Paranormal

Ouija – Cardboard and Plastic Toy or Mystical Portal?

With so much talk of Zozo demons, portals and evil entities, it’s time to have a look as the most recognized "occult" device out there, the Ouija.

Why has the Ouija become so feared? How did it come to be associated with negative energy? When first created, it was meant as a tool that could speak to loved ones in the afterlife. You could contact Uncle Rupert, Aunt Francis, a lost husband in the war and even the spirit of a departed pet. It had no negative associations at all, quite the opposite. It was seen as a positive influence that could even bring peace and happiness.

When did things change so that it could only contact evil? Who turned this board of Spiritualism into a tool of demonic conjuring? Part of that looks to be a product of Hollywood and movies like Exorcist and Witchboard. In both cases you have an innocent, young, female becoming prey to dark forces through use of the board. It makes for good storytelling, like Dracula seducing the women he wished to turn. However, it’s only a story.

Does it have something to do with Aleister Crowley? To be fair, there is a ton of misrepresentation about Crowley. Despite how it’s portrayed, Crowley wasn’t trying to conjure Satan. Further, he was considered wicked because of his sexual habits and indulgences. He referred to himself as "The Beast" in order to magnify his infamy.

Even if he was "evil", Crowley experimented with a great many things. He certainly read the bible, so should that be considered tainted? Crowley worked with Tarot cards and those aren’t being called a portal to hell. There is even a deck he designed.

Clearly not everyone thinks it’s evil, Amazon certainly treats it as a toy. You can get talking board coffee mugs, tumblers, pendants, keychains, mint boxes, hoodies, rings and sweatpants. In every sense of the word it’s a gimmick item. If there was any scientific evidence to the board’s power, or any of these Zozo claims were proven to be real, would it be allowed to be sold by a toy company?

Further proving it’s lack of power, National Geographic showed that when participants are blindfolded, the Ouija spells gibberish. The BBC and others have explained how the Ouija works and how it doesn’t. Even Penn and Teller, who are masters of the con, show how the Ouija doesn’t work.

Another master of illusion, Houdini proved every claim of mysticism to be a hoax, from seances to ectoplasm. The Ouija was used heavily in seances and not one of them proved to be valid. And this was during the time when talking boards had no demonic connection associated with them. Houdini wanted to commune with the dead, but it just wasn’t so.

But there are those that say the spirits need the participants eyes in order to spell words. Yet, paranormal investigators claim spirits can see them. Which group is lying?

People also claim the Ouija can predict the future and explain how it told them something 20 years ago and it just came true. If you can link events together that occur that far apart, you’re trying to find a cause and effect. This would be same as reading a fortune cooking that says you will come into great wealth and two weeks later you find $20 in the street. No one would say the fortune cookie had divine insight. But when it happens with the Ouija, people say it has power.

Looking at it, the Ouija uses a board and letters to spell out phrases from the other side That in mind, why aren’t people having the same experience Scrabble or Upwords? Why isn’t this mysterious humbug called Zozo showing up on Scrabble boards spelling out demonic words?

In our society, why is conjuring evil so damn easy and contacting good spirits so hard? People say they were only in the room with a Ouija and something bad followed them home. However, the same isn’t true about someone passing a church who then says a friendly angel followed them home to make breakfast and tidy up the house. If evil forces can throw books and upturn chairs, a good force should make something to eat and be useful.

If the Ouija was capable of working on conjuring those who have passed, why aren’t we talking to Einstein, Twain, Socrates, Houdini and other great minds so they can continue their work?

This may sound like heresy, but it’s not meant to be. But if the board allowed us to contact the dead, perhaps angels, perhaps higher spiritual beings, why isn’t it used in religious teachings? People don’t have a problem with prayer, so what’s wrong with something more direct?

A common claim toward the Ouija is that it works because of intent and belief. If you don’t believe, nothing will happen because the spirits know. If your intent is to contact a spirit, you will. How is that different than, "it works because I said so."

The Ouija has been debunked multiple times and is as mystical as a rabbit’s foot, lucky socks, game winning jersey, rain dance, blowing on dice or a double rainbow. When they work, people claim the power of the talisman. When they don’t, people claim other forces were acting against them, like the other team had more people with jerseys, or the magic ran out giving them their last wish.

As a final thought, since Darren and his ilk claim it’s so easy to conjure Zozo, why not take up the million dollar challenge laid down by James Randi and get Zozo to appear while he looks on?

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

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Ghost Adventures – Exorcism in Erie – S14E06

imageTo continue with the demonic theme we have going, Zak is in Erie, Colorado to help a family who’s house and son are under a supposed demonic oppression. Jeff and Darlene bought the house in 1997 and have experienced demonic activity including growls, shadow figures and some force that tried to throw their son Chris out the window. Zak attributes this to a massive fault line that runs under the house. However, the actual center of the activity seems to be Chris himself.

As Darlene describes it, Chris used to be loving and affectionate, but has since been taken with a lot of anger and heavy depression. Darlene feels Chris is under a demonic oppression and that he sees spirits all the time.

When questioned by Zak, Chris admits to going to "the witch’s house". There they found pentagrams, occult magazines and preserved animals in jars. They also found blood which he feels was part of a ritual sacrifice. Chris and his friends spent many hours there messing around trying to conjure something. Ultimately, Chris took a horseshoe from the house and buried it in his back yard. He also says he has seen the devil smiling at him.

Jeff and Darlene also have daughter who gives a quick interview and she says her son doesn’t like going over to their house because of the zombie ghost.

As they start looking around the house, Jay has an episode where his heart rate goes to 120 bpm and he gets red in the face. Zak also states the bed posts have turned red and look like devil horns.

Believing a dire demonic possession is in the making, Zak reaches out to Bishop Bryan Ouellette to perform an exorcism. Meanwhile, Aaron and Billy dig up the yard to find the "demonic horseshoe" only it isn’t buried at all, but is sitting in the garage in plain sight. Zak states that all the violent weather in the area is a form of demonic oppression and it manipulated someone to dig up the horseshoe and put it back in the garage.

Chris meets with the Bishop and says he feels cold, that there is energy in the room and that he feels it wants to take his life. During the blessing, Chris shakes violently and has no idea what’s going on, even though he’s keenly aware that his hands are shaking.

Zak has brought in Bill Chappell to bedazzle the masses with new gadgets that fluctuate and bounce in a manner Bill has never seen before. We have readings that go off the charts then bottom out as well as meters that rise and fall.

This coincides with Zak saying he sees a black mass on the stairs. Billy confirms there is something "billowing". The Spirit Box picks up "kill me" and "I’m breeding". Zak asks what the entity wants from Chris, and out of the garbled mess determines it says, "his soul" because that makes for better TV. As Zak pulls out the SLS camera, there is a figure dancing on the counter in the bathroom. This calls for a blessing of the house by Bishop Bryan.

The focal point is the basement and during the blessing a wet hand print appears on the wall of the stairs leading down. Zak says it looks like a child’s hand. Chris is upstairs during this and with the Mag Camera, there is a picture of him shrouded by a black covering. Zak says this is the dark figure he and Billy saw.

Bishop Bryan does a final blessing on the horseshoe or "demonic relic" as Zak keeps calling it and by the end his eyes are bloodshot and he is terribly congested. Proof again of demonic forces, so claims Zak.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous episode they have ever put their name too. It is utterly amazing that visiting an abandoned home and reading "occult magazines" will conjure a demonic spirit. Strangely, you don’t hear of angels following people who just happen to read a religious pamphlet. Further, Zak makes a wild leap to say the horseshoe is demonic and was used in rituals. How odd considering the horseshoe is normally considered a good luck charm.

It also appears Chris himself needs some medical attention. Another case where depression is associated with "demonic oppression". Has Chris seen a mental health specialist for his depression? Has he seen someone about his jerky movements? Depression isn’t caused by the devil. This isn’t Salem in the late 1600’s.

The hand print on the wall to the basement is dry wall repair kit that goes on pink and dries to white. As they sweep over it, you can see it drying in the center, but it’s still pink in the thicker areas.

The gizmos Bill is bringing in are a load of nonsense. Let’s conjure up some flashing lights without giving any sense of measurement and saying things are completely out of control and it’s never acted like this before.

Let’s also not forget the incidents with the Witch’s House happened so long ago that Chris has basically forgotten about it and can’t remember the details. Further, this deadly horseshoe was in the living room, yet no one else was effected. You would think such an evil totem would consume everyone who came within a dozen feet of it, let alone those who touched it. That would make it more cursed than the Brady idol.

Zak now sees the devil in everything. He’s even going to say it’s responsible for the weather. Funny how the houses next door don’t seem to be affected by this demonic horseshoe even though they are right in line of this evil ripple effect and fault line.

And why on earth did Zak meet a priest in a cemetery other than for dramatic effect?

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Please explain how this is not dry wall repair kit.

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The Zozo Phenomenon by Darren Evans – Thoughts and Impressions

The Zozo Phenomenon focuses on Darren’s experiences with Zozo with dozens of letters from people running into the same sort of trouble as support. Couple that with YouTube videos chronicling contact with Zozo where none of them end well. So what is going on? Why is Zozo making a sudden appearance and causing all this mischief? I dare say not a single person had heard of Zozo a decade ago.

According to Darren, Zozo appears in the Dictionnaire Infernal, making it ancient. That’s not entirely accurate as Zozo is not listed as demon. The name is referenced by a girl who claims she was possessed by a spirit named Zozo, among two others. Depending on interpretation, that girl was determined to be a fraud. That aside, Zozo is not listed as a demon or deity.

But if it’s not a demon or spirit, why are so many people being affected? That lies in the sender’s of the letters themselves. Almost all of them mention depression, cutting, suicidal thoughts, being bipolar, emotional instability or some other form of mental illness. When going to the Ouija with a depressed mindset, it’s pretty easy to predict what sort of experience you’re going to get back.

What about the names Zozo and Mama? They are in fact the easiest names to spell on the Ouija. All you have to do is move in the "rainbow effect" and you get Zozo or Mama every time. But Zozo isn’t the only name, it can be Za, Oz, Zo and other extremely simple words to spell. It can even be Zaza, Lilly, Zach. Zozo has no idea what gender it should be and goes by so many names that anything you spell can be linked to Zozo. Some call that saturation bombing.

Just like the name, Zozo as an entity has been set up to encompass everything. Zozo is a deity, a demon, a Djinn and a trickster. Zozo is multiple things, things with multiple personalities, allowing it to cover a wide variety of bases. It’s not one thing that acts in one way, it’s dozens of things that acts with complete unpredictability so everything falls under the Zozo umbrella. That’s why when Zozo or whatever name it goes by gets something right, it proves his existence. When he gets it wrong, that proves he’s a trickster. Under what circumstances isn’t it Zozo?

When you step back, Darren lays out a blueprint of what a demon would do to build it’s brand. It would choose a mysterious name, something with Z, the lost letter. It would give false and real information. It would be helpful to draw people in, then strike. It would pick on the young and vulnerable. It would use the exact roadmap Darren details on how the Zozo phenomenon came into existence.

Darren explains how skeptics say the subconscious pushes the Ouija planchette using the ideomotor effect, then discounts it by saying Zozo is different. He recounts multiple skeptic claims, but dismisses them all with a, Zozo is different. He also admits to being obsessed with the board and can’t help but coming back to it time and time again. This is the power of Zozo rather than OCD, or addictive personality.

It’s also hard to discount the striking similarity between the word Zozo and the Zoso by Led Zeppelin. You would have to be blind not to see the style duplication of the Zoso signature of Jimmy Page and the Zozo style used for the book. Darren freely admits to his extreme fandom of Led Zeppelin and Page and his further work in the Black Crowes. It’s an amazing "coincidence" that Zozo chose a moniker so close to the one Page used and one that references his other band.

Further, I couldn’t find a Zozo sighting dating before Darren took up the mantle. Many claim John Zaffis knows all about Zozo, who says it’s ancient and a trickster. John has been on the paranormal circuit for decades, has he ever mentioned the name before Darren brought it up?

This will come across as harsh, but the letters pouring into Darren about Zozo experiences do not support his claim. They are from extremely vulnerable and impressionable people, who by their own admission, have harmed themselves and have a multitude of life problems. Even at the beginning of the book, Darren outlines a whole slew of traumatic events in his own life. Like other "hauntings" it’s easier to say you’re suffering from demonic oppression than a mental disorder.

When you put these together, it’s safe to conclude that Zozo and everything surrounding it is a fabrication. The fleeting reference in the Dictionnaire Infernal, the emotionally distraught letters and the dubious TV appearances don’t qualify as proof of authenticity.

Despite this, Darren is getting a lot of milage from Zozo. He’s managed to publish a book, consult on a movie, has been a guest lecturer, and has found himself on the set of a couple of TV shows. This "Zozo phenomenon" has given Darren his own form of celebrity status.

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Come on now. Are we really going to say this is a coincidence? The name, the style, the reference to Page, his involvement with the Black Crowes. This story starts with Darren and involves all his fandom tropes.

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The Zozo Phenomenon by Darren Evans – Review

imageAfter purchasing the Demon of Brownsville Rd, Amazon recommended The Zozo Phenomenon by Darren Evans. And after seeing Darren resurface in the Samaritan Cult House episode of Ghost Adventures I decided to investigate further.

The book was actually completed in the early part of 2016 and chronicles Darren’s personal experiences with the Ouija and Zozo, his research, and letters from others who have been visited by Zozo when using the Ouija.

Things start with Darren finding a Ouija board with the word Zozo written where Ouija should have been. This was in the crawlspace of a girlfriend’s house with the board surrounded by 4 blackbirds. It should also be noted that Zozo also means blackbird in the Basque language.

Since his girlfriend’s parents claimed their house was haunted by a spirit named Leonard, they decide to make contact with him. Tara, the mother of the girlfriend, was a self-professed Wiccan and collected items of the occult. Joe, the father, warned them not to toy with the board. However, the temptation was too much to resist and they are soon talking with Leonard.

Darren becomes obsessed with the Ouija, contacting spirits on a regular basis. But as time goes by, some dark events are visited on Darren. Darren learns that he will be killed during a stabbing. The spirits say his friend is going to be murdered. Some time later, his friend Randy sinks into a massive depression and kills himself.

After another traumatic incident, Darren tries to burn the board. But in their bungling, the gas can is left to close and his friend Michael catches on fire.

The board is actually destroyed when Darren puts it in the trunk of an abandoned car and it’s eaten by a horde of rats. This explains why there is no evidence of this board.

Years later, he meets up with Michael and they give the board another chance. Michael asks how he will die and Murder is spelled. A few months later, Michael is found dead from poisoning and his death remains unsolved. In another twist of fate, Michael’s wife is killed in a car crash.

At this point, multiple people close to Darren have died after using the Ouija or getting information from it. But Darren continues to use the board and believes through the power of Zozo he is able to control a friends dog. However, the dog appears to be consumed by a dark force, becomes uncontrollable and is found several days later with it’s throat eaten out.

As he continues to use the board, Zozo refers to himself as the King of Kings and promises to bestow power. Although that power is just as likely to bite the hand that feeds it.

Darren then strikes out on his own and get the ubiquitous Amityville, "too good to be true" deal on a house, a cheap four bedroom with a basement. When he goes to move in, he finds the previous owner’s furniture is still there because the previous family left suddenly. But even though Darren is in a new place, he is being followed and another series of unfortunate events ensues.

Zozo begins to show it’s darker side and tries to drown his daughter in the bath tub. This isn’t the work of negligence, but spirit activity. Zozo supposedly makes another attack on his daughter when he sends her to the hospital with a raging fever that turns her "tongue to stone." Ironically, this was the name of a band that Zozo suggested to Darren and when mocked over the choice, Zozo takes revenge. There is also the death of his uncle Tom and reports that a body is buried under the front porch of the house.

Also during this time, the original warning of Darren dying by stabbing comes to fruition as he is attacked by his girlfriend and savagely wounded.

By this stage Darren comes forward with his story that leads to an interview with Darkness Radio. This leads to his appearance on Ghost Adventures where his girlfriend at the time had several negative encounters with Zozo and his participation in the movie "I am Zozo". He uses these mediums to warn people of the dangers of Zozo and what they might encounter. Thus the legend of Zozo is born.

This leads to the middle portion of the book, a compilation of dozens of letters sent in from people recounting negative experiences with Zozo. The stories range from having nightmares to physical attacks to dire warning about the future.

For the last portion, we have some research in to Zozo. It can be known by a variety of names such as Mama, Zaza, Lilly, Zach, Zo, Oz and pretty much any other name you might come across. It is a trickster spirit or perhaps even a Djinn, that starts off with helpful information, but then slowly let’s it’s dark side be seen. Even referencing itself as Zozo, it has chosen one of the darker letters of the alphabet as Z is sometimes referred to as the lost letter.

There is even some doubt as to the gender associated with Zozo. It is believed to be male by it’s use of sexual overtures toward women. However, it chooses Mama and Lily for it’s name, clearly feminine.

In the early days, it seems Darren may been one of the few (if the only one) who encountered Zozo, but now claims of this spirit reaching Ouija boards is on the rise. It has now reached a fever pitch (hysteria) with Zozo encounters becoming common place and even YouTube videos documenting the experience.

However, the Ouija still remains a toy distributed by Hasbro and they will gladly ride the coattails of this phenomenon by releasing a few moves with the Ouija at the heart of the action. There are even reports of some boards being produced without a "Z" so Zozo can’t be contacted.

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