Haunted History – How the Ouija Board became a household name

The concept of the Ouija board is around 130 years old but mankind has been trying to communicate with the dead ever since there were dead folks to communicate with. Back in the day the Romans gifted folks that they called Augurs. These individuals would watch the patterns of bird flight, or how their sacred chickens pecked the ground in order to seek advice from the other side. Later on the craft would include using the guts of sacrificed animals to decipher their messages.

There are legends too that have tried to credit the Oracle at Delphi as well as Pythagoras, an ancient Greek philosopher with having originated the talking board, but, there is no written or archeological evidence that supports those theories so we are left with what we do know.

This dude named Charles Kennard was always out to make a buck, but he wasn’t the greatest, nor the luckiest, businessman. The dude had a bad reputation for being a hack and a thief.

Kennard was the son of a rather successful merchant, and in his younger days, it looked like he may follow in his old man’s footsteps. He’d concocted some kind of secret bone mix blend that he used in a fertilizer. In 1880, When the cash started rolling in, he moves to the east shore of Maryland and opened a manufacturing plant in Chestertown.

At first things were going well but a few years later, the plant went to auction due to a combination of drought, competition, and debt. But as fate would have it, there was a Prussian immigrant named E.C. Reiche that had an office next to Kennard’s in Chestertown’s business district. This dude was a furniture maker turned coffin and undertaker he was also a tinkerer who dabbled in the spiritual world.

Alright, now that I told you that, let me roll it back to the Back story:

Two generations earlier, there were these chicks in upstate New York named the Fox sisters, who were claiming to be mediums. They’d built their reputation on communicating with the other side through series of mysterious “knocks” on a table, kind of like Morse code. These two tramps kicked off a spiritualist movement that spread like wild fire across the whole country. Their timing was perfect too. This was just after the Civil War, so folks were coming in droves hoping to speak with their dead husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.

So, it’s 1886, and both Kennard and Reiche caught wind of these newspaper reports about a “talking board” phenomenon that was sweeping Ohio. Well hell, they wanted in right! So, they start working together on this new project and shortly after they’d created at least a dozen of their own “talking” boards.

“Reiche, who was the biggest coffin maker in town, and the undertaker has successfully found another way to cash in on dead folks! But, it was Kennard that took it on the road.

Kennard leaves Chestertown for Baltimore in 1890, where he tries to breathe life back into his fertilizer business but in the meanwhile, he also started a real-estate business. Once he settled in, he started pitching the talking board invention to potential investors.”

Well, nobody was biting until one day, this lawyer named Elijah Bond catches wind of Kennard’s invention. Bond was well acquainted with spiritualism, his sister in law was a noted medium, that was Kennard’s golden ticket, the Kennard Novelty Company incorporated the day before Halloween 125 years ago and began manufacturing Ouija boards. But it wasn’t just Elijah Bond that helped make that happen, some of the credit goes to his sister in law medium, check this out!

So, the patent office is giving Kennard grief about his little invention. The officer in charge of dispersing patents was, at best, skeptical. So, he asked them to prove that the board really worked—by asking it his name. Bond and his sister in law set the board up and lo and behold, it spelled out the dude’s name! The patent was granted immediately!

And so it began. I’ve told you folks my thoughts on Ouija boards, If you don’t know what you’re doing, leave them the hell alone! These little suckers may be classified as “games” but they ain’t no joke ya’ll. You never know what you’re inviting into your life when you mess with one of these things. How many horror flicks do you have to see to be reminded of what can happen? We’ve talked about this before but I’m reminding you now, The Exorcist and The Conjuring, both kicked off by Ouija Boards, both based TRUE STORIES

It’s easy to be tricked by some of the critters that can be summoned with these boards, you can’t just assume a spirit is who or what they say they are just because they can answer questions correctly, even if the answers are based on some of your deepest darkest secrets. With that being said, Here’s a couple of interesting little Ouija board facts.

1. As we just discussed, Bond was granted his patent with the help of his Ouija board.



2. A jury used the Ouija board to determine a defendant’s guilt.

In 1993, Harry and Nicola Fuller were murdered not long after they were married. An insurance broker named, Stephen Young, was accused of their murder. After his first trial, Young was convicted—but it soon came out that the jury had used an Ouija board to discover whether or not the man was guilty.

Stephen Young, 46, was jailed for life at Hove Crown Court in March 1994 for shooting Harry Fuller and his wife Nicola at their Wadhurst home in 1993.

The insurance broker, from Pembury, Kent, won the right to a retrial but was convicted again in December 1994. The Court of Appeal in London dismissed his appeal.

A retrial was ordered after it was revealed that four jurors at Young’s original trial consulted a Ouija board before finding Young guilty.

Of course, Ouija board answers are not generally accepted in a court of law so, Young was granted a retrial. He was convicted again during the second trial and sentenced to life in prison.

3. Multiple people have blamed Ouija boards for their murderous actions.

When you ask someone why they’ve done something bad, you may not expect them to say that an Ouija board told them to do it. But that’s just what happened in the murder of Brian Roach. Roach, a former mayor of Minco, Oklahoma, was slaughtered by his mother-in-law in 2001. The mother-in-law, Roach’s wife, and his two daughters had been playing with an Ouija board together when the mother-in-law attacked him. She also tried to kill Roach’s youngest daughter, who she believed was also being possessed.

Here’s the story
Carol Sue Elvaker, 53, was arrested Sunday in Lincoln County, hours after the death of her son-in-law, Brian Roach, 34. She was charged Monday with first-degree murder, said Brett Burns, Grady County assistant district attorney.

Police found Roach dead at his home Sunday from one stab wound to his chest, said Kym Koch, a spokeswoman with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Although initially viewed as a domestic violence episode, police learned details that suggested something else.

Burns said Elvaker, her daughter Tammy Sue Roach, and Tammy Roach’s two daughters, ages 15 and 10, were playing with a Ouija board while Brian Roach was asleep. Elvaker then attacked Brian Roach, authorities said.

“This is basically the grandmother (Elvaker) saying that Brian Roach needed to die,” Burns said.

Elvaker also is suspected of trying to kill the man’s 10-year-old daughter.

“She thought the 10-year-old was evil and thought the father was evil,” Burns said.

Tammy Roach, 34, took the knife away from Elvaker and hid it in the house. She then left the house with Elvaker and the two children, Koch said.

Elvaker drove the four northeast toward Tulsa on Interstate 44, authorities said. She eventually crashed the car into a road sign in an attempt to kill all of them, Burns said.

Elvaker suffered two broken ankles in the wreck. The others were injured slightly. After getting out of the car, Elvaker tried unsuccessfully to push the 15-year-old daughter into traffic, authorities said.

Despite her injuries, Elvaker ran from the scene, shed all her clothes, jumped over the highway median barrier and ran into a wooded area north of the interstate, Koch said.

Police found her hiding in the woods. She was taken to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center for treatment, Koch said.

Tammy Roach was arrested Monday on a complaint of being an accessory to murder.

Burns said Brian Roach begged for help, but was allowed to bleed to death. Tammy Roach also hid the knife, supplied the getaway vehicle and didn’t try to get away from Elvaker when she had the chance, Burns said.

Brian Roach’s death ends a piece of Minco’s civic history. In 1986, Roach ran for mayor and won by eight votes. He was only 19 years old at the time.


4. Alcoholics Anonymous wouldn’t exist without the Ouija board.

In the 1930s, a man named Bill Wilson was struggling with his alcohol addiction. Told by a doctor that he had a “wet brain” and would therefore struggle with alcohol for the rest of his life or be killed by it, Bill had nearly given up. Then, on December 11, 1934, Bill had a “spiritual breakthrough” and never drank again. Wilson had always be interested in the spiritual world and spiritualism, so he and wife Lois went to their Ouija board to find his next step.

Wilson credited the Ouija board with telling him to reach out to other alcoholics and create his Alcoholics Anonymous group. In a letter to his adviser and priest, Father Dowling, Wilson said that the spirit of a 15th-century monk named Boniface had helped him come up with the proposed structure of AA.

5. Artists turn to the Ouija board for inspiration.
Ouija board

Many writers have turned to the Ouija board for help in creating new stories, not me, there’s enough madness floating around in this brain to where I don’t need any outside inspiration!

The most famous is Bedlam in Goliath, an album by The Mars Volta. The band members bought a Ouija board while traveling in Jerusalem. In their first session with the board, the band was told a story that they decided to use as the centerpiece for their next album. Over the next few weeks, as they recorded the album, a number of terrifying things happened. The studio flooded, causing immense damage, including equipment malfunctions. An engineer had a nervous breakdown, the drummer quit, and a band member’s foot was seriously injured.

There’s a lot of creepy-assed stories about Ouija boards floating around out there. It’s no surprise either right. We know that these suckers have a habit of summoning evil into folks homes. Here’s one little creepy tale I thought you guys might like.

There’s this kind of new story going around about a demon named Zozo also known as Pazuzu. This wicked bastard has been around for centuries and has found Ouija boards a good outlet for wreaking havoc. ZoZo is an ancient force from Hell, that is said to have the ability to shape-shift and possess folks.

In 2009, this dude named Darren Evans became the first person known to have posted his experience with the demon online. Evans had his first experience with ZoZo while using a Ouija board with his girlfriend. After some time ZoZo is said to have threatened Evans’ sister, who nearly died, In the meanwhile there’s all kinds of terrifying incidences going on around him and his family which eventually caused Evans to have a nervous breakdown.

After an extensive exorcism, Evans said that ZoZo left him and his family alone, Now, he runs a site as a ‘Zozologist’ which is a space for others to share their horrifying connections with the demon and is meant to warn others about the perils of using Ouija boards.

Evans’ story inspired filmmakers at One World Studios to create the horror film I Am Zozo in 2012 and has led to Evans’ appearance on the paranormal television series, Ghost Adventures . Evans has also released a book, The Zozo Phenomenon, telling his terrifying tale.



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