The Ouija Controversy

Of the vast array of intricacies, nuances, and topics of discussion within the paranormal community, I can’t think of any other that has stimulated such conversation and controversy as the Ouija. Whether called a talking board, spirit board, witch board, or by its popularized brand name, Ouija, this simple divination tool – essentially a flat surface, some letters, and a pointer (or planchette) – has captured the imagination, sparked superstition, and fueled fears since at least the mid-nineteenth century.

But why so much controversy over a simple piece of painted wood?

Practically everybody has heard stories about boards that won’t burn (or scream as they do), planchettes that move on their own, or possessions resulting from the indiscriminate use of Ouija. Occasionally, people will relate these stories as having happened to them personally, or to someone they know. More often than not, though, the friend-of-a-friend nature of these tales carries the distinct scent of urban legend.

Nonetheless, in the end, one’s belief or disbelief in the malevolent nature of Ouija seems most closely tied to their larger belief systems around spirituality and general skepticism. In my case, I am an open-minded but highly-skeptical atheist who has a respectable amount of experience with various incarnations of talking boards in my lifetime, and I have never experienced anything credibly sinister.

At this point during discussions about this, believers will often interject dire warnings that it WILL happen to me at some point, if I continue, but like most everything, I’ll believe it when I see it for myself. If I find myself on the receiving end of the devil’s cloven hoof, I guess I’ll have to admit I was wrong, but until then, I’m going to go with the idea that, as with many things in life, we see what we want to see, and we usually find what we expect to. I believe in self-fulfilling prophecy more than the possibility of demons.

So, how can I be so sure that Ouija isn’t the doorway to evil that so many tell me it is? In truth, being a realist, I’m not SURE about anything, but also being a slave to logic, I simply can’t easily accept anecdotal evidence or organized religious dogma as fact.

As with the ghosts we all love to hunt, show me irrefutable proof, and I’ll believe. Lacking that, my own empirical experiences up until now will guide my beliefs.

Blog Entry by MGH B-Team Member – CoryJ

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