As you might guess, there
are no shortage of hauntings reported in each of the five boroughs. Some ghosts
date back as far as the Revolutionary War, others are a product of more recent,
grisly deaths. Here’s our pick for 13 New York City haunts where New Yorkers,
dead and alive, still roam.
One – Algonquin Hotel
hotel famous for its ghost stories. A celebrated group of writers and actors,
known as the “Algonquin Round Table,”
congregated at the hotel everyday for lunch in the 20s. There are reports that
the members still haunt the hotel grounds today. Dorothy Parker, founding
member of the Round Table, tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide in the hotel
in 1932. She died in 1967 and her spirit has been hanging around since.
Two – The Dakota
John Lennon, the historic co-op building has a very long history of ghost
stories and lore. Lennon himself saw the “Crying Lady Ghost” roaming the
hallways of the building – a spectral figure of a woman who wailed down the
building corridors. Residents and building workers also report reoccurring
sightings of a little girl in turn-of-the-century clothing, as well as the
ghost of a young boy. Reportedly Yoko Ono, along with other residents, have
seen John Lennon’s spirit periodically in the building.
Three – Morris-Jumel Mansion
headquarters during the Revolutionary War. It’s also haunted by the actress and
prostitute Madame Eliza Jumel. Jumel was driven into bankruptcy and divorced by
her second husband Aaron Burr; eventually she lost her mind and died in the mansion
at age 92. There are reports she roams the building and taps on the windows and
doors. In 1962 a mysterious woman asked a group of visiting school children to
quiet down, despite no living person living inside. That’s not the building’s
only haunting – the ghosts of Aaron Burr, a maidservant, a Revolutionary War
soldier, and Stephen Jumel, Eliza’s first husband who died a mysterious death,
are also reported to roam the grounds.
Four – White Horse Tavern
poet Dylan Thomas died a famous death – collapsing outside the bar after a
reported 18 whiskey shots. Now patrons occasionally see him sitting at his
favorite corner table in the bar, or wandering outside. It certainly helps that
the bar looks nearly unchanged since it opened in 1880, decorated with old
porcelain horses and portraits of Thomas. The bar serves the poet’s purported
last meal in the back room every year on the anniversary of his death, November
next door to an identical mansion that eventually burned down. The family made
its money through brick making, although the fortune ran out. Distraught over
his dwindling funds, mansion owner Edward Kreischer committed suicide. Staten
Island residents have spotted a spectral couple – possibly Edward and his wife
— wandering the grounds. There are also reports of wailing coming from the
home. Many years later in 2005, a mob-related murder took place here. Now the
rundown property is a popular destination for Staten Island kids on Halloween.
Six – The “House of Death” at 14 West 10th Street
a reported 22 former residents have haunted the building over the years! A
number of these tenants died mysteriously in the home. Once of the reported
ghosts is Mark Twain, who lived in the house in 1900 and appeared in the ground-floor
apartment in the 1930s. In 1987, the home made headlines after a tenant beat
his daughter to death in the second-floor apartment.
Seven – Melrose Hall
one the most heavily reported haunted houses in the late 1800s and early 1900s,
when the Brooklyn Eagle reported ghost stories like hard news. The interior has been described as having “dark
corridors, oddly shaped rooms, winding stairways, black holes, mysterious trap
doors, and other unprecedented features.” During the Revolutionary War,
the owner built secret chambers in the mansion to hide Tory supports, as well
as a dungeon in the basement to imprison American patriots. The home’s most famous ghost is a young woman
who died in one of the secret chambers.
Eight – Seaview Hospital and the New York Farm Colony
decrepit and abandoned New York City landmark. The farm colony/poor house
(designed as a means of rehabilitation for the mentally ill) was established in
the 1830s and the hospital opened in 1913. The complex has sat in decay since
1975, but due to a landmark designation in 1985 nothing can be torn down.
Workers of the hospital claimed to have seen old patients wandering through the
hall, now it’s a rotting asylum left to the elements.
Nine: Brooklyn Public Library
the Brooklyn Public Library with her classmates, disappeared, and was never
found. Both employees and patrons have heard mysterious noises, like a girl’s
laughter or sobbing, coming from the library’s basement stacks. In 2011, a few
interns looked a little further into the haunting, and published this
Ten – Belasco Theater
is haunted by the theater’s namesake. David Belasco started writing plays in
the 1880s and died in 1931 after a celebrated career. There are no scandalous
or tragic stories attached to his death, but for whatever reason his ghost
decided to stick around the theater. Theater workers have spotted him in the
upstairs apartment and offices of the theater wearing a cassock and a clerical
collar. (They dubbed the ghost “The Monk.”) He’s also been spotted standing on
the balcony, observing the shows that go on in his theater.
Eleven – The Octagon
for corrective hospitals, is rife with ghost stores. The Octagon, a rental
building located there, was previously the site of the former New York Lunatic
Asylum, famously criticized as a place of suffering and horror. The only
remaining architectural element of the asylum is the building’s octagon, which
is now the centerpiece of the residential development. The residents report
unexplainable incidents and paranormal activity; they also report that pets
sometimes refuse to walk up the stairs of the building. The island is also home
to ruins of a former smallpox building (declared a landmark in 1975), only
adding to the eerie vibe of the place.
Bronx, located on a park that’s also said to be haunted. Visitors of Van
Courtland Park, the site of the Stockbridge Indian Massacre, have heard
whispers and seen spirits around Vault Hill, the park’s burial grounds. As for
the house, built in 1748, it is the site of hauntings by Adrian Van der Donck,
a Dutch settler who laid claim to the area and later died in a Indian raid, and
Jacobus Van Courtland, the original owner of the home. Sighting of George
Washington have also been reported – he stayed at the home at least twice
during the Revolutionary War.
“most haunted house in Manhattan” – there’s even a dedicated section of the
Merchant House’s website for the resident ghosts. The Tredwall family lived in
the house for nearly 100 years, and the last living resident of the house,
Gertrude Tredwell, is said to still watch over it. She died in the home in 1933
and it became a museum in 1936. Since then, the museum staff, visitors and
volunteers have experienced strange happenings – sites of a woman in a brown
dress roaming the house, mysterious piano music, and unexplainable flashing
lights. All this month, the museum hosts a series of “spirited” events in honor
of its not-quite-dead residents.