Ouija board: a game of evil?

Patrice Gomez
STAFF WRITER

Halloween is the perfect time for haunted houses and scary movies. However, there is one thing people mess around with this time of year that isn’t all fun and games: playing with the infamous Ouija board.

While most people play with this board to prove it’s a joke and that nothing bad will happen, others, myself included, believe that it’s a bad idea to interfere with the supernatural.  

The Ouija board is a piece of wood covered with the letters of the alphabet. On the corners, there are responses of “yes,” “no,” “hello” and “goodbye.” The board was created to communicate with spirits. 

The rule of the game is that everyone who plays with the board must keep their hands on the movable message indicator at all times. Since this is a device that makes communication possible with all spirits, sometimes the spirit isn’t who you think they are. 

While this may sound like fun, there are huge risks when playing with the board. 

Some people claim to have witnessed paranormal activity after playing with the Ouija board. Skeptics like to poke fun at those who believe the board has supernatural powers. 

The new design of the board has become a popular icon to put on shirts, backpacks, and coffee mugs because it looks “cool.” Let’s face it, almost every Halloween special, paranormal activity show, and horror movie has used this motif. There was a film called Ouija, released in 2014, that dealt with a group of friends who played with the board and faced a terror-filled night. Its prequelOuija: Origin of Evil comes out Oct. 21.  

The Ouija board has even inspired another paranormal game called The Charlie Charlie Challenge. For this game, people use a piece of paper, write “yes” and “no” on four corners of the paper, and use two pencils as the movable message indicator. In this challenge, people try to communicate with a ghost called “Charlie.” 

Videos of people playing the game can be found on Youtube. In some of these videos, objects can be seen falling over on their own, or dark-shadowed figures can be spotted lurking in the background. 

In other videos, people who played the game opened up about their experiences on Youtube and warned their viewers to play the game at their own risk. Many expressed that they were shaken up by their experience and actually encountered paranormal activity.     

In an article published by the Smithsonian magazine, Linda Rodriguez McRobbie wrote about the historical origins of the Ouija board.  She writes that the Ouija boardcame to be in 1891, and was advertised as a magical device that can answer any of your questions. Something that the Ouija board couldn’t answer was the question about its creation. 

Even though it was advertised as a fun game, Ouija historian Robert Murch found that its purpose was not to be a fortune-telling device, but a way to contact the spirit world.  “The Ouija board came straight out of the American 19th century obsession with spiritualism; the belief that the dead can communicate with the living,” McRobbie writes in reference to Murch’s reports.  

The board was originally used to communicate to loved ones, but soon afterthere was an interest in seeing what other forms of the supernatural were able to communicate with us. As the board phenomenon continued, it was less about the spirits and more about the money. 

According to Murch, business men decided to sell these boards as a fun game for people to play at parties, even though there was a high risk of possible paranormal activity.  The article also states that “Ouija existed on the periphery of American culture, perennially popular, mysterious, interesting and usually, barring the few cases of supposed Ouija-inspired murders. That is until 1973.”

 1973 was the year that The Exorcist hit the big screens and scared people out of their skins. While it steered many people away from ever using the board, it sparked an interest in others who were inspired to try and summon the Devil. 

Personally, I don’t think you should mess with something when there might be spirits involved. Playing this game can put you in serious danger, and I am shocked to hear that some students on campus have been playing with Ouija boards. Regardless of whether you actually believe in spirits or not, you are still playing with something that others believe is dangerous. Do you really want to put everyone at risk only to find out that you’re wrong? Don’t mess with the dead.