The Talking Board Historical Society is a non-profit group dedicated to celebrating the history of talking boards, best known to many as the popular "Ouija Board," a product which was trademarked by Hasbro. This past weekend, the TBHS celebrated the Halloween season by attempting to break the record for the world's largest Ouija board, officially accomplishing their task with the debut of a board they dubbed "OuijaZilla." The new board not only passed the previous record-holder, which earned its notoriety in 2016, but it completely shattered it, as OuijaZilla is nearly two-and-a-half times as big. The board is currently on display in the Salem, Massachusetts town common.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! officially inducted the board as the world's biggest, noting that, "The board is constructed of 99 individual sheets of plywood and weighs approximately 9,000 pounds—without the weight of over 20 gallons of wood stain alone. With the face of the board measuring 3,168 square feet, you can park five full-size 18-wheelers on top of OuijaZilla. The planchette itself is 15.5 feet in length, 10 feet at its widest point, weighing roughly 400 pounds."
The Ouija board has been a staple of horror films for decades, though the phenomenon of automatic writing dates back to 12th-century China. It wasn't until the late 19th century that the spiritualism movement began to permeate America, leading to the rise in popularity of "talking boards." These devices consisted of an alphabet, numbers, the words "yes" and "no," as well as the word "goodbye." The theory was that, when users placed their hands on a device that slid across the board, known as a "planchette," unseen spirits could channel the energy of the users to spell out messages from beyond. When these spirits were seemingly finished with their communication, they would slide over to the word "goodbye."
Despite the popularity of the devices, they are still considered pseudoscience and there is no objective evidence confirming their effectiveness.
Talking boards have been incorporated into a number of horror films, often refusing to refer to them by their trademarked name, with 1986's Witchboard being one of the first films to hinge its entire plot around the device. Back in 2014, the film Ouija landed in theaters, directly based on the trademarked game, which earned the prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil in 2016.
You can head to the Talking Board Historical Society's website to learn more about OuijaZilla.
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