If you ever went to a sleepover as a kid, chances are you played Ouija at least once. We all remember how spooky it felt to try and sit quietly, while everyone carefully placed their fingers on the planchette.
That little pointer was our gateway into the spirit world, getting the answers we needed about crushes, the future, and what it's like to be a ghost. 👻
But how does it actually work? We can't actually be talking to ghosts, can we? If everyone says they aren't moving the planchette, and it's moving, something must be responsible, right?
Well, if you're one of the people out there who feels truly connected with the spiritual world, you may not be happy to hear that scientists have actually looked into the scientific explanation of why the planchette moves.
As it turns out, even if you fully believe you are not moving it, and you have no desire to move it yourself, your subconscious is not going to let that happen.
The effect is known as the ideomotor effect, and at its most basic level, it involves your body talking to itself without notifying your conscious mind.
It's kind of crazy to think about, but just like your body knows to breathe, blink, and pump blood without you having to actively think about it, your body also can move your limbs without you actively deciding to.
What happens when you are using an Ouija board is that your brain is actively thinking about the questions you are asking the "spirits." That's the only part that you will usually acknowledge, but behind the scenes, your brain is signaling your body to move.
It's actually similar to the hypnic jerks you experience as you fall asleep, where your muscles move or contract suddenly while you enter into the different phases of sleep, but the main difference is that the movements are more subtle and controlled.
Your brain answers these questions you are asking the spirits by unconsciously telling your muscles to move to the points of the board that correspond to the answer it wants to give. All of this is happening without your conscious mind knowing, and if there are multiple people involved, it could be a combination of many people's reactions.
One way scientists have proved this is by testing participants by blindfolding them, which led to almost incoherent answers. The spelling of words was no longer as clear as it had been when the participants could see the board, suggesting that their own minds were spelling out the words.
Interestingly enough, it's actually thought of a good way to get in touch with your own subconscious. A lot of us have difficultly realizing what we really want, but if you believe that you have let go and allowed the spirits to choose, you are actually giving your subconscious more control.
This could open up a world of interesting thoughts you didn't know you were having if you're actually able to release control, as a lot of people struggle with matching their unconscious desires with their actions.
So while you may not actually be communicating with ghosts, you may be discovering the true inner desires of your mind, which honestly, may be more useful to you.