As America’s undisputed voodoo capital, New Orleans is known as a city with more than a few lingering ghosts. Whether found in the shadow of the old slave auction stands or inside the ageless buildings weathered by hurricane Katrina, these spirits often remind us of dark moments long passed, but few offer more frightening memories than the ghosts that haunt the Rampart Street Murder House. In fact, some believe that the phantoms themselves are to blame for the horrific crimes that took place in the building.. and that these ghosts are lying in wait to possess their next victims.
The details surrounding the deaths of Zackery Bowen and Adriane “Addie” Hall are so grisly that its hard to believe they’re even true. For a time, in the wake of the devastation of hurricane Katrina, Zack and Addie had become like many who had stuck out the storm, the resilient face of the city, so when news of Addie’s dismemberment and Zach’s suicide broke, it shocked the public and shook the community of New Orleans to the very core.
By all accounts, Zack Bowen, a discharged sergeant in the US Army, was a nice guy with plenty of friends. After returning home from Iraq with plenty of medals, including the NATO medal and the Presidential Unit Citation, Bowen’s charming demeanor and good looks landed him work as a bartender in the French Quarter of New Orleans, pouring drinks at Buffa’s. It was here that he met Addie Hall.
Addie, who was also a bartender at another French Quarter staple, The Spotted Cat, had moved to New Orleans from North Carolina, but aside from her hot temper, even her friends didn’t know much about her. She’d taken a liking to Zack, and the two would often visit one another at work, passing love notes and flirting from opposite sides of the bar.
Addie Hall and Zack Bowen | Via YouTube
When Hurricane Katrina came barreling into New Orleans, Zack and Addie became local folk heroes, shacking up together and refusing to evacuate the storm. When the electricity cut out, they fashioned their own makeshift stove, bartered with other holdouts for necessities, and even put their bartending skills to use by serving up cocktails for weary locals. Hall gained particular notoriety for her method of ensuring the security of her neighborhood in the aftermath of the disaster, flashing her breasts at passing policemen, who for some reason, upped their patrols in the area. The two weren’t just surviving Katrina’s aftermath, they were thriving in it.
“We’ve been able to see the stars for the first time,” Hall told reporters. “Before, this was a 24-hour lit city. Now it’s peaceful.”
Eventually, life returned to New Orleans, but it wasn’t long after that their friends began to notice a change in the couple. They were fighting constantly, drinking heavily, and often disappearing from work for days at a time. During a heated argument in the early morning hours, Hall pulled a gun on a man, screaming in his face, before being arrested by police. Shortly thereafter, Bowen found himself arrested on a first-time drug charge. In September of 2006, they were evicted from their apartment.
The Rampart Murder House | Via Collins C. Diboll Digital Survey
The following month, Zack and Addie moved into a new apartment above the city’s famous Voodoo Spiritual Temple at 826 N. Rampart Street. By this time their fights had reached their peak, and Hall had permanently disappeared from her job at the Spotted Cat. Drugs and alcohol only added to the couple’s constant bickering, and on October 5th, 2006, Addie accused Zackery of infidelity, and he did something no one could have expected from him.
“I killed her at 1 a.m. Thursday, 5 October,” Bowen would later write. “I very calmly strangled her. It was very quick.”
Eleven days later Bowen jumped to his death from a building in the French Quarter.
When police arrived to the scene of Bowen’s suicide, the roof of the Chartres Street garage, they discovered a key note with an address wrapped in a plastic bag inside Bowen’s pocket. Squad cars were dispatched to the couple’s apartment on Rampant Street, but what awaited them inside was a scene straight out of a horror film. Spray painted on the walls of the apartment were some of Bowen’s last words: “Please call my wife. I love her. I’m a total failure. Look in the oven. Please help me stop the pain.”
Addie’s head and hands sat in pots on the stove, her arms and legs in a tray inside the oven. They had been cooked. Her torso was still in the refrigerator.
Zackery had dismembered Hall in the bathtub before deciding to “separate the meat from the bone” by cooking the body parts. Some reports even said that Bowen had cut up carrots and potatoes and seasoned the body parts, earning him the nickname Katrina Cannibal, though police found no signs of cannibalism and an autopsy discovered no human remains in Bowen’s stomach.
Bowen’s suicide note laid out the details:
“This is not accidental. I had to take my own life to pay for the one I took. If you send a patrol car to 826 N. Rampart, you will find the dismembered corpse of my girlfriend Addie in the oven, on the stove, and in the fridge and a full signed confession from myself … Zack Bowen. I scared myself not by the action of calmly strangling the woman I’ve loved for one and a half years, and then (desecrating) her body but by my entire lack of remorse. I’ve known for ever how horrible of a person I am — ask anyone — and decided to quit my jobs and spend the 1,500 cash I had being happy until I killed myself. So, that’s what I did: good food, good drugs, good strippers, good friends and any loose ends I may have had. I didn’t contact any of my family. So that’ll explain the shock. And had a fantastic time living out my days … It’s just about time now.”
The horrific murder-suicide has gone down as one of the most grisly crimes in the history of the city, leading to more questions than answers. In the decade that followed, the scene of the crime has become known as the Rampart Street Murder House, the target of knowing glances by locals, all-but-ignored by tourists in search of powdered beignets and booze, unaware of the horrors that occurred there just ten years ago.
In the aftermath of the Rampart Street Murder House’s violent tragedy, some residents have started to wonder if there may have been a supernatural element involved, believing that drugs and alcohol alone couldn’t be responsible for such a well-liked military man having committed such a terrible crime. There were many who even went so far as to declare that Bowen had been possessed by an entity who resided in the voodoo temple directly below the couple’s apartment, though it’s hard to believe that the well-respected Priestess Miriam Chamani of the Voodoo Spiritual Temple would allow such an entity to take up space in her sanctuary.
Those who’ve lived in and near the Rampart Street Murder House since have reported all manner of ghostly activity, from the feeling of unseen eyes watching them in the darkness, to, phantom whispers from disembodied entities, to the overwhelming sense that a dark, oppressive force is bearing down on them, a sensation that seems to emanate from the very building itself. These experiences have secured the Rampart Street Murder House a new position on New Orlean’s list of most haunted properties, though its eerie tales of dark spirits have yet to receive any mainstream attention until now.
Paranormal investigators Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman | Via TLC
Following up on the reports of ghostly activity, paranormal investigators Nick Groff and Katrina Weidman, known for their work on Ghost Adventures and Paranormal State, took to New Orleans in an attempt to get to the bottom of the Rampart Street Murder House’s lingering mysteries. The duo not only became the first research team to ever perform a paranormal investigation in the Rampart Street Murder House, but they spent 72 hours sealed up inside the location. The results of their investigation will be aired on the second season of TLC’s Paranormal Lockdown, which begins December 16th.
In the decade since the tragic end of Addie Hall and Zack Bowen’s lives, the event has left a dark impression lingering in the very walls of the Rampart Street Murder House. For the locals who have brushed up with the ghosts that linger at the location, it’s no surprise that the building would be haunted. Hopefully soon, we’ll find out just who – or what – these spirits are.