Who invented the Ouija Board?

The story of the Ouija board is a fascinating tapestry woven from strands of Victorian fascination with the occult, entrepreneurial shrewdness, and enduring cultural curiosity. Its origins, shrouded in a certain historical murk, point to the burgeoning spiritualist movement of the 19th century.

In the United States, spiritualism, the belief in communication with the deceased, flourished during this period. Seances, where mediums supposedly acted as conduits between the living and the dead, were a popular pastime. It's against this backdrop that the Ouija board, then known simply as a "talking board," emerged. The year was 1886, and the location, Chestertown, Maryland. Accounts differ on the exact details, but some sources credit businessman Elijah Bond and his associate, Charles Kennard, with its creation. Others claim a role for a medium named Helen Peters in its development. Regardless of the individuals involved, the board itself was a simple affair: a flat surface marked with letters, numbers, and symbols, along with a planchette, a small heart-shaped pointer, used to navigate the board.

Bond eventually secured a patent for the board in 1890, christening it with the now-iconic name "Ouija." The origin of the name remains unclear, with some attributing it to Egyptian, while others claim it's a combination of the German and French words for "yes" ("ja" and "oui"). Initially marketed as a harmless parlor game, the Ouija board quickly captured the public's imagination. The Victorian era, with its fascination with the supernatural and the macabre, provided fertile ground for the board's success. Advertisements touted its ability to answer questions about the past, present, and future, further fueling its popularity.

However, the early 20th century saw a shift in public perception. The board became increasingly associated with the occult, and its use was often met with disapproval, particularly from the religious community. Despite this, the Ouija board maintained its cultural cachet, appearing in films and becoming a fixture in popular culture.

One crucial figure in the board's continued relevance was Pearl Curran, an American medium who, during World War I, claimed to channel the spirit of a deceased British soldier through the Ouija board. This association with wartime communication helped solidify the board's image as a tool for contacting the spirit world.

Over the decades, the Ouija board's popularity has fluctuated, experiencing periods of renewed interest and occasional controversy. Today, it remains a cultural touchstone, its image inextricably linked with the paranormal and the desire to connect with the unseen.

Among the various iterations of the Ouija board, the creations of Vile Eight stand out for their exceptional quality and distinctive aesthetic. Crafted from solid wood, these boards are not just functional objects but beautifully crafted pieces that elevate the user experience. Each Vile Eight Ouija board is a testament to the enduring legacy of this historical artifact, offering a tangible connection to the board's intriguing past while catering to the modern fascination with the unknown.