WINDBER, Pa. -- If you bump into something in Blair Murphy's haunted hotel, chances are it's a creepy doll or some antlered animal, looking directly at you with dead eyes. An enormous tarot card is painted across the ceiling. The Ouija board on the roof is even bigger, 44 feet by 29.

Murphy, who grew up in a funeral home in Haddonfield, Pa., has enough spiritual firepower in the 32-room, former brothel in Somerset County to summon a whole army of the undead to do his bidding.

He owns a former church up the street, too, in case other spirits are listening. But Murphy said he doesn't need prayers or curses to address "Ouijazilla," a recent challenger to his Guinness Book of World Records title for "World's Biggest Ouija Board."

"I'm not campaigning and complaining against them," he insists. "We'd probably all get along."

Ouijazilla, unveiled recently in a Salem, Mass., park, was built by Rick Schreck, a Middlesex County, N.J., tattoo artist and vice president of the Talking Board Historical Society. According to its website, the wooden Ouijazilla is as heavy as an elephant at 9,000 pounds, and at 3,168 square feet, it's more than twice the size of Murphy's roof board.

Ouijiazilla's planchette, the wooden piece on which users place their hands to channel spirits, is so large that Schreck has been photographed standing in its eye. Ripley's Believe It or Not! has given Ouijazilla the crown, but Guinness still lists Murphy's as the top talking board in the world.

When asked specifically whether the Ouija record was broken, a Guinness spokesman said Murphy's still stands and that Ouijazilla "is not the current record holder." Murphy said he spoke with Guinness and believes the issue stems from the advertisements painted on Ouijazilla's surface, including some for haunted attractions and paint companies, not unlike a diner placemat.

Murphy's Ouija board has no ads.

"Guinness is a real stickler," he said. "Ours is a real purist's board."

Schreck, in an email, said he 'don't know anything about that, I'm just into having fun." Shreck also said if he removed the "border" and "friends' businesses" from Ouijazilla, it would still be bigger than Murphy's board.

"The numbers can speak for themselves," he said. "OuijaZilla is undeniable ... with all due respect."

Shreck said he plans to submit Ouijazilla to Guinness.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Tuesday, November 12, 2019