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Background: a ouija is a way of contacting the deceased. It consists of a wooden board with the alphabet engrained, around which the participants gather. A small object such as a coin is placed on the board, and the participants put their fingers on it. They ask a question to the ghosts of beyond, and the spirits make the fingers move through their mystical connection. The coin is dragged thus over the letters that spell their answers.

First fun fact: ouija is just a trademarked name for the ‘game’, like “Monopoly”. Traditional names for it had been spirit board or talking board. This practice has been done (or should I say tried) for thousands of years. A Baltimore man had the idea to register a brand for it in the 19th century.

Second fun fact: he composed the marketed name, according to the most accepted theory, not by gluing together the words for yes in both French and German: oui and ja, as an invitation from the spirits to come talk with them, as it’s usually thought—instead, the creator claimed him and his assocaited “asked the board to name itself” and it replied with a name that the board itself said meant “good luck”. Catchy.

Third fun fact: nowadays the trademark is the hands of Hasbro, owner of other scary brands as the mentioned Monopoly, Mr. Potato or My Little Pony, which might give you an idea of how serious this whole practice is.

Source: [1] [2]

Originally published in The blind mouse.

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