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Cryptique: A Spirit Board from Salem, Massachusetts
by Spirited Ventures

Cryptique On my honeymoon in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, I dragged my new husband along to the centuries-old graveyards, to read the headstones and admire the unique cemetery art. In our honeymoon photos you won't find us smiling on a beach or celebrating with champagne - no, you'll find oddly angled pictures of graveyard gates, mausoleums, and graves under old pine trees. I became comfortable with graveyards at an early age, after my mother died, and I have a simple fascination with how we treat death. Cryptique appealed to me immediately, with its high quality rendering of old New England gravestone art.

Cryptique is a spirit (or talking) board that was inspired by the graveyards of old Salem and Marblehead, Mass. It is surprisingly beautiful. The elegant board is done in deep blue, with a wood pattern background designed after the trees at Old Burial Hill in Marblehead. The letters, numbers, and words on the board look like they were printed in embossed gold, and the board has a border of gold, winged skulls. Accompanying the board is the moveable piece called the "seer," shaped like a tombstone with a grayish marble background, and decorated with a winged skull and the words, "Let the Spirit Move You." Participants' hands are lightly placed upon the seer, a question is asked, and voila . answers are mysteriously revealed, as the seer glides smoothly across the board, pausing over letters to spell out full messages. The seer has five little legs, which keep it upright during movement. This one won't be tipping over! Unlike the Ouija board, which is the most well known spirit board, Cryptique answers with a "Yea" or a "Nay," instead of a "Yes" or a "No," and it features Roman numerals. When a consultation is finished, it does not say "Goodbye" - it says, "Rest In Peace."

How does Cryptique work? I'm inclined to say it has something to do with an inner knowing, a psychological response, rather than communication with the dead, as some might believe. My feeling is that if it were the dead who were guiding the movement of the seer, they'd be pushing all sorts of things around (opening doors for us, finding us money, turning off the lights when we forgot to), as we went about our lives - just kidding! The creators of Cryptique say it doesn't really matter. As Cryptique may help us to look within and find the answers that are already there, it could be considered a tool of divination. Many people use the Ouija board in such a way.

This is a fun, unique, and quite handsome spirit board. The care that went into creating this board is obvious in the fine artwork and overall design. It measures a substantial 11.5" by 17.5", and has no folds to interfere with the seer's movement. Letters and numerals are well positioned on the board, for ease of viewing through the seer. Cryptique comes packaged in a very nice, sturdy box, which is decorated with the same background design as on the tombstone seer. There is also plenty of room in the box for storing a pad and pencil, to record messages retrieved by Cryptique. Instructions and a brief history are included. Much interesting information can be found online at the Cryptique website, including a history of spirit boards (which might surprise you!), the story behind Cryptique, and articles about Cryptique's creators.

Go ahead and try this one - who could resist those winged skulls?

Visit the Cryptique site for more information, a history of spirit boards, a virtual board, and screensavers:
Cryptique ~ Let the Spirit Move You

Read user reviews or purchase online at Amazon:
Cryptique at Amazon

All writing and photography © N Levine - Illumination Tarot, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2021