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Haunted House | © Sean MacEntee, Flickr
Haunted House | © Sean MacEntee, Flickr
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A Haunted Tour Of New York City

Picture of Dana deLaski
Updated: 28 September 2016
New York City is full of history, and with history come stories – both imagined and true – about the past. Famous people have been born here, lived here, and died here, and enough crazy things have happened in this city that certain places have become legendary. And while you could easily travel through NYC without ever knowing of its haunted sites, once you discover them, you’ll never look at the city the same way again. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, checking out NYC’s haunted buildings is a great way to learn about interesting bits of history, so read our guide to some of the most infamously spirited places in the city.

If you’re coming to NYC in search of a haunted experience, the first thing to do is find a place to stay. And for accommodation, there’s nowhere more haunted than the Chelsea Hotel. In recent years it’s been remodeled and looks as good as new, but the notorious hotel is nothing but new. It’s famously known for housing some of the most legendary artists, writers and musicians of all time (from Andy Warhol, Arthur C Clarke and Leonard Cohen to Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Jimi Hendrix), and each room has a story. Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious’ girlfriend, was even found dead here, and rumor is that her ghost still haunts the place.

Chelsea Hotel in NYC | © Wikipedia Commons
Chelsea Hotel in NYC | © Wikipedia Commons

From the Chelsea Hotel, it’s a short walk down to W 10th Street, where arguably the most haunted building in NYC sits. ‘The House of Death’ is at 14 W 10th Street in Greenwich Village, and is said to be haunted by the 22 residents who died there, and well as by Mark Twain. Twain lived in the house from 1900 to 1901, and he reported supernatural activity while living there. A book has even been written about all the various deaths of its tenants, including the murder of a six-year-old girl.

From there, walk over to Washington Square Park. The park is frequently visited by tourists and locals alike, but most don’t know that it might actually be haunted. It was built on top of a massive burial ground where up to 20,000 bodies were buried – many of them victims of the 19th century yellow fever epidemic – so it’s more than possible that some of them still remain in the park.

Washington Square Park | © Wikipedia Commons
Washington Square Park | © Wikipedia Commons

Next, for a haunted lunch and a beer, head to Ear Inn. It’s the oldest bar that continued to serve alcohol through prohibition, and it’s said to be haunted by a sailor named Mickey. Mickey was hit by a car and killed outside the tavern, so come here, have a burger, and see if he’s around.

After lunch, check out the Merchant House Museum, where the Tredwell family (a wealthy merchant New York family) moved in 1835. It’s the only original 19th century family home still intact in NYC, and some say the family never really left. After the family’s last occupant, Gertrude Tredwell, died at the age of 93, people have continued to feel her presence.

For dinner, there’s no place more romantic, or more haunted, than One If By Land, Two If By Sea. The space was once the carriage house of Aaron Burr who disputed with Alexander Hamilton, and their spirits are still said to haunt the place. Staff and diners have reported flickering lights and earrings mysteriously disappearing, but it’s also known to have some of the best food in town.

After dinner, White Horse Tavern is the place to go for a drink, in a bar possibly inhabited by the ghost of the poet Dylan Thomas. The story about his death says that he had consumed over 17 drinks at the tavern, and was then admitted to the hospital where he later died. Since, the bartenders have known to find beer glasses or shot glasses at his favorite table. His spirit is never unfriendly – it seems that he simply still wants to drink with friends.