The Guy Who Patented the Ouija Board Has a Oujia Board Gravestone

Illustration for article titled The Guy Who Patented the Ouija Board Has a Oujia Board Gravestone

If you're really serious about communicating with the dead, one would guess you'd get the best reception with a Ouija board that's conveniently installed in a cemetery. This is the headstone of Elijah Bond, who patented the Ouija board, the beloved game that's entertained and terrified people for over a century. Can you visit this Ouija grave to see it for yourself? Y-E-S.

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Although Ouija was played as a parlor game throughout the 1800's, it was often with homemade boards and planchettes. Bond patented an official Ouija board in 1891, and launched a company to produce the boards in the U.S. However, when his employee William Fuld eventually took over production, Fuld's name became synonymous with the creation of the game instead. In 1966 he sold the company to Parker Brothers. (Sidenote here: Did you know where the name "ouija" came from? Although some tried to perpetuate the myth that it's an ancient Egyptian word for "good luck," it's actually a combination of "yes" in French and German: "oui" + "ja.")

Illustration for article titled The Guy Who Patented the Ouija Board Has a Oujia Board Gravestone
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Although Bond's patent is widely considered to be the idea that today's board is based on, Bond himself was not formally recognized in Ouija history. After trying to market another "talking board," he had a stroke and was buried in an unmarked grave. So Ouija expert Robert Murch worked with Bond's family to install a proper gravestone which would recognize his achievements. In 2007, he raised the money to design and fabricate a headstone honoring Bond's accomplishments. Bond's Ouijia-style grave can be found at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore (Roadtrippers has the exact location, including the plot number).

Illustration for article titled The Guy Who Patented the Ouija Board Has a Oujia Board Gravestone

Can you actually use this gravestone Ouija board? Well, I'm not really sure how it would work since you need to be able to move a planchette while two people are holding it, and that might not be easy on vertical, granite surface. But I'm sure as heck that hasn't stopped people from trying... especially on a night like tonight. [Atlas Obscura]

Photos by marcosj.1993 via Roadtrippers

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DISCUSSION

beeftinkle
Ilya Soloviev

Crazy how many people believe that Ouija boards actually work and were not made up just to scare young kids. If those boards actually let you communicate with the dead then they would probably not be sold at Toys R Us