The Ouija Board – Part 1

By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2003
Consumer Reports published a survey in 1994 showing the Ouija board was the second most popular game among kids from 10-14 (Monopoly was first). That is a frightening statistic, and the authors show why it should concern you.

The Ouija Board – Introduction

The December 1994 Consumer Reports published the results of a survey among 17,000 young people ages 10 to 14. They answered a query concerning what games they played with and which ones they enjoyed the most. Out of 83 games listed, Monopoly was number one and the Ouija board was number two!

The Ouija board is an alphabet board with a pointer used for various forms of divination or spirit contact. Its usage is ancient:

Precursors to the Ouija date back to ancient times. In China before the birth of Confucius (c. 551 B.C.), similar instruments were used to communicate with the dead. In Greece during the time of Pythagoras (c. 540 B.C.) divination was done with a table that moved on wheels to point to signs, which were interpreted as revelations from the “unseen world.” The rolling table was used through the nine­teenth century. Other such devices were used by the ancient Romans as early as the third century A.D., and in the thirteenth century by the Mongols. Some Native Americans used “squdilatc boards” to find missing objects and persons, and obtain spiritual information. In 1855 the planchette came into use in Europe…. The Ouija enjoyed enormous popularity during and after World War I, when many people were desperate to communicate with loved ones killed in the war and Spiritualism was in a revival. [1]

Many people have documented the occult origin of this “parlor game,” which was specifi­cally designed to contact the spirit world. Its nineteenth century development began with prominent French spiritualist, M. Planchette, in 1853, and in 1899, its patent was bought from Elijah J. Bond by William Fuld, an inventor interested in spiritism. [2] Bond, an Ameri­can, invented the Ouija board’s current form in 1892. In 1966 Fuld, often considered the modern “father” of the Ouija board, sold his patent to Parker Brothers.

Although Parker Brothers keeps sales figures confidential, the board has sold perhaps 20-25 million sets. [3] And in spite of its vast influence, few critical books have been written exposing its dangers. We could find only two. Professor Edmond Gruss’ The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult [4] is the best; it documents the ancestry of related forms, its modern history and variations, its consequences and hazards, including numerous cases of Ouija­board-related tragedies. Another text is Stoker Hunt’s Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game, [5] which contains two chapters instructing people in use of the board.

Not surprisingly, the board is often associated with mediumism, spiritism, and spirit possession; as a result, it should be considered anything but a game. Nevertheless, it continues to be marketed as a game, no doubt because of lucrative profits.

Many famous mediums began their trade by experimentation with the Ouija board, such as Mrs. Pearl Lenore Curran, who became the recipient through the board (and later via automatic writing) of the famous “Patience Worth” material. [6] In 1919, Stewart Edward White and his wife, Betty, were introduced to entities called “Invisibles,” who inspired several books including The Betty Book, and The Unobstructed Universe. Jane Roberts, fa­mous for her two-dozen “Seth” books, is another example. In all three cases, the spiritistic contacts were begun casually and were unexpected.

Dangers of Spirit Possession and Other Consequences

Even seasoned occultists and psychic researchers warn against using the Ouija board. Medium Edgar Cayce himself called it “dangerous.” [7] Edmund Gruss refers to medium Donald Page, an “exorcist” of the “Christian” Spiritualist Church, who asserts that “the majority of possession cases” result from involvement with the Ouija board. Page believes it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to become possessed. [8]

Discussing the relation of Ouija boards to automatic writing, psychic researcher Martin Ebon also alleges that possession is a frequent occurrence:

It is common that people who get into this sort of game think of themselves as having been “chosen” for a special task. The ouija board will often say so, either directly or by implication. It may speak of “tests” that the sitters must undergo to show that they are “worthy” of this otherworldly attention. I have not been able to figure out why this is so, but quite often the ouija turns vulgar, abusive or threatening. It grows demanding and hostile, and sitters may find themselves using the board or automatic writing compulsively, as if “possessed” by a spirit, or hearing voices that control and command them. This is no longer rare. I’d say it is now so frequent as to be common. [9]

The Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach, founded by medium Edgar Cayce, receives “countless letters from a great many who are having serious difficul­ties as a result of trying Ouija boards and automatic writing.” [10] Professor Gruss reveals that, “Reading several dozen letters in the A.R.E. files made it obvious that the patterns of development and entrapment were very similar: Hugh Lynn Cayce wrote that in 1956 there were 274 people who wrote to him that were in trouble because of automatic writing or ouija board use.” [11]

Psychic Alan Vaughan also points out the following: “It is significant, however, that the greatest outcry against the use of Ouijas has come from the Spiritualists not the parapsy­chologists. In England, Spiritualist groups are petitioning to ban the sale of Ouijas as toys for children—not because of vague dangers of “unhealthy effects on naive, suggestible persons”—but because they fear that the children will become possessed.” [12]

Psychic and spiritist Harold Sherman, president of ESP Research Associates Founda­tion in Little Rock, Arkansas, agrees: “The majority who have become involved with posses­sive and other entities came by this experience through the ouija board.” [13]

(to be continued)


  1. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience (San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins, 1991), p. 40.
  2. Edmund Gruss, The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1975, reprinted and expanded in 1995), pp. 24-25.
  3. Ibid., 1994 ed., pp. 25-26.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Stoker Hunt, Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game (New York: Harper & Row, 1985).
  6. See “Impersonations and Denials of Christianity” in the chapter in Channeling, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), pp. 101-106.
  7. Guiley, Encyclopedia, p. 419.
  8. Gruss, The Ouija Board, 1994 ed., p. 84.
  9. Martin Ebon, ed., The Satan Trap: Dangers of the Occult (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1776), p. IX.
  10. Gruss, The Ouija Board, p. 73
  11. Ibid, p. 67.
  12. Alan Vaughan, “Phantoms Stalked the Room…” in Ebon, The Satan Trap, p. 164.
  13. Russell Chandler, “Ouija Board Popularity Rising,” Los Angeles Times, February 17, 1974.

Read Part 2


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