" It's Only A Game Isn't It? "
The concept of the basic ouija board dates back to 540BC, when it is thought Pythagrus and one of his students interpreted messages from the spirit world. More recently in 1948, two sisters Kate and Margaret Fox became instant celebrates after contacting the spirit of a dead peddler. This was the birth of modern spiritualism and spiritualist churches began to spring up everywhere. People with the ' Special Gift ' began to be called mediums, due to their ability to act as intermediaries between spirits and humans, and were in great demand.
Several different and sometimes novel methods of communication with the spirit world started, e.g. table tilting. This was where the medium and the sitters would rest their fingers lightly on a table. They would then wait for the spirit contact to spell out messages by tilting and moving the table. Sitters however soon became bored with this laborious, time consuming, noisy method of communication.
Spirit writing then evolved, this involved using a basket with a pencil attached to one end. The medium would touch the basket and the spirit would then be able to write messages, via the medium. A more sophisticated tool evolved from the pencil basket. It consisted of a heart shaped piece of wood with two casters underneath at the back, and a pencil at the tip. This more sophisticated tool was known as a ' Planchette '. There are several explanations as to how the ' Planchette ' got its name some feel it is named after a French medium called M. Planchette, who is thought to have invented it. Others however feel it could be a translation from the French word ' Planchette' which means ' Little Plank ' in English. Many different machines became available at this time, but were highly complex in their use. Due to it's simplicity, ease of use towards other machines, being inexpensive to manufacture and market, the planchette became immensely popular.
Eventually though this method of communication was soon disposed of as it was often difficult to centre on the paper, and it was almost impossible to read the messages. Many mediums started to use their own hand to guide the pencil, as they found this to be more effective. Other mediums would enter into an altered state of consciousness called ' trance ', to transmit messages from the spirit world.
These methods of communication were overtaken in 1886 by a new ' Talking Board '. It consisted of a little table three to four inches high with four legs that rested on a board. On the board would be written ' Yes ', ' No ', 'Good Evening ' , ' Good Night ' and the alphabet. Each of the sitters would grasp the little table and questions would start to be asked. The little table would rest on individual letters and spell out the answers. This board required no ' Special Skills ' or 'Special Gifts ' and was simple to make.
On May 28th 1890 the first patent was filed
for. This was granted on February 10th 1891, for a board very similar
to the one mentioned here. Elijah J. Bond, Charles W. Kennard & William
H.A. Maupin, all from Baltimore Maryland, were listed as the inventor
and the assignees. Charles Kennard named the board
In 1890 Charles Kennard founded his own company
and started producing
Following Williams death in 1927 due to an accident, his children took over the company and marketed their own version of the ' Ouija board '. After they retired in 1966, Parker Brothers bought the company . Today they own all trademarks and patents for the Fuld ' Ouija board ', and still produce accurate reproductions.
Over the years many variations of the board
have been produced. Some incorporate complex astrological and Tarot symbolism,
whilst others are simple letter boards. Due to the cost of manufacturing
the boards, today the majority of them are made of folding cardboard.
Try Out Our Ouija Board. Click Below.
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© Keith Wilkinson February 2003
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