The art of communicating with spirits has gone through many iterations throughout the centuries. From practiced mediums, prophets, and otherwise, those marked by gods as serving a special role to speak with the dead, to the unintentional summoning, ghosts haunting homes they long since died in.
Then there's one product that claims anyone can speak to the dead from the comfort of their own home without and prior practice or gifted talents. Be careful, though, as if you're not careful, some great evil could befall you.
How familiar are you with Ouija boards? The mysterious board game that's believed to open a portal of sorts and allow spirits to communicate with us via their movement of a planchette in order to spell out answers to questions.
The first advertisements for the product began appearing in 1891, meaning they have quite a history behind them. The original ads described the board as a link "between the known and unknown, the material and immaterial," meaning its life as a means to commune with spirits was always somewhat the intention.
As with anything that claims it's capable of reaching through the veil and convening with beings on the other side, many were quick to dismiss Ouija boards as a tool for evil, saying if one wasn't careful, they could invite demons into this realm by using it.
Even today, opinions remain divided on the Ouija board. Some people still believe it's a corrupt tool that can bring no good, some think it's harmless fun with no long-term effect, and others think it's completely bunk and serves no function at all.
Still, horror stories involving Ouija boards still circulate, like what happened to a group of girls earlier this month.
A Strange Crisis
A total of 28 girls were rushed to the hospital after reportedly playing with an Ouija board at school.
They were attending Galeras Educational Institution in Pasto, Columbia.
Very little has been released about what they were actually diagnosed with after staying in the hospital, but Hugo Torres, the head of the institution, said, "There were 28 possible cases of anxiety in school students." School directors and teachers accompanied the group of students to the hospital out of concern.
Jumping To Conclusions
Despite the school's claims that it was a widespread anxiety attack that had the girls hospitalized—with some having fainted entirely—their parents didn't believe it. In fact, they were the first to point fingers at the "in-school use of Ouija boards," though it's unclear where this accusation came from.
Torres continued to refute those claims, saying, "Given the reported cases, a series of comments were unleashed on the community that, rather than helping to resolve the situation, led to confusion and an adverse environment for our work. For this reason, INEGA is allowed to report that the students were referred to the local municipal hospital according to protocols in place."
"Directors and teachers accompanied the students during the evaluation process. The respective parents and/or guardians were informed of the situation at the time."
The school, along with everyone else, eagerly awaits details regarding the admitted students. "The school is waiting for the medical diagnoses to provide further reliable information. The educational institute also respectfully asks citizens to refrain from making early judgments and diagnoses of their own."
Though, Torres did feel the need to point out that the first two girls who were admitted had other underlying health problems.
Will Not Be Swayed
No matter how hard Torres or the school pushes back, parents have been sticking by their beliefs.
As one mother complained, "I work here in a hospital kiosk and every day I see three or four children arrive after fainting. Parents, you have to move, investigate what's happening at school, because our children cannot continue in this situation. Our children always have a good breakfast and it cannot be said that what’s happening is due to lack of food."
Not The First
The school has yet to release further details, nor has the police announced a formal investigation of any sort.
This isn't the only time something like this has happened, though.
In November of 2022, another group of teenagers in Colombia also reportedly experience mass bouts of fainting after using an Ouija board. Of the 11 students involved, five had to be sent to the hospital. It also happened while on school grounds, this time the Agricultural Technical Institute in Hato.
In that other incident, side effects were far more extreme. They were all initially found passed out in a hallway, with the teachers who found them saying they were suffering from "violent vomiting, abdominal pain, and muscle spasms."
The mayor of Hato even spoke about what happened, saying, "The children were passed out, at the time they were found, they were short of breath and thick drool was coming out of their mouths."
He, too, blamed something else for what happened, claiming they drank or ate something poor that upset their stomachs. "Others say that they consumed water from a container, others that they came from a pool and had been given something to eat."
Both of these cases, for those who believe in the spiritual power of Ouija boards, definitely sound ominous to say the least. If it's true that these students befell medical crises while using one, then it would line up with other age-old stories of maladies brought upon by interactions with the spiritual world.
A Swift Recovery
Even if you don't believe in the potential evils of Ouija board use, it certainly is a puzzling case. That's a very large group of girls to all share a severe anxious spell, one so bad they all had to be hospitalized. Is there something else that could have caused it?
Above all else, it's important to remember the victims in all of this and hope for their safety. No matter what happened, spiritual involvement or not, this is an extremely scary event for a young girl to go through, let alone 28 of them. Here's hoping they all recovered alright and are back to their usual school activities, with this whole situation well behind them now.
If you're of the belief that Ouija boards are not something to play around with, check out this article: The Very Real Dangers Of The Ouija Board That Show It's Not A Game.