Car booting on Sunday I was amazed to see a Waddington's Ouija, a very obscure board game from the Sixties occult craze.
I haven't seen this board game for years.
Showing some interest in the thing propped up against a stall leg I began to wander over but Missus Moonbase said forget it. She wouldn't have it in the house.
I wuz amazed at such a strong reaction to what was simply marketed as a toy.
No wonder Waddingtons ran into trouble from concerned parents back in the day. I understand that the company had to pull their Ouija after just one year of production. It reminds me of the travails of Mars Attacks cards or Aurora's Victim.
I've always liked monster board games and collected them avidly back in the Nineties and Noughties. I had loads and after an evening trip to someone's house who'd advertised in the newspaper small ads - yes before the tinternet - I drove there and bought a Waddingtons Ouija on the doorstep. The Missus may not have been with but we did often take trips to buy classifieds stuff at night, taking our young daughter with us for the drive.
I remember feeling slightly queasy at the time about Ouija in the home. It wasn't like having an innocent game like Haunted House or Creature Castle in the pile. Ouija was something different, something more dangerous perhaps.
I must have sold Ouija at some point. I sold everything.
Looking at it again I recall loving the simple box art. The black background and the grainy blue hooded figure emerging from it like a stone golem or something.
The word OUIJA - a blend of yes in French and German - appears to be conjured by the hand of the blue figure and the only real clues to what the game may be are the words Talking Board Set and The Mystifying Oracle, a registered trade mark no less.
This trademark was the property of William Fuld, who's name also appears on the cover. Waddingtons licenced the game from Fuld, an American who claimed to have invented it and had much success marketing it in the States as well through Parker Brothers. You might say he he profited from the prophets!
Waddingtons closed it doors in the 1990's and its entire archive went to the Museums Service of Leeds, not too far from Moonbase.
I imagine that at least of a couple of Ouija's went there way, nestling together now on some dusty shelf, talking to each other about life in the phantom zone and the pitfalls of selling occult toys to kids.
They didn't see that coming did they!
Did you have a Ouija?
Cruel and unusual punningment!
I recall the trouble with ouija boards (in the US at least) was that it was “alleged” that it encouraged youngsters towards in interest in the “dark arts.” Whether that was true or an overreaction is debatable, but it did cause Parker Brothers some grief, and I don’t recall those being in stores for very long. Depending on your belief system, it does seem ill-advised to teach children how to potentially summon demons!ReplyDelete
Yes, a moral panic can whip up quite quickly when it comes to kids and the occult or indeed anything to do with horror. I watched with horror my Dad ripping up a couple of my Witches Tales comics and chucking them in the bin as he told me they were dangerous tripe! Such a pity, they were quite good comics too!Delete
Its quite remarkable the kind of response the concept of a 'ouija' board elicits - its up there with snake oil and magical cures, totally groundless and surrounded by hysteria and superstition, yet the public perception is always negative. Originally conceived by ancient chinese scholars as a means of divination, it reached popularity with american spiritualists in 1890, before being popularised by the aforementioned William Fuld as a means to contact the dead, causing outrage and moral panic. BillReplyDelete
Reminds me of the national outrage towards video nasties. Its inconceivable now to imagine that VHS rental shop owners were imprisoned for renting out The Evil Dead, when you can see far worse stuff on Netflix and other platforms nowadays at the touch of a button!Delete
As a kid, I wanted one as several of my friends had them but Mom was against it. There are a lot of styles of Ouija/Talking Boards and some of them are gorgeous. In 2008 though, Parker Brothers released a pink one that is nicknamed ouija for girls. It was a short lived item and prices for it are often much higher than the older boards. I happened to pick one up when it was released just as a novelty in my collection of what were they thinking toys. Mine is still in the box.Not a pic of mine but here's this travesty https://i.pinimg.com/564x/46/ed/be/46edbef48d6042d0251869870f19ef85.jpg and yeah, that's a pink vinyl carrying case.ReplyDelete
I can't believe that these boards have been genderised like this. A pink case for girl users. They could have popped in a DVD of The Craft whilst they were at it Lance! Fascinating!Delete