Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Ideomotor Response or Spawn of Satan?

There was a recent article  in the Daily Mail of three Americans hospitalized for possession after using a Ouija board in San Juan Tlacotenco in SW Mexico.

The Spiritualist theory is that you're talking to the dead, Evangelicals may tell you you're talking to Satan, indeed most Christian religious denominations will answer with:

"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord" (Dt 18:10–12, NIV)
Scientists may tell you it's a subconscious ideomotor response, although scientific experiments have yielded some interesting results.  In one study participants asked to simply answer a series of questions answered correctly about 50% of the time, with a Ouija board their success rate climbed to 65%.   The scientific explanation is that we know the answers, but self-doubt or other emotions may cause us to answer incorrectly, something along the lines of the advice given to test takers to always go with the first answer that pops into mind.

Additionally, there are many scary stories floating about regarding Ouiji boards.  Initially there wasn't much negative ascribed to Ouija boards until the movie the Exorcist came out, and from there the scary stories just blossomed.

I've never put much stock in them, subscribing to the ideomotor response theory, although I have some faint memories of someone from my young teen years having one, perhaps an aunt.

What do you think?

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