out of his bedroom top light and had laid it on the bed.

Later when they got home, there was the lightbulb laid neatly on the brothers pillow.

I’m not too sure what to make of that to be honest, but I was told that story independently by both the missus and the mother in law.
 

EnolaGaia

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... I'm not saying I believe any of that, just throwing ideas about. It could be the group mind thing, but while that sounds much more rational there's no real proof of that either.
OK, but ...

If there were no subconscious herd effect in play at all, one must wonder why Ringo's totally fabricated scenario (in the next post) seemed to yield a coherent result without any basis whatsoever.

If there could be no spirits affiliated with the fictional target scenario, the only option left would be spirits (whatever ...) simply screwing with the participants.

This conceivable explanation relies upon active agents / agencies beyond the participants' ken.

Now that this brings us down to only two options ... Is there a way to test or experiment so as to demonstrate one of these two options can be ruled out?
 

EnolaGaia

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To follow up on one of my suggestions above - if a non-human entity was trying to mess with them it wouldn't matter if you made the human up. ...
It would matter if the Ouija participants were oriented to the target scenario in a manner that precluded any spirits (whatever ... ) from knowing what the totally fictional / fabricated target was. If that were possible it would be difficult to explain any seemingly coherent outcome except as the result of participant action (conscious or otherwise).
 

Ringo

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To follow up on one of my suggestions above - if a non-human entity was trying to mess with them it wouldn't matter if you made the human up. Again, I am definitely not saying that's what happened, just that the assumption that IF something gets contacted it is necessarily human seems unwarranted. Perhaps its Loki.
OK, but ...

If there were no subconscious herd effect in play at all, one must wonder why Ringo's totally fabricated scenario (in the next post) seemed to yield a coherent result without any basis whatsoever.

If there could be no spirits affiliated with the fictional target scenario, the only option left would be spirits (whatever ...) simply screwing with the participants.

This conceivable explanation relies upon active agents / agencies beyond the participants' ken.

Now that this brings us down to only two options ... Is there a way to test or experiment so as to demonstrate one of these two options can be ruled out?
Without giving the game away, basically the "spirit" was only able to give us information that certain particiants already knew or had deduced. So for example, if I had casually mentioned to the entire group that a certain number was important, and then "accidentally" flashed a sign with the number 5 on it to Bob, the glass only pointed at 5 when Bob had his finger on it. When I rewarded the entire group for a good result, Bob was obviously pleased too but maybe unaware that he had "helped things along".

If I happened to let one person "accidentally" see a paper with notes on it, that information was only retold to us by the "spirit" when that person had their finger on the glass. The narrative was helped along by people unknowingly subverting it themselves.

The more I verbally rewarded them, the faster they could move the glass and point at things. Some of their choices were "free choices", i.e. information that I could later weave into the narrative by improvising. This then confirmed their belief that they were communing with something. An interesting thing was when a word was being spelled out, the glass would move slowly at first until the rest of the group could understand which word was being spelled. Then the glass would speed up as the collective unconsciously helped the glass along.
 

Cochise

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OK, but ...

If there were no subconscious herd effect in play at all, one must wonder why Ringo's totally fabricated scenario (in the next post) seemed to yield a coherent result without any basis whatsoever.

If there could be no spirits affiliated with the fictional target scenario, the only option left would be spirits (whatever ...) simply screwing with the participants.

This conceivable explanation relies upon active agents / agencies beyond the participants' ken.

Now that this brings us down to only two options ... Is there a way to test or experiment so as to demonstrate one of these two options can be ruled out?
I don't know as you can rule out things that require senses we don't have (or don't know we have). We can conceive of other planes of existence, but there are a very large number (possibly infinite) number of scenarios to test and we don't have the tools to start with.

I'm just not prepared to insist on the perceived physical universe being all there is.
 

EnolaGaia

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Without giving the game away, basically the "spirit" was only able to give us information that certain particiants already knew or had deduced. So for example, if I had casually mentioned to the entire group that a certain number was important, and then "accidentally" flashed a sign with the number 5 on it to Bob, the glass only pointed at 5 when Bob had his finger on it. When I rewarded the entire group for a good result, Bob was obviously pleased too but maybe unaware that he had "helped things along".

If I happened to let one person "accidentally" see a paper with notes on it, that information was only retold to us by the "spirit" when that person had their finger on the glass. The narrative was helped along by people unknowingly subverting it themselves.
Brilliant! I doff my hat to you, sir ... :hoff:


The more I verbally rewarded them, the faster they could move the glass and point at things. Some of their choices were "free choices", i.e. information that I could later weave into the narrative by improvising. This then confirmed their belief that they were communing with something. An interesting thing was when a word was being spelled out, the glass would move slowly at first until the rest of the group could understand which word was being spelled. Then the glass would speed up as the collective unconsciously helped the glass along.
I've observed and experienced similar "acceleration" toward a consensual outcome in the course of observing and participating in using the Ouija board. Once a single / single-point result coalesces as "probable" rather than merely "possible" there's a detectable acceleration of planchette movement toward confirming that bit and moving on to the next. I've also noticed a broader such acceleration once a composite outcome (e.g., a word comprised of several letters) is spelled out sufficiently to dictate what the result must be (if it's not to be complete gibberish).

This sort of effect isn't limited to Ouija. I've observed and demonstrated similar acceleration toward culminating consensus in groups making decisions under controlled and recorded laboratory conditions.
 

EnolaGaia

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I don't know as you can rule out things that require senses we don't have (or don't know we have). We can conceive of other planes of existence, but there are a very large number (possibly infinite) number of scenarios to test and we don't have the tools to start with.

I'm just not prepared to insist on the perceived physical universe being all there is.
There's nothing wrong with these positions. However ...

It remains the case that attributing mind-reading to hypothetical ephemeral entities above and beyond those entities' existence is to go farther out on a limb than accepting the notion it's the human participants who are actually controlling the outcomes.
 

Cochise

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There's nothing wrong with these positions. However ...

It remains the case that attributing mind-reading to hypothetical ephemeral entities above and beyond those entities' existence is to go farther out on a limb than accepting the notion it's the human participants who are actually controlling the outcomes.
I don't think I said anything to disagree with that?

But we have been given the ability to hypothesise. If we didn't have that we'd have no theories to test. There is a physical bubble of pretty much unimaginable proportions that we can perceive - why should we assume that what we are given the ability to perceive is all there is to perceive?

Conversely, quite a lot of what we do perceive doesn't really exist as we perceive it. All there is out there is varying densities of atoms which we sometimes see as solid surfaces and sometimes we don't see at all. They reflect light in ways we see as colour but are just varying wavelengths.

Plus we see everything a fraction of a second after it has ceased to exist.

So our brain is already filtering and managing our inputs - how do we know there are not inputs that we filter out completely? Until someone breaks the barrier. Maybe with an ouija board :)
 

Lizard King

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Just a little side note - In my last stage show, I had volunteers playing a homemade ouija board. I told them all about the haunted history of the building and that someone was murdered there. I gave then names, dates, events and details - even showing where the body was found.

They were then asked to try to contact the person who was murdered there. I had a large table with letters of the alphabet laid out in a ring and black and white photographs of possible murder suspects. An upturned glass was in the middle. The glass, with their finger resting on it, always moved. When I asked the "spirit" to identify the murderer, it moved towards one of the photographs. When I asked it to spell things, it spelled names and relevant information. People were quite shaken by it.

Of course, I had made the entire story up. No one had been murdered there. The names I gave were all ficticious and the photogrpahs had no connection to the building or its past. Yet somehow, we contacted the spirit of a person who never existed and got information about events that never happened. Or we didn't.
Derren Brown done something similar and had the "dead"person walk in at the end.
 

Lizard King

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I know that I witnessed a ouija board pointer move so fast, that at one point it moved independently without any one touching it. I'll take the stand to testify to that. What caused it to move i don't know. Was it the collective minds/energy of all us teenagers?possibly, but I don't think so.Was it dead spirits of deceased people?I really don't think so. I think Cochise has a point, and I believe what ever it was that was contacted, was not or had never been human. Sounds dramatic and a bit crazy, but so was what I witnessed.
 

EnolaGaia

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I don't think I said anything to disagree with that? ...
No, you didn't say anything that clashed. I was simply noting that postulating ephemeral entities plus their ability to read minds required more credulity than the mundane alternative.
 

Swifty

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I have recalled my ouija experience on another thread. It was terrifying and something I'm still not comfortable talking about today. I don't think it was spirits of deceased people,but other entities pretending to be them. It's not to be meddled with, seriously no matter how experienced people are in mediumship or the like.
I've flat out refused to be anything to do with Ouija boards during a ghost invest to my team, they know and are respectful about where I stand on that. We had someone want to join us once on an invest who was also trying to sell Ouija boards through us and I refused him.
 

GNC

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I wonder if the fears of powers unleashed by the Ouija board have anything to do with the famous Philip experiment, where a university research team created their own poltergeist? The movement of the planchette or glass can be easily explained by unconscious movements of the users (it's more complicated than that, but this is the gist), but could they be tapping into something in their minds that manufactures a "spirit" of sorts, just like Philip? If you're scared of what is happening, then the spirit will be scary in turn, because it's part of your personal fear.
 

Ulalume

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I wonder if the fears of powers unleashed by the Ouija board have anything to do with the famous Philip experiment, where a university research team created their own poltergeist? The movement of the planchette or glass can be easily explained by unconscious movements of the users (it's more complicated than that, but this is the gist), but could they be tapping into something in their minds that manufactures a "spirit" of sorts, just like Philip? If you're scared of what is happening, then the spirit will be scary in turn, because it's part of your personal fear.
It could be, though as I recall it took them months of effort to manifest Phillip. Many would be thrilled to get results like that in one try. (Well, I know I would be.)
 

GNC

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Yeah, the time aspect doesn't quite tally in my theory, but that's not to say someone taking a methodical scientific approach would be longer in achieving the same results. Mind you, as far as I remember Philip wasn't malevolent, but that could be getting back to the personalities and fears of the Ouija users generating the phenomena.
 

Vardoger

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I've flat out refused to be anything to do with Ouija boards during a ghost invest to my team, they know and are respectful about where I stand on that. We had someone want to join us once on an invest who was also trying to sell Ouija boards through us and I refused him.
Get a Luigi board instead.
1563366447973.png
 

Lb8535

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When Ouija boards (a made-up name designed to sound foreign I would imagine?) were first produced there was a huge spate of preachers ranting against them, this may be the origin of the automatic "don't touch it" reaction from the older group. I tried it once when I was about 8 with my cousin and I was fairly sure that I was controlling it without intending to. But the marker moving on its own sounds poltergeist-y, especially if the group was younger. I don't think I'd go there again, it sounds as though it's a process that can bring out bad activity, perhaps something therapists would be interested in.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Ouija boards (a made-up name designed to sound foreign I would imagine?) ...
... I think the name comes from oui-ja French and German for yes.
There are multiple stories about how the name "Ouija" came about ...

"Talking boards" as instruments of automatic writing dated back 'way before the Ouija version appeared. In fact, there were mass-produced boards with movable stylus / indicator devices prior to the Ouija's introduction. The Ouija was the first such board to be patented (by Elijah Bond in 1890). Charles Kennard was one of the assignees (persons accorded manufacturing / marketing privileges) on the original patent, and a William Fuld would become the long-time manager of Ouija production and marketing.

Having set the cast of characters, here are some excerpts from one history of the Ouija:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180828223423/http://museumoftalkingboards.com/history.html

Charles Kennard stated that he named the new board Ouija (pronounced wE-ja) after a session with Miss Peters, Elijah Bond's sister-in-law: "I remarked that we had not yet settled upon a name, and as the board had helped us in other ways, we would ask it to propose one. It spelled out O-U-I-J-A. When I asked the meaning of the word it said 'Good Luck.' Miss Peters there upon drew upon her neck a chain which had at the end a locket, on it a figure of a woman and at the top the word 'Ouija'. We asked her if she had thought of the name, and she said she had not. We then adopted the word. There were present Mr. Bond, his wife, his son, Miss Peters and myself."
The theme of consulting the board itself for a name is one of the most common explanations of the name. The bit about the locket that displayed the same name given by the board is rarely cited. I don't know when the locket bit was first alleged.

For twenty-six years William Fuld ran the company through good times and bad. When interviewed about the Ouija he was amusingly frank. He was a Presbyterian, didn't believe that it was a medium of communication with departed spirits, but at the same time thought that the Ouija was a reliable advisor in matters of business and personal life. ... "The talking board named itself." He said. "We didn't know what to name it, so put the question up to the board and it spelled out O-U-I-J-A. We hadn't any idea what it meant and scratched a long time before we found any clue. Finally we discovered that it was a very close approximation of an Egyptian word which meant good luck."
Fuld's version continues the theme of the board naming itself. The bit about "ouija" correlating with an Egyptian (often claimed to be an ancient Egyptian ... ) word or phrase for "good luck" is another commonly encountered tidbit.

Another common claim is that "Ouija" is a composite of the French and German words for "Yes." I don't know when or where this purported explanation originated, but it seems plausible based on the spelling.
 

EnolaGaia

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An additional Ouija terminology fun fact ...

The label "planchette" (more or less French for "little plank") is uniquely associated with the Ouija board's indicator device.

It was long claimed that the device was so labeled in honor of a French spiritualist named "M. Planchette". Apparently this person's first name has never been given in full. No one's ever located any records or evidence verifying the existence, much less the fame, of any 19th century spiritualist / medium named Planchette.
 

Naughty_Felid

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An additional Ouija terminology fun fact ...

The label "planchette" (more or less French for "little plank") is uniquely associated with the Ouija board's indicator device.

It was long claimed that the device was so labeled in honor of a French spiritualist named "M. Planchette". Apparently this person's first name has never been given in full. No one's ever located any records or evidence verifying the existence, much less the fame, of any 19th century spiritualist / medium named Planchette.
Wasn't Planchet a character in The Three Muskateers? (Yes I've read the book and not just watched Dogtanian....)
 

Krepostnoi

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The label "planchette" (more or less French for "little plank") is uniquely associated with the Ouija board's indicator device.
It has amused me for quite some while that the Russian word for tablet (as in iPad, not aspirin) is планшет (planshet). Following this to its illogical conclusion, if this thread is to be believed, all the words I can see on my tablet screen must be either the product of my subconscious or the work of malevolent spirits... :hyper:
 

GNC

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Further to my musings about the creation of a Ouija spirit through concentration, could it be a form of mass hysteria that leads people to believe something malevolent has been conjured up? Mass hysteria has physical effects, after all, and certainly seems real to the sufferers no matter if there is something genuine in existence or not.
 
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