Origins of the Ouija Board

Ouija Boards: Exploring the Scary Tales Surrounding This Tool of the Occult


Talking boards, spirit boards, Ouija boards—whatever you want to call them—are a popular tool that has captivated people for decades. It is believed to be a medium between the land of the living and the dead. As its popularity becomes wider, the board has started a large debate between skeptics and hard believers. So can the Ouija board really serve as a bridge between our world and the realm of spirits? Or is the crippling fear that goes along with the Ouija board experience nothing but the darkness that lies in our own subconscious?

Today, you are about to explore more about this curious wooden board. From its early beginnings to terrifyingly true tales about haunted talking boards, dive into the mysteries of the occult by reading all about the ouija board below.

The Early Origins of the Ouija Board

Spirits boards have been around since the time spiritualism movement grew in popularity during the nineteenth century. Various mediums were constantly looking for ways to employ various means of communication with the dead, especially since this was the time that followed the brutal American Civil War that left many dead. Though the actual Ouija board would not hit store shelves until 1890, the use of spirit boards became widespread over various areas like Ohio, with many individuals hoping to come in contact with their lost relatives.

Ouija boards were first released by Kennard Novelty Company in the late 1800s. Businessman Elijah Bond patented an idea similar to the existing talking board. He employed his friend William Fuld to take over the board’s production process. In the end, Fuld used the term “Ouija” after learning that it was the Old Egyptian word for “good luck.” Ironically, Bond and Fuld’s Ouija boards brought everything but good luck to anyone who dared to dabble with it.

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Ouija Boards

How Ouija boards work

Ouija boards have a flat, wooden surface with letters A to Z, numbers 0 to 9, and a symbol of a Sun and a Moon or the words Yes and No. The movable indicator (or planchette) is believed to be capable of answering any question the medium asks. It is then guided by the spirit the group contacts to different symbols engraved on the Ouija board.

Modern Ouija boards now come with a set of warnings for would-be users. Below are a few examples:

  • Do not use the board alone. Aside from being extremely dangerous, experts believe that channeling psychic energy is more powerful when done with a group.
  • Never use the Ouija board when mentally weak (depressed, anxious, upset, etc.). It is said that spirits feed off negative energy; therefore, a weakened state of mind may invite an unwanted demon into your life.
  • Stop the session when the planchette goes over the number 8 or makes a figure 8. According to popular belief, when the planchette makes a figure 8 or heads to the number 8, it indicates that a spirit has taken hold of the board.
  • Z-A-Z-A or Z-O-Z-O. If the board introduces itself as the demon Zaza or Zozo, this could mean a great deal of trouble for the users. Zaza and Zozo are believed to be demons that bring evil to a home.
  • A tumbling planchette could mean trouble.  A spirit is known to get loose once a planchette falls.
  • Stop the session when the planchette goes to all four corners of the Ouija board. When a planchette travels on its own toward the four corners of the board, this means that the group has come in contact with an evil spirit.

Real-life Ouija board stories

This is a collection of stories from people who claim to have encountered spirits during a session with the Ouija board.

The story of a young boy named Eric, as told by medium J. David:

“I was called to a home where a young boy had been playing with the board. I cleansed and cleaned and said prayers throughout the home and felt confident that I had removed any negative entities that may have come through the board. I couldn’t be sure, however, because I didn’t feel a specific presence in the house, only a peripheral heavy darkness that I couldn’t pinpoint. During my follow-up visits, I observed a very drunk father and assumed the area of blackness belonged to him and his addiction. After interviewing the young boy, he didn’t offer me very much information regarding his interaction with the board other than the name of the demon was Lucifer and that it would repeat the words ‘upside down.’

Mystic Hand

“A week or so passed and I received a frantic call from the young boy’s mother. She asked me to visit them immediately as there had been some frightening activity. I quickly arrived to find the boy locked inside his bedroom. The father was slurring threats through the door while the wife cried behind him. I asked if I could have a moment alone. The boy’s parents removed themselves from the hallway and left me alone outside the bedroom door. As if he knew, the boy opened the door. He looked at me through tears and said, ‘Upside down,’ and then turned his gaze toward the window. I entered his bedroom and walked toward the window. The room was cold and smelled of two-day-old garbage. I looked out of his window and into the backyard to see his mother now standing and sobbing uncontrollably next to the family dog who had been buried, head to stomach on the ground. With his hind end and tail in the air, he had been placed into the earth, upside down.”

“I Can See Through Your Window,” an Ouija board experience shared by Reddit user no_springs:

“I was about 12 or 13 spending the night at a friend’s house, goofing around with the Ouija board with him and his sister. We were getting all sorts of gibberish plus words spelled out, just kind of scaring ourselves for fun, not taking it very seriously. Then we got the message ‘I can see you through the window’ and then‘I can see you through his eyes’ or something like that. There was just a small window in the basement room where we were, and just the backyard and woods past the driveway visible through that window. We asked it more questions, and it said, ‘I’m under the car,’ so we somehow got up the nerve to go out with a flashlight and peer under the car, where we saw a huge black stray cat hissing. We ran inside freaking out, and at that exact moment, the power failed and all the lights in the house went out. We just about actually shit ourselves. Few minutes later, the power came back, and we sat up until dawn that night scared and never played with the board again.”

Ouija Rules

Finally, this user from BuzzFeed, who got more than what he bargained for after using a Ouija board to contact an unwanted visitor in his home:

“I got my board after months of harmless paranormal activity in my house. When I contacted something, the planchette started doing figure eights across the board, which is a huge NO NO—that means something demonic was present. I didn’t touch it for months. When I tried again, I asked where the spirit was in the room. My vision went spotty, I saw a vivid image of my head jerking back, and the words ‘with you’ were whispered into my ear by something I couldn’t see. I sold the board.”

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