"Is the Ouija Board Making Mental Troubles in Washington?"

The article by Bill Price was transcribed from The Washington Times, October 21, 26, 1921.

Is the Ouija Board Making Mental Troubles in Washington?”
Whether there is truth in a statement that the ouija board is adding patients to Washington asylums through disturbing influences upon District mentalities, students of mental phenomena will be interested in the fact that the ouija board takes its name from the French word oui (yes) and the German word ja (yes). Its origin is somewhat obscure. Both the planchette and ouija, somewhat similar in appearance, date back to about 1855, and for a while were objects of considerable superstition. The planchette is a small board fitted with a pencil and two casters, made to move easily over a sheet of paper when the hands rest lightly on it. The dictionary says the ouija “is a form of planchette used in spiritualistic seances or the like. It consists of two parts, a board containing the alphabet and other characters, and a planchette, with a pointer substituted for the pencil.”

Investigation of automatic writings fail to find that the two boards have any origin in the mysticisms of Egypt. One writer is of the opinion that the first attempt in ouijaing was made by a man on his wife’s breadboard. The skeptical refer to the board as wholly a modern trick affair which has no connection with Eastern or other metaphysics.

Some of the noted spiritualists of the world make use of the ouija or planchette and carefully study the results. An able group of psychologists regard the ouija as a dangerous deception. Their theory is that the subconscious mind of the operator directs the fingers in such a way as to convey the information hoped for. The operator, they hold, is as innocent of this subconscious process as a sleep-walker is of what he is doing, and naturally puts a supernation construction on the outcome.

Leading spiritualists and other believers in higher agencies than natural ones, confident that communication with the other world is not only established but is developing into an understanding that will glorify humanity, are willing to accept the ouija board or any other method of transmission that will add to the information they feel they now possess. Those of material minds, who deride all supernatural beliefs and theories, hold to the opinion that after every great war there is a wave of the occult in some form, and say that right now the ouija bard happens to the be the most popular man-made medium of bringing together terrestrial minds and celestial beings and thoughts”