I have always been fascinated and terrified by Ouija Boards. On the surface it seems pretty innocent, but the implication of how it is said to work should send every warning flag off in your brain. There are basically three things that could be going on that make these things work. And, while I'm a factualist; for some reason it's one of the few lines I won't cross. I do not nor will I ever use a Ouija Board for communication. There's allot of things I will do, but there are just to many stories and emotions tied to this tool that I will not bring myself to tempt fate. Call it the one thing I'm superstitious about. Not because I think they really work, but because I don't want to find I out that I'm wrong.
So how are the supposed to work. At it's basic level the user(s) sit with the board in their lap or on a table, the users should each make contact with a planchette (pointer) that rests on the board. With this pointer the spirit can spell out words, and answer yes or no questions that are asked by the users. Ideally you should put it in your laps, the mechanics of communicating with spirits is that an entity will use your body as a portal for the communication. By that principal it makes sense that you should make as much contact with the board as possible. The idea is that your body becomes a filament between our world and the other side. We have constantly said that disembodied spirits need energy to manipulate our world. The science behind that is sound. I do not like the idea of offering up my body energy for this. To me it sounds like an invitation for danger. Demonic possession, or any host of horrifying ideas cooked up in Hollywood. When I investigate I urge spirits and whatnot to drain batteries of the tools I have. Not often will I offer myself up as food for a specter. There are many stories that go along with Ouija Board sessions gone wrong especially when using one alone (Google Zozo demon, or progressive entrapment). Even from a non-believer standpoint someone has to realize that not only would it leave you vulnerable to any potential negative energy; but it could cause severe psychological damage. If a Ouija Board does as advertised by believers, it's not just communication. It's opening a door that you may not be able to close. It's an open invite for anything to make itself at home. This approach in my mind would render a person powerless. And if your thinking to yourself how it this different then what I do now? As I said before, I am not inviting something to use my body. And, I'm not forcefully summoning a spirit. I go to it's location where it already resides and ask politely for an interview. I also then ask it to politely not follow me. It just feels a little safer.
So on a scientific level, how could this work? Several, and I mean several... studies have shown that it may not be spirits you are talking to. If giving the board an honest go, it's likely your subconscious you are talking to. Having a medium through which to express itself, you and your friends may just be answering question based on pure intuition. It's no wonder that people using boards would often get the exact answer that they want. One very telling experiment had people use a Ouija Board blind folded after having used it without one for a while. What the subjects didn't know is that after they were blindfolded, the boards were flipped around so they were upside down to the user. Not surprisingly the subject was still able to contact a “spirit” to answer questions, however when spelling out words the planchette would continue to go to the spots the letters should have been on the board rather than the correct location. This evidence suggests that it was the user manipulation the pointer to the places the consciously thought the letters were at, not an intelligent spirit. It was also noted that subjects who had friends as Ouija partners more often got positive and relevant answers to their questions as opposed to strangers as partners. This suggested that the personal knowledge that the partner had of the other played a factor in giving a more favorable answer. With these kinds of results, a Quija Board could be a potentially awesome tool for exploring the subconscious.
Finally the last school of thought. One I really like. Your friends a dick, and he's pushing the planchette. All the frills of science are gone. Just face the fact that your friend is a complete ass-hole. Something you should have been able to figure out before you even purchased a Ouija Board.