If you’re planning your next adventure in the city that never sleeps, venturing into the most haunted places in New York City will surely keep you up at night.
Being a location with extensive history and development, numerous legends and tales of paranormal activity have been heard about its oldest buildings. But far from repelling new visitors, this only causes more intrigue and excitement among thrill-seekers and lovers of the paranormal.
But are these stories true? There’s only one way to find out. Keep reading!
Are There Really Haunted Places In NYC?
We all have our own beliefs and conclusions when it comes to the otherworldly, and certainly, no one can affirm anything for sure.
However, whether you believe in ghosts or not, these historical sites can definitely add a layer of mystique to your experience in the city. What’s important is to keep an open mind during your visit, even if you’re a skeptic –you never know what you can learn. Not to mention it is the perfect way to have a fun day/night in the spirit of the Halloween season!
And remember to add variety in your itinerary! New York has a lot to offer besides spooky buildings. You don’t wanna miss on the best things to do in NYC in the fall.
Dare To Visit These Haunted Places In New York City?
Ready to take a look at these haunted places in New York City? While many of these places are quite popular and offer informative tours, other buildings have been abandoned or are just not considered tourist spots. Yet, you can go and explore by yourself –if you feel brave enough– and see what happens!
The Morris-Jumel Mansion is known for being the oldest structure remaining in Manhattan and it dates back to 1765. It was originally built as a summer villa for military officer Colonel Roger Morris and his wife, Mary Philipse.
However, the property had many owners throughout the years and served several different purposes, such as being General Washington’s headquarters in the early months of the Revolutionary War.
Additionally, the mansion was recognized as a landmark in the city in 1967 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Fun fact: it was part of the inspiration for the famous Broadway musical “Hamilton” and Lin-Manuel Miranda actually wrote songs for the play while being inside the house.
But, what makes The Morris-Jumel Mansion so special and –most importantly– haunted?
There are many tales associated with the mansion, including strange reports from visitors, staff, and several paranormal investigators over the years. The most frequently reported apparitions are those of Eliza Jumel, a former owner, and his husband, who died under mysterious circumstances. It’s also very common to hear footsteps and voices and to see doors opening and closing on their own.
Whether the residence is actually inhabited by spirits or not, the rumors have persisted even to this day, attracting tourists and paranormal investigators to have a first-hand experience.
Nowadays, the Morris-Jumel Mansion operates as a museum with period artifacts, furniture, and exhibitions. You can take a tour by yourself or with a guide to learn more about the history and legacy of this iconic landmark.
Other tours you might like:
- Hamilton Heights – West Harlem Walking Tour
- Washington Heights – Sugar Hill North Harlem Walking Tour
The Merchant’s House is currently an important museum and landmark in Manhattan’s East Village, but this 19th-century site had its beginnings as a family home. Back in the Colonial period, the house originally belonged to the prominent merchant Seabury Tredwell and his wife.
From their eight children, all of them moved out in their adulthood except for Gertrude, who who died in the residence at the age of 93 in 1933. In fact, much of the house’s original furnishings and personal objects were preserved in time because of her.
After Gertrude’s death, a relative of the Tredwells bought the house and turned it into a museum. Although The Merchant’s House faced several financial challenges over the years, today the museum provides a comprehensive and intimate view of how prosperous families lived in Old New York. Thanks to its caretakers, a vast majority of the building’s interior still remains intact in the present, making it a rare historical gem.
However, its well-preserved infrastructure is not the only factor that contributes to its uniqueness. Ever since the site became a museum, many visitors and staff members have reported strange happenings that could only be explained by means of superior forces.
Are There Ghosts Living In The Merchant’s House?
The most commonly heard rumors include the apparition of Gertrude Tredwell and the spirits of relatives. Many say that the Tredwell family hosted several events in their home over the years, including the funerals –so, it would make sense that some energies would still be lingering in the halls.
Although nobody knows for sure, no one can deny that a house with about a century of history surely must hold some secrets living within its walls.
Fun fact: did you know that The Merchant’s House was named “Favorite Landmark” by NY Landmarks Conservancy in 2022 and ranked in the top 3% of all attractions worldwide?
Visit The Merchant’s House
- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
- 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Duration: 45-60 minutes
- General Admission: $15
- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
- 12 p.m.
- Duration: 75 minutes
- General Admission: $20
Visit the website for more detailed information about tickets and prices.
Special Upcoming Events
- Ghost Tours of “Manhattan’s Most Haunted House” – October 13 – October 29: A candlelight tour exploring the house and hearing true tales of its paranormal activity.
- The Tredwells’ World of 19th Century Noho – October 22: Walking Tour
Of all the haunted places in New York City, The New Amsterdam Theatre has to be the most iconic and exciting spot to visit.
Apart from being the oldest operating theater on Broadway, the venue has been widely recognized for its spectacular productions and stunning design, which make you feel like you’re “walking into a dream”. It’s also been the survivor of many hardships during the Great Depression, triggering its gradual decline over the next 5 decades –to the point of being close to its demolition.
Fortunately, in the 1990s, The Walt Disney Company brought the New Amsterdam back to life with a significant restoration, reopening with the premiere of the animated film “Hercules“. Subsequently, the theater has been home to several famous productions like “The Lion King”, “Mary Poppins”, and “Aladdin”.
In the present day, there’s no doubt about the massive success of this NYC landmark. But, what about its hauntings?
A Theater With Its Own Ghost Star
Well, The New Amsterdam is also known for having a ghost resident. Her name is Olive Thomas, a chorus girl who used to be part of “The Ziegfeld Follies”, one of the most accomplished productions at the time.
Sadly, Olive died suddenly at the age of 25. Although it is known that the cause was mercury poisoning, the circumstances of her death still remain a mystery. Some speculations say that she took her own life by ingesting a lethal dose of the poison due to marital problems. Others wonder if Olive was murdered by her husband since he was the one using the mercury as medicine. However, there was no evidence that proved any of these theories, and her death was officially ruled as an accident.
Legend says that Olive’s spirit still haunts the New Amsterdam Theater. Various employees and performers claimed to have seen her figure on the stage several times, waving and blowing kisses to the audience, as she did when she was alive.
Note: Tours at the New Amsterdam Theater are not currently available until further notice, but you can still enjoy a good Broadway show –and maybe see some ghosts if you’re lucky!
Other haunted locations around the globe:
Salem, Massachusetts – 10 haunted places with a tragic history
Halloween In Gatlinburg – 7 spooktacular things to do
New Orleans – 10 unique things to do this fall
The Hotel Chelsea is one of the most iconic hotels in Manhattan with rich history and great cultural significance. Built between 1883 and 1885, the Chelsea was originally designed as an apartment building before it was turned into a hotel in 1905, being one of the city’s first skyscrapers.
Throughout its history, the hotel has been associated with the city’s artistic and bohemian community. Its frequent residents ranged from musicians and actors to poets and writers, with many notable guests like Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Jimi Hendrix, among others.
Due to its open-minded and welcoming atmosphere, The Chelsea became a hub for like-minded creatives and inspired multiple works of art like songs, movies, and books.
But what if I told you that the actual reason this historical building had such an impact on popular culture is much darker?…
Besides its enigmatic –and almost creepy– Victorian Gothic exterior, the Chelsea is just as mysterious on the inside, having witnessed many tragic incidents that ultimately contributed to its international fame as one of the most haunted places in New York City.
One of the most infamous events dates back to 1978 when Nancy Spungen –girlfriend of Sex Pistols’ bassist Sid Vicious– was found stabbed in their hotel room. Although Sid Vicious was immediately charged with her murder, he died of a heroin overdose before the trial, leaving many questions unanswered.
Maybe stories of ghosts and paranormal encounters have been told about the hotel over the decades. Some guests have reported seeing apparitions or feeling the presence of former residents. In addition, there are parts of the building where significant incidents or deaths took place. These are usually the areas where people most commonly experience cold spots, strange noises, or an unexplainable sensation of being watched.
Other Places To Stay In NYC… Perhaps Less Scary Ones?
- Budget ($) — Pod 39 Hotel
- Best Value ($$) — The Evelyn Hotel
- Luxe ($$$) —- Moxy NYC Times Square
- Unique ($-$$$) —- Tempo by Hilton
I know how easy it can be to get excited about planning your trip and completely forget about packing. Let me help! Grab my NYC winnter packing list and make sure you have all the essentials.
If there’s one site you would never suspect of being haunted, that is One if by Land, Two if by Sea. This upscale restaurant in Greenwich Village has made a name of its own by providing the quintessential experience of fine dining.
Not only is it well-known for its exquisite dishes but also for being one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. Its interior decorated with cozy fireplaces, chandeliers, and a grand piano, creates the perfect intimate and enchanting ambiance.
Who would even think of ghosts in a place like this?
The building that houses this charming dining spot is no stranger to paranormal activity and tales of hauntings have been going around for quite some time. It was originally a carriage house from the 18th century that belonged to Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States.
According to popular stories, Aaron Burr’s daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston, mysteriously disappeared at sea in 1813. Some believe that her spirit returned to her father’s former house to reunite with her family again.
It’s been heard that Theodosia’s figure descends the staircase in the restaurant now and then. Other staff members and diners have reported objects moving on their own, chairs being mysteriously rearranged, and unexplained noises like footsteps and voices when no one is around.
Being one of the oldest operating taverns, it’s not surprising to find White Horse Tavern among the haunted places in New York City. For over a century, the tavern has been a popular gathering spot for intellectuals and artists, becoming one of the most iconic places in the city and an official landmark since 1967.
Many would agree that the building’s haunted reputation comes from one of the most famous patrons of the White Horse Tavern, the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. During the 1950s, the poet would frequently spend his time at the tavern during his visits to New York.
Legend says that, in 1953, Thomas took 18 shots of whiskey, which he called a “record”. After that, the poet returned to his room in the Hotel Chelsea, where he fell asleep and finally died. However, the exact details of that night remain uncertain and it is presumed that alcohol was only one of many factors that contributed to his unexpected death.
Some people have reported seeing Thomas’s figure sitting at his favorite corner table at the tavern, feeling a strange energy or presence near the bar, and seeing objects moving here and there.
Although no one knows for certain if it is indeed the spirit of Dylan Thomas haunting the place, given the tavern’s long history, it would be easy to imagine that several entities are tied to this place and its events from the past.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center
Kings Park Psychiatric Center was a massive institution founded on Long Island in 1885. The original idea of this center was to offer patients retreat-style care and more humane treatments for mental illness.
However, the practices that most psychiatric institutions used at that time are not considered ethical or humane nowadays, such as electroshock therapy and lobotomies.
What is more, Kings Park gradually became overcrowded with patients despite being a huge complex with numerous buildings. This, in addition to other issues like understaffing and underfunding, eventually resulted in neglect and poor living conditions for the patients.
King Park’s decline continued from the ’60s to the ’90s, intensified by the changes that were taking place in the psychiatric field. Finally, the center officially closed in 1996. While most of the land was turned into parks and recreation areas, some other buildings were left abandoned and fallen into decay.
Today, these dilapidated structures are a major attraction for urban explorers, photographers, and paranormal investigators curious to know more about Kings Park’s history and what happened behind its doors.
Over the years, those who dared to explore the remains of the facility have reported seeing apparitions or shadowy figures roaming the place, presumably the spirits of former patients who suffered tragic ends due to cruel treatment. Others claim to have witnessed strange noises, such as voices, distant screams, or cries. Also, those who have taken photos of the site were surprised to find unexplained lights or strange shapes on them.
Other tours you might like:
- The Psychiatric History of New York Walking Tour
- New York Catacombs by Candlelight
- Underground Subway Walking Tour
Woodlawn Cemetery is not only one of the most haunted places in New York City but it’s also the most beautiful. Founded in 1863 in the Bronx, the graveyard is known for its beautiful design with lush landscapes, winding paths, monuments, and mausoleums.
Moreover, the Woodlawn is the final resting place of many prominent individuals, from artists and writers like Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Herman Melville, to historical figures like Fiorello La Guardia and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Like any place with an extensive, rich history and a deep connection to the past, it’s very common to hear tales and legends about paranormal activity or unexplained happenings. Multiple visitors have claimed to have heard voices whispering while being completely alone. There are also reports of a mysterious man running all over the cemetery at night while screaming.
Definitely not the kind of place where you would like to go alone. However, the Woodlawn Cemetery offers several tours and hosts different events throughout the year. These are usually related to music, art, history, and nature.
Visit the website to see all the tours and get tickets!
A city like New York is certainly the best choice when looking for exciting places to go, where you can have the perfect mix of fun, history, and spooky!
Whether one believes in the supernatural or not, these stories undeniably enrich the experience of exploring New York City during the Halloween season.