Founded in 1624 by Dutch colonists, New York City is steeped in in centuries of human suffering, greed, grandeur, and dismay. It seems to make sense the city would have picked up a ghost or two along the way. In fact, NYC is home to some of the most notorious haunted houses in the country — some argue the world. So, gather your courage, turn up the lights, and prepare to tour nine of the most haunted places in New York City.
The Chelsea Hotel
According to frontdoor.com, the Chelsea Hotel, built in 1884, is one of NYC’s spookiest landmarks. The hotel has been home to numerous notable writers, musicians and artists through the years, and while many of them have passed on, visitors claim to have seen the ghosts of Dylan Thomas, Eugene O’Neill, and Thomas Wolfe roaming the halls.
Curbed.com notes the Dakota is famed for its feature in Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, as well as being the site of John Lennon’s murder. The storied Upper West Side apartment building also has a long history of supernatural activity. Workers and residents have reported seeing a little girl dressed in turn-of-the century clothing, an adult with the face of a little boy, and the ghost of John Lennon himself.
The Campbell Apartment
These days, it’s a classy place to have a cocktail in Grand Central Terminal, but according to ny.eater.com, The Campbell Apartment was once the office and salon of 1920’s NYC big money man John Campbell. After Campbell’s death, the space was used as everything from a police utility closet to a jail before its current incarnation to a bar over 10 years ago. Employees report strange phenomena like feeling someone pushing them from behind; cold gusts of air; and even the ghostly appearance of an old, well-dressed couple having a cocktail on the balcony long after the bar has closed.
14 West 10th Street, aka The House of Death
The stately brownstone at 14 West 10th Street may look like a nice place to live from the outside, but its reputation at the “house of death” may make one think twice before going inside. Complex.com notes the well-known haunted house is said to be inhabited by no fewer than 22 different spirits, including author Mark Twain, who lived here in 1900. Actress-turned-psychic Jan Bryant Bartell wrote a book based on her experiences in the house, Spindrift: Spray from a psychic sea. In the book, Bartell claims several tenants experienced violent deaths during the time she lived in the house, including a six-year-old girl named Jessica Steinberg, who was beaten to death by her own father.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion was built by Roger Morris before the revolutionary war and, according to crimelibrary.com, once served as George Washington’s headquarters. Today, the mansion is said to be haunted by five ghosts, the most visible of which is Eliza Jumel. The Jumels moved into the home in 1810, and after her husband’s suspicious death, Eliza married former Vice President and killer of Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr. The couple divorced three years later, and Eliza became a recluse, dying alone in the house in 1865. People often report seeing her apparition in the house, as well as a talking grandfather clock and a Hessian soldier who’s been said to emerge from paintings on the wall.
The Merchant’s House
The East Village Merchant’s House Museum, often called the most haunted house in New York, was built in 1832 and purchased several years later by wealthy merchant Seabury Treadwell. According to Lost Magazine, Treadwell and his wife moved into the home with their seven children and an eighth, a daughter named Gertrude, was born in the home. Only three of the children ever married; the rest lived out their years in the house. Gertrude, the last remaining member of the family, lived there alone for 24 years, keeping the home in its original condition until her death. Since the Gertrude’s death, people have reported seeing and hearing unexplainable things in the house, including seeing the ghost of Gertrude herself.
Brooklyn Public Library
According to newyork.com, 6-year-old Agatha Ann Cunningham visited the Brooklyn Public Library with her classmates in 1977, disappeared, and was never found. Since then, library employees and patrons have reported hearing a little girl’s laughter or sobbing coming from the basement stacks. In 2011, library interns created a short film on the haunting.
Now a high-end rental on Roosevelt Island, The Octagon once served as the main entrance to the New York Lunatic Asylum, frequently disparaged as a place of great suffering and horror. The Real Deal reports some tenants say their pets refuse to ascend the stairs in the building, and, in 2006, the New York Times and CNN reported a team of ghost hunters found several spirits there.
The Kreischer Mansion
Staten Island’s Kreischer Mansion was the site of a gruesome mob murder in 2005, which reportedly involved stabbing, strangling, drowning and then chopping up the corpse and putting the pieces into a coal burning furnace, but the Mansion’s sordid history goes back much further. According to crimelibrary.com, Balthasar Kreischer, a German brick maker, built the home in the 1880’s and died one year after its completion. His son, Edward Kreischer, committed suicide in 1894 after the family’s brick factory burned down and the family fortune never recovered. Staten Island residents have reported seeing a ghostly couple — possibly Edward and his wife — wandering the grounds and hearing wailing coming from the house.
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