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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Ghost Adventures – Silent Movie Theater – S14E05

imageMoving over to Los Angeles, Zak and crew are off to investigate the Silent Movie Theater, opened in 1942 and dedicated to the silent films of Hollywood. It was originally opened by John Hampton and when he died of cancer brought on by the chemicals used in the film preservation process, it was taken over by Lawrence Austin. Sadly, he was later murdered in the theater in what appears to be a murder for hire. Zak would like to make contact with Lawrence or any other actors who’s energy is stored with the film canisters.

Zak immediately refers to the theater as a portal. And when in the storage areas, refers to the stored energy of all the actors and patrons associated with the films. As they start, audio operator Mike says he saw something in the corner and they get the word, "yes" when asked if someone was there. This is coupled with a heat signature of what they believe is someone sitting in the front row chair, the chair where Lawrence Austin would sit.

To follow up on this, they bring in psychics Michael and Marti Parry, to help make contact. Michael sits in the same chair where they filmed the heat signature and he confirms he was drawn to it. Michael then says he feels Douglas Fairbanks is close at hand and writes down something to prove it’s him. Zak then feels the need to run. Michael reveals the word "legs" as the message from the other side. Actually, it looks like "Rub Legs", but they ignore the oversight and go with Run since it fits the situation better.

While channeling Douglas, they hear noise anomalies and Marti is hard at work drawing Douglas Fairbanks. We should discount that she was about 10 feet away from Michael as he talks about Douglas. She has earphones in so clearly can’t overhear his prompts on what to draw.

As they get down to business of the investigation, Billy says he feels something on his neck. Zak pulls out the SLS and shows a stick figure on Billy’s shoulder. To Zak, this is "irrefutable proof" they have made contact and believe it to be with Lawrence Austin. Although this brings about a bit of a lull, Zak says he sees the face of someone hovering over the theater.

Billy heads to the projection room with the paranormal puck and gets "Larry" and "Memories". As he reads the newspaper article about the shooting, there is a sound which they believe is something being thrown. It not something coming off the wall, or rolling off a desk, or a noise associated with temperature change. An unseen object in thrown in an unseen direction for an unseen reason.

They return to the theater and Zak sees a ball of light follow him to his seat. We then have the sound of a squeaking seat. After searching, they find the seat in question and with the slightest touch, it makes the same sound. However, as Zak brings out the SLS camera, there is a stick figure anomaly reaching out to the same space.

To try and make contact, they go to where Lawrence was killed, but think they might be talking to John Hampton. This sends Billy upstairs to where John lived. Billy feels he gets the words, "help me" on the recorder.

The "portal" of the Silent Movie Theater is able to produce a squeaky chair, a dust particle, and the portrait of Douglas Fairbanks drawn by a woman sitting in the same room as someone calling out the name of Douglas Fairbanks. To add to this they hear something fall off a desk in the projection room and get irrefutable proof of a stick figure on a hacked up Xbox connect. Yes indeed, the Silent Movie Theater is a portal.

As least Zak didn’t say it was infested with dark energy.

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Demon of Brownsville Rd by Bob Cranmer–A few thoughts on the matter

While I have no doubt Bob and his family experienced some troubles and trials in the house, I find it very hard to think of this as anything more than an Amityville clone and all the dubiousness that entails.

It’s hard to ignore the mental illness which presents itself as violence, depression and self-harm. We see that as bipolar for Bobby, cutting for Charlie, and depression of his wife. These are very earthly ailments.

To be critical, the first 8 chapters are filled with self-praise for Bob as he casts himself in the role of hero to save the town and the house. He goes up against the corrupt system and takes on the evil invading his home. It’s even mentioned that he has the strength to keep up the vigil to battle evil, but he doesn’t think the rest of the family is strong enough for the challenge.

In the early days, Bob felt his calling might be that of a preacher. To that end, the book is a sermon about good and evil. Evil is a real thing, a tangible thing, a thing that causes a ripple effect and takes hold of people. It also feels like a way to explain, justify and excuse the behavior of his household during his political career.

This has tinges of Salem Witch Trial hysteria. In every action, in every deed, in every misstep the devil is at work. If someone misbehaves, it’s the work of the devil. If things don’t go according to plan, it’s the work of the devil. If you lose an election, it’s the work of the devil. It’s surprising a hole wasn’t bored into their heads to let out the evil spirits.

Also, it’s become common to link Native American land to paranormal events. However, considering the entire US is Native American land, that is a tiresome and weak argument. To the point, the house next door is on Native American land. So is the one across the street and the one behind. What are their paranormal events? What demon is in their homes? This supposed "ripple effect" should impact everyone, so the house next door should be just as oppressed as this one. Where is their book?

My home is nearly 100 years old and is within eyesight of Native American land with many places in the area named after different tribes. I’m also in the South, the real South, were people were pissed about the Rebel Flag coming down. You cannot tell me for a moment there wasn’t death, violence and hatred on the very soil this house sits on. And I refuse to believe that in the nearly 100 years it’s been standing that someone, if not several people, haven’t died in the house. If you look at your history, death was not the morbid occurrence of today, so most houses had a viewing room where the body would be displayed before burial. Because of superstition, we now call it the living room.

The point being, I am 100% convinced there has been death in and around this house, on Native American soil and over racial prejudice, but there is nothing haunted going on. This Native American connection has truly run it’s course.

When it comes to the mad abortion doctor, where is the proof of his drunken butchery? If his activities are so well know, and he was so damn incompetent, where is the arrest record? Not like he would be in business long if patients ended up dead in his house all the time. This sort of activity would leave a paper trail somewhere.

As far as the smells and bleeding walls go, seems like an old house could easily give off a serious odor. It could be there are some dead animals in the walls or tucked away somewhere else giving off an offensive odor.

And are we absolutely sure that the "blood" that keeps showing up isn’t from some material in the house like rusty pipes, asbestos, dye, stain, mold, fungus or spores? Some unique materials were back in the day. It’s even said, the sample they took had mold in it. Mold staining the wall sounds far more plausible than blood.

Lastly, we have curses on the house. The workers who built the house were educated and skilled enough to put the house together but felt a curse was in order? Doesn’t seems likely. It’s hard to prove the casting of a curse, but this too sounds like rumor. About the only link to curses are some playing cards. That’s not really evidence of anything.

Also in the rumor realm is the killed worker. I don’t dispute that mill conditions were dangerous and it’s actually possible and even plausible, but to say it did happen and has a connection to this house is wild speculation.

Aside from the good vs. evil tale, we also have reincarnation. Bob is reborn after being terminated as by the mad butcher. The woman seen in the house is his mother and he has been tasked as a Warrior for Christ to come and cleanse the house.

That tosses in the final ingredient in his cacophony of paranormal elements. The only thing missing is the Ouija.

It’s hard to believe in the supernatural elements of this story when a far more plausible answer is presented at the beginning. Mental distress can manifest itself in a lot of ways.

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Demon of Brownsville Rd by Bob Cranmer – Review

The Demon of Brownsville RdThe Demon of Brownsville Rd caught my attention last year after a comment was made about Bob Cranmer and his experiences. I listened to several interviews and radio shows, but didn’t pursue the matter further. It sounded similar Amityville and with the repeated tagline, “it’s in the book”, I put the matter aside. The cost to hear this tale wasn’t worth it to me.

After Bob left a comment, I decided to have another look at his story. Although Bob offered to send me a book, I declined and went with the Kindle version with the additional purchase of the audiobook.

The narrative is broken into three parts, covering Bob’s background and events leading up to purchasing the house, the events that took place including investigations and evidence gathering and the final part with more details about the history of the house and resolution of events.

Part I describes Bob’s want to purchase the house and making an offer. This includes the classic tale of the previous owners need to sell quickly, accepting the first offer and rushing them through the sale process before any questions are asked.

Once the deal is done, we get information of a mad abortion doctor and his use of the house. This is coupled with a connection to the haunting of the doctor’s house and Bob’s visit to that same house years before.

We then have Bob’s involvement in politics to help clean up the town and multiple stories about the behavioral and emotional problems of his kids and his wife. This culminates in a fight between Bob and his son, who is on anti-depressants, wherein the police are called and Bob is arrested. We then have treatment at a psychiatric facility for his wife. All of this is brought on by the dark shadow that hangs over and dwells within the house.

Part II begins to chronicle the terrorizing events of the house. It is said that the sins of the house have led to this demonic infestation. This evil entity has caused his sons and wife to be on medication with his boys listening to dark music and dressing in a Goth fashion.

The paranormal events include things being moved, clocks not working, a crucifix being mangled, rosary beads being mangled, a flying CD, scratches and for the walls to start bleeding.

We continue to see both the mental state of his sons decline while their aptitude for violence increase. There are multiple fights with Bobby while Charlie is cutting himself and turns suicidal. His wife becomes reckless with spending and his grandson Collin is showing development issues because of the forces inside the house.

Part III brings in help from the Paranormal Research Society with Ryan Buell at the helm. With his help, Bob feels they find the lair of the demon hidden within the center of the house.

Bob also gets help from a Medium who reveals there are curses on the house from the workman who originally built it. It’s even stated that a worker from the mill that produced the house boards was killed and his blood stains the house.

Bob is also told the evil that inhabits the house has caused a ripple effect all through town. It is responsible for the mob related taverns and was at the heart of the first drive by shooting.

We continue to get more information about the abortion doctor and the blood of the innocents washed down the tub. This also comes with a vision of a woman in white, pictures being turned around, shadow figures and the constant smell of sulphur.

There is also a connection with the land as Bob learns about a massacre of a mother and her three children at the hands of the Native Americans. They are said to be buried on the property where an oak tree now stands. Through dousing rods and modern technology, they feel they have proof of a depression in the soil where bodies are most likely buried.

Despite all the setbacks, Bob believes himself to be preordained to fight this evil. As I mentioned in my original comments, this involves playing Passion of the Christ 24 hours a day and bringing in multiple sets of priests for cleansing rituals, prayers and mass. And through these rites they are finally able to overcome the dark forces and expel the evil from the home.

As part of the epilogue, we learn that much of the Medium work was relayed to Bob from a woman named Connie. She states, “You were killed there in that house and you were chosen to come back”. Bob has been reincarnated as he was first terminated as a baby in that house and has been chosen to tell the story. This explains the woman in the white dress he has seen several times.

She came to the doctor for help as she was pregnant from a relationship with a politician and needed to be relieved of her burden. This explain Bob’s connection to the house and why he has come full circle to save it.

After reaching the end, there is an aura of Amityville to this tale. It includes just about paranormal event we’ve heard of from sulphur smells, to 3 line scratches, to dark shadows to a woman in white. We even have a link to Native Americans.

And like Amityville, it raises a lot of questions. With so much going on, is this the work of a demonic or malevolent spirit? Is the land curses not only by the workers, but from the Native Americans in response to the encroachment of outsiders? Can the sins of the past manifest themselves as oppressive forces?

Or are there more earthbound explanations as to what happened in the house?

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