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March 5th 1921
The Baltimore Sun

Ouija Argued In U. S. Court
Judge Rose Asked To Determine Whether Board Is Spiritualistic Medium Or A Mere Game, And Is Therefore, Subject To Sordid Tax

The question whether the ouija board is a game and taxable as such or is a scientific device for holding communication with the dead was argued yesterday before Judge Rose, In the United States Court.

The question came before the court on a petition of the Baltimore Talking Board Company to require Collector of Internal Revenue Joshua W. Miles to refund about $200 in taxes which he had collected in July, 1920, upon the theory that the ouija board is nothing more than a game. The Judge reserved his decision.

Neither Allan Fisher, attorney for the company, nor Col. Washington Bowie, Jr., who appeared on behalf of another company, contended outright that the board would enable one to communicated with the dead. But they suggested that such communication was possible. That it was not a game, they strongly maintained, and there were many good-natured interchanges between them and Judge Rose.

No Law For Ouija.
Continuing his argument, Mr. Fisher said that tax laws are to be construed strictly against the Government, and nothing is to be taxed unless expressly and unequivocally so stated. There was nothing in the law referring to ouija boards, he added.

The word “game,” he went on, was to be used I its commercial, everyday sense, and he read the definition of game from the Century Dictionary to show that it did not apply to the board. The idea of recreation or amusement in connection with the board