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The History of Ouija

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Ouija is a word associated with the paranormal and communicating with spirits. However, do you know how this association came about or even where the word came from? Many people do not, but they do know about Ouija boards or spirit boards that are used to talk with spirits. This spiritual tool has had an up and down history that has led it from popularity to being ostracized to being popular again. Here’s a look at Ouija throughout history and at today’s digital version.

19th Century Desire to Talk to Spirits

Ouija first made its appearance during a very hard time in history when people were looking for any way possible to reach loved ones who had died. In 19th Century America, life was difficult, and people wanted to believe in spiritualism. They wanted to believe that they could contact the spirits of their loved ones. This led to a huge following on all things having to do with channeling and speaking to spirits.

At this time, spiritualism and religion went hand in hand. People had no issues speaking with spirits throughout the week and then attending church on Sunday. Everyone accepted it. It was terribly popular. Everyone was doing it. Eventually, basic channeling led to automatic writing and table turning.

The Introduction of the Ouija Board

The introduction of the Ouija board was not really surprising. It made communicating with the spirits much easier and more accessible to everyone. The Kennard Novelty Company was the first to make the board. It was patterned after rumors of such a board from Ohio. While it isn’t exactly clear how they came up with “Ouija,” it is said to have been a message from the board which indicated this should be its name. The board said it meant “good luck.”

This original Ouija board was even patented. The patent office had to have proof it worked. The inventors showed a patent office how it worked by having the board spell his name, which they did not know. The original patent was issued in 1891. With this new device on the market, the popularity of communicating with spirits continued to grow. The Kennard novelty Company made a lot of money off their invention.

Popularity Grows

The board saw great popularity among a wide array of people. Spiritualists were the only ones who seemed to dislike it because it cost them their jobs. World War I and prohibition brought with them a surge in the use of the board. People wanted an escape from the reality of war and the turmoil at home. The Great Depression also saw great demand for the Ouija board. During Vietnam, there was again a surge in demand with two million boards being sold. However, in 1973, the tide began to turn against the Ouija board.


The Exorcist came out in 1973. This movie was supposedly based on a true account of a girl who becomes possessed by a spirit after using a Ouija board. This fear led to the board being labeled as evil. It started being used in movies and television as an evil device that was the work of the devil. People started shunning it and not wanting anything to do with it. There were even places where there were public burnings of Ouija boards. Religious groups began speaking out about them. People were terrified of them.

Current Outlook

Things changed, though, and the terror associated with the game soon waned. It has seen a rise in popularity again. It is now seen in a better light in reality and in fiction. There is even a Ouija board app, found at https://ouijagame.redwerk.com/, that brings the game into the 21st Century. Modern kids can now huddle around and play on their smartphones just as their great-great ancestors huddled around a  real board and played in the 19th Century.

The digital version of a Ouija board still features the planchette and the alphabet laid out on the board with yes and no at the top. The planchette still twirls and swirls on the screen as it considers and answers your question. Of course, the digital version makes it much easier to follow along. The answer comes up neatly typed at the bottom of the screen. It is available for both Android and iPhone users, so everyone can enjoy a fun time communing with the spirits.

Whether you believe that a Ouija board is really allowing you to communicate with the spirits or you think of it as just a fun game, it is always a great time to play with one. Now you can do that without having to lug a bulky box around because there is an app that puts a Ouija board right at your fingertips.

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