Talking Boards: Terrifying Tales of Ouija Boards and Demons, Possession, and Death
Ouija boards, also known as talking boards or spirit boards, are a relatively modern tool/game that strikes fear and wonder in the hearts of many people. Almost everyone has heard stories of someone connecting with malevolent beings or suffering unfortunate events following the use of a Ouija board. But what’s the real story behind these terrifying tales?
Introduction to the Ouija Board
Spirit boards have been in use since at least the 19th century in America and rose in popularity with the interest in spiritualism – the belief that the dead can communicate with the living. ‘Ouija’ boards weren’t released until Kennard Novelty Company produced them out as parlor games in the late 1800s.
A Halloween party featuring a Ouija board. (simpleinsomnia/ CC BY 2.0 )
Mediums claimed they were intermediaries between the living and the dead and employed a number of techniques in their work. One method involved the use of planchettes with two wheels at one end, and a pencil at the tip, forming a third leg. A medium would place his / her finger on the planchette, a question was asked, and an answer would be written out by a ‘spirit’ who was believed to have moved the device. This set the precedence for the planchettes of Ouija boards, which are made of wood or plastic and have a hole or pointer to spell out answers. The board itself usually has the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0 – 9, and words such as ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘goodbye’.
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"Mystic Hand" planchette. ( Fair Use )
Today, Ouija boards can also come with a set of ‘rules.’ These are generally a list of warnings for users. Some examples include: not letting the planchette touch the four corners of the board or ‘count down’ numbers or go backwards through the alphabet, not asking about your own death, and NEVER playing the game alone.
The following are some stories said to have taken place, perhaps when Ouija users didn’t follow the rules…
20th century Ouija Board ‘Rules’ ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )
"Curiosity Killed the Cat…"
The night was like any other. Quiet, calm. The girls were all in high school so it wasn't as though they were able to go out and "party." Further, they were simple girls. Close friends. Cheerleaders with strong Christian morals. It was highly unusual that one of them brought a spirit board to their sleepover.
It was the Hasbro game, Ouija. Easily found in most stores and thrift shops and reasonably priced, it wasn't hidden away in a dark corner of an old, dingy attic with a foreboding, wilting candle flickering across its surface. One would never expect it to do anything more than cause a few laughs.
The girls gathered around the board in a misshapen circle at the dining room table. A friend of theirs was absent that night, so they decided to inquire what she was up to. The spirits would surely know, the girls reasoned. The spirits were supposedly everywhere, watching, waiting. Surely they would be able to tell them what their missing cheerleader was doing on a Friday night. Perhaps she had a date.
Painting of teen-aged girls playing with a Ouija board. (Judithcarlin/ CC BY SA 4.0 )
The board said nothing. The girls asked ordinary questions and waited patiently for the planchette to move. Every now and then, one of the girls would twitch or shift the planchette in an obvious way. They'd all giggle nervously and laugh, and then move on. Eventually, the game wore out its excitement. They put the game away and moved on with their night.
A week later, their absent friend was in a terrible car accident. She died in the hospital.
None of the girls ever discovered what she'd been up to the night of the sleepover.
But none questioned whether they might have painted a spiritual target on her back.
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"…Satisfaction Brought it Back."
Ouija boards apparently have a habit of bringing the unwanted into sacred spaces or homes. However, often overlooked is that Ouija boards themselves are not always wanted in certain spaces. Such was the case of a young man, who will remain unnamed.
Participants in a Ouija game. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )
In his childhood years, his siblings had brought a Ouija board into the family home. They were kids; they did not know the board was anything more than a game.