13 Most Haunted Sites in New York City
Location: Midtown, Manhattan
Why Haunted: The Algonquin is a well-regarded Manhattan 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.
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan
Although the Dakota is famously known as the murder site of 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.
Location: Washington Heights, Manhattan
This is Manhattan's oldest house and George Washington's 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.
Location: West Village, Manhattan
The White Horse Tavern is the historic bar where the famed 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 9th.
Five – Kreischer Mansion
Location: Charleston, Staten Island
The Krischer family built this mansion in the 1880s, right 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.
Location: Greenwich Village, Manhattan
This 1856 townhouse was dubbed the “House of Death” because 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.
Location: Flatbush, Brooklyn
Melrose Hall was 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.
Location: mid Staten Island
First a poor house, then a tuberculosis hospital, now a 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.
Location: Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn
In 1977, the six-year-old girl Agatha Ann Cunningham visited 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 convincing video...
Location: Midtown, Manhattan
The Belasco Theater, in Manhattan's famed Theater District, 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.
Location: Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island, once an island the city used as a location 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.
Twelve – Van Courtland House
Location: Van Courtland Park, Bronx
The Van Courtland House is the oldest surviving home in the 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.
Thirteen – Merchant House Museum
Location: East Village, Manhattan
The New York Times dubbed this East Village house museum the “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.
Thanks to Emily for giving me a chance to repost this awesome story!