There are records of Ouija-type devices that were used as early as 540 BC. Ancient Greeks used pendulum oracles and divination systems, and Pythagoras used a wheeled mystic table (click here to see picture) in the 6th century BC. Chinese Taoists used a form of spirit writing in sand called "Fu Chi." Also, symbol tablets were unearthed in caves near ancient Tartary, which suggest that "Ouija boards may be as old as man himself."
An incident in 1848 really began the idea of Modern Spiritualism. This was when two young sisters claimed to have contacted the spirit of a dead peddler. They then became instantly famous and went on tour. This and World War I started a huge obsession that rushed over the U.S. and even Europe. Thousands of families wanted to contact their fallen loved ones.
After this, the world was in demand for people with the special "gift" to communicate with the spirit world. These "pipelines" then designated "mediums" as an intermediary between them and the spirits. "Table Turning" was one common form of these mediums. Another one of these mediums is seen in (click here to see picture) "Ask the Glass." Something a little simpler was a basket with a pencil stuck through the end so that the spirits could write out the messages. This soon evolved into the Planchette.
In order to solve these problems, the mediums were refined and transformed. "They combined the Planchette with a small alphanumeric table, added a rotating pointer and came up with the first talking board."
Three Americans, E.C. Reicho, Elijah Bond, and Charles Kennard came up with the first "Ouija Board." Then William Fuld came into the picture. He claimed that the name Ouija was a fusion of the French word "Oui" for yes and the German "Ja" for yes. William Fuld is known as the "Father of the Ouija Board." Fierce competition flooded the market with Ouija imitations. There are all different types, just click here to view some!
Most of the information provided in this website was contributed to by The Museum of Talking Boards. To visit this site, click on the star! Images used with permission. This website is merely an English project.