12th Oct 2012
Ouija boards have been popularised in films and continue to be associated with the paranormal. Although they appear to be mystical devices they were actually invented as a harmless parlour game by a businessman named Elijah Bond in 1890. The name Ouija board is actually patented and now owned by Hasbro who make other board games such as Monopoly and Scrabble. Many “Ouija boards” are therefore known as spirit or talking boards.
The boards themselves are flat and usually made of wood; they are in scripted with the alphabet, the numbers 0-9 and the words yes, no and goodbye. A three pointed planchette which can be heart shaped with a hole in the middle, is moved across the board. A lot of debate surrounds how the pointer is actually moved across the board. The purpose of the Ouija board is to be used in a séance and communicate with the spirit. The spirit guides the pointer to individual letters to spell out a message or can answer yes or no to questions asked. In deed people that have used Ouija boards have felt their hands being moved across the board involuntarily and moving to different letters. Recent scientific research has suggested that this is actually a result of unconscious muscle movements known as ideomotor action, the combined small movements of everyone’s fingertips on the pointer can make it feel as though it is being widely pushed around the board by an unseen force.
A scientific study has used Ouija boards to delve in to our inner sub conscious, by blind folding participants and telling them that they will be using the board with a partner who then removes their hand from the pointer. It was found that the movements were not random but when asked questions their hand would move from yes to no. The participants believed that it was their partner making the pointer move when in fact they were the only person using the board. It is this thought that lack of control over ones actions opens up the subconscious to communicate.
However some people that believe Ouija boards are tools for contacting the spirit world also accept that it is a perceived sense of lack of control of their actions that opens us to the spirits. These people treat Ouija boards with an immense amount of respect as just in the horror films they believe that demons can come though a Séance and control the body, even affecting that person for many years later. Many stories exist where people have used Ouija boards and felt a presence with them thereafter, some people only feel it in the room where they used the Ouija board, but others feel it where ever they go. No doubt there are spirits and energies beyond the natural world but whether you believe they can be contacted via Ouija board is up to make you own mind up.
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