"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

via Newspapers.com

Oh, those gossipy Ouija boards.  The "Chicago Tribune," January 18, 1920:
You may have beard of the oulja board, that weird piece of polished wood embellished with all the letters and all the numerals and the words ''yes" and "no" and "paltented."

You move a heart shaped "planchette" delicately over its surface, and the spirits guide it to the letters that spell out the answer to your question. It's the "Yes, Yes" board, "oui" being French. and ja German. But you ask it "Am I going to get a million dollars?" and it always says "No."

The new bungalow of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Yost in Lockport, Ill., is furnished with one of these boards. The Yosts go in quite a bit for spiritualism and belong to a spiritualistic society.

Mr. and Mrs. Yost and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Walter, all of Lockport, were the best of friends until recently. They belong to old families, attend the same lodges, church, parties, and all that sort of thing.

So the other day when Mrs. Walter announced her candidacy for oracle of the Royal Neighbors' lodge what was more natural than that she should look to her friend, Mrs. Yost, for support? And to her surprise Mrs. Yost opposed her, and was elected!

Mrs. Walter immediately set about to learn the cause of this peculiar act. Now suppose we hurl the rest of the yarn bluntly at the reader by saying:

On the night of Nov. 15 the new bungalow of the Yosts at Lockport was entered by burglars, and looted of a small sum of money, a bunch of groceries, and twenty-five pounds of raisins.

On Thanksgiving night the Yosts invited a party of friends. and during the evening they brought out their ouija board to entertain the crowd. Some one asked the board, "Who burgled our house?"

The planchette hesitated, it is declared, and then spelled out, "The Walter family."

It was not long after this that Mrs. Yost was elected oracle in her lodge, defeating her former friend, Mrs. Walter, and all Lockport began to talk, especially about the twenty-five pounds of raisins, and their probable use in this dry weather. Mrs. Walter, having heard these stories, visited her attorney, William R. McCabe. He---

Well, Mrs. Frank Walter of Lockport yesterday started suit for $10,000 damages against Mr. and Mrs. Albert Yost, her neighbors. and their ouija board, charging slander.

The sequel was recorded in the "Independence Daily Reporter," April 15, 1921.
The ouija board, queer little table which scampers back and forth across the alphabet, spelling out the distant and past and the dim future has no standing in a court of law. Any advice it gives is not slanderous.

These questions were decided yesterday when Mrs. Frank Walters lost the $10,000 slander suit which she had instituted against Mrs. Albert Yost.

Mrs. Walters charged that Mrs. Yost had circulated stories to the effect that the ouija board had revealed her as the robber who entered the Yost home last fall and stole several pounds of sugar, raisins and potatoes.

Judge De Selm, in the circuit court here, instructed the jury that if Mrs. Yost said the ouija board had revealed Mrs. Walters as the alleged robber, Mrs. Yost was not guilty. If Mrs. Yost made the remarks herself, however, and neglected to quote ouija, Mrs. Walters might collect.

While the courtroom, crowded with friends of the two women, both of whom are socially prominent in Lockport, waited, the jury deliberated and at the end of two hours brought in a verdict of not guilty. Mrs. Walters says she will appeal.
"Santa Cruz Evening News," April 27, 1921

As far as I can tell from the newspapers, the matter ended there.  So there you have it. According to U.S. law, you can say anything you like about your neighbors, provided a Ouija board said it first.

I'd like to ask Ouija a few questions myself. Such as, "Who in God's name wants twenty-five pounds of raisins?"

1 comment:

  1. The secret to the twenty-five pounds of radians can be derived from the comment about the dry weather :-) I speculate it was to be used to make raisin jack, quick booze :-)


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