Why the Ouija board became so famous

  • Published on:  9/17/2018
  • This is where Ouija boards came from. And it might surprise you.

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    In this episode of Overrated, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores what Ouija means, from a historical and cultural perspective.

    The Ouija game and Ouija movies permeate our culture. But their origin might be surprising. Before this board game was a staple, it emerged from the spiritualist movement in the United States in the mid-1800s and an aggressive entrepreneur who believed he could make a buck off of it.

    Ouija’s overrated — it’s not real and it’s just a piece of cardboard. But it's also a way for people from the past to speak to us (through history, at least).

    Overrated is a series that takes a look at the things we all know — the books, the trends, and the ideas that have become iconic — and answers the question: “Why is this so famous"?

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  • DeoGratias570 (Sep 17, 2018)

    "What's your name?"Ouija: Yes*Everyone panics and starts screaming!*

  • Dab Vitor (Mar 22, 2019)

    That's actually pretty acurate:Oui = yes (in French)Ja = yes (in German

  • Clorox Bleach (Dec 11, 2018)

    Oh my god the vine

  • Mr. Doob (Sep 17, 2018)

    I bought a Ouija board recently from a strange old man...I got it home, laid out the pieces and before I could even ask it a question the planchette started to move around, it eventually speltI'VE GOT A MESSAGE TO YOU'What is your message?' I asked.YOU SHOULD BE DANCINGFear started flushing over me, 'Why should I be dancing?'NIGHT FEVERI started to become more confused then frightened now, I needed to get to the bottom of this. 'You're talking gibberish' I shouted!JIVE TALKIN. HOW DEEP I...

  • I spit my wine out reading this.

  • Deb Sherette (Dec 27, 2018)

    you need more cowbell!!

  • Gale P (Sep 17, 2018)

    a luigi board?

  • Jane Appleseed (Feb 17, 2019)


  • Quentin Gilanian (Jan 31, 2019)


  • 如月.飛羽 (Sep 17, 2018)

    The spirit world went corporate. Classic USA.

  • Diamantenvogel (Jan 28, 2019)

    except there's always been a market around religion and spirituality. like everywhere...

  • Meshell A (Nov 17, 2018)


  • CurtisTRY (Sep 17, 2018)

    Ouija Boards are for babies. Weegee boards are for the real men.

  • gn lilu (Jan 8, 2019)


  • the terminator (Oct 13, 2018)

    CurtisTRY waLuigi board

  • Reymund Alagos (Sep 17, 2018)

    Ouija board vs Soulja boy

  • Hamza Khan (Feb 28, 2019)


  • Gabbi Durham (Dec 26, 2018)

    Soulja Boy wins every time.

  • jayay (Sep 17, 2018)

    Vox should do a video on how they edit their videos

  • Ethan L (Sep 19, 2018)

    +Patrick darryl hi

  • Okay WhyNot (Sep 17, 2018)

    "Ouija" was Egyptian-sounding Me, an Egyptian: literally WHAT 😐

  • moro (Jan 2, 2019)

    i think they're talking about عويجة

  • jaded (Nov 28, 2018)

    exactly. it sounds french to me.

  • US (Sep 17, 2018)

    90s kids: Bought board game cause they're boredKids today: Just download an app.

  • giulia luane (Mar 12, 2019)

    Yeah. You bought board games, we download apps. What is your point?

  • Jethro Bodine (Feb 19, 2019)

    +Roxy Doom It has nothing to do with the parents or the internet because without a phone school kids still pick their nose.

  • SyncOut 226 (Sep 17, 2018)

    Patents, marketing and taxes. The scariest ghost? Capitalism

  • Most successful too

  • Tragic Machine (Jan 29, 2019)

    Without capitalism, you won't have chance to surf Youtube.