Breland: Ouija board, bane or blessing?

Published 1:22 pm Friday, August 6, 2021

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Remember the Ouija board? We still have one, but it is old and its original playful purpose is almost forgotten.

When my children were growing up, the Ouija board was supposedly a fun toy-like object advertised on TV. With their vivid imaginations, at first it was fun for them, but they soon lost interest. I was glad because over time it had become a little scary!

The Ouija board seemed to turn from an innocent parlor game, with users unconsciously making their own decisions by moving a little wooden object across the board of letters and numbers, to a “spirit board.” Many spiritualists were saying they could talk to the dead using the board.

It was strange how the little hand object would mysteriously move across the board, and bring this unusual feeling to the user, who just knew they were not moving it … but they were.

Then people were warned by religious groups not to use the board as it could lead to “demonic possession,” as the Bible warned against such things.

In the 1970s, board users were described as “cult members” by those studying the unusual “toy.”

Appearing “way back when,” it was interesting to learn the game idea is actually 125 years old. In 2013, horror writers and movie makers used Ouija for two movies and for videos. One can yet buy Ouija board, as it is still just a game.

So the board at our house was gradually buried along with many other old toys. However, it did not disappear. It was used for other purposes and moved around so much all the markings were eventually wiped away and all that was left was a blank brown board.

Before lap boards were available, my kids used the board for homework or as a base for drawing or playing with other puzzles. We used it as a “desk” for figuring household bills and payments. For almost any thing, the board was brought into use, even by the grandchildren as we were reading books. It made a great surface for my lap to hold the book as they sat on each side.

Before computers, it was perfect for playing solitaire as the cards fit perfectly across the board. The blank board was eventually stashed at the end of the sofa in an area where it was available for any use whatever. I guess the hand control was lost along with other discarded toys and games.

With no more use for solitaire and with the kids now grown and gone, the board is still there, waiting to be used.

I pulled it out the other day as I was dusting and had a moment of remembering its many uses.

I was getting ready to take a baked casserole for a family after a funeral. I was trying to think of what I could use to carry the hot dish. Since I prepared it in special a light container that wasn’t really strong, I had to find a way to get it from the oven to the counter, cover it and take it to the car.

I thought about the Ouija board I had seen just a couple of days before. I retrieved it, wiped it clean with a damp cloth. I removed the hot container from the oven, covered it with foil, placed it on the firm Ouija board and I was ready to go. It was firm and held the container well.

I managed to get it to the destination and transfer it to the home. Putting the strong board back into my car, I thought the Ouija board may once have been considered a bane, for my immediate need it was indeed a blessing!

Bob Ann Breland can be reached by email at