The Book 4th Edition
“The borderland between the worlds of the living
and the dead appears to be a kind of psychic jungle or 'outlaw
territory', thronged with vicious, psychopathic personalities.
If they can find and attune themselves to a victim, their
destructive natures can operate with even less restraint
than they did while embodied.”
The Ouija board is one of the most widely used methods
of 'untrained' spirit communication. The name is taken from
the French and German words for yes?oui and ja. It consists
of a flat board with the letters of the alphabet, some numbers,
punctuation marks and yes and no printed on it. People using
it place their fingers lightly on a pointer which then rapidly,
and without the conscious knowledge of the members present,
moves to spell out a series of messages. Sales of Ouija
boards in the United States peaked during World War 1, and
the thirties, forties and sixties witnessed national Ouija
crazes during which the 'Mysterious Talking Oracle' became
very frequently used by students (Hunt 1985: 5).
The Ouija board is included because it is often the first
method used by amateurs to try to investigate psychic phenomena.
It is scientific in the sense that people following the
formula will get a similar result. Some will get intelligent
messages. Intelligent in the sense that answers are given
to specific questions. Depending on who or what is answering
of course will depend the quality of responses.
Psychics and experienced mediums believe in the reality
of spirit contact?that the responses to the Ouija board
are sometimes made by human and non-human entities of different
levels of refinement but most often by the lowest entities
who operate close to our own 'wavelength'. If contact is
made with a more refined entity, the response will usually
be sophisticated. If the contact is made with uncouth, very
lowly placed entities, then the information is usually the
same as from a person on earth who is uncouth, vulgar, stupid,
arrogant and blasphemes for the purpose of shocking those
around him or her. Psychic investigator Archie Roy likens
using a ouija board to the practice of picking up total
strangers in a bar and inviting them home (1996: 176).
The materialist view is that the messages come from the
action of the subconscious or unconscious minds of the 'players'—a
form of 'automatism'. For years the Ouija board has been
sold in toyshops and game departments in the USA and people
have tended to use it for fun or for personal advantage
such as trying to get winning numbers for gambling etc.
But no skeptic has been able to explain how groups of normal
decent people have elicited horrible blasphemies, curses
and all kind of terrifying threats from the Ouija board
in a way that they certainly did not from other methods
which supposedly projected the unconscious.
Stoker Hunt, who researched the effects of using the Ouija
board, summarizes a common pattern of communication that
develops between users of the board and the 'force' with
which they communicate:
The invader focuses on the victim's character weaknesses...
If one is vain, appeals to vanity are made. 'I need your
help, ' the seducer will say, 'and only you can help me.'...
The entity is malicious and does not hesitate to lie, misrepresent
itself (usually as a deceased loved one) and flatter. It's
better for the invader, of course, if the victim is alone,
isolated, exhausted and ill (Hunt 1985: 86).
Thus, the entity will encourage its victims to drop real
friends and rely only on Ouija communication for counsel,
advice and companionship. To this end it will recommend
dangerous stunts and wild adventures while discouraging
healthy activities and proper medical care. The victim will
feel an uncontrollable desire to use the board or write
automatically at all hours of the day and night. If needs
be the invader will terrify its victim, materializing in
ghastly form, inducing grotesque visions, inciting poltergeist
activity, causing objects to appear out of the blue, delivering
false or tragic news, levitating objects, perhaps levitating
the victim. All these things and more might be done?not
as ends in themselves but as a means to an eventual complete
possession (Hunt 1985: 87).
Mediums from around the world consistently report that
those who are dead and living in despair in the lower vibration
regions closest to the earth—sometimes called the
lower astral regions—are very much jealous of those
living on earth; they know that while on earth a person
can increase his/her vibrations it is very difficult to
do so in the lower spheres of the spirit world.
Despair is pushed to the extreme simply because they cannot
experience the things that they used to enjoy while alive—excitement,
alcohol, smoking, sex. If those uncouth who are responding
to the Ouija board had the capacity for love, or a loving
thought, or had some other positive spiritual attribute,
they would not be in the condition they are in. If they
even had the capacity to ask for help to relieve their misery,
we are informed by the afterlife, help would be given to
Many EVP experimenters (see Chapter 4) have recorded voices
coming from this level that speak in obscenities, sinister
whispers and sometimes in a clearly hostile tone (Lazarus
Whichever explanation you accept—the spirit hypothesis
or the subconscious minds of the players theory—there
are many cases of psychiatric illness that need to be taken
seriously having come about as a direct result of playing
with the board.
A Ouija board can be highly dangerous to anyone who is
highly suggestible, anyone with any type of emotional or
personality disorder or to anyone who has been using mind-altering
drugs. The experts advise that under no circumstances should
it be used by a child or by anyone who does not have a strong
sense of their own identity (Covina 1979).
Dr Carl Wickland, an American Psychiatrist, wrote his classic
work on mental illness Thirty Years Among the Dead in 1924.
In it he warns:
The serious problem of alienation and mental derangement
attending ignorant psychic experiments was first brought
to my attention by cases of several persons whose seemingly
harmless experiences with automatic writing and the Ouija
board resulted in such wild insanity that commitment to
asylums was necessitated... Many other disastrous results
which followed the use of the supposedly innocent Ouija
board came to my notice and my observations led me into
research in psychic phenomena for a possible explanation
of these strange occurrences (Wickland 1924: 29).
Wickland found that he was able to cure many of these cases
of diagnosed insanity by using an entranced medium (his
wife) to be taken over by the spirit which was obsessing
the psychiatric patient. He found that many of these entities
were unaware that they had died. Without any knowledge of
the afterlife they found themselves in a kind of twilight
condition. With help from higher intelligences on the other
side he was able to persuade them to leave the aura of the
patient whose light had attracted them.
Hugh Lyn Cayce, the son of the famous American psychic
Edgar Cayce, has likewise many case histories of negative
Ouija experiences. In his book Venture Inward (1964) in
a chapter on Automatic Writing and Ouija boards, he states
that stories of people getting into extreme difficulties
following both these practices are:
Not uncommon, unfortunately. The frightening thing about
them is that they can be duplicated by the thousands from
the case histories of present-day inmates of mental institutions
all over the world (Cayce 1964).
Paul Beard, as President of the College of Psychic Studies
in England, studied many cases of Ouija board obsession
and concluded that habitual use of the board or automatic
writing can bring about prolonged contact with a malevolent
dead person who can infiltrate the victim's protective aura
and then make contact with the victim at any time by 'talking'
in a 'voice' or through 'thoughts' in the victim's head.
This can lead to 'practically continuous evil suggestions
which may involve visual hallucinations' (Beard 1970). Ian
Currie cites one case where a young mother was shown hallucinations
of herself torturing and killing her baby (Currie 1978:
Martin Ebon outlines his negative Ouija experiences in
The Satan Trap (1975). He claims that he began by being
thoroughly skeptical about anything to do with the occult
but became hooked on the board when it accurately predicted
New York's 1973 flood and gave him accurate 'inside' information
about the death of a famous gossip columnist.
Another woman who warned against the board was medium Susy
Smith in her 1971 book Confessions of a Psychic. She wrote:
Warn people away from Ouija and automatic writing until
you have learned how to be fully protected. They say that
innocent efforts at communication are as dangerous as playing
with matches or hand grenades. They have me as Exhibit A
of what not to do, for I experienced many of the worst problems
of such involvement. Had I been forewarned by my reading
that such efforts might cause me to be mentally disturbed,
I might have been more wary (Smith 1971).
A few years ago I came upon a serious case of a young man
who had been using a Ouija board, asking for winning numbers
for gambling purposes. For some time he had indeed been
winning and became very excited about the information given
him by his new 'friends'. But when he tried to give up using
the board he began to be obsessed by voices and found himself
woken up at one or two in the morning in great terror, literally
being squeezed and suffocated by a vengeful presence, who
claimed that it was owed a debt.
Some positive communications
But while experienced psychics warn of the dangers of the
Ouija Board and point out that many communicators through
the Ouija board are definitely not who they claim to be,
there have been many positive long-term communications which
began through it.
One spectacular case of positive communication was that
of Pearl Curran who tried a Ouija board with her neighbor
on July 12th 1912. After a year of experimenting she began
to receive messages from Patience Worth, who claimed to
be a spirit entity born in 1649 near Dorsetshire in England.
Between 1912 and 1919 she dictated through the board five
million words—epigrams, poems, allegories short stories
and full-length novels. Her collected works fill twenty-nine
bound volumes, 4375 single-spaced pages. There were five
full-length novels, the most successful being The Sorry
Tale a 300,000 word story of the earthly life of Jesus which
was reviewed as follows in the The New York Times, July
This long and intricate tale of Jewish and Roman life during
the time of Christ is constructed with the precision and
accuracy of a master hand. It is a wonderful, a beautiful
and noble book.
Patience Worth also wrote over 2,500 poems. She won a national
poetry contest in which forty thousand contestants submitted
multiple entries. She was regularly published in America's
most prestigious annual poetry anthology.
One of her greatest admirers was the publisher William
Reedy who was on the award-selecting committee for the first
Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He was a regular visitor to Pearl's
house and he said of her poems:
They contain passages of bewitching beauty, of rare high
spirits, of pathos. It does not equal Shakespeare or Spencer.
It is not so great as Chaucer. But if there be any intelligences
communicating poems by Ouija board or otherwise... it is
good poetry, better poetry than we find in our magazines
as a rule—poetry with a quality of its own (Hunt 1985:
The Seth books
Another famous literary relationship which began with Ouija
communication was that between Seth and Jane Roberts and
her husband who began using a Ouija Board in 1963. On their
fourth try an entity introduced itself as 'Frank Withers'
who said that he had most recently lived on earth as an
English teacher and had died in 1942. Later he explained
that he preferred to be called 'Seth' and that he had a
special mission to help people better understand themselves
Through Jane, Seth has dictated several best-selling books
which have dealt with the nature of reality, reincarnation,
dreams, astral travel and the nature of God. He has given
step-by-step advice to his readers on the development of
meditation techniques and ESP. He has diagnosed illnesses,
correctly described the contents of building and rooms many
miles away and materialized as an apparition in well-lit
settings (see Roberts 1974, 1994, 1997a 1997b).
There are many other stories of successful literary and
creative relationships that have developed through using
the board including that of James Merrill, a Pulitzer Prize
winner who wrote The Changing Light at Sandover (1982) working
with a Ouija board.
His frightening experiences (visions, bodily transformations,
felt powerful presences) as well as his positive and joyous
ones are vividly reported in the poem. However after more
than thirty years experience with the board Merrill claims
that he no longer recommends that friends use it because:
One can never tell in advance how susceptible a given person
Strong evidence for the afterlife
What I personally find staggering about the Ouija board
literature is the extent to which it is consistent with
the findings of researchers who have worked with top level
mediums, with electronic voice phenomena and with the other
areas of scientific research mentioned in this book. It
is simply impossible to explain the staggeringly different
kinds of communication that one receives when entities of
different levels are communicating—often in quick
succession—purely on the basis of projection of the
unconscious of an individual or a group.
As well there have been a number of startling cases of
drop-in communicators coming through the board. These are
entities which although totally unknown to the sitters give
correct and verifiable details of names, address, occupation
and sometimes a large number of other details. Dr Alan Gauld
investigated 37 of these who had appeared among 240 alleged
communicators in a Ouija board circle which met in a Cambridgeshire
home between 1937 and 1954 (Gauld 1966-72:273-340).
In his paper for the Society for Psychical Research he
explains how he followed up the details of some of these
in some cases more than twenty years after the original
communication had been made and had been able to verify
a significant number of details in at least four cases.
In the case of Gustav Adolf Biedermann Gauld was able to
verify the personality of the communicator and the following
I lived in London.
My house was Charnwood Lodge.
Correct name Adolf Biedermann.
I was always known and called Gustav
I was a Rationalist
I was turned seventy when I passed away
I had my own business
I am associated with the London University
I passed over a year ago
In these cases, Gauld points out, the sitters did not seek
publicity or money and he was convinced that there was no
way they would have gone to the trouble of accessing the
public documents he obtained from a huge number of sources
to fool the other circle members and then leave them for
more than twenty years on the off-chance that somebody would
happen by to investigate them.
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