Some interesting new trends have made it into the travel mainstream in the last few years. Foodie tourism, extreme sports travel, and eco-tourism are just a few examples. And then there are those who enjoy darker pursuits.
For those that are visiting New York and are interested in ghost stories, hauntings or paranormal activity, there’s plenty to see and do. You can even take haunted tours and stay in ghostly hotels.
10 St. Paul’s Chapel, Manhattan
The imposing spire casts a long shadow over the old churchyard, and the brick is musty with age. This is the oldest church in this part of town, dating back to 1766. This long history means many of the visitors never left and still appear to wander the grounds. One of these spirits is the actor George Frederick Cooke, whose headless body is interred in the churchyard. He donated his head to science to pay some outstanding medical bills, but his head was used as a theater production prop instead, and thus his unrest.
9 The Bowery Hotel, New York City
A place to see others and be seen yourself, this famous hotel has hosted countless celebrities and special events. That might be why it’s one of the most haunted places in town.
Guests have reported elevators moving on their own and other examples of poltergeist-like activity. Theories abound as to why. The nearby Marble Cemetary, along with the hotel’s dramatic past, might have something to do with it.
8 The Morris-Jumel Mansion, Manhattan
This Georgian mansion dates back to 1765 and has seen its share of residents and tragedy. It was used by both sides in the Revolutionary War as a headquarters before Stephen and Eliza Jumel moved there in 1810. After Stephen died under suspicious circumstances, Eliza married again, this time to Aaron Burr, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton. In modern times, guests have reported seeing the ghost of a Revolutionary-era soldier step out of a painting and heard a disembodied voice coming from the old grandfather clock. A group of children reporting seeing the ghost of Eliza herself, who apparently appeared to tell them to be quiet.
7 14 West 10th Townhouse, New York City
The first thing you’ll hear about this unassuming townhouse is that Mark Twain lived here for two years, 1900 and 1901, and documented many of his paranormal experiences. You would never guess that this quaint little townhouse is better known as The House of Death.
This is one of the city’s most haunted locations and more than 20 spirits are believed to roam its interior. One of the restless spirits from this building’s tragic past is a murdered child, Lisa Steinberg, who was beaten to death by her adopted father. If you visit, you might even meet Twain himself on the stairway.
6 Church of St. Andrew’s, Staten Island
Yet another historic site that is also famous for hauntings, this church dates back to 1712. The Gothic style, heavy red wooden door, and ancient graveyard make this a likely place to experience paranormal activity. The churchyard is the permanent resting place of many notable people from Staten Island. During the Revolutionary War, the church was used as a battlefield hospital. Visitors claim to have seen the ghosts of dead soldiers and heard disembodied footsteps and knocking noises.
5 The Amityville House, Long Island
Yes, this is the house that inspired that chilling tale, The Amityville Horror. This lovely Dutch Colonial-style home was already a hotbed of paranormal activity when it became the site of a gruesome serial murder, although there is some controversy to the truth behind the tales.
The Lutz Family was the original inhabitants, and they recorded a variety of unexplained events during their residence. In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family as they slept. He claimed that mysterious voices had told him they were planning on killing him.
4 Most Holy Trinity Church, Brooklyn
This church was built in 1880 on a former cemetery and contains several crypts, so it’s not surprising it has an otherworldly reputation. Visitors have reported mysterious footsteps and disembodied voices. The resident spirit is former parish clerk George Stelz, who was murdered here in 1857. Apparently, you can still see a bloody handprint on the stairway where the crime took place. Two former pastors, who are interred in the church crypt, also make regular visits.
3 The Algonquin Hotel, New York City
A stately art-deco hotel that dates from 1902, this hotel was known for paranormal activity before the renovations started in the late 20th century. The already restless spirits were further disturbed by the changes and reports of paranormal activity increased substantially. The hauntings are attributed to the infamous Round Table Room Meetings, which was the gathering of a secret society of actors, writers, and other entertainers and other famous people known as The Vicious Circle. It seems that some of the nefarious plans they made came back to haunt them, so to speak.
2 The Dakota, New York City
The setting of the notorious horror film Rosemary’s Baby and the site of John Lennon’s murder would have to be haunted, but the reports of strange phenomenon in this hotel go back to its very beginning.
Workers and residents have claimed to see a little girl dressed in turn of the century clothing, the ghost of Lennon himself, and even more chilling an adult with the face of a child. The old Gothic style only adds to the chill up your spine.
1 The Conference House, Staten Island
An important historic site, this stately house is located on a national park on the tip of Staten Island. The site also includes an ancient Lenape burial ground, which is unmarked and overlooks Raritan Bay. Originally called Bentley Manor, it was built by Christopher Billop in 1680. Several spirits are said to haunt the grounds, and visitors claim to have heard the crying of women’s voices. Billop was a British officer, loyal to the crown, and legend has it that he stabbed his maid and threw her down the stairs when he caught her trying to signal American troops. Another story is one of his abandoned fiancee, who died in the house, and still dwells there. There have also been sightings of Revolutionary soldiers and Lenape warriors.