By Rory Reynolds
A OUIJA board thought to have been used by the creator of Sherlock Holmes has been found in a secret compartment at a school of paranormal studies.
Staff at the Edinburgh College of Parapsychology found the occult Victorian device hidden in small cupboard built into a kitchen wall, 20 feet out of reach.
The spooky find – used to spell out messages during a Séance – is thought to have been used by mystery writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The device was found with its original packaging, and was labelled as a “Telepathic Spirit Communicator.”
Edinburgh-born Doyle immersed himself in the practice of spiritualism in 1906, after his wife Louisa and son Kingsley died.Doyle found solace in the practice, which believes that contact can be made with people beyond the grave.The area is even said to have influenced his writing, and his novel, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, was even banned in the Soviet Union because it was said to be occultist.
Roberta Gordon, 62, a medium and president of the college, said the Victorian device was found along with a “Dungeon Tube” with is said to use musical vibrations to relieve pain.
She said: “We were very excited to be quite honest.
“Arthur Conan Doyle was very much into spiritualism so there is every chance he would have seen some of the equipment we found.”
“There is no way we will be parting with any of it though – it’s part of our heritage.”
Roberta’s husband Richard, 66, from Gullane, East Lothian added: “We’ve found quite a few unusual things while we’ve been clearing out the building, like strange recordings.
“The college has been here for 77 years so there’s a lot to find.
“I believe Doyle used to frequent the building.
“And it’s well known that he was a spiritualist – it’s very possible that he used the board.
“The board was made in Manchester, and we’ve got the packaging as well.
“We’re not sure how old it is yet, but the wheels are made of bone – not plastic or wood.”
Roberta and husband Richard have spent the last few months renovating the building, which is in the upmarket west end of the city.
But the ouija board is not the first unsettling discovery the couple have made.
They’ve also found old records containing medium sessions and red lights used during Derren Brown style séances.
Roberta said: “We had been told there was paint stored in one of the high-up cupboards, so we set about looking for it.
“But instead we discovered all of this – we couldn’t believe it.”
The college was founded in 1932, but followers of spiritualism existed long before then, often operating in secret for fear of persecution by the authorities.