Does the Ouija Board Really Work?
The Ouija Board
The Ouija board is said to be a link to the beyond, an invitation to spiritual entities and even a direct line to long-dead relatives. The Ouija gets a lot of credit as a powerful tool for making paranormal connections, and this simple board showing letters, numbers and few words has been around for generations.
Believers will warn you not to mess with it unless you know what you are doing.
On the other hand, some use the Ouija as a fun family activity, no different from any other board game you'd call upon to pass the time. Clearly, these folks aren't so concerned about the dangers of the Ouija.
Many people think of the board as some kind of ancient device dating back hundreds or even thousands of years, but that’s not really true. While people throughout history have used all kinds of different methods to divine information from thin air, including planchettes, the board in the form we know it today did not show up until the late 19th century. Spiritualism was hot at the time, and things like mediums, séances and table tipping were increasing in popularity. In 1891 the first Ouija board emerged. Then, as now, it was marketed as a parlor game.
What's the point of the Ouija board? Here a few of the reasons people may wish to try it:
- Communicate with a deceased relative. Some people wish to connect with loved-ones beyond the grave in hopes of getting messages, or simply hearing from them once more.
- Investigate a haunting. If you have reason to believe your house is haunted you may wish to find out who is lurking around, and why they won't go away.
- Learn about the future. Some people use the board to ask questions regarding their future fate. Wouldn't it be nice to know?
- Learn about the spirit realm. Some spirits are more forthcoming than others, and will tell you a lot about their previous life.
- Just plain fun! There is something fun and exciting about scary things, and that, ultimately, is what has made the Ouija so popular.
Does the Ouija Board Really Work?
There is no doubt the Ouija produces results at least some of the time. And, as many a confused newbie can attest, they can be pretty impressive.
What could possibly explain the manipulation of the planchette, if not a spiritual presence?
While it’s definitely true that some sessions consist of one wise-guy moving the planchette to try to fool everyone else, there may be something else at work here. Skeptics say the board spells out answers based on the subtle subconscious influence of the very human participants.
This is known as the ideomotor effect, and it means the participants are subconsciously moving the planchette and spelling out ideas and phrases they are unknowingly holding in their minds. This is also the explanation many apply to the actions of dousing rods.
Of course, those who believe in the spirit realm do not agree. Many say the Ouija is indeed a real way to contact supernatural entities.
Is the Ouija Board Dangerous?
The main complaint against the Ouija is that by using it a person voluntarily opens themselves up to spiritual energy that may not necessarily be good for them. There is a barrier between our world and the spirit realm, and using the Ouija is one way of opening the door.
They say if you communicate with positive spirits the Ouija can be a fun and enlightening activity, but when the spirit you encounter is malevolent things can get ugly in a hurry. Is this a valid concern, given that the board is essentially a toy?
Some people say yes. Even though the Ouija is really a board game, the actions and intent of the user may be what matters most and can create powerful results.
If we believe this to be true, the danger is clear. If we allow that there may be dark entities lurking somewhere that do not have our best interests in mind, we certainly don't want to invite them into our lives. Toy or not, the result could be more than we bargained for.
Of course, true spiritualists see this purely as a way of contacting the spirit realm, without any demons or dark energies figuring into it. If they are correct, there is no reason to fear the Ouija.
Addiction and Obsession
I've heard anecdotes of people who become attached to the Ouija board to the point of addiction. No longer do they use it for enjoyment, but they've become psychologically dependent on the interaction with the supposed spirit. They may even use the board alone, or in secret.
There are two ways to look at this. Firstly, there is a very strong psychological component to the experience. Real or not, it is easy to see why someone who feels otherwise alone in life may become attached to the information they believe they are receiving through the board.
Another school of thought says Ouija addiction is a clue that demons and dark spirits are beginning to take control of a person and manipulate their life. Obviously this can be the precursor to much worse events.
Safe Usage of the Ouija
Does this mean the Ouija should be avoided altogether? Not necessarily. Many users who are well aware of the dangers protect themselves with prayers and other measures to keep safe during their sessions.
The board is supposed to be a tool for communication with the spiritual realm, but you want to keep out the bad and attract the good. The key is putting up a wall and keeping that bad stuff at bay. Just as you'd never use the internet without a good antivirus program, you ought not mess with the Ouija board without protecting yourself appropriately.
Turn to your personal religious and spiritual beliefs to determine which prayers you should rely on for protection. But also be aware that many major religions frown upon meddling in the occult, yet another reason some regard the Ouija as something more dangerous than a board game.
Another explanation possibly even more exciting than ghosts in your living room is psychokinesis or telekinesis. Telekinesis is the power to manipulate physical objects with the mind, with the person sometimes unaware of their actions. Perhaps an individual or the group as a whole is moving the planchette, manipulating it without realizing what they are doing.
Telekenesis is often used as an explanation for poltergeist activity. Adolescents in particular are theorized to possess strong subconscious telekinetic powers, which cause objects to move on their own. A group of teenage girls around a Ouija board could, at least by this theory, create an abundance of psychic energy that would move the planchette.
Should You Use the Ouija Board?
So, is the Ouija real? It depends on who you ask.
There is so little we know of the spiritual realm as well as the true powers of our minds. The board could be a doorway to malevolent spiritual forces, or it could be a harmless piece of cardboard.
Your belief system will have to be your guide when determining if you feel the Ouija is safe for you. In any event, it’s probably wise to get yourself in the right frame of mind before you play the game, and maybe even take a few precautions.