Good Evening!  Check out the above aerial footage over the Midway and the town of Windber….



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WINDBER – Since Blair Murphy and some partners first purchased the Grand Midway Hotel in 2001, he has gotten to know the building’s roof very well.

“The Midway had a horrible roof,” he recalled. “When it would rain, the rain would get in the buildings.”

Repairs to the substructure, layers of rubber and tar sealed up the building and a silver layer of roof coating protects it.

That work also created what the artistic owner decided was a blank canvas, looking to be filled. With the building’s reputation as a haunted hotel and Murphy’s interest in the macabre, an Ouija board seemed natural.

“The Midway is already filled with creepy and spiritual art, so this was perfect,” Murphy said.

Murphy and his girlfriend, Camille Zamboni, contacted the Guinness World Records to see what is the largest Ouija board. The organization wrote back to say there is no recognized category for what it calls “talking boards.”

“They really liked the category,” Murphy said outside the hotel in the 1300 block of Midway Avenue in Windber.

“They gave us the parameters and we started forming ideas,” he said. “We are just now wrapping it up.”

Painting of the letters, symbols and words began last month, with Zamboni as chief artist. But there was a problem, Murphy said.

“The first day we started, it was rainy out,” Murphy said. “All the letters dripped like black blood. It was pretty dramatic.

“We had to start all over again. We had to put more silver down and begin again. It was cool, but it was also a lot more work.”

The 10-foot planchette, or pointer, was built of wood and placed on swivel wheels for movement around the board.

Other members of the team included Mark Swindler, Mark Portante, James Bertolasio and Nova Lux.

Brian Cano, host of the SyFy Channel’s “Haunted Collector,” also was involved.

The 44-by-29-foot version of the Parker Brothers board game is making its debut at sunset Tuesday – when the planchette will be hoisted to the roof of the three-story hotel for a game.

Murphy said he has submitted all the documentation to Guinness and is waiting for a decision on the new category of “largest talking board.” Ouija Board is the Parker Brothers trademark for the boards of letters, numbers and the words yes, no and sometimes hello and good-bye.

The Museum of Talking Boards website says the boards first appeared in the mid-1800s. They were called “spirit boards.”

“From 1890 to 1950, dozens of different manufacturers with names like Kennard, Fuld, Haskelite and Lee, cranked out their unique versions of the Wonderful Talking Board,” the website says.

Murphy said he’s looking forward to seeing the roof game board from an aerial view.

“I can’t wait until Google Earth updates its images here,” he said.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.


Brian Cano and Blair Murphy

James Bertolasio

Camille Zamboni

Moon over Windber

Mark Portante

Blair Murphy

Nova Lox



Fuld Loses His Balance While Placing New Flag Pole on His Baltimore Toy Factory
The New York Times. February 27th, 1927

BALTIMORE, Feb. 26 — William Fuld, toy manufacturer and inventor of the Ouija board for “spirit communications,” died this afternoon at St. Joseph’s Hospital from injuries received earlier in the day when he fell three stories to the street from the roof of his toy factory at Harford and Lamont Avenues. He was 54 years of age.

Mr. Fuld had gone to the roof to superintend the replacement of a worn-out flagpole. He was standing near the edge of the roof, balancing himself by grasping an iron support of the pole, according to the workmen, when the support pulled from its moorings and Mr. Fuld toppled over backward, and fell to the ground. At the hospital physicians found he was suffering from concussion of the brain, five fractured ribs, broken arms and a fractured leg.

The Ouija board, which became the rage throughout the country some years ago, consisted of a polished board with the letters of the alphabet and the words “yes” and “no” in the corners. A little five-legged table, upon which two sitters laid their hands, after the fashion of a spiritualist seance, moved about and spelled answers to questions.


Temple University campus…