Don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, we used to call the darn thing a Wee-Gee board. Ouija Boards almost used to be standard issue in households in America containing kids. Then the Malevolent Brotherhood of Christian Extremists poked their nose into things and today Ouija Boards are nearly as hard to find as Halloween carnivals in elementary schools. (What’s the difference between Pat Robertson and a Ouija Board ? One is a soul-less object designed to prey on people’s superstitions in order to make them part with their money, thereby making a profit off of the desperate and/or ignorant. The other is a board game.)
If you don’t know what a Ouija Board is, you can get a good start on filling in a despicably large hole in your education by check out these memorable consultations with a Ouija Board on TV shows.
Tales from the Darkside
Consultation with a Ouija Board seems like such a perfect match for the stories told in the anthology series “Tales from the Darkside” that you almost have to wonder why there weren’t several episodes utilizing this plot device. “The Madness Room” equips the power of the Ouija Board nicely, however, as the board is used for the purpose of unraveling a mystery. The Ouija Board is used to contact the spirit of the original inhabitant of the house in which our protagonists reside. The spirit in turns guides the curious users of the Ouija Board in their search for the location of the mysterious room of madness.
“Syzygy” is a very fun episode of “The X-Files” that is inexplicably placed low on the totem pole of best episodes by many fans who just cannot seem to accept stories that lend a deeper dimension to the characters of Mulder and Scully. Although a heck of a lot of weird things happen in “Syzygy” the Ouija Board is not the culprit. In fact, the Ouija Board makes only one brief appearance early on, but it is integral in setting the stage for the episode’s underlying theme about the extent of the effect that forces beyond our control have over us. The use of the Ouija Board in “The X-Files” is also quite resonant with how this little psychic tool is used in probably the majority of cases. A group of people gathered together decide to try contacting spirits with the Ouija Board purely for entertainment purposes but then something weird like a message informing one of them they will marry Satan takes things in a darker direction.
Of course, not all Ouija Boards are necessarily used to contact the spirits of the dead. Maybe you just need to contact someone living who has some obstacles placed in the way of typical discourse. The killer cousins of the cartel in “Breaking Bad” use a Ouija Board to gain some vital information in the same way that all these other memorable consultations with a Ouija Board on TV did. Just without the necessity of breaking through to the other side. What do you do when you need information from someone sitting right beside you who can neither talk nor write? Those letters on a Ouija Board can prove fabulously useful if you ever find yourself in such a situation. Of course, the ability of the non-communicative to tap a bell also helps.
Just as you might expect there to be more episodes of “Tales of the Darkside” includes the use of a Ouija Board, you might also expect to find more made-for-TV movies that make the Ouija Board a central element of the narrative. Or you can just be satisfied with “Deadly Messages” as a TV-movie that really does put the power of the Ouija Board to help make contact with the spirits of the deceased front and center. The Ouija Board is the primary medium for the living characters in “Deadly Messages” to contact the spirits of dead men who are either murder victims or the murderer. Things begin to get really complicated as the viewer learns the main character, Laura, has been subjected to electro-convulsive therapy, extended stays in a mental institution and the possibility that she is a compulsive liar. Eventually, not only does everything get sorted out, but the Ouija Board takes on greater significance as the key to penetrating to Laura’s repressed memories. The Ouija Board in this TV presentation is memorable precisely because it achieved success where all those mental healthcare treatments failed.