How Did the Ouija Board Get a Bad Rap?

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The return of the Ouija film series with Ouija: Origin of Evil has successfully reminded us of how dark things have gotten for those fun ouija boards that kids used to break out at sleep overs. In fact, ouija boards began as a tool of Spiritualism before becoming a fun game and were eventually rebranded as a terrifying way for ghosts to speak to us non-dead folks.

According to The Conversation, the ouija board “developed out of Spiritualism, a 19th-century movement known for its optimistic views about the future and the afterlife.” Spiritualism is the belief that that spirits can and do communicate with the living. So naturally, the ouija board is a great tool to have as your connection to the spirit world. Spiritualism used “mediums” to speak to the spirit world mostly as a way to comfort those who had recently lost loved ones. Prior to using the ouija board, they used tactics such as “spirit rappings” and “automatic writing” to communicate.

So how are ouija boards supposed to work? The board has the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and the words “yes” and “no” written on it. Those who wish to use the board place their hands on a small piece of wood called a planchette, which moves around the board to spell words.

As the practice of Spiritualism began to decline, the ouija board became a popular parlor game instead. In 1960, the ouija board even outsold the popular game of Monopoly. But then in the 1970s, both the novel and film The Exorcist gave ouija boards a more sinister use and cemented their association with darkness and the demonic. That dark association ultimately continues today as new films featuring the ouija board are released.

Make sure to check out Ouija: Origin of Evil to get your ouija board fix!

What do you think about ouija boards? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: Indi Samarajiva | Flickr

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