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Explanation

Scientific explanation

Users subconsciously direct the path of the triangle to produce a word that is in that person’s subconscious thought process. This subconscious behavior is known as ideomotor action, a term coined by William Carpenter in 1882. It is also known as automatism. Some people may be convinced the “powers” of the ouija board are real because they are unaware that they are in fact moving the piece and therefore assume that the piece must be moving due to some other “spiritual force”. The subconscious thought process may produce an answer that is different from what the user expected in their conscious thought process—thus perpetuating the idea that the board has “mystical powers”.

Spiritualist explanation

Spiritualists who believe Ouija boards can be used to make actual contact with the spirit world feel that the act of hindering a medium’s ability to use his or her own eyes while the board is in use effectively places too great of a handicap on the whole exercise. This argument stems from the belief that contacted spirits actually utilize the eyes of the medium during a Ouija session in order to point to the letters and words needed to form a message. Most believers of this notion believe that the board has no intrinsic power in and of itself, but rather, is used simply as a tool to aid a medium while in communication with the spirit world.

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