“This isn’t the Sallie House. This isn’t the Welles house. This is the Zozo house, and we are investigating it for the first time,” said Tim Wood, founder and lead investigator of LiveSciFi, the largest paranormal site on YouTube, in a serious voice.
He was talking about the paranormal investigation that will begin on October 21 and run for 72 continuous hours – all of which will be live streamed. For the first time, the world can watch an investigation specific to a known demonic entity as it happens – no special effects, no cutting or editing, no creepy background music. Just a team of people, a haunted location – and a demon.
The Zozo entity, best known as the “Ouija board demon,” has been the subject of feature films and books. Noted paranormal experts like demonologist John Zaffis have weighed in on Zozo, and encountered the entity on multiple investigations. YouTube has over 289,000 videos related to the entity a more than 50% increase since a year ago. The most viewed videos are primarily from LiveSciFi’s channel. With over 406,000 subscribers and 58 million views and counting, LiveSciFi dominates the independent paranormal team world.
Wood encountered the entity known as Zozo for the first time during an investigation at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado.
“I kind of laughed,” Wood confessed. “I thought it meant Bozo the clown.”
But in the spring of 2008, a man contacted Wood claiming to be possessed, and Wood’s opinion of the entity known as Zozo, the Ouija demon, changed drastically.
“The man had a really freaky story. He’d been diagnosed as a schizophrenic because tumors were growing in his brain. He kept seeing and hearing stuff around his house,” Wood said. “But no one in his family believed that he was seeing or hearing things because of his medical diagnosis. So he wanted me to come out and see if [could] I document anything in his house.”
The client was nice, as was his family. He had a dog he was very attached to, but the dog was in poor health also. That first night, they started to get EVPs in response to their questions, validating the client’s claims. So they continued to investigate the location on subsequent nights, hoping to find a way to rid the man of the entities that were torturing him. One night, Wood asked the client if he’d be okay with them using a Ouija board.
“The guy said sure. I hardly ever used a Ouija board back then. As soon as we started the session that Zozo name popped back up. At the time we were laughing. ‘Oh it’s that Zozo guy again.’ But the guy kept experiencing things, and his dog was acting strange and was kind of sick,” Wood recalled. “I called up a demonologist I was working with and told him what was going on and he said, ‘Tell him to put down his dog. The demon is using his dog as a house.’ So a few weeks later, the guy had to put the dog down. The activity stopped, and his cancer went into remission.
“Then a year later, the guy gets hit by a car and dies,” Wood went on soberly. “There was a lot of paranormal activity in that house – a dark oppressive feeling. There was not a good vibe at all in that place.”
Just a few months after that LiveSciFi investigation and its tragic aftermath, Zozo researcher Darren Evans first published online his experiences with the entity. Evans’s story stretches back to 1982, when a plumber discovered a strange Ouija board buried beneath the house where Evans’s girlfriend lived. What made that board so compelling was that it had a flip side – the Zozo side. It was painted black, and in place of “Ouija” in the center of the board was the word “Zozo,” with blackbird wings on either side.
The teenaged Evans became obsessed with the board, as he outlined in his May, 2016 book The Zozo Phenomenon, co-written by noted researcher and author Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
Evans detailed how he and his friend Randy had used the Zozo board in an attempt to contact the dead lead singer of the band AC/DC. At the end of the session, the board spelled out “SEE YOU IN HELL.”
Twenty years later, Evans and Randy used the board again for old times’ sake. This time, the entity self-identified as Zozo. The board said that Randy was cursed and would die in a car wreck, and once again spelled out SEE YOU IN HELL. A year later, Randy was dead in a head-on collision less than a mile from his house. Evans had spoken to him the day before, and the last thing Randy said to him was, “Darren, I’ll see you in hell.”
Five years later, Evans began to document his own and other people’s encounters with Zozo on his website. He also released the evidence he uncovered in his research, and Tim Wood found the site.
“I became extremely interested once I realized that I was getting responses from this entity before I even heard about Zozo,” Wood admits. “I had no idea so many people were having problems with the same entity.”
That’s when Wood realized that Zozo wasn’t a unique experience to his group. That knowledge set Evans and Wood on a collision course for this weekend, in the Oklahoma house where the entity once tortured Evans and his family. They will be locked into the house for 72 hours to, they hope, confront and document the existence of this mysterious and dangerous entity.
Since Evans began to publish his findings, knowledge of Zozo has exploded on a global level. The number of people claiming to have had experiences with the entity has as well. The 2012 movie I Am Zozo undoubtedly had a great deal to do with that, as did the 2014 major motion picture Ouija and the investigation conducted by the Travel Channel’s popular Ghost Adventures show at about the same time. In fact, during the 2014 Christmas season, Ouija board sales were up 300% from the year before.
Those sales will likely spike again with this weekend’s release of Ouija: Origin of Evil. As Evans remarked, “We didn’t plan it this way. It’s like a perfect storm of Ouija.”
But that’s not why this investigation is taking place.
The Zozo entity has been stalking Wood since that fateful 2007 encounter. The demon has Ouija-bombed him repeatedly, at haunted locations and at Wood’s home since those first encounters in 2007-2008, and brought paranormal activity in its wake. The frequency and severity of the activity is increasing as well.
Evans can relate. The entity has dogged his steps since those early contacts in the 1980s, most infamously at the house the group is going to investigate this week. Evans lived there with his family for six months in 2009 and returned to the residence to participate in the Ghost Adventures episode in 2014 – an episode where the investigation was interrupted by unforeseen circumstances.
“We didn’t capture a whole lot of evidence. I think my ex-wife distracted everyone with her behavior.” Evans paused, then added, “The fear was real because you can sense the oppression in that place. Honestly, I don’t think there was as much captured as there could have been.”
Wood understands what Evans means about the atmosphere of a haunted location. “When I first started doing investigations, I tried to relate the findings to what I went through at my parents’ house,” Wood said, referring to the childhood haunting that led him into the paranormal research field. “After you investigate for a while, you start picking up on things. A haunted location feels heavy and oppressive, or you have a series of similar incidents…like a sequence of events of strange stuff happens, especially if we’re investigating a demonic haunting. The first time we investigated the Sallie house, for example, we got two more demonic cases right away.”
Now with Evans and Wood combining their years of experience in the paranormal field to investigate a location alleged to be haunted by the entity that has stalked them, the stage is set for an epic confrontation – something both researchers are painfully aware of.
Evans’s voice was quiet: “The family is experiencing paranormal activity. I walked through the house and I felt the aggression worse than I’ve ever felt it. Here’s a family that wasn’t told anything about the history of the house, and within a few weeks people are asking them if it’s the Zozo house. I have concerns for the family; that concern is why you call in an investigator like Tim.”
“Darren reached out to me and asked if we wanted to investigate the house,” Wood said. “I know we’re going to get stuff there. We want to make contact with Zozo; to document communication with the demon and validate his existence to believers and skeptics both. We’re looking for video, physical, and audio evidence.”
But considering their lengthy and sometimes tragic association with the Ouija board demon, why would either permit themselves to be locked into a location already oppressed by the entity for 72 hours of live streamed investigation?
“I want to go back because I’m convinced it’s haunted,” Evans replied. “Very dramatic things happened in that house and I’m concerned about the family that’s there. That’s why I recruited the exorcist to come as well.”
You read that correctly. An exorcist will be with the team on location to assist when and if needed by the investigators, and the plan is to cleanse and bless the house before the family returns to its home. None of the investigation team is taking this event lightly. They believe they are dealing with a demon, which makes this spiritual warfare as much as it is paranormal research.
“I am convinced that this thing is from the demonic realm. This demonic entity has recruited other entities into an attack on humans. I think it’s out there to destroy lives. But I’m not too sure Zozo is the actual name of a demon,” Evans explains. “It’s very common for exorcists to discover multiple entities in a demonic case – the shadow archetype. In almost every case, a demon deceives someone. When contact first starts, it’s a deceased loved one or relative. But it always shows its true agenda. It’s pure evil. Personified evil – and the embodiment of evil.”
Wood concurs. “I think it’s the devil wearing a number of masks. I think these demons are all the same things, they just take different masks.”
And apparently, a demonic entity doesn’t just pick random victims. Instead, the choice seems to be deliberate.
“They know exactly who they want to talk to. Imagine playing chess with someone five steps ahead of you,” Wood continued.
Evans added, “It’s like a virus transmitted through the spirit board. My research tells me it’s been around since long before the board and has escalated since the 1950s. This stuff has been around for a long time, but it seems to have taken on a new life.”
This live investigation could deliver some of the best evidence of the paranormal imaginable, because there can be no doubt that the entity will show up. When either researcher is involved, Zozo always makes an appearance. Beginning at 10 p.m. EST on October 21, all the combatants will be immured in one place – an irresistible lure for the mysterious Ouija board demon. Every minute of the hunt will be broadcast as it happens on the LiveSciFi website and YouTube channel. And because of the history Evans has with Zozo and spirit boards, an exact replica of the original Zozo board has been handcrafted for the investigation.
But what happened to the original?
Evans was so obsessed with the board that his girlfriend and her family told him it was either the board or him. Instead of destroying the Zozo board, Evans stashed it in the trunk of an old Austin-Healy he’d discovered at an abandoned camp site in the woods. When he went back to the car and opened the trunk a few days later, he got a nasty surprise.
“I was obsessed with that board anyway. So I go out to get the board back, and when I lifted the trunk all I saw was rats. Seemed like hundreds of them came piling out of that trunk. That original board had been eaten by those rats. I wasn’t expecting a family of rats to come into this car and eat the board. Whole board was mangled.”
If that doesn’t creep you out, nothing will.