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Haunted New York City

By - Posted on 26 October 2010

New York City is filled with all kinds of residents – young ones, old ones, live ones…dead ones. As Halloween approaches, we’d like to introduce you to some places in the City where you just might be able to meet some of New York City’s ghosts.

Photo of Ghostly Image, New York City © photo-finish

Washington Square Park

Built in the 1820s, Washington Square Park has been through many incarnations. Before the park was built, this piece of land was an Indian burial ground and later, in the late 1700s, it became a cemetery for those who fell to yellow fever.

Once the park was developed it was used as public gallows. Every Sunday the condemned would be hanged from trees in the morning and buried in the square in the afternoons. It was a weekly social event and the public would stroll by to see the hanging bodies and gather to share in the entertainment. It is said that there are still more than 15,000 bodies buried under the lawns, paths and fountain of Washington Square Park.

St Patrick’s Old Cathedral

Where there is a cemetery, there will be ghosts (or at least ghost stories). The cemetery at St Patrick’s Old Cathedral is no exception. There are reportedly two spirits that haunt this site: Pierre Toussaint and Bishop Dubois.

Pierre Toussaint was a runaway slave and hair dresser who died in the early 19th century. His fellow ghost is Bishop Dubois who was buried in the entryway of the cathedral and appears quite often in the church.

263 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10012

The House of Death

Located at 14 West 10th Street, this house is supposedly haunted by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain’s real name) himself in addition to 21 other ghostly residents who died here. Samuel is said to haunt the stairwell while others roam the house. Because of the number of deaths and hauntings, the house at 14 W 10th St has been nicknamed “The House of Death”.

14 W. 10th St.
New York, NY 10011

Hotel Chelsea

The legendary Hotel Chelsea was a popular residence for artists of all genres in its bohemian heyday and there hasn’t been a shortage of deaths in the hotel. Some of the hotel’s more famous spirits are: Dylan Thomas, Eugene O’Neill and Thomas Wolfe. Also said to haunt the Chelsea is Nancy Spungun, girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Nancy was brutally killed by Sid in the hotel while they were both high on heroin.

222 West 23rd Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues)
New York, NY 10011

The Dakota

The Dakota is probably best known as the place where John Lennon was killed but it also has a history of being haunted. Built in 1884, there have been sightings of children from the turn of the century, as well as the beloved Beatles member. To add to the spookiness of the Dakota’s hauntings, the horror movie “Rosemary’s Baby” was filmed there.

1 W 72nd St
New York, NY 10023

Bridge Cafe

Built in 1794, Bridge Cafe is the oldest tavern in New York City. In its earlier years it was a brothel and tavern which made it a popular spot for pirates. Bridge Cafe is home to quite a few ghosts of pirates and criminals but it is most famously haunted by the infamous Gallus Meg.

Back when the tavern was called The Hole in the Wall, Gallus Meg worked as the bouncer to this rough and tumble establishment. At over 6 feet tall, she was an imposing sight. Any patron who got too rowdy would be removed from the tavern by Gallus Meg who would drag them out with their ear between her teeth.

If they further misbehaved, she would cut off one of their ears and pickle it. The name may have changed, but Gallus Meg is said to still stand guard over the tavern.

279 Water St.
New York, NY 10038

Belasco Theatre

New York City’s Belasco Theatre is one of the oldest theaters in the city and has a very long term resident: builder David Belasco. David built the theater and lived on the top floor of the building.
Even though he died in 1931, he has been seen mingling with actors over the decades, even giving some handshakes. There are also reports of the elevator being run, even though it has been disconnected for years as well as footsteps in the theater after all but one or two people have left.

The Belasco Theatre has another spirit resident – a lady in blue who is thought to be David Belasco’s girlfriend.

111 West 44th St.
New York, NY 10036

The White Horse Tavern

The White Horse Tavern’s famous resident ghost is none other than the poet Dylan Thomas. In 1953 he downed 18 shots of whiskey, stumbled out onto the sidewalk, was taken to the Chelsea Hotel (where his ghost reportedly appears as well) and later died at St Vincent’s Hospital.

Dylan Thomas frequented The White Horse Tavern when he was in New York City and continues to appear sitting in his favorite corner or wandering around the Tavern.

567 Hudson St. (at West 11th St.)
New York, NY 10014


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