Does the Ouija Board Work?
The Ouija produces results at least sometimes. And, as many a confused newbie can attest, those results can be pretty impressive. Spirit activity is one explanation, but of course, there are others.
While it’s true that some sessions consist of one wise guy moving the planchette 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.
We know this 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 dowsing rods.
Another explanation 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 is moving the planchette, manipulating it without realizing what they are doing.
We often used telekinesis 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 an Ouija board could, at least by this theory, create an abundance of psychic energy that would move the planchette.
HIstory of the Ouija
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 a 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 it is now, it was marketed as a parlor game.
Ouija Board Uses
What's the point of the Ouija board? Here are 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.
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.
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 to 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.
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
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Tell your story here!
Lizabeth on June 26, 2019:
Spirit boards are very real. They are a tool and not a toy. If you are not acquainted with using spirit boards, you can open yourself ignorantly to something you will never be fully prepared for. I have seen and witnessed very real cause and effects from ignorant use. I am not saying using a board is bad. i am a HSP, and I do not think I will touch one again. They are very real.
unknown_person on February 15, 2018:
One night, when I was at a friend's house, we played with the Ouija board...something frightening happened. We placed two fingers on the chip and my friend, Moriah, asked,"Are you with us?" and the chip moved to "yes". I thought she moved it and was trying to scare me, but the lights all turned off at once and we heard a little girl giggle. I know it wasn't Moriah because she was cuddled beside me as soon as the lights turned off. Her parents were gone and the lightswitch was across the room. What do you think it was?
Gemma Reece-Holloway from Ludlow, Shropshire. on November 13, 2014:
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 (author) from USA on October 22, 2014:
Amazing story, Pam! Thanks for sharing. I like to think there are some good spirits watching out for us too!
Pam Zurcher on October 21, 2014:
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 from Northeast United States on August 03, 2014:
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 (author) from USA on September 20, 2012:
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 from UK on September 20, 2012:
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.
Pamela Hutson from Moonlight Maine on September 19, 2012:
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 (author) from USA on September 19, 2012:
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.
Pamela Hutson from Moonlight Maine on September 18, 2012:
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 (author) from USA on September 13, 2012:
Thanks manthy! I too feel there is enough potential danger to be very cautious.
Mark from Alabama,USA on September 13, 2012:
Voted up & interesting, I say the Ouija is dangerous.. leave it alone
Pamela-anne from Miller Lake on June 29, 2012:
Thanks cryptid for answering my question have a great weekend celebrating Canada Day! take care pam.
cryptid (author) from USA on June 29, 2012:
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 from Miller Lake on June 28, 2012:
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 (author) from USA on June 27, 2012:
Thanks for reading everyone. efeyas, that's a wild story! Freaky indeed!
Jenn from Pennsylvania on June 27, 2012:
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.
Elizabeth from Some Sunny Beach, USA on June 27, 2012:
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!
MakJoSi on June 27, 2012:
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