Should Christians Use the Ouija Board?
The December 1994 Consumer Reports published the
results of a survey among 17,000 young people ages 10 to 14. They answered a query
concerning what games they played with and which they enjoyed the most. Out of 83 games
listed, Monopoly was no. 1 and the Ouija Board was no. 2!
The Ouija board is an alphabet board with a pointer used for various forms of
divination and/or spirit contact. Like the other methods discussed, its usage is ancient:
Precursors to the Ouija date back to ancient times. In China before the
birth of Confucius (c. 551 B.C.), similar instruments were used to communicate with the
dead. In Greece during the time of Pythagoras (c. 540 B.C.) divination was done with a
table that moved on wheels to point to signs, which were interpreted as revelations from
the "unseen world." The rolling table was used through the nineteenth century.
Other such devices were used by the ancient Romans as early as the third century A.D., and
in the thirteenth century by the Mongols. Some Native Americans used "squdilatc
boards" to find missing objects and persons, and obtain spiritual information. In
1853 the planchette came into use in Europe. . . .The Ouija enjoyed enormous popularity
during and after World War I, when many people were desperate to communicate with loved
ones killed in the war and Spiritualism was in a revival. (1526:40)
Gruss and others document the modern occult origin of this "parlor
game" which is specifically designed to contact the spirit world. Its recent
development began with prominent French spiritualist, M. Planchette in 1853 and, in 1899
was bought by William Fuld, an inventor interested in spiritism (1129:24-25).
bought the patent in 1899 from Elijah J. Bond, the American who invented the Ouija
boards current form in 1892.) In 1966 Fuld, often considered the modern
"father" of the Ouija board, sold his patent to Parker Brothers.
Although Parker Brothers keeps sales figures confidential, the board has now
sold perhaps 20-25 million sets (1129:25-26, 1994 ed.). Yet in spite of its vast
influence, few critical books have been written exposing its dangers. We could find only
two. Professor Edmond Gruss The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult (1129) is
the best and documents the ancestry of related forms, its modern history and variations,
its consequences and hazards--including numerous cases of Ouija board related tragedies.
Another text is Stoker Hunt, Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game (2684) which contains
two chapters instructing people in use of the board.
Not surprisingly, the board is often associated with
mediumism, spiritism and
spirit possession; as a result it should be considered anything but a game.
Nevertheless it continues to be marketed as as game, no doubt because of lucrative
Many famous mediums began their trade by experimentation with the Ouija board,
e.g., Mrs. Pearl Lenore Curran who became the recipient through the board (and later via
automatic writing) of the famous "Patience Worth" material. In 1919 Stewart
Edward White and his wife, Betty were introduced to entities called "Invisibles"
who inspired several books including The Betty Book and The Unobstructed
Universe. Jane Roberts, famous for her dozen plus "Seth" books is another
example. (See A Course in Miracles.) In all three cases, the spiritistic contacts
were begun casually and were unexpected.
Dangers of Spirit Possession and Other Consequences
Nevertheless, even seasoned occultists and psychic researchers warn against
using the Ouija board. Medium Edgar Cayce himself called it "dangerous"
(1526:419). Edmund Gruss refers to medium Donald Page, an "exorcist" of the
"Christian" Spiritualist Church, who asserts that "the majority of
possession cases" result from involvement with the Ouija board. Page believes it is
one of the quickest and easiest ways there is to become possessed (1129:52, cf., 1994 ed.,
Discussing the relation of Ouija boards to automatic writing, psychic researcher
Martin Ebon also alleges that possession is a frequent occurence:
It is common that people who get into this sort of game think of
themselves as having been "chosen" for a special task. The ouija board will
often say so, either directly or by implication. It may speak of "tests" that
the sitters must undergo to show that they are "worthy" of this otherworldly
attention. I have not been able to figure out why this is so, but quite often the ouija
turns vulgar, abusive or threatening. It grows demanding and hostile, and sitters may find
themselves using the board or automatic writing compulsively, as if "possessed"
by a spirit, or hearing voices that control and command them. This is no longer rare.
Id say it is now so frequent as to be common. (148:IX)
The Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach was founded by
medium Edgar Cayce. According to his son, Hugh Lynn Cayce, the ARE receives
"countless letters from a great many who are having serious difficulties as a result
of trying Ouija boards and automatic writing" (1129:73). Professor Gruss reveals
that, "Reading several dozen letters in the A.R.E. files made it obvious that the
patterns of development and entrapment were very similar. Hugh Lynn Cayce wrote that in
1956 there were 274 people who wrote to him that were in trouble because of automatic
writing or ouija board use" (1129:67).
Psychic Alan Vaughan also points out the following information, "It is
significant, however, that the greatest outcry against the use of Ouijas has come from the
Spiritualists not the parapsychologists. In England, Spiritualist groups are petitioning
to ban the sale of Ouijas as toys for children--not because of vague dangers of
unhealthy effects on naive, suggestible persons--but because they fear that
the children will become possessed" (1500:164).
Psychic/spiritist Harold Sherman, president of ESP Research Associates
Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas, agrees: "The majority who have become involved
with possessive and other entities came by this experience through the ouija board"
The irony however, is that, despite the warnings, most people continue to view
the Ouija board as a harmless pastime:
Spiritualists, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors,
theologians, and other informed persons have all given warnings on the hazards of using
the ouija board and similar devices. In spite of all they have said, it is evident that
many persons are still ignorant that dangers exist.
Those who know little or nothing about the occult and ouija board experiences do not
understand these warnings concerning the "innocent" use of the board. One who
speaks of physical, mental, spiritual, or other problems which might relate to ouija use
is often viewed as an extremist, obsessed with groundless fears. How could the use of so
simple a device result in anything detrimental to the user? This is often the attitude
until, through personal involvement, the reality of the dangers is experienced, and the
warnings are then remembered. Often by this time permanent damage has occurred.
Indeed, the dangers of the ouija board have been noted long before our modern revival
of the occult. Almost seventy years ago, the medium Carl Wickland, M.D. referred to his
own encounters when he wrote of "the cases of several persons whose seemingly
harmless experiences with automatic writing and the ouija board resulted in such wild
insanity that commitment to asylums was necessitated. . . .Many other disastrous results
which followed the use of the supposedly innocent ouija board came to my notice"
Edmond Gruss refers to a clipping from the files of the famous magician Houdini
concerning a Dr. Curry, a medical director of the State Insane Asylum of New Jersey, who
stated the Ouija board was a "dangerous factor" in unbalancing the mind and
predicted that insane asylums would be flooded with patients if interest in them did not
Noted psychic researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren refer to one instance where the
Ouija board was used "as little more than a joke"--and yet it led to the house
becoming "infested" with evil spirits (2407:1). Noted occultist Manly P. Hall
founder of the Philosophical Research Society is considered as one of the leading
authorities on the occult in this century. In Horizon magazine for October-December
1944, pages 76-77 he recalls, "During the last 20-5 years I have had considerable
personal experience with persons who have complicated their lives through dabbling with
the Ouija board. Out of every hundred such cases, at least 95 are worse off for the
experience. . . .I know of broken homes, estranged families, and even suicides that can be
traced directly to this source" (2424:78-79).
Another authority on the Ouija board, Ed and Lorrain Warren, who we cited above,
state in their book Graveyard (p. 137-38): "Ouija boards are just as dangerous
as drugs. Theyre not to be played with. . . .just as parents are responsible for
other aspects of the childrens lives, they should take equal care to keep the tools
of the devil from their children. . .especially in an error when satanic cults are on the
rise. Remember: Seances and Ouija boards and other occult paraphernalia are dangerous
because evil spirits often disguise themselves as your loved ones--and take over your
Dr. Thelma Moss, a parapsychologist on the staff of UCLAs Neuropsychiatric
Institute prefaced her discussion of the Ouija board in The Probability of the
Impossible with: "Warning! For certain persons, the Ouija board is no game
and can cause serious dissociations of personality" (2628:237).
Some incidents of Ouija board use are bizarre, but they have been documented;
for example, Ouija board related vampirism. Vampirism is not total fiction; there are many
accounts in the psychiatric literature. Skeptic William Seabrooke, in his Witchcraft,
refers to one female vampire he actually let suck his own blood in a moment of perverse
fascination. Psychic researcher Raymond VanOver refers to a man who was quite serious
about his need to drink human blood, particularly that of young girls (148:108).
Blood, of course, has long been used in occultism for any number of purposes.
Blood may be drunk in ritual (sometimes at the spirits request, 583:307-308),
offered on altars, used in pacts with the devil or as a means to materialize spirits, etc.
In Occult Science in India and Among the Ancients, Chief Justice Louis Jacolliot
refers to one formula of magical incantation: "The flowers that he offers to the
spirits evoked by him should be colored with the blood of a young virgin, or a child, in
case he proposes to cause death" (1485:141).
Given this frequent use of blood and the perverted nature of occult practice, it
is hardly surprising some people might become "vampires" and feel the need to
In some cases, use of the Ouija board--like astrology--leads to actual
involvement with witchcraft and Satanism. On more than one occasion, the spirits
themselves--claiming the participants are now "ready" for more serious occult
work--have suggested the players "graduate" to such practices. Carl Johnson
started dabbling with the Ouija board after occasional earlier brushes with occultism:
The "voices" and other eerie stuff began when he and his
sister started playing around with a Ouija board a few years ago, he recalls. This led to
nightmares, creeping depression, and a suicide attempt--which Carl says left him
revitalized and thirsty for blood. So he delicately pricked the leg of his sleeping sister
and slaked his thirst. Then, compulsively, he took to sucking blood from slices he made in
the arm of a pliant homosexual pal--a practice shared by other young friends when he
organized a satanic coven. . . .
Lilith, too, became a vampiric Devil worshipper. She describes ceremonies under full
moons in which her teenaged coven would get zonked out on dope and drink blood mixed with
wine. Ultimately, she knew things were getting out of hand when one of the cultists
proposed kidnapping her own father and offering him up as a ritual sacrifice. (1504; cf.,
Thankfully, it also appears true that many people do not seem to be harmed by
the Ouija board; they may have innocently played with it as a child or for fun at a party,
and suffered no discernible ill effects.
The problem is that no one can tell the outcome in advance. There are also
hundreds of cases of innocent or naive occult involvement leading to spirit-possession,
insanity, financial ruin, adultery and divorce, criminal acts (even murder) and other
tragedies--as the books by Edmond Gruss, Stoker Hunt and the literature of occultism and
parapsychology proves beyond doubt (1069).
Ouija boards should never be played with, especially for entertainment. Parents
should never give the board to their children as a gift. Perhaps one day Parker Brothers
will no longer deny the ruin this "game" has brought to thousands of people,
live up to its corporate responsibility and, retaining the copyright, refuse to ever
market this "game" again.
But if the Ouija board is an example of a method that is purposely intended to
foster occult contacts, there are many others which serve as more subtle introductions to
the occult. Dungeons and Dragons and other fantasy role playing (FRP) games are among
1526. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Harpers Encyclopedia of Mystical and
Paranormal Experience, San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins, 1991.
1129. Edmond Gruss, The Ouija Board: Doorway to the Occult, Chicago, IL: Moody
Press, 1975, reprinted and expanded in 1995.
2684. Stoker Hunt, Ouija: The Most Dangerous Game, New York: Harper & Row,
148. Martin Ebon, ed., The Satan Trap: Dangers of the Occult, Garden City, NY:
1500. Alan Vaughan, "Phantoms Stalked the Room..." in ref. 148.
1502. Carl A. Wickland, Thirty Years Among the Dead, Newcastle, 1974, rpt.
2424. Edmond Gruss, The Ouija Board: A Doorway to the Occult, Philipsburg, NJ:
Presbyterian and Reformed, 1994, galley copy.
2628. Thelma Moss, The Probability of the Impossible, Los Angeles, CA: J.P.
1504. The National Observer, June 1, 1974.
[For more detailed information, see our Resource Catalog for "The Facts on the
Occult" and Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs.]