Tonight was George Noory's infamous Coast to Coast Ouija Board experiment. It went down more or less exactly like I expected. George opted out at the last minute in a deluge of negative feedback and recriminations from one side, and applause from the other. The feedback was almost evenly split.
I respected the ultimate decision. I was against the idea from the start. My only gripe is with the way it was drawn out over a period of weeks. Noory is too shrewd and experienced a talk show host not to know the impact on the audience of drawing out the decision for that long, and the controversy can only be good for ratings. I can understand why some members of the audience expressed anger and disappointment at his decision. I can understand they might feel misled. But Noory sounded sincere to me. I'll take it just as I heard it. I do think he struggled with this, right up to the end, and it probably wasn't easy for him to walk away from it. I found his personal story of a near-death experience compelling and interesting.
My beef with the folks who are angry at him is that they seem to have no empathy for his struggle over the moral decision to expose potentially millions of people to spiritual and psychic forces they might not be ready to deal with. That's my beef with the makers of the Ouija board itself. The argument was made that we all have personal responsibility, and on one level this is absolutely true. But on the other hand, you don't give a handgun to a child and tell them to go out and play. Many of the listeners of Coast simply aren't ready to deal with exposure to psychic forces of this kind. They simply have no idea what they are opening themselves up to.
I'll take this a step or two beyond the Ouija board ... one theme in my own thinking, since I wrote Living With Your Psychic Gifts, is the idea that far too many people approach psychic experiences as "dabblers", and that's the core of the problems I end up seeing for large numbers of my readers. They started playing with something as a lark or a toy, but they opened Aladdin's Lamp and the Genie won't go back inside (nor is he cute cuddly and blue with Robin William's voice or sense of humor, for that matter).
I do discourage "dabbling". If you get involved in psychic development, you should understand that you will be making a lifetime commitment to your personal growth, and there will be effects you won't like at times. I will never forget one email from a reader who asked me a dozen questions, all of which were answered on my site. When I told her to go read it first and I'd answer any questions not answered later, she responded rather huffily that she didn't have time to do that! My response, with all due respect, was to tell her that if she did not have time to read it, then chances were good she wouldn't have the time to follow my advice, either. Prozac can shut down some psychic ability (if you can tolerate the side effects, costs and danger), but there is really no "magic pill" that can stuff the Genie back into the lamp entirely. Don't dabble in any of this stuff unless you are prepared to take the time to deal with the issues it will bring up. As Noory's guests said many times tonight, whether it is Ouija in particular or psychic experimentation in general, the baggage you bring with you is going to make a huge difference to the kind of experience you will have. There is no faster way to discover that you have hidden issues than to start opening up to your psychic ability.
I specifically discourage neophytes from dabbling with Ouija because of the way it is marketed. This is not a game, it is a heavy duty psychological experiment wrapped up in a metaphysical box, IMNSHO. It is a direct and immediate connection to the subconscious. On top of that, it opens the spiritual doors to any and all entities who may want to drop in. It's psychic Russian Roulette. You don't know who you are gonna get, and there is absolutely no spiritual or psychic protection guidance offered by the makers of the Ouija.
I am sure I'll get letters from experienced psychics who have had nothing but wonderful experiences, and the odd dabbler who got lucky - but the warning here is not for you. Sure, I grant you, some people have had positive experiences, but the majority of stories I have heard have been terrifying. And like George Noory, I am not sure that possibility is worth the risk.
If you have played with a Ouija board and are having negative experiences, my suggestion for disposal is simple. Send it back to the manufacturer, without a return address. Let them dispose of it in whatever manner they see fit. Maybe if they get enough of these "toys" back in the mail, they will rethink the way they have marketed this "game".