The Ouija Board

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...and had no doubt at all that the girl opposite me was directing its movements, whether deliberately or not, as her lower knuckle was bent in with pressure and her arm was moving from the shoulder. The tale told when she had her finger on the dial was both dramatic and comical. It was a child naturally, an 8 year oldRobert Quinn hanged in the cell by a policeman, after being in jail himself for the murder of his 23 year old brother, on account of the latter committing rape (possibly of their mother) Some of the women were sighing with the great sadness and tragedy of this awful tale. I was biting my lip. The noose/nose account began this tale, but she (our alleged planchette pusher) also had a confused sense of history, giving the date of our events as 1..6...2... Confused by how the ghost could possibly have been incarcerated hundreds of years before the place existed a solution presented itself to the others to stop it needing to complete the date..1862! they called out. Phew. When the participants were swapped around the planchette interestingly still moved but spelled out nothing but gibberish, letters which bore no connection to each other.

(The noose/nose account referred to went like this... Asked "how were you murdered?" the planchette spelled out "N..O...S.." and the girl referenced above declared "noose!". I pointed out it was the begining of nose, not noose...).
Hello, and thank you for your story.
This is exactly what I mean when talking about ouija. I was once at an investigation and a guy (who claimed to be a Satanist) and just myself were using a board. He was most definitely pushing the glass despite his numerous protestations and the ‘spirit’ just reiterated a well-known legend in of the man supposed to be haunting the location. Funnily enough, the ‘spirit’ told the exact story as seen on the internet but not the real story (the man drowned and was not hanged from the tree in the garden).
When I asked for someone else to take Mr Satanist’s place, a timid woman did the honours and of course, the glass was completely still. Not a peep from the ‘spirit’. It was declared that the spirit didn’t want to communicate with her so Mr Satanist-glass-pusher enthusiastically jumped back into the hot seat and once again the glass mysteriously began to move around again.
I was not fooled....

☺️
 

GerdaWordyer

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Were there really many sinister tales about Ouija boards in the 20th century until the novel and movie""The Exorcist" came out? My cousins, who grew up in the 30's and 40's (and were fairly devout Catholics) happily had one and passed it along to my family. I always thought the graphics were spooky, but not the object itself. When I played with it either nothing moved the planchette or I was convinced that a person I was playing with had moved it and was fibbing about not moving it to make the game more believable/fun. Many children my age (born 1957) had these boards. So, back to my opening question, I can see ComfyNumb's experience was pre-"The Exorcist," but it seems like such things were rarely worried about, then after the book/film, there was a deluge of warnings, from regular people and especially from fundies. Or is it just me, in my time and place?
Here's a pic of my period beauty, mine's worse for wear from a few years of bad storage. When I FB posted it as hanging in my kitchen as pretty decor, only one of my peeps, almost all boomer aged, commented to not do that. Hasko Mystic Board-Haskelite MTB-FTB-25 .jpg .
 

escargot

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Were there really many sinister tales about Ouija boards in the 20th century until the novel and movie""The Exorcist" came out? My cousins, who grew up in the 30's and 40's (and were fairly devout Catholics) happily had one and passed it along to my family. I always thought the graphics were spooky, but not the object itself. When I played with it either nothing moved the planchette or I was convinced that a person I was playing with had moved it and was fibbing about not moving it to make the game more believable/fun. Many children my age (born 1957) had these boards. So, back to my opening question, I can see ComfyNumb's experience was pre-"The Exorcist," but it seems like such things were rarely worried about, then after the book/film, there was a deluge of warnings, from regular people and especially from fundies. Or is it just me, in my time and place?
Here's a pic of my period beauty, mine's worse for wear from a few years of bad storage. When I FB posted it as hanging in my kitchen as pretty decor, only one of my peeps, almost all boomer aged, commented to not do that. View attachment 20765 .
My family had ouija boards in the mid/late 60s, long before The Exorcist. It wasn't seen as a game in any way and was believed to be a way to contact the dead, at least among people I knew. Lord knows why us kids were allowed to play with it.
 

Comfortably Numb

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My family had ouija boards in the mid/late 60s, long before The Exorcist. It wasn't seen as a game in any way and was believed to be a way to contact the dead, at least among people I knew. Lord knows why us kids were allowed to play with it.
Thinking back to where I was living when my story occured, we would only have been around 13 years old - hence wondering if we should tell a grown-up. My Ouija board was a birthday present! For sure, it was never in my recollection seen as a game, more a curious form of entertainment. It was also still kinda, 'The Age of Aquarius' and occult books were a cool thing you could bring to school. Your last point... would I give a 13 year old child a Ouija board to play with... what indeed were our parents thinking!
 

DrPaulLee

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We did the Ouija board a lot at University. Most of the time it was gibberish but a few interesting things came out in the sessions. One time, we got "HOTHERE". Of course, spelt out, it made no sense - "H Other E?" until someone pointed out it said "Hot here."
We treated the session with some levity and the board spelt out "mock me not" and then "gone" - we got nothing after that.
Another time, we got in touch with Quentin (there was a lad in the group with this name, so he was a bit perturbed). The spectral "Quentin" claimed to be a little yellow toy box!
Another time, we asked the "phantom" how he died and it went to "H". stupidly, I blurted "heart attack". It then went on "E...A..." and we asked if it was a "heart attack", the glass going to "yes". I wish I'd said haemorrhoids

We did a few tests, with people on the board closing their eyes and a scribe making notes to ensure that the sitters weren't influenced by what they saw. In all cases we got junk responses.
We did all this once a week and even though I don't know what to make of it, I think our success rate was 50-50.
 

JamesWhitehead

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In the UK, Ouija-panics certainly predated The Exorcist. Along with naked witches and the desecration of churches or graves, the dangers of the board were a mainstay of the more sensationalist Sunday papers, usually in league with publicity-hungry clergy.

In the late sixties, early seventies, the familiar sun & moon design was manufactured by Waddingtons, the board-game makers. They were sold in the toy departments of stores, such as Boot's and W. H. Smith.

Psychologists were soon on the case, claiming that vulnerable youngsters were opening themselves to negative mental forces by dabbling with the supposed spirits. In the face of a lot of bad publicity, the shops and manufacturer withdrew ouija boards from toy departments.

I will look up the dates and detail later but I think the subject has been raised before on the board. This board, I mean! :omg:

I see a lot of this was explored in our first year, on The Ouija Board thread, link provided by Enola above!
 
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gattino

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I am still impressed by an idiot's ability to spell out a complex tale letter by letter . . . if it were me, I'd lose track of where I was.
In reference to my own account, it wasn't a case of the board narrating a tale, but a tale formed from the answers to questions. "What's Your name?" "how did you die?" etc, which generally recieved one or two word answers.
 

gattino

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Another copy and paste of something i posted in 2011. An intriguing tale which gathered no reaction but is pertinent to this discussion...


Watching the italian movie Romanzo Criminale, partly set against the backdrop of the political terror campaigns in italy in the late 70s, including the kidnap and murder of the former prime minister Aldo Moro, I decided to refresh my memory on the full story online. In a footnote I came across a remarkable aside. The full story of which is in the Independent article below, but here's the gist....

During the 55 days he was held in captivity everyone in italy wanted to know where they could possibly be keeping Aldo Moro. At one point something extraordinary happened. Romano Prodi, himself later prime minister and also president of the European Commission, went to the police with a remarkable tip off. He reported how he and a group of university academic friends had spent a Sunday afternoon attempting a seance with a ouija board. They appeared to get responses from what was idenitified as the ghost of another, recently deceased, senior Christian Democrat called Giorgio La Pira. Having established this they asked what everyone wanted to know "where are they holding Aldo Moro?"

The ouija spelled out in turn 3 place names.. Bolsena..Viterbo..Gradoli... The first two were instantly identified as known places, but Gradoli meant nothing to anyone. Until that is they located a village of that name in an Atlas, to their own apparently great surprise. This fact - that a place that existed but no one had heard of had turned up in response to their question pushed Prodi to risk ridicule and inform the police. The village of Gradoli was duly raided and searched and...nothing. Case seemingly closed.

Except...
After Moro was murdered and his body disposed of it was determined that he had been kept during most of his captivity in an apartment in a street in Rome called.... Via Gradoli.

Cue twilight zone music.

The gist of the Independent article is that Prodi's political opponents, sceptics and the public at large take it virtually as read that he "obviously" made the whole seance "nonsense" up to cover up for someone..ie to pass on a tip about Moro's whereabouts without giving his informant away. But nowhere can I find any suggestion of evidence that this is the case ...its an assumption based primarily on the idea that such things are self-evidently impossible so must be untrue.

Prodi has never changed his story.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 17786.html
 

luvpixie

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I dunno if I posted this before or not, but I used to have an Axolotl that could use a Ouija Board. It was propped up against the back of his tank and the spirits would talk to him by making him float up to a letter, and he would bump it with his nose. We would ask the relevant spooky questions and write down each bumped letter. The spirits always said things like...."sopikxkg" and "rrqof3." ......... Perhaps the Axolotl knew what they meant to convey, but I didn`t.
 

Comfortably Numb

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In the UK, In the late sixties, early seventies, the familiar sun & moon design was manufactured by Waddingtons, the board-game makers. They were sold in the toy departments of stores, such as Boot's and W. H. Smith.
That's the very fellow! You could purchase Monopoly - a game for all the family - or, alongside, a Ouija board - a game where you can try and contact all your dead family...
 

IbisNibs

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I wish I'd said haemorrhoids
But it was already misspelling that—it would have been quite mean of you to suggest "haemorrhoids", even if it could just say "yes" in response, since the word is so hard to spell. Maybe it would have spelled h-e-a-m-e-r-o-i-d-s and looked like an unschooled idiot. :cskull:
 

EnolaGaia

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This 2013 online article from the Smithsonian provides another summary history of the Ouija board.
The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

Tool of the devil, harmless family game—or fascinating glimpse into the non-conscious mind? ...


In February, 1891, the first few advertisements started appearing in papers: “Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board,” boomed a Pittsburgh toy and novelty shop, describing a magical device that answered questions “about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy” and promised “never-failing amusement and recreation for all the classes,” a link “between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial.” Another advertisement in a New York newspaper declared it “interesting and mysterious” and testified, “as sProven at Patent Office before it was allowed. Price, $1.50.” ...
FULL STORY: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/hist...ysterious-history-of-the-ouija-board-5860627/
 

EnolaGaia

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Is there a similar style that says "hello" as well as "goodbye"? "Goodbye" without "hello" seems a little forlorn.
The only canonical / mandatory elements on a Ouija-style talking board are the alphanumerics (individual letters and digits), because any message can be assembled from these elements.

Additional elements (e.g., whole keywords) afford the convenience of not having to repeatedly spell out common responses from the other side. The use of such "quickie" or "shortcut" elements apparently dates back to the 19th century talking boards that inspired the Ouija's creation, and some such precedent boards included more such keyword elements than the 4 commonly encountered on the Ouija.

The earliest mass-marketed boards (at least the earliest ones for which I've seen pictures) included "Yes", "No", and "Good Bye" but not "Hello." The first 3 are more or less canonical. "Hello" remains something of an option. Even the Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija

... notes "Hello" as occurring only "occasionally."
 

EnolaGaia

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Here's my take on why the "Hello" shortcut element is treated as an option ...

The Ouija is used as a collaborative game* board. The game that utilizes the Ouija involves a presumptive sort of "buy-in" on the part of all participants - i.e., a suspension of belief and an acceptance of / surrender to the protocol or logic of the game activity itself.**

The presence of a "Hello" element provides a shortcut that could short-circuit the process of one or more participants' achieving the sort of buy-in or engagement upon which the activity relies. A premature "Hello" could therefore leave one or more participants as-yet-unvested in the activity, and hence undermine the collective suspension of belief and openness to the outcomes.

* I'm not being facetious or condescending in alluding to "game" - I'm using "game" in the general sense of consensual collective play behavior a la Huizinga in Homo Ludens.

** This is the transition Huizinga called "entering into the ludic attitude."
 

blessmycottonsocks

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