Ouija Boards consist of two components: a board upon which the alphabet, numbers zero through nine, "yes," "no" and "goodbye" are stenciled; and a pointing device called a planchette.1 They are frequently associated with tools used by mediums to contact spirits during a seance or divination.2,3 In the movies, Ouija Boards are depicted as having the demonic ability to channel evil spirits into the unsuspecting host.4 Whether or not such a capability exists or is merely a manifestation of the ideomotor effect has been debated by theologians, psychologists, scientists and paranormal enthusiasts for more than a century.5 There is certainly no shortage of stories regarding Ouija Board experiences ranging from private, personal encounters to famous cases like Patience Worth.6,7,8,9,10
Although not the Ouija’s inventors, many attribute the success of the Ouija Board to Kate and Margaret Fox, two sisters living in New York in the 19th century. As the story goes, the girls established communication in 1848 with a spirit entity by asking questions that could be answered with a physical response such as snapping sounds.15 They signed sworn statements testifying they were in communication with a dead pedlar whose body was later discovered beneath the house. The publicity of their other-worldly communication led to both a surging belief in spiritual contact along with a coinciding amount of skepticism.
As the popularity of spiritual communications increased, different techniques began to emerge for understanding the spirits. First came Table Tipping, a practice where a spirit would cause a table, which was balanced on a leg and held by participants, to rap against the floor.16 Following the experience, the raps would be counted to interpret the spirit’s message. Other methods included a practice known as Automatic Writing where a pencil was guided by a planchette to write the spirit’s message.17 A planchette, literally French for plank or board, was simply a wooden device used to hold the pencil and allow the spiritualist to "channel" the message.18 An excerpt from an article in the American Spiritualist Magazine dated 18 December 1876 outlines one of the first known examples of using the dramatically simplified communication process of the planchette pointing at letters of an alphabet (rather than writing them).19,20
The Ouija Board can trace its lineage directly to patent number 446,054 filed by Elijah J. Bond on 28 May 1890, although a number of patents were filed by different individuals for the various board designs and planchettes over the next century.21,22 The "father" of Ouija, however, is considered to be William Fuld.23 He joined the Kennard Novelty Company as a painter but soon became so engrossed with the Ouija product that he began filing his own patents.24,25 William eventually transformed the company into the Ouija Novelty Company, where he produced Ouija Boards until his death in 1927.26 The Fuld family continued to manufacture and sell Ouija Boards until transferring the product line to Parker Brothers in 1966. Parker Brothers maintained it until 1999 whereupon an updated Ouija version was introduced.27
Variants on the practice of using the Ouija Board have, of course, developed over the years, but there are some commonalities. Although it’s fully possible to use it alone, it’s not a recommended practice by those who have done it before. (Whether that recommendation is based on it being impossible to fool yourself by pushing the planchette intentionally or because demons will possess you while playing alone is a question left to the reader.) Generally, it is recommended to have approximately three people: two for using the board and another to witness and transcribe the events. An appropriate setting where the lights are dimmed with distracting elements removed is the most conducive for performing a seance type activity. People recommend starting the planchette by manually moving it in circles until it begins to move on its own.
In general, the original directions from the first Ouija Boards are more or less applicable today:28
It has become common to open simply by asking if a spirit is present in the room and whether it desires to communicate. There are mixed opinions on whether or not it is polite to discuss the death of the spirit or the existence of god. Additionally, it should be obvious certain questions are inherently nonsensical, such as:
Questions should be limited to things the spirit has a chance of knowing. Treat your experience as if you were meeting somebody for the first time and consider it a social event rather than a "work for me NOW" session. Additionally, remember the spirit’s knowledge is limited to what it knew upon death, so there is a good chance it may be uneducated. It might be illiterate – meaning the Ouija’s alphabet is useless – or the spirit could even speak an older dialect or a completely different language.
As the Ouija Board has aged, a variety of superstitions have come to surround its usage.29 Not only that, people have come to believe particular behaviors are indicative of malicious spirits or if they perform certain actions evil will be warded away.30 Most of these "facts" can be simply attributed to the perpetuation of myth by the Internet. For the sake of argument, these are amongst the most popular:
Signs of an Evil Spirit
It should go without saying Parker Brothers is not in the business of manufacturing portals to hell and selling them to children ages "8 to adult." For the moment, it will be necessary to suspend disbelief in order to consider how a Ouija Board could work. Whether the Ouija Board is a farce will be addressed afterwards.
Imagine all things in the world are connected by an invisible force, some form of energy that permits everyone and everything to commune as one. Perhaps the most dominant fictional representation of this idea is expressed as "The Force" and eloquently described by Yoda in the Empire Strikes Back: "For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship."31
In reality, the idea is not without precedent under such religious belief systems as Buddhism or Paganism.32,33 (It should be noted that Paganism is not equivalent to worshiping the devil – it is a figment of Christianity).34 Although less in tune with a synergistic connection between entities, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all fundamentally believe in the spirit and realms in which spirits reside.35,36,37 The complete biorhythm control exhibited by meditating monks relates to calming and being in touch with surrounding energies.38,39 Martial artists make reference to channeling their chi as a means of focusing their minds and energy.40 Yogis stimulate their chakras to control energy.41
So, assuming the bulk of Earth’s population is correct in believing spirits and energy exist in one form or fashion, the Ouija Board is a mechanism that facilitates getting in touch with them.42,43 Some people believe we cannot perceive the spirits because our minds are generally closed to the idea. This is why it takes training and practice to even do such simple tasks as clearing the mind in preparation for meditation.44 Suspending disbelief and opening the mind to the possibility of spiritual communion is simply too difficult a hurdle for many to overcome. The Ouija Board is a tool for permitting the mind and senses to basically make an exception. When a person doesn’t believe, it takes a considerable amount of evidence to overwhelm their assumptions. When a person submits to possibility, the realization "there is more out there" becomes monumentally easier.
For that matter, it is not so much the Ouija Board itself that is necessary to perform the ritual. Any object a person can accept as a medium of communication will suffice. People have used a wine glass atop a message board. Crystal balls. Candles. Hallucinogens. Eventually, when a tool is no longer necessary to believe the inconceivable, the person is essentially the medium. Given the mysticism and subtle fear associated with Ouija Boards over time, they are among the de facto tools for loosening people’s minds into believing spiritualism is possible.45
Still, that does not explain how the Ouija Board’s planchette moves.46 There are essentially three schools of thought concerning the matter:
The first school of thought can generally be dismissed as nonsense. If the spirit has the ability to interface with the physical world such that it can move physical objects, the Ouija Board (and participants for that matter) would be irrelevant to the process. For that matter, it would be just the same to see a pencil spontaneously stand upright and begin writing on paper or witness a computer keyboard begin typing without a user. Perhaps holding a seance around the computer simply isn’t popular enough a practice for it to have become part of the occult, but its far more likely its because the spirit is not directly moving the planchette.
The second and third schools of thought are more closely related. For the second to be true, it must be assumed a spirit or energy form can inhabit the participant’s body and thereby control their actions. While the Catholic church seems to have many documented cases of possession, this option also seems unrealistic for the same reasons as the first. If spirits could arbitrarily possess and control human hosts, there would not be any purpose for the Ouija Board. And if the Ouija Board truly is the "secret" barrier through which possessions take place, Parker Brothers would be making a lot more than $25 a piece.
The third explanation does not rely upon the spirit to move the planchette or the spirit to control the medium. Rather, the medium is influenced by a synergistic link to the spirit through which an exchange of information takes place at a subconscious level. That influence drives the participant to move the planchette, though not in a deliberate way. While this explanation falls more into line with the spiritual and energy beliefs of prevailing religions and philosophies, it also matches the primary model pushed by the skeptics.
When skeptics cry foul, they cite the Ideomotor Effect as the driving force behind the Ouija Board. The term defines a third, unconscious muscle action and was first used by William B. Carpenter in 1852 to describe the actions of dowsers and frauds who claimed to be spirit mediums.47,48 The two other types of unconscious movements are called Excitomotor and Sensorimotor actions, and they include natural actions like breathing and reflex actions like pain retraction.49 As per the ideomotor effect, participants are essentially deluded and creating the psychic effects themselves. It is also known as automatism and describes tiny, involuntary muscle movements in response to subconscious desires.50
In the "The Mischief-Making of Ideomotor Action," written for The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, Ray Hyman declared, "Although the effects of ideomotor action have been understood for at least one hundred fifty years, the phenomenon remains surprisingly unknown, even to scientists."51 Ideomotor actions are very much at the heart of human communication – almost an instinctual response. They are not necessarily associated with such large movements as hand gesturing. Rather, the ideomotor effect presents itself as involuntary subtleties. Think of poker players reading the involuntary "tells" of their opponents.52 Perhaps an athlete who seems to have an uncanny ability to predict his opponent’s next move despite the mathematical and physical impossibilities to respond in time. Or the gumshoe who can read all the minute, physical characteristics of someone in order to detect a lie.53,54,55 These are examples of people who have developed an ability to read particular, subtle movements in others.
The aforementioned Ray Hyman has been instrumental in proving the ideomotor effect, notably in the court of law.56 Chiropractors once used a device called the Toftness Radiation Detector which would respond to tactile touch when placed over troubled areas of the spine.57 As part of his testimony that the ideomotor effect drove the chiropractors diagnosis, Hyman performed a psychological experiment with student volunteers demonstrating the ideomotor effect where, by the power of suggestion, participants would all receive the same experience with dowsing rods, pendulums and a rubbing plate. The reactions were so powerful, one student believed it was the powers of the devil at play. Hyman makes the following conclusions:58
The ideomotor effect’s facets of force projection and self-fulfilling prophecy are really the crucial elements to the skeptic’s view on the Ouija experience. Richard Wiseman is a noted professor with a psychological interest in the "peculiar" sciences.59 In 1995, he conducted multiple seance experiments with a group of twenty-five participants in order to draw conclusions regarding the susceptibility to belief in the supernatural.60 Given the proper ambiance, conditions and suggestions, he found participants believed certain events happened during the seance that did not. When combining the power of suggestion and the mind’s tendency to believe the ideomotor effect is external, it becomes increasingly easy to dismiss a Ouija Board seance as anything more than a psychological novelty.
There is, of course, a more obvious explanation to how it works. The other guy is moving it intentionally to mess with you.61 It is usually easy to detect an intentional planchette movement because the planchette exhibits unnaturally abrupt jerks instead of "feeling" like smooth, surreal motion. (I will admit I moved the planchette intentionally only once. There was a really annoying kid amongst us who kept whining about the Ouija Board being unsafe and yet he would not leave! So I asked the board who was going to die next and turned the pointer at him. Needless to say, he left.)
For the sake of determining whether the Ouija Board movement is influenced by the participants or a spirit entity, experimentation is in order. If the Ouija Board is the fabled gateway to the spirit world, then it must work when the participants are unaware of its configuration. ("Work" being defined as providing an intelligible answer relevant to the conversation at hand.) To repeat the experiment in your own home, you will need:
Four sessions were necessary in order to produce an appropriate set of data for analysis. The experiment consisted of the participants following the basic directions of the Ouija Board. Basic inquiries were be used that make use of spelled, yes/no, and pointing responses. (A pointing response will request for the planchette to be rotated to point at one of the easily distinguishable objects set up beside the board.)
Two cameras were used to capture audio and video from the experience. A Canon Elph SD1000 was setup beside the board to capture audio and video in 320×240 AVI format.71 Overhead video was captured by an Oregon Scientific ATC2K Helmet Cam (mounted to a tripod) configured for 320×240 AVI format.72 In order to listen for EVP, PCM waveform audio was extracted from the AVI video files using the freely available mplayer software on Linux.73,74 Once extracted, the WAV audio files were processed using Audacity, which permits fundamental editing and visualization of the audio signal.75 Video clips were reviewed with MPlayerOSX and edited using both Final Cut Express and FFMPEGX available for Apple OS X.76,77
The control experiment was conducted in an office building at the heart of Times Square on 5 February, 2008. A little-used lab room offered a quiet environment and freedom from distraction by other employees throughout the building. I was assisted by my ghosthunting friend from college, Erin Stair. For the sake of discussion, time will be referenced from "T Hour" which is when the cameras were synchronized.
It took awhile for the board to start doing anything at all. The following are highlights to annotate the provided video segment:
After a short break, we resumed the Ouija experiment for a second session. We discarded the intentional blindfold session for two reasons: the first session was so unintelligible repeating the experiment blind would make no difference, and Erin brought dirty socks for blindfolds. "T Hour" will again refer to the time at which the cameras were synchronized. The following are highlights to annotate the provided video segment:
The haunted experiment was conducted in on the fourth floor of the United States Military Academy library on 12 April, 2008.80 A Saturday afternoon was chosen to minimize the likelihood of the cadets interrupting the session. On the far end of the library’s fourth floor was an audio/visual lab featuring cassette and VHS tapes covered in a fine layer of dust – I doubt a cadet had been there in months. For the sake of discussion, time will be referenced from "T Hour," which is when the cameras were synchronized.
To avoid using up the camera battery like before, we "warmed up" the board for about ten minutes prior to recording. After several minutes, the planchette began moving, but the results were incoherent movements around the letters. We asked various questions and were given answers through the board’s YES/NO markings that the spirit was alone (at the time) and that it was difficult for it to "see" the board in the light. The only consistent movement from the planchette was to sweep over towards the moon icon. After activating the cameras, the planchette still did not make any coherent indications so at approximately T-3:55, I opened a deck of cards and began placing selected cards at the four corners of the board for it to point at.
At this point, the gibberish continued so we decided to end the first haunted session and take a break. The next session was conducted with blindfolds on. Additionally, the orientation of the board was randomized while blindfolded to prevent participants from knowing which way was "up." In this fashion, the ideomotor effect should be negated because participants cannot see the board and therefore cannot subconsciously influence the planchette.
Prior to making any conclusions, it is necessary to address some of the known problems with the experiment.
After the sessions were completed, the electronic AVI files were taken from the video recorders and consolidated. Software was used to extract the audio tracks from the AVI files and these were saved as separate WAV files. Audacity was used to review each WAV file looking and listening for EVP. It was necessary to use a visual program to identify EVP in case faint audio forms were missed in the listening tests. Visualizing the audio wave forms permitted an analysis looking for spikes deviating from background noise for more focused scrutiny. Unfortunately, upon reviewing the audio tracks extracted from the video footage, there was no evidence of EVP from any of the sessions.
The purpose of conducting sessions in both a controlled, non-haunted environment and a haunted environment was to judge the responsiveness of the planchette on the Ouija Board. Given a truly non-haunted environment, the planchette should have remained motionless and not provided any meaningful response. In the haunted environment, the planchette should have responded during the session with notable movement and ideally coherent, meaningful responses.
The control obviously failed in the first regard to be un-responsive. The planchette demonstrated blatant activity although it may have been the result of the Ideomotor Effect. The results of the first control session were so incoherent it was decided not to bother with a controlled blindfolded session. Incoherency continued with the second control session although minor results seemed to manifest. Other than the 1/2 alphabet enumeration and the peculiarity with the candle flame at the end, the control sessions did seem to confirm a degree of meaninglessness, leading to the conclusion there was nothing significant present or the result was entirely of Ideomotor influence.
The haunted session was demonstratively different from the control. Unlike the sweeping, repetitive pattern demonstrated in the office building, the planchette seemed to move to distinct alphanumeric characters and other indicators. At first, it would be easy to conclude this seemingly intentional activity was indicative of an intelligence not present during the control. However, it stood to reason it was also from the influence of the Ideomotor Effect. While the movements seemed more deliberate, the result was largely unintelligible. Assuming the Ouija Board worked, however, part of the session indicated the entity was having trouble interfacing during the afternoon and that a better result would be possible at night.81
According to the Ideomotor Effect, the ability of the participants to see the board results in unconscious muscle movements to make the planchette go towards particular results to fulfill the desire to have a result. As an example, each participant may have a subconscious desire or hope that the planchette will answer in a particular fashion. Although not intentionally moving the planchette, the slightest muscle twitch by one participant may be perceived as real movement by the other who in turn gives an ever slight muscle twitch of their own. These slight twitches each push the planchette towards the desired result such that each participant fully believes they are not influencing the outcome, yet each participant is magnifying the effect from the other.
The Ideomotor Effect was tested with the blindfolded session. If the movement of the Ouija Board’s planchette is the result of the Ideomotor Effect, than the blindfolded experiment should result in a complete failure to replicate any of the non-blindfolded results. Neither participant is able to see the planchette’s position on the board and therefore has no orienting indications from which unconscious muscle action can "correct" it’s movement. Furthermore, the random orientation of the board will result in an inability for either participant to even know which way to move the planchette for simpler answers like YES/NO or object pointing.
This experiment showed a prominent degradation in the quality of answers from the Ouija Board following the blindfolds. It is evident the planchette was not aligning itself well with the alpha-numeric characters nor even with the larger YES/NO answers. However, it can be argued the planchette was "in the ballpark" for rough interpretation of the answers in which case the offset error is a demonstration of the correcting factor of the Ideomotor Effect. It was interesting the playing card portion of the experiment resulted in picking three of four cards, but it cannot be ignored all cards were missed on the second pass.
The bottom line is the Ouija Board is not a gateway to hell. Touching it will not harm you. Being in its presence is not going to cause you to become possessed. It would seem most sessions conducted with the Ouija Board are in fact, nothing more than parlor tricks. Most people are likely to have the misfortune of encountering participants who physically manipulate the board as a scare tactic, ruining the experience. And for the few occasions when a legitimate session is possible, it is very likely the Ideomotor Effect will influence the outcome of the result to some degree. Despite the probability most sessions are the result of the Ideomotor Effect or pranksters, enough outlier case examples of Ouija Board mystery exist that giving them the benefit of the doubt is not entirely unreasonable. If the believers are correct, it is likely most people are simply too skeptical (or fearful) to truly open their minds to make a real connection. Anyone who has ever used a Ouija Board under the right conditions will swear there is that little something weird that cannot necessarily be explained away rationally. For those few who may make a connection, the question really is – it is just a game isn’t it?
1 "Ouija Board." Skepdic.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://skepdic.com/ouija.html.
2 "SOYOUWANNA HOLD A SEANCE?" SOYOUWANNA.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/seance/seance.html.
3 "Divination." Paralumun.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.paralumun.com/divination.htm.
4 Saunders, William. "‘The Exorcist:’ The Story Behind the Movie." Catholic Education Resource Center. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0137.html.
5 "How the Talking Boards Work and the Ideomotor Effect." Speaking With Spirits_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.speakingwithspirits.com/ideomotor_effect.htmeffect.htm.
6 "Patience Worth Poems." Patience Worth_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.patienceworth.org/patienceworthpoems_001.htm001.htm.
7 "Paranormal Confessons." Geocities. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Vault/6071/ouijafr.htm.
8 Kaczmarek, Dale. "Ouija: Not A Game." Ghost Research. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.ghostresearch.org/articles/ouija.html.
9 "Ouija Board Stories & Information." Grave Addiction. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.graveaddiction.com/ouija.html.
10 "Ouija." Wikipedia. Accessed January 2008 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija.
11 "Ouija Board: Glow In the Dark." Amazon. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.amazon.com/Milton-Bradley-Ouija-Board-Glow-in-the-Dark/dp/B0000524NG/omninerd-20.
12 "Uranium Ore." Amazon. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.amazon.com/Uranium-Ore/dp/B000796XXM/omninerd-20.
13 "How To Make A Ouija Board." PlayOuijaBoard.com_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.playouijaboard.com/how_to_make_a_ouija_board.htmlboard.html.
14 "Top: Society: Paranormal: Psychic: Ouija: Online Boards." DMOZ_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.dmoz.org/Society/Paranormal/Psychic/Ouija/Online_Boards/Boards/.
15 "Kate and Margaret Fox." SurvivalAfterDeath.org. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/mediums/foxsisters.htm.
16 "Table Tipping: Popular Past Time of the Home Spirit Circles." PrairieGhosts.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.prairieghosts.com/table.html.
17 "Automatic Writing." CrystaLinks.com_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.crystalinks.com/automatic_writing.htmlwriting.html.
18 "Gallery of Talking Boards: Planchettes." Museum of Talking Boards. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/planchet.html.
19 "American Spiritual Magazine." Google. Accessed January 2008 from http://books.google.com/books?id=YBX4K4ih8-AC&printsec=titlepage&dq=american+spiritualist+magazine.
20 "History of the Talking Board." Museum of Talking Boards. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/history.html.
21 "Elijah J. Bond." ElijahBond.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://elijahbond.com/.
22 "Talking Boards Patents and Trademarks." Museum of Talking Boards. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/patent.html.
23 "William Fuld." WilliamFuld.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.williamfuld.com/biography.html.
24 "Kennard Novelty Company." WilliamFuld.com_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.williamfuld.com/ouija_factories_kennard.htmlkennard.html.
25 "Patents and Trademarks." WilliamFuld.com_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.williamfuld.com/ouija_patentsandtrademarks_williamafuld.htmlwilliamafuld.html.
26 "Ouija Novelty Company." WilliamFuld.com_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.williamfuld.com/ouija_factories_ouija.htmlouija.html.
27 "History of the Talking Board." Id.
28 "Directions On How To Use The Ouija Board." Museum of Talking Boards. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/directio.html.
29 "Ouijastitions." Museum of Talking Boards. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/ouistit.html.
30 "Ouija Tips." Grave Addiction. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.graveaddiction.com/ouija.html.
31 "Memorable Quotes for The Empire Strikes Back." Internet Movie Database. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080684/quotes.
32 "Introduction to Bhuddhism." Basic Buddhism_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/intro_bud.htmbud.htm.
33 "Pagan Beliefs." Witches Way. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.witchesway.net/links/paganism/beliefs.html.
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35 "The Story Of Moses." Bible Knowledge. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.bible-knowledge.com/Story-of-Moses.html.
36 "The Trinity." Columbia University. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/trinity.htm.
37 "The Sources of Islam." Answering Islam. Accessed January 2008 from http://answering-islam.org.uk/Nehls/Ask/sources.html.
38 Barbor, Cary. "The Science of Meditation." Psychology Today Accessed January 2008 from http://psychologytoday.com/articles/index.php?term=20010501-000025&page=1.
39 Cullen, Psychology Today. "How to Get Smarter, One Breath At A Time." Time. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1147167,00.html.
40 Sawhney, Clifford. "Inner Warriors." Life Positive. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.lifepositive.com/Body/martial-arts/chi.asp.
41 "Chakras, An Ancient Philosophy Now A Hot Trend." Chakra Energy. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.chakraenergy.com/.
42 "Religion In The World At The End Of The Millenium." Gallup. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.gallup-international.com/ContentFiles/millennium15.asp.
43 "Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents." Adherents_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.htmlAdherents.html.
44 "How To Practice Focused Meditation." About_. Accessed January 2008 from http://stress.about.com/od/meditation/ht/focused_med.htmmed.htm.
45 Horowitz, Mitch. "How this American Anomaly Became More than Just Fun and Games." MitchHorowitz.com. accessed January 2008 from http://www.mitchhorowitz.com/ouija.html.
46 "Automatism vs. Spiritualist: Theories of Ouija." Museum of Talking Boards. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.museumoftalkingboards.com/theories.html.
47 "Ideomotor Effect." Skepdic.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://skepdic.com/ideomotor.html
48 Hansen, Brandon. "The 1826 Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr." OmniNerd_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.omninerd.com/articles/The_1826_Trial_of_Joseph_Smith_JrJr.
49 Jackson, John. "The Ideomotor Effect." UK-Skeptics_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.skeptics.org.uk/article.php?dir=articles&article=ideomotor_effect.phpeffect.php.
50 "The Ideomotor Effect." Wyrdology. Accessed January 2008 from at http://www.wyrdology.com/mind/ideomotor.html.
51 Dorko, Barret L. "The Presence and Purpose of Ideomotor Movement." BarretDorko.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.barrettdorko.com/articles/ideomotor.htm.
52 "Introduction to Poker Tells." Flop Turn River. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.flopturnriver.com/essays-poker-tells-psychology-observe.html.
53 Jayson, Sharon. "Face Expert’s Ability To See Deception Has Him In Demand." USA Today_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-07-20-face-expert_x.htmx.htm.
54 "How To Detect A Lie." Blifaloo.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.blifaloo.com/info/lies.php.
55 "Eye Direction and Lying." Blifaloo.com_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.blifaloo.com/info/lies_eyes.phpeyes.php.
56 Hyman, Ray. "How People Are Fooled by Ideomotor Action." Quack Watch. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/ideomotor.html.
57 Magner, George. "The Toftness Radiation Detector Is A Fraud." Quack Watch. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/toftness.html.
58 Id., "How People Are Fooled by Ideomotor Action."
59 "Welcome To The Website Of Professor Richard Wiseman." RichardWiseman.com. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.richardwiseman.com/.
60 Wiseman, Richard. "The Psychology of the Seance, from Experiment to Drama." Skeptical Inquirer_. Accessed January 2008 from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843/is_2_23/ai_5423750454237504.
61 These people are usually referred to as assholes and are often your closest friends.
62 It is advisable to not only have friends that run slower than you, but also perhaps an "extra" friend everyone is willing to leave behind. If you don’t know who that friend is, it’s probably you.
63 "An Easy Way to Make Your Own Holy Water." AngelFire. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.angelfire.com/on/wicca/Water.html.
64 "The Necronomicon." OmniNerd_. Accessed January 28 from http://www.omninerd.com/books/The_necronomiconnecronomicon.
65 "History of the Secret Cow Level." Battle.net. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.battle.net/diablo2exp/quests/cow.shtml.
66 The person in charge of writing down the letters always gets caught up in the "excitement" when the planchette moves. It’s much better to simply record what it does. Having access to a thermal or IR camera as well makes for good corroborating evidence.
67 An audio recorder is useful for detecting EVP (electronic voice phenomena).
68 "Haunted Places, Ghosts And Hauntings In New York." Ghost and Hauntings Research Society. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.strangehappenings.org/New-York-Hauntings.htm.
69 Vernon, Alex. "Ghost Stories." American Heritage_. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/2002/5/2002_5_64.shtml64.shtml.
70 "The Ghost at West Point." Spellfyre’s Ghost Web. Accessed January 2008 from http://www.spellfyre.com/html/stories/storydisplay.php?storyid=10.
71 "PowerShot SD1000." Canon. Accessed February 2008 from http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=145&modelid=14901.
72 "ATC2K Waterproof Action Cam." Oregon Scientific. Accessed February 2008 from http://www2.oregonscientific.com/shop/product.asp?cid=0&scid=77&pid=709.
73 "American Association Electronic Voice Phenomena." AAEVP. Accessed February 2008 from http://aaevp.com/.
74 "MPlayer – The Movie Player." MPlayerHQ. Accessed February 2008 from http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html.
75 "Audacity." SourceForge. Accessed February 2008 from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/.
76 "Final Cut Express." Apple. Accessed February 2008 from http://www.apple.com/finalcutexpress/.
77 "FFMPEGX." FFMPEGX. Accessed February 2008 from http://www.ffmpegx.com/.
78 The security camera made Erin look like she had gained a good twenty … maybe thirty … pounds.
79 My coworkers were pleased to hear of this answer the next day although I still got several strange looks about having conducted a seance in the office.
80 "United States Military Academy Library." USMA. Accessed May 2008 from http://usmalibrary.usma.edu/.
81 Unfortunately, the opportunity to commute to West Point and use the library at night was not readily available and an afternoon session was the best option.
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