With Scorpio season in full swing and the veil between life and death at its most threadbare, many a curious soul will be seeking communion with the dearly departed — often via Ouija board.
This enduring piece of Americana has fascinated and horrified the populace for over a century — our intrigue only heightens with the darkening of days and the time of year when fields lay fallow and ghosts get their undead due.
Gaming resource Poggers reports, for example, that Google search interest for ‘Ouija boards’ increases by 143% in late October. According to the research, over half (50.9%) of Americans have called upon the spirits in this fashion, while over two thirds (68.7%) say the boards possess supernatural abilities.
Perhaps because of this belief, nearly a third of respondents (33.8%) claim they would never try their hand at contacting the dead, while a quarter of those that have played admit they would avoid playing it in the future.
How to play it safe — and safely play? Read on to learn more.
History of Oujia
As Smithsonian Magazine details, the Ouija board was born out of America’s 19th century obsession with spiritualism.
The belief that the dead could and would make contact with the living must have been a comforting thought for a nation at war and an average life expectancy of less than 50 years.
Because we were and are an impatient people, so called “talking boards” with letters, numbers and a divining planchette were developed to accelerate the rate of communication from beyond the grave.
Capitalizing on the trend — the American way — was Charles Kennard. The Baltimore businessman and a team of investors began manufacturing and marketing talking boards in 1891.
The name “Ouija” allegedly came from the game itself. One of the investors and his spiritualist sister “asked the board what they should call it; the name “Ouija” came through and, when they asked what that meant, the board replied, ‘Good luck.’”
People have been trying their luck ever since.
Much of the polarization, fear and popularity associated with Ouija can be attributed to the board’s presence in William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel “The Exorcist” — and the 1973 film adaptation.
In both works, an innocent child becomes the victim of satanic possession after playing with the board. Riding high on its demonic reputation, Ouija sales soared among adolescents looking for a fast track to the dark side.
Ouija boards and spooky season
Fun fact: Ouija is the unofficial board game of team Scorpio.
Scorpio rules the eighth house of sex, death and transformation and natives exist a little closer to the veil between the living and the dead than most.
Comfortable in shadow and unafraid of literal or metaphorical darkness the Ouija board is a welcome “game” to scorpions. Consorting with ghosts, conspiring with spirts, seeking answers from the other side and being the bravest person in the room is not just their forte but their preference.
Whether you’re a Scorpio or not, Ouija virgin or old hat at communing with the spirit world, here are some helpful hints for experimenting with necromancy from the fine folks at Trusted Psychics, an online resource that connects individuals with experienced psychic advisors.
1. Don’t use a Ouija board alone
Joanne Jones, a renowned psychic at Trusted Psychics cautions users against using Ouija boards alone due to the potential for psychological or emotional distress.
“When you engage with the supernatural it can be mentally taxing and, without a supportive environment, potentially challenging. Participating in groups not only offers a safety net of emotional and mental support but also a collective experience that can be shared and later discussed to process the event in a healthy way,” she said.
Death: Always more fun with a friend!
2. Be polite
Whether dealing with relatives, waitstaff, or the undead, manners matter.
Joanne Jones maintains: “The importance of formally closing a Ouija session by saying goodbye and moving the planchette to ‘Goodbye’ cannot be overstated. This action not only represents a respectful farewell to any entities possibly engaged but also a clear end to the session, providing psychological closure to participants. It’s a boundary that separates the participants from any perceived spiritual interaction.”
Shut it down and close the lines of communication with a proper send off.
3. Don’t use a Ouija board in a graveyard or any location presumed to be haunted
Location, location, location.
As Jones explains, “Choosing a setting for a Ouija session should be done with the highest respect and consideration for both the living and the departed. Graveyards and haunted locations can intensify feelings of fear and anxiety due to their associations with death and the afterlife.
“Moreover, such activities in these sensitive locations may be considered disrespectful to the resting and their surviving loved ones.”
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4. In relationships, role play, work and Ouija practice, set your boundaries
Jones stresses the importance of clear boundaries and open communication between both participants and spirits.
“The emotional well-being of each participant should be crucial. Respect for personal boundaries, genuine consent, and an ongoing awareness of emotional states throughout the session is critical. Establishing clear rules, such as avoiding certain types of questions or setting a time limit, ensures that the session remains controlled and consensual. Furthermore, participants must always feel free to withdraw if they become uncomfortable.”
In life and death adjacent gaming, consent is king and boundaries are bond.
5. Maintaining a positive and respectful atmosphere
Jones states, “Launching a Ouija board session should be approached with a light-hearted yet respectful demeanor. It’s essential to maintain a positive and welcoming atmosphere throughout the session to ensure that all participants feel safe and valued. Regardless of personal beliefs regarding the spiritual aspects of the Ouija board, treating the session, participants, and any potential spiritual entities with respect contributes to a positive experience for all involved.”
Happy Halloween and merry necromancing, one and all.
Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.