This is the bizarre tale of one couple that manages to ride out the perfect storm of the Katrina hurricane in New Orleans only to be victims of a murder suicide as soon as the water subsides.
The case focuses on Zach Bowen, a rather mild mannered young man who meets Addie Hall and the two ride out the hurricane together. They hunker down in the French Quarter, which has a slightly higher elevation than the rest of the city and through luck no harm comes to them. For a short time they have the run of the city. Everyone else, including the police have evacuated out of the city. So quite literally they are a young couple with complete run of the city. From the pictures they’ve found and the testimonials, it would have been a pretty spectacular atmosphere.
But then things take a turn for the worst and Zach is found dead from a suicide jump. In his pocket he’s left his military ID tags and a note. The explains that he couldn’t live with what he’d done. Turns out, he murdered Annie at least a week earlier. But it’s not just that he murdered her, he took things to a very dark level. It’s possible he was still sleeping in the same bed with the corpse of Annie and may have even had sexual relations with her after she was dead. It was also clear that he cut up her body where some of the pieces were found in the fridge, some cooked in the oven and her head in a pot on the stove. This comes from the detective that investigated the house. This isn’t rumor. This is from the man who was on the scene first. It looks like Zach may have actually been eating her. At the very least he’d gone off the deep end with trying to get rid of her body.
While this is an extremely unfortunate set of events, it can easily be explained as far too much indulgence while no one was looking. They had the city to themselves. They were obviously partying, so it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to throw in some drugs to explain his behavior. They had the run of the city, who knows what they broke in to while no one was looking. But after a fight, Zach strangled Annie and then took his own life several days later.
But it’s not a wild and overindulgent mix of drugs and alcohol that caused Zach to act out, many people he was in a state of demonic possession.
New Orleans is a very spiritual city with deep ties to both Christianity and Voodoo. Many people there have a very personal and intimate relationship with the sprit world. Several people, such as Alyne Pustanio, believe that since there was no one to watch over and tend to the spirits, that they began to attach with and feed off of those who were left in the city. She feels a demonic force got inside of Zach and caused him to commit this terrible crime without even realizing it. Then, he may have been forced to take his own life. She firmly believes he was under the control of demonic forces.
Now that is certainly a different take on events. It wouldn’t be the unsanitary conditions of the water or food, nor would it be the intake of alcohol and quite possibly drugs, nor would it be the feeling of complete freedom and lawless because only a handful of people were in town, that caused Zach to act out. It was his close proximity to the spirit world that made him a victim of dark forces.
There is no doubt Zach turned wickedly evil and acted in a way completely outside his character. From the writings he left on the wall and the vicious way he treated Annie’s body he was dealing with some sort of "demons". He was out of control, but does that mean he was under the control of something else? Did his time in the military and memories of the war, for which he purposefully worked to get him thrown out, finally catch up with him and he became entrenched in some sort of survivors guilt? If he was so on the brink in his personal life, why would he work so hard to survive his hurricane only to kill himself once he knew they would all be safe?
It is indeed a puzzle and clearly something set Zach off. Was it really the spirit world of New Orleans? Did something dark seek him out since there was no Voodoo priest to keep the spirits under control? Or did he simply drink to excess? Did he experiment with drugs that never should have been combined?
It’s a grim story of a young couple that stared down the barrel of devastation and for a short time, came out on the other ride unscathed.
Other Articles of Interest:
- Paranormal Lockdown – Rampart St. Murder House – S02E10
- Haunted History – The Manson Murders – S01E01
- Paranormal State – Night Terrors – S04E10
- America’s Most Haunted Town
- Ghost Adventures – Route 666 – S13E06 – Part 2
- Paranormal State – The Lurking Man – S05E09
- Paranormal State – Do Bad Things – S05E10
- The Zozo Phenomenon by Darren Evans – Review
- Ghost Lab – Episode 3 – Chicago/New Orleans
- Haunted Histories Volume 3
Haunted History presents another fascinating episode, this time centered around the Salem Witch Trials. This is not exactly a crowning moment in American History and over time this true series of unfortunate events has come to symbolize, greed, hysteria and the lust for power. The religious fervor of wild accusations without a shred of proof, turned into a way to seize property and livestock as well as ride the town of people who had too much wealth and influence as well as those who had too little to their name. I think we can all agree that these original events had absolutely nothing to do with the paranormal or the supernatural. Ironically, the very thing the original residents feared may a presence in modern day Salem.
Salem, originally founded in 1626, gained it’s infamous reputation in 1692 when the fear of witchcraft spread through the town and 19 men and women were hanged after being accused. The "Trials" were far from fair, with little to no evidence being supplied against the accused. Instead, they relied on the Will of God to keep innocent people from being hanged. Good thing we don’t follow the same rules today. Interesting, the idea of "spectral evidence" was used during this time. People firmly believed in the devil and the power of the supernatural. A person who was cursed or under the influence of a witch could see their energy and power manifest itself. Of course nobody else could. Makes for a good way to point the finger at someone. And it worked.
At the first location they visit, the Witch House, the believe the spirit of Bridgette Bishop still lingers there. She was a wealthy landowner who was put to death and the restaurant, 43 Church now stands on the former apple orchard she once owned and coveted. The owner and staff all claim to see a dark figure roaming the grounds and are firmly convinced they’ve seen the shadow multiple times up in the attic. They also claim the chairs to dining room tables were stacked and then unstacked while they worked in the restaurant one night.
The next site is Gallows Hill, where the hangings actually took place. Oddly, it’s now a sort of park with a children’s playground. The accused were brought to the hill and left to swing in the oak trees that dotted area in the day. When dead, their bodies were buried off to the side. They weren’t given a proper burial, since of course they were witches and didn’t earn any respect. Many people feel they hear voices or feel a presence in this area.
Finally, there is the Howard Street Cemetery where Giles Corey was crushed to death under the weight of rocks used to illicit a confession. His silence on the accusation of witchcraft against him infuriated the court, so they turned to torture. More weight was piled on until he finally suffocated. It was death about as bad as hanging. It’s claimed his spirit still lingers in the area. Many people claim to photos of mists and vapors floating around the grave markers. Some claim he can be seen walking among the headstones. But, if you see Giles Corey, Salem will burn. If he speaks to you, you will die within days. Many fires have broken out over the decades that Salem has been around and lots of people link these events to Corey sightings. It’s claimed he put a curse on the town and on the Sherriff who arrested. Funny, a man accused of witchcraft throwing out curses in his final moments.
But, Sherriff Curwin died of a blood diseases shortly after the witch trials were over. Additionally, every Sherriff they had after that died of illness and blood disease. Currently, there is no registered Sherriff for Salem. I guess they have intent on tempting fate, or curses.
As a final footnote, it was Increase Mather (cool name by the way) who brought things to a halt in
Salem. He is attributed with –
"It were better that ten suspected witches should escape, than that one innocent person should be condemned"
And that spectral evidence has no place in the courtroom. With his help and guidance, the remain prisoners were acquitted of their crimes and finally set free. But obviously the damage had been done. So the question remains, is the area of Salem haunted by the events of the past? Does Bridgette Bishop haunt/visit the area that is now part of her former apple orchard? Does Giles Corey walk the cemetery? And if he does, why does his presence signal fires and destruction. Again, this sort of gives him the power of reputation of really being a witch. And were the death involving the Sherriff all simply coincidence, more to do with poor sanitation and nutrition of the time rather than curses?
One explanation that was brought up for the cause of the original events and indeed the sightings that continue today, and that is the idea of a Ley Line. A line of EMF that runs through the town. It is believed this line runs through prominent homes, as well as the court house and up to Gallows Hill. There is a claim they weren’t necessarily responsible for their actions and these high EMF areas caused erratic and uncontrolled behavior. An interesting theory, one I find hard to latch onto, but more and more evidence keeps coming out about these trials so perhaps this natural phenomenon might end up playing a role after all.
Personally, I find the Salem Witch Trials fascinating. It shows what happens when mob rule comes into play and common sense goes out the window. It proves that greed and power can bring out the worst in people and set them against their fellow man. We also have to keep in mind that so much of what we hear has been told and retold and that tends to distort the truth. The evidence surrounding these sightings is based on hope and want rather than anything solid or tangible. It sort of proves the point that the power of suggestion is alive and well and still has influence, just like it did hundreds of years ago.
Other Articles of Interest:
- Salem – S01E01
- Ghost Adventures – Salem Witch House – S04E19
- Sleepy Hollow – S01E01
- Haunted Towns – Salem – S01E02
- Cursed – The Bell Witch
- Haunted Collector – Emmitt House Ghosts and Shadow Intruder – S03E05
- Haunted Histories Volume 3
- Paranormal Cops – Dead Man Walking – S01E04
- American Horror Story – Coven – Season 3
- Whitechapel Season 4
This is honestly one of the strangest and most unusual stories I’ve heard about. The year is 1938 and the place is Poland. On the eve of World War 2, a small group of women hold a séance that opens a portal unleashing pure evil into the world. What follows is a series of unspeakable events, up to and including the holocaust.
The story begins with Kevin, owner of an antiques shop who bought some curious items at an Estate Sale. After bringing them back to the shop his assistant is terrified of an unknown and unseen force in the basement. Glass is shattered, machinery is thrown around the office. She quits her job, moves to Seattle and never speaks to Kevin again.
Shortly thereafter Kevin gives one of the items from the estate sale, a wine box, to his mother as a birthday gift. Within minutes she is struck down with a stroke. While at the hospital she scrawls "Hate box" on a sheet of paper. Has this old and rather non-descript wine box somehow given her a stroke? Is it laced with toxic chemicals?
Kevin goes on vacation with members of his family. While sitting and talking one night, they all explain they’ve had the same horrible dream – a hag that turns grotesque and feelings of death. They quickly learn they’ve all had the wine box in their possession at some point.
Kevin tries to get rid of the box and in this modern age feels eBay is the way to go. Why he feels this is appropriate is a bit of a mystery to me. He’s been plagued with bad luck and feels the box is the source of the problems and thus decides to pass the bad mojo onto someone else? Not cool. Although had I known about the sale I would have snagged it up.
Yosef buys the box, knowing the checkered history. He scoffs at the possibilities, but is soon trying to get rid of the box himself. It’s brought him nothing but back luck and nightmares. Soon it’s in the possession of Jason who also falls victim to health problems, nightmares, shadow figures and putrid smells. This box is far more powerful than the cursed Brady idol.
We come to learn the box may be a "Dibbuk Box" a vessel used to hold evil spirits. So how did this all come about and what does that original séance have to do with anything?
Working together, Kevin ends up going back to the estate where he bought the box from to try and get some answers. Turns out the woman who answers the door is an old schoolmate of his and she explains that her grandmother was the owner of the box. She relates a story of her grandmother and her cousin practicing séances in Poland right before the war. The poverty was rampant, there was a lot of death and the tide of anti-Semitic feelings were on the rise. Without making it sound trite, the séance was a way to pass the time. And perhaps gave hope of life after death.
During one of their sessions, the pair believe they locked on to an evil entity and it pushed it’s way into our world. They tried to perform a ceremony to trap the spirit. The night was Nov 10, 1938 – Kristallnacht – Night of Broken Glass.
This is the night synagogues were destroyed and Jewish men were rounded up and arrested. Another example of Eugenics was in full swing and the Jewish people were the target. The women believe their failed ceremony influenced the Holocaust. They brought evil into the world during a séance.
Another ceremony is tried and this time they believe they’ve trapped the spirit – in the wine box that Kevin bought from the estate sale. Now Jason is in the possession of the box of evil and needs to figure out what to do with it.
Jason calls in a Medium who gets strong feelings of pain and death from the box. She also feels it’s from outside the US. She also admits she feels and evil presence from it. Now what can Jason do? Ironically, he speaks with a Jewish rabbi and builds and Ark for the box. He makes a box of acacia wood and is lined with 24k gold. The wine box is placed inside and he hides it away where only he knows where it is. In essence he has made his own little Ark of the Covenant.
As I said, this story is truly bizarre and would make most likely send John Zaffis into a tizzy. A little salt in a glass container wouldn’t stop this rascal. Can this box really contain the energy of some sort of demon? Did a séance bring forth an evil that actually set the wheels in motion for the Holocaust? What of the pains and strange coincidences that happened right after Kevin brought the box into his shop and gave it to his mom? Is the box just covered with a strange varnish or built from a wood that causes a reaction in people? Is it chemically toxic rather than spiritually charged? And what would have happened if Kevin or Jason would have just burned the box? Would that release the energy and start another series of horrible events?
It’s widely believed that an object can hold both positive and negative energy. Clearly a battery is a solid object that holds chemical energy. Can something like a wooden wine box used in a séance ceremony contain evil? It’s really hard to imagine, but is it possible?
There is a lot of coincidence surrounding that wine box. And those who mess with it all seem to have similar experiences. I can’t really say a homemade Ouija board is responsible for those atrocities, but what if…..?
Other Articles of Interest:
- Deadly Possessions – Dibbuk Box and Robert the Doll – S01E01
- The Dead Files – Terror in the Shadows – S01E03
- Ghost Adventures – Ashmore Estate – S05E01
- Paranormal Lockdown – Oliver House – S02E03
- Lucifer – New Series with Tom Ellis
- Ghost Adventures – The Haunted Museum Live – Halloween Edition
- Ghost Adventures – La Palazza Mansion – S04E09
- Ghost Stalkers – Whisperers Estate – S01E01
- Paranormal State S04E02 – Invitation to Evil
- Haunted Collector – Shadow Boxer and Ghost Storm – S03E08