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Ouija Boards


ShackledNoMore
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I read Max's little jewel about the missionary, the nail, and the oranges, and the reference to spirits attacking ouija players got me thinking...

 

In my xian days, ouija boards were portrayed as probably the number one evil toy/plaything of the devil in the world of the occult. And it was one of the things I swallowed most completely, hook, line and sinker. Maybe it was that the wild claims about ouija, unlike the existence of god, etc., could be in theory be verified so easily by simple observation, they COULDN'T be just brazenly lying about something like that, could they? (Oh yes they could! I just didn't realize it at the time.) So even after my deconversion, for a long time, I figured that things weren't quite as the xians said, but that there had to be something "weird" about ouija boards. And until today, I haven't really thought about it in years.

 

So why the hell didn't it occur to me to really question it until now!!??? Here's my hypothesis about ouija boards, formulated in my spare moments today: The force that drives the pointer would have to originate between the players' ears, no matter how much they say they're not moving it. It's also why two players are needed and not just one--it's less obvious that the source isn't external. Ouija boards would have to be surrounded by a lot of mystique to work, which they are. With all the hocus pocus the adrenalin flows, and it seems like it would be much like speaking in tongues in that sense. And as powerful a thing as the mind is, as much as there is below our active conscience, it wouldn't take much to form words on a low friction surface with the help of a confederate. And of course your buddy could be driving!

 

As for getting attacked by demons, stuff flying through the air, and being turned to the service of satan by demons, I'm figuring that's pure and simple fabrication, urban legend material and nothing more. Maybe with a few rare exceptions where psychosis or psychotic tendencies may be involved.

 

That would make ouija boards just another crappy device to perpetuate superstition.

 

So I'm interested in hearing, for the first time, what folks who are not fundies have to say about ouija boards, especially, critical thinkers. What do you know about ouija boards? Have you used them? Have you read anything about them from psychologists, etc. without a xian agenda? Does it sound like I've nailed it with my hypothesis, as I think I have, or do you have an alternate viewpoint about ouija boards?

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They've been completely debunked. Penn and Teller did an episode on Bullshit where they performed some experiments with people using an ouija board. What happened was, first they had the people just use the ouija board regularly for a short time. Then, they blindfolded the people, and without the people knowing, they turned the board 180 degrees. Even though the board was upside down, and the people were blindfolded, they still moved the piece to where they thought the answer was. So they'd ask, "Are you a spirit", or some shit like that, and then they'd move the piece to where the "Yes" used to be (but wasn't, because the board had been turned around). They're subconciously guiding the piece, and the presense of other people makes them think they aren't doing anything.

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Debunked or not, those things creep me the fuck out. I wouldn't touch one with a ten-foot pole.

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Hmm.

 

Well, my great-grandmother grew up during the spiritualist fad, and warned my mother to the point of terrorizing her to never, ever dabble in such things. It wasn't until after she died that we finally found out that her mother, an avid "spiritualist", had supposedly invited more than just fun and games into the house.

 

Now I'm the kind of person that's fascinated by ghost stories (although it has to be a good one for me to believe it). I've studied possession, hauntings, etc. because it's something that interests me. Now I don't care for those who say that every single supernatural thing that is not Jesus or an angel is Satanic, but I've just never heard about good things happening from ouija boards. Ever. In the stories of hauntings that I read, ouija boards make them worse; often the use of a ouija board is what instigates the haunting in the first place. These warnings don't come from zealous Christians who want to ban Dungeons and Dragons, but just people who have studied the field. For this reason I don't see a good reason to use one, and I would warn against it.

 

I know a lot of people on this board are going to laugh at how stupid I am, but really, even if there isn't any supernatural truth at all, I'm still not hurting myself or anyone else with my beliefs and convictions. I have mine, they have theirs, we all have our reasons.

 

I can't say I would allow a person to use a ouija board in my house - but how many would come over for that purpose? I also wouldn't use seances because in the hands of the untrained they also can bring on bad influences. Generally speaking, from what I've read, any kind of exercise that completely opens up the psychic channel can bring on "evil" spirits. So while I don't think they're "Satanic", I don't think ouija boards are completely safe, either.

 

Of course if anybody wants to play with one, I'm not going to stop them. Perhaps all they'll do is spell out Jenny's phone number (867-5309) and get a "yes" when they ask if that guy Josh from Chemistry class who's SOOOO hot likes them. Maybe that is all there is, is suggestion, and if so, all the more power to them for making it say whatever they want it to. But I won't do it myself, I've just heard too many bad things from too many trustworthy, honest people.

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Used one back in the day, nothing happened. Have to say that it is a whole lot of turn-of-the-(last)century bunk. Never seen one make any strange phenomena worse (now the people who were dabbling on the other hand...)

 

It's a whole lot of nothing, with a side of baggage, IMHO.

 

Now as for coming up with a ghosdt story...well that is a whole other matter entirely.

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We messed with one several years ago. It was kinda fun- we even got to talk to the two ghosts that haunted the house and would occasionally turn on the water in the sink or knock things off the bathroom shelves. Their names were "Pete" and "Spence". Seemed like nice enough guys. Then we chatted with some guy from Denver, and my wife's dead sister.

 

I was surprised at how convincing the thing was (using three people), but it was just a toy that gives hints about the sub-concious. I DID get laid off from a job about a year and a half later... perhaps we opened a portal to the underworld??!

 

I remember when I was a kid, my Mom told me that she has used one with her friends one time. They asked who she would marry, and it spelled out my dad's first initial and all but one letter of his last name... and this was years before she met him. Personally, I think that's just a case of creative memory, but it makes a good story.

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The fact that there are still people who fear the "strange powers" of a board with letters and stereotypical "weird" symbols printed on it makes me shake my head in pity and disgust. I had one of those things when I was a kid. I think it was produced by Milton-Bradley, the same company that mass produces Monopoly and other board games. And that's all it is -- a silly board game! Funny how whenever I played it with my brother, the only messages forthcoming from the "spirits" were all fart jokes.

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My older sister who is a religious freak (and a pathological liar) would avidly warn me against them in my youth. She would tell me stories of when she used one as a kid, she would start to hear voices and her name being called, etc. It would scare the crap out of me. I was anti-ouija boards for a long time... until my best friend got one.

 

I swallowed my fear and played along (I was about aged 13). We wanted to see if it was the real thing and never faked it with ourselves. Nothing happened. We tried for months, playing with different friends at sleepovers, different houses, different questions and on and on. Nothing ever happened.

 

After I was over my fear, three friends and I would take it over to a guy friends house. We made up an elaborate story about his life as a joke. Who he would marry, how many kids, when he would die, how he would die... we would go into such detail. The guy who was vain couldn't get enough of it, we would be over there everyday for about 3 months. One day he told us he was at a friends who also had a board, and he tried to talk to this same spirit, and nothing happened. My friends and I were like aww darn the jig is up... but then he says "I guess she only likes to talk to you guys" :shrug:

 

Nothing bad ever happened to me or my friends and we used the thing a lot. When we would get "answers" for our guy friend it was totally faked on our part, and that was the only time it ever moved for us. I would have to say in my opinion that it's just a stupid game.

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Never used one, myself. Of course I heard all the same stories growing up, but whether because I could never quite swallow them or there's a very regressive side of me that likes to play with fire, I've always wanted to.

 

'Course, it probably won't be as much fun now that I've developed a healthy skepticism and know it's total bunk, but I'd still like to give it a try just for shits and giggles.

 

Edit: I've got it! I'll get my brother to try it with me on drunk movie night! :HaHa:

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bah, ouija fija!

 

ouija boards fuction by the same effect as dowsing rods and other claims of paranormal motion: the ideomotor effect

 

you can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideomotor

 

You can see the ideomotor effect in action here:

hmm.. I can't seem to find the video on youtube any longer, it's a sequence in which Derren Brown has a group of volunteers "summon" the spirit within these tables in groups of 4, by barely touching the tables with their fingertips, as the tables spin faster and faster round and round. It's pretty interesting.

 

Anyway, google ideomotor effect and you're sure to find many interesting articles concerning "paranormal" and "spirit" manifestations

 

and for other interesting Derren Brown videos on the "occult" and "supernatural":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lW2yKlNFFuU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18NfN76bAs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdqrv8sWNG8

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Tried one once. Never had anything happen. Don't believe in them. Have also tried tarot cards myself (got a deck and a couple of books). When I read you were supposed to pick whichever of the meanings you "felt" was right, (or in other words, guessed), I realized how much of a sham all that stuff really was.

 

I think the Ouija boards are a bit like the Christians who pick things that they want to be miracles or coincidences from god. The people who say they work want those things to work, even if they won't admit to it, so their brains find stuff that fits the pattern (for example, a letter that fits someone's name) and it leaps out at them. Or they do it subconsciously, or even consciously.

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