Dangers of Ouija Boards
Talking Boards are as Safe as Online Friendships
Jun 4, 2007 Terence P Ward
Ouija boards are dangerous to use whether or not they are games. Contacting spirits is a harrowing business and contacting your own subconscious can be just as scary. Talking boards, aka Spirit Boards or more popularly called Ouija boards after the Parker Brothers™ game, are tools used to contact the spirits of the dead, either as a game or with all seriousness. Though sometimes dismissed as being mere entertainment, Ouija boards can pose very real dangers, whether or not the users believe that they have any supernatural powers. The risks of contacting the dead are certainly psychological, and there could be supernatural dangers as well.
What a Ouija Board Is
Talking boards have been marketed as games since 1892. Involuntary muscle contractions of the participants holding onto the planchette (the piece that slides across the board) create the “answers” that are sought, according to manufacturers. These muscle contractions may be related to muscle testing, or applied kinesiology, the principle that our muscles are connected to our unconscious and will provide more accurate answers to some questions than the mind (Monti, Sinnott, et al., 2003).
This body/mind connection may explain the amazing accuracy of the answers participants receive. It may also suggest that some of the more chilling experiences that come from ouija board use actually emerge directly from the participants’ minds. This could be dangerous in and of itself, without even discussing the potentially supernatural side of talking boards. Repressed feelings and memories emerge much more easily when there is a sense of anonymity, even one as specious as that granted by a game.
Supernatural Use of Witch Boards
If a ouija board does link its users to the spirits of the dead (and perhaps spirits that were never human), then it really doesn’t matter if the users believe it to be a game or not, as is noted by Dale Kaczmarek, president of the Ghost Research Society. Playfully giving permission to unknown entities to speak through your hands is still giving permission, and magic functions on permission. Contact is no more safe or efficient than in an internet chat room: you have no way of verifying the identity of the person you’re speaking with. The sense of anonymity still exists, and is no more real than online; in fact, it’s probably a toss-up if an online predator or a malevolent spirit is more likely to be able to use the contact against you.
Continuing the analogy with an online friendship, it’s possible that the talking board users will develop of level of comfort with a particular spirit, without ever verifying its identity or intentions. One spirit may even impersonate another, as in the 1986 thriller Witchboard (though likely without the spectacular effects). False trust can lead to being lured into bad decisions.
Real Dangers from Talking Boards
Ouija boards may not be anything more than games. However, they pose very real risks to their users either way. Nearly universally condemned by most major and minor religions, their single strongest proponent was Aleister Crowley, not known for playing it safe. Users should prepare by learning to build psychic shields or otherwise bolster their minds against attacks real and imagined. Is using a talking board worth flirting with the dangers? If they are a game, then certainly not. And if they really work, and the dangers are even greater, then the answer is neither “oui” nor “ja.”