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Ouija Board: Myth or Reality?

Updated on May 9, 2013

The Mysterious Board

I would assume that it is fair to say that most people have heard of a Ouija board. You may have a friend who has tried one, you may have tried one, or you may have heard about the ghostly tales that it produces. There are both critics and believers, but the odd thing about the board is that it attracts both. Some people would deny that the board has any supernatural ability whatsoever, but would still try out the board. On the other hand, there are some people who would never try the board for fear that they may attract something demonic or malevolent.

My Curiosity

I have always been fascinated with the occult. As a child, I always wanted to watch horror movies, to my mother's dismay, and try to find evidence of supernatural activity around my house. There was something about the supernatural that drew me in. I wanted to know, for myself, if there where such things as ghosts and the paranormal.

My mother had always taught us to stay away from the occult. She didn't mind that I wanted to watch horror movies or try to look for ghosts around the house. I was just a child who was innocently being exploratory. However, throughout my time growing up, she warned of the dangers involved in dabbling with the other side. I recall her telling me that she had tried a Ouija board in elementary school and that she was hearing weird noises so she stopped all together. This story fascinated me and as I matured I became more and more curious. I wanted to know if I could contact the dead. I wanted to know if I could have a supernatural experience. I had a deep curiosity but I was also very leery of it. The thought of contacting demons and paranormal entities was something that frankly scared me to death. I didn't want to get stalked by an evil force. While all of these thoughts were going through my head I also had another thought. What if all of this was a farce? Is it possible that the Ouija board messes with your subconscious mind and doesn't have any supernatural ability? These questions puzzled me.

Ideomotor Effect

One of the proposed explanations of the Ouija Board is the Ideomotor Effect. This is an effect where your subconscious mind actually causes you to move certain muscles minutely. The idea behind this effect is that when using the Ouija board, you are only expressing thoughts that are in your subconscious. The movements are so minute that you do not realize that you are moving the planchette( the device that moves during the Ouija Board session).

Is this a good explanation? It is true that there are thoughts in your subconscious that you may not be aware about. Dreaming is a good example of this. Dreams can be good indicators of emotions and thoughts that are being stored and not expressed. However, can we simply deduct that the Ouija board can be explained as nothing more than the Ideomotor Effect? Some would agree while others would not.

Supernatural Explanation

There are a lot of people who strongly believe that the Ouija Board can be a gateway into another dimension. The belief is that when trying to contact something from another realm, the Ouija board acts as a gateway. The energy that you are putting into the Ouija board, through your hands, allows communication to occur. This is why there is a strong belief that when more than one person uses the Ouija board at a time, there is a stronger "presence" felt. Along with the presence, people sometimes say that the planchette moves more quickly also.

While conducting some research on Ouija Boards, I have read dozens of accounts of people who believed that it was the Ideomotor Effect that they were experiencing. They believed this until they had an experience that they could not explain. Many people claim to have communicated with relatives and with random entities. These experiences have gone good for some people and bad for others.

Homemade Board

Around a year ago, I was close to graduating high school. One day, I got an urge to try the Ouija board. I had always been interested in it but had never tried one previously. I did not know anybody who possessed one and I did not want to buy one because I thought that I may not continue using it. I decided to make my own. Believe it or not, I actually made the board out of an old Domino's pizza box. Yes, you may be laughing right now, but it was the only thing that I could find that seemed like it would work.

I took the pizza box and ripped off the sides so that it was perfectly flat. The next step was to write the alphabet. I wrote A-Z in a curved pattern across the top of the Ouija Board. After I had done this, I wrote the numbers 0-9 in a straight line on the bottom of the board. I also wrote the words "hello" and "goodbye", because I had read that it is the polite thing to do when using the Ouija board. I guess there is such a thing as Ouija Board etiquette.

I had read online that when making your own Ouija board, you should draw some symbols on the board to make it your own. Since I am a terrible artist, I had my girlfriend draw a sun and a moon on the top corners of the board. After the board was complete, we taped a piece of plastic wrap over the board. I made sure that it was tight so that a planchette could move over it rather easily. I did not have a planchette, and since the board was made out of a pizza box, I decided to make a planchette. I simply took a soda bottle cap and taped it to a piece of cardboard. I would put my fingers on the cap and the cardboard would slide.

I know that the board was not the best made board that you could have, but it looked pretty good and I was anxious to try it out.

My Experience

The first time that I tried the Ouija board, I was with my girlfriend and my girlfriend's sister. We gathered around a table and placed the board in the center. We then placed the planchette down and wondered what to do next. I had never conducted a séance and neither had they. My girlfriend and her sister where very skeptical. I was somewhat skeptical but was pretty sure that something was going to happen.

I started by doing it alone. I placed my hands on the planchette and asked if anybody was there. My hands didn't move and I didn't feel any different. I continued to ask this question and a variety of other questions without any success. I took a break for around 10 minutes and decided to try again. This time, my hands started to move. The movement was very very slow and it seemed like it would take an eternity for my hands to get to any letter. I had asked if anyone was there and eventually my hands went to yes. Is there an explanation for this? Well of course there is. Either, something supernatural was moving my hands, or it was the ideomotor effect. We continued with the séance and eventually my girlfriend and her sister put their fingers on the planchette as well. I definitely felt more motion when more fingers were on the planchette. We continued with the séance and got weird answers to questions. There was a "spirit" who said that they had died in a fire, but other things that the spirit was saying weren't making much sense.

The day after all of this happened, I decided to have my brother try it out with me. We went through the same steps as before but this time it seemed that the planchette was moving quicker than usual. I asked for the name of the spirit, and the reply was "Zozo". I immediately stopped. I remembered reading somewhere online that Zozo is a malevolent spirit that can be found when using the Ouija board. It is supposed to be a spirit of destruction. We all stopped using the Ouija board and never used it again.

Zozo Explanation

Still to this day, I am wondering if I really did experience a short encounter with a spirit, or if it was all the ideomotor effect. I had previously known about the spirit Zozo and the danger associated with encountering it. However, my brother was using the board with me and had never heard the name Zozo before. This makes me wonder if my ideomotor effect was guiding his hands or not. It is plausible but could I have encountered a spirit named Zozo? I sometimes regret stopping the séance right when the name came up. Would continuing and questioning Zozo bring about any evidence to the workings of the board? I am not sure and I do not think that I will ever fully know.

The Month After

I would love to end this overview by saying,"Wow, what an interesting experience, I finally followed my curiosity and all ended well!" I would be lying if I said that.

The night that I got home I had an eerie feeling. That kind of feeling you get after seeing something really bad happen. I couldn't shake the feeling and I seriously did not think that it had anything to do with what had happened. My family and I were outside that night when we hear a thump inside the house. We came inside the house to find the refrigerator door wide open and my dog was in the attic. She was on the other side of the attic sniffing around and she never goes into the attic. We all were outside and none of us had gone inside to get anything out of the refrigerator.

That night we were all in the living room watching a movie. The movie was going fine until we heard a cup crash on the ground. It startled me pretty badly but it was just a broken cup. Our cups break all the time and we do not think anything of it. After this happened, my mom decided to make popcorn. We use a dinner plate as the bottom to the microwave since the bottom plate is missing. My mom started the microwave when the plate suddenly exploded inside of the microwave. I was now beginning to get afraid because all of these strange things were happening. Of course, these things could be explained in a scientific sense but I do not believe that they happened that way.

Throughout the next month I had seen two people get hit by cars and I felt like I was being stalked. Even on the brightest, most beautiful days I felt like I was walking through a dark cemetery. When I would try to sleep I would hear footsteps in the house and a couple of times I felt like something was breathing on me.

Strangely, after about a month all of this suddenly stopped. Nothing strange continued in my life and everything returned to normal. It was a very terrifying and confusing experience.

My Thoughts

After this whole experience was done with, I did a lot of thinking. Was all of this a supernatural event or had I somehow convinced myself it was? Did my mind bring me into an almost delusional state? I do not believe so.

I believe that I had contacted something evil. The events that had taken place afterwards seemed to justify this notion. Bad things were continuously happening and the presence that I felt was an evil presence.

I will not try using the Ouija board again. It was an experience that scared me and it was something that I regret doing. I am not denying that the Ideomotor effect is an actual effect. It could have been partly to blame for what was happening to the Ouija board. However, the effect does not explain what I was experiencing. I would suggest to everyone who is interested in trying the Ouija board to do so at your own risk. I believe that you can use one and never experience anything like this, whatsoever. However, there is a chance that you could have an event like the one that I had. Proceed with caution.

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      Lilian 3 years ago

      I'm surprised that's all that happened to you. I know someone very dear to me that messed with this but the consequences were not only a month, it's more like a lifetime and still going on. In my country, ouijas are not something to be taken lightly. From young to old, it's something we respect and fear. You're lucky man.

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