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You Won't Believe This Baltimore Gravestone of the Man Who Invented the Ouija Board

And that's not the only creepy grave in this cemetery.

“Talking boards” were all the rage at the end of the nineteenth century. For a group of friends in Baltimore, Maryland, their interest in the supernatural became business venture, too. Elijah Bond was a lawyer and inventor who lived in Maryland during the latter half of the nineteenth century, and first registered the patent for the type of board now famous a children’s toy and a paranormal tool. 


Like many men of his age and geographical region, he was a veteran of the Confederate Army. Like many businessmen of his type, he was also a Mason. Perhaps it was this combination of tragedy and interest in the occult that led him to help his friends, who had started a novelty company selling “talking boards”, to design and patent his own version, the now-famous “Ouija.”

Later, when living in West Virginia, he invented yet another version of an Ouija board, using terms and symbols borrowed from Eastern religions, such as “Nirvana” and the word “swastika” (which, in 1907, was decades before the symbol was co-opted by and associated with Nazi Germany).

Though Bond was buried in an unmarked grave when he died in 1921, a paranormal enthusiast named Robert Murch spent fifteen years researching to locate the man’s final resting place. After raising funds, he installed a headstone shaped like a ouija board atBond’s grave in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, where you can visit today, and try to communicate with this mysterious inventor.

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While at the cemetery, make sure to stop by the other infamous grave on site, that of assassin John Wilkes Booth. By tradition, visitors leave pennies (Lincoln-side-up, of course) on Booth’s grave, to “lock” his spirit inside. 

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