Scientists and psychologists have demonstrated that many phenomena attributed to spiritual or paranormal forces, or mysterious “energies,” are actually due to ideomotor action. In an earlier article about Ouija Boards, we banished the idea that spirits were controlling the planchette on the board and instead suggested that the ideomotor effect was at play.

Humans might not be aware of it, but subtle suggestions can be made to our minds by others – by observation other mediums – and these suggestions can influence our mind and affect motor behavior (ie: moving the planchette on a Ouija Board).  So, when people play the Ouija board, they know in advance of what it’s supposed to do,  they (often) expect it to give some sort of results, and unconsciously, they guide the pointer so that it gives “answers”.

Still think it’s otherworldly spirits?

There’s a very easy way to test this. All you have to do is blindfold the players. If they are truly being guided by spirits, then the answers should clearly be revealed on the board. If they are not guided by spirits, then we’d expect to see gibberish as answers, since the players wouldn’t be able to use their sight to guide the planchette.

National Geographic devised such a test. Here’s the results:

Found on Real Clear Science


  1. Brilliant! A elegantly simple experiment that should put this nonsense to bed for good. It won’t of course, Archaeopteryx never quieted the creationist crowd, but at least it will raise the gullibility meter a large number of points for the remaining believers. Maybe embarrassment will do what reason couldn’t.

  2. Unless .. the board works by a spirit directly controlling the participants. If they are blindfolded, the spirit will be unable to see and manipulate the board through them.

    This is also consistent with reports of frequent board users being eventually possessed by the spirit they are communicating with.

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