New York City has it all…including some souls who haven’t moved on. Musement takes a look at five of the most haunted places in New York.
Sometimes the thing that goes bump in the night isn’t your cat Henry shattering your favorite bowl.Whether you consider yourself a skeptic or a believer, all things ‘supernatural’ often intrigue or oddly appeal to most of us. With hundreds of years of history, New York is a fascinating case study for all things mysterious. From famous ghosts to haunted graveyards, theaters and mansions, here are five of the most haunted places in New York.
1. Hotel Chelsea
Established between 1883 and 1884, the Hotel Chelsea demonstrates an architectural collaboration between the Queen Anne Revival and Victorian Gothic styles, characterized by iron balconies and a magnificent grand staircase that climbs twelve floors. However, its eerie aesthetic is only one aspect of its fame. Once the tallest building in New York state, it attracted a range of patrons including Mark Twain, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper and Janis Joplin. However, nowadays, supernatural enthusiasts visit hoping to catch sight of its famous ghosts, which many believe still reside in the building. Often referred to as ‘Chelsea’, Hotel Chelsea is considered one of the most haunted places in New York. In fact, hotel guests often report ghost sightings during their stay. Beware, on-premise deaths are unusually common here as well, one of the most infamous being Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.
2. The Morris-Jumel Mansion
Manhattan’s oldest home and one of its most haunted, the Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765, home to historically wealthy and powerful figures throughout its history such as aristocrat Stephen Jumel and his wife Eliza Bowen Jumel and later, George Washington. Today, it’s used as a museum and stunning example of preserved Palladian architecture in Washington Heights. Despite its beautiful facade, stories of scandal, suspected murder and death inhabit its inner world. Eliza Jumel was suspected of killing her husband as she remarried the highly controversial Vice President Aaron Burr soon after her husband’s death. Many have claimed to have seen several ghosts wandering the rooms, particularly an elderly woman in a violet dress believed to be the mansion’s former troubled mistress, Eliza Jumel.
Built in 1765 by British military officer, Roger Morris, the Morris Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights tells the story of a colonial New-York, and is the oldest house in Manhattan. Erected as a summer vila on 130-acres of land, the mansion had rolling views of the Harlem River, the Hudson River, Lower Manhattan and the Palisades, and served as military headquarters by both the British Army and George Washington's army during the American Revolutionary War. @morrisjumel #morrisjumelmansion #nychistory #explorenyc
4. St. Paul’s Chapel
The oldest standing church in New York City and home to a graveyard that dates back to 1697, St. Paul’s Chapel is said to be haunted by many of those who lay to rest in its grounds. Allegedly, the ghost of a seventeenth-century actor, George Frederick Cooke still wanders the graveyard and a nearby alley. Once an avid gambler, Cooke’s risky hobby eventually caused him to lose all his money, so, to pay off his creditors, he sold his head for research. Today, his ‘headless’ ghost can still be seen wandering the grounds. Ironically–considering his former status as an actor–his skull was used for years in many New York productions of ‘Hamlet’ before it was donated to the Thomas Jefferson Medical School Library in Philadelphia in 1938. George Washington also chose this chapel as a peaceful place to pray on the day of his inauguration.
4. Empire State Building
Doomed souls and frightening happenings are probably not what you generally identify with the Empire State Building. Although, despite it’s romantic ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ reputation, dozens of people have attempted to commit suicide by jumping from this iconic skyscraper. One tragic suicide in particular haunts the frequented 86th floor of the Empire State Building: Evelyn McHale. According to LIFE magazine, the twenty-three-year-old jumped to her death on May 1, 1947. Witnesses found her crumpled lifeless body atop a parked car, and despite the circumstances of her death, she looked gorgeously serene with her red lipstick still in place. The photograph of her suicide is known colloquially as “the most beautiful suicide.” Today, much to their unrest, visitors occasionally spot a beautiful woman dressed in 1940s-style clothing jumping to her death, only to find out that she’s already dead…
6. Radio City Music Hall
Originally developed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1929, Radio City Music Hall remains one of the world’s largest and most stunning venues. Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and RCA Chairman, David Sarnoff were also integral in the development of the theater and its lavish shows. Roxy was responsible for creating the Rockettes, the famous dance troupe that to this day, still performs during the eight-week Christmas Spectacular. Roxy has been known to make an occasional cameo at his successful theatre, as his ghost has been seen attending opening nights, arm-in-arm with a glamorous female companion.