In 1848, two sisters, Kate and Margaret Fox became celebrities by sucessfully contacting the spirit of a dead peddler in Hydersville New York. This sparked a national obsession with spiritualism that spread across seas to Europe. Spiritualism churches sprang up everywhere and people with this special gift were in high demand.
The unique individuals with this special gift invented a variety of ways to communicate with the dead. One of which was Table Tilting. People wishing to communicate would place their fingers lightly on the table. The spirits would communicate by tilting the table and tapping out messages.
Soon, with the invention of the planchette ( a triangle shaped piece of wood with three legs and a pencil in the center.) messages were being spelled out. The participant would place their fingers lightly on the planchette and it would move spelling out messages.
It wasn't very long before spirit communication was being improved upon again. The talking board was soon discovered. The talking board allowed the people to communicate with the spirits without any mediumistic training and didn't require skill or understanding. Soon a patent was filed by interested parties to invent a new planchette similar to the original. The new plachette did not have a pencil in the center but rather a circular clear window.
The patent, which listed Elijah J. Bond as the inventor was filed on May 28, 1890 and was granted February 10,1891. It also held the names of Charles W. Kennard and William H.A. Maupin of Baltimore M.O.The new board was called Ouija, pronounced WEE - JA after the Egyptian word for good luck.
Soon Charles Kennard withdrew from the Ouija business and a former employ of his, William Fuld took over as the Ouija board producer. With the help of his business partner and brother, Isaac Fuld ,William manufactured the Ouija in record numbers. His brother, however was fired after an investigation showed he had took place in accounting misconduct.
As master of his new company, Fuld made his first public relations gimmick by reinventing the history of the Ouija. He claimed that he himself had invented the talking board and that the name was actually taken from the French and German words for YES. He made many unlikely claims but it is not know if he actually took himself seriously.