This is a story that I heard about only recently. A reader of one of my articles on another site got in touch asking for a little help researching a particular series of events that all seemed to be linked. It seems as though more and more independent ouija board sessions were becoming associated with an entity calling itself Zozo. This was the first I knew about it all but, looking into it more, it seems an interesting enough story to share here. In fact, it’s a pretty creepy case in places.
Despite my ignorance of the Zozo phenomenon, it turns out that a lot of people know about it already and reports of contacts with are growing in frequency. These reports often correlate in certain ways, and many of them contain rather alarming phenomena, with:
- the board’s pointer or glass moving in a figure-of-eight pattern
- the letter Z found scratched into things nearby
- violent urges overcoming some board users
- communication in what seems to be Latin or Hebrew
- people feeling strangled and attacked in other ways
- spiders “coming from nowhere”
- assaults of a sexual nature
- even people being picked up and losing their sight
Here’s one supposed example of a ouija board session that contacted the demon in question:
Some people have even reported that quite rare thing in the paranormal world: being followed home by the alleged weirdness, with phenomena continuing after the ouija board session has ended. This has included hearing ‘conversations’—voices that seem to originate within walls.
“Two nights later I heard my dogs growing in the bedroom where I sleep and they were staring at the door. I got up to see what they were upset at, and when it turned on the lights in the adjoining family room, I saw the table. The glass was scratched/etched with something sharp from underneath…and there was no mistaking the letter Z in that etching.”
The first recorded mention of Zozo seems to be in the 1818 book Dictionairre Infernal by the verbosely-named Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy. Here it is:
The English translation runs something like this:
“In 1816, Picardy has been the scene of a scandalous case of possession.
“In the small town of Teilly, three leagues from Amiens, a young girl became pregnant, and to cover this accident, she imagined [or ‘began to proclaim’] that she was possessed by three imps, who were called Mimi, Zozo and Crapoulet. As for the latter, it might conceivably be the culprit because it is considered a womaniser. Anyway, Bet the girl was going about the streets, sometimes on all-fours, sometimes forwards and sometimes backwards; sometimes she walked on her hands, feet in the air. Mimi, she said, pushed her forward; Zozo dragged backwards; and malignant Crapoulet was amused to keep her legs in the air.
“An old man of Loyola [a Basque village in Spain], on the lookout for adventures, recognised the devil’s work and took the possessed girl to exorcise her. Mimi went quietly; Zozo was more tenacious and broke a window of the church when he tried to escape through the roof. As for Crapoulet, he was pursued in vain, even with the blessed tool [I think this tool is a holy item such as an Aspergillum] he could not be removed, and eventually took a position in the genitals of the girl, only leaving at the Jesuit’s insistence. There was gossip and unrest in Amiens because of these events, and so the authorities decided to put a stop to the scandal. A man of great intelligence learned of the possessed girl, that she was in fact pregnant, and admitted her to hospital. The Jesuit was forbidden from carrying out exorcisms in the future, under pain of being brought to the police as a fraud.”
The passage above was echoed in a similar text written by historian Jules Garinet who wrote that the Dictionairre Infernal “comes recommended by the purity of the views and the extensive researches of the writer.” Not everyone was as supportive of Collin de Plancy’s work though, and I’ve found at least one quote that illustrates this: Sir John Murray—“[the book contains] a great deal of spurious lore which is sadly calculated to deceived the student of the occult sciences.” Jury’s out in regards to the veracity of this source, then.
So what is Zozo, anyway?
Well, it has revealed itself to be many things. Demons are often described as liars, so who knows what the truth it, but it has called itself an animal entity, a dog with three heads, Lucifer’s daughter, an immortal spirit, and even Lucifer himself. The notorious Aleister Crowley claimed that Zozo was actually a term meaning ‘666’.
Perhaps it is nothing: merely a kind of viral phenomenon in which readers of such stories about Zozo unconsciously create their own encounters when they use the boards? I’ve written a short ebook about the ideomotor theory*, so I’m rather sceptical when it comes to the supernatural powers that some say ouija boards tap into. Certainly, the latent power of the human mind cannot ever be discounted when it comes to entering into rational investigations of such matters, and I think it is telling that ouija boards are still sold and marketed to children, even in the US—a country where Kinder Eggs are banned. However, subjective evidence abounds.
There is a recent episode of the US show Ghost Adventures that looks into a house affected by the demon after a ouija board session went wrong. I feel it makes for interesting watching no matter which side of the fence you sit on, so I’ve linked it below.
Whatever it is, whether it is a strange entity, a hoax, or some kind of viral hysteria—it is out there. In fact, people have been reporting the existence of this thing around the world for decades—some say it’s been even longer: “Throughout history there have been many cultures plagued by versions of the demon.” So it seems to keep coming back, never quite dying off, and some experts on the subject continue to receive many reports from people who come into contact with it and seem to be seeking help.
For more research into real-life cases please check out my ebooks.
*Read more about the ideomotor theory here.