history of the ouija board

History of the Ouija Board

History of the Ouija Board

This is a very brief and general history of the Ouija Board but you can find the detailed stories from which this is derived by checking out the links at the bottom of this page.

Apparently, back in 1886, some newspapers reported on a new “talking board” that people were using in Ohio to have spirits answer their questions. The size of the board was 18″x 20″ and on the surface of the board were all the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and the words “yes” and “no.” Also printed on the surface were the words “good evening” and “goodnight.” In order to get answers from the board, one needed to use a planchette which the spirits could use to point to the letters and spell out the answers to  questions. The board was so simple that anyone could make one with just some wood and something to draw the letters and numbers with.

In 1890, Elijah Bond teamed up with Charles Kennard and a couple of others and decided to turn the board into a game, filed a patent,  and named it the Ouija board. The patent was granted in 1891 and the group manufactured the boards through the Kennard Novelty Company.  At that time, the game sold for $1.50.

By 1893, William Fuld, who was an employee and a stockholder, was running the company. By 1919, he was the sole owner and business boomed. Fuld died in 1927 but his family still owned the business and reaped the benefits right up until 1966 when they sold it to Parker Brothers.

Within a year, Parker Brothers sold two million Ouija boards, outselling even the hugely popular game Monopoly. But, in 1991, Parker Brothers sold out to Hasbro which is now the patent holder.

Although many believe it is possible to conjure spirits or talk to the dead using the Ouija board, the planchette on the Ouija board is actually moved by the ideomotor effect. This means that either one or more of the participants is actually moving the planchette but doesn’t realize it.

When participants were blindfolded while playing, the planchette still moved, but the letters it pointed to were random and spelled nothing more than gibberish.

Still, many believe it opens doors or portals to the spirit world. They believe it is evil and is a tool of the devil.  What do you believe?

For more detailed history of the Ouija board, take a look at MentalFloss and Smithsonian Mag



*photo credit

The Original Ouija Board