Smithsonian has a fine article on the Ouija board's history. The whole thing is delightful, so we'll only excerpt a few key pieces here.
ITEM: ironic death by Ouija.
Kennard CEO "William Fuld... died in 1927 after a freak fall from the roof of his new factory—a factory he said the Ouija board told him to build."
ITEM: early 20th-century crime connections.
In 1921, The New York Times reported that a Chicago woman being sent to a psychiatric hospital tried to explain to doctors that she wasn’t suffering from mania, but that Ouija spirits had told her to leave her mother’s dead body in the living room for 15 days before burying her in the backyard. In 1930, newspaper readers thrilled to accounts of two women in Buffalo, New York, who’d murdered another woman, supposedly on the encouragement of Ouija board messages.
ITEM: the pivotal role of The Exorcist (1973), within which was
the implication that 12-year-old Regan was possessed by a demon after playing with a Ouija board by herself changed how people saw the board. “It’s kind of like Psycho—no one was afraid of showers until that scene… It’s a clear line,” says Murch, explaining that before The Exorcist, film and TV depictions of the Ouija board were usually jokey, hokey, and silly—“I Love Lucy,” for example, featured a 1951 episode in which Lucy and Ethel host a séance using the Ouija board. “But for at least 10 years afterwards, it’s no joke…"
ITEM: Ouija meets the Turing test.
Their initial experiments involved a Ouija-playing robot: Participants were told that they were playing with a person in another room via teleconferencing; the robot, they were told, mimicked the movements of the other person. In actuality, the robot’s movements simply amplified the participants’ motions and the person in the other room was just a ruse, a way to get the participant to think they weren’t in control.
Does the board still have this post-Exorcist resonance, generations later? It does appear in the first Paranormal Activity movie (2007).
(thanks to Steven "Human Planchette" Kaye; spooky board photo by Gabriel Molina)