The 90s Toys & Games

Ouija Board

The Ouija Board also known as a spirit board or talking board is a flat spiritual board with marking of the alphabet, the numbers 0-9, and the words “hello” and “goodbye” printed in various positions on it. The first introduction to of the board was by businessman Elijah Bond in 1890 as a harmless parlor game having no relation to any cult matter. Mainstream religions and occultists began to associate the Ouija board with ideas of demonic possession, viewing the board as a spiritual portal between our world and the afterlife. After heavy criticism by Christians and the scientific community deeming it “demonic”, it became well known in a negative connotation as being a “spiritual” threat.

Gameplay of the board begins when a participant puts their finger on a small heart shaped piece of wood known as a “plancette” that moves in various positions on the board spelling out the spirits message. Since the beginning of their popularity Ouija boards have been criticized by the press being described as a conning tool to trick people out of their money. Scientists recreated the effects of the Ouija board in a lab proving that under laboratory conditions subjects are prone to moving the planchette involuntarily.

Through out history Ouija boards have been used as inspirations for various notable people. William Butler Yates poetry was inspired by occultism of the Ouija board however Yates and his wife never actually used the board themselves. Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said that a ghost of deceased Italian politician Giorgio La Pira contacted him through the board spelling out the name of the street fellow politician Aldo Moro was being imprisoned on by the Red Brigades.

In present day the Ouija board is sold as a “toy” of sorts having many copies being made since the original in the 1920’s. In 1991 Hasbro acquired rights to one version of the board, they continue to distribute the ten different versions of the board today.

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