The 5 Most Haunted Places in New York City

Halloween in New York City goes far beyond the Village Halloween Parade these days. Spooky scarecrows are taking over the New York Botanical Garden, the Manhattan sightseeing experience known as The Ride is now in Masquerade, and even the dogs are getting into the act with a parade of their own in Tompkins Square Park.

But the best thing about late October in the city has always been the thrills and chills that come from ghosts, ghouls and all the other-worldly spirits that go bump in the night. So now is a better time than any other to visit the five most haunted places in NYC. These are places with a grisly past, a scary present, and visions that are likely to haunt your future nightmares for a long, long time. Think you can take it? If so, don't miss:

14 West 10th Street
Known by some as the "House of Death" the building at 14 West 10th Street is said to be haunted by spirits of the more than 22 people who have died within its walls. Mark Twain, who lived in here from 1900 to 1901, is one of the most famous ghosts, as is 6-year-old Lisa Steinberg, who lived here in 1987 when she was beaten to death by her father.

The Dakota
One of the most famous apartment buildings in NY, The Dakota is also said to be one of the most haunted. The spirit of John Lennon, who was shot near the front door, has appeared to his wife, Yoko Ono, saying, "Don't be afraid. I am still with you." And before that, even Lennon himself maintained that there was frequently an apparition he called the "Crying Lady Ghost" floating around the apartments.

Merchant's House Museum
The Merchant's House Museum calls itself "Manhattan's most haunted house" because of the eight family members who died in the house—and who apparently have refused to leave. While there are numerous reasons to visit this home (which is now a National Historic Landmark), don't miss the chance to hear the chilling tales of restless phantoms, flickering lights, voices calling into the night, and other spooky occurrences from the people who work here and therefore have actually experienced them.

St. Paul's Chapel Burial Grounds
Burial grounds are notorious for ghostly sightings and the cemetery at St. Paul's Chapel is no different. The most frequently reported ghost is that of George Frederick Cooke, who was buried headless. He had agreed to donate his head to science as a means of paying some overdue bills. But apparently he regretted doing so and his spirit roams through the churchyard in a fruitless search for his missing head.

White Horse Tavern
The White Horse Tavern has long been famous as a writers' hangout. But its reputation for being haunted comes from the fact that it is the site of the poet Dylan Thomas' collapse and death, after drinking 18 (some say 19, some say 17) shots of scotch in 1953. Many people claim to have seen him rotate his favorite corner table, as Thomas used to do when he was alive.

Victoria Otto Franzese is a proud New Yorker who owned, operated, and wrote for a successful online travel guide for 15 years. Now, thankfully, all of her travel is purely for fun. See more about her favorite haunted places at @VOFranzese.