May 22, 2019

Ouija Board – How Do You Work?

tonight she talks, tonight she watches.

What moves the Ouija board? Is it your hands or those of a spirit?

Welcome back, dark passengers. I know I just posted about this same topic yesterday, but with Halloween nearly upon us, I don’t think enough can be said about the Ouija board. Do I think it’s an awesome addition to your next Halloween costume party? No.

But I do believe that no one cares what I think and is going to whip out the Ouija board whenever they want to anyway. If people are going to “play,” then they should at least know what they’re getting into. Whether or not you believe the Ouija board is dangerous, that includes knowing how this harmless toy really works.

To be clear, I have no idea how it works. I can give you the theories – and shoot them all full of holes – but it’s up to you to form your own opinions about how a Ouija board really works.

Theories on How the Ouija Board Works

For a toy distributed by Parker Bros, the number of theories on how a Ouija board works is astounding. I’m going to skip all the bizarre stuff and stick to the basics. As though any of this is normal.

It’s All in Your Mind

According to The Straight Dope, you make the Ouija board work. Sorry to disappoint, but they aren’t referring to your mystical mojo or your ninja psychokinesis skills. I know, I was bummed too…

Instead, the power of the Ouija board comes from your unconscious movements controlling the planchette. Don’t think it’s possible? Consider driving. Have you ever noticed that when you think about changing lanes your car can start to veer over if you don’t make a concerted effort to stop yourself?

It’s the same thing with the Ouija board. If you think the answer to the question is “yes,” your hands will start traveling this way. Of course, that doesn’t answer how it can still work when, say, four peeps have their fingers on the pointer.

The power of the group mind, anyone?

It’s All About Spirit Communication

What if the Ouija board actually does hook you up with the dead as it claims to? Are ghosts and other spirits actually controlling the planchette? Well…maybe. For this to work, there are two possibilities to consider:

  1. Unless a spirit is very powerful and highly motivated, moving objects in the physical realm takes a LOT of their energy.
  2. The spirits could be tapping into those unconscious muscle movements of yours by whispering into the subconscious of you and all your Ouija-playing friends.

I see a few problems with each of these scenarios. Primarily, most people don’t ask a single question and run shrieking from the room. That’s reserved for me. Instead, people will hold seances with the Ouija board and their friends that go for hours. The average spirit might be able to spell out a few words here and there for you, but unless you’ve got a line of spirits dying to dish with you about that hot guy at the grocery store, I don’t see how this is reasonable.

That said, a very powerful entity could pull it off.

As for the second scenario…It can only work if at least one of the Ouija players is tuned into the spirit realm. Think about it. Most people live their lives without any thought of or consideration for the spirits existing around us, while others face a veritable parade of ghosts who want to talk to them. Is the second person just so much more interesting than the others?

Probably not. They’re just the one who can communicate with spirits, so they congregate around those who know they’re there. It would be the same with the Ouija board. You and your friend can try your best to communicate with your Aunt Edna, but if neither of you are able to hear her – even on a subconscious level – your planchette will just sit there until one of you decides to play pretend and answer questions yourself.

So, dark passengers, how do you think the Ouija board really works? Are our minds playing tricks on us or are spirits really trying to communicate at parties?


“Let your dark passenger come out to play…Be your own nemesis!”

Photo Credit: Creative Endings, Flickr

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About Jen Whitten

Jen Whitten is a paranormal researcher and writer, specializing in psychic development, Empaths, modern day vampirism and dealing with entities. She regularly discusses the paranormal realm, as well as the dark inner workings of the mind.


  1. heather says:

    OK first i have to say you crack me up. hehe
    At one time I thought “hey, parker bros makes it, how scary can that be”. Yeah that was 15 years ago! My cousin came running to me with a PINK one a few years back. yeah, i still slammed the door in her face.
    I do think somehow it is in our minds. but some of the very first “spirits,” and i use that term loosely, was a KKK member from 1930′s Alabama. How is that in my mind? I was using the board with my brother that was 13 at the time, and I know even if he was swaying the board one way or another, he would never think about that kind of stuff (he was 13 and a C student. his world revolved around girls and video games). the whole night was things like that, i want to say we chatted with several spirts until the bad one deceided to come up.
    there is no straight answer on how the mystery of the Ouija works, but all your posts bring up very good points.

    • Jen Whitten says:

      I’ve found that I can only stand writing about the same general topic long term when I wholly infuse my personality into as many posts as possible. I just wish there was a better way to set apart my thoughts from the rest of the writing than with italics.

      Anyway. Yeah, you never struck me as a KKK peep, so I don’t see that coming from your subconscious. And I’ve seen that pink one and a glow in the dark one…but, you know what? They could make the damn planchette out of chocolate deliciousness and the spirits could make it rain cookies in my house and I still wouldn’t touch the Ouija board. (Mainly because I don’t need a board for spirit communication anymore, unfortunately…)

      And, I think we have to face facts here. What kind of spirit would really want to hang out at a kid’s slumber party except for pervy pedophile spirits? I’ll pass. ;)