Ask the Glass

We're ready for a seance with this circular card arrangement, the funereal black candle, inverted wineglass, and an authentic porcelain spirit hand from 1905. The spirit hand, seemingly unaided by the medium, would signal the presence of a spirit by rapping mysteriously on the table. It could operate in well lighted conditions unlike spirit trumpets and other instruments that required almost total darkness.

Ask The Glass

You may know it as Ask the Glass, Spirit of the Glass, the Moving Wineglass, or by a number of other titles, but no matter what the name, this improvised Ouija board is essentially the same. A ring of alphabet cards surrounds a makeshift planchette, usually an upside down wineglass. Two cards marked YES and NO are at opposite points of the circle. The sitters lightly touch the base of the wineglass, ask a question and then wait patiently for the glass to slide to the different letters, spelling out the answer. Some find that rituals like purifying the wineglass by momentarily holding it over the flame of the candle or reciting an invocation enhances the seance experience. This is an old, old way to make a Ouija board. The earliest mention we found was in a "do it yourself" article printed in a spiritualist magazine dated 1911 but we are certain that it is even older than that. You may want to cut out some cardboard squares, letter them and try it out for yourself.


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