Category Archives: Ideomotor Effect

ZoZo Phenomena: Hoax or Hysteria

The first reported appearance of this entity occurred in 1816, when a young girl in Picardy, France fell victim to a severe demonic possession. She became the vessel for a number of demons, one of which was reportedly the mysterious Zozo (de Plancy, 1863).

Later, when Ouija boards entered popular culture in the 20th Century, stories of Zozo began to rise. There were numerous tales told of the Ouija spirit, the one who devours souls and changes lives. It’s difficult to tell which stories about Zozo are authentic and which are urban legends. Some tell of murders and suicides, while others involve possession, physical ailments, abuse, curses, and other phenomena commonly associated with demonic forces.

What is the Zozo Demon?

The Zozo demon is a demon that has been documented since the 1800s. The Zozo demon is the demon specifically associated with the Ouija Board, now referred to as the Ouija Board demon to most. This demon is said to be a “Demon of Destruction.” He is a three-headed dog demon that guards the gates of Hell. Each of his three mouths has very sharp fangs.

Zozo typically attaches his presence to unsuspecting Ouija board users. It is believed that once he attaches himself to you, it can take weeks or months before he leaves. According to many, Zozo is very intelligent and intuitive. Zozo will do everything in his power to trick those who have summoned him in order to attach his essence to their being. Some have claimed that Zozo is Lucifer himself.

When Zozo is summoned, either by accident or on purpose, some common themes are reported among Ouija users. It is reported that the planchette on the Ouija board makes a repetitive movement through the alphabet from “Z” to “O” or counts down from ten to one to announce arrival. Some people have reported that the letter “Z” will be scratched into a nearby surface or on the board itself. Many people believe that you should not go backwards in the alphabet or numbers while using a Ouija board. It is believed that demons and evil spirits use this method to open portals into our world and break through from the other side. As a result of this belief, it is believed by some that the name “Zozo” is a trick.

While researching the “Zozo” phenomenon, it was common to come across claims that “Zozo” may actually be a demon named Bahzozo from ancient Babylonian times. Upon further research, no evidence of an entity named Bahzozo could be found in any Mesopotamian belief systems. It is possible that Bahzozo might come from Pazuzu, the Babylonian demon of the wind.

Research also found that some people believe that “Zozo” could be a djinn. Djinn do not possess for the soul, they possess for pure pleasure. Other people believe that “Zozo” is actually Lola Zaza, the daughter of Aleister Crowley. Crowley was known by many as one of the most evil men in the world.  It is reported that Aleister Crowley claimed that “Zozo” also represented 666.

Among the most common beliefs surrounding the “Zozo” phenomenon is that “Zozo” (the destroyer) is a three headed dog demon who guards the gates of hell. Others believe that “Zozo” is also a version of “Zaza” who is described as the Jewish goat-like demon, Azazel.

However, not everyone believes that “ Zozo” is a demon. Many people believe that Ouija boards are fake and that it is possible that “Zozo” could be a shared experience of our human creation. According to Brunvand, word-of-mouth transmission of stories heard “from a friend of a friend” is a powerful way to spread memes.

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The Ouija board has become one of the most feared occult devices. Once this method of “communicating with spirits” was invented, the Zozo phenomenon really took off. It is reported that “Zozo” was always hanging around looking for a way to enter the Earthly plane.  It is believed that the Ouija board allowed access. Once the entrance was provided, it is believed that Zozo would torment the individual forever.

There is a paranormal researcher, Darren Evans, who has a blog called The Zozo Phenomenon. This blog documents hundreds of encounters with Zozo. Darren calls himself a “Zozologist” and states that “The fact remains that an entity or group of entities are harassing Ouija participants all over the world. Language is not a barrier. Geographical locations on earth are no barrier. It is best left alone. If you experience aggressive interaction and planchette movements while using a Ouija, take precautions. It is not just a game. Be aware of the circular patterns, and do not let it count through numbers forward or backwards thru the alphabet. Figure eights while common, can result in some type of manifestation.” (Evans, 2012)

Is the Zozo phenomenon just superstition or is it possibly a result of the ideomotor effect? Rob Schwartz’ article at Stranger Dimensions suggested that it’s possible that the Zozo phenomena could possibly be purely human inventions that rely on credulity and a blurred understanding of the line between fact and fiction.  Regardless of individual belief of Zozo’s existence, reports of Zozo continue to increase.

 

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Table Tipping: Physical Phenomena or Supernatural Force?

Humans have been attempting to contact the dead since the earliest of times. It was so much of a concern, that God forbade people to seek out mediums as recorded in the book of Leviticus. However, throughout the years, humans continued to seek out ways to contact the spirit world. In the 19th century, Kate and Margaret Fox announced that they were going to contact the spirit world. The two young Fox sisters began demonstrating their skills for an audience and within a few months, Spiritualism emerged.

Table tipping in the early days was predominantly considered a parlor game. The basic technique behind table tipping or table turning is simple. Have the participants sit comfortably around the table and have everyone put their hands on the table, palms down. One participant should perform a ritual of protection. Select a leader for the group and have this person address any possible spirits in the room. Ask the spirits to communicate with you by giving them instructions for how you would like them to communicate using the table. After some time, the table should start to move. Participants have reported tables sliding, swaying, turning, tipping and occasionally it has been reported that knocks have been heard in response to the questions.

Table tipping phenomena became the subject of scientific investigation (Heap, 2002). In 1852, the term Ideomotor was first used in a scientific paper discussing the means through which the spiritualistic phenomena produced effect. In the paper, William Carpenter explained his theory that muscular movement can be independent of conscious desires or emotions (Carpenter, 1852). Chemist and physicist Michael Faraday also took an interest in the phenomena and began some scientific testing of his own.

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At some point, several other respected researchers took an interest in the table tipping phenomena. Among these notable men was surgeon James Braid, the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, and American psychologists’ William James and Ray Hyman. The general consensus among these men was the belief that the phenomenon that was attributed to spiritual or paranormal forces, or to mysterious “energies,” was actually due to ideomotor action. Hyman reported that these tests demonstrate that “honest, intelligent people can unconsciously engage in muscular activity that is consistent with their expectations.” He also implied that verbal suggestion can guide behavior after being given subtle clues (Hyman 1977).

In 1853, John Prichard wrote “A Few Sober Words of Table-Talk.” Prichard agreed that the table movement is the result of some physical phenomenon, not a supernatural force. While Prichard agrees with Faraday in principle, he did not agree with Faraday’s explanation. Prichard explains that there is an interaction between atoms, nerves, and electricity that creates a force “antagonistic to the force of gravity.” According to Prichard, he discovered a completely new physical law, boldly declaring that not only will the theory of gravity need to be revisited, but the very movement of the cosmos must be reconsidered (Prichard, 1853).

Raymond Buckland reported that table tipping phenomena is not phenomena of levitation, but most likely a demonstration of parakinesis. Parakinesis is the movement of objects with physical contact that is not considered sufficient enough to explain the movement of the object (Buckland, 2006). Many reports have documented claims that tables have tipped and also lifted into the air and galloped about. There are even reports of tables moving with all participants sitting on top of them. Despite numerous documented experiments, table tipping phenomena remains a mystery to most people.

Scientists and Spiritualists continue to disagree on the methods and results from table tipping phenomena experiments. Most skeptics dismiss all table tipping as either fraud or a result of the ideomotor effect as they do not typically believe in telekinesis, parakinesis, or paranormal phenomenon. Either way, the power of the human mind is fascinating. It has been found that the average person utilizes only ten percent or less of their brain capacity. That leaves a lot of possibilities for researchers to explore. Regardless of whether or not table tipping is a result of some physical or psychic phenomenon or a supernatural force, it is worthy of further research and investigation.

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

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