How Ouija Boards Work
Ouija boards have a long history, but have only become an established household name over the past few decades owing mainly to their presence in horror films such as The Exorcist (1973) and Paranormal Activity (2007). There’s something about the suspense of who or what is going to appear and what they have to say that audiences love. More often than not in such films, the spirit that communicates with the players is demonic and their intentions less than friendly. Could this be a contributing factor to the general public’s perception of ouija boards? Which can range from one of extreme caution and fear, to mischievous glee, to serious business…But it’s important to not forget the purposeful use of ouija boards, which have been used for centuries as a means of contacting people on the other side.
What is an ouija board?
Much like the origins of the tarot card, the ouija board, also known as a talking board or spirit board, is essentially a game. A board game. A bit of an extreme board game, you might think… But if toy and game company Hasbro can sell their own version, with the box suggesting that players aged eight and above can play, how menacing can it really be?
The WICCSTAR Ouija board below is very popular choice. Click the image or link to view it on your local Amazon store. It even comes with detailed step by step instructions.
In line with tarot cards and astrological guidance such as birth chart reports, ouija boards not only help us contact the spirit world, but also act in a fortune telling capacity. You can learn more about how ouija boards work and the history of them in my article The History of the Ouija Board.
An ouija board consists of very few pieces: a board (often wooden but inexpensive varieties might come in board game style card), and a planchette (a heart-shaped movable piece, often with a hole in the middle, which looks a bit like an enlarged guitar plectrum). Other than yourselves, this is all you need to make an ouija board work! On the board contains the alphabet, the numbers 0-9 and a few key words such as yes, no and goodbye. Rules state that you should always move the planchette to ‘goodbye’ to close off the line of communication.
How to use the Ouija Board
Let’s take a look at how ouija boards work. Whether using the board for fun or spiritual reasons, another rule of the game is to never play alone. With one or more others, you each place the fingers of both hands onto the planchette. This makes it a social experience, and ensuring you don’t use the board alone keeps affairs safe and fun! Most people like to create a focused atmosphere by using it in the evening, turning down the lights and lighting a candle. Most ouija board packs available include a set of instructions. It’s important to follow them and keep a level of respect at all times for the game and whoever you are contacting. Experienced users advise to meditate before using the board, as well saying an opening and closing ritualistic prayer, but it depends how seriously you are taking the séance.
Have two clear things in mind when using the ouija board: who do you want to contact, and what do you want to ask? When questioning the spirit world, answers may not come immediately, so be patient. The board needs time to warm up! Start with questions that require simple yes/no answers. After a few of those, you might like to then move on to open questions. Have a pen and paper ready to help spell out what answers are being given. The planchette will then begin to move to the words, letters or numbers on the board… the talking has begun! Don’t forget, when closing the session, thank the spirit, use the planchette to say goodbye and remove it from the board. It doesn’t hurt to do this even if the mood has been more of game with conscious answers.
Contact with the Spiritual Realm?
Now this is where opinions differ. How is the planchette moving? Are the movements unconscious or conscious? Made by the spirit or the player(s)? Perhaps it depends on who is taking part at the time. Play with a joker and it’s pretty likely they’ll fool around, very carefully moving the planchette to answers of their choosing. Another explanation in a well-meaning psychological scenario is a mix of the unconscious mind and involuntary muscle spasms, called the ideomotor phenomenon. Others purport that people experience what they want to experience, or want others to experience. Some guesswork and instinct will move the planchette to say things that we think could come next. In other circumstances, we may indeed find ourselves at the hands of those we have made contact with. The other side. The spiritual realm.
Not everything in this world has to be explainable in order for it to be true. As we don’t know with 100 per cent certainty how ouija boards work and where the answers have come from, we have a variety of explanations to choose from that will no doubt depend upon your existing beliefs surrounding other similar concepts. Is the house haunted? Is the mind of one of the people using the ouija board haunted? Is somebody using the talking board highly intuitive and able to connect with their sixth sense much easier than others? Or is the board so effective in its purpose that anyone can use it with success?
So now you know the basics of how ouija boards work, it’s time to get started! Head over to Amazon and take a look at your options.