A legend is born
In 2009, an Oklahoma man named Darren Evans recounting his experience with a demon named "ZOZO" on a website called True Ghost Tales. In the post, Evans admits to an adolescent fascination with the occult, citing many Ouija board incidents through the years. But Zozo, he said, was different. The entity consistently showed itself to Evans, "too many times to count," pretending to be a kind spirit before shifting into threatening language, including curses in what "looked like Latin or Hebrew."
"I was genuinely fascinated and startled by how many times 'ZOZO' showed up, even in many different states and many different Ouija boards," Evans wrote. He claimed that the demon also made threats against his toddler daughter, nearly drowning her in a bathtub and later infecting her with a mysterious illness. "We almost lost her, and that was when I began to suspect demonic attack."
Evans' post garnered a great deal of interest, with other readers alleging similar Ouija encounters with Zozo. He eventually set up a website to collect stories, which steadily gained popularity. A film production company called One World Studios took notice of Evans story, acquired the rights, and in 2012, released the independent feature I Am ZoZo, which featured a cameo appearance by Evans. A YouTube video promoting the film -- titled "Scariest Ouija Board Demon ZOZO Possessed Girl" -- went viral; it currently has more than 5 million views. The comments still debate its validity, despite a promoted link to rent I Am ZoZo below the video's description. "Oh my gosh, [you're] not meant to joke with this. She was laughing and insulting Zozo, so that's why this happened," one comments reads. "The thing was going around in a figure eight. That's bad," says another.
In 2014, Evans and his family appeared on an episode of the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures. The show's paranormal team, led by host Zak Bagans, visited Evans' house in Oklahoma, which he claimed to be plagued by Zozo. During interviews, he added new details to his original story, including the temporary blinding of his daughter, which he blamed on the demon.
In 2016, Evans co-authored a book, The Zozo Phenomenon, with leading paranormal expert Rosemary Ellen Guiley. He once again added new details about his first encounter with Zozo, claiming that he came in contact with Zozo in 1982 after discovering a Ouija board in his then-girlfriend's basement. Engraved on the back? "ZOZO."
According to The Paranormal Scholar, earlier that year in a phone interview with a New Jersey newspaper, Evans told the same story about a mysterious Zozo-engraved Ouija board, only that time, he claimed "Zozo" was written on the front, "where 'Ouija' is normally written," not on the back. Both of these mentions were the first time in the seven years that Evans had been talking about Zozo that he mentioned an engraved board.