Though mankind has likely attempted contact with its passed ancestors since time began, no method of spirit communication has been as prolific or direct as the spirit board.
The development of this tool is likely traced back to the Victorian Era. At the time, Spiritualism had begun to take hold, first as a thing of parlor games and later growing into a philosophical movement.
By the 1860’s, when the harsh, short lives of the American population and the ravages of the Civil War lead to a fervent interest in contacting the deceased, the movement began growing in America, possibly due in part to popular stage mediums including Anna Eva Fay and the Fox Sisters, and high-profile adherents such as former First Couple Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first patent for the spirit board design is credited to Elijah Jefferson Bond, a veteran of the Confederate Army and 1872 Maryland Law School graduate.
Before the advent of the spirit board, the foremost method of spiritual contact were Seances, Automatic Writing, Scrying and Table-Turning (a somewhat reversed version of the spirit board).
But the thought a simple and effective device for contacting spirits without the need of a Medium was appealing to many.
The launch of the spirit board into popular consciousness was precipitated by the atrocities of the first World War, with many Americans losing family members to the horrors brewing in Europe.
By the mid 1920’s, the spirit board was a household tool, and has only been growing in popularity throughout the world since.
However, as with all things metaphysical, misunderstandings and the occasional intentional obfuscation are known to permeate popular culture.
Hollywood depictions and tales of spirit boards leading to demonic possession are well known, and the relegation of the most common brands of board to toy store shelves has stirred the ire of many a moralist.
It must be kept in mind, however, that a board itself is merely a tool, and in and of itself has no more intrinsic power than a pen or hammer – the power all lies with the operator.
The way in which this power is manifested, however, continues to be subject of contention. The two presiding theories currently are:
Of course, most who experience the spirit board firsthand are given to attribute its phenomenal properties to the spirit world.
There is much validity to this statement – many messages relayed from the board are messages which either seem so cryptic or so specific that the operator would be unlikely to compose them, no matter how creative.
2. The Ideomotor Effect.
The Ideomotor Effect (also known as the Carpenter Effect, named for W. B. Carpenter who proposed the theory) is the scientific term for the operator unknowingly controlling the planchette.
Those exhibiting the Ideomotor Effect are theorized to be acting from subconscious and unintended muscle movements, thus exhibiting a response that the operator would want to see.
Though Carpenter intended the theory to debunk the popular theories of Spiritualist Phenomena, its validity in the Paranormal sphere can be interpreted towards more Clairvoyant abilities such as ESP.
No matter which theory is correct, we at Paranormal Supplies would never discourage spiritual and physical safety when using a spirit board.
If, as many purport, the phenomena is indeed enacted by spirits, one should of course take necessary precautions to protect oneself.
It must be kept in mind, however, that the spirit board is not dangerous in and of itself, and the ownership of one will almost certainly not open one up to hauntings.
The board is simply a gateway – no more an ambassador of the spirit world than your door is an ambassador of your house – but caution should always be exercised regarding whom you invite in for the evening.