The attempt to communicate with spirits of the dead is absolutely forbidden by God (Leviticus:19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy:18:11). Nevertheless, it has been practiced in all cultures since the beginning of time. Of course, there was also the belief that the gods and other guiding spirits could be contacted for their help as well.
In the Western world spiritualism attracted many prominent people, such as abolitionist orator William Lloyd Garrison, writers James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant, and journalist-publisher Horace Greeley. Queen Victoria routinely consulted mediums. Thomas Edison spent years trying to devise an electronic means of communication with departed spirits. The Ouija board was developed specifically to communicate with the spirits of those who had died in World War I.