The Ouija board (Wee-ja), also known as a spirit board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9, and the words “yes”, “no”, and “hello” and “goodbye”. The invention of the original design in unknown but the first patent was granted in 1891 to Elijah J. Bond as the inventor and the assignee as Charles W. Kennard. Kennard stated that he named the spirit board “Ouija” because the board named itself and said that the word meant ‘Good Luck.’
Through generations of families and different toy companies, the look of the board kept changing. It was not until 1897 that William Fuld held the sole legal right to manufacture and sell the boards.
The Ouija board was regarded as a harmless parlor game unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I. Mainstream religions and some occultists have associated the use of the Ouija board with the threat of demonic possession and have cautioned their followers not to use them.
Despite being repeatedly debunked by the efforts of the scientific community, the Ouija board remains popular. There are many who claim that it can indeed communicate with the dead. Television is filled with shows about hauntings that began with the use of the board.
People have claimed that using the board has made their lives, literally, a living hell. It is believed that demons, disguising themselves as deceased friend or family member, can trick the users of the board and unwittingly invite “it” into their homes. To be rid of such hauntings or negative paranormal phenomena, experts in the paranormal advise either burning the board or disposing of it in a lake since spirits are believed to not be able to cross water.