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May 18th 1944
The Baltimore Sun
(Copyright © Reprinted with permission from the Baltimore Sun)
Ouija Board Mum In Three Languages On Invasion Date
The ouija board craze, which sent millions of Baltimore-made instruments to every city in the nation 20 years ago, has started again in its native city, but yesterday at least one of the mystic boards could not announce the date of the invasion in any of three languages.
“When will the invasion of Europe begin?” the board was asked.
The heart shaped planchette, or sliding table which points to significant letters on the flat board, didn’t budge.
“A quel jour commencera l’invasion de l’Europe?” the board was asked.
But it just looked board, wooden you know.
“Chico digame la data del invasion de Europa por favor?” the table then was asked. And still no answer.
In the office of his factory at Harford avenue and Federal street, William Fuld, who can not get enough material to fill all of his orders for ouija boards, said:
“All I know is they must work sometime or we wouldn’t be selling so many. For the last 18 months the sales have been as large as during the best years of the 20’s.”
Ouija Editor, No Less
Those were the days when prominent screen stars communed with dead lovers via the ouija board, when several courts in the nation heard please for divorce based on ouija-evidence when secret marriages were revealed by the planchettes and when the Evening Sun had a regular ouija editor to answer the flood of questions it received.
The invention of William Fuld (father of the present manufacturer) became so popular in the nation, that Dorothy Parker, writing in 1920, said the “poor spirits of the other world were working 24 hours a day moving planchettes, playing banjos and ringing doorbells at house parties.”
Made a Fortune From The Game
Before he died in 1927, the former Baltimore customs inspector had made a fortune from the simple game he contrived in 1892, which became the theme of a hit Broadway mystery drama and of innumerable pulp-fiction horror stories.
An official of a book store, which is selling over 800 boards weekly in the city, said the most eager purchasers of ouija boards are WACs, schoolgirls and office workers.
At a party, a girl asked when she would see her soldier-fiance. The board said tomorrow and the next day he arrived. The day following every girl at the party purchased a board.
Another girl recently asked when the war would end. The board replied — in English: five months.