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“Oui” and “ja” mean “yes” in French and German respectively. A planchette or a small pointer held at the finger tips is used to navigate to letters or numbers to spell words, in answer to questions.
Are ouija boards safe for use or do they provide a portal for evil spirits to enter into the physical world?
To use an ouija board, one person places his hand on the planchette, while a few others may ask a question, either verbally or non-verbally. The planchette moves to letters, numbers or the words on the board.
It may seem to an onlooker that the person operating the planchette is moving it, but the planchette is supposedly moved by the spirit that has been invoked during the ouija board session.
While occultists claim that the planchette is moved by spirit impulses, scientist Michael Faraday attributed the moving of the planchette to unconscious muscle motion. Supporters of Michael Faraday’s theory, contend that the answers are subliminally supplied by the board operators.
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.
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.
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.
Three Teens and a Ouija Board
Melissa, Joyce and Eileen were in Eileen’s basement when they worked the board during the day. A red, a green and a purple candles were lit. Melissa was Jewish and a rosary was in front of her. They seemed to contact a spirit who said he liked Eileen and was coming to get her when the rosary beads broke by themselves. The girls were terrified.
When Melissa told her older sister, Jen, what had happened, she called Shawna, a woman knowledgeable in paranormal matters and methods of divination. Melissa was too shaken to talk to her.
Shawna’s advice was to burn the board. Her thoughts were that the girls needed help, albeit at least psychologically, and destroying the board would ease their minds.
Ouija Board – A Man’s Experience and An Exorcist’s Opinion
Father John J. Nicola was the technical consultant for the movie The Exorcist and wrote about a man’s experience with the board. The man used the board daily, then felt an invisible intelligence trying to control him.
One night, the board jumped from the mantelpiece onto his chest. He returned the board to the mantelpiece. The action was repeated. He threw it out of the house. The next morning, he saw the shattered board on the flagstones.
Nicola had experimented with the board using a wine glass as a planchette without negative results. He believes that the board, in a tiny minority of cases, can cause unnatural and bad experiences.
People can become seemingly addicted to using the board. He notes that “misuse” (not use) of the board has been condemned by church moralists as a violation of the First Commandment.
The ouija board itself is not a dangerous device. However people inexperienced in dealing with the non-physical realm may have fear-based reactions. Some people may become dependent on the board for everyday issues and some may even become addicted to the ouija board.
Some occultists believe that the real danger of operating an ouija board is when a person asks a spirit to provide physical proof, thus providing a portal for the spirit to enter the physical world.
Each individual experience with the ouija board may be different. It helps to remember that ouija boards should be used with caution. The ouija board user should intend for the highest good and an interaction based on love and light. It is also good practice to rely on intuition to determine if and when to work with ouija boards.