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Ouija Board Experience Stories Essays

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True Ouija Board Stories

True Ouija Board Stories

By Ryan Dube Paranormal Enthusiast and Investigator

The following Ouija board stories are drawn from local tales. In all cases, the identities are changed in order to protect the privacy of the individuals, but the stories are true. The first two of these Ouija board stories took place throughout a small mountainous county in Northern Maine throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

It's Just a Hobby

Cindy was only 13. She was the middle child within a large, devoutly Christian family. She had three older sisters, a younger sister, and a younger brother. At some point during the eighth grade, a friend let her borrow a Ouija board one weekend, and that weekend Cindy and her older sisters played with the board. They did so in secret, late at night, because they knew how strongly their parents would disapprove. That weekend, the mysterious talking board mesmerized Cindy. Cindy became obsessed with it. She could think of nothing else and soon had a list of questions that she wanted to ask the board.

Cindy had an hour every day after school where she was alone in the house before her older sisters returned from high school. So Monday afternoon right after getting home from school, she cautiously crept up to her room, set up the Ouija board on her bed, and gently laid her fingertips on top of the pointer. After just ten minutes of sitting quietly, the planchette started to jerk softly across the board. It spelled out, "H-I". Cindy's breath caught in her throat.

"Hi," she answered. "Who are you?"

A shock ran through Cindy. Jake was a friend of hers who had died in a car accident in the fourth grade.

"Jake, is it really you?" Cindy sat up, her arms shaking with excitement. The pointer moved quickly up to "YES."

Over the next hour, Cindy held a conversation with "Jake." Every day after school, Cindy would race up to her room and have a conversation with Jake about her life and about her future. But after a few days, the conversations became darker and angrier. By the second week, Cindy had the impression that she wasn't talking with Jake, but instead with a dark and terrible imposter. Finally, by the end of the second week, the entity revealed itself as a demon and threatened Cindy that if she told anyone about their conversations, she would die. That Friday night, when her sisters got home, they found Cindy curled up in a corner crying. It took a week in a mental facility before Cindy could recover from the emotional damage that the "entity" caused her during those two fateful weeks of her childhood.

Can't Hide Secrets From Ouija

One summer, three middle school boys discovered a Ouija board in a trash bin outside a local apartment building. Tom, the oldest, was terribly cruel to the younger boy, Josh. He would often punch Josh jokingly in the arm, but so hard that it would bruise. Other times he would call Josh stupid or a "retard." The third boy, Chris, would avoid the abuse by remaining silent. Secretly Chris and Josh disliked Tom's behavior, but they tolerated it because they had no other friends.

That summer, the three boys took the discovered Ouija board to Tom's house where he was alone most of the time anyway. His father was always working, and his mom had passed away years earlier. As the three boys sat in the middle of the living room with their hands on the planchette, they became bored after twenty minutes of waiting. When they were just about to give up, the planchette budged. Finally it spelled out "G-E-T A-W-A-Y."

"Get away? I live here," Tom barked. The planchette started moving more briskly in a figure eight.

"That's weird. I wonder what it means?" Chris said, glancing at Tom and Josh. He looked back at the board.

"Where should we go?" Chris asked.

"This is stupid," Tom said. He looked at Josh and Chris, "You guys are doing this. let's test it. Josh, let go."

Josh removed his hands from the planchette.

"Now ask it a question that only you will know," Tom ordered.

Josh immediately asked, "Who's the person who keeps hitting me?"

Tom gave Josh a nasty glare, but the planchette was already moving quickly.

"A-S-K T-O-M," it answered.

"This is stupid," Tom said.

"D-A-D," the board spelled.

"Huh?" Chris said, staring at the board. "I think this question is for Tom." He glanced up at Josh and they exchanged confused expressions.

"D-A-D," it spelled again. Tom's breathing started to race, his face turned red and sweat formed on his brow.

"D-A-D," it spelled a third time. Tom jumped up and ran from the room crying. It was the first time Josh and Chris had ever seen or heard Tom cry. They only learned a few days later that Tom's father routinely abused him. Somehow, the Ouija board knew Tom's innermost secret.

Whole Town Goes Mad

The news headlines announced the town's descent into madness in March of 1920. In a small town in Southern California, police arrested seven people who had stripped nude and began to act "mad" after dallying with a Ouija board. Over the next several days, the madness spread like a disease throughout the town. One police officer joined the hysteria, stripping off his uniform and running into a local bank while screaming hysterically. A 15-year-old girl described her own nude and wild appearance as a result of her ability to communicate so effectively with spirits.

Terrified of the spreading madness, town hall officials brought in truckloads of mental health specialists to examine all 1,200 members of the populace. While the professionals attributed the madness to a shared hysteria, the city government decided to take no risks. Ouija boards were banned within the town limits (either possession or sale).

The Ouija Board Did It

In 1935, a man shot his wife four times in the back. Arrested by police at the time of the incident, the 78-year-old husband described his stressful relationship with his wife following her consultation with a Ouija board. His wife claimed to receive messages during weekly consultations of his infidelity with a neighboring woman. The board allegedly told her that he gave the woman a great deal of money. After each consultation, the wife would give her husband a dark look and announce that she'd caught him in yet another lie. Over the course of several weeks, the wife tied him to the bedposts with wires and whipped his body with knotted ropes. She used a burning poker to wound him and stabbed him in the shins with a knife. Finally, under the brunt of bodily torture, he confessed anything she wanted to hear when she put a gun to his head. Satisfied by his confession, she left the gun on the nightstand. Freed, yet still terrified, the husband seized the gun and shot her in the back before she could inflict any further harm. The courts ruled the murder a justifiable homicide since the husband was reasonably in fear for his life.

Beliefs Vary

Most people consider the Ouija board nothing more than a toy. However, the mystery and psychological power that the board can have over people is a serious concern. Some people claim the board has the ability to predict the future accurately, or that it harbors terrible and evil forces. Still others believe that it provides a channel through which the user can communicate with spirits of the dead. Whatever you believe, true Ouija board stories can offer some insight into what it's really like to interact with this mysterious board.

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    How Ouija boards work

    How Ouija boards work. (Hint: It's not ghosts.)

    Sorry, horror fans, ghost hunters, and demon enthusiasts: Despite their long history as hoax spiritualist devices turned hit toys turned tools of the devil. Ouija boards won’t actually put you in contact with demons or spirits. Any scary firsthand reports you might hear or read of real-life Ouija board horror stories are exaggerations, false claims, or a misunderstanding of how Ouija boards actually work.

    That might be disappointing news if you’re hosting a Halloween sleepover, but it might also leave you asking, “How do Ouija boards work?” The answer is surprisingly simple.

    Related Ouija: Origin of Evil tries its best but fails to spell out a good time at the movies

    Ouija boards rely on the power of your own body

    If you’ve never used a Ouija board, the concept is pretty straightforward. With a group or by yourself, you place your hands lightly on a triangular pointer called a planchette. The planchette rests on the board itself, which has the words “yes” and “no” in its top corners, an alphabet in the center, and the word “goodbye” at the bottom.

    The idea is to summon the spirits you want to communicate with, and they’ll move the planchette around the board to spell out answers to the questions you ask — until they or you finally say goodbye and the spirits go back to wherever they came from.

    It all sounds pretty harmless, but there’s a long tradition of people believing that Ouija boards are dangerous occult gateways that can lead to demon possession or worse. After all, what happens if it’s a non-friendly spirit that’s moving the planchette without your control?

    In fact, there’s a simple scientific explanation: The mysterious mechanism that powers the Ouija board is called the ideomotor effect (pronounced “idio-mo- tor” or “id-ee-aah -meh-ter”), and it’s basically a way for your body to talk to itself.

    The ideomotor effect is an example of unconscious, involuntary physical movement — that is, we move when we’re not trying to move. If you’ve ever experienced the sudden feeling of jerking awake from sleep (known as the hypnic jerk ), you’ve experienced a more abrupt version of the ideomotor effect: your brain signaling your body to move without your conscious awareness. The obvious difference is that the ideomotor effect happens when you’re awake, so the reflexive movements you make are much smaller.

    In the case of a Ouija board, your brain may unconsciously create images and memories when you ask the board questions. Your body responds to your brain without you consciously “telling” it to do so, causing the muscles in your hands and arms to move the pointer to the answers that you — again, unconsciously — may want to receive.

    There are multiple scientific studies that have shown various instances of the ideomotor effect in action. In one well-known and oft-repeated variant of the Ouija board test, blindfolded participants spell much more incoherent messages. (You can try this one at home.)

    These experiments easily demonstrate that the Ouija board only works when the participants are able to manipulate the pointer themselves. If a ghost or spirit were really in the room, it would be able to direct the planchette to spell out coherent messages without any assistance. But there is no ghost, and when the Ouija board users are deprived of their ability to spell out words they can see, the game rapidly devolves into gibberish.

    The ideomotor effect is actually a powerful subconscious tool

    Before Ouija boards were invented, spiritualists and other would-be ghost communicators used makeshift devices called “talking boards” that served a similar purpose. Talking boards first became popular in mid-19th-century America, when millions of people suddenly gained an interest in talking to the dead following the tremendous loss of life in the Civil War. The popularity of talking boards, and their use as a tool to exploit grieving war families, meant scientists actually started studying the ideomotor effect in the midcentury. well before Ouija boards and planchettes were patented in 1890.

    Over the years, research has determined that the ideomotor effect is closely tied to subconscious awareness — and that its effect is maximized when the subject believes he has no control of his movements. Paradoxically, the less control you think you have, the more control your subconscious mind is actually exerting.

    This is where the Ouija board’s triangular pointer comes in. The planchette makes it easier to subconsciously control your muscle movements, because it focuses and directs them even while you believe you aren’t in control of them. It’s also why the planchette seems to move even more effectively when multiple people are using the planchette at once: It frees everyone’s minds to subconsciously generate creepy Ouija board answers together.

    The effect might also make the Ouija board an effective tool to help you tap into your own subconscious. In one study published in 2012, scientists found that using the Ouija board allowed subjects to recall factual information with more accuracy than if they weren’t using the board. Participants were instructed to answer a series of yes/no questions and to rate whether they were confident in their answers or merely guessing. Later, they were subjected to another round of questions but used a Ouija board to indicate “yes” or “no,” once again rating their confidence level in their answers. In cases where participants believed they didn’t know an answer, they were able to give more correct answers, more often, when using the Ouija board than when they believed they were only guessing on their own.

    The researchers behind that study have gone on to speculate that using the Ouija board as a technique to unlock subconscious knowledge could lead to insights about the early onset of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

    In other words, the Ouija board is potentially a very powerful communication tool — just not in the way most people think.

    The ideomotor effect is behind much more than just Ouija boards — including several harmful real-life scams and “therapies”

    The appeal of the ideomotor effect is that you actually may be communicating with something you can’t typically access — your own subconscious — and that the experience can feel like communicating with something paranormal or unknown.

    This real physical effect causes some people to believe that seemingly miraculous or paranormal phenomena are behind certain behaviors and occurrences. It’s a common element of demon possession hoaxes. since witnesses come to believe the “possessed” person is moving without her own control. It can also convince people they have the gift of automatic writing. meaning they insist that spirits can communicate with the living through their “uncontrolled” handwriting. Often, the ideomotor effect is used to defraud people who visit exorcists, psychics, mediums, and other self-proclaimed spirit-channeling types — sometimes leading to severe financial, physical. and psychological harm.

    Dowsing is another example of the ideomotor effect being exploited for financial gain. The practice, whose stated purpose is to divine water or other things located underground or concealed within something else, involves holding a special device (like a dowsing rod or a divining rod) and letting the ideomoter effect cause your hand to “mysteriously” point to the location of the desired object or substance. These devices have been scientifically tested and debunked again and again, but that hasn’t stopped their purveyors from falsely claiming they can detect everything from gold to liver disease and h epatitis to “ harmful earth radiations .” In 2013, one charlatan was convicted of selling nearly $70 million in fake bomb detectors to Iraqi police.

    Finally, the ideomotor effect lies behind a controversial, repeatedly debunked form of pseudoscience therapy called “ facilitated communication ,” which emerged as a popular therapy technique in the 1990s. Facilitated communication claims to work by allowing disabled or autistic patients to “communicate” through slight finger movements. In reality, science has proven many times over that the patients’ movements are caused by the ideomoter effect, and that their caregivers are reading meaning into nothing. One scientist even referred to facilitated communication as “Ouija board stuff.”

    The disastrous effects of this fake therapy include a sex abuse case in which the caregiver claimed she used facilitated communication to obtain consent from her patient, and a devastating parental custody case where manipulative caregivers used it to suggest that the children involved had “accused” their parents of abuse. Sadly, it still exists today as a fraudulent speech therapy technique used with autism patients, disguised under various names like “rapid prompting method,” “supported typing,” or “progressive kinesthetic feedback.”

    Ironically, the same factor lies at the heart of both the cause and the effects of the ideomotor phenomenon: We want to believe. Our desire to confirm the existence of ghosts, spirits, and other improbable possibilities is what convinces Ouija board users, facilitated communication proponents, and anyone else who encounters the ideomotor effect in action that they’ve experienced something real: a real visitation from another dimension, some sort of mystical sign, or an indication that a patient trapped in his own mind is suddenly able to break free and communicate.

    But the marvelous thing about a Ouija board isn’t what a planchette might read or a psychic might claim the spirits are saying through it from the other side. In reality, the true wonder of the Ouija board is what lies within our own subconscious.

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  • Do Ouija Boards Work - The Fact and Fiction - VnutZ Domain

    Introducing The Ouija Board

    Ouija Boards consist of two components: a board upon which the alphabet, numbers zero through nine, "yes," "no" and "goodbye" are stenciled; and a pointing device called a planchette. 1 They are frequently associated with tools used by mediums to contact spirits during a seance or divination. 2,3 In the movies, Ouija Boards are depicted as having the demonic ability to channel evil spirits into the unsuspecting host. 4 Whether or not such a capability exists or is merely a manifestation of the ideomotor effect has been debated by theologians, psychologists, scientists and paranormal enthusiasts for more than a century. 5 There is certainly no shortage of stories regarding Ouija Board experiences ranging from private, personal encounters to famous cases like Patience Worth. 6,7,8,9,10

    A Ouija Board is available from a variety of sources. It won't be necessary to go to any occult gatherings, dark rituals 'r us superstores or a crypt beneath the church to find one. Eight years ago, I bought my Ouija Board at Wal-Mart. These days, you need only search on Amazon to find everything from books to Ouija Boards to jars of uranium. 11,12 Ouija Boards can also be made at home or even found on the Internet as javascript applications. 13,14

    History of the Ouija Board

    Although not the Ouija's inventors, many attribute the success of the Ouija Board to Kate and Margaret Fox, two sisters living in New York in the 19 th century. As the story goes, the girls established communication in 1848 with a spirit entity by asking questions that could be answered with a physical response such as snapping sounds. 15 They signed sworn statements testifying they were in communication with a dead pedlar whose body was later discovered beneath the house. The publicity of their other-worldly communication led to both a surging belief in spiritual contact along with a coinciding amount of skepticism.

    As the popularity of spiritual communications increased, different techniques began to emerge for understanding the spirits. First came Table Tipping, a practice where a spirit would cause a table, which was balanced on a leg and held by participants, to rap against the floor. 16 Following the experience, the raps would be counted to interpret the spirit's message. Other methods included a practice known as Automatic Writing where a pencil was guided by a planchette to write the spirit's message. 17 A planchette, literally French for plank or board, was simply a wooden device used to hold the pencil and allow the spiritualist to "channel" the message. 18 An excerpt from an article in the American Spiritualist Magazine dated 18 December 1876 outlines one of the first known examples of using the dramatically simplified communication process of the planchette pointing at letters of an alphabet (rather than writing them). 19,20

    The Ouija Board can trace its lineage directly to patent number 446,054 filed by Elijah J. Bond on 28 May 1890, although a number of patents were filed by different individuals for the various board designs and planchettes over the next century. 21,22 The "father" of Ouija, however, is considered to be William Fuld. 23 He joined the Kennard Novelty Company as a painter but soon became so engrossed with the Ouija product that he began filing his own patents. 24,25 William eventually transformed the company into the Ouija Novelty Company, where he produced Ouija Boards until his death in 1927. 26 The Fuld family continued to manufacture and sell Ouija Boards until transferring the product line to Parker Brothers in 1966. Parker Brothers maintained it until 1999 whereupon an updated Ouija version was introduced. 27

    How to Use a Ouija Board

    Variants on the practice of using the Ouija Board have, of course, developed over the years, but there are some commonalities. Although it's fully possible to use it alone, it's not a recommended practice by those who have done it before. (Whether that recommendation is based on it being impossible to fool yourself by pushing the planchette intentionally or because demons will possess you while playing alone is a question left to the reader.) Generally, it is recommended to have approximately three people: two for using the board and another to witness and transcribe the events. An appropriate setting where the lights are dimmed with distracting elements removed is the most conducive for performing a seance type activity. People recommend starting the planchette by manually moving it in circles until it begins to move on its own.

    In general, the original directions from the first Ouija Boards are more or less applicable today: 28

    • Have two participants sit across from one another. For purposes of energy balance, it is recommended to utilize a male and female.
    • Place the Ouija Board evenly across the knees of the participants so it is level with the floor.
    • Each participant will rest fingers from each hand on the planchette. Light pressure will ensure the planchette can slide freely across the Ouija Board.
    • Wait for a few minutes and begin to ask questions to determine if a spirit is present.
    • Record the message as indicated by the planchette.
    • Close the session by jointly saying "Goodbye" and moving the planchette to the "Goodbye" printed on the Ouija Board.

    It has become common to open simply by asking if a spirit is present in the room and whether it desires to communicate. There are mixed opinions on whether or not it is polite to discuss the death of the spirit or the existence of god. Additionally, it should be obvious certain questions are inherently nonsensical, such as:

    • What is going to happen in the future?
    • What are winning lottery numbers?
    • Who stole my car?
    • Does she really love me?

    Consider this scenario: You're struck with awe having just come up with a cure for cancer and before you can exclaim "Eureka," some kid in a hurry accidentally knocks you off a curb whereupon you are squished by a bus. Now dead, you begin roaming the Earth passively as a spirit because the living simply can't see you, feel you or hear you. Amazingly, you find some people using a medium device (the Ouija Board). As they struggle to open their minds seeking to touch on your energy, you simultaneously struggle to figure out how to connect with theirs. While attempting to get a message across about who you are and what the cure for cancer is, they giggle and laugh about how many fingers they're holding up before they ask, "what are the winning lottery numbers?" How would you know these things?

    Questions should be limited to things the spirit has a chance of knowing. Treat your experience as if you were meeting somebody for the first time and consider it a social event rather than a "work for me NOW" session. Additionally, remember the spirit's knowledge is limited to what it knew upon death, so there is a good chance it may be uneducated. It might be illiterate - meaning the Ouija's alphabet is useless - or the spirit could even speak an older dialect or a completely different language.

    Superstitions

    As the Ouija Board has aged, a variety of superstitions have come to surround its usage. 29 Not only that, people have come to believe particular behaviors are indicative of malicious spirits or if they perform certain actions evil will be warded away. 30 Most of these "facts" can be simply attributed to the perpetuation of myth by the Internet. For the sake of argument, these are amongst the most popular:

    "Signs of an Evil Spirit"
    • the planchette will make a figure eight pattern
    • the planchette jumps repeatedly between the corners of the board
    • the planchette will begin counting down
    • the planchette will cycle through the alphabet in sequence
    Wards Against Evil
    • issuing prayers in advance
    • placing a silver coin on the board
    • making a board with the letters in a circle will trap evil
    • drawing a circle around the participants
    Other Superstitions
    • a burned Ouija Board will scream causing death in 36 hours to whomever hears it
    • for proper disposal a Ouija Board must be cut into seven pieces, doused in holy water and buried
    • improper board "closure" will result in a haunting
    • a Ouija Board is an object of idol worship
    How a Ouija Board Works

    It should go without saying Parker Brothers is probably not in the business of manufacturing portals to hell and selling them to children ages "8 to adult." For the moment, it will be necessary to suspend disbelief in order to consider how a Ouija Board could work. Whether the Ouija Board is a farce will be addressed afterwards.

    Imagine all things in the world are connected by an invisible force, some form of energy that permits everyone and everything to commune as one. Perhaps the most dominant fictional representation of this idea is expressed as "The Force" and eloquently described by Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back: "For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship." 31

    In reality, the idea is not without precedent under such religious belief systems as Buddhism or Paganism. 32,33 (It should be noted that Paganism is not equivalent to worshiping the devil - that it is a figment of Christianity). 34 Although less in tune with a synergistic connection between entities, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all fundamentally believe in the spirit and realms in which spirits reside. 35,36,37 The complete biorhythm control exhibited by meditating monks relates to calming and being in touch with surrounding energies. 38,39 Martial artists make reference to channeling their chi as a means of focusing their minds and energy. 40 Yogis stimulate their chakras to control energy. 41

    So, assuming the bulk of Earth's population is correct in believing spirits and energy exist in one form or fashion, the Ouija Board is a mechanism that facilitates getting in touch with them. 42,43 Some people believe we cannot perceive the spirits because our minds are generally closed to the idea. This is why it takes training and practice to even do such simple tasks as clearing the mind in preparation for meditation. 44 Suspending disbelief and opening the mind to the possibility of spiritual communion is simply too difficult a hurdle for many to overcome. The Ouija Board is a tool for permitting the mind and senses to basically make an exception. When a person doesn't believe, it takes a considerable amount of evidence to overwhelm their assumptions. When a person submits to possibility, the realization "there is more out there" becomes monumentally easier.

    For that matter, it is not so much the Ouija Board itself that is necessary to perform the ritual. Any object a person can accept as a medium of communication will suffice. People have used a wine glass atop a message board. Crystal balls. Candles. Hallucinogens. Eventually, when a tool is no longer necessary to believe the inconceivable, the person is essentially the medium. Given the mysticism and subtle fear associated with Ouija Boards over time, they are among the de facto tools for loosening people's minds into believing spiritualism is possible. 45

    Still, that does not explain how the Ouija Board's planchette moves. 46 There are essentially three schools of thought concerning the matter:

    • The ritual summons the spirit and the spirit moves the planchette. The participant's hands simply follow.
    • The spirit controls the planchette through the participant.
    • The spirit's energy communes with the participant's energy and influences the participant to move the planchette.

    The first school of thought can generally be dismissed as nonsense. If the spirit has the ability to interface with the physical world such that it can move physical objects, the Ouija Board (and participants for that matter) would be irrelevant to the process. For that matter, it would be just the same to see a pencil spontaneously stand upright and begin writing on paper or witness a computer keyboard begin typing without a user. Perhaps holding a seance around the computer simply isn't popular enough a practice for it to have become part of the occult, but its far more likely its because the spirit is not directly moving the planchette.

    The second and third schools of thought are more closely related. For the second to be true, it must be assumed a spirit or energy form can inhabit the participant's body and thereby control their actions. While the Catholic church seems to have many documented cases of possession, this option also seems unrealistic for the same reasons as the first. If spirits could arbitrarily possess and control human hosts, there would not be any purpose for the Ouija Board. And if the Ouija Board truly is the "secret" barrier through which possessions take place, Parker Brothers would be making a lot more than $25 a piece.

    The third explanation does not rely upon the spirit to move the planchette or the spirit to control the medium. Rather, the medium is influenced by a synergistic link to the spirit through which an exchange of information takes place at a subconscious level. That influence drives the participant to move the planchette, though not in a deliberate way. While this explanation falls more into line with the spiritual and energy beliefs of prevailing religions and philosophies, it also matches the primary model pushed by the skeptics.

    Ouija Board Skepticism

    When skeptics cry foul, they cite the Ideomotor Effect as the driving force behind the Ouija Board. The term defines a third, unconscious muscle action and was first used by William B. Carpenter in 1852 to describe the actions of dowsers and frauds who claimed to be spirit mediums. 47,48 The two other types of unconscious movements are called Excitomotor and Sensorimotor actions, and they include natural actions like breathing and reflex actions like pain retraction. 49 As per the ideomotor effect, participants are essentially deluded and creating the psychic effects themselves. It is also known as automatism and describes tiny, involuntary muscle movements in response to subconscious desires. 50

    In the "The Mischief-Making of Ideomotor Action," written for The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. Ray Hyman declared, "Although the effects of ideomotor action have been understood for at least one hundred fifty years, the phenomenon remains surprisingly unknown, even to scientists." 51 Ideomotor actions are very much at the heart of human communication - almost an instinctual response. They are not necessarily associated with such large movements as hand gesturing. Rather, the ideomotor effect presents itself as involuntary subtleties. Think of poker players reading the involuntary "tells" of their opponents. 52 Perhaps an athlete who seems to have an uncanny ability to predict his opponent's next move despite the mathematical and physical impossibilities to respond in time. Or the gumshoe who can read all the minute, physical characteristics of someone in order to detect a lie. 53,54,55 These are examples of people who have developed an ability to read particular, subtle movements in others.

    The aforementioned Ray Hyman has been instrumental in proving the ideomotor effect, notably in the court of law. 56 Chiropractors once used a device called the Toftness Radiation Detector which would respond to tactile touch when placed over troubled areas of the spine. 57 As part of his testimony that the ideomotor effect drove the chiropractors diagnosis, Hyman performed a psychological experiment with student volunteers demonstrating the ideomotor effect where, by the power of suggestion, participants would all receive the same experience with dowsing rods, pendulums and a rubbing plate. The reactions were so powerful, one student believed it was the powers of the devil at play. Hyman makes the following conclusions: 58

    • Ideomotor Action: The perception of an object's movement is actually caused by virtually undetectable motion by the participant.
    • Force Projection: A participant experiencing an ideomotor action will associate the observed "force" as external to themselves.
    • Knowledge Negation: Participants that are aware of the ideomotor effect ahead of time will believe that knowledge allows them to negate its effect.
    • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: When the object's movement is perceived to be external, it reinforces the participant's belief, which amplifies the ideomotor effect. Furthermore, the participant becomes ever more psychologically convinced of truth and is harder to dissuade.

    The ideomotor effect's facets of force projection and self-fulfilling prophecy are really the crucial elements to the skeptic's view on the Ouija experience. Richard Wiseman is a noted professor with a psychological interest in the "peculiar" sciences. 59 In 1995, he conducted multiple seance experiments with a group of twenty-five participants in order to draw conclusions regarding the susceptibility to belief in the supernatural. 60 Given the proper ambiance, conditions and suggestions, he found participants believed certain events happened during the seance that did not. When combining the power of suggestion and the mind's tendency to believe the ideomotor effect is external, it becomes increasingly easy to dismiss a Ouija Board seance as anything more than a psychological novelty.

    There is, of course, a more obvious explanation to how it works. The other guy is moving it intentionally to mess with you. 61 It is usually easy to detect an intentional planchette movement because the planchette exhibits unnaturally abrupt jerks instead of "feeling" like smooth, surreal motion. (I will admit I moved the planchette intentionally only once. There was a really annoying kid amongst us who kept whining about the Ouija Board being unsafe and yet he would not leave! So I asked the board who was going to die next and turned the pointer at him. Needless to say, he left.)

    Experimenting with the Ouija Board

    For the sake of determining whether the Ouija Board movement is influenced by the participants or a spirit entity, experimentation is in order. If the Ouija Board is the fabled gateway to the spirit world, then it must work when the participants are unaware of its configuration. ("Work" being defined as providing an intelligible answer relevant to the conversation at hand.) To repeat the experiment in your own home, you will need:

    • Ouija Board
    • Planchette
    • Friend(s) 62
    • (2) Blindfolds
    • (4) Distinguishable Objects
    • Holy Water 63
    • Necronomicon (aka the Book of the Dead) 64
    • Wirt's Leg 65
    • Video Device 66
    • Audio Recording Device 67

    Four sessions were necessary in order to produce an appropriate set of data for analysis. The experiment consisted of the participants following the basic directions of the Ouija Board. Basic inquiries were be used that make use of spelled, yes/no, and pointing responses. (A pointing response will request for the planchette to be rotated to point at one of the easily distinguishable objects set up beside the board.)

    1. The first session was conducted without sensory deprivation in a (presumably) unhaunted location, for no less than 30 minutes.
    2. The second session was performed immediately following the first, in the same location, this time with randomized configurations. (Randomized variables included the board's orientation around the vertical axis, orientation of the planchette around the vertical axis and the configuration of the reference candles.) The participants using the Ouija Board were blindfolded for the randomized test so as to mitigate any personal influence on the responses.
    3. The third and fourth sessions repeated the procedure of the first and second sessions, but were conducted in a location of known haunting. For this experiment, the United States Military Academy was used, as it is well known for a variety of ghostly appearances spanning such locations as the Superintendent's house, the parade field and various unoccupied rooms in the Lost 50s. 68,69,70

    Two cameras were used to capture audio and video from the experience. A Canon Elph SD1000 was setup beside the board to capture audio and video in 320x240 AVI format. 71 Overhead video was captured by an Oregon Scientific ATC2K Helmet Cam (mounted to a tripod) configured for 320x240 AVI format. 72 In order to listen for EVP, PCM waveform audio was extracted from the AVI video files using the freely available mplayer software on Linux. 73,74 Once extracted, the WAV audio files were processed using Audacity, which permits fundamental editing and visualization of the audio signal. 75 Video clips were reviewed with MPlayerOSX and edited using both Final Cut Express and FFMPEGX available for Apple OS X. 76,77

    Ouija Board Results - The Control Session

    The control experiment was conducted in an office building at the heart of Times Square on 5 February, 2008. A little-used lab room offered a quiet environment and freedom from distraction by other employees throughout the building. I was assisted by my ghosthunting friend from college, Erin Stair. For the sake of discussion, time will be referenced from "T Hour" which is when the cameras were synchronized.

    It took awhile for the board to start doing anything at all. The following are highlights to annotate the provided video segment:

    • T-8:10 through T-8:49 (Clip One). The board first began exhibiting the behavior we would see largely for the remainder of the experiment; it moved back and forth very unintelligibly between the vicinity of letters "ABNO" and "LMYZ" over and over and over again.
    • T-13:02 through T-14:24 (Clip Two): We decided to see if using only one hand instead of two would make a difference in the gibberish pattern. As the planchette slowly (relative to before) moved towards the "LMYZ" area, I commented, "It shouldn't make a difference if you use two hands or not," whereupon the pointer moved to the word "YES."
    • T-13:40 and T-15:33 (Clip Three): This was one of the only peculiar events for the night. The board actually spelled through half of the alphabet while interleaving the letter "Z" each time.
    • T-19:10 through T-19:24 (Clip Four): They say a repetitious figure eight pattern is an indicator of evil. We got a few of these through the night but given the unintelligible behavior of the planchette, we discarded the occasional figure eight as part of the randomness.
    • T-21:59. We decided to see if the arbitrary pattern would continue if only one of us were touching the planchette. For the most part, there was little to no effect of having only me using the device while the basic pattern did continue for Erin. Still, there was nothing intelligible either in spelled letters, "YES/NO" indications or pointing at objects.
    • T-30:44. We ended the first session at this point because our arms were tired from holding them up off the table and the lack of any intelligible response was both irritating and satisfying (from a control perspective).

    After a short break, we resumed the Ouija experiment for a second session. We discarded the intentional blindfold session for two reasons: the first session was so unintelligible repeating the experiment blind would make no difference, and Erin brought dirty socks for blindfolds. "T Hour" will again refer to the time at which the cameras were synchronized. The following are highlights to annotate the provided video segment:

    • T-6:35 through T-7:27 (Clip One): Erin asked the question, "Are you here right now," to which the board actually broke the "ABNO" / "LMYZ" circle pattern and indicated "YES." Following that, I asked "Are you willing to participate in the experiment?" and the planchette immediately swung to the "NO." Clarifying, we asked, "You don't want to participate in the experiment?" again and the planchette swung to the "YES." Erin asked "Why not?" and it began to cycle through the unintelligible letters again.
    • T-8:42 through T-9:05 (Clip Two): After making no sense at all for our subsequent questions, I asked "Are you willing to point at the candle?" The planchette zipped to the "YES" whereupon Erin asked "Can you point to the candle?" The planchette then turned dramatically and zipped off the board in the direction of the candle.
    • T-9:29 through T-9:51 (Clip Three): We reset the planchette onto the board and announced that it would work better if the pointer remained on the Ouija Board. Erin asked "Can you point at the scissors" to which the planchette turned and pointed at the scissors. I asked "Can you point at the candle again" and the planchette turned such that our hands were twisted with only fingertips barely touching the pointer. Despite the minimal and contorted contact, the planchette continued to move smoothly and seemingly with "force."
    • T-11:08 through T-11:35 (Clip Four): This was not in response to any questions, but was instead a visual representation of the peculiar twisting motion the planchette began to exhibit.
    • T-16:19 through T-16:28 (Clip Five): We began using the Ouija Board solo again to determine if there were any differences between us. While neither of us received any intelligible sequences or indications, the planchette did begin to spin for Erin.
    • T-17:38 through T-17:51 (Clip Six): Just another example of a spin contortion though this was not by our request. Erin commented, "It almost hurts to do that."
    • T-17:55 through T-18:15 (Clip Seven): Here I am intentionally spinning the planchette to demonstrate the difference in motion from the involuntary movements that we have been experiencing versus a completely voluntary rotation. It should be noted that I am twisting it using just my fingertips with the same amount of contact that I have when the planchette appears to move itself.
    • T-20:47 through T-21:13 (Clip Eight): The pointer continued to move in the usual nonsensical pattern and twists so we began to ask questions again. Just for kicks I asked "Do you look at Erin in the shower?" to which the planchette stopped circling and moved promptly to the "NO." She blurted out a surprised "Heeeey!" and declared it was "because of that photograph which is really chunky and hideous" referring to the awful mug shot our building's security camera took of her earlier. The planchette responded by moving to the "YES" eliciting some laughs and a surprised "Daaaaamn" from Erin. 78
    • T-21:50 through T-30:15. The questioning continued. It was interesting the planchette stopped decidedly on either the "YES" or the "NO" for questions like these but otherwise never indicated a "YES" or "NO" throughout the entire night during the nonsense periods.
    • Have you been here long?
    • Are you playing games with us? NO
    • Do you watch Matthew in the shower? NO
    • Are you stuck in this building? NO
    • So you can go anywhere in Manhattan?
    • Have you tried going anywhere else? YES
    • Can you cross water? NO
    • Is it scary? NO
    • Do you come in this lab a lot? NO 79
    • Are there other spirits?
    • Just you by yourself?
    • Are you a soul?
    • Are you still here? YES
    • Is there a heaven?
    • Do you not want to tell us? YES
    • Is it a secret you can only know once you die? YES
    • Is it energy forms? YES
    • Do you get to come back as anything else? YES
    • Do you chuckle at religion?
    • Not going to answer that one? NO
    • Is it possible for you to ask us something? NO
    • Is there anything you'd like to tell us?
    • Are you tired?
    • Are you able to affect the candle?
  • I mean alter the flame. YES
  • T-31:11 through T-31:20 (Clip Nine): We asked "Can you make the flame flicker?" and seconds later the flame flickered. To confirm it wasn't an environmental effect, we later checked the surrounding area the candle was not affected by the buildings HVAC unit. As a matter of fact, the HVAC is largely disabled during the night for energy savings. To avoid my own breathing's effect on the candle, I watched it from the corner of my eye (knowing I could review the video later).
  • T-33:11 through T-33:20 (Clip Ten): Reviewing the candle's behavior showed it burned happily in place without odd motion except for during the questioning. When we asked if the candle could be blown out, the flame fluttered nearly straight down in a fashion not seen at any other time.
  • T-33:33: The battery for the Canon SD1000 died so the session ended shortly after.
  • Ouija Board Results - The Haunted Session

    The haunted experiment was conducted in on the fourth floor of the United States Military Academy library on 12 April, 2008. 80 A Saturday afternoon was chosen to minimize the likelihood of the cadets interrupting the session. On the far end of the library's fourth floor was an audio/visual lab featuring cassette and VHS tapes covered in a fine layer of dust - I doubt a cadet had been there in months. For the sake of discussion, time will be referenced from "T Hour," which is when the cameras were synchronized.

    To avoid using up the camera battery like before, we "warmed up" the board for about ten minutes prior to recording. After several minutes, the planchette began moving, but the results were incoherent movements around the letters. We asked various questions and were given answers through the board's YES/NO markings that the spirit was alone (at the time) and that it was difficult for it to "see" the board in the light. The only consistent movement from the planchette was to sweep over towards the moon icon. After activating the cameras, the planchette still did not make any coherent indications so at approximately T-3:55, I opened a deck of cards and began placing selected cards at the four corners of the board for it to point at.

    • T-5:26 through T-7:47 (Clip One): We put the four aces at each corner of the board for the planchette to distinguish. When asked to identify the Ace of Clubs, the planchette took awhile to move before incorrectly going to the corner with spades. It then moved, rather than point, towards the corner with the clubs. Given that it indicated earlier that it "could not see", we described the locations of the cards verbally and then tried again. When asked to identify the Ace of Hearts, the planchette swirled a little and then incorrectly identified the Ace of Diamonds.
    • T-11:04 through T-11:32 (Clip Two): We asked what year it came to the library whereupon it went to the numbers and spelled out '1835'.
    • T-11:50 through T-14:55. The questions shifted to to simpler YES/NO queries.
    • Have you been alone? NO
    • Are there many of you? YES
    • Are there many of you everywhere all the time? NO
    • Are you stuck? R. K. D. V. P. I. Y
    • Did you go to school here? N. O
    • Were you in the military? Moon Symbol
    • Would you like for us to leave you alone? A. U. P. W. D. X. 3. H
    • Were you in the military? A. R. H. Z
    • Have you ever used one of these [Ouija Board] before? YES
    • Was it this same one? NO
    • T-14:57 through 17:01 (Clip Three): Given that the planchette had begun moving again, we asked for it to point at the four cards again. This time, it still did not point, but it successfully put the planchette into the appropriate corner of the board for the named card. To further the experiment, the four cards were collected, shuffled and replaced face down to determine if the entity could identify them without our knowledge. None of the blind matches were correct.
    • T-17:26 through 29:20. The questions resumed again.
    • Could you see us at night? YES
    • Have you ever been seen before?
    • Are there any others here now with you? NO
    • Do you like trying to communicate with people? P. U. A. V
    • Can you see the letters on the board? L. A. V. P
    • Were you a woman? YES
    • Were you a man? M. A. S. E. L
    • Do you get to live many lifetimes? A. I. Z. O
    • Do spirits live more than one lifetime? 1. 0. 1. Moon Symbol
    • Can you make anything in the room move? Or make a noise? N. J. A. L. YES
    • What can you make move? M. A. J. O. R. M. K. M. O. Z. E. W
    • Is it difficult to make things move? A. Z. E. M. O. K. N. J. A. S
    • Did you have children? X. O. K. A. L. N. I
    • Yes or No - did you have children? 1
    • Was it a boy? NO
    • One girl? 2
    • Did you work on a farm? NO

    At this point, the gibberish continued so we decided to end the first haunted session and take a break. The next session was conducted with blindfolds on. Additionally, the orientation of the board was randomized while blindfolded to prevent participants from knowing which way was "up." In this fashion, the ideomotor effect should be negated because participants cannot see the board and therefore cannot subconsciously influence the planchette.

    • T-1:33 through T-2:09 (Clip One): We asked if anybody was here and upon receiving an answer, asked if it was the same entity as before. It should be noted, that the planchette moved near answers if not entirely on them. This could be interpreted as either blind luck or true influence (minus ideomotor corrections).
    • T-2:46 through T-2:58 (Clip Two): We asked for its name and received the answer P. U. and an indistinguishable point between and below the S and T.
    • T-3:15 through T-6:00. Some general questions and answers with the entity:
    • Did you go to school here? YES - NOTE: The planchette was between the Sun and the YES.
    • What year did you graduate? 1646 - NOTE: The planchette was under the numbers, 1646 correspond to the numbers directly above the planchette.
    • Are you glad to know people still go to USMA? YES - NOTE: The planchette was between the Sun and the YES.
    • Did you live long after graduation? YES - NOTE: The planchette was between the Sun and the YES.
    • Is Army better than Navy? After a pause, the planchette moved towards NO.
    • Did you graduate and get a job? YES
    • How long were you in the Army for? 74 - NOTE: The planchette was under the numbers, 74 correspond to the numbers directly above the planchette.
    • Are those years? YES
    • Did you like being in the Army?
    • T-6:06 through T-7:31 (Clip Three): First we asked for the planchette to point at the King. Second we asked to identify the Three. Third we asked for the Eight. Lastly we asked for it to point out the Six. Unlike the first session, this time the planchette itself rotated to point at the different cards. Using the card positions from Clip Four, the entity corrected identified the King, the Three and the Eight. Although when asked to point out the Six, it pointed at the Eight again.
    • T-7:35 through T-12:00. Some more general questions and answers with the entity.
    • Have you ever been able to move an object as a spirit? NO - NOTE: The planchette was between the Ouija title and the NO.
    • Do you know any spirits that can? YES
    • Have you ever made noises? NO
    • Has anyone ever seen you? YES
    • As a spirit, are you close to us now? 9. Q
    • Or is that a dumb question? NO - NOTE: The planchette was between the Ouija title and the NO.
    • Do you come to the library often? NO
    • Do spirits have friends? NO - NOTE: The planchette was between the Moon and the NO.
    • Do spirits go into a collective? The plancette swirled and stopped on the Ouija title.
    • Is it lonely? The planchette swirled and stopped between the YES, the Ouija title and the letters E and F.
    • Is there a heaven and hell? NO
    • Is there reincarnation. can you come back? YES
    • How many times have you come back? 8 - NOTE: The planchette was under the numbers, 8 corresponded to the number directly above the planchette.
    • Are you planning on coming back soon? YES
    • Do you get to choose where you come back? NO - NOTE: The planchette was between the NO and the Moon.
    • T-12:09 through T-14:34 (Clip Four): The planchette began to exhibit erratic behavior so we opted to shuffle the cards again for more pointing. First, we had to put the cards under the camera so the previous pointing behavior (Clip Three) could be checked. After the cards were rearranged, the entity was asked to point out the King, Three, Eight and Six. Unlike the previous attempt, this time each card was chosen wrong.
    • T-15:01 through. We continued the questions and answers.
    • Was a photograph ever taken of you? YES
    • Could you spell your name so we can look you up? A. V. P. YES
    • The planchette began moving and left the board. After resetting it, "Do you need the board to make this work?'' NO
    • Have you spoken through a Ouija Board before? NO
    • Is it fun? YES - NOTE: The planchette was between the Sun and the YES.
    • Is this easier than other ways?
    • ''In your last life, were you a woman?" The planchette moved above the Ouija title on the NO side of the board.
    • Do you like spring at West Point? YES
    • ''Do you like winter at West Point. the Gloom!" NO
    • Did you get married here? NO
    • Did you get married at all? YES
    • Did you have children? YES
    • How many? The planchette moved underneath the five.
    • Are any of them still alive? The planchette moved above the YES.
    • T-18:19 through T-20:22 (Clip Five): We asked if there was a message it would like to leave for its living children. Neither the message nor the names for delivery were anything intelligible.
    • T-20:45 through T-24:59. The session actually continued with some further questions and answers. The responses were gibberish much like Clip Five.
    Error Analysis

    Prior to making any conclusions, it is necessary to address some of the known problems with the experiment.

    • Up front, the two core assumptions (the office building was not haunted and a session at West Point would be able to tap into the reported hauntings) may have been wrong. A failure of either of these two assumptions would naturally negate the entire experiment's ability to contrast each scenario.
    • The assumption the Ouija Board itself is simply a tool for opening the mind could be wrong. If, in fact, the Ouija Board itself is more tightly linked to the seance process then there is the probability the experimental Ouija Board could be "broken." Without access to a Ouija Board calibration tool, there would be no way to tell if Parker Brothers manufactured the board within the appropriate tolerances to touch the spirit world.
    • Although different cases were tested to establish a control environment and subsequent variations to contrast with that control, there was no repetition. Performing the test cases would establish a precedent for consistency and help to eliminate false positives and false negatives. For example, perhaps there was a fluke entity passing through Times Square during the control session or the entities at West Point were not available at the time of the haunted session. Repeat sessions would have mitigated anomalous timing.
    • It was also assumed if Ouija Boards work the spirit contacted would be of sound ability to communicate in a somewhat intelligible manner. If there is such a thing as a spirit world, it should be populated by the spirits departed from the real world and as such will contain a representative population of non-English speaking spirits in addition to mentally handicapped spirits or those with prankster attitudes. Assuming it worked, the entity contacted may have been thwarting the effort intentionally.
    Electronic Voice Phenomena

    After the sessions were completed, the electronic AVI files were taken from the video recorders and consolidated. Software was used to extract the audio tracks from the AVI files and these were saved as separate WAV files. Audacity was used to review each WAV file looking and listening for EVP. It was necessary to use a visual program to identify EVP in case faint audio forms were missed in the listening tests. Visualizing the audio wave forms permitted an analysis looking for spikes deviating from background noise for more focused scrutiny. Unfortunately, upon reviewing the audio tracks extracted from the video footage, there was no evidence of EVP from any of the sessions.

    Control vs. Haunted

    The purpose of conducting sessions in both a controlled, non-haunted environment and a haunted environment was to judge the responsiveness of the planchette on the Ouija Board. Given a truly non-haunted environment, the planchette should have remained motionless and not provided any meaningful response. In the haunted environment, the planchette should have responded during the session with notable movement and ideally coherent, meaningful responses.

    The control obviously failed in the first regard to be un-responsive. The planchette demonstrated blatant activity although it may have been the result of the Ideomotor Effect. The results of the first control session were so incoherent it was decided not to bother with a controlled blindfolded session. Incoherency continued with the second control session although minor results seemed to manifest. Other than the 1 /2 alphabet enumeration and the peculiarity with the candle flame at the end, the control sessions did seem to confirm a degree of meaninglessness, leading to the conclusion there was nothing significant present or the result was entirely of Ideomotor influence.

    The haunted session was demonstratively different from the control. Unlike the sweeping, repetitive pattern demonstrated in the office building, the planchette seemed to move to distinct alphanumeric characters and other indicators. At first, it would be easy to conclude this seemingly intentional activity was indicative of an intelligence not present during the control. However, it stood to reason it was also from the influence of the Ideomotor Effect. While the movements seemed more deliberate, the result was largely unintelligible. Assuming the Ouija Board worked, however, part of the session indicated the entity was having trouble interfacing during the afternoon and that a better result would be possible at night. 81

    Ideomotor Effect

    According to the Ideomotor Effect, the ability of the participants to see the board results in unconscious muscle movements to make the planchette go towards particular results to fulfill the desire to have a result. As an example, each participant may have a subconscious desire or hope that the planchette will answer in a particular fashion. Although not intentionally moving the planchette, the slightest muscle twitch by one participant may be perceived as real movement by the other who in turn gives an ever slight muscle twitch of their own. These slight twitches each push the planchette towards the desired result such that each participant fully believes they are not influencing the outcome, yet each participant is magnifying the effect from the other.

    The Ideomotor Effect was tested with the blindfolded session. If the movement of the Ouija Board's planchette is the result of the Ideomotor Effect, than the blindfolded experiment should result in a complete failure to replicate any of the non-blindfolded results. Neither participant is able to see the planchette's position on the board and therefore has no orienting indications from which unconscious muscle action can "correct" it's movement. Furthermore, the random orientation of the board will result in an inability for either participant to even know which way to move the planchette for simpler answers like YES/NO or object pointing.

    This experiment showed a prominent degradation in the quality of answers from the Ouija Board following the blindfolds. It is evident the planchette was not aligning itself well with the alpha-numeric characters nor even with the larger YES/NO answers. However, it can be argued the planchette was "in the ballpark" for rough interpretation of the answers in which case the offset error is a demonstration of the correcting factor of the Ideomotor Effect. It was interesting the playing card portion of the experiment resulted in picking three of four cards, but it cannot be ignored all cards were missed on the second pass.

    Conclusions on the Ouija Board

    The bottom line is the Ouija Board is not a gateway to hell. Touching it will not harm you. Being in its presence is not going to cause you to become possessed. It would seem most sessions conducted with the Ouija Board are in fact, nothing more than parlor tricks. Most people are likely to have the misfortune of encountering participants who physically manipulate the board as a scare tactic, ruining the experience. And for the few occasions when a legitimate session is possible, it is very likely the Ideomotor Effect will influence the outcome of the result to some degree. Despite the probability most sessions are the result of the Ideomotor Effect or pranksters, enough outlier case examples of Ouija Board mystery exist that giving them the benefit of the doubt is not entirely unreasonable. If the believers are correct, it is likely most people are simply too skeptical (or fearful) to truly open their minds to make a real connection. Anyone who has ever used a Ouija Board under the right conditions will swear there is that little something weird that cannot necessarily be explained away rationally. For those few who may make a connection, the question really is - it is just a game isn't it?

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    61 These people are usually referred to as assholes and are often your closest friends.

    62 It is advisable to not only have friends that run slower than you, but also perhaps an "extra" friend everyone is willing to leave behind. If you don't know who that friend is, it's probably you.

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    66 The person in charge of writing down the letters always gets caught up in the "excitement" when the planchette moves. It's much better to simply record what it does. Having access to a thermal or IR camera as well makes for good corroborating evidence.

    67 An audio recorder is useful for detecting EVP (electronic voice phenomena).

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    77 "FFMPEGX." FFMPEGX. Accessed February 2008 from http://www.ffmpegx.com/

    78 The security camera made Erin look like she had gained a good twenty. maybe thirty. pounds.

    79 My coworkers were pleased to hear of this answer the next day although I still got several strange looks about having conducted a seance in the office.

    80 "United States Military Academy Library." USMA. Accessed May 2008 from http://usmalibrary.usma.edu/

    81 Unfortunately, the opportunity to commute to West Point and use the library at night was not readily available and an afternoon session was the best option.

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