Ouija is an occidental style of miracle performance: Ouija belongs to the same old Family of Occultism which houses all the miracles, everywhere in the World. As in the case of other miracles, Ouija practitioners too believe that Soul the Spirit, presents itself through Ouija board to move objects in such a manner as to enable prediction of the present and the future of people who go after Ouija for the purpose.
It is believed that the secret of Ouija was revealed during a séance by the Spirit to an Occidental Spiritualist called Kennard. The word ‘Ouija’ has different connotations: In the Ancient Egyptian linguafranca Ouija meant “good luck”. It is also said that the word Ouija is related to the name of the Moroccan city, ‘Oujda’. Ouija is played using a devise consisting of a moving wooden sheet placed on a larger wooden plank. The board is also called ‘talking board’ or ‘spirit board’. The surface of the board is flat which carries printed or written alphabets A to Z , numerals 0 to 9, words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ and certain other spiritualistic symbols.
Ouija operation is normally carried out during séances. Ouija believers think that the paranormal or supernatural spirit makes the board talk through signs and symbols. The fortune seekers pose questions to the spirit after placing their fingers on the moving plank. The board gives the answers through yes or no or through combining the letters in the alphabet or by the numerals which are depicted on the board.
Practice of Ouija was very popular in America and European Countries till the late twentieth century. Even now, though not as popular as it used to be, the Ouija board practice is still in operation in the Occident, prominently among the wayward youth who rejoices it for fun and fancy. Some among them believe that the talking board is the realm where life’s mysteries can find solutions. Others consider it as a way for enlightenment. There are also skeptics who consider Ouija as an extra ordinary magic. In any case, for all believers, the device is a tool of spiritualistic communication. The belief is based on an absurd imagination that spirits, ghosts and other ethereal beings have an insatiable thirst to contact living beings. That thirst of the spirit-world may or may not cause harm to the Ouija players depending upon their beliefs and emotional debilities.
There is no mystery in Ouija: A believer who is worried about his future, places his fingers on the rotating board and asks the spirit whether his future is bright. It is said that in all such situations the so called inner will of the believer would be craving for a ‘yes’ answer. Therefore, the motor activity of his finger will impose automatic force on the Ouija board to rotate and to stop moving as soon as it touches the word ‘yes’.
Depending upon the automatic motion, the answer can be ‘no’ as well. The same is the principle involved in choosing appropriate letters and numerals as answers handed out by the ethereal spirits.
The picture of Ouija is entirely different in the Oriental, especially in India, the spiritualist leader among all. In India, the name Ouija is never mentioned: The wooden planchet is neither talking board nor spirit board. The board is employed to foretell the fortunes of believers with the aid of divine powers of the Sanyasis and Spiritual Gurus. The fortune seekers are also not required to place their hands or fingers on the board, neither are there any inscriptions of alphabets and numerals on the board.
According to the practice in India, before the program starts, a saffron coloured blanket is put on a hard ground. Then wheat grains are spread on the blanket. Afterwards, a round wooden board is placed carefully on top of a brass bowl called “pata” or “lota” which is kept in the middle of the grain-spread, saffron blanket. A devotee-follower of the Spiritual Guru sits on the board balancing himself with his fingers touching the ground. The board rested on the brass bowl then starts rotating in different directions and stops at a particular point. The Guru then reveals his oracle on the basis of the direction at which planchet rests and the devotee looks.
This writer was a member of Miracle Exposure Campaign Group that debunked an Ouija miracle. It was in the year 1976. One spiritualist Sanyasi, named Laskari Baba of Yeotmal in Maharashtra State of India was propagating his divine powers in moving objects and making wooden boards rotate at will. His antics created nuisance in villages and towns in the State. He was looting the innocent believers through his tantrums by forcing them to part with their earnings to brighten their future.
Under the leadership of Dr. C G Pande, Head of the Psychology Department of Nagpur University, we forced the Baba to come forward and show his miracles in the presence of Media Editors, the Police Chief, Professors, and Lecturers of the nearby Colleges. After repeat persistence, Lashkari Baba came forward: Baba set his paraphernalia in place and requested one of his devotees to sit on the wooden plank which was rested on the brass bowl. He chanted some mantras and shouted, “Ghuma, Ghuma” (meaning “rotate”, “rotate” in Marathi Language). The plank started moving and rotating in one direction. We, thereupon, insisted that the Baba should allow a Rationalist friend who was among the audience to sit on the plank. Finally, the miracle man conceded the request: The Rationalist sat on the board: The Baba started repeating “ghuma, ghuma” several times. But the plank did not move.
Thus was the end of Lashkari Baba’s tryst with the Ouija treachery. The Ouija fallacy was debunked; the Media flashed the news all across. What was working while the devotee was sitting on the board was automatic muscle movement. But when the Rationalist sat on the plank, the muscle movement did not take place because he was not carried away by the mantra and divine powers of the spiritual Guru.
Researchers have explained that the movement of the Ouija board or the divine planchet is what is called ideomotor motion. Ideomotor motion is involuntary muscle movement. It is explained that while a person thinks of an action and concentrates on the thought, his muscles make automatic motion in the direction of the action thought about. It is a real phenomenon: Neuroscience explains the phenomenon as a reflex action. It has nothing to do with nonexistent spirits, ghosts or divine powers.