My Spirited big kid (a high school senior) recently attended a party where he apparently played with an Ouija (Yes-Yes) Board. I don’t like the sound of them myself. Should I tell him it’s a “No-No?”
Sincerely, Dubious Dad, Shakopee
Dear Dubious Dad,
It’s February, the month to talk love and passion. Personally, I’m passionate about the magical, the mystical, the weird and the wonderful — but does that extend to the Ouija?
The Ouija board celebrates its 121st birthday this year. Its original 1891 patent followed fast on the heels of other “talking board” creations that sought to help bridge the communication gap between this world and the next. At its height, Ouija boards were sold to every Tom, Dick and Harriet interested in the home-made sÃ©ance. Toted as a “parlor game,” Ouija boards proved so popular that by 1920 William Fuld, the man in charge, became (by his own conservative estimates) a millionaire. By 1966, Ouija — under the auspices of the Parker Bros., — had outsold Monopoly!
Although skeptics have rubbished Ouija boards for years — Mad Magazine famously noted, “If there really is an afterlife, I’ll bet the best way to contact it is through a plastic, mass-produced game board from Milton Bradley” — there are many reports of successful out-of-this world communications channeled through the board, a standout being Jane Roberts’ original communications with Seth (Seth Speaks), for example. But does that mean teens should go out and try one?
With movies like The Exorcist, Witchboard and The Others firmly planted in our modern minds, the paranormal and the Ouija board today hold a slightly spooky allure. But whether played by a firm believer or by an I’m-trying-this-for-thrills kind of gal, a person’s purpose in opening up the Ouija board remains the same as it’s always been: an attempt to connect to something beyond the brick and mortar of the world around us. I call that Mediumship, and as any dedicated Medium will tell you, practicing mediumship without prayerful preparation, positive intention, knowledge and understanding is just asking for trouble.
In our (supernatural) world, like attracts like. If playing the Ouija board does open up a preternatural portal, then it begs the question as to what kind of “messenger” is going to want to hang out with someone (teen or otherwise) whose main motivation to connect is for thrills and spills? And what kinds of messages is that other-worldly messenger likely to bring? My hair stands on end just thinking about it!
The fact is that whether the Ouija is a fantastical form of psychic Scrabble or merely a game that elevates the blood pressure and causes irregular heartbeat, it is open to pranks and manipulation, whether from ETs or ordinary mortals. And therein lies the real heart of the question: should teens play with Ouija boards?
You see, teenagers worry! They worry about their hair, their skin, their clothes and their body shape — and no, I’m not just talking about the fairer sex here. They worry about being in, being out, making friends or not. Some even worry about grades. Receiving a detrimental, weird or negative message via an Ouija board could upset a sensitive teen or even alarm them. Just check out any online chat room regarding Ouija for proof of that. Even a “positive” message received through the board could be mulled over, scrutinized and studied by a perplexed teen who is led right back to the Ouija board to find out more.
I’m not against teens learning about the paranormal — far from it. But Ouija teaches nothing constructive and is, at best, something to be handled with care and in my own humble opinion, better left well alone.
You may argue that I’ve given the Ouija board a bad rap, rap, rap — and you might be right! But as your son heads off to the next party this Valentine’s, advise him to embrace the warm, friendly fun of that second game of choice — Monopoly — where the worst that could happen is he makes some bad buys, loses his money and gets thrown into jail.