I was always told that the Ouija Board is a dangerous tool for speaking with the dead and it was a gateway into the demonic realm. I remember hearing stories from my cousin about how he played with an Ouija Board and started having visions during his sessions of his room on fire and furniture moving on its own. I heard stories in youth group about how people would throw their boards in a fire after having demonic experiences and the boards would start hissing and spitting out flames in an unnatural way. I’d listen to Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM show late at night on the radio and hear callers talk about their scary experiences with the Ouija Board. Even some of my non-Christian friends had bad stories. Hearing all these stories from different people it always seemed like the Ouija Board may actually have some power to it.
The first experience I personally had with an Ouija Board was really late at night at a friend’s house with a couple other friends a decade ago. We were all in our early-20s. My friend pulled out an Ouija Board, turned out the lights and put on a Robert Johnson record just for atmosphere. My friend’s were skeptical and were only trying it out for fun. I was a little more superstitious and decided to stand back and observe. They put their fingers over the planchette and started asking questions. The planchette seemed to move on its own as the spirit answered. Within 10 mins of their conversation with the spirit a cat started screaming outside the bedroom window and it freaked all of us out. They put the board back in its box and laughed. My friends took it as a funny coincidence but I thought a spirit spooked the cat. It was too much for me to blame on a coincidence. During my Charismatic Christian phase I would use this story as personal proof that there is a realm outside the experience of our own senses.
When I started questioning my Christian faith, I began looking into what Christians believed to be the darker sides of spirituality. I wanted to know if there were any other spiritual reality outside of the Christian belief in demons and angels. Inside and outside of Christianity it always seemed people had more experiences with evil spirits and ghosts than they did with angels and God. I suppose it’s because fear is a strong emotion that can make people exaggerate what they see and believe anything. I went through a short period looking more into occult practices and spirituality to see if I could learn something about the spiritual realm outside of Christianity.
It didn’t take long to see through the occult and New Age. I’ve experimented with the Ouija Board and most of the time it would answer with random letters and numbers. It wasn’t enough to convince me that there was actually a ghost or demon moving the planchette. By this time I was looking into a more psychological answer to my wonder about these Oujia Board experiences and found the ideomotor phenomenon. Like my spiritual Christian experience I found that there was a more natural answer to my questions than supernatural.
My last attempt at looking for a supernatural explanation of the Ouija Board I went to a seance in a supposedly haunted bar a few blocks from my house. Even with a medium on site asking the questions the answers were always still random letters leaving us to guess what the spirit may be saying. It wasn’t until she supposedly went into a trance and started conjuring up the spirits through her body and changing her voice that we started getting answers from whatever spirit was there. And I still wasn’t convinced. I couldn’t help but feel that everyone around me was being tricked into thinking something supernatural was really happening just like what I experienced in church. I gave the medium a $20 tip for the entertainment anyway.
Interesting article explaining the psychology behind Ouija Boards:
Science Explains Ouija Boards, Retroactively Ruins 1,000 Sleepovers