The Ouija Controversy – Part 4: The Experience Concludes

In Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series, I’ve been exploring my understanding and experience regarding talking boards (aka Ouija). I’m certainly no expert, and I do admit my skeptical approach to the threat they pose is probably somewhat unusual within the paranormal community.

To reiterate: Based upon my own experiences, I do not accept the idea that they are especially dangerous within the realm of divinatory tools. For some, it’s simply a game; for others, it’s a risk-ridden gateway to malevolent entities. As an open-minded skeptic, I believe that either position is arguably possible, but have never seen anything to support the widespread belief that they are evil.

My second extended experimentation was conducted with a college friend over the course of an academic year or so. As in prior use with my sister, I did not touch the pointer, but instead asked questions and took notes on the results. In contrast to my prior experiences and observations, the almost-nightly sessions conducted in my friend’s dorm room were generally lighthearted and chatty. No connection was made with any verifiable sources, but instead, an ever-changing cast of inconsequential characters emerged over time.

“Bunny” was probably our most consistent personality. She claimed to be the spirit of a child and seemed to operate as a spirit guide – albeit a naive one – to my friend. She had no great wisdom to impart, and was easily confused by questions of an adult nature, but she persisted in one regard: She believed she would someday be born to my friend and, therefore, always referred to her as Mommy.

Coincidentally, probably the darkest communication we ever received came from a stronger personality that referred to itself as “Mom.” This personality, whom “Bunny” feared, would appear randomly during sessions, usually for no apparent reason other than to disrupt the conversation. Most interesting was its apparent ability to bump other personalities out of the way for control of the board. Sometimes “Mom” claimed to be the campus’s resident ghost who had legendarily hung herself (isn’t there always one of those?). Despite the general negativity surrounding “Mom’s” comings and goings, no discernible manifestations of this ever arose.

For the most part, we had decided from the start that we would simply have fun with the whole thing – and we did. At one point, we even earned an A for a paper written jointly with the “spirits.” Beyond this, we conducted informal exercises in creative writing, inviting various personalities to create original poetry and short fiction, but, while amusing, no bestsellers came of this line of inquiry.

When we eventually abandoned use of the board in favor of other life distractions, it marked the last of my experiences with Ouija. But the obvious question remains: Was either woman actually in contact with an otherworldly intelligence, or were these incidents simply psychological in nature?

In the case of my friend, the psychological explanation seems to fit; indeed, we both considered it a distinct possibility, given the fact that, when she was blindfolded, the pointer generally produced nonsense, and when she was tired, it lagged as well. However, my friend (as well as my sister) always maintained that she not only felt a palpable energy from the planchette when someone/something was there, but also the absence of this energy when it departed. In addition, both women claimed the energy somehow felt different, depending on the personality.

My sister, on the other hand, with several significant and verifiable “hits,” presents a case more difficult to explain. On more than one occasion, as outlined in Part 3, she was privy to information she had no way of knowing. Could she have obtained this knowledge from the spirit world? Possibly. But even if she didn’t, the only other explanation we could come up with is that she somehow pulled the information from the minds of those present. Although not a ghostly explanation, this idea is intriguing in and of itself.

So, you tell me: What did happen in these cases? What I do know is that after dozens of sessions, neither operator became possessed, nor obsessed, or even particularly enmeshed in anything else paranormal. For all the talk that we hear about Ouija, demons, and evil spirits, it all remained pretty darn vanilla.

For me, let it suffice to say that I truly believe that one’s belief system around talking boards and other divination tools and supernatural items is what really separates the skeptics from the true believers.

As a final note, my favorite resource for information on talking boards is the fascinating Museum of Talking Boards ( This site presents an enlightened and levelheaded approach to the controversial subject, which – as anyone who knows me could attest – is an approach I heartily endorse.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Blog Entry by MGH B-Team Member – CoryJ

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