Robert's grandmother, Sarita Shulman, loved horror/science fiction and they often spent hours watching Creature Double Feature together. Perhaps black and white movies planted the seeds that would grow into a full-fledged obsession. After watching the movie Witchboard in 1986 his strange relationship with the Ouija board began. Robert purchased his first antique Ouija board in the summer of 1993 while attending college in New Hampshire. After his second purchase he realized there were many different Ouija boards and continued collecting. Distance has never been an issue for Robert, and he is known to drive hours for a board he doesn't yet possess. Though he never mentions costs it is rumored he has spent a small fortune collecting these rare talking boards. He currently claims to own over 300 different talking boards. He also collects all things William Fuld.
As he studied the history of the Ouija board and William Fuld, he often found inaccurate and poorly researched articles. This inspired his extreme research methods often traveling to Maryland and tracking down descendants of all those involved with the invention of the Ouija board. He has spent over fifteen years uncovering the final resting places of these gentlemen that have been long lost to history. To date he has discovered the grave sites for William Fuld, Isaac Fuld, Elijah Bond, Harry Welles Rusk, William H. A. Maupin, Col. Washington Bowie, Washington Bowie, Jr., Charles Kennard, and E. C. Reiche. John F. Green's grave continues to elude him and that search continues.
In the fall of 1997 Robert Murch found himself in the middle of the ninety-six year old Fuld family feud. While researching the history of William Fuld and the Ouija board, he created a website called "OuijaWitch's Wonderful World of Talking Boards." Through the site he received e-mails from both Kathy Fuld, William Fuld's granddaughter, and Stuart Fuld, Isaac Fuld's grandson. Both Kathy and Stuart had similar questions about their family and through those questions were able to bridge a century and bury the hatchet. With Robert's urging, Kathy called Stuart and the family feud was over. Though the Fuld family often credits him with ending the feud he prefers to credit them and the Ouija board. Robert Murch is the Fuld family's personal historian and is considered the foremost expert on the history of William Fuld and the Ouija board.
Kathy and Robert believed that between the two of them they had the perfect formula to launch the next generation of talking boards. On January 6th 1999 Kathy and Robert filed for a trademark on the word Cryptique and two copyrights on its directions and on the layout of the board. They then incorporated in Maryland under the name Thomas & Long, LLC. On October 14th 1999 they assigned the interests of those registrations to that company.
That next year Kathy decided to step back from the company and become Cryptique's biggest fan. Robert and his then fiancé now husband, Gary Halteman, incorporated in Massachusetts as Spirited Ventures Inc. On September 9th 2000 Thomas & Long, LLC assigned the Cryptique trademark and both copyrights to Spirited Ventures, Inc. They also registered a new trademark Let The Spirit Move You. This mark became Cryptique's tag line and appeared on its planchette or seer. With that move to Massachusetts Cryptique officially became “A Spirit Board from Salem, Massachusetts” which appeared on the front of its box as well. Cryptique ceased production in 2005.
Since then Robert has worked with DreamWorks Studios as their Ouija consultant on the movie What Lies Beneath, and was contacted by the producers of the movies Sugar & Spice and Drive Thru as well. He has made appearances on Showtime's Bullshit!, The Travel Channel, MTV, the BBC, Australian radio, U. S. radio, and consulted on A & E's Paranormal State. He has also been featured in articles published in the Associated Press, USA Today, CNN.com, ABCNews.com and various local newspapers. He is often interviewed and consulted for books and other projects dealing with Ouija or talking boards and is an occasional guest presenter at Salem's annual Festival of the Dead.
With a house full of Ouija trivia and rare artifacts never before seen by the public, the time had come to build the ultimate Ouija website dedicated and told through William Fuld, “Father of the Ouija Board.” Beginning in January of 2007 in Robert Murch set about to build WilliamFuld.com, which launched in December of 2007. It's inarguably the most complete Ouija history website ever created. In fact it's so well researched it's the only one backed and authorized by descendants of those men and women responsible for the Ouija board's beginnings and rise to pop icon status. The sole purpose of this website is discover and protect the Ouija board's history while setting the record straight. Until Murch's website much of what had been written was either poorly researched and in some cases just plain fiction. Murch thinks you'll agree that putting in the time to get the facts straight proves to be a much more interesting story.
In October of 2007 Robert Murch discovered Elijah Jefferson Bond’s unmarked grave in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. He then worked tirelessly with the cemetery and eventually received permission to install a gravestone for Bond. Coincidentally, it was during this process that he also located Walter Dent, Jr., Bond’s great grandnephew and Winifred Pierce, his great great grandniece. Walter Dent was 98 at the time, and he and his daughter generously gave Murch their family’s permission to erect a memorial for Bond.
Tegeler Monuments agreed to take on the project and began crafting Bond’s headstone while Murch raised the funds to pay for the memorial. Thanks to these people and Murch’s hard work there is now a place where Ouija fans can visit and pay their respects to the man who first patented a favorite piece of Americana.
In the summer of 2008 Robert Murch was contacted by Nick Young who's great uncle, Joe Young, co-wrote the 1920 hit "Ouija Mine." Nick, lead singer for rock-electroclash band A. I., was looking for a copy of the sheet music and Murch was happy to oblige. On January 1, 2009 Colleen Barton, the great niece of Charles Lighthiser, president of the International Novelty Company who sold the rights to manufacture the Ouija board in Canada to the Copp Clark Company in 1892, also contacted Murch. Working with descendants of those involved with the Ouija board is Murch's specialty.
Also in the summer of 2008, Robert Murch began working with Michael Albert, President of Papa's Toys, current manufacturers of he Canadian Ouija board. With the help of Albert, The Toronto Public Library, and the McMaster Library, Murch has successfully traced the Ouija through its many Canadian incarnations and documented it's development throughout Canada. Without this information much of the Ouija board's Canadian past would be lost.
In the Spring of 2009 two years of coordinating with Baltimore Maryland’s Mayor’s office paid off. The Ouija factory William Fuld built at the suggestion of the board and produced them from 1919 through the 1940s was designated a historic city landmark.
Robert L Murch Jr., resides in Boston, Massachusetts. He continues working with Baltimore city officials, the Maryland Historical Society, The Baltimore Museum of Industry, and the Maryland State Archives to preserve their Ouija legacy and document their favorite son, William Fuld. Today he is also working with award-winning filmmaker T. Patrick Murray to create the ultimate documentary on the Ouija board. What's next for Murch? Just ask the Ouija board!