This is the box it came in. You can see the pale cream board and plastic planchette.
Besides aging the pristine board, I also decided to replace the plastic planchette included in the box with something more real. So I used the plastic one as a template on a piece of old plywood I had laying around and even managed to exactly cut a hole to perfectly fit the pointer lens that I popped out of the original planchette.
It now is on display on my mantelpiece along with an array of creepy dolls and toys, like a toy shelf in a creepy kid's room.
I doubt the entire process took more than an hour, and I was rewarded with a very interesting prop for a fraction of the cost of buying a genuine antique. But what about Ouija Boards? Are they toys, or instruments of the occult?
Well, the answer is pretty innocent. The notion of a moving planchette spelling out answers on a board goes way back to ancient China, but it was Elijah Bond who first patented the idea for commercial production in 1891 at the peak of the Spiritualist Movement. At the turn of the century Bond's partner, William Fuld took over production and in turn is usually associated with being the "inventor" of the board. It is his name that still appears on the board today.
"Talking Boards" as they were known, were used to attempt communication with dead relatives and as such seemed to work. They were even cautioned against by the Catholic Church, and others who feared such interaction with the spirit world could invite trouble.
But there is little to fear. Boards such as this "work" because of a very simple human explanation: the ideomotor response. (link) As a kid I had another such 'game' called "Clairvoyant" which worked on the same principle but used a pendulum instead of a planchette.
Here it is currently available on eBay for $40.
But if you (or a Spiritualist friend) insist on believing that spirits are moving that indicator, you can try a couple of experiments that others have used to debunk that notion: blindfold the players or ask the questions in a language the players don't know. (link) [The linked article is quite extensive and thorough.]
But as kinky people, we need not be too obsessed with debunking what could be a great way to have some fun. The next time you are partying with some open-minded friends, break out the Quija Board and just ask, "should anyone here be spanked? and if so.....by whom?"
A day of fun and games turns punitive with the help of some spirits.....liquid or otherwise, and a Ouija Board. (not pictured)