Ouija boards are tools used to contact the spirit world. Each is comprised of a board and a pointer.

Upon the board are written the letters of the alphabet, the numbers from zero to nine, and the words “yes” and “no”. To use the Ouija board, the board is placed in the center of the table. Participants sit around the table, each resting their fingertips on the pointer, a triangular device held up by three legs. Once a participant asks a question, the pointer will move to reveal the answer.

The word “Ouija” comes from a combination of the French and German words for yes. However, Ouija boards have a long and illustrious history. Variations have been used since the time of ancient China and Greece. The modern board as we know it was developed as a game in the 1890s. Parker Brothers purchased the patent in 1966 and began manufacturing boards.

During World War I and other times of misfortune, Ouija boards were used by family members desperate to communicate with those killed in the fighting.

Ouija boards have both supporters and detractors. Parapsychologists have used Ouija boards to help patients tap into their subconscious minds. However, critics of the Ouija board claim that repressed material may come flooding out, causing psychological trauma. Many religious forces within Christianity have condemned the Ouija board, claiming this occult tool comes from Satan himself.

U.S. Patent D056,449 . Design patent for toys (D21/813) which was filed May 26, 1920. Issued Oct 26, 1920. Patentee was Clifford H. McGlasson. Courtesy Wikipedia.
An English ouija board and a planchette. Courtesy Wikipedia.