Paranormal

Ghost Adventures – Skinwalker Canyon – S14E07

imageAfter taking a break from their dubious exorcism in Erie, Zak and the team are off to the four corners area, into Skinwalker Canyon. The four corners is the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Zak calls this the Bermuda Triangle of paranormal events, something I’ve never heard anyone else say. Although the Skinwalker has been the subject of X-Files and Supernatural episodes.

The focus of their investigation is the Skinwalker, a creature said to shape shift from coyote to demonic humanlike form. It’s the result of conjuring within the witchcraft caves on the Reservation.

The Native Americans believe strongly in the creature and a man suspected of being a Skinwalker was recently killed by having his head cut off. He was suspected by his wife so she took matters into her own hands. Take that for what it’s worth.

Talking about the creature is frowned on because those that relay the story of the Skinwalker can be the victim of a curse.

At the entrance, Randy says he has seen the Skinwalker in the canyon and Vincent, their guide and tracker, has brought along a rifle for protection. In the witchcraft caves they find new tracks on the inside of the cave that don’t have corresponding tracks on the outside.

Inside, they find an archway, which Zak says is a portal to another dimension. This is confirmed in his mind when Vincent and Aaron don’t hear him calling for them. When they do appear an hour later, they’re dazed and confused. Or so Zak says.

After their little recon mission, they run into a medicine woman, Walking Thunder, who says they need protection. This involves a small little ceremony wherein they eat a bit of the Devil’s Weed, a hallucinogenic and the whole team is trippin’ balls. At this point, everything they do, say, and see is more suspect than normal.

And so they return to the witchcraft cave and what do they find? Evidence of the demonic in the form of a small, burnt out fire with an animal skull in the ashes. This is no way should be taken as someone camping and having dinner.

Inside, Zak sees three burn marks on the cave wall which he says are definitely demonic. I wasn’t aware torch marks could be labeled as demonic. And since the little community knew they were out there, far be it for anyone to mess with them.

Even more shocking is a feather against the wall and a bullet casing. From Zak’s point of view, these are all signs something terrible has happened.

And what better way to deal with that than to split up. As usual, Aaron sets off on his own to visit the portal. In his doped up state of hysteria, he hears the sound of a woman.

Billy and Zak head out across the plains to look for Skinwalkers. They have no idea where they’re going and just start driving around. When they stop, Zak makes a note that it smells like dead flesh and that he sees eyes in the distance with his binoculars. But just because it looks like a coyote doesn’t mean it’s not a Skinwalker.

Meanwhile, Aaron is pretty much losing his mind with all the sounds of the coyotes in the area. After they’ve amped things up with Indian Drum Chants, Aaron says he’s about to black out. Jay decides he should use scrying near the portal. During this they see a flash, the broken temperature gauge goes from 50 degrees to 90 and Aaron says something touched him.

Back on the plains, Zak is jumping at shadows, literally. He says some dark figure envelopes Billy. This coincides with a screech, so the coyote has changed from animal to human form. While they continue to wander around in the dark, Zak and Billy feel a vibration and capture a light anomaly falling down the rock face.

To Zak, all of this is proof of the Skinwalkers and has nothing to do with them taking a hallucinogenic weed and wandering around in a canyon where noise vibrates off every surface and they can hear things from hundreds of feet away.

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Ouija – Cardboard and Plastic Toy or Mystical Portal?

With so much talk of Zozo demons, portals and evil entities, it’s time to have a look as the most recognized "occult" device out there, the Ouija.

Why has the Ouija become so feared? How did it come to be associated with negative energy? When first created, it was meant as a tool that could speak to loved ones in the afterlife. You could contact Uncle Rupert, Aunt Francis, a lost husband in the war and even the spirit of a departed pet. It had no negative associations at all, quite the opposite. It was seen as a positive influence that could even bring peace and happiness.

When did things change so that it could only contact evil? Who turned this board of Spiritualism into a tool of demonic conjuring? Part of that looks to be a product of Hollywood and movies like Exorcist and Witchboard. In both cases you have an innocent, young, female becoming prey to dark forces through use of the board. It makes for good storytelling, like Dracula seducing the women he wished to turn. However, it’s only a story.

Does it have something to do with Aleister Crowley? To be fair, there is a ton of misrepresentation about Crowley. Despite how it’s portrayed, Crowley wasn’t trying to conjure Satan. Further, he was considered wicked because of his sexual habits and indulgences. He referred to himself as "The Beast" in order to magnify his infamy.

Even if he was "evil", Crowley experimented with a great many things. He certainly read the bible, so should that be considered tainted? Crowley worked with Tarot cards and those aren’t being called a portal to hell. There is even a deck he designed.

Clearly not everyone thinks it’s evil, Amazon certainly treats it as a toy. You can get talking board coffee mugs, tumblers, pendants, keychains, mint boxes, hoodies, rings and sweatpants. In every sense of the word it’s a gimmick item. If there was any scientific evidence to the board’s power, or any of these Zozo claims were proven to be real, would it be allowed to be sold by a toy company?

Further proving it’s lack of power, National Geographic showed that when participants are blindfolded, the Ouija spells gibberish. The BBC and others have explained how the Ouija works and how it doesn’t. Even Penn and Teller, who are masters of the con, show how the Ouija doesn’t work.

Another master of illusion, Houdini proved every claim of mysticism to be a hoax, from seances to ectoplasm. The Ouija was used heavily in seances and not one of them proved to be valid. And this was during the time when talking boards had no demonic connection associated with them. Houdini wanted to commune with the dead, but it just wasn’t so.

But there are those that say the spirits need the participants eyes in order to spell words. Yet, paranormal investigators claim spirits can see them. Which group is lying?

People also claim the Ouija can predict the future and explain how it told them something 20 years ago and it just came true. If you can link events together that occur that far apart, you’re trying to find a cause and effect. This would be same as reading a fortune cooking that says you will come into great wealth and two weeks later you find $20 in the street. No one would say the fortune cookie had divine insight. But when it happens with the Ouija, people say it has power.

Looking at it, the Ouija uses a board and letters to spell out phrases from the other side That in mind, why aren’t people having the same experience Scrabble or Upwords? Why isn’t this mysterious humbug called Zozo showing up on Scrabble boards spelling out demonic words?

In our society, why is conjuring evil so damn easy and contacting good spirits so hard? People say they were only in the room with a Ouija and something bad followed them home. However, the same isn’t true about someone passing a church who then says a friendly angel followed them home to make breakfast and tidy up the house. If evil forces can throw books and upturn chairs, a good force should make something to eat and be useful.

If the Ouija was capable of working on conjuring those who have passed, why aren’t we talking to Einstein, Twain, Socrates, Houdini and other great minds so they can continue their work?

This may sound like heresy, but it’s not meant to be. But if the board allowed us to contact the dead, perhaps angels, perhaps higher spiritual beings, why isn’t it used in religious teachings? People don’t have a problem with prayer, so what’s wrong with something more direct?

A common claim toward the Ouija is that it works because of intent and belief. If you don’t believe, nothing will happen because the spirits know. If your intent is to contact a spirit, you will. How is that different than, "it works because I said so."

The Ouija has been debunked multiple times and is as mystical as a rabbit’s foot, lucky socks, game winning jersey, rain dance, blowing on dice or a double rainbow. When they work, people claim the power of the talisman. When they don’t, people claim other forces were acting against them, like the other team had more people with jerseys, or the magic ran out giving them their last wish.

As a final thought, since Darren and his ilk claim it’s so easy to conjure Zozo, why not take up the million dollar challenge laid down by James Randi and get Zozo to appear while he looks on?

The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board

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Ghost Adventures – Exorcism in Erie – S14E06

imageTo continue with the demonic theme we have going, Zak is in Erie, Colorado to help a family who’s house and son are under a supposed demonic oppression. Jeff and Darlene bought the house in 1997 and have experienced demonic activity including growls, shadow figures and some force that tried to throw their son Chris out the window. Zak attributes this to a massive fault line that runs under the house. However, the actual center of the activity seems to be Chris himself.

As Darlene describes it, Chris used to be loving and affectionate, but has since been taken with a lot of anger and heavy depression. Darlene feels Chris is under a demonic oppression and that he sees spirits all the time.

When questioned by Zak, Chris admits to going to "the witch’s house". There they found pentagrams, occult magazines and preserved animals in jars. They also found blood which he feels was part of a ritual sacrifice. Chris and his friends spent many hours there messing around trying to conjure something. Ultimately, Chris took a horseshoe from the house and buried it in his back yard. He also says he has seen the devil smiling at him.

Jeff and Darlene also have daughter who gives a quick interview and she says her son doesn’t like going over to their house because of the zombie ghost.

As they start looking around the house, Jay has an episode where his heart rate goes to 120 bpm and he gets red in the face. Zak also states the bed posts have turned red and look like devil horns.

Believing a dire demonic possession is in the making, Zak reaches out to Bishop Bryan Ouellette to perform an exorcism. Meanwhile, Aaron and Billy dig up the yard to find the "demonic horseshoe" only it isn’t buried at all, but is sitting in the garage in plain sight. Zak states that all the violent weather in the area is a form of demonic oppression and it manipulated someone to dig up the horseshoe and put it back in the garage.

Chris meets with the Bishop and says he feels cold, that there is energy in the room and that he feels it wants to take his life. During the blessing, Chris shakes violently and has no idea what’s going on, even though he’s keenly aware that his hands are shaking.

Zak has brought in Bill Chappell to bedazzle the masses with new gadgets that fluctuate and bounce in a manner Bill has never seen before. We have readings that go off the charts then bottom out as well as meters that rise and fall.

This coincides with Zak saying he sees a black mass on the stairs. Billy confirms there is something "billowing". The Spirit Box picks up "kill me" and "I’m breeding". Zak asks what the entity wants from Chris, and out of the garbled mess determines it says, "his soul" because that makes for better TV. As Zak pulls out the SLS camera, there is a figure dancing on the counter in the bathroom. This calls for a blessing of the house by Bishop Bryan.

The focal point is the basement and during the blessing a wet hand print appears on the wall of the stairs leading down. Zak says it looks like a child’s hand. Chris is upstairs during this and with the Mag Camera, there is a picture of him shrouded by a black covering. Zak says this is the dark figure he and Billy saw.

Bishop Bryan does a final blessing on the horseshoe or "demonic relic" as Zak keeps calling it and by the end his eyes are bloodshot and he is terribly congested. Proof again of demonic forces, so claims Zak.

This is perhaps the most ridiculous episode they have ever put their name too. It is utterly amazing that visiting an abandoned home and reading "occult magazines" will conjure a demonic spirit. Strangely, you don’t hear of angels following people who just happen to read a religious pamphlet. Further, Zak makes a wild leap to say the horseshoe is demonic and was used in rituals. How odd considering the horseshoe is normally considered a good luck charm.

It also appears Chris himself needs some medical attention. Another case where depression is associated with "demonic oppression". Has Chris seen a mental health specialist for his depression? Has he seen someone about his jerky movements? Depression isn’t caused by the devil. This isn’t Salem in the late 1600’s.

The hand print on the wall to the basement is dry wall repair kit that goes on pink and dries to white. As they sweep over it, you can see it drying in the center, but it’s still pink in the thicker areas.

The gizmos Bill is bringing in are a load of nonsense. Let’s conjure up some flashing lights without giving any sense of measurement and saying things are completely out of control and it’s never acted like this before.

Let’s also not forget the incidents with the Witch’s House happened so long ago that Chris has basically forgotten about it and can’t remember the details. Further, this deadly horseshoe was in the living room, yet no one else was effected. You would think such an evil totem would consume everyone who came within a dozen feet of it, let alone those who touched it. That would make it more cursed than the Brady idol.

Zak now sees the devil in everything. He’s even going to say it’s responsible for the weather. Funny how the houses next door don’t seem to be affected by this demonic horseshoe even though they are right in line of this evil ripple effect and fault line.

And why on earth did Zak meet a priest in a cemetery other than for dramatic effect?

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Please explain how this is not dry wall repair kit.

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The Zozo Phenomenon by Darren Evans – Thoughts and Impressions

The Zozo Phenomenon focuses on Darren’s experiences with Zozo with dozens of letters from people running into the same sort of trouble as support. Couple that with YouTube videos chronicling contact with Zozo where none of them end well. So what is going on? Why is Zozo making a sudden appearance and causing all this mischief? I dare say not a single person had heard of Zozo a decade ago.

According to Darren, Zozo appears in the Dictionnaire Infernal, making it ancient. That’s not entirely accurate as Zozo is not listed as demon. The name is referenced by a girl who claims she was possessed by a spirit named Zozo, among two others. Depending on interpretation, that girl was determined to be a fraud. That aside, Zozo is not listed as a demon or deity.

But if it’s not a demon or spirit, why are so many people being affected? That lies in the sender’s of the letters themselves. Almost all of them mention depression, cutting, suicidal thoughts, being bipolar, emotional instability or some other form of mental illness. When going to the Ouija with a depressed mindset, it’s pretty easy to predict what sort of experience you’re going to get back.

What about the names Zozo and Mama? They are in fact the easiest names to spell on the Ouija. All you have to do is move in the "rainbow effect" and you get Zozo or Mama every time. But Zozo isn’t the only name, it can be Za, Oz, Zo and other extremely simple words to spell. It can even be Zaza, Lilly, Zach. Zozo has no idea what gender it should be and goes by so many names that anything you spell can be linked to Zozo. Some call that saturation bombing.

Just like the name, Zozo as an entity has been set up to encompass everything. Zozo is a deity, a demon, a Djinn and a trickster. Zozo is multiple things, things with multiple personalities, allowing it to cover a wide variety of bases. It’s not one thing that acts in one way, it’s dozens of things that acts with complete unpredictability so everything falls under the Zozo umbrella. That’s why when Zozo or whatever name it goes by gets something right, it proves his existence. When he gets it wrong, that proves he’s a trickster. Under what circumstances isn’t it Zozo?

When you step back, Darren lays out a blueprint of what a demon would do to build it’s brand. It would choose a mysterious name, something with Z, the lost letter. It would give false and real information. It would be helpful to draw people in, then strike. It would pick on the young and vulnerable. It would use the exact roadmap Darren details on how the Zozo phenomenon came into existence.

Darren explains how skeptics say the subconscious pushes the Ouija planchette using the ideomotor effect, then discounts it by saying Zozo is different. He recounts multiple skeptic claims, but dismisses them all with a, Zozo is different. He also admits to being obsessed with the board and can’t help but coming back to it time and time again. This is the power of Zozo rather than OCD, or addictive personality.

It’s also hard to discount the striking similarity between the word Zozo and the Zoso by Led Zeppelin. You would have to be blind not to see the style duplication of the Zoso signature of Jimmy Page and the Zozo style used for the book. Darren freely admits to his extreme fandom of Led Zeppelin and Page and his further work in the Black Crowes. It’s an amazing "coincidence" that Zozo chose a moniker so close to the one Page used and one that references his other band.

Further, I couldn’t find a Zozo sighting dating before Darren took up the mantle. Many claim John Zaffis knows all about Zozo, who says it’s ancient and a trickster. John has been on the paranormal circuit for decades, has he ever mentioned the name before Darren brought it up?

This will come across as harsh, but the letters pouring into Darren about Zozo experiences do not support his claim. They are from extremely vulnerable and impressionable people, who by their own admission, have harmed themselves and have a multitude of life problems. Even at the beginning of the book, Darren outlines a whole slew of traumatic events in his own life. Like other "hauntings" it’s easier to say you’re suffering from demonic oppression than a mental disorder.

When you put these together, it’s safe to conclude that Zozo and everything surrounding it is a fabrication. The fleeting reference in the Dictionnaire Infernal, the emotionally distraught letters and the dubious TV appearances don’t qualify as proof of authenticity.

Despite this, Darren is getting a lot of milage from Zozo. He’s managed to publish a book, consult on a movie, has been a guest lecturer, and has found himself on the set of a couple of TV shows. This "Zozo phenomenon" has given Darren his own form of celebrity status.

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Come on now. Are we really going to say this is a coincidence? The name, the style, the reference to Page, his involvement with the Black Crowes. This story starts with Darren and involves all his fandom tropes.

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