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Ouija Boards!

Alright friends, let’s talk about Ouija boards for a second. Given that they are developed by Hasbro, this makes it technically a board game. Without going into the Ideomotor Effect - which is how the ‘game’ works and is really cool actually, check out more here - I have always wondered what it is that makes the game scary even in 2019. I’ve seen a million different versions of it, including one for girls which… I mean… come on, and one that even took double A batteries in the planchet which to my mind pretty much throws anything scary about it out the window.

With that said, I did buy one. There is no denying the iconic status of the “classic box” design from horror movies, and as a massive horror fan I absolutely needed to buy one. The other day I took a good close look at the back of the box and just took a moment to appreciate how goofy it is and how something like this has managed to spook generations of kids and adults alike. I wanted to share the back of the box with you all because there’s something about the tone of the “sample questions” that doesn’t yell EVIL GHOSTS to me.

I apologize if this conversation I not remotely interesting but who knows.

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We used to sell glow-in-the-dark ones at the tiny toy store I worked at for years (Best. Job. Ever). They all sold out every time we ordered them, but I swear I don’t remember personally selling a single one.

The first time I used one was as a freshman at University of Florida. The pointer fell off the board, and I still jumped because I wasn’t expecting it (it was the middle of the day! I’m just a twitchy person). We asked it the name of my mom, and it had gotten the first 2 letters right, with my eyes closed.

Coincidence? I think not!

Actually, yes, it was coincidence. Further experimentation yielded nonsense.

I’m not saying it wasn’t good spoopy fun, it was! Not really a game, more like an activity. Good for sleepovers for kids who aren’t superstitious or have really religious parents, or adults who have had a few beers or glasses of wine.

(EDIT: Get used to the plaintive cries of “You’re moving it!” “No, you’re moving it!”)

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At one British RPG con, the charity auction included an “Angel Board”, i.e. a Ouija board repackaged to sell to the sort of people who’d regard a Ouija board as satanic. (I think James Wallis may have donated it.)

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The history of Ouija Boards is fascinating. I remember reading a fantastic article about them at one point (the link to which I sadly cannot recall atm :frowning: )

The transition from “silly parlor game” to “way of connecting with soldiers away in ww2” to “spooky afterlife contacting tool” is just bizarre. The fact that its been a commercial product through most of that is equally odd…

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I agree. It’s a wild history for sure. I’m always surprised at how long it’s been ‘a thing’ for too. And that it continues to be.

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Has anyone done the thing with an upturned cup and letters (plus a “yes” and a “no”) on scraps of paper, arranged in a circle?

EDIT: should have linked this when I posted the above

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I’ve always been intrigued, very much a case of “I don’t belive in ghosts, but I’m definitely scared of them”.

This video on the Ouija board and the effect that makes it work might be of interest:

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