Many years ago I can remember gatherings at baby showers. The older folks, my mom, aunts, whoever, would have a ring or a weighted object on a string about 12-18 inches long. They would have the pregnant gal hold the string perfectly still out in front of her stomach and they would say things like, “If it spins in a clockwise circle, you’ll have a boy, counter-clockwise is a girl.”
I may have the directions or the sexes wrong, but still, the magic would begin. The hand holding the string would be perfectly still and yet the weighted object would start to move very slowly and then start to make a circle in one direction or the other. It was magic.
Actually that pendulum movement thing was investigated back in the 19th century, explained and named Chevreul’s Pendulum.
You can do it yourself. Make sure the sting is at least a foot long and try to hold your hand perfectly still. You unconscious movement of your hand is called the “idiomotor” effect.
The same idiomotor “magic” happens when someone uses a “Ouija” board. As much as we think we are keeping our hand steady, we’re not. Unconsciously we cause the crazy thing to move around.
The Chinese were the first to use this form of spirit writing to contact the dead. They called it “fuji” or planchette writing. They were doing this as far back as 1100AD. An American business man saw the retail value of this as a popular item and patented it in 1891. The man, Elijah Bond, had many inventions and being a patent attorney made it easy to get his Planchette boards protected. But, one of his employees, William Fuld, took over the manufacturing when Bond died and he renamed the board “Ouija.” He also remade the history of the board, claiming he was the inventor.
Competitors flooded the market with the Ouija boards and Fuld spent most of his time in court until he died in 1927. His family kept fighting the good fight but finally sold the company to Parker Brothers in 1966. Parker knew how to market and came out with their version and outsold their #1 seller, Monopoly, for the next few years.
Then the Christians, especially the Catholics, got scared and angry. The Catholic apologist magazine, Catholic Answers, came out and said, “The Ouija board is far from harmless as it is a form of divination. The fact of the matter is the Ouija board really does work and the only “spirits” that will be contacted through it are evil ones.”
Just thirteen years ago a group of fundamentalists in Alamogordo, New Mexico burned a stack of Ouija boards along with a stack of Harry Potter books.
The Idiomotor effect was stopped by Idiotmofos.
And Science loses another battle to ignorance.