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  • Writer's pictureMatt


Updated: Jun 4, 2023

One of the spirit boards on display in the Shanley Hotel, NY.

The Ouija board over the years has held fascination and wonder to some, and fear to others. On looking into this Toy or Parlor Game, not much information was found on the well known Waddington's or Parker versions, and in doing some research it was amazing to see how far back the Ouija has been sold as a game. With the Spiritualism movement taking hold in the 1840's, where mediums would hold séances, as well as table tipping, being popular it's only natural that the Ouija Board would follow suit.

During the late 19th century, planchettes were widely sold as a novelty. The businessmen Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard had the idea to patent a planchette sold with a board on which the alphabet was printed. The patentees filed on May 28, 1890 for patent protection and thus had invented the first Ouija board. Issue date on the patent was February 10, 1891. They 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 Kennard, William Fuld took over the talking board production and in 1901, he started production of his own boards under the name Ouija. Kennard 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 would become 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 through the 1960s. Fuld sued many companies over the Ouija name and concept right up until his death in 1927. In 1966, Fuld's estate sold the entire business to Parker Brothers, which was sold to Hasbro in 1991, and which continues to hold all trademarks and patents. About ten brands of talking boards are sold today under various names.

Due to these older versions of the board becoming collectors item's they are certainly going for a pretty penny on eBay. Although, would you like to own a pre-owned Ouija not knowing what might have been contacted through it previously?

We at Team H currently own the Hasbro branded board which we purchased from a Spirit Halloween store. As of yet we have not used it in during an investigation. Not all owners of haunted properties allow the use of them due to past experience of improper use, but if used sensibly and correctly they can be a productive tool for contacting spirits.

Team H have only used a Ouija board once and this was whilst staying at the Lizzy Borden House with another group of investigators. The owner at the time had left out a few different vintage boards to be utilized. The one we used was a William Fuld style wooden board. Now, I'm not sure if this was a reproduction or genuine board, but if its a genuine board it's actually worth a lot of money!

Alas, on our attempts to contact spirits through the board we came up fruitless. We had no movement whatsoever.

Another time Team H were present where a Ouija board was used was when we were attending a special invite only event at the Shanley Hotel. Scotty the Medium sat down and discussed the pros and cons of using spirit boards, and that it is mainly user error that causes bad juju to happen when not using the board respectfully and sensibly. Watching Scotty contact spirits through the board was very fascinating and seeing such wonderful results.

Whatever your feelings towards the ouija, you cannot deny, it is certainly a truly fascinating and mysterious piece of supernatural .

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