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Season 4, Episode 9: Ouija - “Talking Board History”

Turn out the lights, burn some sage, and learn about the history of the Ouija board…just don’t look under the bed afterwards.

Frank's Thoughts

I know I said this in the episode, but who doesn’t grow up knowing of the Ouija Board? It’s intrinsic to our culture. At the time I’m writing this, I could go leave here and go see the sequel to a movie that’s premise is based around the Ouija Board. I mean, the name of the board is in the title of the movie.

It’s been a cultural phenomenon since it was first put on the market in 1890. Sure, there have been times when interest has waned, but it seems like every generation continues to gravitate back to the Ouija board. This game is older than Risk. It’s older than Clue. It’s even older than Monopoly. It’s over a century old. That’s a lot of history.

But when you sit down at a party today and play it, you don’t normally think of it as history. You don’t think of the generations of kids and adults who have sat down and put their hands on the planchette just like you.

Even more so, you might not even think about how Talking Boards in general, which is the generic name for the Ouija Board, have been around since 1100 AD in China. That’s almost a millennium of people attempting to talk to those who have passed away.

And regardless of whether you believe in the afterlife, if you believe you are talking with the dead, or if you believe your friend to the left is pushing planchette, you’re taking apart of a tradition that is older than the United States. It’s older than the European explorers coming to the Americas. It’s older than even the Aztecs.

Just think about the history talking boards have seen…and I guess the parties they have attended.

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