6 Most Haunted Places In Manhattan

The tumult of New York City during Halloween season can be a fright in and of itself, so much so that making plans, and ones that actually live up to the spook promised on flyers and Facebook events, can be a daunting task. Luckily, New York is a city with an abundantly storied past, making its buildings and landmarks susceptible to the paranormal, to the inevitable darkness that comes with centuries of history.

So instead of testing your luck with haunted houses, why not go where the real frights are — and for no cost at all! Below are six of the most haunted locations in Manhattan.

House of Death, (14 West 10th Street, New York, NY)

You wouldn’t think that a charming, picturesque Greenwich Village brownstone would be a hotbed for paranormal activity, but you’ve probably never heard of the building nicknamed the House of Death, often dubbed the most haunted building in New York City. Said to house around 22 different spirits and apparitions, the building’s most famous after-death resident is Mark Twain who lived here in the early 1900’s and is said to still roam the halls having some “business to take care of.” More chilling, however, is the knowledge that in 1989 prominent attorney Joel Steinberg killed his illegally-adopted daughter by strangling her to death. Steinberg was released from prison in 2004.

Gay Street (Greenwich Village, New York, NY)

Don’t be fooled by this winding street’s inviting aesthetic—the premises, specifically the building 12 Gay Street, has been host to a number of very spooky and very real sightings. In the 1920’s, Mayor Jimmy Walker housed his showgirl mistress Betty Compton here, and her spirit is said to still appear as a slender woman holding a pill bottle in her hand. Additionally, the block is said to be haunted with numerous ghosts of flappers and the notorious Gay Street phantom—a dapper-looking man with elegant coattails. No wonder the residence has been vacant since being completely renovated and put on the market in 2007.

COS, (129 Spring Street, New York, NY)

One could blame the overwhelmingly negative Yelp reviews of modern clothing store COS on unhelpful customer service, but the tragic 18th-century murder that occurred right on this plot of land may play a part as well. Formerly Lipsenard’s Meadow, the space to this day is home to an ominous well, one in which boarding school student Gulielma Elmore Sands’ strangled corpse was found in 1799, days after she ran away to elope with fellow boarder Levi Weeks. Many believe that Levi killed Gulielma because he impregnated her, but thanks to some slick attorneys, he was ultimately acquitted. Get spooked, and maybe find a cute winter coat while you’re at it.

The Ear Inn (326 Spring Street, New York, NY)

If you’re roaming the SoHo area to find a drink, you may want to stray away from—or make your way towards, if you dare—The Ear Inn. The historic speakeasy, which in its prime was the essential hangout spot for sailors, drunks, and even women of the night, is now said to house many of their spirits. The most notable, however, is that of Mickey the Sailor, a frequent of the establishment who, after having one too many drinks, died in front of the bar after being hit by a car. They say you can sometimes still find him at the bar, flirting with the female patrons.

One if by Land, Two if by Sea, (17 Barrow Street, New York, NY)

Known to be one of the most romantic date spots in town, this upscale American restaurant in the Village has a strangely eerie undertone and an even more chilling history. The space was once the carriage house of Vice President Aaron Burr and daughter Theodosia, who after being kidnapped by pirates and being forced to walk the plank, is said to have returned to her residence where she and her father haunt patrons to this day. There have been countless reports of women having their earrings pulled off while sitting at the bar; meanwhile, Theodosia adds to her collection…

NYU Furman Hall, 85 West 3rd St

Before NYU demolished the building for brand new law school offices, 85 West 3rd street served as the home of famed dark poet Edgar Allen Poe for eight months between 1844 and 1845. While there, Poe penned “The Cask of Amontillado” and at least part of his most iconic poem, “The Raven.” After the demolition, the only remaining part of the original layout was one bannister, and many students have reported seeing Edgar Allen Poe leaning on it. How’s that for a hands-on education?

Words by Ivan Guzman