Is the Ouija Board a Toy?

Although it may look like one, the ouija board is not considered a toy by many people who believe in its powers.

A ouija board is a rectangular board containing an arch formed by all the letters of the alphabet. The words “yes” and “no” appear on either side, and the numbers 1 through 10 are lined up across the bottom. On top of the board sits a planchette (French, for little plate), a small, heart-shaped piece of wood on felt-tipped legs.

Two people usually sit across from each other with their fingers on the planchette. One person asks ouija a question. Then the planchette slides along the board, spelling out its answer, seemingly on its own power.

Nobody knows for sure where these “answers” come from. One possibility is that the thoughts in the deeper parts of a person’s mind send up signals through his nerves. These nerves then guide his hand muscles without the person’s being aware of it.

The word ouija comes from the French and German words for “yes”, oui and ja.