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Ouija Boards

by John Zaffis


Since the beginning, people have been able to make some type of communication with the Ouija board and through other methods of communication. This has caused a tremendous amount of problems for a lot of people, especially those inexperienced. You can play with the Ouija board and nothing will happen, but somewhere in the future, something could. You must remember there is no time in the spirit world, things do not have to happen right away. Things will start to happen just when you seem to have everything going well for you, and then it hits you, just when you least expect it. I can tell you that I've worked on many cases where things will occur one to seven years later. I would like to share with you some of the histories of the most controversial things I know of and that is the old Ouija board. I do not recommend that you play with this board, as something, somewhere, somehow, will hit, as it always does.

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In 1853, a French man named M. Planchette invented a device that would be named for him. The Planchette was a small, heart-shaped table with pencils attached to its legs. Those who used it claimed that it operated by spirit force and ghosts were able to write out messages from beyond. But a short time later, another invention would revolutionize the Spiritualist movement and have an impact that still resounds today... the Ouija board. Shortly after the planchette came to America, a cabinet and coffin maker from Maryland named E.C. Reiche devised a new method of communicating with the dead. He devised a wooden lap tray with the letters of the alphabet arranged in two lines across the center of the board. Below these letters, he placed the numbers 1-10 and the words YES and NO in each lower corner of the board. He kept the planchette connected to his board but removed the pencil tips and placed wooden pegs on the bottom of it. In this way, the planchette was free to move about the board. It was always believed that Reiche named his board the Ouija because the name represented the French and German words for yes (OUI AND JA) but this was not the case.

He named it that because he believed that the word ''Ouija'' was actually Egyptian for luck. Needless to say, it's not, but since he claimed to receive the words from a spirit on the board, the name stuck. But Reiche was more interested in spirits than making money and he sold the invention to his friend, Charles Kennard. He soon founded the Kennard Novelty Co. and began producing the first commercial Ouija boards. Shortly after the company started, the shop manager William Fuld decided to go into business for himself. He forced Kennard out of the business and changed the name to the Ouija Novelty Co. He began producing the ''Fuld's talking Board" in record numbers and became a successful businessman. He became a member of the Baltimore General Assembly in later life, but all was not well. He remained in control of the company for the next 35 years but in 1927 during a brief slump in sales, Fuld strangely took his own life. He climbed to the top of a Baltimore building and jumped to his death. Fuld had created a new industry with the Ouija board, which he claimed to have invented himself.

He started the apocryphal tales of the naming of the board (using oui and ja) and claimed many of his successful sales plans came from the board itself. His heirs maintained the company until 1966, when they sold out to Parker Brothers. Today this company owns all of the rights and trademarks to the board and still produces it in large numbers. In spite of the fact that it is now sold in toy stores, it remains an exact duplicate of the Spiritualist board that was sold many years ago. The Ouija board is one of the most controversial methods of communication ever invented. It has been condemned by parents and religious groups, they often cite this for cases of a malevolent forces masquerading as good. This can cause emotional damage and sometimes even possession, and is this possible? YES, this is a link to the dark side, where you can not control what can come through. "I CAN'T AND YOU CAN'T"!

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