Tag Archives | ouija boards

Books Dictated From Beyond The Grave

books

Via Mental Floss, literary works that came to us from the other side:

  • The Sorry Tale (Pearl Lenore Curran and Patience Worth). Starting in the early 1910s, Pearl Lenore Curran and her friend Emily Grant Hutchings worked the Ouija board together twice a week. On July 8, 1913, Patience Worth made her presence known. According to the frantic spelling across the Ouija board, Patience was born in either 1649 or 1694 “across the sea” and was killed in an Indian raid. When really inspired, the Patience-Pearl duo could spell out about 1500 words an hour, which is how she came to be the author of books including The Sorry Tale and Hope Trueblood.
  • God Bless U, Daughter (Mildred Swanson and Mark Twain). Unwilling to let his deceased status slow him down, Samuel Clemens allegedly contacted Mildred Swanson of Independence, Missouri. In the late 1960s, Swanson wrote a book called God Bless U, Daughter, a diary of her planchette conversations with Clemens.
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The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

Original_ouija_boardThe last time we posted a story about ouija boards (How Ouija Boards Work) our commenters had some nasty back and forth. I’m sure you’ll be civil this time, right? From Smithsonian.com:

In February, 1891, the first few advertisements started appearing in papers: “Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board,” boomed a Pittsburgh toy and novelty shop, describing a magical device that answered questions “about the past, present and future with marvelous accuracy” and promised “never-failing amusement and recreation for all the classes,” a link “between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial.” Another advertisement in a New York newspaper declared it “interesting and mysterious” and testified, “Proven at Patent Office before it was allowed. Price, $1.50.”

This mysterious talking board was basically what’s sold in board game aisles today: A flat board with the letters of the alphabet arrayed in two semi-circles above the numbers 0 through 9; the words “yes” and “no” in the uppermost corners, “goodbye” at the bottom; accompanied by a “planchette,” a teardrop-shaped device, usually with a small window in the body, used to maneuver about the board.

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How Ouija Boards Work

English_ouija_boardApparently determined to ruin the late night fun of stoned teenagers everywhere, BBC Future says ouija boards have nothing to do with departed souls:

The mystery isn’t a connection to the spirit world, but why we can make movements and yet not realise that we’re making them.

Ouija board cups and dowsing wands – just two examples of mystical items that seem to move of their own accord, when they are really being moved by the people holding them. The only mystery is not one of a connection to the spirit world, but of why we can make movements and yet not realise that we’re making them.

The phenomenon is called the ideomotor effect and you can witness it yourself if you hang a small weight like a button or a ring from a string (ideally more than a foot long). Hold the end of the string with your arm out in front of you, so the weight hangs down freely.

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Ouija Boards Give Voice To The Unconscious

New Scientist on how the occult device allows people to provide information they didn’t know they knew:

Believers think [Ouija board answers] come through from the spirit world. In fact, evidence points to the cause being the ideomotor effect, small muscle movements we generate unconsciously.

Take driving your car along a familiar route while planning your day. On arrival, you realise you were not in conscious control of the car, it was your “inner zombie”, said Hélène Gauchou at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness conference in Brighton, UK, this week. “How can we communicate with that unconscious intelligence?”

Gauchou’s team’s approach is to turn to the Ouija board. They asked subjects to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to general knowledge questions using the Ouija board, and also asked them to answer the same questions using the more orthodox method of typing on a computer. Participants were also asked whether they knew the answer or were just guessing.

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Texas Teen Says Ouija Board Commanded Him To Attempt Murder

demdike-stare-forest-of-evilThe Daily Mail journeys to the dark side:

A teenager charged in the stabbing of his 14-year-old friend told police a Ouija board made him do it.

[He] was charged with attempted murder after stabbing his friend with a 4-inch knife on February 29. He pulled the weapon on the friend in a wooded area behind a high school in Weslaco, a small town along the U.S-Mexico border at the southern tip of Texas.

The victim was treated in intensive care for three days for a severe cut to his intestine, Weslaco police spokesman J.P. Rodriguez said. He added that the alleged assailant has no history of mental problems or criminal behavior.

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