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July 8th 1919
Boston Daily Globe
By Imogene Birch
Are You Superstitious?
THE OUIJA BOARD
Almost everyone is familiar with the Ouija, a flat, smooth board on which the alphabet is printed, and over which a little triangular table moves. A well-known Chicago businessman has written me some interesting experiences with Ouija. I quote from his letter:
“Two of our friends who were present at a time when we wee asking some difficult question took all we were doing as more or less of a joke. Ouija did not like their frivolous attitude and sent this message:
“ ‘There is a disturbing person.’
“We all laughed and asked which of our annoyers it considered the culprit. We were all expecting a definite answer to our question. Instead, Ouija seemed to be writing nonsense. But the nonsense proved to be:
“ality in the room.”
That is, our question was ignored while Ouija calmly finished what he has intended to say.
In the majority of cases, however, Ouija’s motions can be explained as unconscious movements of the muscles of the wrist and arm.
If you have ever taken a ring and suspended it by a thread of any convenient length and tried to hold it steadily between the fingers of the right hand while holding the left hand of a person on your left you can carefully observe this muscular action. The ring will always swing towards the person on your left no matter how hard you try to hold it steadily. Suspend it within a tumbler and it will strike the hour of the day. If suspended over an alphabet it will spell out words.
The automatic actions of our muscles are like those of our heart and lungs. Although our muscles are supposed by most of us to be to be under the absolute control of our conscious thoughts, such is not entirely the case. For they also respond in a slight degree to our unconscious mind, apparently a blank may often find that the ring will spell out whole sentences, so I believe that the incompleted sentence in the above incident, which Ouija supposedly finished, was unconsciously in the mind of one of the operators.