Nov 01, 2019 I Brent Swancer

The Very Strange Tale of Zozo, the Ouija Board Demon

The Internet is an untamed realm full of a vast trove of strangeness dealing with the paranormal. It has given us reams of accounts from people experiencing a full range of supernatural activity from ghost sightings all the way to the very outer reaches of the utterly bizarre. In some cases whole new phenomena are described here, and one of the more remarkable and pervasive of these is the story of a malicious demon who purportedly comes through Ouija boards to harass and torment. He is supposedly a dark, ancient entity, who inspires fear and who goes by the quite ridiculous name of Zozo.

The demon in question apparently goes by many very odd and unlikely names for a supposed demon, including Zozo, Zoso, Zaza, Mama, Oz, Zo, Za, Abacus, or sometimes the more legit demon name Pazuzu (yes, THAT Pazuzu), and is usually said to be an ancient entity that has been tormenting Ouija board users for hundreds of years. One supposed early interaction with the demon was allegedly made way back in 1816, when a young woman in the French village of Teilly was supposedly possessed by several demons, calling themselves Mimi, Crapoulet, and Zozo, and the lore often mentions that this demon began to increasingly use Ouija boards to reach out to our reality when they started becoming popular.

Zozo is said to have some particular calling cards and idiosyncrasies that he (it is mostly described as a "he") seems to follow when making his presence known. The entity in modern times is said to almost exclusively make his presence known through Ouija boards, manipulating the planchette to spell out one of his many names, usually "Zozo," as well as making it do rapid figure 8 movements or rainbow patterns across the board. Zozo will supposedly typically start out in a very friendly manner, and may even pose as a dead friend or relative, only to gradually become more antagonistic and malevolent, often devolving into profanity laced tirades and rants filled with morbid threats and venom, yet by the time one has realized that this is not a benign entity it is usually too late. Once conjured up, Zozo will allegedly cause all kinds of problems, including manipulating the emotions of any players present, appearing as a menacing shadow figure, invading dreams, moving objects, and causing health and mental problems, in some cases driving the poor soul who invoked him insane. He has even been reported as fully possessing people, as well as driving them to murder of suicide, and is said to feed on fear, getting more powerful the more scared one is. Not a nice guy, in other words.

The story and its increasing popularity as it pertains to modern times can probably best be traced back to a terrifying experience related in 2009 by a man named Darren Evans, who wove a terrifying tale of conjuring up the insidious entity on several occasions. He would claim that the first time it had come to him the planchette on the Ouja board he was using went nuts, spelling out “ZOZO” over and over again. At first the entity seemed friendly, but this changed in the coming days, with it becoming more aggressive and mean, before the demon announced that he would take Evans and his family to paradise. When Evans asked where “paradise” was, the board then spelled out “H-E-L-L.” Freaked out by this, he purportedly went to check on his girlfriend and his 1-year-old baby only to find her nowhere to be seen and his daughter drowning in an overflowing bathtub. She survived, but it left Evans completely shaken and terrified.

This is all creepy enough as it is, but Evans would claim that the demon would contact him on multiple occasions, sometimes demonstrating an ability to speak Latin and Hebrew, and causing all manner of bad luck for the family, including Evans’ daughter coming down with a mysterious respiratory ailment that required hospitalization. He also says that he experienced various paranormal activity in his home such as flickering lights and moving objects, and that he had even been physically assaulted by the sinister entity, which would leave scratches and bruises behind. He would claim that he came very close to having a nervous breakdown because of all of this, and that it very nearly ruined his life.

When this story got out into the wild, hundreds of others began relating their own stories of contacting what appears to be the very same demon through Ouija boards, which usually called itself Zozo, and Evans began gathering all of these accounts together, even setting up a website for these stories, so numerous were they. There are countless accounts of Zozo, and even photographs of the entity and videos claiming to show people being possessed it, and Evans has gone on to appear on the TV show Ghost Adventures, as well as write a book along with paranormal researcher Rosemary Ellen Guiley on the phenomenon called The Zozo Phenomenon.

There are countless such reports of people encountering the nefarious Zozo, such as one related on Your Ghost Stories by a poster calling herself April O, from the United States. She claims that she had had some friends over for a party one evening in 2012, and at some point they all thought it would be fun to play with a Ouija board, something she says she had done on many occasions before without ever having any negative or paranormal experience, but this time would be different. When they all sat down to the board they were giggling and telling spooky stories, none of them aware of the strangeness that was about to follow. It began when they seemed to have contacted something and when asked who they were speaking with the planchette began to spell out “Zozo,” and when asked what it wanted it cryptically said “I want her” and indicated one of her friends. April says of the terrifying events that would unfold thusly:

The cursor returned to moving from the z to the o yet again and I was getting annoyed with this because it wouldn't tell me why it wanted my friend it just spelled out I want her repeatedly. My friend (the one the demon wanted) stupidly called him a p**** and the board spelled out "death". That's when things got bad. I got angry and told her not to provoke him because he was capable of bad things and I sure as hell didn't want anything happening to my friends. The other friend just sat there freaked out not speaking the entire time as we continued to ask it questions which I don't recall.


The cursor began feeling hot under my fingers and I asked my friends if they felt it too, they said they did. I asked it another question but its answer didn't make any sense it spelled out "mama" over and over and would not move to any other letters so I cussed at him because I was getting annoyed. The one friend took his hand off the cursor and refused to play anymore and the atmosphere immediately changed.


I could feel Zozo in the room now and the air was heavy and I began to get scared. All of a sudden I didn't feel like myself I felt as if something was inside me. I felt the most intense hatred I've ever felt before. I began to laugh hysterically and then cry like I had no control over my emotions. My mood then turned to hatred again and I turned to look at my friend (the one the demon wanted) with the most evil smile. I felt it inside, it wasn't me smiling it was this demon. We all stopped playing the board after that but the heavy feeling in the air and its presence remained. It took a bit before everything felt normal again that night and I felt like myself but when it did I was relieved. I feared for my friend's safety that night but fortunately none of them experienced anything after leaving. My advice, DO NOT mess with the Ouija Board.

Another spooky account comes from Evans’ site, and concerns a frightened witness who says that he had been contacted by what he at first had thought was the spirit of a little boy, but would turn out to be anything but. It is a report that perfectly illustrates the demon’s tendency to deceive and manipulate, and the report reads:

There was a spirit that claimed to be that of a little boy. We also talked to a few other spirits on the board until one time this spirit came across and said his name Oz. I figured initials because I don’t recall any spirits giving their names, just initials. Anyway, he was no fun and just plain mean. Everytime we would try to talk to one of the other friendly spirits, Oz always came back like he was much stronger than the others. When you would ask a question and he got angry, the eye would move frantically in a figure 8. He was just mean. Well, one night we got pretty trashed and asked some real mean things and acted mean back. It was funny at first, but it got serious in a hurry.


We started arguing with one another because some were getting spooked. We then came to our senses and said, “let’s get rid of this darn thing." We threw it away and nothing strange happened afterwards. Not sure I beleive in them or if they really even work. But it was a freaky experience. Although I talked a lot of smack that night, I was sort of fearful for a few days. I can’t remember to this day what Oz said, heck its been 20yrs ago. But, it wasn’t good at all!

Reports like this go on and on, sometimes from people who were simply freaked out by the foul mouthed demon, but others speaking of paranormal harassment, possessions, physical assaults, freak accidents, mysterious illnesses, misfortune, and madness. There are whole message boards and websites full of such reports, some of which even predate Evans’ own experiences, and with mentions in TV programs and even movies Zozo has become sort of a bizarre phenomenon that has taken on a life of its own, along the lines of similar mysterious figures such as Slenderman and the Men in Black. So what are we looking at here? Is this really all the doing of a supernatural entity, or is this all just a modern urban legend in the making?

There has of course been skepticism aimed at the Zozo phenomenon, and much of this revolves around Evans himself. Not only do the great majority of Zozo reports come pouring in after his own account came out, but Evans claims many historical references for the presence of the demon that are very hard to really verify, and added to this he claims that Zozo’s symbol is an ancient glyph that serves as the code for the god Saturn, but which was also used by the famous rock band Led Zeppelin, of which he is an admitted total super fan. He also didn't do so bad for himself afterwards, appearing on TV and penning a book. Considering all of this, it seems at least possible that he simply made the whole story up, basing parts of it on real historical references, after which it caught on with the Internet crowd to become a fast growing urban legend.

Yet, there are so many reports from people who insist that it is all completely real, and there is the fact that there are indeed a few reports that predate Evans’ account. If there is any truth to it all, then what could it be? Although Zozo is most commonly referred to as a "demon," and even possibly the Mesopotamian demon called Pazuzu of The Exorcist fame, there is no way at all to know this. It could just as easily be a ghost or some other type of spirit. There is also the idea that it could be what is called a tulpa, or thought form, which is basically an entity or apparition brought into the world through the sheer power of belief. In this case, the idea is that the witnesses so fully believe in Zozo and expect him to appear that he is literally conjured up by the power of the mind. If he is real in any form, then you might be wondering how to keep him from tormenting you, and the main advice for dealing with Zozo if you ever are contacted by him is to remain calm, avoid saying its name, ignore it, force the planchette of the Ouija board to “Goodbye,” and hope that it leaves you alone. It wouldn’t hurt to seek spiritual counsel as well.

Whether Zozo is real or just a spooky Internet legend, it is amazing how much the phenomenon and mythology surrounding it have grown so spectacularly. Zozo pops up everywhere in discussions, articles, books, TV shows, and film, and it has become a sensation. There are scores of people who insist this demon is real, and innumerable personal accounts, leaving one to wonder just how this has all come to pass and if there is any truth to it at all in any capacity. Real or not, the Zozo phenomena is at the very least a spooky story and fascinating glimpse at myth building in the modern world. Whether you believe in him or not, it might be best to put the Ouija board away.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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