Ouija boards, also known as talking boards, have been in use for hundreds, if not thousands of years in one
form or another. The most clear examples are talking boards widely used during seances during the hay day of the
Spiritualism movement during the early part of the 20th century.
In modern times Ouija boards find themselves at the heart of investigations into what are called "negative entities" or "demons". Modern folk lore points to Ouija boards as being at the beginning of most manifestations of "demons" into the lives of those foolish enough to make use of them.
Talking boards have been debunked as early as the 1970's by paranormal investigators. Investigators created their own board, randomly shuffling the letters and numbers and asked groups of psychics to ask questions of these boards while they were unable to see the letters being indicated. The answers produced during those experiments were always random orders of letters.
It is believed that the indicator of a Ouija board is moved either consciously or unconsciously by one of the operators in the group who is acting as the dominant controller of the indicator. The controller may or may not be aware that they are controlling the answer although answers that come into their head either through intuition or actual knowledge of the subject matter being asked then appears through the indicator. Operators who have read extensively may have knowledge about a subject in vast detail which they are not even aware of on a conscious level and may be tapping into that knowledge during the use of a Ouija board.
Proponents of the popular resurgence of talking boards in the 21st century claim that some of the answers given by spirits during the use of these boards are impossible to gain other than through direct knowledge of the spirit being contacted.
Some practitioners of the occult believe that talking boards create the potential for problems and attribute them as a cause for negative entities because the boards work as the focus for a summoning ritual but provide no protection for the participants and do not provide any instruction or means for banishing the entity summoned after the ritual is successful.
Wherever the truth resides in all of these claims it is clear that some users of talking boards continue to receive answers to their questions and are frightening themselves when this occurs. If you are thinking of using a talking board for fun with a group of friends, my advice is to leave well enough alone. Don't go looking into the world of the human unconscious or ghosts unless you are ready to confront whatever might be staring back at you.
-e. m. kann
Note from Mark: For more information on talking boards, visit the Talking Board Museum on-line. It is a decidedly pro-ouija site, but it has excellent sections on the History of talking boards, a wonderful Image Gallery of talking boards through-out the years, and much more...