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About Ouija Boards

There are many different names for the Ouija board such as Talking board, Witch board, Spirit board, Oracle board, Mystic board, Devil board and Channelling board. The most widely known of them all are Talking board and Ouija board.

History of the Ouija board

The Ouija board, originally known as a talking board or spirit board, has been around for centuries. One of the first historical mentions of the use of an item resembling a Ouija board was in China around 3000 years ago, it was called Fu Ji, though some sources say it was actually spirit writing rather than an actual Ouija board. Another source , a French historical account, says that Pythagoras and his sect would conduct sťances at 'a mystic table, moving on wheels, moved towards signs, which the philosopher and his pupil, Philolaus, interpreted to the audience as being revelations supposedly from an unseen world.' (Melton, J. Gordon (1996) - Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, 4th edition), though this again is called in to question as there is no actual historical record of this and that Philolaus was not actually a student of Pythagoras and was in fact born twenty five years after Pythagoras died.

During the mid eighteenth century there were several method used that resemble the modern day Ouija board, one involved swinging a pendulum over a plate that had the letters drawn around the edge, another version used a table on wheels that moved around letters marked out on the floor. Sometimes a small wooden shape with casters, called a planchette, with a pencil attached would write out messages on to paper, this method is similar to one known as automatic writing. During this period planchettes were sold as novelty items and were widely used for entertainment.

The first use of the Ouija board as we know them today was in the late eighteenth century in America. Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard patented a planchette sold with a board on which the alphabet was printed and so the first modern day Ouija board was invented. The term Ouija is said to have maybe been derived from French 'oui' and the German/Dutch word 'ja' both meaning 'yes'. An alternative theory suggests that the name was discovered by Charles Kennard during a sťance and comes from an Ancient Egyptian word meaning 'good luck'. It is also suggested that the word Ouija could have been inspired from the name of the Moroccan city of Oujda.

How to use your Ouija Board

Firstly it is recommended that two or more people use the board together, you can use it alone but the results will be better if you have a small group. Set up the correct atmosphere, this is down to personal taste but as a guide dim the lights, light some candles, burn some incense and perhaps play some background music. Once you are ready place the board on a table or simply rest it on your knees, place the planchette in the middle of the board.

The next step is optional but may help to enhance your experience. It's an opening ritual designed to protect the session from harmful influences. Everybody should hold hands and take time to clear their minds. You should then visualize yourselves circled in light and the following invocation should then be recited. Either choose a designated person or chant as a group.

Spiritualist Sťance Invocation

There is a land where we all go,
Whence ne'er the frost nor cold wind blow,
And friends remembered reunite,
And those who hate, forget their spite,
In glow surround these gentle beings,
We call you now to bless our meetings,
Heaven's promise, our spirits thrive,
So now for the living, let the dead come alive.
Greetings spirits,
Speak thee to us?
(From 'The Spirit Speaks!' Weekly Newspaper 1901)

Each member of the group should now place their index and middle fingers onto the planchette and slowly begin to circle the board. You can then begin to ask questions, start with something simple, it may seem corny but 'Is anybody there?' is a perfect way to begin. Be patient you may not get an immediate answer but after a short while, maybe five or ten minutes, it should begin to respond. Don't worry if it takes longer, as with everything it does take practise. As the session develops you will find that your questions are answered more quickly and the planchette will begin to move around the board at quite a pace. This may scare some people but donít panic it's quite normal, it just shows that everyone is more relaxed and open to the experience and obviously panicking could bring the session to an abrupt end. This brings us nicely to ending the session.

Closing the Ouija Board

Once you have finished it is important that the board is closed correctly. You should follow this step even if the spirits have stopped talking to you. You should thank the spirits for answering your questions then move the planchette over 'Goodbye' (sometimes the planchette may go there of its own accord). Say goodbye to the spirits and remove your fingers from the planchette. You should now take time for relaxation and reflection.