The Ouija board is now a registered trademark of the toy manufacturer Hasbro. It is marketed to children as a fun toy and is a favourite of many teen slumber party attendees, but the board has been around for centuries, and once had a much more terrifying, occult, reputation than it appears to have today.
The name ‘Ouija’ is taken from the German words for ‘yes’and ‘no.’ These two words are featured on the board and spirits are most commonly asked yes or no questions when in contact with Ouija users.
Although no one knows exactly when the Ouija board was first invented, there are those who say it goes back as far as 500 AD. There is even a mention of the occultist Ouija board in historical documents from the Chinese Empire in 1100 AD, so it is clear that it is an ancient tool, which has been used extensively all over the world. Before the Ouija, there was automatic writing, which was a method used to contact spirits. This method involved holding a writing implement in the hands and channelling spirits who would cause the pen to write messages through the person involved, without them having any idea of the information being recorded. This practice was widely participated in everywhere from China to Greece and even Medieval England. The Ouija board was the natural successor to this primitive form of divination and spirit channelling.
The board was first patented by the Kennard Novelty comp[any, and its owner Charles Kennard is one of the contenders for inventing the board in its modern form, along with Elijah Bond, whose name is stated in the patent documents. The patent was acquired in 1891 and the boards were sold for a $1.50. They were often referred to as Egyptian Luck boards, as well as, the, now bore common, Ouija board.
A mere year after he patented the Ouija board, Charles Kennard got out of the talking board business and William Fuld, the man most often associated with the Ouija board, took over the company. His name appeared on every Ouija board that was made in the century following his takeover – until the Parker Brothers took over Ouija board production after Fuld’s family gave up the business during the depression of 1966.
Today, the boards are still manufactured by the Parker Brothers, but they are a pale comparison of the old Ouija boards which were expertly carved in wood. They are now made from cheap cardboard and are not at all appealing to the serious occultist. However, a number of craftsmen have taken to producing their own talking boards, which means you can still find quality boards for serious demon summoning, if that’s your bag.
Apparently, a number of people all over the world have come into contact with a demon named ZoZo, whilst playing with their Ouija boards. According to some researchers, mentions of ZoZo go back as far as the 1800s and accounts are still coming in thick and fast over the internet. There is even a movie being made about the famous Ouija entity. ZoZo is said to latch on to the people who unwittingly summon him and is fond of playing tricks and scaring those who dare to use the Ouija.
Ouija Board Stories
Shock-rocker Alice Cooper claims that he got his name from a Ouija board. Whilst consulting the Ouija, a spirit told him that he was, in fact, the reincarnation of a witch who had lived in the 17th Century. Her name was Alice Cooper.
Pearl Curran was a famous author in the early days of the 20th century. She claimed that her books were dictated to her through the Ouija board. She claimed that a spirit by the name of patience worth was the co-author of all of her novels and poems. Patience, it is claimed, even warned Pearl of her imminent death. The spooky duo, due in large part to the novelty of a spirit author, did very well out of their partnership before pearl’s death in 1937.
A year after L. Frank Baum died, Robert and Virginia Wuachope, aged 9 and 13, wrote a new Oz book. They claimed they were given instruction to do so via a Ouija board. Some have speculated that the author came through from the spirit world in order to write one last instalment of his fantastic Oz series, but readers of ‘Invisible Inzi’ have noted it is a pretty bad book and doubt he had any hand in it, from beyond the grave or not.
In 1920, a number of people in the Californian town of El Cerrito were apparently driven to the brink of insanity by the Ouija board. Seven residents were arrested by police, after using a talking board, upon which they were found naked and hysterical in the streets. A town meeting was quickly held, mental health professionals brought in and the Ouija board promptly banned.
A 15 year old girl and her mother were convicted of her father’s murder after a Ouija board told her to kill him. Mattie Tyler and her mother Dorothea were convicted of committing homicide with a shotgun. On the stand, Mattie claimed that she killed her father after playing with her mother’s Ouija board. She said the board told her to commit the brutal murder, but the judge, of course, did not believe this claim, making it clear he thought the murder was committed so the pair could cash in a life insurance policy. Mattie was sent to reform school where she stayed until the age of 21 and Dorothea was imprisoned, however, her sentence was overturned after just 3 years.
Bill Wilson, the founder of alcoholics Anonymous was an avid user of the Ouija board. His home had its own ‘spook room’ where he would spend hours apparently communing with spirits of a more sobering kind. He claimed the spirits helped him to beat his alcoholism and that he was in contact with a 15th century monk by the name of Boniface. He even credits the wisdom of the Ouija with helping him come up with the 12 step program.