Blog Post

The Dark History of the Ouija Board

Most people are familiar with the story behind the movie, The Exorcist, about a little boy who became possessed by a devil after trying to reach his deceased aunt through an Ouija board. But what they don't know is that this is only one of many horror stories associated with dabblers in what was once-called the "talking board."

The board's dark history begins with the strange death of the owner of the company, American entrepreneur William Fuld in 1927. After acquiring the business from former owner, a medium named Helen Peters, who sold it because of the serious damage it caused to her family, Fuld built the company into a profitable business. Shortly thereafter Fuld began to experience his own family troubles that resulted in him cutting his brother out of the company in 1919. They never spoke again.

Eight years later, on February 24, Fuld was on the roof supervising the erection of a flagpole when a support suddenly snapped and he toppled off the building. He tried to break the fall by grabbing onto a windowsill but the window closed and he fell to the ground, breaking several ribs. He should have survived, but the vehicle hit a bump on the way to the hospital that sent a splint of cracked rib bone into his heart, killing him instantly.

That was just the beginning of a long history of violence and death associated with the board. Manly P. Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society and considered one of the leading authorities on the occult in the 20th century recalled in the October-December 1944 edition of Horizon magazine: “During the last 25 years I have had considerable personal experience with persons who have complicated their lives through dabbling with the Ouija board. Out of every hundred such cases, at least 95 are worse off for the experience. . . .I know of broken homes, estranged families, and even suicides that can be traced directly to this source.”

Exorcists unanimously agree with some going to so far as to say that 90 percent of their most difficult cases of possession started with the Ouija Board.

For example, Father Vincent Lampert, exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, reports that many people have contacted him saying, “We were playing with a Ouija board and all of a sudden our friend starting speaking in this crazy language that we didn’t understand. And strange things started happening – things moving in the house.”

Protestant pastors issue the same warnings to their flocks. In a multi-part series detailing the dangers of using the Ouija board, Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon list even more experts who warn people away from this dangerous game.

They cite the testimony of medium Carl Wickland, M.D. who referred to his own encounters with the board when he wrote of "the cases of several persons whose seemingly harmless experiences with automatic writing and the ouija board resulted in such wild insanity that commitment to asylums was necessitated."

The series also refers to the findings of psychic researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren who came upon a house where an Ouija board was being used that became “infested” with evil spirits.

Even secular authorities warn the public to stay away from the board. Consider the account of a New York City policeman named Ralph Sarchie, who is also an expert in demonology. While working in the 46th precinct in South Bronx, he investigated witches, Satanists and assisted at more than a dozen exorcisms. He claims that “innocent” board games like the Ouija board are one of the biggest dangers of the occult.

“There ought to be a law against these evil, occult `toys,'” he writes in his book, Beware the Night. “I can hear some of you out there saying, ‘Hey, I used an Ouija board and nothing happened.’ Consider yourself lucky, then. It's like playing Russian roulette. When you put the gun to your head, if you don't hear a loud noise, you made it. Same thing with the board: The more times you pull the trigger, the more likely that on the next shot, your entire world will go black.”

And yet in spite of this evidence, ouija boards are still a top selling game for children. Available in most toy stores in the game section, Milton Bradley advertises its “glow in the dark” version with the surprisingly accurate exhortation: “Evil spirits! Wake the dead! Consult the board of omens! The classic Ouija board has the answers to all questions, except the mysterious powers that determine its answers!”

Could anything this dangerous possibly be marketed as a child’s toy?

Of course! It was only after a former occultist from Canada organized a boycott that Hasbro decided to discontinue selling a pink ouija board for girls. Lest anyone think we're hitting the panic button, consider this comment left on the Toys R Us website while the board was still available. A young fan called it a "real portal to the other world" and admitted to using it to "personally summon three ghosts who were really cute and died the best."

Has our Potter-saturated society become so desensitized to the dangers of the occult that we allow our children to think this kind of thing is a game?

In spite of what people may or may not choose to believe about the ouija board, it remains a very dangerous toy, writes Catholic apologist Joel S. Peters for Catholic Answers.

“The Ouija board is far from harmless, as it is a form of divination (seeking information from supernatural sources). The fact of the matter is, the Ouija board really does work, and the only ‘spirits’ that will be contacted through it are evil ones. Just because someone regards the board as harmless doesn’t mean it is,” Peters writes.

“A disbelief in something does not necessarily mean that something isn’t real. The Ouija board has an objective reality that exists apart from a person’s perception of it. In other words, it’s real even if you don’t believe in it.”

Even though the Ouija board is disguised as a harmless child's toy, it's long and very well documented history of ruining people's lives proves otherwise.

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