Good thing I’ve been up since 4; lots of time to read. :-/
I don’t know why, but as kids, we loved to scare each other. Sitting around a campfire telling scary stories, sitting under a blanket with a flashlight while telling scary stories, and sitting in a circle at a Halloween party telling scary stories are all part of my past. Remember chanting I believe in Mary Worth in front of the mirror, then running out of the room shrieking? I do. And I think it scared me even more because I was the little hanger-on in a group made up of my older sister and her friends. Crazy times, I tell ya.
We were never allowed to own one of these, but believe it or not, Parker Brothers manufactured Ouija boards from 1966 – 1999. [The creepy slogan, “It’s only a game — isn’t it?“, is honestly quite clever.] I can’t remember who had one, but I sat next to someone and watched him/her play once. The player moves a planchette around the board after asking questions, supposedly guided by the “oracle.” Questions are answered yes or no, or they are spelled out letter by letter.
“Ouija,” arguably taken from the combined French and German words for “yes,” first appeared on the entertainment novelty scene in the late 1800s. The history of the game can be found at The Museum of Talking Boards website — home of the ooky planchette cursor.
Of course, you can’t have a cool new naughty toy without some puffed up Poindexter throwing cold water on everyone’s fun. From flat-out calling the Ouija boards satanic tools to yammering about the ideomotor effect, naysayers labeled the game — and anything claiming to have the slightest connection to divination — a hoax.
Well yeah, but…what about Jumanji? How cool was that?
Can you see Hasbro hawking Ouija boards nowadays, when everything’s supposed to be happy and cute and super-positive, and nobody ever shoots the bad guy anymore? Big fat chance.
Did you ever play with a Ouija board, or play the Jumanji game? What creepy stories can you share?