By Rick Hinton
The Ouija board has tapped into a weird vein of American culture, and suffice to say, has its critics. People want to believe … need to believe … that there’s a big mysterious world out there and this is yet one way to venture into it. But, is it safe? Churches believe it is not. Most paranormal investigators won’t mess with it. On the flip side, there are some that do and have no reservations. While there have been those throughout the years who suspected it was more than just a board game for children, it was the 1970s movie The Exorcist that put a new spin on it, and a time of innocent yuks ended. The rules drastically changed!
In the movie, 12-year-old Regan dabbled with the board resulting in demonic possession. She effectively did it to herself. The movie changed the public’s perception of the “harmless” board game and the clergy ran with the ball. Literally overnight, the Ouija board became a tool of the devil! And a medium of pop culture continuing to this day, making fruitful appearances on television and cinema. Ouija has become a “spooky” enterprise, far surpassing spiritual overtones of days past when the spiritual movement swept the country. Apparently, we can’t get enough in our pursuit of exploring the dark side.
A tool of dark forces? It could be. …
Scientists and psychologists are of the opinion that Ouija boards are not, nor ever been, powered by spirits or demons, but in fact by the user. Even when we swear we are not moving the planchette, we actually are. It’s something called non-conscious movement or ideomotor response (thoughts or mental images bringing a muscular reaction – unconscious involuntary movements as a product of the subconscious mind – and often outside the awareness of the Ouija user). This is a prime factor of hypnosis sessions.
So …we might just involuntarily be producing on the board what we want to hear? It’s possible. …
I believe a little of all of the above. However, I also err on the side of caution. Whether it is a séance or the Ouija board, it’s summoning (inviting something in). You might not like what shows up! People often ask – “Well, isn’t asking questions with an audio recorder the same thing as a séance or Ouija board? You’re still communicating with spirits.” I don’t feel they are; communicating – yes, bringing something in – no. By the time we’re using audio recorders, they’re already here. We’re just trying to find out whom. Playing with a Ouija board might give one the impression they are hosting one thing, but it might turn out to be something else altogether. It’s best not to play if you don’t want to pay. Ouija boards are still available in stores in the gaming aisle. They are popular Christmas gifts. They can be a gift that keeps on giving. If a store doesn’t have them in inventory, they will most likely be available for purchase online.
My mother-in-law Jennifer Norris, as was my wife, Laura, became exposed to a haunted house in an Indianapolis inner-city neighborhood many years ago. It was a family residence. The house still stands. They have their own memories of how a series of séances and the Ouija board changed the fabric of this house, and as a consequence, their lives.
But that’s another story. …