Ouija Board

Ouija Board

Today I want to tell you about some interesting relationships I discovered, that came about as a result of individuals using  a Ouija Board.

Over the past few years I have read dozens of books on Spiritualism and Mediumship. There have been many interesting books written by mediums as well. This history goes back to approximately the mid-1850s when the Fox sisters started communicating with spirits using a system of tapping; a sort of short-hand similar to the Morse Code used for telegraphic communications, which was just starting to be deployed about that same time as well (1844 – 1860). Later the mediumistic tapping evolved into automatic writing.

The Ouija Board is probably the most successful and recognizable object that came out of the early age of Spiritualism in this country.  It’s exactly the kind of object that American Spiritualists were attracted to because it had this “do-it-yourself quality.”  In the 1850s, 1860s, American spiritualists believed ardently in what they were doing. They had an idea that talking to the dead would eventually be as effortless and as ordinary as dinnertime conversation.  So they set themselves to the task of figuring out: “How to accomplish this?  What method could we use?” 

They experimented with trans-mediumship and automatic writing. There was a little plank called the planchette, which is French for “little plank,” that was used; it was a little triangular table on ball bearings that was used for automatic writing with a pencil inserted into it.  Eventually spiritualists hit on something they called the “Alphabet Board,” or the “Talking Board.”  This is what eventually became the famous Ouija Board.  The earliest image of the Ouija Board appeared in the New York Tribune in the year 1886.  There was an article about spiritualists in northern Ohio who were just entranced with this thing that they called the “Talking Board” that was supposed to be the easiest method yet for speaking to the other side. 

And the newspaper featured a couple of drawings.  One of which showed a man and a woman using the “Talking Board,” balancing it together on their knees, which is important because the “Talking Board” also provided a means for people in the Victorian Era to have an excuse to have a very flirtatious experience.  It gave men and women the perfect justification to sit knee to knee, maybe even join hands while they were consulting this magical board.

Now the interesting thing is, the Ouija Board was a homemade invention. Less than five years later, there was a group of novelty manufacturers in Baltimore who seized upon the idea and managed to get a patent on it which they called the Ouija Board. The name is a source of mystery.  Everybody has different stories about where it came from, but nobody really knows.  The invention just took off.  It spread across the country like wildfire!  People were enthralled with it. World War I also gave the Ouija Board a boost due to the tremendous casualties. People used it to try to contact the deceased soldiers in their families.

In 1966, the original Baltimore manufacturer of the Ouija Board sold it to Parker Brothers.  In the following year of 1967 with Parker Brothers doing the marketing, the board, for the first time, outsold Monopoly. That’s how popular the Ouija Board was at that time. The late ‘60’s saw an occult revival sweeping through the nation.  The Woodstock Generation was not only open to Eastern religious ideas, but they were open to all kinds of occult ideas that were coming out of the age of spiritualism; an echo coming from the earlier 19th Century movements. One of them was called the Theosophy movement, which had helped re-popularize some of the occult concepts of the late 19th Century. So when the late 60s saw this occult revival, the Ouija Board was at the ready, and young people embraced it.

Ouija circles sprang up in dormitories and interestingly enough, very often it was women who were conducting the nightly Ouija sessions, which unbeknownst to them was a reenactment of Spiritualism of a hundred years earlier. (Kathleen happened to be one of those adventurous college girls of the 1960s!)


Breaking-Death-Barrier Book

This brings me to a discussion of a book which I recently became aware of through someone who described it on my blogsite. It is titled: Breaking the Death Barrier, published in 1974.  The blog poster suggested that it would be a good read, and so even though it was no longer in print, I was able to find a rare copy and purchased it. I wasn’t sorry!

Breaking the Death Barrier is a book by an anonymous author only known as “Lisa.”  It chronicles her experiences using a Ouija Board in the years starting at the close of WWII in 1945 through the early 1950s. What is interesting about this book is that the author, a young mother who had lost her husband in the waning days of WWII, and a few close friends started using  the Ouija Board as a sort of game, but then started getting intelligent messages regarding her husband from the Other Side. This totally shocked them. They did not know what to make of it, and they had no grounding in metaphysics.

There is nothing overly unusual about their experience mainly because as I have already discussed, people have been using “talking boards” since before the turn of the Century and many thousands of people have successfully gotten messages from the Great Beyond as well.  But Lisa didn’t know about that history at that time.  She was sure it was just a diversion.

But this was a game that proved to provide valid evidence about the status of her husband who was an American aviator in the war.  Through the use of the Ouija board Lisa established contact with her husband, whom she did not know was deceased!  The spirit she contacted provided specific details about when and where his plane had been shot down in Germany.  But she was not able to confirm this until many months later when she received official word from the War Department.

As Lisa and her small study group continued their work with the Ouija board she soon made contact with a new, unfamiliar spirit named Betty.  At first she was annoyed that Betty had butted in and taken over, but she shortly realized that Betty was an advanced spirit who would become a tremendous guide and teacher to the group!  They soon learned that Betty was a recently published but deceased author who provided not only proof of her former Earthly existence but then took Lisa’s study group “under her wing” to teach them advanced wisdom from her higher vantage point; what she termed the “Unobstructed Universe.”

However, at first, they did not know exactly who Betty was and neither may many of you, so I will explain. You will then begin to understand just how synchronistic this connection was in terms of evidential proof of the Afterlife as well as the important that role the Ouija Board played in this story.

Betty’s identity turned out to be the author, Betty White, author of a series of well-known metaphysical philosophy books published between 1937 and the late 1940’s known collectively as the Betty Book Series. The first two books were channeled through her while she was still in the flesh, before she made her transition to the Other Side in 1939. The books were published by her husband and partner, Stewart Edward White, who was an already established author in his own right as a well-known writer of outdoor adventure stories about the frontier life as well as being an early advocate for the environment.

Now let’s take a look at how Betty White developed her mediumistic ability! In 1922 Betty and Mr. White met a couple known in the literature as Joan and Darby. They were the authors of Our Unseen Guest, a book published in 1920. The couple were well-known professionals and had decided not to reveal their identities due to the subject matter of their book: conversations with an American soldier who died in World War I in France. They believed they could not risk their professional careers with the controversy their book was sure to bring because the soldier came from a well-known family in the East.  Joan became a medium for this dead soldier, only known as, “Stephen.”  Over time Stephen gave them information on life, and life after death, and the continuation of consciousness. It all started for them several years earlier when the couple had been playing with a Ouija board. Not long after Joan became a full trance medium.

Betty’s story began on March 17, 1919. It was on that evening when a small group of friends arrived at the White’s home with a Ouija board.  Betty was present that evening, but had no interest in the spirit game, but the board repeatedly spelled out her name. She was reluctant to join the “spirit reading,” but the board then began to spell out repeatedly, “Get a pencil.” Betty had no knowledge of automatic writing, but a few days later she did get a pencil and as she sat quietly alone, the pencil began to move across the paper without effort from her. For the next few months, “automatic writing sessions” with spirit took place. A year later, Betty was a full trance medium herself, like her friend, Joan.

And in 1937, after many years of working quietly, Stewart White told the story of Betty’s development and repeated the basic teachings of “the Invisibles” in what has become a classic work in the field, The Betty Book. White believed that these messages embodied a valuable philosophy and a religious interpretation for daily life. Enough readers agreed and a second “Betty” book was issued in 1939 as, Across the Unknown. Betty made her transition in 1939, and in the months after her death, Mr. White received communication he believed to be from Betty through their old medium friend, Joan. These were gathered into a third book titled, The Unobstructed Universe (1940), which proved the most popular volume in the series and remains in print to this day.

I became interested in the Betty Book Series when I discovered that the Whites had made their residence in Hillsborough, California, just a few miles from here.  Also, I named my website after the title of their third Betty book, The Unobstructed Universe.

The point of all this is that when Lisa started receiving messages from Betty through the Ouija board, she had no idea who Betty was!  Betty was already dead and Lisa had never heard of her. Betty began the relationship by providing a number of clues for the novice girl study group in the form of assignments to go to the library to seek out certain of the Betty Books just mentioned as well as certain magazine articles.

And of course they were excited and amazed to discover that Betty was not only giving them information about a subject about which they had no prior knowledge, but proof of her former existence in a body on earth and her continuing life somewhere in the Unobstructed Universe.  And to underscore the web of relationships even further, they also had some interactions with Joan and Darby’s dead soldier, Stephen along the way!

They also had a series of adventures which also included physical materializations of so-called “dead” people including Lisa’s husband who, as mentioned earlier, as a pilot in 1945, had been shot down in the final days of WWII over the Black Forest in Germany. In fact, the first clue Lisa got in the beginning of the book from the Ouija board was evidence of when and where he had been shot down even before she had received official word from the War Department about his death! 

Breaking the Death Barrier is an important find because it provides ties in with the two earlier published books, Our Unseen Guest as well as the Betty Books and further “evidential” proof of the fact that life is indeed continuous, that we don’t die, but go on to live a greater life once we leave here.  And all three of these book’s authors started out by using the Ouija board.

That said, in recent times the far right Christian movement has scared a lot of people out of even trying the Ouija board. If you haven’t and would like to try it, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start with a Prayer of Protection, because “this is not a game.”  This is potentially an opening to your own opportunity to connect with the Spiritual Realm and more rapidly develop your own mediumistic abilities.


  1. Interesting talk!

  2. Wonderful insight and article, Thank you Steve!… I have had experience in mediumship with the Ouija board and other tools which are ok to use to communicate with the spirit world…. It is wise as you said to start with a prayer of protection, actually a MUST! Many begin using the Oujia board as a game to play and have no idea how dangerous it can be if one does not know what they are doing or have an experienced person with them….One must learn about mediumship before communicating with spirits or beings, however,there are times that people are contacted directly by spirits. All the same, one must learn and seek guidance from a trusted medium,channeler and educate themselves…. knowing and learning to be in control of the contact is important. Much love and light! Namaste….

  3. So Stephen was a soldier from the WWI – I didn’t read the Unseen Guest and I had no idea about Stephen’s identity. I am re-reading now The Unobstructed Universe. A second reading was necessary to grasp all the details and the philosophy!

    Going back to the topic of this article, I fully agree, Ouija Board is not a game.

    Very good article, thank you, Steve!

    My warmest thoughts

  4. Doina – To read the book, Our Unseen Guest, which I mentioned in the article, you can find it at the link below. However, if you are simply interested in finding out about the authors, you could read the introduction to the free book by Linda Pendelton at Smashwords. A great proportion of the book is taken up with how they go about reassuring themselves that what they are channeling is really from a dead soldier and not some fantasy or a connection with someone’s subconscious mind, which was a major theory back in the early 1900’s. But eventually they do get proof of Stephen’s existence in the form of a book he suggests they find which is published by the Red Cross, which lists all the dead servicemen and how and where they died during WWI. A pretty cool ‘evidential’ if you ask me! Anyway, Stephen shows up from time to time when Lisa is talking to Betty White on the other side, I would guess, because Betty was associated with Joan Darby who originally channeled Stephen!


  5. Indeed, Stephen shows up from time to time, and it’s only now that I make the connections, they all fall in place with a nice click!
    They struggle to confirm Betty’s identity, too!.
    Thanks for the link, I’ll come back after reading the “conversations.” Stephen seems to be quite a special character from the Invisibles’ work-team!’