We take a look at “Ouijamania” in the 1920s, relating the panic over Ouija boards to big movements in the year 1920, including womens suffrage, prohibition, and, unfortunately, eugenics.

Ouijamania is the phenomenon where people, usually women, supposedly went crazy because of their Ouija board use, usually resulting in their institutionalization.

Highlights include:
• Occult rituals
• 1920s insane asylums
• Burning money
• The dark side of 1920s feminism

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Sources consulted in researching 1920s Ouijamania

Websites consulted RE: 1920s Ouijamania

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Lady
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_World_War_I#Germany
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperinflation_in_the_Weimar_Republic
  • https://mashable.com/2016/07/27/german-hyperinflation/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dementia_praecox
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moron_(psychology)
  • https://www.nature.com/scitable/forums/genetics-generation/america-s-hidden-history-the-eugenics-movement-123919444/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_in_the_United_States
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbecile
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_of_Endor
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punchboard
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States#Nineteenth_Amendment
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_in_the_United_States#Start_of_national_prohibition_(January_1920)
  • https://thehill.com/changing-america/enrichment/arts-culture/471058-why-ouija-boards-creep-us-out
  • https://williamfuld.com/ouija_letters_05081920.html
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1s3w3w/im_a_patient_at_a_psychiatric_institution_in_the/
  • https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/19th-and-20th-century-psychiatry-22-rare-photos/21/
  • https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.08081271
  • https://www.sciencefriday.com/articles/from-fever-cure-to-coma-therapy-psychiatric-treatments-through-time/
  • http://alexwellerstein.com/publications/?pdf=wellerstein_statesofeugenics.pdf
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenic_feminism
  • https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/11/rockhaven-sanitarium-womens-mental-health/417264/
  • https://www.ibtimes.com/marie-stopes-womens-rights-activist-or-nazi-eugenicist-848457
  • http://dangerouswomenproject.org/2017/02/28/eugenics-and-feminism/
  • https://www-jstor-org.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/stable/30041957?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger#Eugenics
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_sleep_therapy
  • https://www.bustle.com/p/women-who-defied-gender-roles-were-once-imprisoned-in-asylums-55320
  • https://comstockhousehistory.blogspot.com/2008/11/sonoma-county-and-eugenics.html
  • https://comstockhousehistory.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-asylums-next-door.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_culture_in_San_Francisco#20th_century
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_discharge
  • https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/in-the-early-20th-century-america-was-awash-in-incredible-queer-nightlife

Historical articles and advertisements RE: 1920s Ouijamania

  • “Blames Ouija Board and Bridge for Insanity Among Women.” Santa Ana Register (Santa Ana, California) · Fri, Oct 29, 1920 · Page 12
  • “Committed to Warm Springs.” The Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) · Sat, Apr 3, 1920 · Page 5
  • “Health Talks by William Brady, M.D., Noted Physician and Author. Dementia Ouija.” The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) · Thu, Oct 14, 1920 · Page 4
  • “Do the Dead Communicate With the Living?” The Journal (Logan, Utah) · Tue, Mar 30, 1920 · Page 6
  • “Doctor Tells Ouija Board Secret Works.” Escanaba Morning Press (Escanaba, Michigan) · Wed, Jun 23, 1920 · Page 2
  • “Give these Ghosts a Job.” The Salina Evening Journal (Salina, Kansas) · Tue, Mar 23, 1920 · Page 8
  • “Hats off to Ouija Board.” University Daily Kansan (Lawrence, Kansas) · Mon, Apr 26, 1920 · Page 2
  • “Kiss Ouija Goodbye or Become a Moron: Dr. Hickson is Ready for All Who Trust in Board and Spirits, Are Primarily Praecox.” Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) · Thu, Feb 12, 1920 · Page 3
  • “Madam Ouija is Declared Fraud by Dr O’Shea: Is Adventuress in World of Psychology and Makes People Self Deceived.” The Fort Collins Courier (Fort Collins, Colorado) · Fri, Jun 25, 1920 · Page 5
  • “Calls Ouija Board ‘Agency of Devil’: W. B. Fowler Also Assails the “Boarders”: Tells Bible Students Satan Is Still Working Largely Through Women.” The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Mon, Mar 8, 1920 · Page 8
  • “Ouija Is Servant Of Subconcious Mind of Operator.” The Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon) · Mon, May 31, 1920 · Page 1, Page 22
  • “Ouija Driving Women Mad: New Mania Due to Occult Overindulgence Claims Many Victims.” The Owensboro Messenger (Owensboro, Kentucky) · Sun, May 16, 1920 · Page 22
  • “Ouija Boards as Oracles.” Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona) · Tue, Jan 27, 1920 · Page 4
  • “Ouija Boards to Be In Equipment.” The Whittier News (Whittier, California) · Tue, Mar 23, 1920 · Page 1
  • “Ouija Craze Has Struck Wichita. Mystic Boards and WOrks on Psychic World Are Much Sought in City.” The Wichita Daily Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) · Sun, Jan 4, 1920 · Page 32
  • “Ouijamania stirs inhabitants of El Cerrito.” Pasadena Evening Post (Pasadena, California) · Fri, Mar 5, 1920 · Page 6
  • “Psychic Cults and Systems: Why Mediums Have Control.” Buffalo Courier (Buffalo, New York) · Sun, Jun 6, 1920 · Page 34
  • “Sir Oliver Lodge Talks Here With ‘Spirit’ Via Ouija Board: 20-year-old Winnipeg Girl is Medium Used for Unique Experiment.”The Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) · Thu, Apr 29, 1920 · Page 1
  • “Spook Stuff.” The Chattanooga News (Chattanooga, Tennessee) · Mon, Mar 15, 1920 · Page 4
  • “Sure, Ouija Board KNows a Lot, Says ALeko at Pantages.” The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) · Thu, Apr 22, 1920 · Page 9
  • “The Case Against Spiritualism.” Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) · Sun, Jan 18, 1920 · Page 18
  • “Weakness and Ouijas.” Hanford Morning Journal (Hanford, California) · Sat, Sep 11, 1920 · Page 2
  • “Whole California City Ouija Crazy to be Examined.” Press-Courier (Oxnard, California) · Fri, Mar 5, 1920 · Page 1
  • “Why ‘Ouija,’ Is Jastrow Query: ‘Yes, Yes,’ Board Doesn’t Prevent Spooks from Saying ‘No.” Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · Wed, Apr 7, 1920 · Page 8
  • “Would Stop Sale of Ouija Boards in California.” The Whittier News (Whittier, California) · Sat, Mar 20, 1920 · Page 7
  • Ouija Boards All the Rage in Akron Thousands Bought. Akron Evening Times (Akron, Ohio) · Sun, Feb 15, 1920 · Page 35
  • About that Ouija Board. The Stockton Review (Stockton, Kansas) · Thu, Jan 1, 1920 · Page 1
  • Is Santa Ana a Devotee of the Ouija Board? Santa Ana Register (Santa Ana, California) · Tue, Mar 16, 1920 · Page 7
  • “They don’t do it in the very best spirit circles.” The Winfield Daily Free Press (Winfield, Kansas) · Mon, Nov 15, 1920 · Page 6
  • “Weird Ouija Board Rites Are Fertile Source of Mania.” The Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) · Mon, Mar 29, 1920 · Page 1
  • “Ouija to be Banned from Sacramento.” The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) · Tue, Mar 9, 1920 · Page 4
  • “Ouija Board Blamed for Mental Trouble.” The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) · Sat, Mar 20, 1920 · Page 7
  • “Ouija Board Drives Policeman to Street Naked.” The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California) · Sat, Mar 6, 1920 · Page 13

Check out the shownotes for the rest of the series to see all of the sources used.

Listen to the rest of the Ouija board series:

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