19th century Ouija board stories: Chris digs up some early stories of people getting waaay too obsessed with their Ouija boards.

Highlights include:
• a rare story of a 19th century black woman’s experience with Ouija
• a couple destroying their home to (supposedly) convert the world to Masonic principles
• Presidential talking boards
• petty society columns
• Ouija wrecking havoc on a wealthy Brooklyn family
• a man finding spiritual fulfillment through Ouija

Most of these stories take place during the Victorian era, but we also look at a few in the early 20th century, going up to the start of WWI, which is when Ouijamania really kicked off.

 

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19th Century Ouija Board Stories / picture of a family at the Ouija board

Picture from the article “Ouija’s Seance.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Sun, Oct 11, 1896 · Page 23

 

19th Century Ouija Board Sources

Websites about 19th Century Ouija Board Stories

Historical articles and advertisements about 19th Century Ouija Board Stories

  • Read the Witch Board. The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Sat, Jun 5, 1886 · Page 5
  • Cleveland’s Witch Board. The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Wed, Jun 16, 1886 · Page 1
  • The Memphis Appeal-Avalanche (Memphis, Tennessee) · 3 Apr 1892, Sun · Page 10
  • A Novel Party. The Glen Elder Sentinel (Glen Elder, Kansas) · Sat, Mar 27, 1897 · Page 3
  • Communicating With The Dead. New-York tribune. [volume], November 03, 1907, Page 12, Image 36
  • County News. The Marion Times-Standard (Marion, Alabama) · Fri, Aug 17, 1894 · Page 1
  • Ouija’s Predictions. The sun. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1833-1916, September 14, 1892, Page 5, Image 5
  • Ouija’s Seance. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Sun, Oct 11, 1896 · Page 23
  • The National Tribune (Washington, District of Columbia) · Thu, Jul 28, 1892 · Page 5
  • A Singular Case of Dementia. St. Louis Globe-Democrat (St. Louis, Missouri) · Thu, Apr 14, 1898 · Page 13
  • Florence Bulletin (Florence, Kansas) · Fri, Jan 27, 1893 · Page 3
  • “SPIRIT MECHANISM. THE CRAZE FOR HAVING MESSAGES INDICATED BY THE OUIJA: Minds Upset by a Toy of Wonderful Possibilities if All Stories be True—The Ouija and the Planchette Compared—The Espirito Board.” June 28th 1892. Manitoba Daily Free Press, Winnipeg, Canada: https://www.williamfuld.com/ouija_articles_06281892.html
  • Fortune Telling Made Her Crazy. Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, New York) · Sat, Nov 21, 1891 · Page 1
  • CRAZED THROUGH “OUIJA”: Neglected by Her Lover She Seeks Comfort of a Fortune-Telling Device. November 21st 1891. Boston Daily Globe: https://www.williamfuld.com/ouija_articles_11211891.html
  • Kennebec Journal — Maine, October 2nd 1903: https://www.williamfuld.com/ouija_articles_10-02-1903.html

Books consulted RE: 19th Century Ouija Board Stories

  • “Psychoanalysis: Its Value and Its Dangers” by Jared S. Moore. The Influence of the Church on Modern Problems. Episcopal Church. Church Congress. Macmillan, 1922.
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin (for some info on Christian Science and Ouija)

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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