The Story Of The ‘Mystifying Oracle’ That Named Itself
The story of how the Ouija board was given the name Ouija (wee-ja) board actually is more amusing than it is mysterious. Many people assume that Ouija is a combination of the French (oui) and German (ja) words for “yes.” But it is not.
According to Ouija historian Robert Murch, the board suggested its own name one day in the early 1890s while it was being used by Elijah Bond, one of the original investors in the company that manufactured it, and members of Bond’s family. When the group asked the board what they should call it, it spelled out, “Ouija.” When they asked what Ouija meant, the board reportedly told them, “Good Luck.”
However, it is interesting to note that several people familiar with that particular spirit-board session later reported in correspondence that one of the participants, Bond’s sister-in-law, Helen Peters, was wearing a locket bearing the likeness of a woman whose name, “Ouija,” was inscribed above her head. Robert Murch thinks that the inscription may have actually read, “Ouida,” since Peters was an ardent admirer of a free-spirited English novelist whose pen name was Ouida, and that Ouija was a misspelling—a mistake made either by spirits, or by one or more of the people, subconsciously or otherwise, who were sitting around that fateful table.