Last Thursday Robert Murch, in an interview with Binnall of America, schooled listeners on Ouija Boards.
CC: capn madd matt; Flickr
Murch notes how Ouija boards, and their knock-offs, have captured the imagination of Americans for over 100 years. Begining with the late 1890s’ Egyptian style, Ouija boards have changed their symbols and appearances in accordance to the time periods’ interests: in the 1940′s they were filled with Swamis, the 1960′s introduced horoscope designs, and as Binnall joked, the modern versions are covered with Barbies.
During the interview, Binnall inquired as to how Murch, currently the owner of over 300 Ouija boards, became infatuated with them in the first place.
Murch claimed the birth of his obsession occurred during his college years. Murch’s friends were all getting bids and rushing, but Burch did not join a frat in fear of not graduating. Yet he did help out his friends for certain pledging tasks, such as a scavenger hunt, on which, of course, was an Ouija board. By the time he had graduated he had 10 different versions of Ouija boards and so began the collection.
Murch also explains how these boards have continued to sell, generation after generation:
In Victorian times a man and a women were not to be left alone, well all of a sudden you have this game that allows you to be in candle light, you’re sitting together, your knees are touching, you hands are touching—I mean this is the total date game!
This Norman Rockwell painting is the perfect critique on the subtle sexuality of the game, specifically the man staring at the girl’s chest, as Murch points out.
The game now, Murch observes, has taken on a superstitious role, in that people consider it an avenue to demonic possession. People who research paranormal activity use technology, such as K2 meters, in order to “stay safe” from any negative encounters. Murch’s response to this:
So a spirit can make your K2 meter blink…but it can’t reach out and smack you—like who made that rule?
Murch continues to defend Ouija boards and the authentic genuine thrill they give users, as opposed to using technology:
[Technology] makes you feel like you’re not part of it, you’re kinda an audience to it. When you use the Ouija board you feel it move, and there isn’t a creepier, more bizarre feeling.
Considering Murch’s involvement with major names in the paranormal business, Paranormal State for example, Ouija boards don’t seem to be going away any time soon.
What separates Murch from other Ouija board enthusiast is his role in the Fuld family. William Fuld, the original major producer of Ouija boards, worked by himself, until he brought in his brother: Isaac Fuld. The two ended up in court fighting for Ouija boards’ production rights; Isaac eventually lost and was sentenced to making knock-offs that he named Oriole boards, being that he was based in Baltimore.
The argument between brothers had been passed down for years until Murch, by chance, came into contact with both sides of the torn family. He ended up sharing the contact information of one side to the other which lead to a peaceful resolution of the almost 100 year old argument, as well as Burch being invited to the first Fuld family reunion in 96 years.
The interview between Murch and Binnall continues, including how Ouija boards got their name, how Murch was led by a spirit to the spirit’s family and the tombstone that became of it, as well as callers giving their 2 cents. And all of it, along with other interesting and wild interviews, can be found at http://binnallofamerica.com/