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Paranoid American Podcast 030: John Kozik of the Salem Witchboard Museum

By: Paranoid American
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Summary

➡ The text is a transcript of a Paranoid American podcast episode discussing the Salem Witchboard Museum and the history and the controversy around Ouija boards. The episode mainly features extensive conversation with John Kozick, owner and operator of the singular Witchboard Museum, discussing his connection with Ouija boards and addressing widespread perceptions and misconceptions about them.
➡ The text talks about the various perspectives and beliefs people have towards the usage of Ouija boards, touching upon aspects of skepticism, subconscious tapping, the idiomotor effect and various form factors of the tool. It also mentions the role of the paranormal, including the use of spirit boxes, and the differing opinions on whether spirits guide the tool or if individuals tap into a stream of consciousness. Some people even attribute certain superstitions and rituals to the board’s usage, like storing it in specific ways or seeing it as a portal, evidencing the deep-rooted beliefs some individuals hold regarding Ouija boards.
➡ The text revolves around a person discussing their experiences and views regarding Ouija boards. They talk about personal preferences for Ouija board designs, the lack of specific rules for usage, the intrigue of unexpected experiences, and the impact of belief on the board’s effectiveness. They also mention their love for the Witchboard movie series due to its unique portrayal of the Ouija board and nostalgia.
➡ The speaker is an avid collector of Ouija boards with a large collection displayed in his own museum in the back of a Harry Potter store in Salem. Besides meeting fellow enthusiasts and giving tours, he continues his obsession by traveling to buy boards. His passion for Ouija history and stories keeps the museum’s exhibits dynamic and current. After leaving his job, he focuses solely on running the museum, showing less than a third of his collection and rotating exhibits to keep things interesting.
➡ The speaker plans to open satellite locations of his museum, first being in Baltimore, where he aims to incorporate local history relevant to Ouija boards into the museum experience. He mentions that people enjoy hearing the stories directly from him and that, while some locations may have live personas, they will mostly use QR codes for visitors to access the stories. Numerous true crime events involving Ouija boards, such as murder and suicide, are discussed, hinting at possible themes for other locations. He also mentions heartwarming stories of how the board has helped people find comfort and closure. Lastly, he talks about the controversial nature of Ouija boards, with scientific views attributing the board’s movement to subconscious muscle memory and user experiences often recounting paranormal incidents.
➡ The speaker engaged in an intriguing discussion about the possibilities of Ouija boards in relation to artificial intelligence, questioning the need for human involvement and how interpretation affects the results. The speaker also considered the historical and symbolic aspects of these boards, as well as their reach within mainstream culture and the potential for digitized or AI Ouija experiences.
➡ The text is a transcript of a conversation discussing various paranormal and conspiracy theories, and rating belief levels in subjects like Bigfoot, aliens, satanic rituals, magic, ghosts, etc. Participants also debate whether these phenomena might all be interconnected, expressing that belief largely determines perception of these topics.
➡ The speaker discusses his skepticism towards supernatural occurrences but admits there are unexplainable incidents at his Ouija board museum. He talks about various ways of acquiring Ouija boards, including conversations and estate sales. The speaker also mentions the influence of pop culture on the interest in Ouija boards among youngsters, citing TikToks and YouTube. He playfully admits to scaring kids with haunted Ouija board stories in the museum, while also exploring the serious implications of such terrifying experiences. The speaker concludes with a discussion on the compatibility of Ouija boards with religion, admitting his personal disbelief in religion.
➡ The text discusses the perception and possibilities of Ouija boards, their cultural and personal relevance, and the dynamic ways they could be used beyond the conventional alphabet method. It further talks about an individual running a year-round museum in Salem dedicated to Ouija boards with a range of unique and special boards. Lastly, the person plans to open a new museum in Baltimore while sharing their personal preference for Salem over Boston given its unique charm.
➡ The speaker recounts their positive experience at the Salem Witchboard Museum during the season which is from August to November, expresses admiration for a participant named John, and ends with an advertisement for a comic, Chaos Twins, detailing its comedic and adventurous theme, the main characters, and how to purchase it.

Transcript

Good evening, listeners, brave navigators of the enigmatic and the concealed. Have you ever felt the pull of the unanswered, the allure of the mysteries that shroud our existence? For more than a decade, a unique comic publisher has dared to dive into these mysteries, unafraid of the secrets they might uncover. This audacious entity is paranoid American. Welcome to the mystifying Universe of the Paranoid American podcast. Launched in the year 2012, Paranoid American has been on a mission to decipher the encrypted secrets of our world.

From the unnerving enigma of mkultra mind control, to the clandestine assemblies of secret societies, from the Aweinspiring frontiers of forbidden technology, to the arcane patterns of occult symbols in our very own pop culture, they have committed to unveiling the concealed realities that lie just beneath the surface. Join us as we navigate these intricate landscapes, decoding the hidden scripts of our society and challenging the accepted perceptions of reality.

Folks, I’ve got a big problem on my hands. There’s a company called Paranoid American making all these funny memes and comics. Now, I’m a fair guy. I believe in free speech as long as it doesn’t cross the line. And if these AI generated memes dare to make fun of me, they’re crossing the line. This is your expedition into the realm of the extraordinary, the secret the shrouded. Come with us as we sift through the world’s grand mysteries, question the standardized narratives, and brave the cryptic labyrinth of the concealed truth.

So strap yourselves in, broaden your horizons, and steal yourselves for a voyage into the enigmatic heart of the Paranoid American podcast, where each story, every image, every revelation brings us one step closer to the elusive truth. Don’t try to stop me this time, Smee. I don’t know if anyone even knows that reference. 1991 Hook. Anybody? I’m just here by myself, actually. But Smee is also another word for subject matter expert, which is who I got today.

And he goes by the name of John Kozick, who actually owns and runs the Salem Witchboard Museum. So welcome, John. How’s it going, man? It’s going great. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate. Yeah, I’ll pop you down here next to was. I was mentioning a couple of times in my chat here on this channel that I was going to go to Salem pretty soon, and I got a number of people all know you have to go to the Salem Witchboard Museum.

And when I was down there, sure enough, going around, it’s actually a lot smaller than I originally expected it to be. But, man, I just got to say, hands down, it was the best museum that we ended up going to. Out of all the different spots, I think we got suckered into almost every little tourist trap that they’ve got in Salem. Right. But when we actually went into the Witchboard museum, not only were you in there and incredibly excited to show us all this stuff, but it was the only place that had some legit history and wasn’t just someone, like, collecting a paycheck that seemed disinterested in a hole.

Anyways, I’m not going to go on in too much depth. Welcome, John Kozick. Let people know where to find you, first of all. And if you got any other social media or any links, I’ll post them down below, of course. Yeah, I’m at 127 Essex street, which is the main street in Salem, Massachusetts. And besides Instagram, Facebook, those are really the two main ways to check out more information about the museum.

Salem Witchboard Museum. And so how long have you been doing the Salem Witchboard Museum? Like, they’re in that location in downtown Salem. The museum’s only been around for four. Didn’t. I had done an exhibit at the Satanic temple about five years ago. And that’s really what helped me see that there was a lot of interest in the history. It wasn’t just my friends and myself interested in this, that other people were kind of interested in Ouija boards.

And so four years ago, opened the museum, and it’s the World’s only Ouija board museum, and I’m lucky to be in Salem, where obviously it’s a very spooky city and it fits well there. But also the Ouija board was made in Salem, so there’s a local history to it as well. So that’s how it came about, just me being a very obsessed collector and eventually being able to put my collection on display.

You said the world’s only. That’s an awesome claim, by the way. That’s awesome. Is Ouija board big in any other countries? Because isn’t it like, American phenomena in a lot of ways, or are there like, European and other counterparts to, you know, the Ouija brand itself is sold all over the world and other competitors to Ouija, other talking boards or witch boards, generic name for them. They’re sold in other countries, but it’s not even close to as competitive as it is here in America.

Other countries and cultures have kind of had their own spirit, communication tools and devices. And the Ouija board never catches on in other countries like it does here in Europe, for instance, table tipping, seances, pendulum, tarot, automatic writing were things that they had been using before, really. The spiritualist movement came to America in the mid 18 hundreds. And so the Ouija board is kind of the new kid on the block in a lot of ways, where other people were using things that worked just fine for them and they didn’t really need a new thing.

How often do you yourself use Ouija boards for their intended purpose? I don’t use the Ouija board at all, which surprises some people. But for know, the way I became interested in the Ouija board was I inherited my grandmother’s board and she used it alone, and she flew on a thing. She would yell out letters and numbers quicker than anyone could write down what she was saying. And unfortunately for me, the board doesn’t work the same way for her.

And I’ve been a musician for well over 35 years, and I always make the joke that Jimi Hendrix was my father. I wouldn’t want to play guitar. I’m not going to be as good on guitar. It’s really how I feel about the Ouija board, because I believe they work, they work differently for everyone. But you influence the board quite a bit, whether you know it or not. And your beliefs, superstitions, rules that you might have could be totally different than someone else.

And really no one’s wrong, it just works differently. So for me, I’m very nervous about the board not working for me, that I’ll actually influence into not working for me. In the last two months, I’ve decided I will use the Ouija board. I’m just waiting to use it with a friend of mine named Karen. She’s used the board for over 50 years, never had a bad experience with it.

And so I feel most confident that if it’s going to work for me, it’ll work with her. So at this point, I’m really just waiting to use it with her. Do you see any potential danger in using one for myself? No, but yeah, absolutely. So what’s the delineation? Is it just because you happen to be the world’s expert on Ouija boards, so you know what the pitfalls are and you’re going to follow the rules, or is there something else to it? I think it’s all about your intent, really, you know what I mean? And positive intentions will bring positive results.

I think that if you go using the Ouija board, wanting to do something stupid, or that something stupid will probably happen for you. But for me using it, I don’t believe I’m going to be looking for anything like that. It’s going to be more of a positive experience using it. Do you have any sort of tells when someone walks in? And I’m going to paint, like, two very broad buckets, but we can make other ones up.

If you’ve got a hardcore woo woo person that walks in, they’re just all about Ouija boards all the time versus maybe a skeptical academic that’s there and kind of scoffing at some of the stuff. Are there any tells like that? Are there any specific archetypes of people that walk in? You’re like, oh, this is going to be an X, Y or Z. Well, I mean, the only time that I’ve really ever looked at someone and kind of judged, I kind of thought I might get with them, was surprisingly, was some kind of clergy member.

And I looked at them and I instantly thought, okay, here we go. They’re going to be negative. They’re going to maybe try to steer the conversation in one direction. And that couldn’t have been more opposite than what happened. This person here really went in with an open mind and listened to my stories, listened to the history, asked a lot of questions. And when they left, they actually shook my hand.

They’re like, thank you so much. You gave me so much to think about. And I felt like an asshole for thinking that because I had judged him without really knowing anything about him at all, just by the way he looked. It’s hard to get what you’re going to get. The majority of people are going to be interested in the paranormal, and so they’re coming in, trying to maybe have an experience to that.

And there are people that are skeptical, but usually I have to ask a few questions to kind of get where they are. And the people that are skeptical, for me, I like to just have a conversation with them being like, you don’t have to believe that you’re speaking to a ghost or a spirit. There are plenty of people that use these boards, that use them as a way to tap into their subconscious.

Scientists, they call that the idiomotor effect. And it means that you’re just tapping into muscle memory, and it’s working on, based on something you already know. And there are people that pretty prominent, well known people using Ouija boards who have used them as a way of just tapping into a subconscious, like meditation, who have gotten some pretty amazing results. So the people that are most skeptical that it’s going to work, that they’re not going to speak to a spirit, I try to just talk them through some history and some examples of people using them, where you just have to be open to the fact that you’re going to have a conversation or a communication that you don’t have to necessarily believe where that communication is coming from.

Usually I’ve got a vision in my head as you kind of describe this. And even if you don’t believe that, you’re talking to spirits and it could just be your subconscious. Right. It’s the hand on the planchette and you’re moving the planchette around the board. But there’s other form factors for Ouija boards, right? Do you think that they’re all valid? Are there any in particular that are cooler than the planchette? You mean like dial plates or pendulum and other spirit communication tools? Right.

Did the planchette just kind of went out because of convenience, or is there actually something deeper and more accurate to it? I think it’s pretty user friendly, number one. And I think that because it’s proven to work well with the board itself, most of those boards, for the most part, look very similar to each other, and they just make a good marriage of these two things kind of going together.

So for me, I believe they work based because of the user friendliness of them. The art, the double arches on there, the planchette doesn’t have a lot of distance to travel between there. But some people would have total opposite beliefs than me, and again, they wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that. But some people have so many different beliefs about the Ouija board and why they work better in some places than other places, why they work better for them.

Everything from a board that’s homemade, putting energy into it, working better, to a wooden board working better than something made of plastic. But for me, I think the Planchette works best because it’s used with that alphabet board, and they’re just a good combination together. And outside of form factor, you also were kind of mentioning plastic and wood. And do you have any thoughts on what sort of medium is the best for using it? Is old oak that you find in an old attic better than if we go over to defunct Toys R Us and find like an old one packaged and it’s cardboard, does that still work for me, I believe that all of these are going to work the same.

You could take a piece of paper and write out the alphabet on it, and it would work just as well as a vintage board that might cost a couple of buy. So I believe they all work the same. That’s me. But again, other people have all different beliefs about that. I’ve had people tell me that there’s some counterfeits in the museum. There are boards that stole the Ouija brand.

Ouija is the first brand of these talking boards. It’s the biggest brand. And so a lot of times people have stolen that name and put it on their product without permission. And I’ve met people who tell me, oh, yeah, those don’t work. And I find that pretty interesting. They don’t believe it’s worked because it’s not the real one. If I go to a restaurant and I ask for a Coke, and people say, well, I have a Pepsi, is that okay? That’s not okay for me.

So I get that some people are going to want the Ouija brand, the real Ouija brand, to use it. So this one’s a little bit more specific. So help me narrow it down if it feels like I’m just like, swimming over the place with this. But as it relates to spirit boxes, and I guess, first of all, are you familiar with spirit boxes? To be honest with you, not really.

Maybe you can explain it just a little bit as to what it is. I’m also somewhat unfamiliar, but a spear box, from a very simplified point of view, it’s like a little radio, like an AM FM radio. And it just kind of randomly jumps around stations. And so you’d like, ask a question out loud. And the ghosts or spirits or something is supposed to kind of help guide as it randomly jumps around stations.

And you just get bits and pieces of words. So you might say, who’s out there? And if it jumps around, and the first one sounds like static, and you just go s. And then it jumps, and then you hear, er. And then it jumps again. You hear, ah. Then you might say, oh, it’s just. It is the name of Sarah. Right. So that’s kind of an aspect of it.

And I guess the logistics, because I’m an engineer by heart, right? So I try to figure out what are the logistics. And the explanation that I’ve heard is that that is just like them. Understanding spirits, understanding how to manipulate frequencies and talk to us through this device. And it is one aspect of it, but I’ve heard arguments too. It’s like that puts the onus on spirits to understand how Am FN radio works.

And you might just be getting the ham radio ghost or something. So does the Clanchette and the board. And the concept of the Ouija board that we’re used to, is that described as like the ghost or the spirits that you’re talking to are actually using that like they understand how the board works? Or is the user just kind of tapping into some akashic stream of consciousness and that’s guiding it? I believe that people are believing it’s the spirit that is guiding the planchette.

Your eyes, your hands are using and touching that item. But it’s the spirit that’s in control of your hands and that’s what’s moving it. And because I think that’s a very primitive source of communication, maybe that might be why it could potentially work better than. Right. Using radio frequencies or something like that. I’m not too familiar with that. I like the idea of that because I think there’s some weird things that happen in the paranormal that even though I’m not an expert in that field, I’ve experienced in the museum, or seen things and talked to people that have been in the museum, that have had kind of experiences with electronics and stuff there.

So that’s pretty interesting to me to hear about that. So I could believe that it could possibly be working, just maybe not as well, because it’s a more complex. I mean, I guess I always sort of looked at that spirit box aspect as kind of just an advanced Ouija board in some there. Has there ever been a debate or an argument over Ouija specific stuff that’s happened within your museum? Anyone really passionate about a certain way or offended about something? No.

I mean, I get into a lot of weird conversations with, like, I always hear about new superstitions. Just when I thought I’ve heard everyone from using it alone to don’t use it in a graveyard or saying goodbye. Some people will come and be like, oh, no. When you put the board away, you have to put it upside down. You have to take the planchette and have it in a total separate area.

You have to have the glass eye removed from the planchette. Really? Oh, yeah. I start to hear a lot of different things like that, and I think that’s cool. I think that’s great. But I’m always surprised when someone tells me something. I’m like, never heard that one before. But I suppose I get people that are very hardcore that do consider it more of a doorway, that they’re opening a door, and that you could potentially trap something on this side of the board.

So that would probably be one of the biggest ones where no matter if I try to talk it out with them and explain it to them, or in a way, if I have opposing viewpoints, they won’t budge on that. You know what I mean, that’s the part where, like, no, it’s a portal and you’ve trapped something and you can be followed by a demon for years after you use Ouija board.

It’s interesting, too, as you were even mentioning, that some people say that you have to remove the glass eye from the planchet. I didn’t even realize that the planchette necessarily had a glass eye on all of them, although you mentioned that even if you kind of do it on pencil and paper, that counts, so I guess you don’t need that glass eye. Is there like a set list of all the bells and whistles? Right.

So I would assume you’ve got, the Planchette would be made out of some kind of nice wood. It would have an actual glass eye and not just a hole in the middle. Right. The board would have, I don’t know, like, hand painted something on it. Are there, like, other bells and whistles that people go really crazy about? No, it’s so much personal preference over it. And it’s just like, I have planchettes that don’t have a hole in them whatsoever.

You just use the point. That’s what they, when they first came out, they used. And some people today are totally confused when they see that, they’re like, well, how did it work? And I’d be like, well, you look at the point, but they’re so used to only seeing the hole in the Planchette today in the center. So it’s really across the board as to how people view the board is going to work best for them.

So what rules would you follow if you were to go and do this thing? Let’s say it’s in five years from now, just to put it far enough away that you can be a little bit abstract about it. But are you not doing it alone? Like you said, you’ve got a friend to do it with. Would you absolutely have to say goodbye before it was over or no.

So what rules would you follow or not follow? I don’t think there’s really any set. I. I would be using it with my friend Karen, not because I’m nervous to use it by myself. I just think it’s going to work better with her because she’s had so much experience with it. So the superstition of using it alone is not something I’m doing it because of that, but saying goodbye.

I always make the joke. I’m like, well, I don’t say goodbye to most people I talk to every day. Plenty of people leave the museum, so I don’t believe I would need to say goodbye on a board. So really, I can’t think of anything, any rule I would say or want to do, it would just be a matter of I would take the board out and whatever Karen was using to set the intent or whatever it is that she does, kind of following along with that, and then just using her as somebody that would help me go through a conversation to try to have a conversation with it.

But no, I mean, what I like about the Ouija board is that so many people do have rules about how they work or what’s going to make it work best for them. And I don’t know, you put ten people in a room, you’ll probably get 20 different things from each other about someone viewing it differently than the other person. So correct me if I’m reading into this, it sounds like a bad experience for the Ouija board, for you might just be something that doesn’t live up to expectations.

Not necessarily like you invited a demon in and you can’t get him out of your house and now you’re haunted forever. Or like what? Like, what would be the reason that you would want to do it with a friend and make sure you have a good experience? What’s the definition of, say, a bad experience? Is it just a boring one or does something happen? No, for me, a bad experience would be trying to use it and nothing happening whatsoever.

If I was talking to something bad, I would think that’s pretty freaking cool. You know what I mean? If something more than what I expected happened, I would think that’s a pretty great thing. But to me, using it and having nothing happen or gibberish words that don’t make sense, or just not moving at all, that would be my greatest fear, which is why I haven’t used them after inheriting my grandmother’s board, is that I’m so nervous it’s just not going to work.

I’m assuming you’ve seen lots and lots of naysayers that come through, too. Do you think that you have to believe that it’ll work in order for it to work regardless? Or do you think that there’s a chance that a complete atheist skeptical naysayer could sit down and change their mind based on an experience? I think that you should try to be open to the fact that something’s going to happen.

But if you’re not and you’re using it with somebody else, I think you can maybe be persuaded to believe in them a little bit more than you might have. But I think being open to it, just something happening. Whether however you want to explain it, that’s probably the most important part of it. I want to cut to this just because I want to make sure we’ve got enough time to talk about it.

But when I went and actually saw you had some props from the series, and I had to just mention that’s like my absolute. Out of all the movies about Ouija boards or witchboards or anything, the Witchboard series is by far and away my favorite one. And I feel like we maybe bonded over that as well. Can you just tell me what is it about the Witchboard series for you? If you were to pitch someone out of the 300 plus or thousands of movies out there about Ouija, why would it be the Witchboard series that you should start with? For me, who isn’t a fan of 80s horror movies, that’s number one.

Number two, it’s really the first movie that made the Ouija board the star of the film. And unlike the Exorcist 13 Ghost, these are little scenes with the Ouija board. Everything is happening around the Ouija board. And so 80s horror movie, but Tawny Catain, which I’m in that age group where I grew up with her in bachelor party and white snake videos and stuff like that. So the fact that she’s the star of it holds a certain place in my heart as well.

And I think it’s just because it’s probably the first movie to make the Ouija board the star. I agree with that one. I’ll throw a couple other into the mix too, is that it’s the first movie that I guess I saw. So a little bit of bias there. But that clearly explained all of the rules of the Ouija board and took them seriously and didn’t just like this, because almost every time they mention it, it’s usually a trope where it’s like, oh, cool, there’s this list of rules and they’re like, oh, we don’t need to read those.

Put that away. And it’s kind of foreshadows that it’s going to go wrong. Right? But this one, they actually step through bit by bit. They do take it quite seriously. And again, they’re right after my heart with the practical effects. They hit this sweet spot of 80s cheese. But the practical effects were maybe better than the. I want to say the writing was bad, but the effects were like better than the movie deserved them to be on some levels.

And I don’t know, it was like a perfect storm of all the things that could have been bad, were fine. It was fine that it was a little bit cheesy. It was fine that the acting might not have won immediate awards, but it’s timeless. So I also want to ask, why do you think that witchboard isn’t coming up as often? If someone was like, list your top 20.

I almost never heard anyone mention witchboard in there. I don’t know. I think it flies under the radar in the sense that the Ouija board is not like a super popular, not villain, but people are thinking of Horror movies, are thinking of Jason or Freddy, things like that, and not necessarily thinking of a Ouija board as that. I don’t mean I’m okay with that too. I like that when I meet someone that loves witchboard like you, it’s like, oh no, we can bond about it.

If everyone liked it, it’s like the Ouija board itself. It’s not so cool. So I like the fact that some people have to be schooled on it, some people have to go and hear about it, see it at the museum, and then go looking for it and then kind of get into it. But yeah, I’m not really sure why it doesn’t make it to more people’s lists. To me, it’s one of my favorite movies.

Before you had your spot now in downtown, you said you’ve been there for about four years. What was going on before that? Did you have a different spot? Was it just all run out of your own storage? Personally, what was the evolution to where you got here? The evolution was being an obsessed collector. And eventually my house, you can kind of see where I’m at now. This is the Halloween room.

And every room in my house is themed Kentucky Fried chicken, dining room and tiki room and all this stuff. So this isn’t set up just for the month of October. This is year round. And this is. Love that. Okay. Yeah. And it’s a pretty good sized room packed with stuff. And it goes into the garage, two car garage that’s packed with masks and blow molds and as much Halloween stuff as you can imagine.

Vintage Halloween stuff as you can imagine. That’s what I’ve collected. And there’s very few things that I still collect for Halloween because I’ve gotten it anything I really wanted. But Ouija boards have been an obsession of mine since I inherited my grandmother’s in the late ninety s and bought every single one that I could. And really, I don’t know what happened, but a couple of years into collecting, something just snapped with me in the sense that I was more obsessed than the average collector.

And so today, I get in a car within 2 hours and drive 21 hours straight to Florida to buy boards. Go to CalifoRNIA within 48 hours to buy boards. So very obsessed collector to get them. So the basement of my house, I had them all on display, and people would write to me and be like, oh, hey, I know you have Ouija boards. Could I come get, like a private tour? Could I do that? And so by word of mouth or by friend of friend, people I felt comfortable having in my house, strangers.

I kind of set up the basement to be able to do that. And then for about ten years, I always had the dream of trying to do a museum. And I knew Salem would be the place I’d want to do that because the tourists are there all year round. And like I said, it was made there. So there’s the history. So my friend Merch and I, we would go to Salem every weekend and just kind of hit the bricks and look for space.

And nothing was ever the right place. And for me, I’ve worked a job at that point, I’d worked it for 15 years, 1015 years. And it’s a little nerve wracking to be like, oh, I’m going to leave my job to go open a, you know, it’s a pretty big risk. And so it wasn’t until two things happened. One was I did an exhibit at the Satanic Temple roughly six years ago.

And we were raising money. The talking Board Historical Society, this registered nonprofit that I’m part of, we were raising money to put a headstone in for a woman named Helen Peters. She had named the Ouija board, and she was buried in an unmarked grave. And so I really wanted to do something to help raise money. And I left my comfort zone. I did an exhibit there with a lecture with my friend Calvin.

And even though I was never really a public speaker, did this to raise money. And the exhibit was pretty successful. It kept staying up month after month. And that’s when I realized, like, oh, I guess there’s people interested in this, not just me and my weird friends. I had traveled out to California. There’s a museum out there in Burbank called the Mystic Museum, and they do some really amazing events there.

They do slashback video, which is basically an 80s horror VHS rental store. They’ve worked lots of different movies, like Evil Dead to George Barris, to Anton levee exhibits. And when I went there, I had sold them some Ouija boards over the years. And they’re like, oh, you can pay this small fee and kind of go in the back room and look at our personal collection. And when I did that, I was like, holy shit, this is awesome.

It was a self guided tour, but I was looking at boards that I had sold them, and I was like, wait a minute. I just paid money to look at stuff that I have way better stuff than this. And that’s when my business model changed a little bit because I was like, wait, I don’t need to be on the store on the street. I can be in the back room of an existing business.

And if it’s a self guided tour, I don’t need to leave my job right away. And so once that business model changed and I was looking for a space of an existing business, I found this space that I’m in now. So I’m on Essex street, which is the busiest street in Salem, but I’m in the back of a store called Remember Salem. And that store was known mostly as a Harry Potter store, licensed merchandise that you went through the store and then paid the person at the register and they allowed you into the museum.

And for the first three years of the know, I worked my day job and then went there and was there as much as I possibly could be, seven days a week, but only from the late afternoon on. And then a year ago, I left my job of 22 years. And so this is all I do now. It’s just be at the Ouija Museum talking about Ouija boards all day.

So it really evolved from the Satan Temple and the Mystic Museum experiences. Do you ever miss having a regular job or like. No, never? Not really. No. I mean, I’m really happy what I do. It’s a pretty amazing experience because I meet people who I love to travel. So I get people that have traveled to get there and are usually on a road trip or things like that.

So I have some really great, amazing conversations with people and I just love talking about Ouija boards. So I don’t miss working there. The person I worked for, my old boss, was a really great guy who really made it easy for me to transition out of there, to have this museum because he basically was like, I worked with him for so long, he’s like, you’ll always have a job here.

So to me, there was very little risk that even if I went to the museum full time and it didn’t work out for me, I could always fall back there. Yeah, that’s nice. You can take a little bit more of a risk than normal, maybe. Exactly. And so I miss those kind of friendships that I had there. When you work with someone for 20 years, you have a special friendship there.

But I certainly don’t miss most of the stuff I did for the job. The trauma. Bonding is fun, but the trauma that you need to get to the bonding part, maybe not so fun. What’s the next step? You mentioned now you’re kind of in like a spot and man, because you live in the area. So I don’t want to throw shade on any particular shops, but I was astounded at every other shop in downtown Salem was just like reselling Harry Potter wands that they get from.

Anyways, it was wild to see how much of that Harry Potter stuff. What would be the next step for you? Is it like having more space, better location? What would be the Salem Witchboard Museum 2. 0 if you just kept exploding? I mean, the Salem location, I like the size of it. I like the fact that it’s in this back of the other store. It’s a really great business relationship that I have with them and their staff.

And so I like that it’s small enough that I can rotate things through. I have a large collection, my friend Merch, who curates for the museum as well. We can kind of do different exhibits and never really repeat each other for a long time. How much stuff are you hiding? If someone were to go in today? How much, percentage wise are they seeing of the collection in that spot? I mean, just of my collection, they’re seeing less than a third of it, for sure.

Right? And merch, they’re probably seeing less than a 10th of his. Because I assume that you could probably be in a space four times the size and still not even show half of the stuff that you’ve got. Right. So is that just to make it easier to cycle through so that there’s always a reason to keep going back and seeing new stuff? Well, for me, it makes it interesting because I can kind of rotate things through, tell different stories, which is what I like to do.

But the average person coming into the museum, they’re not going to want to listen to 4 hours of Ouija history. You know, what I give them is what I try to give them is a nice balance of the beginning, where we are today, and spookier stories because we’re in Salem and people are kind of expecting that kind of stuff. And certainly the pop culture influence of the board.

So I like it that I can talk about different things, because some people, if they really want to nerd out, they’ll spend 45 minutes at that first case just talking about the spiritualist movement and not even going any further than that. So I like that I can have these conversations with people and kind of bounce around. So I’m really happy with Salem and not really looking to change that at all.

But I am going to open up a few other locations, like satellite locations. The next one will be in Baltimore, and that’s going to probably happen the beginning of the year. Now that October finished in Salem, I can kind of put my energy into it. So that’d be the next thing to do. So for the museum itself, Salem pretty much just staying where I am. So that’s always going to be the flagship.

Salem will be the flagship. And then you’ll have some satellites. Exactly. Because I think what I’ve learned with the museum is people want to hear stories from me. A lot of times they can read the sign or they can scan a code or something like that. But when you get to hear it directly from a person, who can then follow up with, when you have a question, be like, well, wait, how did you find that out? And I can tell you the six years that was spent, how it was spent finding that information out, I think that always makes it a better experience for people.

So the other locations that I do would be a live person from time to time, but predominantly a QR code, using your phone to go through, which we can do a different experience there, because in Salem, it’s a smaller museum. So I can’t have a bunch of video screens. I can’t have a bunch of people on their phones, like, listening at volumes. But in these other locations, where the traffic won’t be as heavy, you can do that.

And I think that’s a good opportunity to get into some real videos, getting some audio from a lot of the original people that we’re talking about here, the families of those people. And so getting those stories that aren’t very well recorded. Is there a difference between East coast and West Coast Ouija? Because I’m just thinking, we’re talking about Boston and, like, is there different perceptions, or is there just like, a different level of how much people care about Ouija? Or is it like a nationwide, ubiquitous thing? Well, I mean, for Baltimore specifically, I think the way I’m envisioning the museum is a very Baltimore history driven museum.

The Ouija board was first mass produced there, and so there’s just so much history there. And so the museum, although it’s Ouija boards, I think a lot of it is. I think of it more as Baltimore history. And so I think that’s a big draw is people that maybe weren’t so interested in the Ouija board might be interested in being. Huh. Here’s this weird little part of Baltimore history that I never knew and then kind of get into it that way.

But as far as like an East coast or West Coast? No, I don’t see that. I think know do something on the West Coast. Obviously, I would do something know movie and know based, because that could be a museum. Just in itself. The amount of stuff that we. If. What if this were like, I’m just having fun now, but what if this were in South Texas or something? What would be the Ouija theme in the South? I would probably go know true crime or paranormal stories there.

How would true crime weave itself into Ouija? Has Ouija ever been used in successful crime investigations that, you know, talking? Well, I’m talking about murder and suicide because of the Ouija board. Yeah. So true crime in that sense. Well, when you say murder because of Ouija board, are there actual cases where Ouija board was like a catalyst in a murder? A whole lot of them, yeah. Not just paper are.

What are some of mean. We don’t have to go through the entire list, but I’ve never heard that there’s actual Ouija related murders before. Well, the first one. The first murder associated with the Ouija board is from 1933, and it happened in Arizona. And a mother and daughter were using the Ouija board together. The board spelled out the message, Daddy must die. And the daughter asked the Ouija board, well, who must kill him? Mommy? And the board spelled back the initials MT for the daughter, Maddie Turley.

She took a shotgun, shot her father in the back. When the police investigated, she said it was an accident. She tripped and she fell. But the police knew that the projectile, the bullet, was higher and not down low. When they investigated, they found out they’d used the Ouija board together. The girl confessed. She said, you know, when the Ouija compels, it must be obeyed. They investigated the mother.

They find out that she had been talking to the ranch hand next door, maybe implying that there was an affair going on and that she had pushed the planchette to spell the message for the daughter. So that’s considered the first Ouija murder, whether it’s because the Ouija board told the daughter to do it or because the mother was pushing the know. That is a story that happened with the Ouija board in the headlines.

The mom just stumbled upon Mkultra programming, like homegrown style, right? Absolutely. So those stories they happen from the very beginning. There’s a suicide by 1900 in Connecticut, where the woman was consumed by the messages that she was getting from the board. She wanted to find out for herself where the messages were coming from. She took strict nine. She poisoned herself to get the other side of the board.

So they go hand in hand. And then what? Did it work? Did it work? Well, I don’t know if anyone’s heard from her since, but she’s not with us. She did die because of that. Are there any heartwarming, endearing Ouija board stories? Because I guess I’m always imagining it’s people talking to ghosts and demons come in and horrible things happen. But have there been, like, lottery winners that credited the Ouija board? Have there been, like, marriages that happen over the Ouija board? Well, my story I can tell you is the board did not work well for my mother like it did for my grandmother.

When my mother and her girlfriend, Linda, when they were twelve years old, they used the Ouija board with my grandmother. The board accurately predicted both of their future husbands names, Lawrence and Dennis. So my mother, it was her second husband, but they did marry eventually. Who the Ouija board told me they would marry. And I’ve actually heard quite a few stories similar to that, where people have told me that the Ouija board would actually predict who they would marry.

So those have happened. I can’t say the lottery, that anyone’s won the lottery, but a heartwarming story to me would know. The reason why the board exists is that it’s meant to help you find comfort and closure during that wartime. About a year ago, I had a woman from New Zealand that came to the museum, and she had lost her son about six years ago now. And she used the Ouija board to communicate with him.

And she stayed at the museum for a few hours, maybe two to 3 hours. Just telling me about the conversation she was having and what that meant to her to be able to do for her. I hate to imagine the grieving that she had, losing her son. But knowing that she was getting something from the board that was helping her, in a small way, was pretty nice to know.

So, to me, that’s a heartwarming, and that’s a story I don’t hear very often. Like you, most of the stories I’m hearing are, Hey, I got a Ouija board, let’s go into a haunted house, let’s go to a cemetery. Know, let’s do. You know, you tend to get more one and done. People use the Ouija board, got the confirmation they were looking for. And I never wanted to touch the Ouija board again, so a good story would be using it the way it was intended, which doesn’t happen very often, do you think? In the paranormal sense? Let me first paint the excuse.

But Bigfoot knows that you’ve got a camera, so he disappears. Or if you get a picture of aliens, then the men in black, or their technology zaps your memory card, so that there’s always a reason why certain phenomenon is just never caught on camera. It’s never live streamed on like a Twitch channel. Is there something that’s ever come up of, like, if you’ve got 20 different cameras, point the Ouija board and magnetic sensors, and everything’s decked up in like, a science lab, do you think any of that would make it work less? Do you think it would not be as enticing for spirits to operate with it? Is it like a double slit experiment? It.

There’s a little delay so I can cut it out. I’m just letting you respond. Yeah, I’m not sure. I think scientists have studied it enough that for them, they just think it’s idiot motor effect, your subconscious and muscle memory, and that’s really how it’s working. But if you talk to anyone who’s ever used the Ouija board, and you might not believe that things are possible about moving around the room or lights flickering or things like that, but you ask anyone their Ouija story, I’ve never heard a story where I thought that person was lying to me.

So I believe they believe they’ve experienced whatever those things are. And I don’t know if any kind of test to seeing if it happened, as far as people witness it, it would change those people telling you that it still happened. I really love the idea that you could just use pencil and paper and it be just as valid if we push that towards the other end of that spectrum.

Right. What if you have your hand on a mouse and it’s hovering over a digital image that you pulled up online? Would that be less viable as a Ouija board? Or is that just as valid as having one physically in front of you? I’m not sure. I’m not sure. It all depends. I mean, the technology. Like, what about an iPad, right? There’s got to be an iPad, Ouija board app.

I’m sure there is. Right? Do you think that would be as valid? I don’t know. I’ve never really thought of that before. I suppose it could be, yeah. Have you thought about the implications of, say, like artificial intelligence in Ouija. Has that come up in know, coming through and just throwing ideas out? It just did last weekend, actually, after Hasbro reached out and merch and I consulted with them because they launched an AI Ouija board on Ouija.

com. And we kind of helped test it a little bit and give our feedback for it. And it was pretty crazy, all this stuff that how it gets that information really quick. And we asked certain questions and it came up with those answers. I think the more it gets fed over time, the more accurate and the more it’ll be used. When you say accurate, are we talking accuracy as in it’s actually facilitating communication with another realm, or accurate in just that? You can ask it trivia and it figures out stuff? Well, we asked it like things we knew the answer to, to see what would happen, of course.

And those questions were accurate. But when they launched it, we had people asking questions about their relatives or things like that that maybe it couldn’t possibly know. And it was coming back with answers that people felt were connected and true to what they were asking. How much do you think the person involved has an effect on that? What if it were an AI program generated to ask questions that a person would ask and then that gets fed into the Ouija? Could it just all be computers and still be working? Or do you think that a human being has to be involved at some point? That’s the scary thing about AI.

I don’t think humans have to be involved to it. Yeah, I think that it’s hard to say, but right now I would say that with AI, you don’t know. It’s just like where the messages are coming from now. You don’t really know. Exactly. We could discount the subjective or like subconscious effect. Right? I guess I might be wrong, but you would assume that if you had like an AI that had robot arms that could use the planchette, it wouldn’t be thinking about, oh, I really want to move it over here to the R.

If it actually moved around, it almost feels like that would be slightly more onto the objective proof side. I don’t know, because now the psychologist. What does psychologist say about that? We’re not even talking about the human brain anymore, right? Yeah, it’s definitely interesting where this is going and how it can be used. But I mean, also the person interpreting the answers, the results, it’s where they are too.

Because sometimes I hear people tell me, they get a response and they look at it as what the Ouija predicted. I’m sorry, the Ouija caused and I look at it as, like, well, Luigi predicted. That doesn’t mean it caused. I think, you know, also, the way you interpret that experience has a lot to do with what actually happened as well. Does that make. I mean, there would still always, at some point, be a human element, even if it’s just the final step of someone interpreting what they’re seeing.

Correct? Yeah. So how close or far away do you see as Ouija from, say, like, reading tea lives, tea leaves, or coffee grounds, or languages of the birds? Are these all the same thing, just different tools, or do you think these are all distinct? Right. I consider them all the same. It’s just personal preference as to which one you put more. Not belief, but more what you feel most comfortable using.

But I think any of those fortune telling or any kind of divination tools, they’re pretty much all the same. It’s just really what works best for you to use. Have there been any unattainable Ouija board items, or Ouija boards themselves that are either lost to time or just, like, in private collections that you want to get your hands on? Like, anything specific? Oh, yeah. I mean, my list doesn’t end.

So even though I recently got the Grail item that I had hunted for, for pretty close to 20 years, a planchette that I had been looking for, for a board, there are plenty of things, especially historic pieces. Grover Cleveland, who was the only president to be married in the White House, he was gifted a witch board as a wedding present in 1886. And back then, there were no presidential libraries.

So to be able to find that board, to me, would be pretty amazing, because not just the historic significance of a president owning it, but I actually believe that my grandmother, whose board I inherited, I believe that she may have used that board to learn how to use the Ouija board on. So there’s a little personal connection as well. But even if it’s not just the historic part, that it’s a board that was gifted to a president, it made the newspapers, the Boston Globe wrote about it in 1886.

And so that would be something that’s pretty high on my list to at least, even if I don’t find it, to own it, just to see what it actually looked like. Because 1886 is four years before Ouija, the brand existed. And I think some of us have ideas as to what it might look like, and it would be pretty interesting to know if we’re right or not. In that way, before Ouija as a brand existed, would a Ouija board be something a kid would be playing with? Or was it for like, adults and occultists only? Mostly adults.

You’re talking just post Civil war at that point when they really come together and people reaching out specifically for the person that they lost during the war. It gets patented as a game in 1890. So there is element of kids using it. And you’ll see in the museum where there’s like Valentine’s Day cards and kids using it and stuff like that. So it was just viewed differently than today.

But I’d say the majority were adults using it and kids watching. Has it been banned or made illegal anywhere in the country? The only place that it was for sure they tried to ban it was back in 1920 in El Cerrito, California. There were eleven people. The town tried to ban the Ouija board. Eleven people were driven insane by using it. They were committed to a mental institution.

And the city tried to ban the Ouija board. It was unsuccessful, but that’s the only place that I’ve seen it actually gone that far. Are there smaller churches and things like that where they call for banning Ouija boards? But as far as an actual town or something bigger than just a church asking, that would be the example. Are there any modern, high end Ouija boards that are being produced and in demand? Or is it pretty much all like, antiques that people are looking for? Well, I mean, right around right now, they just released a Wednesday board, a board based on the TV show from Wednesday.

So that is the Ouija brand. It’s not like the Elvira board or the Halloween three board that were made by other companies who have licensing for those characters. The Ouija brand? Yeah, they just produced a Wednesday board, so I would imagine that’s going to be pretty popular board. Speaking of weird Ouija crossovers, when I was there, I also asked you about the Barbie board, but it sounds like the Barbie board might have just been like a custom made thing on an Etsy shop or like a meme.

Am I getting that one correct? Absolutely. In the museum, there’s a pink Ouija that was made by Hasbro in 2008. That was a real product that came with a pink carrying case and these little suggestion cards on Etsy. Someone sells one with. They call it the Barbie board, and it’s the size of what a Barbie doll would use. It’s got the Barbie logo on it, but that’s not a licensed product.

It’s more of an artist just making it and selling it on Etsy. So to the purists, the Wednesday board would work, but the Barbie board wouldn’t. Only because the Barbie board wasn’t properly licensed through the channels that apparently in the spirit world, they still really give a lot of credit towards intellectual property rights. So that’s kind of. I mean, like I said, I hear something new about the Ouija board all the time and those kind of beliefs, I like to hear where their line is and like, nope, not going to work for me.

It’s not a real Ouija. All right, well, we’re just going to cut right into this next little segment and it’s going to be a surprise. Let’s do it. Hey, conspiracy buffs, I double dare you to take some PCP, the paranormal conspiracy probe. On your marks, get set and go. Okay, here’s the rules. Zero to 100 means you don’t believe, ten means you do believe. And you can figure out all the math in between.

It’s not too hard. And this is kind of inspired too, by. We were talking about is it all the same if you’re using, like, this divination tool or this divination tool? Maybe it’s all the same thing. They’re just different tools. So with that in mind, zero to ten, is Bigfoot real? Oh, wait, what’s the. Yeah, what I was going to say, if there’s Ouija stuff, I just want to make sure I go with my true beliefs or what other people believe.

Yeah, this is your true belief. Everything here is going to be your true belief. So, Bigfoot, zero to ten, ever existing. Five. Okay. Bigfoot, existing since the 70s till now, zero. Aliens, specifically, like flying sauce or UFO abduction. Aliens, like coming to Earth? Yeah, coming to Earth and phasing people. I’d say about a six. Satanist. Summoning demons. And I don’t mean like Temple of Satan or like the litigious ones, but I don’t know, I don’t even want to say levet because maybe levee is more of a performant version, but like a legitimate, murderous satanic cult summoning demons into the planet.

People that believe they’re Satanists are killing based on that. Okay, summoning legitimate demons, though, like someone summons Azazel and he actually shows up. Well, see, I say a zero, but do I believe they’re really doing a demon? Yes. So I do believe that, but I don’t believe that. No, they’re not summoning demons. Is magic real at Allusia? Yeah, Sorry, magic. Do you think magic is real? Did you get me on that one? I heard magic being real.

No, that’s not real. So is it like a straight up zero? That’s a straight up zero. Okay, again, we can analyze any of these things, because we will. Don’t worry. We’re going to go into some of these real. We’ll get a chance to pick some of these apart. This is just getting, like a litmus test. We’ll go through. Do you think that there is a modern day Illuminati or New World Order? Is there, like, a small group of people running the entire planet? I lean towards a six on that.

Yeah. Okay. Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone wolf. I’d say Zero. The CIA was behind JFK. I put that around a seven. Okay. Freemasonic ritual was behind JFK assassination. Maybe like, a four. Dinosaurs. Oh, ten. Dragons. Ten. Okay. We’re definitely going to go into the dinosaurs and dragons a little bit more. And then I assume that I know the answer to some of these, because you already answered.

Kind of like people summoning an actual demon would be zero and whatnot. So what about the world of Atlantis? Do you think Atlantis was ever a real thing? Or was it all purely metaphorical? I can hear you typing. Yeah, I’m trying to get the fucking picture back on. Here we go. Jesus Christ. Stupid technology. Are the spirits in the room with us now? Maybe. I feel as though I’m at the museum where technology doesn’t work very well.

Is there something about Boston that makes it technology not work great? Or is it just because all the wiring is old? It may. I’m not sure what it is. It’s just. It’s a void. So let me ask you the last one. I was asking you about Atlantis. Zero to ten, but I’ve got a final one after that, I lean more towards, like, a six or seven on Atlantis existing.

Okay. And ghosts. I don’t know. I guess I would probably say that. I’d say a five. All right, let’s work our way backwards. We’ll get to some of the Zeros and stuff that you said, too. But if we go with ghosts, because it sounds, like, pretty adamant about demons, like, demons is sillY. Ghosts might be a five, though. So is there a difference between a malevolent ghost and a demon in your mind? Well, I’m thinking like a ghost.

I don’t know. I’m just speculating here. But a ghost, what people might consider to be a ghost, would be some kind of different dimension or some kind of, like, it’s here somehow crossing through in that way. Okay. And you gave a similar, maybe low, middle of the line score for Bigfoot, just in general. And it was a little bit lower when I said within the last. Since the 70s, you’re like, oh, zero.

But I’ve heard some people kind of refer to Bigfoot and aliens and ghosts all as being these different perspectives. Like, someone that really wants to believe in Bigfoot and sees something supernatural, they say Bigfoot or someone that believes in ghosts and they see something supernatural. To them, it’s a ghost. But that there might be crossover, specifically because in the later, there were so many corresponding Bigfoot and UFO sightings that led to speculation that maybe it’s the same thing and just, like, different ways of looking at, like, I don’t even have a dog in this fight, but it’s a fascinating aspect where you might have someone that’s really into spiritualism and ghosts and Ouija boards, but then they won’t give as much credit to, say, Bigfoot researchers, and then the same thing.

Bigfoot researchers don’t care as much about alien researchers, but it might all be, like, just paranormal phenomena being, I don’t know, any thoughts on any of that wasn’t a specific question. I agree with you. I know that there can be some people that might believe in one and not the other or something like that. And I get that part of it in the sense that, to me, it’s all the same.

In the sense that it’s all belief. Right now, there’s no proof of any of that stuff. So it’s your belief that these things are out there. But I look at it like, sort of like religion. It’s all faith based. No one’s is any better than the other because you have to believe in it to begin with to make it seem real. So I think that you’re probably onto something in the sense that all this unexplained stuff could be connected in some way.

All right, so I get a five ish for ghosts. However you want to interpret that, we don’t have to pin it down, but then we get a ten for dinosaurs and a ten for dragons. So I want to just sort of make all of that make sense to me. So, first of all, when you immediately want to say ten for dinosaurs, what’s the first thing going through your mind? If someone’s like, are dinosaurs real? Well, I mean, there’s obviously museums with dinosaur bones in them.

So I believe that dinosaurs existed. I believe that dinosaurs roamed the Earth. Yeah. Okay. And just to be clear, I guess some of the conspiracy theories are that the bones were real, but that the scientists or the archaeologists finding the stuff were just kind of putting it together like Janky, homemade Lego sets and were like, this is such and such. This is the Triceratops, but that none of them were actually real.

And they were just various bones amalgamated and then sold to museums as some kind of Ponzi scheme, I guess. I don’t know. So what about dragons, though? Because dragons don’t have that same museum aspect, unless we’re talking about, I guess, medieval and ancient artwork. Or is that basically the proof for dragons? Well, I mean, right away when you’re saying dragon, I immediately think a kimono dragon or something like that.

Okay, so to be specific, I mean, like a fire breathing, flying dragon. Like, actually breathing fire. Yeah, no, I don’t think those existed. Zero. Okay. Yeah, it’s a fair point. And if I said monster, there’s GIA monsters and stuff. So, technically, the things out there really do exist. And then you were clarifying on magic. And I want to give you a better chance to maybe follow that up, because I was like, is magic real? And I know how vague that is.

I just want to see where you’re at from zero to ten, and then we can get into it. Well, magic. I mean, to me, magic is pen and teller. They’re doing mAgic, but magic is not real in the sense that they’re not illusion. It’s an illusion. It’s not that it’s somehow really disappearing and coming back. You’re making it believe that it is. If you’re saying magic beyond that, like where I am in Salem, where people believe in magic, that they’re practicing magic, people there certainly believe it.

But I suppose if you manifest it yourself, you believe that’s working, or that’s what it’s called, then absolutely. But for me, no, I don’t believe I can. I don’t know, make up some potion or something like that. I don’t even know what the fuck I’m saying. I don’t know. Would you consider yourself, like, a skeptic within the context of the people that would come into the shop? Well, with Ouija boards, I try to really play both sides.

I like to hear people that are skeptics, and I like to hear people that are true believer. And ultimately, to me, it doesn’t matter what I believe, because it’s not going to change anyone’s view on what they believe about the Ouija board. And so I don’t like to influence people in any way with that. I like to have conversations, but I really like to try to have both points taken.

So I would call myself a skeptic in my personal life when I have to talk about a lot of things because something makes a noise in my house, I don’t instantly go, that’s a ghost doing that. My first instinct is like, okay, what could that have been? It was probably a Ouija board falling off of a shelf somewhere. Yeah, absolutely. But there are things that do happen from time to time at the museum that I don’t really have an explanation for.

I couldn’t tell you why. When I see people walk to certain items and are drawn to them, I didn’t influence them. I didn’t tell them any stories. Why did they walk to that item and tell me that’s where they felt something? It’s a board that was donated. Why do they have a feeling there? Why did they take photographs that aren’t coming out right? They’re blurry, and things like that that happen in the museum.

And so I don’t really have a set explanation. I just say I’m not surprised when it happens, but I think my first instinct is like, oh, you were shaking your hand when you shook the picture, but when you see it hundreds of times, it just starts to think like, well, that’s a pretty weird coincidence, if that’s what it is. If you’re out hunting for Ouija boards and you’re out scouring the nation, you don’t have to give away your best fishing spots or anything.

But what kind of things are you looking like? Would it be viable to just pop open the sort of garage sales section, or just pop open eBay? Or is there something more specific about finding, like, estate sales or going to certain parts of the. Um. To me, it’s always just about just talking to people. You know what I mean? You find more from talking to people than you do putting in windshield time and driving to all the places.

So I have more luck just having conversations with people. And it could be anyone. I talk to everyone from the gas station attendant to an Uber driver. People that have met me more than one time certainly know that I collect, and that’s where some of the best stuff comes from. Are there any really cool pop culture references that go under the radar for stuff like which board is definitely my favorite Ouija movie? Are there, like, Ouija cartoons, or were there, like, Ouija songs that were really good? Do you have any personal favorites that are worth looking? Could.

We could talk for a long time just about music and the Ouija board. But, I mean, the big hit would probably be like, Morrissey having the song called Ouija Board. Ouija Board, you know? But there were songs in the 20s that were written about. There was over a dozen songs just in 1920s alone, written all about the Ouija board and even a current band like Mars Volta. They claim to have written lyrics to one of their records, all from using the Ouija board.

Is that like a boomer thing? Is it like a grandma and grandpa thing? Or is there like a new wave, like a new generation of interest in Ouija boards that you’ve seen? Do kids come in and they’re as fascinated as mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa? I meet a lot of kids that come to the museum that want to use them. They’ve watched TikToks, they’ve watched paranormal shows on YouTube and stuff like that.

And so, yeah, there’s a pretty good interest in that stuff. I like it when little kids come in because I like to try to get a gauge if they’re really scared or if they’re not afraid. And if they’re not afraid, I like to try to see if I can get them scared. But I think that younger kids are definitely seeking it out. There’s certainly the curiosity because they know their parents had it and it was pretty mainstream and widely available.

And now they’re kind know as toy stores or stores are kind of closing. You don’t see it on the shelf as much, so they see it in a video, whether it’s a movie or a YouTube channel or something like that, where it’s being used and like, wait, my parents use it. It’s a real thing. And so I think there’s a huge fascination with kids about it. When you say that, you see if you can scare them over it.

What would be something that would get someone scared of a Ouija board? We just tell them a story, or is there your go to? Well, I mean, depending on their age, usually I’ll double check with the parents. Do your kids like horror movies or anything? And if I go to true crime stuff, then, yeah, I’ll hit him with the suicide or hit him with the murders, that kind of stuff.

And then the more recent stuff where that has happened more recently. But some of the paranormal stuff boards that are in the museum that were donated because the previous owners had a bad experience with them. So just talking about a stranger things board, that’s in the museum where it’s a new board, and most people, when they think of haunted items, think of old items, and that was made in 2017.

So just talking it, like, telling the story kind of slow and listening to like, well, they didn’t put a returner dress on the package. They only put a note in the board and Just talking out. So usually get an idea of the kids attention span and how much they’re listening by the faces they start making. And yeah. Being able to tell a cool story like that and have them freak out and then especially the paranormal stuff that people claim in the museum.

And then see them all of a sudden be like, my chest hurts too. I can’t be on this side of the room or things like that where they want to leave the museum because of the pressure they feel after I tell them the story. I love that. Are you ever going to have to make them sign a waiver on the way in? Just in mean? I would. I think if they know it’s like William Castle, you know what I mean? You sign this thing that I’m not responsible for anything.

If you get a heart attack or something like that, maybe you should. Yeah. Just like, hey, I don’t want to tell you any of the worst stories, but things happen. I think that would scare people more. Two years ago, the talking Board Historical Society went to Michigan Paracon, which is the world’s largest paranormal convention. And we had a room of just donated boards, like all the boards that have been donated over the years, what the story was behind them, why they were donated.

And we had people sign a piece of paper basically saying that we weren’t responsible if anything followed them home, any demons or things like that. And for us, it was a way of getting their email address and being able to put them on a mailing list. But so many people at a paranormal convention where you think that they’re open to that, they really want to have the experience of something happening.

That’s why you investigate. And how many people would not go into that room and so many people would not want to sign that waiver. Definitely that puts you in a different mindset going into that space. How much do you think that is? Religious puritanism and stuff, is Ouija even compatible with an incredibly religious person in this country? I think a lot of know religion is a funny thing, man.

You know what I mean? I think most people pick and choose what they like from the religion and don’t necessarily follow which religion is the right one? What’s that? Which religion is the right one? The right one? Yeah. Which one has it right? Oh, for me? Well, I’m hoping you have the objective answer here. I don’t want the subjective answer for a question this important. Yeah. I mean, for me, zero religion is the right answer.

You know what I mean? I think trying to say one religion is better than the other is pretty funny because they all start the same way, that you have to believe that something really crazy happened and no one else can believe it. Are there any religions that are more or less compatible with Ouija from what you’ve experienced, or is it all live in different realms? No, I think it lives in different realms.

And people grow up differently. You know what I mean? Some people are like real hardcore, practicing devout Christians or something like that, but other people didn’t grow up like that. But they have a relative who’s just told them, stay away from the Ouija board. And like any kid who’s told not to do something, I always laugh. I’m like, that’s the sure way to get them to actually use the Ouija board.

Tell them not to do it. But, yeah, I can’t really say it’s one religion more than another, but more just how you were raised. So I want to wrap up here a little bit, because we could keep talking about. I would love to just go on about Ouija related music or Ouija related pop culture. Was when I went to the museum, when you walked towards the couch, you also have Ouija boards that are kind of plastered up on the inside.

You wouldn’t even know they were there unless you poke your head in and you look up and you had some really wild, psychedelic and looking Ouija boards. Do you know which ones I’m talking about? Oh, yeah, absolutely. Which ones were back there? And why are they hidden away from the public? Are those your favorites, or are those, like, the dangerous ones? There was space in the museum, and I was like, I’m a maximist.

If you could see the house, you would see there’s almost no wall space here. Everything is done. And with the museum, I run a fine line of, like, I want people to take stuff in and not just be, like, overloaded and not kind of realize what they’re looking at. But there, I felt was there was space that people sitting on the couch could look up and see it.

There’s a board from 1967, when you’re looking at it from the couch, looking up, and it’s called the tarot wheel, and it has tarot cards around a circled alphabet. And so that board, I like it because it’s kind of a dual purpose board. You came with a booklet, and you interpreted the cards as well as the talking board aspect of it. Next to that is a board called the Mantic Message Mat, which is a large 24 inch circle, and it has a double alphabet on it.

So when you’re using it, it’s not always upside down to the person you’re using it with. And that one ended up coming from Geraldine Saunders, the only estate of Geraldine Saunders. She was the first female cruise ship director. She wrote a book in the 70s called the Love Boat, which became the TV show and very fascinating life. And so I like to kind of tell, it’s really kind of a dark story about the Ouija board.

And the board next to that is another circle board where called the Ziara, which has basically the whole dictionary on it. It has just the alphabet and then probably a thousand different words on there. And it’s meant to really speed up the conversation. So those boards in particular, I like them because they’re kind of dual purposes to them. And not just the alphabet on a board, but like, a different way of having the conversation or a more insightful conversation.

Could you use an actual dictionary as a Ouija board? Like, just flip through the pages until you kind of hit one that feels like that’s what they want? Yeah. I mean, to me, I always tell people who are nervous to come in a room full of Ouija boards. I’m like, you know, the cereal box could be a Ouija board. You have the right size on, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a part of a word, if it’s the alphabet, it’s the alphabet.

So to me, anything can be used in that way, as long as you have the right size planchette to go to. Love that. I love that. A cereal box could absolutely be a Ouija board. That’s similar. One of my favorite retorts when someone’s asking to define conspiracy theories, I mean, depending on how loose your definition is. But your mom and your dad planning a surprise birthday party for you could be a conspiracy.

Right? And it’s only a theory if you’re assuming when they’re meeting and what they’re talking about without actually knowing it. I know people that they prefer pendulum instead of Ouija. And a lot of times they tell me they open up a book and they use the pendulum on there and have more conversations with that because the words are already spelled out. So that’s happened as well, too. So anything could be a Ouija board.

Is there a way to influence the pendulum the same way, like, an actual person influencing it? Because it seems like a pendulum is, like, on its own at that point. Yeah. I’ve never really used pendulum. I would think that there’s always that element that someone is moving it, just like the planchette, the pendulum. I think you can somehow manipulate it enough that it could move. The pendulum is usually a more dumbed down conversation.

It’s usually just yes and no. But I do meet people that they prefer that. And like I said, opening up a book and using it that way, I think a lot of the stigma why pendulum might be more preferred is not just being dumbed down, is that there’s really no horror movies about pendulum boards yet. Until we see the new Witch board, of course, which does not have a Ouija board in it.

Wait, are you just giving me insider information or is this publicly known? That’s a good question. Maybe we should cut this out because I don’t know if it’s publicly known or not, but there is a new between us right now. There is a new witchboard film coming out and the Ouija board is not in it. It’s a pendulum board. I mean, I’m still in. Man, if they only bought the franchise to merely tug at the heartstrings of people that look fondly back on the first two, I’m still in.

Even if I know going in, I’m still in. All right. Can you tell people again where to find you, where your shops at what hours you’re open? The best time of the year to come. Because I went there a month before October, because I heard how crazy it gets. And I was pleasantly surprised that even in late September it was nice. I didn’t have to wait in line for almost anything.

The streets weren’t busy. And then I think, like October 1, I saw a picture of the street and it was like Mardi Gras. Yeah, for me. So I’m 127 Essex street, that’s right on the main drag in Salem. And we’re open year round, seven days a week. We pretty much are only closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. And then right now we’re still open eleven to eight, seven days a week.

We change to our winter hours in another week or two, mostly. Eleven to six is most of it. And then I’m there as much as I possibly can be. If you’re interested in coming to the museum, message through Instagram or Facebook. And as the winter months go on, I’m going to take some time off. I haven’t had a day off since July 4, so I’m going to take it some time off to go down to Baltimore.

But if you’re interested in coming to the museum, send a message. Let me know the dates you’re coming. And I always put them in my calendar and I do my best. If you took the time to write to me, then I will really try to rearrange my schedule to be there on the day that you’re coming because I love being there and meeting people. So I want people to have the best experience possible.

So, yeah, if anyone’s listening here and you want to come to the museum, just message us through Instagram, Facebook, and I’ll get back to you. It’s just me. I’m a one man show. That’s awesome. And you said you’re taking some time off and going to Baltimore, but is that really time off? Isn’t that just you scouting and planning? Know, phase two? Well, I have the location. I have to start setting it up.

Okay. That’s awesome, man. That’s so cool. So coming soon to Boston. That’s sweet, man. Baltimore? Yeah, sorry, already in or in Salem. Coming soon to Baltimore. Is there any reason not to have one in Boston proper? Or is Salem close enough that you’ve already got it covered? Boston. Salem’s just way cooler. Did you go to Boston on your did? Well, actually, I couldn’t get a hotel anywhere in Salem, so we stayed in Boston and then just took the train back over a few times.

Yeah, I mean, I’ve lived in Boston for many years, but I prefer Salem. I just like, Salem’s just a know park. Spend the day walking around. You don’t have to know moving the car or driving places. And it’s just a smaller cooler there. Are there any specific places you would recommend for people to stay there? Because they always push, like the Hawthorne? Hawthorne is known as more of like, the Haunted Hotel in Salem.

Stepping Stone Inn Hotel Salem. There’s a few other places. And if you’re coming off season, then it should be pretty easy to find something. I consider on season to be pretty much August to November is pretty much the season. All right, well, you heard it here from the expert himself, John. And definitely I can’t really praise the Salem Witchboard Museum enough after being, I would say I went to at least 10% of the museums.

I know there’s a lot of them out there, but at least on the strip, we hit like all the big ones. And the Salem Witchboard Museum was the highlight for sure. You’re the only person that I reached back out to and was like, hey, I loved everything about it. I want to talk more about it. It was an awesome conversation. So, yeah, John, you are awesome. Your Salem Witchboard Museum is awesome.

And thanks for coming on to the show and talking to me about Ouija for an hour and a half. My pleasure, man. I love talking about Ouija board. It’s great meeting you again, and I really appreciate you having me on. All right, and I’m going to leave everyone with advertisement for our latest comic called Chaos Twins. If you’re watching this, you can still grab a copy right now, but they’re selling out quick.

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  • Paranoid American

    Paranoid American is the ingenious mind behind the Gematria Calculator on TruthMafia.com. He is revered as one of the most trusted capos, possessing extensive knowledge in ancient religions, particularly the Phoenicians, as well as a profound understanding of occult magic. His prowess as a graphic designer is unparalleled, showcasing breathtaking creations through the power of AI. A warrior of truth, he has founded paranoidAmerican.com and OccultDecode.com, establishing himself as a true force to be reckoned with.

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