Ouija boards are a source of constant debate, with some saying that spirit boards are nothing more than subconscious, psychological trickery. Others think that they can genuinely be used to contact spirits and are even dangerous tools that open up users to demons.
Having been involved in these debates myself and seen some convincing evidence from both sides of the argument, I spent some time thinking about how I could prove or disprove the claims about them.
It suddenly came to me that there was quite an easy experiment I could conduct that would give me a really definitive answer and I recently had the chance to try it out at the infamous and supposedly very haunted Ancient Ram Inn.
The beauty of the experiment is that those taking part can’t subconsciously influence the board and the results can be checked and verified instantly.
The difficulty is, certain conditions need to be met before the experiment can begin and that revolves around what answers initially come from the board. It involves writing down a word, holding it up and asking any spirits present to spell it – but first you need to confirm that they can see the word.
This matches the haunted history of the building. Elizabeth is said to be a former innkeeper who was hanged in the attic by a gang of highwaymen after she overheard them plotting in the bar. It’s said that she was buried under the building, this is possibly backed up by the discovery of a female skeleton that was recently excavated from the ground beneath the inn.
We also asked the spirit to move the planchette to one person around the table it wanted to communicate with and it moved to our team member, Gemma. We then asked “can you spell out Gemma’s surname?” and the planchette moved across the board to spell out the name “Turner”.
The board was very responsive making this the perfect chance to try my experiment, but first I had to do a bit of ground work.
I took my finger of the planchette and called out “can you physically see us here in this room with you?” The planchette moved to “yes”. This not only told me that the spirt should be able to see any word I write down, but also that my finger wasn’t needed on the planchette – obviously I can’t be a part of the experiment.
This was exactly what I wanted to hear and I had come prepared. I pulled a small notepad and Sharpie out of my pocket and wrote a word down. I then carefully held the page in the air ensuring no one around the table could see it and I called out again, “can you see the word I am holding up?” The planchette moved to “yes”.
I asked one more question, “yes or no, can you spell this word out on the board for me?” And again the planchette moved to “yes”. So, I asked “can you give me the first letter of the word please.” There was no hesitation, the planchette moved confidently across the board to the letter ‘D’.
I asked the spirit for the subsequent letters and the word that was spelt out was “dead”. Unfortunately that wasn’t the word I had written down, it was in fact “cat”.
I repeated the experiment. Once again I asked first if the spirit could see the word I was holding up and a confident swift movement on the board confirmed that it could, but again the correct word wasn’t spelt on the board. I had written down “book” but the board spelt “R-A-L” and then fizzled out.
I gave it one final shot. This time when I asked if it could see the word, the planchette moved slowly and hesitantly, but did eventually slide across to “yes”. I held up the word “bird” and asked the spirit to spell it out, but this time the planchette slowly moved and settled between ‘H’ and ‘I’ and despite encouragement failed to spell out a word.
After three failed attempts it seemed pointless continuing as the results were pretty conclusive, but of course this is just one location with one team of investigators. I’d like to repeat the experiment at different locations over the coming months to see how the results vary.