By Deirdre Haggerty
Halloween brings out the thrill seekers, horror movie junkies and the search for real haunts. With the Brooklyn Bridge, the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and countless other spooky stories, New York’s long history has been the backdrop for real and fictional scary accounts. From Amityville, Long Island to Manhattan’s “most haunted building,” most of the eerie houses in New York have been the sinister scenes of one or more grisly murders. Drive or walk by one of the five spookiest places in New York and see for yourself. But, don’t knock on the door! You might come across an angry owner or two that claim the houses are free of ghosts.
The Amityville Horror
112 Ocean Ave.
Amityville, NY 11701
Probably the most infamous haunted house in New York, the Dutch Colonial home located on the South Shore of Long Island initiated the bestselling book as well as a series of supernatural thrillers. The story most recently appeared in The Conjuring 2, as Ed and Lorraine Warren were also involved in the house’s “cleansing.” Although the address of 112 Ocean Avenue has been changed to thwart fright seekers, the murders that occurred in the Amityville home, allegedly prompted by paranormal activity, still sends chills through those that search for the haunted house in New York. The legal address is now 108 Ocean Avenue, and as of 2016 the home was listed for sale at $850,000.
1 W. 72nd St.
New York, NY 10023
The Dakota was made a New York City historical landmark in 1969, shortly after it was featured in the 1968 horror classic Rosemary’s Baby. The expansive apartment building was also the home of John Lennon, as well as the site of his assassination. The ghost of the Beatles’ legend has reportedly been seen lurking amongst his former residence along with sightings of others. Supernatural seekers have witnessed a friendly little girl dressed in early 1900s attire and an adult male with a young boy’s face.
The Conference House
7455 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10307
The Conference House played a significant role in the Revolutionary War. Loyalist Colonel Christopher Billop built the residence as a rest stop for British forces. He reportedly murdered a 15-year-old girl for spying for the rebels in the spooky Staten Island home. He pushed her down a flight of stairs and her screams can still be heard today. The area was also built over a Lenape Indian burial ground. In the immortal words of Craig T. Nelson as Steve Freeling in the 1982 supernatural thriller Poltergeist, “You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!”
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E. 9th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11223
Gravesend Brooklyn is the site of a haunted house, which was featured on SyFy two years ago in the cable channel’s reality TV show, Paranormal Witness. The haunted house’s former owner, Elaine Mercado, recorded 22 years of hauntings in a book titled, Grave’s End. The house on East 9th was reportedly “full of ghosts.” However, the new owners claim all is well in this spooky area of Brooklyn.
The House of Death
14 W. 10th St.
New York, NY 10011
Upwards of 22 spirits reportedly haunt New York City’s “most haunted building.” The spooky New York townhouse was the scene of the horrific murder of 6-year-old Lisa Steinberg by her adopted father Joel in 1987. Although other hideous crimes occurred in The House of Death, the haunted hideaway’s most famous spirit is Mark Twain who lived on the premises from 1900-1901.