An old New York City Subway station sits empty on a cold morning.
Cool and Unusual

Ghost Guide to New York City’s Most Haunted Places

Hunt for ghosts at these haunted monuments, hotels, and taverns.

If you’re headed to the Big Apple for an adventure, don’t forget to add some of these spectacularly spooky places to your itinerary– in a city as big and old as New York, it isn’t hard turn your trip into a paranormal adventure.

Washington Square Park

View of Washington Square Park in New York City on a clear summer afternoon.

Source: Shutterstock

It’s not widely known, but before Washington Square Park was one of New York’s most visited public parks, it was a burial ground where as many as 20,000 slaves and poor New Yorkers were buried in the early 1800s. Many buried at the park died from yellow fever, and as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, it’s rumored that a large portion of them stuck around after death. 

Over the years many people have reported seeing apparitions that seem to disappear into nothing, not to mention ghostly smells and sounds that plague the park once the sun goes down. Don’t forget to visit the “Hangman’s Elm”, a famed execution spot dating back to the 19th century.

New York City Ghosts

There are loads of tours to take while you’re visiting the Big Apple, but the New York Ghost Tour will take you to the best spine-chilling locations in the city. From Greenwich Village to Washington Square, this 90-minute ghost-fueled adventure will start your paranormal trip off with a boo…er, a bang.

Chelsea Star Hotel

Everyone who knows about the infamous Chelsea Hotel knows that it’s haunted. In particular, Room 100 (now a large suite), is where Nancy (of Sid & Nancy) was found under the sink in the bathroom in 1978, dead from a single stab wound to the abdomen. Her sweetie, rock star Sid Vicious, was arrested and charged, but died from an overdose/suicide while on bail.

Belasco Theatre

The Belasco Theatre is in the famous NYC Theater District and it’s rumored to be haunted by none other than famed playwright and director David Belasco. His ghost has been witnessed walking the balcony during dress rehearsals, or sitting in a desk at his old office.

Merchant’s House Museum

The “most haunted house in Manhattan” is well over 100 years old, and is allegedly crawling with ghosts from the Tredwell family—Gertrude Tredwell, to be precise. Staff and guests alike have heard the sound of pianos and seen unexplainable lights, and some have even witnessed the apparition of a woman in a brown dress moving from room to room.

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

An aerial view of Ellis Island New York, as seen on a bright morning.

Source: Shutterstock

Ellis Island is one of the city’s most popular attractions: the immigration station on the island saw hundreds of thousands of people pass through. What many don’t know is that over 3,500 people died on the island, many of whom had never made it past the screening process as the result of illness. One out of every five people were marked with chalk, meaning they were suffering from some kind of health problem and would have to be taken away from their families to get treatment at one of the hospitals. Doctors did everything they could to help heal the sick and to keep illness from spreading, but sometimes there was nothing they could do to help.

Between 1909 and 1911, 420 people died in quarantine in two separate hospitals on the island. 85% of those were children under the age of 13. A former chief ranger for the historic site experienced hearing the eerie sounds of children’s voices from the museum’s Great Hall one evening. When he went to investigate, there was no one there. 

Often times, people will hear doors opening and closing on their own, or even the sound of muffled crying. Those aren’t the only bizarre activities that people report experiencing, either. Reportedly, Youth Conservation Corps worker George DuRan was visiting the island one afternoon when he heard the sound of furniture moving in the Great Hall. Knowing he was alone in the building, he went to greet the visitors, only to find the room, once again, completely empty.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty in New York City sits under a blue spring morning sky.

Source: Shutterstock

Often times people have reported seeing spectral lights that float independently around America’s most famous monument: The Statue of Liberty. It’s not uncommon for eyewitnesses to see lights shining from the top of the statue, and some have even reported seeing ghostly white faces peeking out from Lady Liberty’s crown.

Greenwood Cemetery

The pond and lily pads are hit by the bright afternoon sun at Greenwood Cemetery.

Just looking at New York’s famous gothic graveyard, Greenwood Cemetery, you can tell there’s no way it can’t be haunted by some chain-rattling ghosts. Imagine 478 acres of graves and above ground mausoleums, and you’ve got Greenwood Cemetery. There are over 560,000 graves at the cemetery, including the catacombs which are only opened to the public during the Halloween weekend “Spirited Strolls” event. Many guests have reported run-ins with ghostly apparitions as they explore the spooky graveyard.

The Evergreens Cemetery

Haunted by the famed “Woman in White”, the Evergreens Cemetery has been a paranormal investigation hot spot for years. The 225-acre graveyard is also said to be home to a weeping ghost, whose voice has been captured many times crying in the dead of night. 

And don’t miss out on the tomb of Jonathan and Mary Reed: When Mary died in the late 1800’s, a delirious Jonathan had her buried in a vault, and proceeded to move in with his dead wife, who he was convinced was merely asleep. He lived there, attracting the attention of many curious onlookers, until his inevitable death in 1905.

McCarren Park

McCarren Park’s resident ghost is that of a little girl who drowned when the pool was first opened to the general public in the 1930s. She’s said to scream loudly at swimmers as they cool off in waters of the city’s beloved park. Paranormal investigators have even been called to the park, and left confirming the ghostly activity.

Museum of The Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image has been home to disembodied footsteps, unexplainable voices, bangs, bumps, and even a full-bodied apparition that has been spotted by countless eyewitnesses— it’s often seen walking with a woman in a white dress. Both of the spectral visitors have even been caught on security cameras after the museum has been emptied of visitors.

Tudor City

Not only was Tudor City the first residential skyscraper in the Big Apple, it’s also rumored to be haunted by many of its previous tenants. Make sure to snap your photos from the street, as this famous building is private property. Who knows: maybe your pictures will turn up some compelling paranormal evidence.

Friars Club

Known for being an elite nightclub to the stars, the Friars Club is also said to be haunted by vaudeville performer Al Kelly. Kelly, who died of a heart attack in the dining room in 1966, is said to make doors open and close by themselves, and is thought to be the cause of the club’s famous mysterious knocking sounds.

The Dakota Apartments

The Dakota building’s impressive architecture sits beneath a cold winter sky on a New York morning.

Source: Shutterstock

We couldn’t forget The Dakota, infamous spot of John Lennon’s death. Lennon was famously shot by Mark David Chapman, and before he died, Lennon claimed to have seen the ghost of a spirit called the “Crying Lady”, who is often spotted walking the halls and corridors, looking forlorn. Yoko Ono even claims to have seen both the “Crying Lady” and the ghost of her husband periodically.

Morris Jumel Mansion

The Morris Jumel Mansion is said to be haunted by George Washington himself, who, during the Battle of Long Island, turned the manor house into his headquarters. His ghost is said to pace back and forth in the front room, deep in contemplation. Many people have reported hearing the sound of heavy boots on the stairs, and at times people have even experienced the smell of pipe smoke emanating from the upstairs bedrooms.

So, there you have it: if you’re planning a trip to NYC, what better way to add a little thrill to your adventure than to visit one of the city’s most haunted hot spots? Don’t forget to bring your flashlight, just in case.

Where are some of your favorite haunted places in the Big Apple? Share your New York ghost stories with us on Twitter.

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