Every city has its ghost stories—I’ll always remember a spooky walk through Edinburgh‘s Greyfriars cemetery, for example—and New York is no exception. Though it can’t claim as rich a haunted history as places like New Orleans or Savannah, and it can’t boast an Alcatraz of its own, Gotham reportedly has more than a few ghouls wandering its streets. Here are six of the city’s top haunted spots, and the spirits that just won’t leave them alone.
St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery (East Village)
Peter Stuyvesant, the city’s last Dutch colonial governor, lost his right leg in battle and had a wooden leg with a band of silver around it; he was also infamous for his bad temper. Ever since shortly after his death in 1672, Stuyvesant’s spirit has been seen stomping around the East Village, particularly near the spot where he’s buried, at St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery Church, at the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street.
Washington Square Park (Greenwich Village)
Washington Square Park was used as a gallows and execution ground during the American Revolution, when the British occupied the city. It was also a burial ground, and some 15,000 bodies remained buried there today. With this gory history, it’s no wonder this popular park remains one of the city’s haunted spots.
Morris-Jumel Mansion (Harlem/Washington Heights)
Built in 1765 in Harlem Heights (today’s Washington Heights), the Morris-Jumel Mansion is the oldest house in Manhattan. George Washington made his headquarters there briefly in 1776, during the American Revolution; run-down by 1810, the house was restored to its former glory by the French merchant Stephen Jumel and today operates as a museum. It’s also one of the city’s most haunted spots—apparitions reported at the mansion over the years have included two female spirits (a woman in a purple dress and a servant girl) as well as several Revolutionary War soldiers.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea (West Village)
Aaron Burr may have been our third vice president, but he’s better remembered as the man who killed Alexander Hamilton, his political rival, in a duel in 1804. Burr’s ghost is said to roam the streets of his old neighborhood, the West Village, and has been spotted most often at the romantic restaurant One if by Land, Two if by Sea, located in a Barrow Street building that was once Burr’s carriage house.
White Horse Tavern (West Village)
The ghost of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is said to sometimes occupy his favorite corner table at the White Horse Tavern, also in the West Village. Thomas was at the tavern–a favorite stomping-grounds of literary celebrities ranging from Anais Nin to Jack Kerouac to Norman Mailer–when he drank 18 shots of whiskey in 1953; the overdose of alcohol led to his death.
Chelsea Hotel (Chelsea)
Mark Twain, Thomas Wolfe, Sarah Bernhardt, Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin are just a few of the famous figures who have stayed in this famously bohemian hotel, opened in 1905. The creative energies of such past guests are said to permeate the hotel, making it a favorite working/living environment for the artists of today. But the hotel’s greatest claim to fame—er, infamy—dates to 1978, when punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols allegedly killed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, in their suite. Vicious himself OD’d on heroin in 1979; his ghost is said to haunt the hallways of the Chelsea Hotel, and has been seen in the elevator.