First of all, let’s knock down some of the Ouija Board myths.
The board is not, as some have claimed, an ancient fortune telling method first used thousands of years ago in Egypt or Babylonia.
The first Ouija rolled off the assembly line a little more than 100 years ago.
Its roots go back a few decades earlier to France, where interest in spiritualism was at the peak of a cyclical revival.
In the 1850s, someone in France, tired of depending on human mediums, invented a device meant to let anyone have a direct long distance line to the Other World.
That device was called a planchette, meaning “little plank.”
The planchette was an easy-rolling, heart-shaped piece of wood with, at the heart’s point, a pencil. The way it worked was that one or two people placed their hands on it.
When their hands mysteriously moved, the pencil traced a path, writing a message from Beyond.
When planchettes arrived in the United States in 1868, they became an immediate sensation as a parlor game, and millions were manufactured by toy makers.
However, many people took their planchette’s “messages” seriously and complained at the slowness and illegibility of the writing.
So some game designers came up with the idea of a spiritual typewriter: a planchette with a helpful array of preprinted letters, numbers, and common words like YES and NO.
Suddenly, the spirits could communicate at relatively high speed and clarity.
The Ouija Board was poised to revolutionize the spiritual medium.