New York City, with its bright lights and bustling streets, hides a shadowy past that many overlook.
Beyond the glamour of Broadway and the energy of Times Square, there are tales of restless spirits and eerie occurrences that trace back through the centuries.
The city’s rich history is intertwined with stories of the supernatural, making the Big Apple not just a metropolis of dreams, but also of mysteries and hauntings.
As we peel back the layers of time, let’s uncover 11 haunted history facts that will give you chills and reveal a different, darker side of New York City.
Ready to be spooked?
- John Lennon Might Still Be Alive
However, many claim his spirit lingers. Residents and passers-by have reported eerie sightings of a figure resembling Lennon near the park and around The Dakota.
Could it be that Lennon’s spirit still roams the streets of New York, keeping a spectral watch over the city he loved?
- Enjoy A Drink With Dylan Thomas
Its most haunting tale?
Poet Dylan Thomas allegedly had 18 whiskies here shortly before his untimely death in 1953.
Some say his spirit still lingers, offering ghostly company to those enjoying a drink beneath his portrait.
Dare to join him?
- Skate With Sisters at Central Park
Witness the timeless grace of the Van Der Voort sisters, Janet and Rosetta, who lived beside Central Park in the 1800s. Trapped by their overprotective father, the pond was their escape and symbol of freedom.
Sadly, both passed away in 1880. But as winter graces the city, skaters have reported glimpses of the two sisters, eternally enjoying their freedom on the ice.
Dare to join them?
- Mark Twain Plus 22 Others And Counting at 14 West 10th Street
Sadly, the 20th century witnessed heinous crimes, including the tragic murder of young Lisa Steinberg in 1987 and another murder-suicide.
Today, whispers abound of Twain’s specter, and 22 other spirits call it their home.
- The Most Beautiful Suicide
Evelyn McHale leaped from the Empire State Building in 1947, becoming an enduring ghost story in New York City’s haunted history.
In her book Ghosts and Murders of Manhattan, Elise Gainer describes witnesses seeing a woman in 1940s attire on the observation deck, speaking of a lost fiancé before plunging to her death.
McHale’s tragic end, immortalized in a chilling photograph atop a crushed limousine, is known hauntingly as “the most beautiful suicide.”
Explore this link to unravel the mystery of Evelyn McHale and the photograph of the most beautiful suicide.
- Write With Edgar Allan Poe
Nestled within NYU’s Furman Hall, 85 West 3rd Street once housed the legendary Edgar Allan Poe. During his stay in 1844-45, Poe penned masterpieces like “The Cask of Amontillado” and portions of “The Raven.”
Today, only the haunting grip of the original banister remains, where it’s said Poe’s ghostly figure ascends, giving chills to unsuspecting law students. Dare to visit?
- Right Beside Poe is a Disdain Firefighter
Just opposite 84 West 3rd Street in NYC stands an old firehouse-turned-residence now home to Anderson Cooper.
Legend says it’s haunted by “Firefighter Schwartz,” who took his own life in 1930 after discovering his wife’s betrayal. Firefighters have since reported eerie sounds from the attic and chilling sightings of Schwartz’s suspended figure.
A haunting reminder of a love gone awry right in the heart of Greenwich Village.
Explore more eerie sightings in New York City.
- Head Sold for Gambling
Since 1766, St. Paul’s Chapel has withstood numerous tragedies. Its graveyard, dating to 1697, is rumored to be haunted.
The most chilling tale? English actor George Frederick Cooke, buried there in the 17th century, once so desperate from gambling debts, sold his own head for research.
Witnesses claim a headless specter roams the graveyard and a nearby alley where a theater once stood. Beware if you wander these parts at night!
- Once The Most Beautiful Girl in New York
The New Amsterdam Theater, a venerable New York City landmark, reportedly harbors the ghost of Olive Thomas. Dubbed “the most beautiful girl in New York” before her mysterious 1920 death in France, Thomas’ specter purportedly appears only to men.
Witnesses, including stagehands and Disney staff (the theater’s owner since 1995), have reported unsettling encounters with her lingering, ethereal presence.
Her haunting visage continues to startle and bewilder, etching a chilling narrative into the tapestry of New York’s haunted history.
- Singing Hymns With a Dutchman
Disturbed by English Episcopal hymns, Stuyvesant’s ghost reportedly interrupts services with his own Dutch Calvinist tunes. He’s even been known to ring bells and spook parishioners.
Next time you hear unexpected chimes, it might just be Peter expressing his displeasure!
- The Rockettes Man: Haunted History of Radio City Music Hall
Even after his death in 1936, Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel’s spirit seems to linger in Radio City Music Hall. Ushers swear his seat mysteriously folds down after shows, while others whisper of seeing his ghostly figure, escorting a glamorous lady to his seat.
Tales also hint at spectral activities in his preserved private apartment. The impresario, famed for bringing the Rockettes to NYC, seems forever tied to the theater he helped create.
From the eerily silent corridors of old hotels to the spectral figures roaming its historic streets, these 11 haunted facts only scratch the surface of NYC’s paranormal past.
The Big Apple’s allure isn’t just in its skyscrapers and bustling streets; it’s also in the whispers of the long-gone echoing through the ages.
Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, one thing is certain: New York’s haunted history adds another layer of intrigue to this already captivating city.
Until then, cheers and boos!