The patent for the Ouija Board was filed 125 years ago…and it’s been terrifying people ever since. To celebrate, I decided to start collecting them.
125 years ago today, on May 28th, 1890, a business man named Elijah Bond filed the original patent for the Ouija Board. To celebrate, I decided it was time to finally add a talking board to the collection. I tend to favor science over superstition, but the Ouija is fun because no other board game has the ability to make so many people uneasy.
I mean, people don’t generally get sweaty palms and heart palpitations over Monopoly.
So it was only a matter of time before I found an excuse to own one.
I don’t actually have any money though, so at this point any of the rare and valuable boards are completely out of my reach. Which I’m okay with, because the more common and affordable vintage Ouija boards have that iconic design everyone is afraid of.
Regan (Linda Blair) examines the planchette in this scene from The Exorcist, 1973.
The Exorcist was inspired by the true story of Roland Doe, a boy who underwent a series of exorcisms in his Missouri home in 1949 after using his aunt’s Ouija board.
Ouija Board Collectors Corner
Before making the purchase, I consulted the Museum of Talking Boards Collector’s Corner to make sure I knew what I was looking at.
Some of the most sought after boards seem to be:
- Made of wood
- Original Kennard Novelty Company boards from 1891
- Completely out of my price range
The board I ended up buying is the William Fuld design on paper hardboard. According to this page, this design was first introduced in 1944. The planchette that came with this board is plastic, which replaced the original wood pointer that was packaged with boards until 1946.
Also, this board came in the original box featuring the Blue Ghost. In his article about coming face-to-face with the potential inspiration for this design in Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, Ouija authority Robert Murch states that the ominous character was used on William Fuld and Parker Bros. boxes from 1941-1972.
I don’t know enough yet to pinpoint a more exact production date, but at least I can tell my particular mystifying oracle hit the shelves sometime between 1946 and 1972.
OuijaCon 2015 – Talking Board Museum Walkthrough
The Talking Board Historical Society held the first ever OuijaCon in Baltimore last month. It included a traveling museum of historic talking boards, which you can see in the video below.
On a side note, nothing more “paranormal” than usual has happened at Cult of Weird HQ since I bought the Ouija board. But in the event that a portal to Hell opens up in my living room, you’re all invited to the party.