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Talking to the Dead - A Brief History of the Ouija Board

The Ouija board (Wee-ja), also known as a spirit board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9, and the words “yes”, “no”, and  “hello” and “goodbye”. The invention of the original design in unknown but the first patent was granted in 1891 to Elijah J. Bond as the inventor and the assignee as Charles W. Kennard. Kennard stated that he named the spirit board “Ouija” because the board named itself and said that the word meant ‘Good Luck.’

Through generations of families and different toy companies, the look of the board kept changing. It was not until 1897 that William Fuld held the sole legal right to manufacture and sell the boards.

The Ouija board was regarded as a harmless parlor game unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I.  Mainstream religions and some occultists have associated the use of the Ouija board with the threat of demonic possession and have cautioned their followers not to use them.

Despite being repeatedly debunked by the efforts of the scientific community, the Ouija board remains popular. There are many who claim that it can indeed communicate with the dead. Television is filled with shows about hauntings that began with the use of the board.

People have claimed that using the board has made their lives, literally, a living hell. It is believed that demons, disguising themselves as deceased friend or family member, can trick the users of the board and unwittingly invite “it” into their homes. To be rid of such hauntings or negative paranormal phenomena, experts in the paranormal advise either burning the board or disposing of it in a lake since spirits are believed to not be able to cross water.

(Source: museumoftalkingboards.com)

theoddmentemporium:

“Necropants”
The necropants, as they’re called, are at the center of a very strange legend that’s part of an exhibit at Iceland’s Holmavik Witchcraft and Sorcery Museum (a macabre little pit-stop where you can learn the stories of 17 people burned at the stake in the 17th century — for supposedly “occult” practices like cursing someone with uncontrollable farting). The necropants were made from the skin of the bottom half of a dead guy — but that’s not the weird part, if you can believe it. From Lonely Planet Iceland:

It was believed that the necropants would spontaneously produce money when worn, as long as the donor corpse had been stolen from a graveyard at the dead of night and a magic rune and a coin stolen from a poor widow were placed in the dead man’s scrotum. [Source]

theoddmentemporium:

“Necropants”

The necropants, as they’re called, are at the center of a very strange legend that’s part of an exhibit at Iceland’s Holmavik Witchcraft and Sorcery Museum (a macabre little pit-stop where you can learn the stories of 17 people burned at the stake in the 17th century — for supposedly “occult” practices like cursing someone with uncontrollable farting). The necropants were made from the skin of the bottom half of a dead guy — but that’s not the weird part, if you can believe it. From Lonely Planet Iceland:

It was believed that the necropants would spontaneously produce money when worn, as long as the donor corpse had been stolen from a graveyard at the dead of night and a magic rune and a coin stolen from a poor widow were placed in the dead man’s scrotum. [Source]

Talking to the Dead - A Brief History of the Ouija Board

The Ouija board (Wee-ja), also known as a spirit board, is a flat board marked with the letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9, and the words “yes”, “no”, and  “hello” and “goodbye”. The invention of the original design in unknown but the first patent was granted in 1891 to Elijah J. Bond as the inventor and the assignee as Charles W. Kennard. Kennard stated that he named the spirit board “Ouija” because the board named itself and said that the word meant ‘Good Luck.’

Through generations of families and different toy companies, the look of the board kept changing. It was not until 1897 that William Fuld held the sole legal right to manufacture and sell the boards.

The Ouija board was regarded as a harmless parlor game unrelated to the occult until American Spiritualist Pearl Curran popularized its use as a divining tool during World War I.  Mainstream religions and some occultists have associated the use of the Ouija board with the threat of demonic possession and have cautioned their followers not to use them.

Despite being repeatedly debunked by the efforts of the scientific community, the Ouija Board remains popular. There are many who claim that it can indeed communicate with the dead. Television is filled with shows about hauntings that began with the use of the board.

People have claimed that using the board has made their lives, literally, a living hell. It is believed that demons, disguising themselves as deceased friend or family member, can trick the users of the board and unwittingly invite “it” into their homes. To be rid of such hauntings or negative paranormal phenomena, experts in the paranormal advise either burning the board or disposing of it in a lake since spirits are believed to not be able to cross water.

(Source: museumoftalkingboards.com)

odditiesoflife:

Visconti Tarot Cards (1428) - The History of Telling Your Future

The Bender Family - America’s First Serial Killers

In 1870, five families of spiritualists settled in Labette County, Kansas. Spiritualists were known in the Old West at that time and their presence caused no alarm among the hard working settlers. The Benders were among the group of spiritualists.

The Bender’s home was not a fancy place, but was a general store with a wayside inn that could provide both food and a bed for travelers. The house was made up of one large room that was divided by a canvas curtain. This separated the grocery store and inn from the family’s living quarters in the back. Old man Bender, his wife, and their supposed son spoke little to the strangers who passed through.  But Katie Bender was different story.

Kate Bender, 23, was cultivated, attractive, and spoke English very well. A self-proclaimed healer and psychic, she distributed flyers advertising her supernatural powers and her ability to cure illnesses, conducted séances, and also gave lectures on spiritualism for which she gained notoriety for advocating free love.  She was also reported to be a prostitute. Kates’ popularity became a large attraction for the Benders’ inn. 

When the Bender’s had a “guest” at their inn, they would seat the victim at the table so their back would be towards the curtain that separated the room.  The victims chair was also positioned over a trap door.  Then one of the male Benders  would hit the person over the head with a hammer and slit their throat to ensure death. After the gruesome act, they would open the trap door and the body would fall beneath the house until they had time to remove and bury it on the back of their property in the garden.

As time passed, reports of lost persons became more frequent. In the late spring of 1873, much bitterness was directed to this southeast Kansas area. The township called a meeting to see what should be done.  The matter gained urgency when the widely-known physician, Dr. William H. York, was reported to have disappeared. A decision was made to search every farmstead in the area. Old man Bender and young John were at this meeting.

Three days after the meeting, a passerby noticed that the Bender homestead looked deserted. They descended onto the Bender property and found its inhabitants missing. The Benders’ food, clothing and possessions were greatly disturbed or removed. Upon entering the cabin, searchers were met by a sickening stench.

A trap door, nailed shut, was discovered in the floor of the cabin. Pried open and lifted by its leather hinges, it covered a cellar that was filled with clotted blood which produced the horrid odor. In desperation, the cabin was completely lifted and moved aside. A search was made under the house, but nothing was found. The search was about to be called off when Dr. William York’s brother saw the outline of a strange depression behind the house. They began digging and Dr. York’s body was found buried, head downward, his feet scarcely covered. His skull had been bludgeoned from behind with a hammer and his throat had been cut.

The next day, the search revealed nine other bodies with smashed skulls and slit throats along with other dismembered body parts.

The Benders had become this Nation’s first recorded mass murders or “serial killers” when 10 bodies were recovered at the inn. Many believe the Benders killed over 21 people.  None of the Benders were ever captured. Their story remains one of the most gruesome and greatest unsolved mysteries of the Old West.