Follow me as we begin the tour!
First, I must fasten my cufflinks…
…slip on my ring…
…then when we’re done, I’ll savor one of
my private-brand Ouija cigars with
a fortune on the back of the band!
Whoops! A sly glance at my Ouija pocket
watch tells me it’s time I start the tour!
You’ll very likely need to zoom in on this image to
get more information on OUIJA BOARDS
than you ever thought you wanted…
Click the image to see more detail.
See More Ouija-related images
below this giant picture!
Over the years, the rights to the Ouija board have passed through several companies. The name “Ouija” is a Trade-Marked brand name, but as with other Trade-Marks such as Kleenex, Xerox, Band-Aid, and even Linoleum and Dumpster and Bubble Wrap (did you know those last three were brand names?), the word Ouija has passed into the language to mean all talking boards.
Today, the Ouija board is manufactured and sold by toy giant Hasbro. At present, they do not sell a “classic” style Ouija board, but as owners of the Trade-Mark, they have licensed the old design to game company Winning Moves, so they still make the “classic” board and they make it out of wood!
Owing to an old licensing agreement, there is one other company that can legally use the name Ouija Board – and that’s only in Canada (Canada Games Company Limited). Here is their hauntingly beautiful Canadian Ouija with its black planchette:
Talking Boards come in many sizes and shapes. The diversity of product is limited only by the imagination of the creators. Amy Zerner and and Monte Farber make several fascinating variations on the theme of the Talking Board. The PATHFINDER PSYCHIC TALKING BOARD is one that I particularly like. I am not sure if this is still in print, but they turn up at book stores and web sites.
Take your Ouija with you! These key-chain Ouija boards come in…
As well as GLOW IN THE DARK!
The maker has discontinued these items, so if you see one at a reasonable price, go for it! Sealed, in the original package, these trinkets can fetch around $100. Yes, Ouija collecting certainly has grown HOT!
Yes, Ouija boards are fun. But if you’re really serious about them, this outfit may be for you… all year ’round or on Halloween!
No comment necessary…
Search around. These go for under $40
This is the front of a piece of sheet music from about 1920 Note the name Harry Von Tilzer. Among the songs wrote are some still known today: “I Want A Girl (Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad),” “A Bird in a Gilded Cage,” and “Wait ‘Til The Sun Shines Nellie.” His younger brother Albert must hold a record for longevity – he wrote “Take Me Out To The Ball Game, which according to some sort of experts ranks #8 among 20th Century songs.
In 1920, Ouija became a gigantic fad, sweeping the nation. Here’s a portion of a front-page article about the phenomenon.
Speaking of 1920… what did a Ouija board cost then? That 95¢ is $12.63 today. Still a bargain!
As I recently noted on Ask1Radio (Rev. Eliot’s Magickal Window) although Ouija has frightened people ever since the movie The Exorcist, before that it was considered harmless, family fun. What is more FAMILY and All-American than… Norman Rockwell? Well, how about the combo of Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post? Look at this, also from 1920!
In the 1960s, Parker Brothers bought Ouija from the original creators. Here’s a 1968 ad they ran that mirrors Rockwell’s work from 1920:
From a year later… here’s a 1969 variation on the theme.
Note the use of “Hippie” jargon creeping into the text.
See how clean-cut those 60’s couples look in the ads above? This next 60s Parker ad is a bit more… trippy. Note the reference to Monopoly. For a few years during the War in Vietnam, Ouija outsold Monopoly! Sales always used to pick up during wartime – before troops had cell phones or email. As the 1920 images above show, Ouija saw sales soar in WW1.
Jumping ahead to 2010, Hasbro and Toys ‘R’ Us teamed up to scare the bejabbers out of people who believe that these boards act like a Hot Line To Hell when they created a PINK Ouija aimed squarely at the young girls who historically included Ouija in the traditional Slumber Party! It came with its own carrying case and a set of Question Cards with the kind of questions a young girl may wish to ask of the board. The backlash, of course, was immediate – making this board a best-seller – and then later, a collector’s item.
As noted above, while discussing the Norman Rockwell magazine cover, Ouija was good, clean, family fun until the movie THE EXORCIST linked the boards to demonic possession. After that, the boards flew off the shelves, but it wasn’t poltergeists doing it, it was people buying and buying and buying. Although the board only shows up in one scene of the film, the ad campaign gleefully stressed this connection… Or is this a later piece of art created to further the mythical connection between demons and Ouija? I’ll ask one of my Ouija boards…
In stark contrast to THE EXORCIST and its plethora of ghastly horrors, get a load of the way movies treated Ouija 100 years ago! Below I present a scene from the 1919 film WHEN THE CLOUDS ROLL BY – starring one of the All-Time film greats: Douglas Fairbanks:
Click HERE to see the whole delightful film…
Now, from WW2 – the Yogee Board! I own one of these and it still glows blue in the dark. They sure made things to last back then! That $1.98? It’s worth $30.06 now. When they turn up, these boards now fetch a couple of hundred if sold with the planchette.
How’s this for a Time Warp juxtaposition? My own WWII-Era Yogee Answer Board with the decidedly 21st Century iWay Electronic Planchette. The Planchette is the little table that moves across the board to spell out answers. The word Planchette is French for “small plank.” The iWay Planchette is designed to let you know if someone in your Ouija session applies undue pressure in order to move the planchette around the board to spell what they want. It catches those sneaky people who manipulate the board for their own gain. That’ll teach ’em to mess with the Spirit Realm.
If you can find one of these Planchettes, snap it right up! Here’s how it works:
And speaking of Planchettes, many talented artists have made them – and still do! Artisanal Talking Boards make splendid gifts. Here again is my Yogee Board with a Planchette made by Dan Whitiker. It’s a work of art! Dan, sadly, is no longer with us. Click the picture below to see an article about him and his work…
Speaking of Planchettes, many people believe that we do in fact move it ourselves, but we do so unconsciously. So I designed a POCKET-SIZED Talking Board without a Planchette to test it out. By spinning a wheel, we have no real control over where it will go. And… they work just fine. In fact, they worked right from the start! After I made my first one, I tested it. The question was: “Shall I cook up some Puttanesca Sauce?” I spun the wheel and got “Q”. Another spin… “X”. Another spin and I got “R”. Seems like gibberish? Well here in New York, some radio stations can be hard to receive because of all the large buildings and their metal frames. At the time, we had only one classical radio station and in all of our apartment the only radio that gets that station is in our kitchen. The station call letters are… WQXR! So I took that as a message to get into the kitchen. The next day I asked if I would be getting any interesting phone calls. Two spins gave me “K” and “W”. Within an hour a long-distance friend with precisely those initials called. Now that’s what I call a Talking Board!
Here are a couple of samples of my pocket sized Talking Boards – using LP covers as a backdrop. You can find these, made to order, and other fascinating occult products, HERE.
Here’s a new FACSIMILE edition created from a 1917 book said to have been received through a Ouija board from… MARK TWAIN! He had died seven years earlier… Click the image to see the details (use checkout code LKAB317CD and get 15% off!!)
Jumping from 1917 to 1967, we come to… The Weirdest Toy EVER! It combines Ouija and Tarot. Yes, this was really marketed to children. I have one of these things and and it scares the bejabbers out of people just to look at it. Last time I checked, someone to whom I am married stuck it way, way up in a closet. Like Yogee, this glows in the dark. The hard-to-find TV commercials for this “toy” may yet turn up on YouTube. When they do, I will add them here. For the nonce, here’s an ad that ran in comic books.
A promotional piece aimed at retailers…
Here’s something unique: the tombstone of Elijah Bond, who died in 1921. Bond held the first patent on the Ouija talking board. Sadly, Bond died in obscurity, reposing in an unmarked grave until 2007 when ROBERT MURCH (see below), located Bond’s plot and put together a group of Ouija historians who bought and erected this much-deserved monument. The design on the back of the headstone comes from Bond’s 1891 patent.
Here is Bond’s patent application…
Note the Patent Examiner’s challenge: “Fanciful names are still used in claims 3 &4. Action on the merits is suspended until the device is proven by a working model to be operative, as volunteered by the applicant.”
According to the Bond family, Elijah met the challenge head on. He brought the prototype board to the patent office and presented the challenge to a patent examiner – not the one who made the notation, but an examiner who had never met Bond. This man told Bond that he would issue the patent if the board could correctly spell his name. So did the test work? Yes! The board spelled out the man’s name, leaving him visibly shaken, so…
… here we see the first page of Bond’s patent!
Now we come to something special! The… WEED-JA board, a talking board for stoners. This rare item is, in fact, highly coveted by non-“heads” as well. Would you like one? I happen to know of one that’s for sale over at EBAY. The seller is a wonderful old guy… ME! I have been going through my collection to send things out into the world – rather than leave them sitting in my collection. Here’s your chance to get something from the Rev. Eliot Collection. This board needs to be out and around people who will enjoy it. Just click the images to go to the EBAY auction for this rare item!
We have now arrived at the Robert Murch Wing of this Mini-Museum. No discussion of Ouija Boards will ever approach completeness without hearing from noted Ouija Historian ROBERT MURCH, a knowledgeable man who graciously shares his accumulation of Ouija lore with one and all.
In the world of Ouija, Mr. Murch, stands out as a slyly witty, charming, and totally unpretentious scholar of all things Ouija.
Robert Murch has been the foremost Ouija expert and collector for over two decades now. Here’s an article profiling Mr. Murch back in 2010. Click the image to read the piece. The article mentions his 300 Ouija boards. That’s just a fraction of his current collection!
It was not long before Mr. Murch created his own talking board. These beautiful boards are now highly coveted by collectors the world over.
I have heard Mr. Murch interviewed scores of times and he never fails to approach each interview in a fresh and engaging way – despite having heard all the questions thousands of times. That’s the mark of a true pro and a very giving person.
If you have any questions about Ouija, just listen to the conversation below and you will hear the answers – as you virtually meet a swell guy!
Finally, we come to an old book on using the Ouija, now updated. Note the cover… Now you know where it came from. This book features an introduction by… ME! So naturally I recommend this version. Others exist without the forward. You can get it at 15% off the already low price when you by-pass retail and buy right from the printing plant! Copy this checkout code: LKAB317CD then click the image. Paste the code at checkout. It’s a great deal!