Anyone who knows me understands I compare a Ouija Board to a handgun. In the right hands, with the right intent, it’s a valuable tool. In the wrong hands, with bad intent, it’s capable of great harm.
The Talking Board, or Witch Board, are early incarnations of what we refer to now as Ouija. Similar devices were used by the ancient Chinese and Egyptians to contact the dead. Such boards became popular after the Civil War, when families were desperately trying to contact loved ones that passed on during the War of Northern Aggression. ( Sorry, but I do live in the South now. Gotta fit in!!)
Mary Todd Lincoln used one in the White House after her beloved 11 year old son died of fever in 1862. The board we know and Love to Hate came about on October 30, 1890 by the Kennard Novelty Company. Fighting within the company allowed William Fuld to take control of it in 1893. Possibly under the control of supernatural forces, or perhaps by simple human greed, he and and his family also fought with each other over profits, and at the same time fought members of the Kennard family who were making knock-offs of the original board, with names such as “We-Ja”, Egyptian Luck Board, and Hindu Luck Board among others.
Strangely, Fuld claimed the board told him to build a third factory, and was on the roof supervising the placement of a flagpole when a poorly built handrail gave way and he fell to his doom.
The company was purchased by Parker Brothers in 1966, and continues being made to this day. Stories of possessed boards continue, Claiming to bring bad luck to many who use them. Some folks become so afraid of the boards, that they send them to Dr. Mark Farley, founder of the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society, who has created a small museum of Ouija in his offices on Cherokee St. in St. Louis, Mo. Here is a video I shot inside, complete with some of the frightening stories of the boards he has received. Enjoy!!