From young boys who slayed their mothers, to young girls in turn-of-the century garb: the city is believed to be full of ghosts. And New York wouldn’t be its glamorous self if some of the ghosts weren’t celebrities, such as Mark Twain and Sid Vicious or husband-murdering socialites, such as Eliza Jumel.
To honor the city’s ghosts on this All Hallows’ Eve, The Real Deal took a look at some of the city’s alleged haunted properties.
From long-vacant buildings with obscure ghosts to properties made infamous by spooky movies, here’s a rundown of paranormal activity in the city.
A list of haunted homes in New York is not complete without mentioning the Dakota. The iconic Upper West Side building – once the home of Beatle John Lennon until he was murdered in the building’s West 72nd Street entryway in 1980 – was used as the backdrop of Roman Polanski’s “Rosemary’s Baby.” Several other ghost stories about the property have entered popular folklore, including reports of construction workers who allegedly saw two ghosts at the building. The most famous ghost believed to reside at the building is a little girl who still roams the hallways, dressed in turn of the century clothing.
Haunted or not, you know something’s off when a building on a busy corner in Chelsea lays vacant for more than a decade. This 3,330-square-foot building, which includes ground-floor retail space and three residential units, has been vacant since 2002. The property seems like a prime location for a ghost to move into. Scaffolding and graffiti have covered the building for years, causing neighbors to complain. Two years ago, the Department of Buildings, the Fire Department as well as the local community board, told the Belgian landlord of the building that he had to fix the lighting.
The Matron’s Cottage, Snug Harbor
While Staten Island’s most famous haunted home might be the Kreischer Mansion, ghosts allegedly live at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Captain Robert Randall founded Sailor’s Snug Harbor in the early 19th century to provide shelter to retired sailors. As legends have it, the Matron’s Cottage – the building where Snug Harbor’s female staff members lived – was the location where the matron was murdered by her son, after she kept him chained in the basement for years. The son was the product of a secret — and illegal — affair between the matron and one of the sailors, which is why she kept him hidden. Over the years, many unusual things at the location have been reported, including doors that spontaneously unlock and rattling chain sounds coming from the basement.
Morris Jumel Mansion
One of the oldest buildings in Manhattan, the Morris Jumel Mansion served as headquarters for both sides of the American Revolution. Located at 175 Jumel Terrace in Washington Heights, legend has it that the ghost of wealthy American socialite Eliza Jumel still roams through the property. Jumel allegedly let her husband Stephen bleed to death in 1832. A little more than a year later, she married Vice President Aaron Burr. The marriage didn’t last long and the couple divorced after three years. Eliza Jumel remained at the mansion until she passed away at age 90. Supposedly, four other ghosts also still live at the home.
Ed Scheetz has a lot more than rent-regulated tenants to deal with. With all the celebrity deaths that have occurred at this iconic Manhattan artist stronghold, it’s not hard to believe that some ghosts have decided to stick around over the years. Poet Dylan Thomas died of pneumonia at the location. Nancy Spungen was found dead in the hotel, while her boyfriend Sid Vicious was still in the room with her. Vicious died shortly after of a heroin overdose. The Sid & Nancy room was said to have a haunted atmosphere — still occupied by the couple’s ghosts — which was described by some of the later hotel guests.
2137 East 9th Street, Brooklyn
Apparently, ghosts live in the outer boroughs too. A resident of the — appropriately enough –Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn told the SyFy network in 2011 that she had lived in her home for 22 years together with ghosts who allegedly terrorized her and her family. She described the house as “creepy.” The woman eventually moved out of the home. According to the New York Daily News, the new residents renovated the house which apparently lead the ghosts to leave the premises.
14 West 10th Street
A charming West Village brownstone is usually not described as “the house of death.” Yet this property at 14 West 10th Street, built in 1856, apparently has 22 ghosts. Most famously Mark Twain, who lived there in 1900.