Which Ouija board would you choose…?
It is The Ghastling’s delight to introduce you to Alan Tigwell and his Ouijatorium. I first heard about the Ouijatorium on the fantastic paranormal podcast Knock Once For Yes (highly recommend). Alan can lay claim to having the largest Talking Board collection in the UK and I am thrilled to share some of Alan’s wisdom and insight on this topic with you.
Having had a lifelong interest in all things strange, macabre and spooky, Alan began performing his own paranormal investigations in 1992. In 1995, he created a social group based in Kent, England, for people interested in the subject; as part of this, he arranged more formal, structured investigations at local businesses as well as public locations. Over the next 15 years, Alan supported investigation teams across the UK with arranging investigations and provided advice or opinion on evidence found. This evolved into Alan acting as a ‘consultant’, providing advice and performing investigations in private residences. In 2018, he began the task of creating the UK’s largest collection of Ouija and talking boards. One day he hopes to be able to exhibit his collection at events and potentially open his own museum.
Myth: “Ouija Boards are Illegal in the UK”
It’s strange to think that, in this day and age, people still believe this! It’s certainly not illegal but many people still have unfounded fears of talking boards in this country. Just mention you collect them and see people recoil in horror!
There are many misconceptions and internet untruths about talking boards and their beginnings. However, we are lucky in that we have a number of diligent and hardworking friends in America who have spent decades researching and raising awareness to help dispel the false information.
Robert Murch is the most famous of all modern-day talking board collectors, and is predominantly responsible for the wealth of information that has surfaced over the past couple of decades. It is a testament to his skill as a researcher that we now know so much history from the last 125 years; much of which was previously thought to be lost.
Want to learn more about the fascinating history? Here are some useful websites:
I’ve been collecting Ouija boards for a few years now, and I believe I have the largest collection in the UK. My collection spans from modern day boards all the way back to 1907.
So, which are my favourites? Which would I recommend to others? Of my collection, my (current) three favourite boards are:
1. The Hag Speaks
The Hag Speaks spirit board from Kitschy Witch Designs, artwork by Stephanie Buscema and made by the legendary Fiendies company.
You’ll soon learn that many companies and artists release limited edition boards, with anywhere between 10 and 100 boards to the release. The Hag Speaks board, a release of only 10 boards that took place just before I started collecting, was quickly snapped up by collectors. I managed to obtain this one through eBay and it’s the only one I’ve seen for sale since I’ve been collecting.
What draws me to this board is the artwork; I love the Fiendies-style of boards anyway, but this reminds me of vintage Halloween decorations (another passion of mine!).
2. Gypsy: The Computer Oracle by Magnum Software for the Macintosh
Released in 1985, this is the first computerised talking board and was a real adventure to obtain and get working. It is by far the most expensive item in my collection, not just for the physical items, but also due to the cost of getting it running! I had a huge sense of achievement when I finally got it to work!
After several weeks of negotiation with the seller, I managed to get a huge discount and had it imported from the USA. It includes a pressboard ‘gameboard’ and a ‘Mouse Mover’ to add the mouse to in order to create the planchette. This Mouse Mover is unique and won awards when it was initially released. It glides across the board with a surprisingly fluid motion thanks to the 99 tiny ball bearings within the design.
In order to get the game to run on a Windows machine I needed to employ the services of a data recovery company to extract the files, which could then run on an emulator.
3. Brickja: The World’s First Fully-Functional Lego Ouija Board
The next favourite board in my collection is actually one that I created myself. I think its probably due to the achievement I felt when it was complete. It also won a prize in the Instructables.com Halloween competition in 2019!
The board itself is the largest in the collection, and the planchette is the size of my head! It contains over 27,000 Lego bricks. As part of the Instructable, I included the pattern and a step by step guide on how to build it. Take a look here: www.instructables.com/id/Brickja-a-Lego-Ouija-Board
An Easily-Obtainable Board
These are my favourite boards at the moment, but I’m sure you can appreciate that they are all difficult to get hold of. So, which modern, easily obtainable board would I recommend?
Boards aren’t readily available in the High Street shops; you will need to go to Amazon or eBay to find them easily. There are hundreds available in this day and age, but not all are right for using them as they are intended! Here are some tips:
- I would recommend avoiding any that have been laser etched; the grooves will prevent the planchette from moving easily around the board.
- Notice where the lettering/numbers are; many boards are designed so that if the planchette moves to them, it actually falls off the board!
- Size matters; don’t go for a board any smaller than A4 as you’ll find it hard to manoeuvre the planchette easily.
- Price; on eBay, people tend to inflate the costs of boards, particularly those from Parker Brothers from the ’70s (the type that was used in the film The Exorcist). Equally, the boards that are for sale for less than £10 are generally poorly made or very small.
This is a current board that I feel would be perfect for someone looking to explore the world of talking boards:
Skull Spirit Board: Speak to the Spirits
It has a great price, comes with a planchette, is surprisingly large, has a great smooth surface and is unusually sturdy. You can find it on both Amazon and eBay.
If that design doesn’t appeal to you, the company Nemesis Now is the UKs most prolific talking board manufacturer, with the boards featuring artwork by Lisa Parker or Anne Stokes.
Collecting Ouija Boards in the UK
I hope this has been of some help and interest to you. If you would like to learn more about collecting Ouija boards, then take a look at my book Collecting Ouija Boards in the UK on Amazon.
Alan Tigwell is the author of the books Collecting Ouija Boards in the UK and Ghosts in the Garden of England. In 2018, he began the task of creating the UK’s largest collection of Ouija and talking boards. You can view some of his collection on Instagram at @Ouijatorium and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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