A Ouija (roughly pronounced "Weegee", not to be confused with that Weegee— or for that matter, this Weegee) board has the alphabet, numbers, and a few short words (yes, no, goodbye) written on it, with a pointer called a planchette perched on top of it. At least two people touch the planchette and ask a question of the board. The pointer then may start to move, apparently on its own, and, it is hoped, provide an answer. Ouija boards are Newer Than They Think; they were invented in 1891 (and 'Ouija' is a trademark of Hasbro) and the idea the planchette was moved by spirits started in 1913.
The idea is that if there are spirits present, the planchette will move under their power, or someone with one hand under the table and a magnet, or someone a bit away with a remote control. It's usually one of those three. Unless magic and psychic powers are rampant in the work, someone will be accused of moving it themselves, and they will, of course, deny the charge.
Before 1973, the Ouija board was considered a harmless toy that, in works as innocuous as I Love Lucy, was depicted a source of fun. However, when The Exorcist was released, the Ouija board was depicted as a mystical device that lured the demon Pazuzu to possess and otherwise plague Regan McNeil. After that monumentally scary movie, the Ouija board was denounced as "the tool of the devil," not that sales suffered much considering it then got an alluring reputation for danger for daring consumers.
In Real Life, it's believed the planchette moves because of the ideomotor phenomenon; the people touching the pointer are moving it without realizing they're doing so. However, many people (even those only moderately spiritual) believe that even if the likelihood of contact is exaggerated by horror movies, using an Ouija board is extremely risky, hunk of plastic or not.
An older version of the "talking board" was improvised using an upturned wine glass, a reasonably smooth table, and index cards with letters written on them, but in the present day, most people interested in this sort of spirit communication buy commercial Ouija boards.
A similar game called "Kokuri-san" is played in Japan. It also requires at least two people. A tori (traditional Japanese gate) is drawn in the middle, surrounded by the alphabet, yes/no and the numbers 0-9, not unlike your usual Ouija board. A window/door is opened to allow the titular spirit in. The players place a coin on the "board" and say "Kokuri-san, Kokuri-san, please come here" or something to that effect. With the coin as a planchette, you ask Kokuri-san questions, and, in theory, said spirit moves the coin to the answer. When finished, you are supposed to say "Kokuri-san, Kokuri-san, please go home" and then destroy the paper, either by burning it or tearing it into bits, and spend the coin before the night is out. Although it is generally considered a "safer" alternative to the Ouija board, since you're less likely to randomly summon a demon instead of your dear late grandmother, Kokuri-san is a Trickster spirit and thus can (and probably will) lie to you.
Needless to say, using any of these in a horror film is inadvisable.
See also the (allegedly) harmless fortune-telling Magic 8-Ball.
- One chapter of Ayakashi Triangle sees Kachofugetsu playing a variant of Kokuri-san channeling "Shiromatsu-sama", the ayakashi Lu thinks is an alien, with a drawing of a UFO instead of a tori. In the English version, Suzu instead compares the game to a Ouija board. Matsuri lets Suzu know he'll move the coin, because "Shiromatsu" was Shirogane shapeshifted into Matsuri's original form. Once Yayo starts asking if Soga and Matsuri are in love, Shirogane himself stands in the window sill and telekinetically moving the coin to answer in the affirmative until it turns into a tense game of tug-of-war with Matsuri.
- In Gugure! Kokkuri-san, "Kokkuri-san" is a mythical god that control ouija boards.
- The girls in Noein use one to try to figure out what's bothering Haruka (who is being hunted by people from Another Dimension). It spells out the name of the Big Bad: Noein, although at the time none of them knew what that meant.
- In Shaman King, Tamao uses a variant of this to perform divination's, in her initial appearance she is presented as being so shy as to be using it for regular communications as well.
- One chapter/episode of xxxHolic focuses on schoolgirls playing "Angel-San"; featuring a desk that has the Japanese alphabet written on it and functions similarly to an Ouija board. Instead of a planchette, the schoolgirls are each holding onto a pen which would circle the appropriate Japanese characters.
- The Destiny Board from Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- Chapter 65 of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is centered on a game of Kokkuri-san, a Japanese variant of Ouija Board.
- Tamamo-chans a Fox!: In one chapter, a student uses a Kokkuri-san board to get Tamamo's attention.
- Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery has a chapter involving a Ouiji board from Kourindo; as usual, Rinnosuke exposits (wrongly) on its history for hours, and Kozuku and Marisa try to get it to work. Eventually Reimu uses her powers to get a local spirit to possess the planchette, but Kosuzu can't think of anything of substance to ask it.
- For a series about apprentice Fortune Tellers, Kon of Urara Meirocho uses this—the kokkuri variant to be exact—as her preferred method of divination.
- One arc of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose had Tarot trying to find Raven Hex after the latter plotted to break into a magic library. Since Raven had managed to prevent Tarot from tracking her, Tarot consulted an oracle whose nude body was basically a ouija board.
- The first issue of the 2017 edition of Runaways sees Nico summoning and using a ouija board to figure out how to save Gert's life.
- In one issue of Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, Bart uses an Ouija board while at camp, and accidentally summons a horde of demons from Hell.
- Jim Carrey had a rather extended bit he once told in an interview about using a Ouija board with his cousin Clark (during which they constantly accused each other of moving the planchette). One night a tortured, ghostly face appeared above the board to pass on a message from the grave:
Spirit: ... Clark's ... moving it!
- Rare non-horror example: An Ouija board advances the plot twice in And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird!. In the first Ouija Spooky Séance, the protagonist is contacted by his late father, who comes into the physical world; at the end of the film Albert Einstein himself (yep) contacts the protagonists through the board and brings the father's spirit back in the afterlife.
- I Am Zo Zo is a psychological thriller about five young people who play with a Ouija board on Halloween and attract the attention of a malevolent demon.
- The Bloody Man: In Michael's Bloody Man story, a bunch of teenagers bring out a ouija board to hold a seance. While they don't end up summoning The Bloody Man, they DO contact a spirit who tries to when them he's after them.
- In Deadly Messages, Laura Daniels, single and bored, finds new interest in life when she discovers an old ouija board.
- In Is Anybody There, Four friends get together one evening to play with a ouija board.
- Paranormal Activity
- In the first film, Micah and Katie try to use an Ouija board to talk with a spirit, despite warnings of the dangers from their hired psychic help. At one point, the Ouija board even catches on fire.
- In The Marked Ones, Jesse, Hector, and Marisol are playing with a Simon electronic game when they find out they can use it as an Ouija board. Green is for yes, red is for no.
- A Ouija Board wakes the evil djinn in Long Time Dead.
- In Witchboard, the use of a Ouija board allows an evil spirit to enter our world and start committing murders.
- In Drive-Thru, the villain communicates hints to his next murder victims through a Ouija board, a Magic 8-Ball, and an Etch A Sketch.
- Jason Quincy (Howie Mandell) uses what is called the Tabarrok Board in the Apocalypse film series movie Tribulation in order to find out some things. Two of the answers he gets from it are Genesis 11:6 and "I AM".
- Regan in The Exorcist (also in the book) uses one to contact Captain Howdy.
- Characters in Amityville 3-D use a homebrew ouija board, and get in contact with spirits that tell them that one them is going to die.
- The wife in What Lies Beneath uses one to communicate with a murdered girl.
- The Unleashed: Supernatural chaos escalates when a troubled woman with a dark past dabbles with the infamous Ouija board.
- The Ouija Experiment: Film series is about the game.
- The Ouija Possession: After finding a vintage spirit board in their parent's basement, a group of teens conjure an undead relative, who stalks them from beyond the grave.
- Ouija is a 2003-ouija-theme horror movie. Not to confuse with the same name Ouija 2014 film.
- Ouija is a 2006 arabic movie. Two strangers try to solve a mystery that revolves around both of their tragic pasts. At the heart of the mystery lies a mystic board with an ability to kill.
- The horror film Ouija is about this, obviously. This one has the distinction of being the only ouija film (and the only horror film to date) produced by Hasbro, themselves.
- Seanse: The Summoning: Four friends decide to record themselves having a séance.
- The Haunted House where the eponymous television special in WNUF Halloween Special takes place was a scene to two grisly murders, committed by a man who was convinced that demons were talking to him through his ouija board.
- In The Uninvited, the people in the Haunted House stage a seance with basically a homemade Ouija board on a table—little cubes with the letters of the alphabet, pieces of paper with "YES" and "NO", and a wine glass instead of a planchette.
- The two boys of Radio Flyer ask a Ouija board if there's really a Bigfoot. Eventually they take their hands off of the planchette, and it even continues moving a little.
- You Will Kill A beautiful woman is haunted by an evil spirit after an innocent game of Ouija board goes horribly wrong.
- In A Safe Place (1971), Noah and her friends draw a ouija board on a public table and use a drinking glass as a planchette. The glass spells out "SUSAN HELLO." When Fred shows up, the connection is lost.
- Ouija Mummy: Naturally, there's a ouija board in this movie. Specifically, Natalie inherited an Ancient Egypt-themed one from her aunt when she passed away. Chase doesn't like it when Natalie plays around with the board. At the housewarming party, they all use it to communicate with the spirit of Cassandra Alexander, the house's previous owner, who tells them she was killed by the Royal Wife, who uses her necklace to possess Natalie, since she is wearing it.
- The Paranormal Diaries: Clophill: The team has a ouija board that gets used to attempt communications with spirits at the church during the seances they hold there a couple nights.
- An early scary example in 13 Ghosts (1960), where the family that just moved into a mysterious old house play with a ouija board which tells them that the ghost in the house will kill one of them.
- Planchette automatic writing is discussed in The Haunting of Hill House. Mrs. Montegue and her assistant try to use it to contact the spirits of the house, which disgusts Dr. Montague, who approaches things from a more scientific angle.
- In Diana Wynne Jones' The Time of the Ghost, the titular ghost tries to send a message to her still-living sisters via an Ouija board they are playing with (though it doesn't go as well as she had hoped because she's not very good at manipulating physical objects yet).
- In The Stand, a Ouija board informs Nadine that she's supposed to be Randall Flagg's bride. Later, she uses one to contact him.
- Caroline in The Bailey Game owns one, and at one point she tries to use it to communicate with the ghost of a supposedly dead boy, Michael Bailey.
- In Victor Pelevin's Generation P, Tatarsky uses one to summon the ghost of Che Guevara and asks him for insight into advertising and marketing.
- Ephraim Kishon once met some people too interested in the occult. Since nothing happened when he joined the session, he gave the glass a little push by himself. The "spirit" they contacted introduced himself as "MR4K?LLL", which the head spiritualist interpreted as a spy's code name. Later, they contacted Aaron (Moses' brother) and asked him for his favorite Jews. The answer: "David... Judah Maccabee... Ben Gurion... Ephraim Kishon..." But is it his fault that Aaron likes reading good satires?
- A slightly upgraded version, using ball-bearings to minimize friction, appears in Childhood's End as a party game. The skeptic at the table points out that the responses are likely to be the result of subconscious memories moving the disc, even without the person's knowing it. The last of the questions asked becomes an important plot point.
- An illustration in It All Started with Columbus shows F.D.R. using a Ouija board to create alphabetical agencies.
- The psych professor's experiment from Voices From Beyond consists of four students - some curious, some snarky, and all badly in need of extra credit - attempting to call upon the supernatural using one of these. Unfortunately for all concerned, it works, and contacts something nasty.
- In Too Bright to See, Bug and Moira use one in an attempt to contact the ghost that's been haunting Bug. All they get is a string of nonsense letters. But when Bug tries using the board again when he's alone, the planchette starts moving rapidly by itself, spelling out coherent messages.
- In A Drowned Maiden's Hair, Phony Psychic Hyacinth buys a board to use in the "séances" with Mrs. Lambert. Maud tries to use it to spell out letters during Muffet's reading lessons, but Muffet isn't interested.
- In Awkward., Stacie and Tamara use a Ouija board to contact Ricky, in order to settle whether or not one of them was responsible for his death. When they get a negative response upon asking if his death was an accident, their friend Lyssa flips out and knocks over the game.
- In Charmed, the Halliwell sisters are in possession of an old Ouija board, and are sometimes contacted by their mother, grandmother and other higher beings through it.
- I Love Lucy had Lucy study numerology and horoscopes in The Séance. The Ouija board was brought up and used to call Tillie and asked whether Tillie liked Mr. or Mrs. Merriweather more. Lucy provided the first voice here, and Fred provided to voice to speak with Mrs. Merriweather. Lucy and Fred later confess that they provided the voices, and one member of the group says that Tillie was Mr. Merriweather's dog.
- In Kyle XY, the group tries to use one to figure out Kyle's Mysterious Past. It spells "781227", which is later revealed to be Kyle's "production number" at the facility he was created.
- In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch about police taking up occult methods, four policemen are shown using a Ouija board, with unhelpful results:
"Up yours? What a rude Ouija board!"
- In My Babysitter's a Vampire improper use of the family's antique Ouija board ends up releasing a demon that promptly possesses Sarah.
- One of the Mystery Lab segments on ''Mystery Hunters features Doubting Dave showing the viewers how to make their own and how to use it though he points out that people who use them might be unconsciously moving the planchette since our muscles have a tendency to twitch on their own rather than being influenced by ghosts.
- In episode 2.1 of Supernatural, Sam uses one to communicate with Dean, who isn't particularly impressed with this strategy.
Dean: "I feel like I'm at a slumber party."
- The main characters use one in their seance in the third episode of Ravenswood
- One episode of So Weird featured a Ouija board that warned Annie of danger.
- In a flashback on Pretty Little Liars, Mona and Hanna are using a Ouija board. Hanna asks about her missing friend Alison, and the board says "Alive." Hanna relays the good news to Alison's family... shortly before Alison's body was found. But it turns out the board was right.
- In Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, the Liars use one at Imogen's old house to try to contact the ghost of her dead mom.
- In Stranger Things, after Joyce Byers discovers her son, who's trapped in another dimension, can make the lights flicker in her house she improvises one with letters on the wall and Christmas lights in place of a planchette.
- This is mentioned in passing by Ralph Kramden in one episode of The Honeymooners, in which he is dreading an impending visit from his mother-in-law — more so than usual in this case, because he and his wife Alice had tickets to a Broadway play, but she had to cancel because of her mother coming. He becomes naturally upset that his mother-in-law ruined his plans and that he thinks she's doing it on purpose.
Alice: How could my mother know you have tickets to a Broadway play?
Ralph: Oh, she knows, Alice. She knows! I don't how she finds out, but she knows! I don't know she whether she uses a Ouija board or a corn teller, but she knows!
- The members of the band Mars Volta suffered a series of minor accidents not long after one of them bought an Ouija board during production of their album "The Bedlam in Goliath". It's never been said if paranormal forces or just luck were to blame.
- "The table is rumbling -- the glass is moving -- No, I was NOT pushing that time."
- Sick Sad World: Dev's mother shares a story about when she, her sister, and her sister's boyfriend used one. A cat spirit possessed her niece, which freaked her out enough to forbid Dev from playing with a ouija board.
- Calvin and Hobbes had a three-strip sequence in which Calvin and Hobbes play with a Ouija board. The first question asks, "Who is smarter, Calvin or Hobbes?", led to a tug of war. Calvin then asks the board whether he will grow up to be president, and it produces the answer G-O-D-F-O-R-B-I-D, which angers Calvin enough to kick the board. Finally, they ask the board how it knows all the answers to life's mysteries; the board answers "3."
- On April 1, 2005, FoxTrot, Get Fuzzy, and Pearls Before Swine did very similar strips involving Ouija boards being used by Bucky/Jason/Rat to justify hitting Satchel/Paige/Pig, respectively.
- Visigoths vs. Mall Goths: In an atypical use of the item, a careless Mall Goth's Ouija board is responsible for the Visigoths time traveling to the 1990s.
- Chronicles of Darkness: The supplemental book Inferno has a story hook that reveals that using a Ouija board contacts demons every single time, and the demons are more than willing to use that contact to get their foot in the metaphorical door.
- In Banjo-Kazooie, the player rides on a sliding glass over a series of letters in the same manner as on a Ouija board to spell a word in order to get a Jiggie.
- The World Ends with You includes a variation called "Reaper Creeper". It's a paper with three symbols inscribed on it, arranged in a triangle with a circle around them. Each has a different color: White, Black or Red. A 10-yen coin is placed on the paper and allowed to move by itself in order to provide answers to the one using it. The coin is moving by the player's influence.
- Dark Fall uses one in two of its games.
- Polly White brought one during her investigation with Nigel Danvers in the first game. You can use it to communicate with Thomas Callum, Betty's lover via a text parser.
- Another one can be used in Lost Souls to unlock a couple of easter eggs and play some minigames with Amy.
- The main menu of The 7th Guest is an Ouija board, here titled "The Sphinx". The save/load function makes use of the standard layout.
- Goliath The Soothsayer centers on an Ouija board, with a storyline based on the Mars Volta.
- The protagonists in Until Dawn are seen using one during the trailer. In-game, Chris, Ashley, and Josh use one (you know, for fun) as phase one of an elaborate prank horror scenario that Josh has crafted for Chris and Ash.
- In Gone Home, Sam and Lonnie use one to try to contact the spirit of Sam's Creepy Uncle Oscar, whom they believe to be haunting the house.
- The backstory of the first game in the The Blackwell Series has three girls using an Ouija Board to accidentally summon a demon called "The Deacon" who drives the girls to suicide. Upon learning that a Ouija Board is involved in the case, Joey has a Oh, No... Not Again! reaction and tells Rosa that the use of Ouija Boards always bring troubles.
- Layers of Fear features this as a small puzzle in one area to unlock a secret item, and the Halloween DLC revolves around three children who used it to summon a demon that could grant their deepest desires.
- A "spirit board" owned by Aleister Crowley kicks off the plot of Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell as the Boss is informed that he'll win the heart of a "Jezebel", who turns out to be Satan's daughter, and he's dragged down to Hell to marry her.
- One of the many items in The Binding of Isaac is an Ouija Board, which turn Isaac's Swiss-Army Tears ghostly, allowing them to pass through solid objects.
- Master of Darkness: In the game's opening cutscene, Dr. Social is seen using one that tells him to go to Thames River, where Dracula was last seen. You see it again in the continue screen, and finally during the closing credits.
- In one level of Rusty Lake: Roots, one of these forms the main puzzle mechanic, as you answer questions asked of you with it.
- Ouija boards can sometimes be found in missions in Phasmophobia, and some ghosts will use them to answer players' questions in a similar manner to the radio. This also counts as a Dangerous Forbidden Technique. While it can give helpful information such as the location of the ghost or its room, using it will drain your Sanity Meter, making the ghost more likely to attack whether or not you get an answer. Unless the ghost is a Demon, though if that's the case you likely have bigger problems.
- Love You to Bits: This is one of the hidden collectibles that Kosmo can find on a planet. In the video of Nova's past memory regarding the Ouija board, both Kosmo and Nova think they able to feel the supernatural movements as the pointer moves without being directed by them, only to reveal that one of aliens is using its Psychic Powers to control the pointer for mischief.
- As the name suggests, Ouija Sleepover centers around one of these that Aiden finds in the trash. He decides to prank his friend/crush Dan with it, moving it while pretending a ghost is making him do it, and he has a good laugh. Then they get in contact with a real ghost. Next thing they know, Aiden and Dan are dropped into a pocket dimension with meaty walls and something after them. Though it turns out the spirit, Gary, is a Friendly Ghost trying to help the duo, and the key to escape is just to finish the Ouija session.
- If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device's fourth special episode kicks off with Kitten and Magnus the Red messing with what the former called a "Luigi board." Kitten also couldn't release his hold on his weapon to grip the planchette, which was probably just as well, since using the thing ended up summoning Tzeentch. Which segued into the plot of the episode proper, Kitten challenging Tzeentch to a game of Paradox-Billiards-Vostroyan Roulette-Fourth Dimensional-Hypercube-Chess-Strip Poker over ownership of Magnus' soul.
- Parodied in a strip from Bug Martini.
- Also parodied in the Perry Bible Fellowship strip "Passed On." It really is the old man's spirit, helping the kids find his Porn Stash.
- In Housepets! Sabrina uses a ouija board to instant message ghosts.
- Two Lumps: The parody of The Shining opened with Snooch trying to make a Ouija board. Since we're talking about Snooch, it wasn't quite to spec.
Snooch: The book said the Squeegie Board won't work unless the ghosts c'n push a plankton around!
- Board James uses a Ouija board to find out what really happened to his friends. Though nothing happens at first, the planchette mysteriously flies into his Domino Rally game, signifying the presence of a spirit. What follows can only be described as Surreal Horror.
- The catalyst for Slendy and other such demons showing up in The Dead Are Watching.
- Used as a catalyst for this video (called "Curse of the Weggy Board", just to give you an idea of what's in store) of a guy reading misspelled Yahoo Answers questions as best as he can. ("Luigi Board" is rather common.)
- One is used by a boy named Lucas Villa in one episode of Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel), who unwittingly summons a tall, thin, and black being from it that torments him for several months.
- One Reddit board, or Subreddit, called AskOuija is dedicated to an internet version of Ouija. A poster asks a question and each user provides a single letter of the answer. When a answer is finished being written a user posts "Goodbye," and the "Goodbye" with the most votes becomes the answer. So for "how do you cure depression?", for example, the spirits recommended "blowjob."
- Spooked had a Ouija board once in Episode 1 to reason with a Poltergeist haunting a lesbian couple.
- Tribe Twelve: Milo's journal revealed he and Kevin played with a Ouija board one day to try and learn about The Tall Man. Slender Man shows up, and after hiding in the bathroom, everyone forgets what happened. Kevin doesn't even recall owning the game.
- The Weather parodies this in one skit; a group of friends play with the game, correctly point out that the game is just made of plastic and yet somehow is capable of summoning spirits, and end up immediately contacting a Friendly Ghost who just happened to come packaged with the game.
- Batman Beyond features an episode (Ep. 211, 'Revenant') where some of Terry's female classmates try to contact a dead student through one. The board itself was redesigned slightly to fit the show's 20 Minutes into the Future motif.
- A Bob's Burgers Halloween special had the family exorcise a ghost from their cellar and contain it in a shoebox. Tina then brings the box to school and the kids use a Ouija board to communicate with the ghost. They learn that the ghost's name is Jeff, he is 13 years old, and that people eat soup in the afterlife. Played with in that deep down, they all know Jeff isn't real, but everyone holding the planchette had their own reason for believing in him (Tina wanted a boyfriend, Zeke wanted to believe in an afterlife, et cetera).
- Camp Lazlo: The episode Soul Mates started with the main Squirrel Scouts trio playing with a Universe Board, which served the same purpose as Ouija but with the belief that the universe itself is communicating with them through it. Patsy used it to ask who her soul mate was (Lazlo) and Nina is excited to ask the same question, only to find out it read Chip. Denying that with a nervous laugh, Nina asked again and got Skip. This further confused the girls and asked which one. The planchette moves and reads "Both-of-them-!" before breaking.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain", Shirley uses one to find out who her, Babs, and Fifi's secret boyfriends are. Shirley's is Plucky, Babs' is Dizzy Devil, and Fifi's is Fowlmouth. None of the girls are pleased with the results.