13 Essential Ouija Board Rules To Keep You Safe As You Play

If you are going to contact the dead, you might as well do it right.

Last updated on Feb 24, 2023

ouija board Tadeush89, Evgenii Leontev / Getty Images, angychan0982 via Canva

Whether you're a bored teenager looking for a scary game to play, a curious occultist or a casual diviner trying to contact the dead, neglecting to follow Ouija board rules can leave you in a host of trouble. You are entering the spirit world, after all.

As popular movies like "Ouija" have shown, the board game uses people’s hands on a small device to send a message to and from beyond. However, it comes from very real-world origins and has its own applicable purposes in daily life.


It is not all Satanism and gore. People often use ouija boards and divination as a way to find closure and comfort.

Even in its origins, Ouija was a way people dealt with times of rapid and sudden change. Ouija boards, also known as spirit boards, arose in tandem with the actual spiritualist movement in the second half of the 19th century.

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In the wake of the Civil War, the foundation of America and life itself changed. Many people sought spiritual answers rather than religious ones; through seances or the lecture circuit, people attempted to talk to the dead.

Talking boards became one of the ways people could explore spirituality and easily bring this movement into their homes.

The meaning of Ouija itself changed over time, but the board’s name itself comes from a popular myth: a medium once asked what the board wanted to be called and it spelled out “Ouija.” When asked what it meant, the board simply spelled: “Good luck.”

The board holds great power, so it is important to wield it responsibly.


13 Important Ouija Board Rules to Follow

1. Don’t joke around.

While you generally shouldn’t get your board advice from TV and movies, there is a reason why every horror movie starts with dumb teenagers and then ends with dumb teenagers in various states of harm.

Many people, because of the stigma against spirituality, tend not to take occult practices like the Ouija board seriously. While you might not necessarily meet the grisly, sensationalized ends of your horror movie counterparts, it is still just good to practice utmost respect for the dead.

Never taunt or goad a spirit into communicating with you. So be sober, don’t laugh, and focus. You are dealing with forces many do not fully understand! Remain cognizant of the potential consequences.

2. Be intentional.

Assign only one person to speak and have questions already in mind.


While the board might be a fun thing to whip out in the middle of a sleepover with all 15 of your closest friends, the Ouija board’s official, written rules are that you should not exceed more than two players.

Ouija boards are about intention. So you should have only one person ask the questions. If you want to contribute to asking questions, instead of shouting them out in the middle of the session, brainstorm the questions together as a group before you assign your person.

The Ouija board is about connection, and connection takes clear and precise communication. Ensure you have someone who is collected enough to handle this responsibility, and you all can safely proceed together.

3. If you're playing alone, be very clear about where your headspace is at.

It is crucial to be in a good headspace. If you are sick, injured, depressed, or otherwise impaired, you are especially vulnerable.


Whether or not you believe in the spirit realm, there is no denying the deep psychological hold the dead, and our relationships with it, have over the human mind.

If you are playing alone, you become especially vulnerable to the board’s power. The reason why the board’s rules usually ask for a second person is that the second person not only shares the burden of the board but also helps ground you to reality.

In times of grief, the board can be a great comfort. It can give you the closure you never even imagine you needed. But you should only attempt to speak with the dead if you are in a place to handle your sadness or negative energy.

If grief is overwhelming everything, especially your rationality, you might not be able to handle what is on the other side. So, it is recommended never to play alone.


No matter who is joining the session or is present during it, everyone must be in a good place in their lives. If even one inkling of negative energy enters a participant's mind, it can attract evil or malicious spirits who feed off it. Keep the vibes positive to keep everyone safe.

4. If the planchet starts to count down or go through all the letters, stop it immediately.

It should already be a red flag when the Ouija boards start moving wildly out of your control, but when it starts rapidly counting down or quickly moving through all the letters, this means one of two things: 1) the spirit (while not necessarily malicious) can escape, or 2) you have contacted a demon or an evil spirit.

Other signs are if the planchette makes a figure 8 or infinity sign, and if they identify as "Zozo."

Either way, you want to fully have the reins on the entire session, so to have the planchet wildly bounce around is already very disorienting. It is also not good practice to just have a spirit loose in your house, so the second this starts, quickly and loudly say goodbye.


Say goodbye, and only once you have stated you want to end the session, take the planchet off the board. If you try to wrestle with the planchet before you close the session, this might aggravate the spirit even more and spin things further out of your control.

5. Don't believe everything being said.

Spirits are mischievous entities and may not be up to telling you the truth. Some are even malicious.

Spirits can also be very fickle and not want to talk because they dislike the energy in the room or are "haunted" by their tragic passing.

Just because they answered your question doesn't mean they did so truthfully.

In order to help excavate the truth from a spirit, be sure you are honest in your questions and motives. This will potentially lead the spirit into trusting you and giving you accurate answers.


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6. Never use a Ouija board in your home.

Never use a spirit board in your house. You should find a neutral area that is brimming with positive energy. The ideal place should be dark and quiet to not scare the spirits and make them feel comfortable.

It can be very difficult to identify what kind of spirit you have connected with, and if you are in your home it may put those who live there in danger.

If by chance you end up speaking with a malicious entity, it can easily attach its dark energy to the home. Malicious spirits like to anchor themselves in the living world to specific locations and enjoy fixating on the homes of people.


Pro tip: Don't use the board in a graveyard. That is just asking for trouble, and it won't be very effective. Graveyards hold host to hundreds of spirits and it will be hard to have a proper conversation with one because they will all want to butt in.

7. Write things down.

Taking notes is a good rule to follow. This way, you can truly put your detective skills to the test to figure out what kind of spirit you are talking with. These notes also help you catch details of the encounter you may have missed.

Write down the letters the spirit points out to create their answers. It is best to appoint one person to be the note-taker before beginning any session. This is another reason why having a second person present is recommended.

8. Have different conductors ready.

Conductors are items that ghosts like to use to communicate rather than just the board. Just like we do, spirits have preferences in how they wish to communicate.


Some common conductors include candles, scents, and liquids.

9. Never burn a Ouija board.

Many become scared of the board, especially if they have interacted with a malicious spirit. However, if you want to "destroy" the board, you really shouldn't.

Whatever you do, don't burn the board. This can trap a spirit in the location of the session or where you burn it, which can make the spirit angry.

The best thing you can do is store the board away from any users. The planchette should also be stowed away but in an entirely different location.

10. Always, always, always say goodbye.

This is the last thing you should say when you wish to end a session.


It is probably one of the most important rules of using a Ouija board. Saying "goodbye" is a quick way to politely tell the spirits that you are leaving now and that they too must go.

If you don't say goodbye, the spirits can take offense and may linger in their anger, which can be dangerous.

11. Sage the room when done.

Saying goodbye will normally have the spirits whisked away, but there may be a few stronger ones that decide to stick around.

Burning sage is a way to cleanse the space of any of those lingering spirits. It is also just good practice to cleanse the room when you deal with spirits.

12. Don't leave the planchette on the board.

In general, it is important to end the session very cleanly. Say goodbye once you leave; don’t leave the channel open.


Leaving the planchet on top of the board is like leaving an open portal, a blank check for a world you do not understand to come and go as you please.

The planchet is your agency in Ouija, so leaving it unattended means you hand this tool of your world straight to undeterminable forces. Instead, say goodbye, and cleanly put the planchet off to the side.

Even better, put it somewhere where it can be separated from the board itself. That way, the planchet cannot move on its own when you leave, and you always know that when you’ve ended a session, your connection with the spirits has cleanly stopped.

13. Don't ask when you will die.

One reason is that it is not something you should know. It can even drive people insane.


Another reason is that it is an invitation for spirits to come up with horrific fates for you. It is like playing mind games with spirits. So, avoid it at all costs.

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Jessica Xing is a writer, former YourTango intern, and Enterprise Tech Reporter for INSIDER. She has had bylines featured in Business Insider, Vox, Washington Square News, Yahoo Finance, and others.