Different Areas of Evidence for the Afterlife


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Ouija Board

The Ouija board is one of the most widely used methods that young people use to "contact spirits." The name is taken from the French and German words for yes "oui" and "ja."

It consists of a flat board with the letters of the alphabet, some numbers, punctuation marks and yes and no. People using it place their fingers lightly on a pointer or an upturned glass which moves. They claim that the pointer then spells out messages.

Sales of Ouija boards in the United States peaked during World War 1, and the thirties, forties and sixties witnessed national Ouija crazes during which the 'Mysterious Talking Oracle' became very frequently used by students (Hunt 1985: 5).

The psychologists' view is that the messages come from the action of the subconscious or unconscious minds of the 'players'—a form of 'automatism'. For years the Ouija board has been sold in toyshops and game departments in the USA and people have tended to use it for fun or for personal advantage such as trying to get winning numbers for gambling etc. Here a psychology class tries out a ouija board.


Mediums and psychic researchers from around the world say that there are many case studies of people having very negative experiences with the ouija board. They tell us that there are many spirits who stay in the lower vibration regions closest to the earth—sometimes called the lower astral regions. These spirits are unhappy because they cannot experience the things that they used to enjoy while alive—excitement, alcohol, smoking and sex.

Many EVP experimenters have recorded voices coming from this level that speak in obscenities, sinister whispers and sometimes in a clearly hostile tone (Lazarus 1993: 158).

Many psychic researchers claim that these lower level spirits create poltergeist phenomena to amuse themselves, and in some circumstances can influence the mind and hand of the players and communicate through the ouija board.

Stoker Hunt, researched the effects of using the Ouija board. In cases he studied he found that the "entity" which supposedly communicates will often do the same things:

* tell the person that it needs help
* say "only you can help me
* pretend to be a deceased loved one
* encourage the person to use the board alone
* tell the person to drop their friends
* discourage healthy activities
* recommend dangerous activitites

(Hunt 1985: 86).

" The victim will feel an uncontrollable desire to use the board or write automatically at all hours of the day and night. If needs be the invader will terrify its victim, materializing in ghastly form, inducing grotesque visions, inciting poltergeist activity, causing objects to appear out of the blue, delivering false or tragic news, levitating objects, perhaps levitating the victim." (Hunt 1985: 87).

Dr Carl Wickland, an American Psychiatrist, wrote his classic work on mental illness Thirty Years Among the Dead in 1924. In it he claims that many cases of serious mental illness were cause by people experimenting with automatic writing and ouija boards. (Wickland 1924: 29). Many of these people ended up in insane assylums. Wickland found that he was able to cure many of these cases of diagnosed insanity by allowing his wife, who was a medium, to go into a trance and invite the spirit who had been obsessing the patient to talk through her. He found that many of these spirits did not know that they had died. They had found themselves after death in a kind of twilight condition. They saw the aura of the patient playing the ouija board as a kind of light. Sometimes they stayed with the patient for years. Wickland was able to explain to them that they were dead and that they should go with the higher spirits to meet their loved ones.

Hugh Lyn Cayce, the son of the famous American psychic Edgar Cayce, also has many case histories of negative Ouija experiences. In his book Venture Inward (1964) in a chapter on Automatic Writing and Ouija boards, he states that stories of people getting into extreme difficulties following both these practices are not uncommon. He claims that there are thousands of people in mental institutions all over the world as a result of using the ouija board.

Paul Beard, as President of the College of Psychic Studies in England, studied many cases of Ouija board obsession and concluded that habitual use of the board or automatic writing can bring about prolonged contact with a malevolent dead person who can infiltrate the victim's protective aura and then make contact with the victim at any time by 'talking' in a 'voice' or through 'thoughts' in the victim's head. This can lead to 'practically continuous evil suggestions which may involve visual hallucinations' (Beard 1970).

Ian Currie cites one case where a young mother was shown hallucinations of herself torturing and killing her baby (Currie 1978: 190).

Martin Ebon outlines his negative Ouija experiences in The Satan Trap (1975). He claims that he began by being thoroughly skeptical about anything to do with the occult but became hooked on the board when it accurately predicted New York's 1973 flood and gave him accurate 'inside' information about the death of a famous gossip columnist.

A gifted medium who warned against the board was Susy Smith in her 1971 book Confessions of a Psychic. She wrote: " Warn people away from Ouija and automatic writing until you have learned how to be fully protected. They say that innocent efforts at communication are as dangerous as playing with matches or hand grenades. They have me as Exhibit A of what not to do, for I experienced many of the worst problems of such involvement. Had I been forewarned by my reading that such efforts might cause me to be mentally disturbed, I might have been more wary (Smith 1971). "

A few years ago we came upon a serious case of a young man who had been using a Ouija board, asking for winning numbers for gambling purposes. For some time he had indeed been winning and became very excited about the information given him by his new 'friends'. But when he tried to give up using the board he began to be obsessed by voices and found himself woken up at one or two in the morning in great terror, literally being squeezed and suffocated by a vengeful presence, who claimed that it was owed a debt.

Some positive communications

But while experienced psychics warn of the dangers of the ouija board and there have been many positive long-term communications which began through it.

One spectacular case of positive communication was that of Pearl Curran who tried a Ouija board with her neighbor on July 12th 1912. After a year of experimenting she began to receive messages from a spirit who said she was Patience Worth, who was born in 1649 near Dorsetshire in England.

Between 1912 and 1919 she dictated through the board five million words—epigrams, poems, allegories short stories and full-length novels. Her collected works fill twenty-nine bound volumes, 4375 single-spaced pages. There were five full-length novels, the most successful being The Sorry Tale a 300,000 word story of the earthly life of Jesus which was reviewed as follows in the The New York Times, July 8, 1917: "This long and intricate tale of Jewish and Roman life during the time of Christ is constructed with the precision and accuracy of a master hand. It is a wonderful, a beautiful and noble book."

Patience Worth also wrote over 2,500 poems. She won a national poetry contest in which forty thousand contestants submitted multiple entries. She was regularly published in America's most prestigious annual poetry anthology.

One of her greatest admirers was the publisher William Reedy who was on the award-selecting committee for the first Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He was a regular visitor to Pearl's house and he said of her poems: "They contain passages of bewitching beauty, of rare high spirits, of pathos. It does not equal Shakespeare or Spencer. It is not so great as Chaucer. But if there be any intelligences communicating poems by Ouija board or otherwise... it is good poetry, better poetry than we find in our magazines as a rule—poetry with a quality of its own (Hunt 1985: 31)."

Read Michael Tymn's article "The Mystery of Patience Worth"

Eleven year old girl shows amazing abilies

Dr Horace Westwood was a Unitarian minister in Canada at the beginning of last century. After becoming interested in spirit contact he bought a ouija board but nothing happened until his eleven year old niece Anna began to touch the planchette. Even when she was blindfolded it spelled out long a detailed messages even when the letters were randomly scattered. She soon was able to:
* type quickly while blindfolded (she had never learned to type),
* read a book that was placed in the next room,
* play chess and play the piano far better than she had previously been able to
* talk about hunting and trapping with professionals although she had never learned.
All these things she did while fully conscious when "the spirits" were present. When the spirit team left six years later all these abilitites disappeared. Read more...

The Seth books

Another famous literary relationship which began with Ouija communication was that between Seth and Jane Roberts and her husband who began using a Ouija Board in 1963. On their fourth try an entity introduced itself as 'Frank Withers' who said that he had most recently lived on earth as an English teacher and had died in 1942. Later he explained that he preferred to be called 'Seth' and that he had a special mission to help people better understand themselves and reality.

Through Jane, Seth has dictated several best-selling books which have dealt with the nature of reality, reincarnation, dreams, astral travel and the nature of God. He has given step-by-step advice to his readers on the development of meditation techniques and ESP. He has diagnosed illnesses, correctly described the contents of building and rooms many miles away and materialized as an apparition in well-lit settings (see Roberts 1974, 1994, 1997a 1997b).

Video: The Seth interview.
Jane Roberts and her husband Robert talk about how Seth communicated through a ouija board. She says that at first she thought the material was coming from her own unconscious but eventually was convinced that Seth was a separate being.

Part 2
Part 3

There are many other stories of successful literary and creative relationships that have developed through using the board including that of James Merrill, a Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote The Changing Light at Sandover (1982) working with a Ouija board.

His frightening experiences (visions, bodily transformations, felt powerful presences) as well as his positive and joyous ones are vividly reported in the poem. However after more than thirty years experience with the board Merrill claims that he no longer recommends that friends use it because: "One can never tell in advance how susceptible a given person will be."

Strong evidence for the afterlife

What we personally find staggering about the Ouija board literature is the extent to which it is consistent with the findings of researchers who have worked with top level mental mediums, with electronic voice phenomena, with physical mediumship and poltergiests and with the other areas of scientific research mentioned in this book. It is simply impossible to explain the staggeringly different kinds of communication that one receives when entities of different levels are communicating—often in quick succession—purely on the basis of projection of the unconscious of an individual or a group.

Drop-in Communicators

As well there have been a number of cases of drop-in communicators coming through the board. These are entities which are totally unknown to the sitters and give correct and verifiable details of names, address, occupation and sometimes a large number of other details.

Dr Alan Gauld investigated 37 of these who had appeared among 240 alleged communicators in a Ouija board circle which met in a Cambridgeshire home between 1937 and 1954 (Gauld 1966-72:273-340).

In his paper for the Society for Psychical Research he explains how he followed up the details of some of these in some cases more than twenty years after the original communication had been made and had been able to verify a significant number of details in at least four cases.

In the case of Gustav Adolf Biedermann Gauld was able to verify the personality of the communicator and the following specific information:

I lived in London.
My house was Charnwood Lodge.
Nationality German.
Correct name Adolf Biedermann.
I was always known and called Gustav
I was a Rationalist
I was turned seventy when I passed away
I had my own business
I am associated with the London University
I passed over a year ago

In these cases, Gauld points out, the sitters did not seek publicity or money and he was convinced that there was no way they would have gone to the trouble of accessing the public documents he obtained from a huge number of sources to fool the other circle members and then leave them for more than twenty years on the off-chance that somebody would happen by to investigate them.

On the Internet

The Museum of Talking Boards
While there are plenty of sensationalist sites on the ouija board, this is one of the few to comprehensively review some the literature and to provide useful links and bibliography.

Thirty Years Among the Dead by Dr Carl Wickland.

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