In the 1890's when the Ouija board was first mass produced it was regarded as a harmless parlor game and was unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I. (1) It has been criticized by Evangelical Christians (2) as being a portal to devils. So why is this divination tool more feared than tarot, pendulums, runes and any other divination tools?
When people place their fingertips lightly on the planchette they seem to go into a light trance and involuntary muscles move it easily across the board. Because they are not aware that they themselves are moving it, the players think that a spirit is moving it. What is actually happening is that they are tuning in to their own deep feelings and intuitions and answering the questions themselves. It's not possible for a person who has never had a psychic moment in their lives to suddenly become an experienced medium and channel a Great Master of the Universe or even Aunt Molly! It's possible that someone who has a latent psychic ability may have their first psychic experience with the Witch board and perhaps this is why people who have no training or experience in mediumship get scared.
Who do you talk to when the planchette moves? You talk to yourself, or perhaps your higher self, your spirit guides, your ancestors and sometimes if you are trained for it, you may be able to talk to someone who has passed over the veil. Is it dangerous? Probably less than crossing a busy street during rush hour. People fear a phenomena popularized in Hollywood horror movies called 'possession'. They fear, as the Evangelical Christians say, that they are talking to demons, and that these hypothetical demons can posses their souls and turn them into psychotic mass murderers or worse. Really! If you believe that then using a Witch board is probably not the right divination tool for you! We all have guides and protectors. Do you think that as soon as you take out a Ouija board they all go on a cigarette break?
Are the messages that are received by the Witch Board infallible? Like any other divination tool the answers may be spot on, vague or just wrong. Use it to help you clarify your thoughts and feelings about an issue and try to see the bigger picture. Don't base important life decisions on it and don't believe every single word you get out of it. Fear is an emotion that creates a certain atmosphere or the fight or flight response, and is not the relaxed, open and positive frame of mind that is needed for divination. If you are afraid of Witch Boards this is a phobia such as ablutophobia, the fear of taking a bath and can be part of an anxiety disorder. Don't be afraid of a piece of wood with letters on it ! In the words of the prophets: "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!" (Who you gonna call?)
2. Raising the devil: Satanism, new religions and the media. University Press of Kentucky 2007-12-31