The History of The Ouija Board

Close-up on a Ouija board in session.

The story of the Ouija board is a fascinating tale involving several key figures and twists of fate. It has captured the imaginations of people around the world for decades, with its mysterious and sometimes eerie reputation. Its origins date back to the late 19th century, and its evolution and cultural impact have been significant. In today’s blog, we will be taking a detailed look at the history of the board’s development and exploring the controversies and cultural significance surrounding it to provide a deeper understanding of its mass enduring appeal.

A Deep Dive Into Ouija Board’s Origins:

There are plenty of people involved in turning the Ouija board game into the massive, cultural phenomenon it is today. Let’s go through the story in its original chronological order to have a better understanding of how Ouija came to be.

The Origin of the Mystical Spirit Board: Charles Kennard and E.C. Reiche

Charles Kennard in his office.

Charles Kennard was a Baltimore businessman with a keen sense for the mystical and paranormal. He collaborated with cabinet and coffin manufacturer E.C. Reiche in 1890 to improve the design of an enigmatic spirit board that enables people to communicate with their departed loved ones. Though Kennard is frequently given credit for the invention, Reiche—being the skilled carpenter between the two—probably created the initial iteration of the board and the heart-shaped planchette that became its iconic pointer.

The Medium with the Message: Helen Peters

Helen Peters was a powerful spiritual medium with a wealth of knowledge in dealing and interacting with the spirits and entities of the beyond. Her role was essential in demonstrating the actual potential of the board and was important in persuading the doubting patent authorities of the spirit board’s efficacy through the patent application demonstration. During the demonstration, the board allegedly named itself “Ouija,” claiming the word meant “good luck.” Helen Peters’ expertise and the success of the demonstration played a significant role in the popularization of the Ouija board later on as a tool for communicating with the spirit world. This historical event marked a turning point in the acceptance and understanding of spiritual communication, showcasing the potential for bridging the gap between the living and the departed. With its enigmatic origins and mysterious capabilities, the board continued to intrigue and fascinate people around the country, thanks to Helen Peters’ pivotal involvement in its early recognition.

The Legal Protector: Elijah Bond’s Patent Prowess

By applying for a patent in 1891, lawyer and inventor Elijah Bond significantly contributed to the Weegee board’s legal status. His business and legal knowledge was crucial in turning the idea behind the board from a revolutionary notion into a protected and viable product. The Ouija board is now a legally protected and commercially recognized product thanks to Bond’s special blend of legal expertise and inventive flair. His actions in the late 19th century not only solidified the board’s place in history but also set the stage for its enduring presence in popular culture and folklore.

Picture of a young Elijah Bond.

The Marketing Genius: William Fuld

William Fuld was a key player in the Weegee board’s commercial success after beginning his career as an employee of the Kennard Novelty Company. Fuld took over the manufacturing and rights to the board when internal conflicts caused the company to dissolve. Being a cunning businessman with a knack for marketing, he added mystery and intrigue to the board by claiming that it originated in ancient Egypt. Fuld made major enhancements to the Weegee board’s appearance and functionality, making it more aesthetically pleasing and useful. His smart commercial judgment and marketing tactics turned the Ouija board game into a household name. Tragically, in 1927, Fuld died after falling from the roof of his factory, an event that added a layer of eerie intrigue to his legacy, given his association with the paranormal.

The Corporate Titans: Parker Brothers

An important turning point in the history of this mysterious board occurred when the Fuld family sold the rights to the Weegee board to the Parker Brothers, a significant toy and game manufacturer, in 1966, and the board reached unprecedented levels of popularity under the Brothers’ direction and leadership. To make the board more appealing to the general public—who were sometimes more terrified than dubious of the board’s experience—the corporation not only redesigned the board and standardized production but also actively promoted it as a game, putting it slightly away from its more spiritual roots.

 

With this calculated rebranding, the Ouija board game became more widely available and cemented its status in the American culture. The Ouija board game became an essential part of American pop culture and was seen in many homes and sleepovers across the entire country, thanks to the continuous efforts of the Parker Brothers. With its cryptic abilities and intriguing appeal, this legendary board game captivated generations and solidified its status as a timeless and enduring cultural phenomenon. It soon became a source of wonder and intrigue for everyone.

The Enigmatic Legacy: Cultural Impact of the Spirit Board

The transformation of the Ouija board from a specialized spiritual tool to a popular board game demonstrates how long humanity has been fascinated by the unexplained. The board has managed to hold onto its air of mystery and spirituality for believers, even in the face of commercialization. It keeps up its mysterious image by frequently appearing in ghost stories, horror movies, and accounts of supernatural communication. The board’s cultural influence goes beyond its application as a game; it has taken on symbolic meanings related to the unknown, the other side, and serves as a discussion starter for paranormal matters. Ouija’s legacy is both captivating and fascinating, guaranteeing that it will always have a prominent place in both popular culture and the paranormal community.

Open The Gates to The Beyond with Beatus Lignum:

Established by a skilled artisan with extensive expertise, Phenix Creation is dedicated to producing top-notch Ouija boards crafted for spiritual exploration, using the finest wood available. Using his craftsmanship expertise, the founder personally oversees the creation process to ensure that each board meets the high standards of the brand.

 

Constructed solely from premium wooden materials, our products are built to last, ensuring that you receive the high-quality boards required to connect with spirits and enjoy a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each board reflect our commitment to providing our customers with a tool that not only facilitates communication with the spiritual world but is also a work of art in its own right.

FAQ:

How do Ouija boards work?

After gathering two or more participants around the board, have each participant delicately touch the planchette—the heart-shaped piece—in the center of the board. Start by asking questions out loud to any spirits that might be there. It is recommended that participants focus on their questions and give the planchette enough room to go across the board. The planchette can indicate yes/no answers or spell out responses. Throughout the session, keep the environment polite and concentrated. When the session is over, move the planchette to “goodbye” and bid any remaining spirits farewell.

When were Ouija boards invented?

The board that would eventually become Ouija was created in Chestertown, Maryland, in 1886, and given its name in Baltimore, where it was initially produced, in 1890. Newspapers have covered Ouija’s use for communicating with the dead, foretelling disasters, cracking mysteries, and even venturing into the unknown ever since it was invented. It has led to countless discussions and disputes over the years; some claim it is a product of the supernatural, while others write it off as a psychological phenomenon. Ouija continues to pique people’s curiosity and hold their attention despite the doubts surrounding its efficacy. It has spawned countless tales and encounters that conflate the natural and supernatural worlds.

How many people should use Ouija?

Typically, 2-3 participants are recommended. Two participants place their fingers on the planchette, while a third person can write down the messages. However, the session can be carried out with more participants​. It’s important to ensure that everyone participating approaches the activity with respect and openness, and that clear communication guidelines are established to maintain a safe and positive experience. Additional participants can enhance the collective energy and focus during the session, potentially deepening the connection with the spirit world or subconscious realms.

In Conclusion:

Over the years, the Ouija board has persisted in its mysterious appeal, capturing the interest of people interested in interacting with the unknown. Its narrative encompasses not only business and creativity but also humanity’s constant interest in the beyond. Being a living example of the age-old attempt to reconcile the known and the unknown, the board continues to be an intriguing artifact of spiritual inquiry and cultural history.

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