Zozo: A Terrifying Ouija Board Phenomenon

In every reported encounter with the entity known as Zozo, there is a single common thread: darkness. To communicate with Zozo via a Ouija board is said to invite an unrelenting demonic force into your life.

But what is Zozo, and why has it terrorized thousands of people around the world? This, I’m afraid, is not an easy question to answer. Its first appearance reportedly occurred in 1816, when a young girl in Picardy, France fell victim to a severe demonic possession (this according to the Dictionnaire Infernal, published in 1818 by Jacques Collin de Plancy). She became the vessel for a number of demons, one of which was our mysterious Zozo.

Later, when Ouija boards entered popular culture in the 20th Century, stories of Zozo began to rise. The entity, if it does exist, exhibits all the tell-tale signs of a demon. Some believe that if you even so much as say its name out loud, Zozo will haunt you from that day forward. Just as well, some accounts go beyond tales of those simply gathered around a Ouija board and conversing with the other side. Many involve Zozo venturing outside the board.

A Planchette of Stories

Zozo is a complicated entity, or so it would seem. In most stories, it’s initially friendly, sometimes using a different name. Occasionally, it will appear in the middle of a conversation with another spirit and interrupt the communication.

The planchette performs strange figure eights or “inverted Zs,” and answers become repetitive. But it does not take long for an encounter with Zozo to turn frighteningly negative.

Omens of the Demon

There is seemingly no end to the number of bizarre stories shared online about Zozo. They even tend to have certain elements in common, as mentioned above.

For example, an encounter with Zozo while using a Ouija board usually involves one of the following events (though this list is not exhaustive):

  • the planchette draws figure 8s or Zs on the board
  • the planchette repetitively spells out Z-O-Z-O, Z-A-Z-A, or even M-A-M-A, moving in a rapid left-to-right or right-to-left fashion (it’s unclear what relation “MAMA” may have to the Zozo demon)
  • a conversation with one spirit is interrupted by another entity, which becomes increasingly antagonistic
  • the entity often claims to be a deceased loved one

It’s difficult to tell which stories about Zozo are authentic and which are nothing more than urban legends. Some tell of murders and suicides, while others involve possession, physical ailments, abuse, curses, and other phenomena commonly associated with demonic forces.

Some have even claimed that Zozo attached to them or their family, like a parasitic demon.

The following are a handful of stories about Zozo that have appeared throughout the Internet. Perhaps they’ll give you a better idea of what it’s like to summon the ouija demon into your life. Follow their links to read more.

“We called him Oz.”

Image: John Silliman/Unsplash

In 2012, a user at (now inaccessible, but may be found here) shared the story of a confrontation with a suspicious Ouija spirit. Her friend had been asking the spirit board questions about her recently-deceased father, which it answered correctly.

Then, the board unexpectedly turned its attention to her mother.

Again, the board seemed to have a supernatural knowledge of their parents. “We were both in tears,” she wrote. Then, the active spirit seemed to “switch” again. They asked who it was, this time, and the reply was haunting: “The pointer went O Z O Z O Z O Z O. We called him Oz. We asked him to blow out a candle to prove himself and before we completed the sentence the candle was out.”

The strange spirit also knew the exact time, when asked. However, it would later reveal a haunting truth – he had been there the whole time, posing as her friend’s father and her mother, answering questions correctly by reading their minds.

“…that’s how he gave us the answers to our questions, he was in our heads.”

The two of them immediately put the Ouija board away when the spirit began to curse. They wanted nothing more to do with this “Oz.” Unfortunately, when they returned to it a few weeks later, thinking the worst had passed, they again met Oz. “He was nasty, cursing at us, saying dark things,” she remembered. From then on, they seemed to experience nothing but bad luck.

It wasn’t until they finally researched their plight on the Internet that they learned of the infamous Ouija demon. Was “Oz” actually the malevolent Zozo?

Best Friends Forever

The Zozo demon would seem to be a persistent entity, and once it has marked a Ouija user, it might not let go easily.

One individual seems to have caught the demon’s interest, while using a Ouija board with his friends. “We like to play the Ouija board often to pass some time and laugh,” he writes, “But for the last couple of months, every weekend we get zozo.”

On one occasion, the entity threatened the user, causing him to end the session. The following night, he was startled awake: “I woke up in a cold sweat…”

He didn’t continue using the Ouija board with his friends, but some doors are not so easily closed. “They say it asks about where I am and why I’m not there. I don’t get it, why does it ask about me?”

Losing Control

A tale at Your Ghost Stories, published in 2012, shares yet another haunting experience. The poster, named April, had read stories about Zozo, herself, but didn’t believe them.

This, as you’ll see, would change.

She’d recently moved in with her sister, and to celebrate they’d had a few friends over. After a while, they decided to have some fun with a Ouija board, to ask it some questions about the afterlife and perhaps learn about the future. Nothing had ever gone wrong before. It was just a game.

They placed the board on the table, and placed their hands on the planchette. “Is there anyone there?” April asked. The board replied Yes. When they asked it to reveal its name, the planchette glided over to the Z, then the O. Just as we’ve seen before, ack and forth, Z O Z O Z O Z O. They asked the spirit what it wanted.

It replied, “Her.”

When they asked what it meant by that, it spelled out the name of one of her friends – “I was freaked,” recalled April – then returned to spelling its own name. Z O Z O. One of her other friends then became annoyed by the repetitive answers, and decided to provoke the spirit by cursing at it. “That’s when things got bad,” April said.

The planchette “began feeling hot” under their fingers. The spirit then began to spell out another word. M A M A. They felt a presence in the room. The air was heavy. Something was wrong. “I didn’t feel like myself,” April recalled, “I felt as if something was inside me.”

She felt nothing but hatred and anger, and began laughing and crying at the same time. It was at that moment they decided to end the Ouija session, though the strange feelings seemed to linger on.


Opening Doors

A man named Darren from Tulsa, Oklahoma shared his story on March 24, 2009 at the website True Ghost Tales. He’d long been fascinated with the occult, particularly Ouija boards, and had experienced many strange phenomena. He was also shocked, he said, “by how many times ZOZO showed up even in many different states and many different Ouija boards.”

Zozo, it would seem, can be found everywhere.

Darren recalled one particular encounter with Zozo as being “extremely evil.” He had entered his bathroom only to find his one-year-old daughter nearly drowned. She’d been left alone briefly in the tub by her mother, and “somehow the water got turned on and was overflowing.” No one had physically touched the faucet.

The following day, she was “hospitalized for some weird internal infection” and put into isolation. “We almost lost her,” recalled Darren, “And that was when I began to suspect a demonic attack.” Could Darren’s constant encounters with the demon Zozo have put his daughter’s life in danger? Or is using the Ouija board alone, a portal to doors that should remain unopened, enough to bring about such a terrible fate?

Zozo’s Deception

This final excerpt appears on the blog of paranormal researcher Darren Evans — yes, the very same Darren from the above story — who has spent several years researching the Zozo phenomenon after his own horrifying experience. If you’d like to read more Zozo experiences, I’d recommend giving it a look.

“There was a spirit that claimed to be that of a little boy. We also talked to a few other spirits on the board until one time this spirit came across and said his name Oz. I figured initials because I don’t recall any spirits giving there names, just initials.

Anyway, he was no fun and just plain mean. Everytime we would try to talk to one of the other friendly spirits, Oz always came back like he was much stronger than the others. When you would ask a question and he got angry, the eye would move frantically in a figure 8. He was just mean. Well, one night we got pretty trashed and asked some real mean things and acted mean back. It was funny at first, but it got serious in a hurry.

We started arguing with one another because some were getting spooked. We then came to our senses and said, “let’s get rid of this darn thing. We threw it away and nothing strange happened afterwards. Not sure I beleive in them or if they really even work. But it was a freaky experience. Although I talked a lot of smack that night, I was sort of fearful for a few days. I can’t remember to this day what Oz said, heck its been 20yrs ago. But, it wasn’t good at all!”

The Demonic Trickery Of Zozo

Image: ryan/Flickr via CC by 2.0

Is Zozo a demon? Well, I suppose your first question would be, “Is Zozo even real?” But for now I’d rather concentrate on the stories as told and leave the skepticism to others.

At any rate, not everyone believes Zozo is a demon.

Instead, there is a theory that Zozo is in fact nothing more than an evil spirit pretending to be a demon. After all, there’s no reason to believe that ghosts and other strange entities must tell the truth. They don’t have to play by any rules.

And that is a curious thing — in most communications with Zozo, the planchette on the Ouija board makes a repetitive movement through the alphabet, from Z to O and back again, over and over, as shared in the experience quoted above. But this could be a problem for those using the Ouija board.

You see, it is said that you shouldn’t go backwards in the alphabet (or in the numbers) on a Ouija board. Why? Because doing so is a method that demons and evil spirits use to open portals into our world and break through from the other side. Could the name ‘Zozo’ actually be a trick?

Zozo in Popular Media

Like Annabelle the Doll and other demons usually known for possession, in recent years Zozo has entered into popular culture. There’s even been at least one movie dedicated to the Ouija demon.

Taking inspiration from the strange stories of Zozo, a horror film titled I Am Zozo was released in 2012. The film was shot entirely on Super 8, but unfortunately its reception, according to Wikipedia, was “overwhelmingly negative.”

The film was, as you’d expect, about the terrifying events that follow after a group of friends use a Ouija board on Halloween.

Movies aside, while reading about Zozo I couldn’t help but think of a final possibility: Could Zozo be a tulpa, a shared experience? Like the Philip Experiment on a much grander scale, or the countless stories (and real life delusions) shared about the Slender Man, Zozo could be our own creation.

But does that make it any less real?

So, I ask: Have you ever used a Ouija board? Ever encountered the entity known as Zozo? I’ve personally never used one; I have an old keychain Ouija board that I doubt would perform particularly well as a conduit for spirits, much less a demon.

I’m not sure I believe. Do you?


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions. Might be a robot.

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