Do ouija boards work?

#1
Do ouija boards actually work? While I think there is good evidence de of the paranormal one thing I am quite skeptical of the ouija board. It seems the common belief is that the planchette is being moved by the subconscious mind of the user
 
#2
If you get a bunch of people together, set a Ouija board down and have no one touch it, and it starts moving and making messages anyway, then it's more likely something abnormal is occurring. Otherwise, all it takes is a slight muscle movement in one direction and everyone starts shifting the pointer around.
 
#3
This is what I was thinking, I think things like this make it problematic for attempting to do any serious research into genuine paranormal phenomena
 
#4
The problem is the general view of reality people hold. I've said in the past that Jesus himself could return to the Earth, and a lot of people would initially probably think it was BS, they were hallucinating/dreaming, or the devil was playing tricks on them. Most people are set, at least subconsciously, as not recognizing anything beyond the "norm" they see every day as possible. But, of course, science has shown us that even what we consider normal and stable is, when you get right down to it, not really either of those.
 
#5
Definitely, it's important to find a balance between keeping an open mind and maintaining a level of skepticism, when you go too far one way your world view become incredible skewed
 
#6
If you get a bunch of people together, set a Ouija board down and have no one touch it, and it starts moving and making messages anyway, then it's more likely something abnormal is occurring. Otherwise, all it takes is a slight muscle movement in one direction and everyone starts shifting the pointer around.
The ideomotor effect can be very powerful. Beyond ouija boards, the ideomotor effect has been shown to be a possible factor in facilitated communication.

Consequently, if adequate blinding is absent whilst eliciting "psychically" received information from, say, a severely autistic child using, say, a therapist with stencils, we might see some surprising results.
 
#8
The key to any purported communication like this is the content. If it isn't unknown to one of the ouija board operators one cannot eliminate the ideomotor effect as far as I can see.
 
#9
What moves the glass is not very important and it is difficult to know how it is. I have seen only a few stories about the glass moving by itself without anybody touching it. But what ought to be easier to check is if the information is not known to anybody in the circle. I have seen a lot of stories about physical phenomena around, for example knockings on windows and doors, doors opening and candles going out.

The problem only is that the sitting people are mostly young and very scared. They leave the place in panic and don't write down what has happened.
 
#10
Do ouija boards actually work? While I think there is good evidence de of the paranormal one thing I am quite skeptical of the ouija board. It seems the common belief is that the planchette is being moved by the subconscious mind of the user
Well, it is the user who is moving the planchette, but it is a way to tap into implicit cognition, which is likely much more closely related to anomalous information than explicit tasks.

As an example, people asked for an answer directly do worse than when they use the Ouija board to provide the answer. The researchers in this study propose that the subjects are tapping into non-conscious knowledge, but it could just as easily be proposed that they are tapping into anomalous knowledge.

http://www.ece.ubc.ca/news/201311/what-really-moves-ouija-board-0

Linda
 
#11
This is what I thought, to me the only convincing case would be if a ouija board was able to divulge information the users could not possibly have known, which can then be verified
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#12
The problem is the general view of reality people hold. I've said in the past that Jesus himself could return to the Earth, and a lot of people would initially probably think it was BS, they were hallucinating/dreaming, or the devil was playing tricks on them. Most people are set, at least subconsciously, as not recognizing anything beyond the "norm" they see every day as possible. But, of course, science has shown us that even what we consider normal and stable is, when you get right down to it, not really either of those.
My ex-wife claimed to be the second coming of Christ for about three months. Do you think she was?

~~ Paul
 
#15
My ex-wife claimed to be the second coming of Christ for about three months. Do you think she was?

~~ Paul
Did she think she was? Many years ago I worked for the Samaritans and we had a regular caller who often insisted they were Jesus. I recall one day asking if that's what the person really thought. They said 'no, not really', though I knew the caller was a diagnosed schizophrenic receiving treatment.

I'm not sure why you mentioned this really as the original comment didn't imply that we should accept what people claim, merely that we shouldn't always automatically dismiss it. At least that was my reading of it.
 
#16
The Devil is in "could not possibly have known."

~~ Paul
True but not necessarily as difficult as you might think. My father, who is a hardened cynic, received information from a ouija board session where he was merely an observer. I know for a fact that the other participants could not have known the information. He asked questions and was answered via the board. It shook him up I think.
 
#17
Guessing by skeptics produces veridical information in some cases. By your reasoning, then, that is paranormal too.
I'd say it depends on the nature and complexity of the information. If one accepts that psi effects may be true, and given that there is so little known about the potential mechanism, it is possible that even the most cynical sceptic might inadvertently make use of this faculty without realising it I would have thought.
 
#18
Guessing by skeptics produces veridical information in some cases. By your reasoning, then, that is paranormal too.
Perhaps it is indeed paranormal. Though some psychic abilities may be stronger when someone believes in such ability, that isn't necessarily a precondition. Being sceptical is in any case a valuable asset when carrying out a scientific experiment. (Though a ouija session may not necessarily be framed as a formal scientific experiment).
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#19
Did she think she was? Many years ago I worked for the Samaritans and we had a regular caller who often insisted they were Jesus. I recall one day asking if that's what the person really thought. They said 'no, not really', though I knew the caller was a diagnosed schizophrenic receiving treatment.
She thought she was. Bipolar.

I'm not sure why you mentioned this really as the original comment didn't imply that we should accept what people claim, merely that we shouldn't always automatically dismiss it. At least that was my reading of it.
I'd be tempted to automatically dismiss claims of being Christ.

~~ Paul
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#20
True but not necessarily as difficult as you might think. My father, who is a hardened cynic, received information from a ouija board session where he was merely an observer. I know for a fact that the other participants could not have known the information. He asked questions and was answered via the board. It shook him up I think.
The Devil is in "I know for a fact." Also, how many different answers would he have accepted? Tough to know.

~~ Paul
 
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