There are a variety of ways that modern education, particularly among elementary school age groups, can become more interactive and engaging. Methods range from hands-on activities, both in and outside the classroom, to education through exposure to real-life scenarios and other activities that will help broaden the perspectives of young students. However forward-thinking our methods of education are becoming today, it still probably isn’t a good idea to bring a Ouija board into the classroom and teach children how to use it. This is precisely what happened at Zablocki Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when a teacher at the school purportedly used a Ouija board as a “prop” while telling scary stories to her students. The incident was learned of by school officials following a complaint from the parents of one of the children in the classroom at the time, who claimed to be suffering from nightmares after the incident. The teacher, explaining the circumstances to the child’s parent, said that the Ouija board had merely been used to illustrate scary stories in an imaginative way, and that she had not explicitly referred to the Ouija board as being used to communicate with “spirits”, as the devices are believed to be capable of doing. Ouija boards, despite their arcane appearance, were originally created in the 1890s as a sort of parlor game by businessman Elijah Bond, and were subsequently mass produced and popularized by Bond’s employee, William Fuld. Rights to produce and package the boards as games were obtained by Parker Brothers in the 1960s. Despite their relatively recent origins, many historians have drawn comparisons between the boards and more ancient forms of divination and “planchette writing”, referring to the pointing device which is employed with the lettered Ouija board.
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