February 28, 2015 | 9 comments
Image Credit: sxc.hu
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 with the research of a particular series of events, all of which seemed to be linked. It appeared 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, as I looked into it, it quickly became apparent that it was an interesting enough story to warrant sharing here—certainly; it would be great to read more thoughts on the Zozo ‘phenomenon’ so please leave a comment below. In fact, this is a pretty creepy topic in places.
Despite my ignorance of the Zozo phenomenon, it turned out that a lot of people knew about it already and reports of contacts with the thing are growing in frequency. These reports often correlate in certain ways and, if true, many of them contain rather alarming phenomena, with:
- the ouija 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 example of a Ouija board session that supposedly contacted the demon in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4QOzi7_FUE
Some people have even reported that quite rare thing in the paranormal world: being followed home by the alleged weirdness, with phenomena continuing even after the ouija board session had ended. This has included hearing ‘conversations’—voices that seemed to emanate from within walls and the letter Z appearing out of nowhere:
“Two nights later I heard my dogs growling 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 I 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.”
Zozo doesn’t seem to be a new idea. The first recorded mention of it seems to be in the 1818 book Dictionairre Infernal by the verbosely-named Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy.
My English translation runs something like this (apologies for any misinterpretations—French is not my forté):
“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, recognized 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?
If you believe the reports, Zozo has revealed itself as many things: a vague animal entity, a dog with three heads, Lucifer’s daughter, an immortal spirit, a demon, and even Lucifer himself. The notorious Aleister Crowley claimed that Zozo was actually a term meaning ‘666’.
Certainly, whatever it is seems to keep coming back, never quite dying off, and some researchers on the subject claim to receive many reports from people who come into contact with it and seem to be seeking help.
But perhaps Zozo is not supernatural whatsoever: it is important to remain rational and consider the fact that it might merely be a kind of viral phenomenon in which readers of the subject unconsciously create their own encounters when they use Ouija boards. It might even be an out-and-out fabrication, with people adding their own made-up stories to create a confusing faux-paranormal tapestry. Afterall, people have reported real-life encounters with ‘Slenderman’—an entirely fictional character.
I’ve written an introductory 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, complex 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 pink 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 was a recent episode of the US show Ghost Adventures that looked into a house affected by Zozo after a Ouija board session went wrong. It makes for interesting watching no matter which side of the fence you sit on—and I think that’s the fascinating thing about this case and much of the paranormal gamut as a whole: whether it’s real or not it’s really darned interesting.
Matt has also written two e-books:Eerie Britain
and Eerie Britain 2