History Of The Ouija Board

The Ouija board, also known as a spirit, fire key, or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9 and the words “yes”, “no”, “hello” and “goodbye” and various symbols and graphics. It is currently a registered trademark, but of course has not always been so. It utilizes a moveable indicator (called a planchette) to indicate the spirit’s message by pointing to the letters are the board during a séance.

It was commericially introduced by Elijah Bond on July 1, 1890. It was regarded as a parlor game unrelated to the occult until the American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I. Since this occurance mainstream religions and some occultists have associated use of the Ouija boad with the demonic and have cautioned their members not to use Ouija boards.
Ouija Board For Ghost Contact
Going back to antiquity the first mention of an item such as a Ouija board is found in China around 1100 A.D. The planchette was used as a means of contacts the dead who reside in the spirit world. It was a of a central place to the Quanhzen school, until it was forbidden by the Qing Dynasty. There are entire sections of the Daozang scriptures which are attributed entirely to planchette divination.

During the late 19th century, these plancehettes were sold widely as a novelty. Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard had the idea to patent the planchette sold with a board on which an alphabet was made. The issue date for the patent was 2/10/1891. Bond was both an attorney and an entrepreneur as this was neither his first nor last invention.

An employee of Kennard, William Fuld took over production in 1901 as he started his own production of “Ouija” board. Kennard states the name “Ouija” comes from the Egyptian word for good luck. When Fuld took over production he proposed a different origin of the name, coming from French and German for “yes”. The latter being the more widely accepted etymology. The glory days of the Ouija boards was from 1920-1960 in which their was tremendous success and competitors were popping up everywhere. In 1966 Fuld’s estate sold the business to Parker Brothers who continue to hold the trademarks even today.

That being said, there are recorded blips in history where the more apparitional side of things takes over. One such instance was in 1848. It was a cabin in Hydesville, New York. Sisters Kate and Margarate Fox were in congress with the spirit of a dead peddler. The sisters became instantly famous. It was inevitably these two sisters who caused the national obsession in the US and Europe. This was the birth of modern Spiritualism in the West.

The Western world was ready for communication with those on the other side. Spiritualist churches sprang up and person with the special gift or as it was known, “pipeline” to the other side, were in great demand. These individuals were designated mediums because they acted as those who could operate on behalf of both sides relaying communications.

One of the ways in which this would take place was table turning. In this instance the medium and patrons would rest their fingers lightly on a table and wait for spiritual contact. Soon enough, the table would tilt, move, jostle, and bump. As this happened letters would be knocked to the floor. As enough letters were knocked to the floor the ethereal message would be spelled out.

Another technique used during this period was a form of writing using a small basket like item with a pencil attached to one end. The medium simply had to touch the basket, make physical contact. At this point the otherworldly counterpart would take control of the medium and write out the ghostly message.

This basket pencil eventually evolved into the planchette style of navigation. This was a vastly more sophisticated tool with a pencil and two rotating casters attached. The inventor of this style of planchette was the French medium named M. Planchette. This is however hotly contested as conjecture as no formal records of a M. Planchette exist today. And “Planchette” translates as little plank.

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