After 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.
Other Articles of Interest:
- Zozo, Darren Evans, Robert Murch and Darkness Radio – A Zozo Hoax?
- The Zozo Phenomenon by Darren Evans – Thoughts and Impressions
- I Am Zozo – A Review
- Ghost Adventures – The Zozo Demon – S10E03
- Ouija – Cardboard and Plastic Toy or Mystical Portal?
- Ghost Adventures – Samaritan Cult House – S14E03
- Ghost Adventures – Black Moon Manor – S07E05
- Ghost Adventures – The Haunted Museum Live – Halloween Edition
- Ghost Adventures – The Exorcist House – S08E07
- Haunted Collector – Firestarter and Haunted Museum – S02E10
I think the West Virginia State Penitentiary investigation revealed a lot about Ryan. In fact, this season has shown me that Ryan is not the seasoned investigator that he thinks he is. In reality, he’s not even an investigator.
Ryan likes to scare people with his lack of understanding about symbolism. If you’ve been watching for any length of time you know how Ryan reacts whenever someone mentions Ouija boards, or there’s even a slight hint of the occult such as pentagrams. But what he fails to realize and explain is that these symbols and objects on their own are completely meaningless. And in fact, up until recently, the inverted pentagram was completely harmless.
The Ouija is simply a board with letters. Simply owning one doesn’t open any more portals into the demonic realm than owning Monopoly makes you a millionaire. It’s a toy, nothing more. Stop assigning all sorts of negative connotations to it. Further, if the Ouija is supposed to allow you to contact spirits why don’t you use it? Aren’t you and all the other investigators doing the exact same thing – trying to contact the spirits – when you stand there yelling at them demanding they make their presence known? A Ouija by another name?
Ryan has also gone completely over the edge when it comes to the demonic and especially the pentagram. Not only is he trying to inject ideas of the demonic into every episode, but as we saw in "Darkness Falls" all he has to do is see a pentagram and he starts to operate under his dark, emo, goth cloud.
First and foremost the pentagram, even upside down, has been used for decades without ever having any connotations to the demonic. Perhaps Ryan is familiar with the Masons/Freemasons? Perhaps you’ve seen their symbol of the pentagram? Been to an old cemetery? You’ll certainly see the symbol on grave markers. You calling these guys Satanists?
Organizations who have based their structure on the Masons also use the same set of symbols. Unless you are a naïve conspiracy theorist, I think you need to drop this juvenile association that just because you see a pentagram, evil is afoot. Keep in mind, before Hitler perverted the use of the swastika it was used as a sacred symbol by the Hindu’s. Same thing with the pentagram.
Considering the West Virginia State Penitentiary was more than likely built by the masons it really shouldn’t come as a shocker that a pentagram would make it’s way into the architecture. And even if it wasn’t built by the Masons I’m sure they had an influence somewhere along the way. But this pentagram is in a guard tower, as a window decoration, in plain sight. Hardly demonic. Once again, on it’s own, it’s meaningless and could just as easily be taken as the Masons leaving a symbol of their work behind. The fact that he jumped to so many unfounded conclusions proves to me that he is trying to create fear and hysteria with his investigations and has no actual intentions of debunking anything. But as we’ve seen, debunking doesn’t bring in the big ratings.
Ryan is on a witch hunt, both literally and figuratively. He’s seeing the demonic everywhere now. He has no want to explain these events or to even document them. He just wants to find one glimmer of the demonic and run with it regardless of what the evidence, or that thereof, supports. And from what I’m seeing, his actual understanding of what is and isn’t demonic is rather inaccurate. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, you just need to be scary!
I guess we should just start calling Ryan, Abigail.
Other Articles of Interest:
- Paranormal State – Darkness Falls – S04E08
- Ghost Adventures – Albion Normal School – S15E09
- Paranormal State – The Lurking Man – S05E09
- What a difference a year makes … It’s time to say goodbye
- Paranormal State – They Only Come Out at Night – S05E02
- Paranormal State – Season 2
- Ghost Adventures – Samaritan Cult House – S14E03
- Paranormal State – Shadow Caster – S04E09
- Paranormal State comes to an end …
- Do you believe in the Ouija?