Zozo: A Ouija Board Phenomenon

Posted by on August 19, 2014
A planchette rests on a Ouija board, ready to be used.

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.

The first reported appearance of this entity 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, with numerous tales told of the Ouija spirit, the one who devours souls and changes lives.

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
  • a conversation with one spirit is interrupted by another entity, which becomes increasingly antagonistic
  • the entity 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.

The Demon Zozo

Image: John Silliman/Unsplash

In 2012, a user at Ghost-Space.com (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.

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?

A Zozo Possession

Another Internet-goer, this one found while perusing the always-reliable Yahoo Answers, shared her own experience with the mischievous demon. She had been using a Ouija board with a friend one cold Saturday evening, under the glow of red candlelight, when the spirit they were talking to said it was called Zozo. At that exact moment, her friend began to complain of a terrible headache.

Things would only get worse from there.

“That night, she slept-walked…into my sister’s room,” she said. Her friend then “started talking some gibberish, screamed ‘RED!’ and…then left the room and could not be found in the house for a good half hour.” She had seemingly disappeared.

They searched and searched for her. Every room of the house. When the poster finally gave up and checked her own room one last time, mysteriously, her friend was there. Had Zozo been playing a terrible trick, or worse – had he possessed this person?

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, who has spent several years researching the Zozo phenomenon. 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?

If you’d like to read more strange cases about Zozo, check out my post Zozo Unchained: Ghoulish Tales of the Ouija Demon Beyond the Board.

advertisement

Hey!

Like this article? Subscribe to the Stranger Dimensions mailing list to receive updates whenever a new post is added. It's free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Post by Rob Schwarz

Rob Schwarz is a writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. He manages Stranger Dimensions in between changing aquarium filters and reading bad novels about mermaids.