Just released on October 21, 2016, is the prequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil. The trailer (available on the Internet) shows several horrific scenes of people being attacked and bad things happening. All the while the viewer hears a recording of Herman’s Hermits singing, “Something tells me I’m into something good.” How’s that for irony? In the movie a mother dupes clients by giving “readings” through the use of a Ouija board. It’s all a scam, but she uses her techniques to “help” people. Inevitably something goes haywire, and an evil spirit is unleashed who manages to kill almost everyone but the cameraman.

Usually, movies like this generate a surge of interest, especially among young people, to ask questions about, if not actually try out, the use of one of these mystical little products. Linda Rodriguez McRobbie’s article on Smithsonian.com explains that the origin of the practice originated with the popularity of Spiritualism and the Fox sisters, who in 1848 conducted séances and received answers to questions through rappings on the wall. Yes, it was a scam, but people were enthralled by the possibilities of the dead communicating with the living.

With short lifespans and many young people dying early, such attempts became popular. Even Mary Todd Lincoln conducted séances in the White House after her 11-year-old son died in 1862. Many others tried to contact their loved ones who died in the Civil War. By 1886, the Ouija board had come into existence. It was patented and distributed as a novelty item in early 1891. It consisted of the “talking” board, which has letters, numbers, and a planchette-like device to point to them. The word, Ouija is a combination of the French and German words for “yes.”

These devices surface from time to time in the movies, such as Thirteen Ghosts (1960), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Amityville 3-D (1983), Awakenings (1990), What Lies Beneath (2000), and a host of others, including Ouija (2014). According to the October 16, 2016 Parade Magazine: “Scientific studies have shown that the planchette [the heart-shaped piece of wood or plastic] is actually guided by unconscious muscular exertions of the players, not by ‘spirits.’” Isn’t that what most people instinctively knew all along? It is probably better if Christians ignore the nonsense altogether—especially for séance purposes, since God does not allow communication with the dead (Luke 16:19-25). Unlike the song cited earlier; nobody gets into something good when fooling around with a Ouija board.