Even if you've never used one, I bet you'd recognize a Ouija board right away. Most people quickly dismiss Ouija as a simple party trick, but the board has been around for a long time and has gained a spooky reputation.

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The Ouija board is a trademarked name by Hasbro but it's also become a generic name for any type of talking or spirit board. The boards rose to popularity when spiritualism hit the U.S. and Europe in the mid-19th century.

Spiritualist believe that the spirits of the deceased communicate with the living. Ouija boards supply the spirits with a tool to get their message out.

Baltimore investor Elijah Bond was the first person to file a patent for the modern Ouija board. The cryptic instructions read: "The Ouija is a great mystery, and we do not claim to give exact directions for its management, neither do we claim that at all times and under all circumstances it will work equally well. But we do claim and guarantee that with reasonable patience and judgment it will more than satisfy your greatest expectation."

The name "Ouija" was believed to come from a compound of the French and German words for yes, oui and ja. In 2012, an article from 1919 was found that revealed the name came from the board itself. The board was asked for a name and it spelled out O-U-I-J-A.

Medium Emily Grant Hutchings transcribed and published a novel in 1917 supposedly written by Mark Twain's ghost. "Jap Herron: A Novel Written From the Ouija Board" was completely generated from a talking board.

Parker Brothers acquired the Ouija board from the Fuld Company in 1966 and the very next year sold two million units, more than Monopoly. It was advertised as a harmless party game and at this point, not many people knew of it's spiritualist connection.

Read more at Mother Nature Network.