Haunted Places

Hotel Chelsea, Chelsea Hotel, haunted landmark, haunted New York, New York ghosts, ghost of Sid Vicious
G. Paul Burnett/AP Photo
The Hotel Chelsea, which is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Sid Vicious.

New York's 5 Most Haunted Sites

October 25, 2009
by Kate Davey
Hundreds of the famous and the infamous have lived in New York City, and it’s not so hard to believe that some of them might have left some trace of themselves behind, even after they’ve left this world. FindingDulcinea offers a tour of some of the Big Apple’s most haunted landmarks.

Hotel Chelsea

Many a deceased famous figure has refused to check out of the Hotel Chelsea. Dylan Thomas, Eugene O'Neill and Thomas Wolfe have all been spotted in spirit form. Be particularly careful when you ride the elevator: the ghost of Sid Vicious (the Sex Pistols bassist who died of a heroin overdose) is reported to linger on the lift.

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

At Greenwich Village’s romantic eatery One if by Land, Two if by Sea, the spirits are not confined to the bar. This former carriage house was once owned and operated by Vice President Aaron Burr. He and his daughter, Theodosia (who was supposedly kidnapped by pirates and forced to walk the plank), haunt patrons and staff; one maitre d’ quit after being shoved up and down the stairs every night by invisible hands, and numerous women claim to have had their earrings pulled off by Theodosia while sitting at the bar.

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Built in 1765, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, located at 175 Jumel Terrace in Washington Heights, is the oldest house in Manhattan.

Eliza and Stephen Jumel took control of the house in 1810. Their marriage was quite tumultuous, as Eliza was supposedly having an affair with former Vice President Aaron Burr. (Perhaps in the upstairs rooms of One if By Land, Two if By Sea?) In 1832, Stephen met his death as he "mysteriously" fell on a pitchfork. Without wasting any time, Eliza married Aaron Burr.

Eliza and Burr divorced three years later and Burr died not long after. Eliza's mental health deteriorated; she "became reclusive, and she was a frightening sight to behold, with false teeth, unkempt hair, soiled clothing, and ungainly large feet. Finally, dementia took her and her babbling drove away even the staunchest relative."

After her death,Eliza was allegedly seen wandering about the property in a white dress, producing spine-tingling noises. When a psychic went to the mansion and purportedly summoned the spirit of Stephen Jumel, the spirit said that he was murdered and buried alive.

The City of New York took control of the museum in 1904, and tours have been fraught with ghost sightings ever since. A famous sighting occurred in 1964 when Eliza, wearing a violet dress, supposedly appeared to some schoolchildren and yelled at them to "shut up!"

Palace Theater

The Palace Theater was the center of the vaudeville universe in the early 20th century, attracting acts from across the country; today, it hosts Broadway's best and brightest. The Theater is said to be home to at least 100 ghosts, including that of Judy Garland, who once performed there

Acrobat Louis Borsalino fell to his death during a performance at the Palace. But let's hope you don't catch a glimpse of his ghost; those who do are rumored to die shortly thereafter.

St. Paul’s Chapel

George Frederick Cooke, a prolific British actor who died of alcoholism in 1812, was buried on the grounds of St. Paul's Chapel. Not so strange, perhaps, until you consider that he was buried without a head. Cooke donated his skull to science to pay medical bills (a somewhat self-defeating barter), though it supposedly made its way into a stage production of Hamlet. Cooke was laid to rest sans cranium and, according to legend, haunts the chapel and churchyard in search of his noggin.

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