This post is in response to a couple of inquiries from some friends in Facebook...
I "played" with a Ouija board a couple of times as a child, when I was around 12 years old (by the time I was 13, I found girls to be more interesting). The few questions I posed to it garnered surprisingly accurate answers, when I verified them. But, that was the kind of stuff kids did before there were video games and "personal computers". In my mid-teens, I had several extra-physical experiences - precognitive dreams (aka: déjà vu), a sighting of (what I call) a "sprit house" (possessing three dimensions [that's a long story all by itself], but had no physical presence) that was no longer on that site, and an OBE in my late twenties.
I joined the Navy eight days after my 17th birthday, experienced 13 weeks of Basic Training at USNTC Great Lakes, Illinois, where I was selected for training as a Radioman. I was a part of a very large group called "Burke's Boys" - enlistees who are selected for a particular field in Basic Training, but who were assigned to general duty in the fleet for 6 months before attending that training. My first ship was the USS Tidewater, a destroyer tender at NOB Norfolk, VA. That was where I spent my time polishing brass in the passageways, chipping paint and repainting various parts of the ship, rebuilding electrical motors, and inventorying all sorts of things that were required aboard ship.
Radioman "Class A" School at Bainbridge NTC, Maryland, was my next assignment. At Bainbridge we learned basic electronics, typing and International Morse Code. I enjoyed being on dry land again, and this assignment (as I recall) lasted about 3 months. Upon completion of the course, I was reassigned to the USS Mount McKinley, a Fleet Communications Command Ship as a Radioman.
About 3 months later (1967-68) the Mount Mac (as the crewmembers called her) got underway for a 6 month Mediterranean Cruise. One of the guys on the ship had a Oiuja board, and pulled it out one day while we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Those of us who weren't "on watch" thought it would be a fun way to break up the monotony, and another shipmate and I began playing with it. A group of about six gathered around us to watch.
We both placed our hands upon the planchette (pointer), and it began slowly moving around the board (it didn't seem to have any discernable pattern to it's movements, the pointer just seemed to roam around the board as if it was familiarizing itself with the layout). After about a minute, the pointer made a couple of big, quick, sweeping movements around the board, like it was comfortable with the board and ready to "do it's thing". It paused with the viewer over the letter "H", then moved to "U", then "R" and "T", and then paused for maybe 10 seconds. Okay… HURT. It then moved again, this time pausing momentarily on "P", then on "A", then "I" and "N". We now had HURT and PAIN… and we stared at each other blankly, each shrugging indication it had no meaning. So far, the message meant nothing to either of us. After another 8-10 second pause, the pointer moved and paused on the "V", and then moved to "I", and took then another long break.
We decided to try it again, and asked the board "Who are we communicating with?" "V" and "I" was the response, spelling "Vi". At that point I asked the guy on the other side of the board if he knew anybody named Virginia, Violet, Virgil or Vincent. He didn't… but, one of the people watching blurted, "I DO!". I turned my head to look at him… his face was drained of all color, and his pupils were the size of saucers! And then he told us his story…
His family lived on a working farm, with all the usual animals, crops and farming equipment. The tools and equipment were all kept in the barn when they weren't in use, and the fuel for the equipment (tractor, etc.) was stored in a large old drum outside of the barn. The drum had a slight leak around the valve, of which the family was aware. He said his younger sister (named Violet but called "Vi"), was playing around the old drum one day… with matches (that nobody in the family had any idea she had found), when the fuel ignited and extinguished her young life. On that day, I became a believer that the word "impossible" no longer had much practical meaning. It had been demonstrated, to my satisfaction that there was a potential power by unseen forces to - under the right conditions - reach out from the afterlife.
I know that - for myself - when I read something like this, I am almost immediately tempted to try it. Ouija requires no particular skill, no physical prowess, and can be navigated by even borderline idiots. I would caution everyone who reads this - DO NOT run out to buy a Ouija "game". Keep in mind that - as in the physical world - there are benevolent, neutral, and evil presences in the realm of "restless spirits". The operators of the Ouija DO NOT get to pick and choose which type of "spirit" comes through the thin veil that separates the realm of our physical world from that of the non-physical world. We were fortunate, in that this was a neutral spirit which was reaching out to one of our observers. There was no indication of malevolence in this instance. I am not selling Ouija Boards, nor do I hold any stock in Parker Brothers… I am simply reporting a personal experience, and specifically NOT recommending anyone interact with a Ouija! It's one of those "You pays your money, and you takes your chances." things. Personally, I have not touched a Ouija since that experience of over 50 years ago (but I also know that people will do what people will do). Should you choose to ignore my warning, I wish you the best of luck and safety. As a curious aside, I must note that Parker Brothers is located in SALEM, MA - "witch-hunt" headquarters in the time of the Pilgrim.