Spirituality

Are Ouija boards an ‘Origin of Evil’?

The very action of using this 'game' can have profound spiritual consequences beyond our control

On Friday this week the highly anticipated prequel to the 2014 Ouija film will hit theaters nationwide. With Ouija: Origin of Evil, producer Michael Bay (Transformers) hopes to capitalize on the box office success of the first installment, which raked in $103.6 million worldwide.

What is interesting is that while both horror movies focus on characters playing with Ouija boards, they portray on film what is true in real life: Ouija boards are not “fun and games” and can open the door to something much sinister.

As Marge Fenelon reported in 2014, after the release of the first film “the Ouija board [was] number five in the Top Trending Toys on Google. Google also reported that online searches for the ‘board game’ [were] up 300 percent since the film’s release.”

What was most disturbing about Google’s report was that the Ouija board was categorized right next to toys like “American Girl, My Little Pony, Paw Patrol, Lego Friends, Peppa Pig, Shopkins, Nerf Guns, and Zoomer Dino.” The Ouija Board can often be purchased at places like Wal-Mart or Toys ‘R Us and is on the shelf right next to games like Monopoly.

In the eyes of the board game business, the Ouija board is just one entertaining game among many.

What is so sinister about the Ouija board?

The premise of the Ouija board is that a living person can communicate with a soul or spirit and the spirit will communicate back by spelling out answers on the board. Many children (and adults) will play this game saying they don’t “believe” in it and think that one of their friends is playing a joke on them when the pieces move on the board. It is often viewed as a “spooky” game to be played in a dimly lit room in the basement during a teenage sleepover.

On other occasions adults, unable to deal with the departure of a loved one, use the game in hopes of communicating with a deceased relative.

While someone using the board may not have the intention of calling a demonic spirit, the act of using the Ouija board is a form of divination (discovering hidden knowledge through supernatural means) and is very real.

To make an analogy, you may not “believe” there is someone on the other line of the telephone and may talk in it, thinking no one is listening, but the fact is that someone is listening and can communicate back.

We too often forget that there is much more to this world than meets the eye. There do exist angels, demons, spirits and souls and they can have an impact on our life. It is simply not possible to use the Ouija board as a game, as the very action of using it has profound spiritual consequences beyond our control.

One example of how this game can invite an unwanted spiritual presence is the case of a 13-year-old boy who was introduced to the Ouija board in 1949. This boy became possessed by a demon and underwent a month-long exorcism by Father William Bowdern, SJ. These events inspired the 1971 book, The Exorcist, which was put on screen in 1973. The current Fox miniseries is also inspired by the book and film adaptation.

Unfortunately, this case is not isolated and there have been countless others over the years. Exorcists have repeatedly warned against using Ouija boards, and explain how “demons will masquerade as departed loved ones as a means of gaining possession.” Even paranormal investigators are leery about using them, knowing what kind of spirits can be invited into a person’s home.

Most recently, the demand for exorcisms has been on the rise and exorcists have pointed to the use of Ouija boards as part of the problem.

In the end, Ouija boards should have no place in our homes or on our store shelves and can impact the lives of children for the rest of their lives, inviting a demonic presence that can devastate.

The producers and writers of Ouija: Origin of Evil got one thing right: Ouija boards are not games and can be the “origin” of evil in a person’s life.

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Philip Kosloski

Philip Kosloski is a husband and father of five, and staff writer at Aleteia. He also writes for The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), and blogs at the National Catholic Register.