Some testimonies from Amazon:
"First off, a Ouija board is not a toy! I have not really used one seriously since around 1989. I can tell you that several absolutely unexplainable things happened of which I will not go into too much detail in this particular forum. While all of the things that happened were freaky, one in particular involved driving to a location that the board spelled out for myself and my girlfriend (at the time). We didn't know if the address actually existed but thought we'd go there since it wasn't too far away if it really did exist (this was before the days of the Internet when I could have looked it up on Yahoo or Mapquest). When we got there, we could not believe that the address was real, but neither of us was willing to get out of the car and knock on the door (looking back, I almost wish we had). When we got back to her place, the first thing the board spelled out was, "I saw you outside my window." This is not a joke. This happened and it is one of several incidents. My girlfriend got scared and didn't want to play anymore and I've not really touched the board since. I can't explain the things that happened. I only know that several unexplainable things occurred and that I am telling the truth. The unknown is fun and exciting, but it can also be scary and dangerous! Play at your own risk!"
"The talking board is only a tool- neither good nor evil. However, it is a tool far different from divination aids such as the tarot, runes, or the various I Ching methods. With all talking boards you are openly inviting the influence of disembodied entities. Be very careful what you are opening the door to. I wouldn't even consider using it without deep and sincere prayers for protection. Low-level spirits can only influence those who are "vibrating" on the same low level. Examine your motives and your maturity before you experiment here."
Like millions of people around the world, I was raised in a Christian household where topics such as Ouija boards, Ghost Hunting, Divination, etc. were all seen as taboo, and as "the devil's work". I've heard thousands of stories like the above, and, sometimes I genuinely believed them. I always loved watching TV shows like "ghost hunters", "the paranormal", "America's most haunted", and a million others. Usually these shows are nice enough to provide a Skeptic's opinion on the topics, though they usually give him 10 seconds of air time. I personally used to hate skeptics, I always saw them to be anti-fun arrogant smart asses who thought they knew everything and wanted to take away from the mysteries of life and the thrill one felt when thinking about the supernatural. But, alas, I've grown up a little, and today I look up to these men, who seem to be few and far between, skeptics such as Michael Shermer, James Randi and a slew of others take on these taboo topics head-on armed tooth and nail with the weight of science.
So, what do the skeptics have to say about these Ouija boards? Well...pretty much that its nonsense.
People think that it is the supernatural that is behind the movement of the plank, but it is the user, either consciously or unconsciously who is the one that moves it. Simple little experiments have showed this, for example, try to have someone blindfolded while using the board, while a bystander who isn't blindfolded takes notes on what words or letters are selected, usually the results are completely unintelligible.
Another one is to try blindfold the users and flip the board upside down without their knowledge, and again, it spells absolute nonsense. One has to wonder why any spirit of demon would be fooled by this little trick.
"The movement of the planchette is not due to spirits but to unconscious movements by those controlling the pointer. The same kind of unconscious movement is at work in such things as dowsing and facilitated communication"
This is what's known as the ideomotor effect: "a psychological phenomenon wherein a subject makes motions unconsciously. As in reflexive responses to pain, the body sometimes reacts reflexively to ideas alone without the person consciously deciding to take action. For instance, tears are produced by the body unconsciously in reaction to the emotion of sadness."
Religious folk and me are in agreement that kids should stay away from these boards, but for very different reasons. To the Christian, using these boards is dabbling into the occult, it is a rebellion against God in the sense that you are consulting 'unclean spirits' for knowledge or wisdom that one should only ask from God. At least that was what I was always told. I on the other hand, think kids should be taught to stay away from these things because they encourage superstitious thinking. Kids should get better hobbies than wasting their money on these wooden pieces of junk and attributing any minor muscle movement to the supernatural.
It is possible that part of the appeal of these things is that they provide comfort and hope to those who have lost loved ones in their past, it fills them with the hope that they'll be able to contact their lost relatives again, and as with everything in the world today, there will always be an entrepreneur just waiting to capitalize on this grief, and that's what psychics and game companies like these do.
Here's an interesting excerpt:
"Although Ouija boards are usually sold in the novelty or game section of stores, many people swear that there is something occult about them. For example, Susy Smith in Confessions of a Psychic (1971) claims that using a Ouija board caused her to become mentally disturbed. In Thirty Years Among the Dead (1924), American psychiatrist Dr. Carl Wickland claims that using the Ouija board "resulted in such wild insanity that commitment to asylums was necessitated." Is this what happens when amateurs try to dabble in the occult? Maybe, if they are suggestible, not very skeptical, and a bit disturbed to begin with. However, even very intelligent people who have not gone insane are impressed by Ouija board sessions. They find it difficult to explain the "communication" as the ideomotor effect reflecting unconscious thoughts. One reason they find such an explanation difficult to accept is that the "communications" are sometimes very vile and unpleasant. It is more psychologically pleasing to attribute vile pronouncements to evil spirits than to admit that one among you is harboring vile thoughts. Also, some of the "communications" express fears rather than wishes, such as the fear of death, and such notions can have a very visible and significant effect on some people.
Observing powerful messages and the powerful effect of messages on impressionable people can be impressive. Yet, as experiences with facilitated communication have shown, decent people often harbor indecent thoughts of which they are unaware. And the fact that a person takes a "communication" seriously enough to have it significantly interfere with the enjoyment of life might be a sufficient reason for avoiding the Ouija board as being more than a "harmless bit of entertainment," but it is hardly a sufficient reason for concluding that the messages issue from anything but our own minds"
Oh yes, and here's something my skeptic friends will appreciate, its the James Randi board!
"If there really is an afterlife, I'll bet the best way to contact it is through a plastic, mass-produced board game from Milton Bradley!"--Mad Magazine
Here's a very simple experiment by Penn & Teller. Pay special a attention to the rationalizations made as to why it doesn't work when one is blindfolded.