Baltimore, Maryland, is a self-described “City of Firsts,” and one of the most esoteric of these pioneering actions is the naming of the classic occult game the Ouija Board, which happened in a boarding house that now houses a 7-Eleven.
According to Charles Kennard, the first to manufacture the Ouija board, the “Mystifying Oracle” received its name in April of 1890 at 529 North Charles Street when he, Elijah Bond, patentee of the board, and Helen Peters, a strong medium who would later prove to the Patent Office that the board worked, asked the board what it wanted to be called.
The seance occurred in Bond’s rooms in what at that time was a boarding house known as the Langham Hotel located at 529 North Charles. Today, that building still stands, but now it is home to a decidedly less magical 7-Eleven convenience store. For years, all trace of the event that created an entire brand of fun occult devices had been wiped away and all but forgotten, save for the efforts of Ouija history superhero Robert Murch, founder of The Talking Board Historical Society.
In 2015, Murch and the Talking Board Historical Society worked with the city of Baltimore and got authorization to install a plaque in the 7-Eleven that remembered and told the story of Ouija history on the spot. They originally planned to install the plaque during a Ouija convention, but the unfortunate riots that took place in the city that year saw the 7-Eleven ransacked. Undaunted, once the convenience store was put back in order, Murch was finally able to have the plaque installed.
Today you can visit the 7-Eleven and see the historic plaque describing the events of that fateful night that changed the game of popular occultism. For more on the story of the naming of the Ouija board, read our article on it here.
(OUIJA and MYSTIFYING ORACLE are both registered trademarks of Hasbro, Inc.)
Know Before You Go
The historic plaque is located just inside to your right as you walk into the 7-11.