OUIJA: The Most Dangerous Game by Stoker Hunt

OUIJA: The Most Dangerous Game

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KIRKUS REVIEW

There was room for more poop on ouija--comparatively neglected as psychic subjects go--and Hunt has filled the gap nicely. In a tidy step-by-step fashion reminiscent of the old College Outline Series, he takes us through a short history of the board and a variety of ouija experiences, interviews, and theories. Some ouija users have benefited. (Pearl Curran gained fame in the 1920s by transcribing the purple sagas dictated by authoress-spirit ""Patience Worth""; ""Seth,"" transmitting enlightenment through Jane Roberts, has brought her a cult following.) Others have been damaged or disturbed--children terrified by sinister ouija predictions of death, psychiatric patients whose disturbance dates from their ouija experiments. The board's messages may urge users to suicide--""Come to our side!""--or allow entry to evil tormentors. (""The incubus cases are the most difficult,"" says Ed Warren, demonologist. ""For some reason there's an increase of this kind of case right now."") How all this happens remains in dispute. Rationalists class ouija as an automatism, like automatic writing: your hand moves the planchette, your subconscious mind moves the hand. Fundamentalists and demonologists ascribe the messages to those whose name is Legion; spiritualists generally assume contact is being made with the dead. Other suggested sources include living but absent humans, non-human entities of all sorts, and left- vs. right-brain hemisphere dialogues. All agree the board is dangerous, though for varying reasons. Rationalists worry about unprepared minds opening a subconscious can of worms and demonologists are afraid of possession; while spiritualists are concerned for both human users and the entities who may blunder into contact with them. But since few people are likely to be deterred from pushing the old planchette, Hunt passes on safety tips from the experts (don't let the kids near it, say a prayer, visualize a bright light surrounding you. . .), and gives how-to advice for novices. A compact, unpretentious little survey with a fair bit of unhackneyed material, evenhanded enough to satisfy both believers and scoffers.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1985
Publisher: Harper & Row