New York City has been called America’s Most Haunted City, and for good reason. Virtually everywhere you go there is something steeped in history. For more than 400 years, there has been construction, demolition, expansion, and reconstruction, and it’s little wonder that amongst all of the changes that have taken place there are more than just a few legends and tales of the otherworldly. From the southernmost tip of Staten Island to the hills of Washington Heights, you can hear stories of ghostly authors, phantom flappers, and even a mysterous mayor or two. But if you’re a skeptic, you can always check these stories out since most of these locales are open to the public.
The Morris-Jumel Mansion. This mansion, one of the oldest in Washington Heights, was built in 1765 by Col. Roger Morris, a British officer during the Revolution. It served as headquarters for both sides in turn during that war. In 1810, the home was purchased by Stephen Jurnel, who died under mysterious circumstances, leaving his wife, Eliza Jurnel to marry the vice president, Aaron Burr, the killer of Alexander Hamilton, and move into the home. In the 1960s, the rumors of ghostly appearances of Eliza Jurnel started when she supposedly encountered a small group of schoolchildren and told them to quiet down before vanishing. There’s even a grandfather clock that supposedly talks, and even an Hessian soldier who appears from time to time from the painings on the wall.
The Dakota. The Dakota is probably best known as the site of the 1879 assassination of former Beatle John Lennon, and even the filiming location of Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror classic, Rosemary’s Baby, but there have been numerous supposed sightings of many ghostly aperations that have appeared in the years since. There have been many sightings of mainly children dressed in garb of different historical periods, and even an occasional visit from Lennon himself.
57 West 57th St. In 1922, Albert Champion, a world class cyclist and inventor of the spark plug, married a younger woman, Edna Crawford, who soon took a lover, a Frenchman named Charles Brazelle. Champion supposedly died as a result of a “weak heart,” but rumors abound that the surviving lovers killed him and ended up inheriting $15 million of her husband’s estate. Unfortunately, what started as a chance for young love only ended up in jealous rage and Brazelle killed Crawford by striking her on the head with a telephone. Afterwards, her bodyguards got revenge by throwing him out the window of the couple’s penthouse window. Radio announcer Carlton Alsop was the next owner of the penthouse several years later, and he reported hearing violent fights between Crawford and Brazelle, and even the clicks of her high heels on the stairwell. It ended up being too much for Alsop, who was eventually committed to a mental hospital where he died.
The Campbell Apartment. Just off the concourse of Grand Central Terminal there is a cocktail lounge that was once the office and salon of financier John W. Campbell, who died in 1957. Since then, the room has been the site of numerous ghostly aperations and have caused bursts of cold air as well as feelings of being pushed from behind. There is also a ghostly couple who appear on the balcony of the office who appear to be having cocktails, even after the place is closed.