Dear Sasquatch: Ouija Boards
Some friends and I were playing around with a Ouija Board the other night, just for fun, but it actually started moving around on its own. And some of the answers were things that were totally private. For example, my friend jokingly asked if I was going to marry my boyfriend, and the thing went crazy on the No, over and over. I was actually planning to break up with him, but I hadn’t told anyone about it at all.
Is it possible that there’s really something to this? Maybe not spirits necessarily (or maybe), but some kind of, I don’t know, energy or something, or telekinesis.
I tried the Ouija Board a few times in college, and pretty much the same thing happened. It was eerie. But in my case, it turned out that the hair at my wrist was moving it around. Parker Brothers doesn’t tend to make its games Sasquatch-accessible.
Maybe you’ve got exceptionally large hairy hands too, but I’m guessing there’s another explanation: ideomotor action.
Ideomotor actions are essentially involuntary muscle movements that we are not conscious of doing, in response to suggestions or subconscious thoughts. This is similar to how our reflexes work in other ways, such as when we touch something hot—we pull our hand away before the word “hot” enters our conscious thoughts.
In this case, the actions might have even stemmed from conscious thoughts. You no doubt were aware that the answer to your friend’s question was no. What you weren’t conscious of was moving the planchette.
Ideomotor action is subtle. Just the tiniest movements on your part would go unnoticed. And after it started moving clearly toward the no, that likely influenced your friends’ ideomotor actions toward that no, making it even more forceful yet without any of you being aware that you were the ones doing it.
Ideomotor action plays a role in all kinds of things, from applied kinesiology and facilitated communication to dowsing. And even when provided with this explanation, people don’t believe it, especially if the action is in response to thoughts they aren’t comfortable acknowledging.
But you can easily put this to the test with a Ouija Board. Next time, blindfold all the participants (making sure no one can peak underneath!) and videotape. See how well the spirits can find their way around the board when you can’t see it.
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