Camera-Based Tracking System for Ouija

Eckhard Kruse

Abstract


The Ouija board has a history of more than a century as a widely-used tool for allegedly communicating with non-physical beings. For mainstream science, it is just another example of the ideomotor effect, which states that expectations and suggestions result in unconscious muscular motions. Even though Ouija experiments could be done quite easily, research on it is scarce, mostly based on artificial settings and tasks, without taking a deeper look or seriously scrutinizing what ``ideomotor'' actually means. In this article, the Ouija phenomenon is studied in a typical setting of a regular Ouija circle. New methods for collecting and analyzing data are proposed, including camera-based monitoring of the planchette motions and linguistic analysis of the messages. The results confirm that the planchette is moved by muscular force of the sitters as claimed by the ideomotor effect, but they also provide data that seriously challenges the conventional explanation, e.g. in the areas of planchette speed, sitter interaction and richness and complexity of messages.

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