Quija me this, Quija me that, should I fear the occult?

We all have heard the macabre stories told in reference to the Quija. Respect the unknown, be aware of its terrible implications, that is the recurrent message these stories seem to tell us.

I, for my part, don’t believe that crap. Nonetheless, I restrain myself from getting into such things, not out of fear or respect, but because of the potential psychological effects that might emerge.

That is my take on the issue, no real evil forces are at hand, instead, people’s ideas about the subject are the ones that motivate the illusions that scare the shit out of them. The power of the mind, its capacity to respond unconsciously to suggestions and confuse reality with illusion is the real “supernatural” force at work here.

I assume that the stories about self-moving cribs, phantasmagoric sounds and the like, are all self-induced delusions brought about by the sheer terror that emanates from the unrestrained belief in the occult, yet latent–in the believer’s point of view–powers that permeate the universe. These beliefs could sometimes be so strong as to totally submerge an individual’s mind in the realm of the imagined illusion, thus disrupting their perceptions and distorting their concept of reality.

Of course, that is only my ignorant, research-lacking opinion. I am willing to be set straight if my interpretation of the issue is too plain and simple (a likely event). Therefore, if anyone has the straight dope regarding the aforementioned phenomena, I will be willing to hear from you and restate my position if necessary. Stories, “scientific” explications for the phenomena, personal opinions or experiences, even comments on the movie or related subjects are welcomed.

Quija? Is that some mexican food? maybe it’s the spices

The word is Ouija, a trademarked name that is the combination of oui (French- yes) and ja (German- yes). It has been debunked repeatedly, and is really a cheap parlor trick. If you are frightened by them, honestly frightened, try one out in broad daylight with a friend. As to the rest of the ‘occult’: The term encompasses a broad range of beliefs and practices that really aren’t groupable, from paganism to witchcraft to true Satanism (a sect of Christianity). The ‘occult’ is most often used to referr to practices of non-Christian faiths the Church feels safe in demonizing, faiths without a large or organized membership that would defend itself. Mormonism has been called ‘occult’ at one time, as has the Jewish Kabbalah. Neither are evil, both have been demonized by the Church.

This has been addressed by David How does a Ouija board work?

Thanks, pepper – I also want to point out that Derleth’s comments about the way the name was given is also addressed there, and is one of those things that is “well known” but also untrue.

My seventh grade teacher was extremely religious, and she once talked to us about the evils of Ouija boards. According to her, they are real, dangerous, and evil. She claimed to have known someone who contacted a demon with a board, and from then on slept with a knife under his pillow because he was afraid. She was full of wisdom like this. She also told us about how teenage runaways get abducted by Satanic cults to be used as sacrifices. She really helped me along on my journey to atheism.

Pardon moi for the misspelling of Ouija. When writing it I supposed that, since in Spanish it is pronounced guija, it was reasonable than in English the correct spelling should be Ouija. Of course that was just an intuitive (and erroneous) hunch, lacking in factual knowledge of the matter. I stand corrected.

As to the OP, I know that the conscious/unconscious movement of the hand is what determines the message given by the “spirits”. What I am trying to know is, how valid are the stories told in reference to the scientifically unexplained phenomena that occurs to some of the people who get involved with the Ouija? I stated originally my position regarding the issue: whatever transpires is not responsibility of spiritual forces acting from the underworld, but is instead a psychologically-induced delusion brought upon by extreme gullibility on the part of the affected individual.

Since I pride myself on being objective, I can’t allow myself to refute something based only on the shaky grounds of common sense, intuitive perceptions or sensorial limitations. Thus I will like to be convinced of the real nature of this phenomena and whether it is real or not.

Oh, by the way, Derleth, I am not scared by the spiritual forces from beyond (assuming they do indeed exist). I simply want to comprehend it better, as I believe that every piece of knowledge, however irrelevant it may appear, has an inherent value that eventually may prove to be of utility. And heck, even bright people believe in them, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did. Of course that isn’t by any means supporting evidence of its existence, just a point to emphasize that respected intellectuals treat the matter seriously.

Besides, if I, by some twisted turn of faith, happen to have an encounter with a spectral figure from beyond–The Hound of the Baskerville?–such knowledge might come in handy.

Pd. Any similarities observed in the last paragraph with the handle names of some well known SDMB members is purely coincidental. :smiley:

Just how do you decide what is to be objective reality and what subjective? Human perception being inherently subjective, whose word do you trust? Do you take a poll? How can you say that one person’s viewpoint is “just their opinion” and another person’s viewpoint has the good fortune simply to be right? Isn’t any arrogation of knowledge of the Truth simply an ideology? Isn’t that what got us into trouble in the first place?

Put it to an empirical test. Record it. analyse it. Get it on film. Put time and effort into a scientific test, and come up with repeatable results.

All that proves is that there’s a consensus.

Not that that’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s extremely useful; to the extent that everyone agrees that there is no elephant in the room, it’s advisable to act as though there is no elephant in the room. But we cannot possibly know any objective facts, since we are not Jehováh Diós. How would we know? I mean, really, really know? I think the best we can do is to be reasonably sure.

Isn’t the Ouija board the original contact that Regan had with the Devil in the Exorcist. I was pretty scared especially when the template thing jumped out at her mom. I also was scared when she did the spidercrawl thing down the stairs. :wink:

Occultism in itself is nothing to be afraid. Occultism like some of the more conservative branches of Christianity have their own wackos that one can be afraid of though. Fear the people not the religion.


Here’s a Usenet post about Ouija boards that was subjected to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment in 1996.

the ouija board is presumably used to contact someone/something so who what might there be to contact?

the important thing is not the ouija board but the state of mind of the user. the user is GRANTING PERMISSION to who/whatever there might be.

i’ve mentioned b4 that a consider the reincarnation paradigm the most likely way the universe works. therefore the ouija board would let you contact humans in a non-carnate state. presumably any human in this state could simply be reborn to get back to the physical world, why would they contact someone using a ouija board? it could be possible for a person to accumulate so much negative karma that they would have to endure lifetimes of suffering to compensate. these people might not want to be reborn. they might want to contact or posess living people foolish enough to give them the opportunity.

if you’re sufficiently interested:

      HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL  by Malachi Martin
      OLD SOULS  by Tom Shroder

Dal Timgar

dal_timgar wrote:

cough ideomotor effect cough

I have extensive personal experience from my misspent youth using a Ouija board and similar devices dependent on the ideomotor effect. I never witnessed an event even remotely scary, supernatural or inexplicable.