Fear is a great marketing tool. More companies should be trying to get their products associated with Satan. That way, the marketing will go viral among 'Christians Against Things' groups. You are practically printing money at that point. That's exactly what happened with the Ouija Board.
Ouija Board Takes Over the World
The original trio of businessmen who founded the Kennard Novelty Company fell apart soon after making it big. Kennard and Bond were the first to go. Replaced by William Fuld.
Mr. Fuld was an employee from the start, but managed to play the stock game to end up on top of the pile. He took the Kennard Novelty Company from strength to strength for 34 years. All the while he used the Ouija Board for advice.
The sole remaining original investor, Col. Bowie, signed off the rights to Fuld in 1919. Allowing William Fuld to run with the Kennard Novelty Company. Bowie sold the company for $1.
That's right, the Ouija Board itself was making decisions in its future. Adherents of the Psychological explanation of the board's function will point out that William Fuld was using the board as a tool to contact his subconscious mind. Believers in the Ouija Board's demonic nature will likely point out that the obvious answer is that Satan was the guiding hand behind the company's success.
Whatever the case may be, demons, benign spirits, or Fuld's own subconscious mind, the board told Fuld to build a new factory in the 1920s. The Ouija Board told Fuld where and when to build the factory.
The factory was completed, and William Fuld went to visit it in 1927. While walking along the roof of his new factory, Fuld fell from the roof. The event was labeled a freak accident. Obviously, the Ouija Board did it.
Ouija Boards have never not been popular, since their introduction in 1891. Strangely, the only group that ever seemed to not be buying the boards were the Spirit Mediums themselves. As the Ouija Board's fame grew, they found themselves falling in public esteem.
According to Robert Murch, the Talking Board does especially well during times of great uncertainty. People are always grasping for meaning and connection. The Great Depression saw the Kennard Novelty Company, now named the Fuld Company, opening new factories to meet public demand.
During World War 2, for example, the public was desperate to find some connection with the millions that died in the war. One department store in New York sold over 55,000 Ouija Boards in a five-month period in 1944.
Something like the Ouija Board, with its ambiguity of function, lends itself well to mental illness. Here you have an object with the sole purpose of relaying messages from an unknowable, ethereal sender. It's the perfect object of obsession.
In 1920, the famous Bridge player, Joseph Bowne Elwell was found with a bullet lodged in his brain. His murder became a national mystery, and the public has always loved a good mystery. Police investigators were flooded with tips that originated from the use of Ouija Boards.
One year later, a Chicago woman's body was found rotting in her daughter's living room. The daughter was institutionalized, but argued that she wasn't suffering from mania. She was actually quite sane. According to the woman, her Ouija Board had told her to leave her deceased mother's body in the living room to rot for 15 days before burying her in the backyard.
9 years later, 2 women murdered a woman after being prompted to do so by an Ouija Board. This case seems quite similar to the Slenderman Stabbing of 2014. Once again we see people blaming their violence on a supernatural influence. My guess is that they would have attacked with or without an Ouija Board, or an online Slenderman forum.
Aside from violence and madness, Ouija Boards have been used for decades as a tool for making major life decisions. It's kind of like Randonauting with your life. Which is obviously the best way to go about life, like a Whirling Dervish – drunk on the spins.
Up until the 70s, the Ouija Board was seen as little more than a novelty item. Sure, weird things had happened because of the Board's use, but it was usually blamed on irrational people instead of demonic boards.
That all changed in 1973. The Exorcist's cultural influence can't be understated. Something like a major psychic trauma occurred after the film's release. It brought demonic possession into the public eye like it was in the 1500s.
In the film, the little girl, Regan, is possessed by the demon Pazuzu after playing with an Ouija Board. This small detail rammed a knife of fear into many a mother's spine. Most homes had an Ouija Board lying around.
Churches began preaching about the dangers of Ouija Boards to suddenly full pews. The Satanic Panic did a great service to churches. Fear, as we said before, is a fantastic marketing tool.
Ouija Boards settled into the cultural niche they have been in ever since. Objects of fear, the use of which can make any Horror movie a bit more dramatic. Need a prop to “Open the Door to Satan”? Just pop an Ouija Board in there. It's lazy writing at its finest.
Using a cultural icon like the Ouija Board makes any film recognizable as a 'Demon story'. Whether it takes the form of demonic possession, devil worship, or evil ghost.
The Ouija Board has become a powerful cultural symbol. Becoming synonymous with devilry, spiritualism, and fear.