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Ouija Board

Ouija Board

Apparatus for psychic communication. The name was derived from the French word oui and the German word ja meaning 'yes.' A medium spells out messages by pointing out letters on a board with the apex of a wooden tripod on rollers. It is an ancient invention; a similar device was used in the days of Pythagoras, about 540 B.C.E. According to a French historical account of the philosopher's life, his sect held séances or circles at "a mystic table, moving on wheels, moved towards signs, which the philosopher and his pupil, Philolaus, interpreted to the audience as being revelations supposedly from the unseen world."

The original ouija board was replaced with a piece of alphabetical cardboard, and a finger-like pointer was added to the narrow end of the wooden tripod. If the pointer and the roll at the apex is replaced by a pencil to form a third leg, the ouija board becomes a planchette.

Mrs. Hester Dowden, an English medium stated: "The words come through so quickly that it is almost impossible to read them, and it requires an experienced shorthand writer to take them down when the traveller moves at its maximum speed." She also believed the cooperation of two automatists led to the best results.

It is believed the ouija board, when used as a method of communication, is slow and laborious but frequently works for those unable to receive automatic writing with a pencil.

While the ouija board remains popular and is sold commercially as a "game," it has been attacked both by critics of the occult and those within the occult community who consider it unsafe. Some mediums claim to have started with the board and "discovered" their psychic abilities as a result of using it.

Sources:

Gruess, Edmond G. The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult. Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.

White, Stewart Edward. The Betty Book. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1937.

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Ouija board

Ouija board a board with letters, numbers, and other signs around its edge, to which a planchette, movable pointer, or upturned glass points supposedly in answer to questions from people at a seance. The word comes (in the late 19th century) from French oui ‘yes’ + German ja ‘yes’.

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Ouija board

Oui·ja board / ˈwējə; -jē/ • n. trademark a board printed with letters, numbers, and other signs, to which a planchette or movable indicator points, supposedly in answer to questions from people at a seance.

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