How the Ouija Board Got Its Sinister Reputation

How the Ouija Board Got Its Sinister Reputation
By Joseph P. Laycock for Real Clear Religion


By now, most have vague notions of the Ouija board horror narrative, in which demonic spirits communicate with – even possess – kids. Director Mike Flanagan furthers this trope in his new film “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” Set in 1967, a widow and her daughters earn a living scamming clients seeking to contact dead loved ones. The family business is relatively harmless until the youngest daughter discovers an old Ouija board, attempts to contact her deceased father and instead becomes possessed by evil spirits.

The Ouija board, however, didn’t always have this sinister reputation.

In fact, the Ouija board developed out of Spiritualism, a 19th-century movement known for its optimistic views about the future and the afterlife. As Spiritualism’s popularity waned, the Ouija board emerged as a popular parlor game; it was only in the 20th century that the Catholic Church and the horror movie industry rebranded the game as a doorway to the demonic.

A Note From Bishop Benedict Johns :St Michaels Ministry

An Ouija board is not something to be taken lightly; with that said many users can “play” with one of these things and walk away from the experience totally unscathed, but for others their lives will never be the same.  Please take a moment to read regarding why you shouldn’t use an Ouija board.

Spiritualist origins
The Spiritualist movement is often said to have begun in Hydesville, New York, in 1848, when two sisters, Kate and Maggie Fox, reported hearing a series of mysterious raps in their tiny home. No one could discern where the raps were coming from, and they manifested in other houses the sisters visited. With no apparent source, the raps were attributed to spirits, and they appeared to respond to the sisters’ questions.

The Fox sisters became overnight celebrities, and Spiritualism, a religious movement based on communicating with the dead, was born. Spiritualism spread across the Atlantic and into South America, but its popularity surged in the wake of the Civil War. The bloodiest war in American history had left many grieving families longing for ways to speak with their lost loved ones, and many sought comfort from spirit “mediums” – people like the Fox sisters who could allegedly talk to the dead. In 1893, Spiritualism became an official religious denomination, and in 1897, The New York Times reported that Spiritualism had eight million followers worldwide.

From the start, Christian critics claimed Spiritualism was just thinly disguised witchcraft. But Spiritualists were rarely dark or morbid. Spiritualist writer Andrew Jackson Davis even challenged the very idea of hell, asserting that all spirits can enter a blissful “Summerland” in the afterlife. Spiritualists also supported progressive causes, including abolition, temperance and women’s suffrage. Read the rest of this story at Real Clear Religion


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