Ouija Board - a device used to communicate with spirits.

Pronounced wee-ja (soft 'J')

Basic Description of a Ouija Board

   The Ouija Board contains the letters of the alphabet as well as numbers on a board which can be made out of pretty much anything. The words "Yes" and "No" are there for easy access, as well as a sun, moon, and the word "goodbye". Although the store-boughten boards usually look nicer, you can scribble the necessary contents onto a scrap piece of cardboard and it can work. The piece that slides on top which points to the characters is called the planchette.

History of the Ouija Board

   The concept of a Ouija Board dates back to ancient times. The modern version begins with a whole string of wannabe's. The one I find most often is probably a made-up story of a guy named Mr. Planchette (notice the coincidence already?) who used a heart shaped piece of wood with a couple wheels on it and a pencil used as the 3rd point. It was placed on a piece of paper and the spirits would then do the writing. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but this sound more like a fancy version of automatic writing to me.
   There's a bunch of other stories of the original version of modern times. I'm not sure which is right and truthfully, I really don't care. Some say it started with a couple of clairvoyant sisters back in the mid 1800's. Others say it was some other dude. Rather than waste any more time on this, I'm going to paste what Wikipedia has to say on the history. Hopefully they're right. As for the beginnings with Elijah Bond, that is where the known truth begins - everyone agrees on this point.

Another Way to Connect With Spirits

   The use of talking boards has roots in the modern Spiritualism movement that began in The United States in the mid-19th century. Methods of divination at that time used various ways to spell out messages, including swinging a pendulum over a plate that had letters around the edge or using an entire table to indicate letters drawn on the floor. Often used was a small wooden tablet supported on casters. This tablet, called a planchette, was affixed with a pencil that would write out messages in a fashion similar to automatic writing. These methods may predate modern Spiritualism.

Who Made Who?

   During the late 1800s, planchettes were widely sold as a novelty. In 1890, businessmen Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard had the idea to patent a planchette sold with a board on which the alphabet was printed, and thus had invented the first Ouija board. An employee of Kennard, William Fuld took over the talking board production and in 1901, he started production of his own boards under the name "Ouija".
   The Fuld name would become synonymous with the Ouija board, as Fuld reinvented its history, claiming that he himself had invented it. Countless talking boards from Fuld's competitors flooded the market and all these boards enjoyed a heyday from the 1920s through the 1960s. Fuld sued many companies over the "Ouija" name and concept right up until his death in 1927. In 1966, Fuld's estate sold the entire business to Parker Brothers, who continues to hold all trademarks and patents. About 10 brands of talking boards are sold today under various names.

   If you're planning on using a Ouija Board, take a look at this page.

Related Articles

Ten Ouija Board Tips - A handy list for the beginner

Ouija Boards - Tips On How To Use

Ouija Boards - Pino's Take

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