Most people will know of the planchette through its modern association with the Ouija board, usually triangular or heart-shaped a planchette is also known as a ‘pointer’ or ‘indicator’. Used in conjunction with the Ouija board a planchette is used to spell out messages, supposedly from spirits or the dead.
The word ‘planchette’ is French, and translated into English it becomes ‘little plank’, but the use of Planchettes as a means of contacting spirits outdates the invention of the Ouija board itself.
Fuji and Automatic Writing
‘Fuji’ is the ancient Chinese practise of ‘automatic writing’ utilising a planchette, automatic writing is the process of producing written material whilst by-passing the conscious mind. With the practitioner supposedly unaware of their actions and their hands guided by unknown forces written messages from powers unknown are said to appear.
Fuji is a method of automatic writing that was in use during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and used a planchette usually made of willow or peach branch to receive these mysterious messages.
Planchettes and the Ideomotor Effect
One theory put forward to counteract the beliefs of automatic writing and the otherworldly messages received via Ouija boards is that of the ‘ideomotor effect’. The ideomotor effect is the psychological phenomenon through which subjects make motions unconsciously, the body reacting reflexively to ideas outside of the conscious mind, without the practitioner choosing to take action. ‘Tears’ are given as an example of the ideomotor effect, the eyes produce tears unconsciously as a reaction to sadness, so the ideomotor effect with regards to Ouija board use and automatic writing suggests that the planchette is moved by the practitioner, whether they are aware of it, or not.
How to use Ouija Board Planchettes and Ouija Boards
It is said that a minimum of two people should be present in order to play the Ouija board successfully, the planchette or pointer should be placed into the center of the Ouija board and all players are then required to lay their fingers gently upon the planchette.
Players then take turns to ask questions of the Ouija board (taking care that only one person asks a question at any one time), should a successful connection have been established with the ‘other side’ the planchette should begin to move in response to your question, either answering with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or by spelling out an answer using the numbers or letters upon the Ouija board.