The Ouija Board

Squail

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Joking aside, you might be onto something - in the years of the First World War there was a greater interest in seances because of the amount of death around, people wanting reassurance about an afterlife. Could the same thing happen again?
The First World War mention brings to mind for me, something not exactly Fortean; but to my taste, affording considerable fun. This being the book The Road To En-Dor, by E.H. Jones: the most unusual prisoner-of-war-escape story which I have ever come across. (In this work, published not long after WWI, the author refers to the abovementioned upsurge in interest in attempting to contact the dead, during and subsequent to that war with its colossal "butcher's bill". ) By the way, I tried a search of the forum: it would seem that the book has not previously been mentioned hereon.

The book is autobiographical: the author, in the British Army in the Middle East fighting against Turkey, was taken prisoner by the Turks. He and fellow-inmates of their remote P.O.W. camp in the middle of Asia Minor, desperately bored, took to attempted ouija-board sessions; things so came about that he and a fellow-officer found themselves -- for a lark -- thinking up messages and deliberately and surreptitiously, spelling them out via glass on board: this ploy took off rather spectacularly, with most participants believing that it was "for real" and being highly impressed. The Turkish camp staff -- whose behaviour toward the prisoners spanned the whole gamut from sadistic to benign, this sometimes applying with one and the same man, according to mood -- come across as almost endearingly sloppy, inept, and thoroughly corrupt; the camp commandant and his minions became interested in the supposed communing with the spirits, and made an offer to Jones and his fellow-scammer Hill, to go into partnership with them re using their supposed supernatural connections, to quest for buried treasure which was thought to exist in the neighbourhood.

Jones and Hill took the opportunity of feigning to go along with this scheme of the Turks', in order to use the time outside the wire which it would entail, to try to escape and make for Allied territory. It so befell that their (highly complicated) plan went pear-shaped at the last moment: they adopted a fresh escape strategy, equally unconventional but this time nothing to do with the spirit world. With this, they sorta-kinda succeeded: after much suffering, they were able to get out of Turkey and back to their own side very shortly before the war's end in November 1918. As said -- assuming no deep layer-beneath-layer goings-on unknown to the escapers, then no putatively genuine supernatural element was in play; but I for one, find the book a most enthralling and entertaining yarn.
 

Frideswide

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escargot

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Techy used to collect designer ouija boards. They came in lovely designs.
 

Mr_Hermolle

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Attached are two photographs of a ouija board I found. In best horror film tradition, I found the board (in it's box, with planchette) on the wall outside an empty house at twilight. The house looked like it was being renovated, and was a fairly nondescript suburban house in Hove. I saw it as I was heading to the pub, and thought that if it was still there afterwards, I would take it. It was, so I took it home. It turned out to be a fairly old mass produced board, dating from the 1960s I think. I was somewhat concerned - having a notoriously overactive imagination - that having the thing in the flat (which itself had a somewhat uneasy atmosphere at times, though again that overactive imagination was probably bought into play) might spook me out... but no. No spook outs, no creepy feelings, nothing. I half heartedly tried to use it once, and nothing. I'm more than a bit wary of ever
21034407_10211578759318239_1598848369475219855_n.jpg
21078769_10211578759278238_9010127571580451704_n.jpg
using it though...
 
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WeeScottishLassie

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Attached are two photographs of a ouija board I found. In best horror film tradition, I found the board (in it's box, with planchette) on the wall outside an empty house at twilight. The house looked like it was being renovated, and was a fairly nondescript suburban house in Hove. I saw it as I was heading to the pub, and thought that if it was still there afterwards, I would take it. It was, so I took it home. It turned out to be a fairly old mass produced board, dating from the 1960s I think. I was somewhat concerned - having a notoriously overactive imagination - that having the thing in the flat (which itself had a somewhat uneasy atmosphere at times, though again that overactive imagination was probably bought into play) might spook me out... but no. No spook outs, no creepy feelings, nothing. I half heartedly tried to use it once, and nothing. I'm more than a bit wary of ever View attachment 33202View attachment 33203using it though...
Ooh wow!! That's so awesome!!
 

Mythopoeika

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Attached are two photographs of a ouija board I found. In best horror film tradition, I found the board (in it's box, with planchette) on the wall outside an empty house at twilight. The house looked like it was being renovated, and was a fairly nondescript suburban house in Hove. I saw it as I was heading to the pub, and thought that if it was still there afterwards, I would take it. It was, so I took it home. It turned out to be a fairly old mass produced board, dating from the 1960s I think. I was somewhat concerned - having a notoriously overactive imagination - that having the thing in the flat (which itself had a somewhat uneasy atmosphere at times, though again that overactive imagination was probably bought into play) might spook me out... but no. No spook outs, no creepy feelings, nothing. I half heartedly tried to use it once, and nothing. I'm more than a bit wary of ever View attachment 33202View attachment 33203using it though...
You need to wonder why the former owners left it lying about in such a prominent spot. They wanted somebody to take it away. :eek:
 

Lb8535

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Attached are two photographs of a ouija board I found. In best horror film tradition, I found the board (in it's box, with planchette) on the wall outside an empty house at twilight. The house looked like it was being renovated, and was a fairly nondescript suburban house in Hove. I saw it as I was heading to the pub, and thought that if it was still there afterwards, I would take it. It was, so I took it home. It turned out to be a fairly old mass produced board, dating from the 1960s I think. I was somewhat concerned - having a notoriously overactive imagination - that having the thing in the flat (which itself had a somewhat uneasy atmosphere at times, though again that overactive imagination was probably bought into play) might spook me out... but no. No spook outs, no creepy feelings, nothing. I half heartedly tried to use it once, and nothing. I'm more than a bit wary of ever View attachment 33202View attachment 33203using it though...
This is a standard mass-toy produced item from the 50's. Read back on this thread and be a little cautious about your interest. I have never been convinced that spirits come across, but the process does seem to bring out bad things in the users.
 

escargot

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This is a standard mass-toy produced item from the 50's. Read back on this thread and be a little cautious about your interest. I have never been convinced that spirits come across, but the process does seem to bring out bad things in the users.
They were sold like this up to the early '70s at least. my family had them then.

We have several threads on then as you'll know.
 

IbisNibs

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It's vintage! Sell it on eBay! Then it will bring you good luck. :D
 

Swifty

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They were sold like this up to the early '70s at least. my family had them then.

We have several threads on then as you'll know.
I remember the chain store BEATIES still selling them, only one aisle away from the Star Wars toys, in the children's toys department in the late 70's, around The Empire Strikes Back time so more like 1980? ..
 

Comfortably Numb

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I recall the following article and maybe of interest?

How Ouija boards work. (Hint: It's not ghosts.)

By Aja Romano on September 6, 2018

It’s that time of year again — the season when paranormal entities come out to play. But if you’re thinking about grabbing a Ouija board for your next conversation with the other side, you might want to think again.

Despite their long history as hoax spiritualist devices turned hit toys turned tools of the devil, Ouija boards won’t actually put you in contact with demons or spirits. Any scary firsthand reports you might hear or read of real-life Ouija board horror stories are exaggerations, false claims, or a misunderstanding of how Ouija boards actually work.

That might be disappointing news if you’re hosting a Halloween sleepover, but it might also leave you asking, “How do Ouija boards work?” The answer is surprisingly simple.

[...]

In fact, there’s a simple scientific explanation: The mysterious mechanism that powers the Ouija board is called the ideomotor effect (pronounced “idio-mo-tor” or “id-ee-aah-meh-ter”), and it’s basically a way for your body to talk to itself.

The ideomotor effect is an example of unconscious, involuntary physical movement — that is, we move when we’re not trying to move. If you’ve ever experienced the sudden feeling of jerking awake from sleep (known as the hypnic jerk), you’ve experienced a more abrupt version of the ideomotor effect: your brain signaling your body to move without your conscious awareness. The obvious difference is that the ideomotor effect happens when you’re awake, so the reflexive movements you make are much smaller.

In the case of a Ouija board, your brain may unconsciously create images and memories when you ask the board questions. Your body responds to your brain without you consciously “telling” it to do so, causing the muscles in your hands and arms to move the pointer to the answers that you — again, unconsciously — may want to receive.

There are multiple scientific studies that have shown various instances of the ideomotor effect in action. In one well-known and oft-repeated variant of the Ouija board test, blindfolded participants spell much more incoherent messages. (You can try this one at home.)

These experiments easily demonstrate that the Ouija board only works when the participants are able to manipulate the pointer themselves. If a ghost or spirit were really in the room, it would be able to direct the planchette to spell out coherent messages without any assistance. But there is no ghost, and when the Ouija board users are deprived of their ability to spell out words they can see, the game rapidly devolves into gibberish.

[...]

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/10/29/13301590/how-ouija-boards-work-debunked-ideomotor-effect
 

Naughty_Felid

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I recall the following article and maybe of interest?

How Ouija boards work. (Hint: It's not ghosts.)

By Aja Romano on September 6, 2018

It’s that time of year again — the season when paranormal entities come out to play. But if you’re thinking about grabbing a Ouija board for your next conversation with the other side, you might want to think again.

Despite their long history as hoax spiritualist devices turned hit toys turned tools of the devil, Ouija boards won’t actually put you in contact with demons or spirits. Any scary firsthand reports you might hear or read of real-life Ouija board horror stories are exaggerations, false claims, or a misunderstanding of how Ouija boards actually work.

That might be disappointing news if you’re hosting a Halloween sleepover, but it might also leave you asking, “How do Ouija boards work?” The answer is surprisingly simple.

[...]

In fact, there’s a simple scientific explanation: The mysterious mechanism that powers the Ouija board is called the ideomotor effect (pronounced “idio-mo-tor” or “id-ee-aah-meh-ter”), and it’s basically a way for your body to talk to itself.

The ideomotor effect is an example of unconscious, involuntary physical movement — that is, we move when we’re not trying to move. If you’ve ever experienced the sudden feeling of jerking awake from sleep (known as the hypnic jerk), you’ve experienced a more abrupt version of the ideomotor effect: your brain signaling your body to move without your conscious awareness. The obvious difference is that the ideomotor effect happens when you’re awake, so the reflexive movements you make are much smaller.

In the case of a Ouija board, your brain may unconsciously create images and memories when you ask the board questions. Your body responds to your brain without you consciously “telling” it to do so, causing the muscles in your hands and arms to move the pointer to the answers that you — again, unconsciously — may want to receive.

There are multiple scientific studies that have shown various instances of the ideomotor effect in action. In one well-known and oft-repeated variant of the Ouija board test, blindfolded participants spell much more incoherent messages. (You can try this one at home.)

These experiments easily demonstrate that the Ouija board only works when the participants are able to manipulate the pointer themselves. If a ghost or spirit were really in the room, it would be able to direct the planchette to spell out coherent messages without any assistance. But there is no ghost, and when the Ouija board users are deprived of their ability to spell out words they can see, the game rapidly devolves into gibberish.

[...]

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2016/10/29/13301590/how-ouija-boards-work-debunked-ideomotor-effect
I'm always more interested in the alleged "psychic" or mental health issues that arise from the use of the boards.
 

escargot

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I remember the chain store BEATIES still selling them, only one aisle away from the Star Wars toys, in the children's toys department in the late 70's, around The Empire Strikes Back time so more like 1980? ..
I saw one in a smart gift shop display in Vienna in 2004. Looked a little out of place.
 

Tempest63

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If a ghost or spirit were really in the room, it would be able to direct the planchette to spell out coherent messages without any assistance.
I recall an experiment where the participants were blindfolded allowing the “Spirits” to utilise their bodies/energy to manipulate the planchette without the participants seeing where it was going.
As expected it went to rat shit!
 

Comfortably Numb

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As expected it went to rat shit!
What if, though, a spirit was dependent on the person being able to see?

Is there an argument for this?

The question arose from reading our aforenoted article and realising that whilst statedly a debunking exercise, it had that essence, for myself, of being unbridled scepticism.
 

Junopsis

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What if, though, a spirit was dependent on the person being able to see?

Is there an argument for this?
It doesn't seem contrary to the whole idea, at any rate. I mean, the idea of spirits influencing the human-induced movement of the planchette always seemed less a question of supernaturally-induced movement and more a matter of mediumship on the part of the humans. So seeing through the human's eyes would be no different than making use of the human's language skills or writing ability in other medium-type things.
 

Naughty_Felid

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It doesn't seem contrary to the whole idea, at any rate. I mean, the idea of spirits influencing the human-induced movement of the planchette always seemed less a question of supernaturally-induced movement and more a matter of mediumship on the part of the humans. So seeing through the human's eyes would be no different than making use of the human's language skills or writing ability in other medium-type things.
And the post-effect of not closing the session?
 

dannycheveaux1

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Me and a couple of mates tried a makeshift ouija session aged 16 in a holiday chalet. We got some accurate answers out of it but I'm 99%
sure it was one of the lads nudging things along. It felt spooky for the rest of the holiday, mind.
Prior to that (aged 13\14 in the early 70s) a schoolmate said his brother had a ouija and the answers were always accurate. He asked around for any questions to pass on to his brother. I had just borrowed "The Scoriton Mystery" from the local library, so I asked the lad to pass on to his brother the question "Where is Yamski?". Other lads gave him their own questions.
Next day he came in and reeled off the answers from the ouija. "Dan, I don't understand this but your answer is Venus".
Wow! I thought. (It probably turned out the brother had also read the book though!)
 

Junopsis

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And the post-effect of not closing the session?
Still no different from whatever you think that might be. At least if that's how it works, that's how it's been working? Like I said, it doesn't conflict.
 

salt-man

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I saw one in a smart gift shop display in Vienna in 2004. Looked a little out of place.
A Beaties?

I can imagine that WOULD look rather odd. The thought of cramming a major department store into a small gift shop gives me a headache TBH.
 
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