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Does the Ouija Board Really Work?

Updated on October 3, 2017
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With interests in science, nature, and the paranormal, cryptid explores fringe topics from a unique and sometimes controversial perspective.

Is the Ouija board a real way to communicate with the spirit world? Could it be dangerous?
Is the Ouija board a real way to communicate with the spirit world? Could it be dangerous? | Source

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.

Uses

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.

Some believe spirits walk among us and may be contacted through the Ouija.
Some believe spirits walk among us and may be contacted through the Ouija. | Source

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.

Does the use of the Ouija open the door to demonic forces?
Does the use of the Ouija open the door to demonic forces? | Source

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.

Other Explanations

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.

Your Ouija Experience

Have you ever tried the Ouija board?

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    • Gemmsky LM profile image

      Gemma Reece-Holloway 2 years ago from Ludlow, Shropshire.

      I won't have one in the house, but find the subject fascinating! Love Pam's story - a positive one for a change.

      Great hub :)

    • cryptid profile image
      Author

      cryptid 2 years ago from Earth

      Amazing story, Pam! Thanks for sharing. I like to think there are some good spirits watching out for us too!

    • Pam Zurcher profile image

      Pam Zurcher 3 years ago

      I have good reason to think a helpful spirit spoke to me and I'm not afraid of the Ouija board. I'm 61 years old. When I was a young teenager, 12 to maybe 14 years old, my sister, my cousin and I were playing with one and I asked the question who will I love. The answer was Ricky, Lonny, Adrian, and Billy.... I didn't know any of them then. Ricky was my first husband, Lonny was a great friend, Adrian was my foster child for a short time and Billy is my current husband.

      Thank you for the good hub:)

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 3 years ago from Northeast United States

      Very interesting hub :) personally I won't touch the thing and will never partake in it. My mother had used it with some friends when she was a kid and freaky things happened. I just don't want to open that door. Thank you for writing this interesting hub.

    • cryptid profile image
      Author

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      That's definitely the logical take on it, Rain Defense. Seems like in some cases that's almost definitely happening, but on the other hand there are cases where people say the thing moved by itself.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 5 years ago from UK

      The pointer is just controlled by the people touching it even though they don't realise it. The more they start to spell out the word they want to spell, the more definite and faster the movement toward the letters get.

      It is still potentially dangerous, if the weak minded use it and think they are being contacted by spirits, this could lead to distress, but a bit of research would settle their minds.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      I think about that too! I don't actually use a Ouija board for that reason. In fact, sometimes I wonder about all of it. That's what the Church says--that all of it is demonic lies. But then the Church isn't looking so good itself these days. And I feel pretty sure that not all of my experiences were demonic lies.

      I guess I just have to trust my gut and my own faith and call on that. It's sure nothing to muck around in though. :)

    • cryptid profile image
      Author

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      I think you're right, CR. The thing that freaks me out is that you never know what or who you are talking to. Even it if seems like a nice spirit, it could be something worse pretending.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      I think people get in trouble with it because most people don't have a very balanced attitude toward spirits and paranormal stuff. Either they take it all way too seriously and get obsessed with it (bad), or they fool around like it's a big joke (also bad).

      It's kind of like this: You go to a bar. Do you invite every creep who saya 'hey' to sit down and talk and then ask that weirdo a bunch of smack silly questions while giggling? No that would be nuts and kind of dangerous. Same thing. Great hub cryptid. :)

    • cryptid profile image
      Author

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      Thanks manthy! I too feel there is enough potential danger to be very cautious.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 5 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Voted up & interesting, I say the Ouija is dangerous.. leave it alone

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Thanks cryptid for answering my question have a great weekend celebrating Canada Day! take care pam.

    • cryptid profile image
      Author

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      Thanks Pam. That's a great story! People protect themselves with prayers and other rituals, depending on their beliefs. Of course this is all unknown, but they believe it gives them a shield from anything that might harm them.

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 5 years ago from Miller Lake

      Interesting hub I remember using a Ouija board with a few friends and the power of the piece we had our fingertips on got so crazy that it flew right of the board. What would you have to do to protect yourself against evil spirits if using one? take care pam.

    • cryptid profile image
      Author

      cryptid 5 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for reading everyone. efeyas, that's a wild story! Freaky indeed!

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      Very interesting hub. I have never played with a Ouija board and have mixed feelings about it. As curious as I am to try it out, I also have the 'what if' thing at the back of my mind as well.

    • efeyas profile image

      efeyas 5 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      I remember having a Ouija board experience some years back on a high school overnight trip. Upon entering the hotel room across from mine, several kids were playing the Ouija, only the planchette was basically moving on its own (one finger tip was set upon it only). The pointed part of the planchette was traveling the parameter of the square table while the other end was hanging off the edge of the table (it was moving quickly). Quite freaky to say the least!

    • profile image

      MakJoSi 5 years ago

      Cool post~ There is a Chinese version as well and it is packed with 5000 Chinese characters, haha! I guess people just so wanted to get some answers. Actually I had heard people die from these things too while they are also doing prayers, doesn't work. It depends how intense you go too. If you just buy a toy, of course nothing can happen, but if you combine that with wicca and other magic form, then it is pretty messy... good luck! XDDDD