Friday, October 17, 2014
Coal Region Connections: Do you believe in Ouji Boards?
Ouija (pronounced Wee Gee) boards can trace their roots back many centuries, but the board game was first marketed in 1891. Parker Brothers bought the game rights in 1966 & Hasbro has owned the rights since 1991. Word has it the very first Ouija boards were made from the wood of coffins with a coffin nail in the center of the planchette serving as the pointer.
People would stoop over the board, ask questions, & a "force" would guide your hands--moving the pointer over letters, numbers, yes, no, etc. That's why Ouija Boards were also called spirit boards & talking boards. Hey--before computers, Facebook, video games, & 100s of TV channels--a Ouija Board was your Saturday night entertainment in the coal region decades ago. Right?
As Ouija boards grew in popularity, they developed a folklore & their own set of rules & warnings. Never play alone! Never play if you're ill or in a weakened condition! Never use the board in a graveyard or where a tragic death occurred! Never leave a planchette on the board if you're not using it. Never ask when you are going to die & never ask where gold is buried. Always be respectful & never upset the spirits.
It's been said if you lost or disposed of a Ouija board improperly, bad luck would follow you. If you tried to burn the board, the board would "scream" at you. Supposedly, the only proper disposal method is to break the board into 7 pieces, sprinkle it with Holy Water, & bury it.
Ouija Boards peaked during the 50s & 60s--the same time the Amazing Kreskin, Jean Dixon, & other mentalists were making a name for themselves. Ouija boards were referenced in many TV shows & movies. They might make a comeback with the release of the supernatural movie thriller "Ouija" that premiers in theaters next weekend--just in time for Halloween.
So, are Ouija Boards just like playing Monopoly or Candy Land? Or is it something different that reaches beyond our physical world? One thing is certain--decades of slick marketing has created a board game that has endured for decades.You tell us: are Ouija Boards the real McCoy or just a lot of hype.
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