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13 Spooky Ouija Board Stories That Will Give You Chills

Updated: Feb. 01, 2024

Get ready to get freaked out by these true tales.

Ouija board and planchette
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Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Any believer in ghosts and the supernatural will tell you their golden rule: Don’t play with Ouija boards. Opening up a Ouija board, they say, is like opening up a portal to the other side. Sure, it could connect you with a deceased grandparent, but more likely than not, it’s bound to invite an unwanted spirit into your midst. And once that connection is open, it may be very difficult to close, no matter how much you’d like that pointer to land on “goodbye.”

That’s one theory, anyway. The more scientific explanation for how a Ouija board really works and the resulting creepy Ouija board stories is a psychological concept called the ideomotor effect. This is a studied phenomenon in which your body is said to move according to your subconscious will. So, yes, while your big sister may be intentionally messing with you, there is also the possibility that she is actually guiding the tear-shaped planchette without even realizing it.

Whichever notion you subscribe to, everyone loves freaky Ouija board stories when it’s time for Halloween or a good, old-fashioned slumber party. That’s why Reader’s Digest asked people from all over the country to share their own mysterious experiences with the spooky board game. Judge for yourself whether they are childish pranks or sinister seances. Then check out these scary Halloween stories that really happened.

Ouija board collaged with swirl motif and outreached hand
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Justin played with a Ouija board one day with several of his friends. They asked questions, but instead of the planchette moving to certain letters, it began to move in a strange pattern. “It went to all four corners of the board and made an X,” the 32-year-old New Jersey resident tells Reader’s Digest. “Then it just went in circles.” The next time he used the board, it was with a different friend at his house. Again, the planchette moved in the same strange pattern. “I felt like it was some kind of hex,” he continues. Later that night when he was sleeping, he felt a forceful hand grab his arm and wake him up. Everyone else in the house was sound asleep. Looking for a less freaky foray into the supernatural? Try these witch movies that will put a spell on you.

Ouija board letters collaged with planchette, laptop and shovel
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A ghastly glitch

Abby was in her room one night after playing with a Ouija board earlier that day. As she was getting ready for bed, her computer screen changed from black to blue—it turned on by itself. She turned the computer off. Again, the computer clicked itself back to life. Anxious, Abby unplugged the computer completely—and then the unpowered computer started back up again. She buried the Ouija board in her backyard that same night. If you don’t particularly want a Ouija board story of your own, these Halloween party games will get you in the spooky spirit…without the actual spirits.

Ouija board yes and no options collaged with hand and New Jersey cutout
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Solo play

Most people play with a Ouija board in groups, or at least with one other person. But Ossiana wanted to try to use it on her own. She put her hands on the pointer and asked questions, but nothing happened. She took her hands off of the pointer and was about to put the game away when the planchette began to move around on its own. “I’ll never try that again,” says the 30-year-old from New Jersey.

Planchette collaged with open book, antique mirror and lightbulb
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The open circle

When Vince, now 30, was a child, one of his friends goaded him into playing with a Ouija board in his basement. Young Vince didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, so he went along with it. Once they started to play, however, the lights began to flicker, the air around them grew cold, and a spirit began to communicate with them through the board. The spirit spelled out a Russian name and claimed he had been murdered.

“We took a break to make some pizza rolls,” Vince says, “but we forgot to close the circle when we were done.” (If you’re new to Ouija board stories, that’s a giant no-no!) “After returning to the basement, the energy was much heavier, and books and things were sprawled out on the floor.” And yet, the board remained perfectly still in the center of the room, just how they had left it. “Upon looking at a mirror that we had nearby, the eye of the Ouija board was moving sporadically in its reflection.”

Ouija board letters collaged with moving box, lit match and pizza box
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A haunted housewarming

“The first time I used a Ouija board, I was about six or seven, and I was with my mom and older sister, who was about 15 at the time,” Paige, now 24, tells Reader’s Digest. The family had just moved to a new house, much bigger and much older than the one they lived in previously. That night, Paige, her mother, and her sister were eating pizza on the living room floor since they didn’t have all of their furniture set up yet, and they put on a fire to ease the chill of the fall air. After dinner, her sister pushed her mom to let them play with their old Ouija board.

“As we were using it,” Paige recounts, “a box in the living room that had some books in it literally flew across the room.” Shortly after that, the fire inexplicably went out, and their mother was so shaken that she took the girls to their grandmother’s house to spend the night. If this story doesn’t convince you to skip the Ouija board and opt for one of these Halloween movies for kids instead, we don’t know what will!

Ouija board numbers collaged with "yes" and "no" options and school lockers
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Summer camp scare

Ouija board stories don’t necessarily have to involve the professionally packaged toy. As a child, Liam was at summer camp one year when he and some other boys drew their own Ouija board on a large sheet of paper. “As soon as we started using it,” he says, “we heard knocking coming from inside one of the lockers.” Yikes! Side note: As any scary movie aficionado knows, never check out those sorts of suspicious noises! If you need a refresher on that, watch a few of these Halloween movies on Hulu.

Ouija letters collaged with crashed car and lightest
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There are times in all of our lives when we question if something is really a coincidence or if it is, in fact, much more meaningful. When Bekki used a Ouija board during her first semester in college, she had one of those experiences. “A few minutes in, we lost power,” she says. “Some car hit a pole on our street.” The timing was strange, she says, to say the least.

Ouija board collaged with state of Ohio and an antique portrait
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Deadbeat dad

Owen started playing with Ouija boards when he was a child, and he has continued to experience paranormal phenomena ever since. “My grandfather on my dad’s side died before I was born,” says the 24-year-old Ohio native. “He and my dad were estranged, so my dad never spoke of him or had pictures of him around.” One day, Owen began seeing and talking to a person he called Michael. Unbeknownst to him, Michael was his grandfather’s name. “Finally, [my parents] sat me down, showed me a picture of a man that I had never seen, and asked me if I knew who it was. I told them it was Michael and that he was there with us right then.” Looking for a close encounter of your own, sans the Ouija board? These are the most haunted places in America, according to paranormal experts.

Ouija board and candle collage
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Flame thrower

Be warned: Some Ouija board stories can be violent. When Anna was in high school, she had a sleepover with a bunch of her friends. One of them, Briana, wanted to use the Ouija board to contact her grandfather, who had recently passed away. The friends set up the board, turned off the lights, and lit a candle. They called upon the spirit of the grandfather, but when they did, the candle suddenly threw itself directly at Anna. She felt it was probably not the spirit they had called for.

Ouija letters collaged with x-ray chest scan and doll
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Blast from the past

“I saw a full-bodied apparition,” Glenn, a 29-year-old from Pennsylvania, says of his experience with a Ouija board. The apparition he saw was that of a young girl, wearing what looked like commoner’s clothing from an antiquated era. He told the story to his neighbors, who happened to be historians, and they told him that a little girl just like the one he described used to live in his house. “The apparition ended up being a 10-year-old girl named Annalise, who’d died of tuberculosis sometime in the late 1800s.” If you’re a history buff, check out the spookiest urban legends from each of the 50 states.

Planchette in collage with footsteps and a dirty coffee mug
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Delayed reaction

One evening when she was in high school, Sherry decided to use a Ouija board with her friends. Nothing seemed to happen, so they all just gave up. What they would discover later was that the Ouija board actually did work. “Weird stuff happened in the house ever since that night, and to this day, it hasn’t stopped,” says the 29-year-old Iowa resident. “We’ve had glasses move right across the table by themselves. I saw a spoon in a cup of coffee aggressively stir in the cup without anyone being near it. The sound of footsteps [leading from] upstairs down into the living room entrance never stopped.” Paranormal experts say that these are some of the classic signs of a haunted house.

Ouija board yes and no options in collage with rosary and casket
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Dorm hall morgue

When Tommy was a freshman in college, he and his dorm mates took out a Ouija board and had a threatening encounter with some very dark spirits. “The dorm hall used to be a morgue,” says the 25-year-old New Yorker. It was the perfect setting for a goof with friends, he thought, but they failed to realize how serious it could get. The planchette began to move on the board, and the spirit (or spirits) communicated to them that 83 demons would come for them. “The next thing you know, the dorm is haunted, and the girls can’t sleep because stuff was turning on and off and messing with them. So they had a priest come in to bless the room. It was good afterward.” He adds, “That’s why I don’t mess with Ouija boards anymore.”

Ouija board and planchette with doll head
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When heads roll

Randy learned what a Ouija board was the hard way when two of his family members introduced him to one when they were all children. “My brother and cousin were older than us,” says the 36-year-old Michigan resident. “This particular time, they had come home with a Ouija board. We agreed to play, and to turn off the lights and light a candle.” Randy sat down with his favorite doll, Kelly, at his side, nervously waiting in the dark. “We started playing and asking questions,” he says, “and before we knew it, the planchette started moving around in a pointed direction.”

It traveled the board, dragging itself to the letter K. It then made its way to E and L. For a moment it paused, then quickly circled right back around for another L, before finally landing on Y. “Next thing we knew, there was a loud bang against the radiator, and everyone started screaming,” Randy recounts. “We turned on the lights, and by the radiator was the severed head of my favorite doll.” Creeped out yet? We are…which is why we’re switching gears and reading these hilarious Halloween memes next.