I was in primary school when I had my first glimpse of a Ouija board. Visiting family friends one evening, I remember peeking in as the grown-ups sat around a table where an upturned wine glass zipped to and fro, seemingly of its own accord. I was transfixed.
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Much later, I found out they’d been trying to communicate with the spirits of departed loved ones using a home-made Ouija board, where a wine glass pointed to cut-out letters spelling out messages from beyond. While there was something almost forbidden about the scene I’d witnessed as a child, the original Ouija board was first marketed as a wholesome game for the whole family – promising “amusement and recreation for all” – in the US in the late 1800s.
For close to a century, the Ouija board was generally considered a harmless, albeit mysterious, novelty – occasionally, it even led to the creation of award-winning works of literature! However, that all changed with the 1973 film The Exorcist, featuring a main character who becomes possessed after playing the Ouija. Now, it was suddenly seen as dangerous.
So, should you be wary? I believe that in and of itself, the game is neutral. Problems may arise when young people struggling with turbulent emotions, hormones, and maybe a dormant but powerful psychic gift, unwittingly invite in forces they don’t understand.
Certainly, I’ve interviewed more than one person whose innocent meddling with a Ouija board sparked terrifying events. For one woman in my book Spirit Sisters, her teenage obsession with the game culminated in a horrific poltergeist haunting. My guest on this week’s episode of The Ghost Files podcast tells an eerily similar story. Julie was 12 when she and her friends began playing the game, but what happened next scarred (and followed) Julie for years to come.
For more on Julie’s chilling experience, tune into this week’s episode of The Ghost Files podcast.