The Ouija Board

What is the draw? 

Atheism has been on the rise for at least the two most recent generations. Church attendance is radically declining—52% of self-identified Christians do not attend a brick-and-mortar church—so churches are closing, but pop spiritualism focused on the self, called “self-care” or the “wellness movement,” is on the rise. 

Yes, it is the great “awokening,” but comparatively empty as movements go. So, what’s the draw? Shunning the old-time religions is part of the fun, especially that Christian one. Getting hold of ethereal energies is another; but again, only if it has nothing to do with any “organized” religion. Out with you! 

The trouble with this thinking is that there is something innately spiritual about us, some kind of knowledge of and longing for something more. We refuse to go to a church to find it, and our device screens take us only so far. So, where is it happening? 

The move back to the occult, what Tara Isabella Burton calls Contemporary Occultism, could very possibly be it. (We suggest getting her book, Strange Rites.

We live in Marin County, California, and it is reported to be the least Christian county in America. There are multitudes more atheists, Wiccans, Buddhists, and shamans than Christians here. After all, our church’s town of Mill Valley is said to be at a major vortex of spirit power—Mt. Tamalpais. Tomorrow we begin a television program series where the guest is the area’s chief spokesperson for shamanism. We will discuss and spar. After that, we hope for a Buddhist, then a Wiccan witch who is up for the challenge. 

Frankly, the most interesting of the above groups is the Wiccan witches. They are knowingly in touch with the supernatural, and they love it. However, you can bet they will not acknowledge being in cahoots with the devil, having probably renamed it as some lord or master in nature. 

These groups usually have rituals and elements identified as “sacred” or“divine” to help with focusing the mind and the attention on the ceremony. It may be candles, burning sage, drumming, ingesting some psychotropic substance, chanting, meditating, or dancing in swirling rotation for long periods. 

For the uninitiated who are just looking for an interesting pastime (at first) to play at with friends, there is the Ouija board. It has a peculiar allure, and it is quite strong. Picture this: guys and gals, a hookah with good stuff in it, some pills with mind expanding capacity, and up all night. All good? Sounds innocent! Someone brings out the board, and all gather about for a fun game. What could go wrong? 

The pros insist it is nothing more than a mind game, called “the ideomotor effect, where your brain may unconsciously create images and memories when you ask the board questions. Your body responds to your brain without you consciously ‘telling’ it to do so, causing the muscles in your hands and arms to move the pointer to the answers that you — again, unconsciously — may want to receive.” 

The scientific researchers are sure that the idea of anything supernatural or spiritual is a folk tale or worse, a hoax perpetrated on the young and naïve. That’s what they say. 

But what is happening here? An acquaintance of ours, gathered in a group the other night around a Ouija Board, reported that two demons introduced themselves via the board: one was identified as a good demon, but another was a bad demon. They all decided to listen to the good demon but ignore the bad one. They don’t know that demons love to lie to humans. Oh, and forget the ideomotor effect, because the planchette continued to move and spell out words when all the participants had removed their hands! 

No matter, who cares. There is no God. Let the Bible thumpers jump up and down. This is for real. 

Kent reports: 

When I was a kid, some neighborhood friends and I fooled around with a Ouija Board. Lots of kids were doing it, as it was popular then. I think my mother got it for us and showed us how to use it. Strange, now that I think of it. 

There we were in the living room beside the fireplace on a wintry afternoon, on our knees, around this strange square with the alphabet, numbers 0 to 9, and some other odd figures and shapes. There was a small heart-shaped object made out of wood (in other countries the planchette, as it is sometimes called, is made of glass or plastic), and we put a finger on it and were wildly amazed as it moved about the board and answered questions we asked of it. Strange also that we would ask a game board questions. 

How shocked we were when the answers we received made sense and even seemed like the right answers. We were excited and scared all at the same time. At first, we played with the board every time we got a chance. However, a few things happened that caused us to back away from it—the answers were too right, weirdly right. That was the last time I saw a Ouija board, and I did not think much about them, until I read Robert Anderson’s book, The Ghosts of Iceland. Dr. Anderson, an anthropologist, studied spiritism in Iceland. His book covers material about elves, trolls, spirits of the dead, mediums, shamans, and other occult activities and practices, including the Ouija board, used by mediums and fortune tellers. Iceland has a reputation for having a highly occult-oriented population. 

History of the Ouija Board 

Wikipedia reports that the Ouija board was introduced to the Western world by Elijah Bond in 1890 as a harmless parlor game and not related to the occult. But then, during WWI, an American spiritualist named Pearl Curran used it for fortune telling. 

Ouija believers feel it has supernatural or paranormal powers, while others, not so spiritualist in orientation, think it operates through the phenomenon called “ideomotor effect,” described previously. Of course, this does not explain how several people who touch the pointer at the same time all subconsciously want the same response from the board. 

Other Wikipedia sources link the Ouija Board to China, around AD 1100, when it was used for automatic writing. The planchette would move to different letters, each would be written down, and thus a message would appear that was supposed to be from spirits of the dead. Apparently, a Ouija type board was also used in ancient India, Greece, Rome, and in medieval Europe. 

Is there something to it? 

The 1973 film, The Exorcist, tells what is thought to be the true story of a teenage girl (actually based on a true account of a boy) becoming possessed by a demon. The film links the possession to the girl’s involvement with a Ouija Board. This was only one of twenty-five films Wikipedia lists as having something to do with the Ouija Board. Is there a reality embedded here in the plots of those films? 

Our research and experience say, yes there is. 

Remember Satan does not play fair, and his devices do not have labels containing full disclosure of the dangers involved. The devil’s religion is the occult, magic, fortune telling, mediumship, séances, and straight-up Satanic worship. The Ouija Board is perfectly targeted to a youthful audience, but at its core, it is aimed at making contact with something ethereal and ghostlike—supposed spirits of the dead. Children playing with it do not think they are trying to contact the dead, but they gather around a tool used for fortune telling and a means of contacting spirits—right where the devil wants young, impressionable minds. Remember, he does not play fair. 

The Apostle Paul makes this very clear when he says of those to whom the gospel is veiled, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4). We have seen the reality of this passage many times. A person once delivered from blinding evil spirits will so often quickly grasp the truth of Jesus Christ. 

Ideomotor effect? Maybe. “Does Diane like me?” the boy asks. The boy wants the board to say yes, and it does. Wow. Let’s ask another question. Deeper and deeper, it goes, and then strange things begin to happen—weird things, scary things. And it begins to follow the “players” around until they are seeing and hearing things. Is there something in it? Yes! 

Right or wrong? 

An ancient book, the Bible, has several passages that are chilling, all the way to the bone. 

You shall not interpret omens or tell fortunes (Leviticus 19:26). 

Do not turn to mediums or wizards, do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God (Leviticus 19:26). 

If a person turns to mediums and wizards, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people (Leviticus 20:6). 

And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them . . . (Deuteronomy 4:19). 

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a wizard or a necromancer, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). 

For clarification purposes “sorcerer” means magician, and “necromancer” is a person, like a medium, who communicates with or gets messages from the supposed dead. 

Likely, the admonition about sacrificing and burning sons and daughters will seem strange to us now, but in that era it was not unusual. 

The practices listed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy are the rituals, the religious tools of Satan and his demons, and their aim is to indwell or possess the practitioners of those rituals and tools.

Jesus Cast Out Demons 

In the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there are six instances in which Jesus encountered demonized persons. They are: 

  1. The man with an unclean spirit at a synagogue in Capernaum—Mark 1:21–28 and Luke 4:31–37. 
  2. The blind and dumb demoniac—Matthew 12:22-29; Mark 3:22–27; and Luke 11:14–22. 
  3. The Gerasene demoniac—Matthew 8:28–34; Mark 5:1–20; and Luke 8:26–39. 
  4. The Syrophoenician woman’s daughter—Matthew 15:21–28; and Mark 7:24–30. 
  5. The Epileptic boy—Matthew 17:14–21; Mark 9:14–29; and Luke 9:37–43a. 
  6. The woman with a spirit of infirmity—Luke 13:10–17. 

An angel of light? 

The occult is very enticing and attractive. Paul says of Satan: 

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So, it is no surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15). 

This is quite frightening, that what looks so innocent, even good, can be so evil! It has long been known that the devil gives power and knowledge to those who follow him, at least until the knot is so tightly tied that Satan can take the blinders off and terrorize at will. And the only escape is the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our experience has been that Satan gives wormy gifts—sexual fun, power over others, knowledge, and sometimes even material gain—anything to entice. 

The old tale of the Faustian tradeoff rings true. In exchange for his soul, meaning his entire being, Faust receives the devil’s gifts. Faust will likely die miserably, because Satan always reneges, and now all he will have are endless darkness and fire. Yes, both at once. 

And somewhat related is Paul’s warning to the Ephesian Church. He urged the Ephesians: 

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:11–12) 

Okay, now what?

For many years, mostly in the 1960s and 1970s, many of us involved in that great moving of the Holy Spirit called the Jesus People Movement, routinely conducted a ministry we called “deliverance ministry,” which essentially was casting out of demons. We testify to participating hundreds of times in casting out thousands of demons, many of which originally gained entry into the individual via occult activities. 

To be direct and clear: Only Jesus casts out demons. Shamans and other occultic practitioners may manipulate or move bad spirits around, even claiming to expel them, but this is a sham. Nothing really happens besides the possible exchange of money, so buyer beware! After the demons have “lain low” for a time, they will be right back at their tormenting. 

Though nearly all the major world religions know about the devil and evil, only Jesus casts them out, and more than that, He gives His disciples authority over them to also cast them out. Here are some key biblical passages explaining this: 

Luke 9:1 And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. 

“The twelve” were the apostles whom Jesus had specially called. But in the next passage, it is not the “twelve” who cast out demons but seventy-two other people. 

Luke 10:17-20 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 

1 John 3:8 The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 

Part of Jesus’ ministry was to defeat Satan, which He did through His atoning death on the cross, His resurrection, and ascension back to heaven. Jesus is victor over sin, death, and Satan. Those who contact spirits of the dead are falsely comforted when they contact what they think are spirits of the dead. The so-called spirits of the dead are really demons that imitate departed loved ones. 

Yet it is so enticing and appears to be proof of the supernatural, right here and now. At first there is exhilaration, but the excitement eventually fades and becomes, rather, a great burden. 

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Demons are most easily cast out when a person submits to God and resists Satan. No one needs to fear Satan, for his power is severely limited. While he may appear fearsome and dreadfully powerful and full of secret knowledge, he trembles at the power and authority of Jesus Christ, even when His very human disciples show up for the simple ministry of casting out demons. 

In Acts 16:16–24 is the story of Paul while in the Greek city of Philippi, where he crossed the path of a slave girl whose owners were using her to tell fortunes. She recognized, or her demons did, that Paul and his companions were “servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). She kept yelling this out, until Paul became annoyed, so he turned and pointed to the girl and said, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Luke, the author of Acts, relates, “And it came out that very hour” (Acts 16:18). 

Paul cast the demon out, and the slave girl could no longer make money for her owners by fortune telling, since the demon that actually did the telling was now gone. As a result, the owners were angry with Paul and stirred up trouble against him. 

Perhaps most people’s involvement with the Ouija Board turns out to be harmless, but if yours is otherwise, know that you can find help and relief in Jesus. And to be clear—in Jesus alone. Yes, there are exorcists who claim that their “magic incantations” are effective, but it is a false claim and fakery, since the devil does not cast the devil out. 

In Christ alone is our help and hope. Submit to him, resist the devil, and that enemy of God will flee. 

Where it Leads 

Little by little the power behind the Ouija board takes hold: 

It’s fun at first, even enticing. 

Next comes empowering. It seems to give real answers—to the rate of about 65% accuracy according to some studies. 

Next comes captivating. 

Then controlling. 

Dependency sets in, being fearful not to trust the guidance. 

Can’t go out the door unless the board is consulted. 

The bottom line: The demonic spirits have one goal: possess those they snare. 

But you are not the real enemy; the Creator God is. 

Because you are made in His image, you are the target. 

Did you not know that Jesus said Satan is a liar, an accuser, a murderer from the beginning? (See John 8:44)147 

How is one freed from the unseen spirits? 

One, throw out the board. 

Two, repent of the sin. 

Three, ask for forgiveness. 

Four, command the demons to come out. 

Excerpts from Wikipedia 

Wikipedia, July 3, 2022 

The ouija, also known as a spirit board or talking board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0–9, the words “yes”, “no”, occasionally “hello” and “goodbye”, along with various symbols and graphics. It uses a planchette (small heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic) as a movable indicator to spell out messages during a séance. Participants place their fingers on the planchette, and it is moved about the board to spell out words. “Ouija” is a trademark of Hasbro but is often used generically to refer to any talking board. 

Spiritualists in the United States believed that the dead were able to contact the living and reportedly used a talking board very similar to a modern Ouija board at their camps in the U.S. state of Ohio in 1886 to ostensibly enable faster communication with spirits. Following its commercial introduction by businessman Elijah Bond on 1 July 1890, the Ouija board was regarded as an innocent parlor game unrelated to the occult, until American spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I. 

Paranormal and supernatural beliefs associated with Ouija have been criticized by the scientific community and are characterized as pseudoscience. The action of the board can be most easily explained by unconscious movements of those controlling the pointer, a psychophysiological phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect. 

Mainstream Christian denominations, including Catholicism, have “warned against using Ouija boards”, holding that they can lead to demonic possession. Occultists, on the other hand, are divided on the issue, with some saying that it can be a tool for positive transformation; others reiterated the warnings of many Christians and caution “inexperienced users” against it. 

Talking boards 

As a part of the spiritualist movement, mediums began to employ various means for communication with the dead. Following the American Civil War in the United States, mediums did significant business in allegedly allowing survivors to contact lost relatives. The Ouija itself was created and named in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1890, but the use of talking boards was so common by 1886 that news reported the phenomenon taking over the spiritualists’ camps in Ohio. 

Commercial parlor game 

Businessman Elijah Bond had the idea to patent a planchette sold with a board on which the alphabet was printed, much like the previously existing talking boards. Bond filed on 28 May 1890 for patent protection and thus is credited with the invention of the Ouija board. Issue date on the patent was 10 February 1891. He received U.S. Patent 446,054. Bond was an attorney and was an inventor of other objects in addition to this device. 

An employee of Elijah Bond, William Fuld, took over the talking board production. In 1901, Fuld started production of his own boards under the name “Ouija”. Charles Kennard, founder of Kennard Novelty Company which manufactured Fuld’s talking boards and where Fuld had worked as a varnisher, claimed he learned the name “Ouija” from using the board and that it was an ancient Egyptian word meaning “good luck”. When Fuld took over production of the boards, he popularized the more widely accepted etymology: that the name came from a combination of the French and German words for “yes”. 

The Fuld name became synonymous with the Ouija board, as Fuld reinvented its history, claiming that he himself had invented it. The strange talk about the boards from Fuld’s competitors flooded the market, and all these boards enjoyed a heyday from the 1920s.

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