Denver woman accredited for the name “Ouija Board”

By Elizabeth Weiler on October 27, 2023
circa 1950: A medium using a ouija board and glass to communicate with spirits. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

Denver, CO — First manufactured in the United States, what was once a “talking board” was named a “Ouija Board” by none other than a Denver native. 

What now has a scary or haunted connotation, was once used as a primary tool during the Civil War Era. Those who lost someone in the war and were looking to communicate with them used these “talking boards” provided by a spiritual medium.

A spiritual medium is believed to mediate or deliver messages from spirits, or loved ones who have passed one. One medium in particular, Helen Peters Nosworthy helped commercialize these boards and coined the name “Ouija Board”. 

As the story is told, Nosworthy allegedly asked the talking board what it wished to be called and it spelled “O-U-I-J-A”. Asking what that meant, the board then spelled out “G-O-O-D-L-U-C-K”. After being denied twice a patent, the “Ouija Board” would spell its name in front of a chief patent officer.

Nosworthy later died in 1940, but her grave can be found at Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery. 




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