Chances are, you’ve seen a Ouija board in use before – even if it’s just on the silver screen, in horror movies such as The Exorcist or Ouija. But the history of the talking board goes back much further than that. And over the years, it’s been the subject of some startling stories and odd occurrences – from P.O.W. escape plots through to murder convictions.
20. Its origins lie in 1100 AD China
Long before the Ouija board got its name, a similar form of “spirit writing” was in use in China. Indeed, documents recovered from the Song Dynasty about 1100 AD point to the use of “planchette writing,” in which spirits would supposedly use a stick to communicate by writing in incense ashes or sand.
19. It was popularized during the American Civil War
The spiritualist movement was doing big business around the time of the American Civil War, finding new ways to help survivors communicate with their dead friends and family. One of those was the Ouija board, although it still wasn’t officially called that at the time. Indeed, they were still known as “talking boards,” but the principle was the same.