Entertainment How-to: The Mysterious Ouija Board

The Ouija Board, a staple of the ‘80s slumber party, has been lost only slightly to the ages. With its channeling of spirits, it falls in the “odd games” that are pulled out when parties go stale. Unlike Apples-to-Apples or anything of that sort, the Ouija Board is believed to call upon spirits in the other world to answer questions asked by the players. A relatively paranormal experience—one that does not require dry ice, handholding, chanting or too many candles—the Ouija Board deserves a comeback and can be played by anyone.

The Ouija Board comes in two parts: the board and the planchette. The board is rectangular and simple with only the alphabet and a few words like “goodbye” and “yes” on it. The planchette is a sort of pointer that during the game will point to certain letters or words.

It takes at least two to play, as the Ouija Board is considered by some to be a fun diversion and by others to be unnecessarily dangerous: Any dealings with the spirit world merits caution, and the buddy system is recommended. Some rules say a male and a female set is optimal when playing, but this remains up to the players. Like tarot cards and séances, nighttime is the best time for using the Ouija Board due to the lack of atmospheric interference and tension. Likewise, to create an eerier environment, light a few candles and turn off the TV or other distractions.

First, players should lay the board in their laps; it is best not to use a table. At the same time, the planchette and board should be easily reachable by all players. A “medium” is decided amongst those playing. This person formally asks the questions, directly addressing the helping spirit.

All players place their fingers lightly on the planchette so no one has more control over its movement than the others. Players should move the planchette a few times around the board to give the spirits time to get comfortable. Before actually beginning, the medium should announce to the surrounding spirits that “this session will only allow an experience that is positive or toward a higher good and that negative energies are not welcome.” Players may then begin simply with a yes or no question and must be patient while waiting for the spirit to answer. The spirit will guide the players to push the planchette to certain letters or words, spelling out answers or responding to simple questions.

When it starts, be polite and thank the board entities for helping to answer the questions. Remember to keep control over the board and the planchette; do not let the spirits control the sessions. In addition, if the answers received are curse words or insults, promptly close the board and walk away; malevolent spirits can be dangerous. Do not request the spirit to give physical signs of its presence nor call upon it to answer questions with worrisome answers such as “When will I die?” These things will only anger the spirit or freak out players, leading to a bad experience all around.