Thursday, July 04, 2019

When The Demonic Knows Your Name

(Author's note--this is a 2019 reworking of a 2016 post that is very pertinent to what's going on right now. Enjoy it--except for Chip Coffey, who now hates me. Read on for's hilarious. But make no mistake: the rest of this post is decidedly not funny, as you'll soon see for yourself.)

So you guys know I'm normally keeping myself pretty busy, and especially at this time of year. 2019 was originally supposed to be a leisurely writing year with a light publication schedule, but that has changed thanks to some stuff I can't announce yet. (Darn NDAs) So because I just cannot be too busy, this story is one I need to update, including new information we've learned that makes everything clearer.

And scarier.

I spent October of 2015 shredding the abysmal A&E television show Cursed: The Bell Witch and the absolutely execrable Destination America Exorcist Live! and putting together my blog series The Real Bell Witch, all of which you can see by going to the Paranormal, Bell Witch, and Zozo page tab at the top of the blog. I should probably mention here that because of me trashing Exorcist Live! I was blocked on Twitter by Chip Coffey, who must have psychically found my blog and gotten offended at the way I felt about his contributions to this said show. It's actually pretty damn funny when you think about it--I didn't follow him. Heck, I didn't really care enough to even check. Then a couple of years later someone directed me to a Tweet of his but I couldn't see it because I'd been blocked!

I had no idea a psychic needed Twitter. After all, shouldn't everything on their feed be old news? Shouldn't they have heebie-jeebied and known everything on their feed.

But I digress.

I'd been working with Tim Wood out at LiveSciFi on a series of articles about an investigation they did in Oklahoma City--an investigation into an entity known as Zozo or the Ouija board demon. If you've never heard of that name, do a quick Google search. In 2016, you would have turned up over 34 million results. 289,000 of those results were YouTube videos. And Tim was the king of the paranormal on YouTube with over 400,000 subscribers and 68 million views--and counting.

Now in 2019, those stats have all increased: 37 million results for Zozo on Google, 367,000 YouTube videos. Tim Wood's LSF channel now has over half a million subscribers and 90 million views. The weekend of the 2016 post, LSF was working with a guest investigator, Darren Evans, for a huge live stream collaboration. 

Let's link everything up real quick so that you can go see my 2015 articles, the Blogcritics interview, and the LiveSciFi site.

Tim and I subsequently conducted an experiment in 2017 where we tried to learn more about the entity. Tim contacted Zozo on the Ouija board every night for a month, while I stood as the control of the experiment. We live-streamed every video, documenting all the activity in front of the LiveSciFi audience. We collaborated on different things to try so we could arrive at a conclusion of what Zozo really was, and the evidence we got was actually pretty staggering. We subsequently co-wrote a book about our findingsStalked by the Zozo Demon came out two months later, was a bestseller in paranormal non-fiction, and is available now on Amazon and other online e-tailers. (#ObligatoryBookPlug)

But the Zozo experiment led to serious repercussions.

I've since expanded my studies within the paranormal field and have delved deeply into the history and lore regarding the demonic. Won't be too much longer before I announce a couple of things that will encompass all that information. For that, you'll have to stay tuned. But this is my blog, so here I get to tell you about some of the crap that's gone on since Tim and I started researching the diabolical four years ago. We're still conducting that research--hell, the night we dissected a voodoo doll (video to the immediate right--> ) was the direct result of that research, and one of the creepiest paranormal objects I've ever seen by the way. (The woman who made that voodoo doll was consumed by hatred and rage that was seething through every stitch and ripple of fabric in the damn thing. That artifact is without a doubt the worst cursed/haunted object I've ever investigated.) But all this research also leads me to a story I've hinted about, but never told before the book came out.

My first encounter or battle against the diabolical. It's your lucky day.

In 2015, when I was interviewing Tim Wood and Darren Evans prior to the Zozo investigation,  I noticed several odd similarities in Tim and Darren's stories. Not the 'they talked ahead of time' similarities, but elements that popped up in their individual experiences with the demonic that had also popped up, frighteningly, in my own.  One of the articles I did, Ouija Board Demon Zozo--Connecting The Dots outlined those similarities. What I neglected to include in the story was how I shared many of those characteristics with the two investigators, and those events stemmed from my adolescence and two hauntings. One of those hauntings, of course, was the Bell Witch case in Adams, TN. You guys have heard all about my opinions and experiences with that right here on this blog (or you could hear about them if you click on the Bell Witch, Paranormal and Zozo tab). The other was the demonic oppression of a friend of mine in college--an oppression that manifested in activity right before my eyes that I absolutely could not explain. Seems appropriate to tell that story now. All the names, naturally, have been changed, and bear with me: by the end of this post, it'll all make sense.

My friend's oppression began after the death of his younger brother in a mysterious car wreck. The brother had been involved in a high school "coven" with nine friends. Of those ten kids, eight died: four in the same car accident, two by suicide, one murdered, and the last of some totally bizarre infection. I have no idea what happened to the other two. After his brother's funeral, the entity hopped to my friend, Jeno. 

Jeno was a smart, good-looking guy--football player, math whiz, popular kid with an infectious grin and a sweet personality. We attended the same college but I'd known him since high school, when he'd been in the same class I was. His family was Mormon and in every aspect he was just a normal, happy guy. But after his younger brother's death, everything suddenly went wrong. He literally started to almost wither into nothingness. Within a month, he looked gaunt and uptight. We shared a mutual friend--a guy named Rob and we would hang out some nights. We usually would go to this bizarre park in the middle of town, down this crazy steep hill and tucked away under the big railroad trestle that loomed hundreds of feet over our heads. That park was basically some fifty year old swings and a parking lot, but behind that were a few trails and a creek. We liked it there. People rarely went there during the day, much less the night, so we could hang out there and act like idiots or talk about our lives and no one ever disturbed us. 

On one of those nights during the fall of my sophomore year in college, we went to that park. It was September, and still warm but despite that, Jeno was wearing a turtleneck sweater. And as we sat in our usual spot in a clearing tucked out of sight of the road, Jeno told us what was happening to make him look so gaunt and stressed out. 

His house was haunted, he said, since his brother's death a few months earlier. He would wake up in the middle of the night, fighting with an unseen force pummeling him in the bed. Things would fly off his wall. Drawers would open and crash against the wall on the opposite side of the room. Strange shouts, bangs, and terrible smells would emanate from his younger brother's closed and unused bedroom.

I was fresh off my first investigation of the Bell Witch Cave and the Edens farm, where I'd experienced things much like what Jeno was talking about. In fact, I'd stood outside on the front porch of Bimms Eden's empty house and listened as the living room furniture was rearranged--things that neither Rob nor Jeno knew about. So I was able to take Jeno's story at face value.

But what I didn't expect was the condition of his body. 

The first time he lifted his shirt and showed the massive bruising on his torso, I was startled--and I couldn't help but be slightly skeptical as well. What I couldn't figure out was a trio of scratches that started on the right side of his neck and continued in an unbroken, continuous diagonal across his chest and finally terminated on his left hip. It was like someone had taken one of those little three-pronged gardening forks down his body, but the cuts were too deep and sharp-edged for that. They had scabbed over, and even the scabs were precise and identical.

For a few days after, I tried to figure out if there was some way to do that to oneself. It was so weird because the scratches were the same depth, the same width, and completely seamless. On top of that, Jeno was right-handed. There was no way he could have done that to himself with such perfect symmetry. But I didn't say anything to him about it at the time. When you're eighteen and a good-looking guy is telling you he's being attacked by a ghost his dead brother's coven conjured up, you figure it's probably not a good idea to interrogate him but just to act as if you totally buy into his story and be supportive of him that way. After all, he had just lost his brother. It only made sense to me that he would be have trouble dealing with his death. 

A few weeks later, we were hanging out in the same park. It was October--my birthday weekend, in fact--and it was one of those perfect, crisp autumn evenings you get in Tennessee when the season is changing. We weren't even talking about the haunting at the time; we were planning a road trip as I recollect. Jeno didn't drink, I couldn't drink, and Rob...was Rob. He was drinking, mean thing that he was. At any rate, we were laughing when all of a sudden Jeno screamed and fell backwards, landing basically on my lap. Instinctively, I grabbed his shoulders and his body was so hot (temperature) that I could feel the heat baking through his jacket and sweater.

The next thing I knew, three burns came up on the side of his throat. Each burn was as wide as my thumb and almost instantly blistered. Rob pulled off Jeno's shirt and those burns followed the exact same path as the scratches had. 

I saw those burns pop up. If you're a woman and have ever burned the side of your neck with a curling iron, that's exactly what it looked like. Except Jeno was six feet tall and those burns crossed his body like a sash and disappeared into the waistband of his jeans while he was wearing a thick cable-knit sweater and a Member's Only jacket. (dated myself there) And these weren't surface burns either; they were second degree burns. We took him to the ER--I don't even remember the BS story we told to try to spin the whole mess. That night after he was released, we took him back to Rob's place, figuring he might be able to rest there. Jeno pretty much passed out as soon as we tucked him up on the couch, exhausted as he was and full of pain meds, while Rob and I sat across the room trying to figure out what in the hell we'd just seen. 

I had been at the Bell Witch cave just a few days before, and had gotten several EVPs (my first ones, actually) before the cave suddenly went spook-monster on me and drove me out. So I was already a tad...jumpy and Rob knew this. But as we sat there trying to rationalize what had happened, the light bulb in the hanging lamp over his kitchen table exploded, glass shattering, sparks in the wiring, sounding like a pop gun kind of exploded. 

Rob and I just stared at each other over all that glass, and Jeno said suddenly from the couch, "It followed me here." 

My first thought at the moment was uncharitable to say the least. Thank you so fucking much for bringing your pet ghost, Jeno isn't the best retort in such a moment. But Jeno's voice was terrified and quiet all at the same time, and it made such an impact on me that I couldn't say a word. Rob, bless him, instantly popped up with, "Man, we need to take you to a church." 

That's when Jeno told us that the Mormon church in town had excommunicated him. He'd gone to them for help when all the manifestations began before his brother's death, and they had kicked him out of the church! 

Rob and I were both raised Catholic--Rob's mother was Spanish; mine was French--and we figured that if anyone would help Jeno, it would be the parish priest. So we loaded  Jeno into the back seat of my Bug (yes, I was a vintage VW kind of punk girl back in the day--a 1972 Superbeetle, Tennessee orange of course) and took him to the rectory next to the church both our families attended. Our parish priest was an awesome guy--a chain-smoking, Scotch-drinking, honest-to-God Irish lean whip of a man who had baptized, christened, and First Communion-ed me. The drive lasted maybe five minutes, and it was the longest five minutes of my life. After what we'd already seen that night, and the knowledge of how Jeno's brother had died, a VW Bug didn't seem like the safest place in the world to be. On top of that, it was three o'clock in the morning, and we were going to wake up a priest. 

It's a testament to who our priest was both as a man and a religious that we didn't even hesitate about going to him. This was the same priest I argued reproductive rights with, the same one who always told his congregation that if they were in spiritual trouble to come to him. Rob and I figured this would qualify, and all we wanted to do was to get Jeno to someone who knew what to do. 

The rectory was a sold-looking Victorian building. Rob, who was quite a bit smaller than Jeno, was literally hauling him up the front porch steps while I banged on the door and rang the doorbell. The porch light snapped on and our priest peered out then he opened the door. He took one look at the three of us (we probably looked like we were crazy) and immediately let us all into the house.

And what happened from that point on is something I don't talk about. I can't. We went through months of serious terror. There were further occasions when Jeno was attacked in front of me--the worst happened one night after he'd been kicked out of his parents' home and was living in a small apartment right off-campus. Jeno had two couches in his shabby living room. I was asleep on one and he was on the other when suddenly he screamed. I jumped up like a scalded cat and he was fighting for his life against something that was only visible because it was under the blanket with him, like some huge freaking guy had crept up on that couch with him and crawled under the quilt to strangle him. I hauled Jeno off the couch into the floor, the blanket went flat, and the attack stopped.

We sat up the rest of the night in the floor with every light in the house on and my rosary beads around his neck.

But there was nothing else I could do. I couldn't help him and organized religion wouldn't (at the time). The response of both the Mormon and Catholic Churches to Jeno's situation made me angry--angry enough to forego religion for a long, long time. Exorcisms were not something the Catholic church approved or even talked about openly at the time. Although our priest prayed with Jeno, blessed him, and conducted minor rites in the hope that something would alleviate his suffering he was told by his superiors to stop.

Father protested on Jeno's behalf (and also for Rob and me, since we were now getting peripheral notice from the entity), but the diocese was emphatic. The Catholic church rarely approved exorcisms, there was no exorcist in the diocese, and the bishop flat refused to sanction anything remotely resembling an exorcism for a non-Catholic. Probably as a result of his protests, our priest was moved to another parish within six months.  But before he left, he told me that it was dangerous to spend so much time with Jeno trying to help him and told Rob the same thing. Being know-it-all twenty-somethings, we ignored him.

Unfortunately, Rob told Jeno what the priest had said. Six weeks after that, Jeno left town and I have never heard from him again.

All that is history. Let's talk about the present, as in what has happened from 2015 to 2019 and specifically for Tim and me.

After I began to research and write the articles surrounding the 2015 investigation of the Zozo house, I was getting poked paranormally in my house. The notes I took that night and Darren's phone number mysteriously disappeared from my computer, even though I had saved my work (being a writer makes you autosave-suspicious) and turned off the computer that night. A pair of lights in my living room blew within three minutes of each other. One lamp fell from the end table for no reason--I watched it fall and there wasn't a cat near it or under it. My mother's rosary beads disappeared from my closed jewelry box in the bedroom. (I later found it under the living room couch.)  Had a few random bangs on the front door and one from inside the linen closet in the hallway. (I live in a century-old house). I spent three days looking at the TV or computer screen with one hand over my eye due to an almost incapacitating migraine that wouldn't respond to any kind of migraine medicines. Despite all this, I managed to get four articles and three press releases done on top of my normal, everyday workload.

The Zozo experiment exacerbated everything exponentially. As the month went on, Tim and I both began having parallel paranormal experiences including nightmares, poltergeist activity, shadow figures in our non-haunted homes, and extreme emotional swings. Lightning struck my house when I was interviewing I ended up quadruple-saving the rough draft of the book and my notes because they kept disappearing from my computer. We did several investigations together after the experiment, and no matter where we went, the demonic pursued us. I ended up taking a break from investigations for a while, and gradually the activity on my end slowed and stopped.

This year, Tim and I started investigating and working together again. The last trip we took we were deliberately looking to contact the Zozo entity, and once again Tim and I began to experience parallel activity. That started up in the two weeks prior to the investigation and has not only continued but increased and intensified. Eventually, once I can announce the super secret big projects we're working on, all of you will be able to hear the rest of that story. Shouldn't be too long.

Here's the thing. I know there are no coincidences when it comes to paranormal activity. For two hundred years, authors working on the Bell Witch story have reported losing their entire manuscripts. I know a writer who lost his entire book--back when writing a book required a typewriter and lots of Liquid Paper. The physical manuscript just disappeared from inside his locked desk drawer. Film crews would find their equipment malfunctioning inside the Bell Witch cave or the landing outside it--but it all worked perfectly on top of the cliff. This happened famously during the late 1980s when the show Unsolved Mysteries tried to film there. Also, when you're writing about the Bell Witch your source materials and research--particularly the Ingram book--disappear. So I know the history involved with writing about paranormal entities and resultant paranormal activity that interferes with that.

For the same thing to happen here makes me suspicious.

In an era when demonic attacks are perceived to be on the rise, when the Catholic church is suddenly embracing the rite of exorcism in order to meet the rising need to help victims of demonic oppression and possession, when non-Catholic "exorcists" are working openly with paranormal investigators who are looking into demonic hauntings you have to stop and think: is there some reason the diabolical forces are increasing? It's kind of a chicken or the egg sort of dilemma. Is the increased interest in the paranormal the reason we are hearing more about demons or demonic hauntings? Or are demons becoming more openly prevalent and that's why there are more paranormal investigations?

Make no mistake, any time an investigator like Tim or a researcher like me starts to poke at demonic entities, it's playing with fire. People who understand the dangers of this type of paranormal research also understand the need for protecting themselves as they proceed. But sometimes, depending on the entity, that protection isn't enough...or fails. Even the most experienced paranormal investigator can sometimes end up with an attachment or worse. And if multiple people on the same team end up with parallel activity--and especially if they don't live in the same place like Tim and me--that's a huge red flag. At that point, whatever methods of self-protection they employ have been compromised, leaving the investigators open to worse and increasing activity.

I knew when I first wrote this blog post that because we were investigating Zozo, an entity that has Ouija-bombed and stalked Tim for years, there would be paranormal consequences. That didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was how quick and how severe those consequences were. They had far-reaching effects on everyone involved.

Make no mistake: paranormal investigation is NOT a game. It's dangerous to everyone involved. So getting a cheap voice recorder and running around a deserted haunted house at night or "playing" with a Ouija board isn't some kind of cheap thrill. It's potentially deadly, and these cautionary tales shouldn't be ignored or dismissed. Leave it to the experts, because even the experts in the paranormal field know that this type of investigation weighs heavily in favor of the demonic, not the investigators.

Hopefully after this, you'll know that too. Stay tuned, folks. This ride is getting to be VERY bumpy. Oh, and if you want to learn more about Tim and his experiences with the Zozo entity, watch that last video I posted. You'll learn a lot.

Particularly why you don't want to get any closer to that entity than reading about it in a blog.

Author's note: I had just finished typing the line directly above this one when the ceiling in my office/spare bedroom suddenly collapsed. I was hit with plaster and insulation, and the guest bedroom which I had just finished renovating was pretty much destroyed. The collapse barely missed taking out all the electronics--tv, desktop, laptop, Nintendo Switch--but managed to destroy the overhead light. So allow me to reiterate one more time: dealing with the diabolical is not a game, is not "fun", is not an adrenaline rush. It's dangerous on multiple levels.

Once the diabolical knows your name, it never forgets it. When it knows you're planning to confront it, the demonic will make its presence known.