O is for Ouija

Ouija Board [Game]The Ouija Board (also known as a Spirit Board or Talking Board) has it's roots in spirit writing, when the medium and spiritual craze heated up in the late 19th and early 20th century. The planchette originally had two rolling casters and a pencil for a tip, which could be used to inscribe messages by the dead (or a crafty medium). The messages were too long and laborious to write, and sometimes were difficult to read. In other words, they were a crowd killer, and soon the practice of using the planchette this way was dropped in favor of the medium directly channeling the spirit in question.

While there were a few complicated dial based contraptions for contacting the spirits, they were expensive and over-engineered. When someone had the admittedly brilliant idea to put the alphabet on the board and have the planchette point to the letter in question, it was an idea that was both marketable and accessible. While it was generally accepted that anybody could make their own alphabet board, planchettes of all varieties were sold to anybody willing to buy.

You can make your own Ouija board, using a large sheet of paper with the alphabet written on it (adding common phrases for politeness and ease). A glass tumbler of the correct size will work as a planchette, so long as it can be touched by all parties involved and slides easily across the surface of the paper. Parchment or wax paper have very little drag and can be found in most kitchens.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Conversations with Dead People BoardThe Ouija board mechanics are simple- everyone places a finger on the planchette, and they ask an agreed upon question. Some groups will do incantations or other exercises first in order to prevent any nasty activity or the wrong entity from 'coming through' on the Ouija board, but mostly people dive right into it. Someone is generally the secretary, and records the questions and the responses, remaining only an observer. Sometimes nothing happens, but there are some hair raising stories about what happens when the spirits get really motivated to answer.

Be careful, though, you never know who might want to talk!


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