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All About Spirit Boards: GOOD+BAD+BLAH

Boasting the ability to answer questions “about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy”, the now wildly popular (and often feared) Ouija made its debut in February 1891. It had even passed its patent testing as being proven to work.

The makers of the first talking board asked the board what they should call it; the name “Ouija” came through and, when they asked what that meant, the board replied, “Good luck.” -Robert Murch

While the origins of #spiritboards, on which the #Ouija concept was based, is truly unknown, what we do know is that American 19th century spiritualism spawned a market for such a device as Kennard Novelty Company's Ouija board.

Spirit boards have been known to convey some questionable and puzzling things, however. A Ouija board once told a #Chicago woman to leave her mother's deceased corpse in the living room for 15 days before burying it in the backyard. Folks have tried to use transcripts of their spirit board communications in probate court. One board told a man to join the #Army. And he did. People have trusted and relied on their spirit boards without question to the point of obedience. Which begs the question: is it safe?

Since the movie #TheExorcist hit theatres, it has been suspected that these devices are used by sinister forces to enter the lives, and even the corporeal bodies, of those who risk engaging with them. Parents fear their thrill-seeking children will get caught up with harmful beings from another realm without asking themselves why their children are inclined to feel that a spirit board is thrilling. Is the danger or the possibilities? Does the right mindset set the tone for the spirit board session? I'd be willing to guess yes, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Positive spirit board sessions do take place, like in the case of Reddit user, Lopsided-Koala, who once casually asked their Ouija board if their grandmother was alive. Its response was affirmative, and went as far as to spell out what was misinterpreted as the grandmother's current street of residence but was in fact found to be the town name. Close enough, I say.

A reader who wishes to remain anonymous has a rather curious but ultimately lukewarm spirit board issue to share. "I have purchased or otherwise come into possession of 8 different spirit boards over the course of 5 years and cannot get through to but one particular spirit, who only gives one-word or too simplistic answers, if they decide to answer the question at all! It's so frustrating."

We seldom hear about how often the spirit board does nothing but disappoint users by being unresponsive or when the communication is neither positive nor negative because those instances simply aren't interesting. Those instances are the majority, however, but bad news travels fast. And there have most certainly been many instances of making contact with a negative entity or spirit. Is this avoidable? Are they already there or do we inadvertently summon them to us? I don't claim to understand how travel works in the spirit realm but I will leave you with one of my many personal strange and true accounts...

When I was in high school, my friend and I played with a makeshift spirit board during English class late one morning, as weird kids do. Upon requesting the identity of the spirit, the board answered, "Jeffrey #Dahmer", and we giggled because it was ridiculous. That was November 28, 1994, and we had no way of knowing that Dahmer had passed away by 8:10 A.M. that morning.

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