A beautiful brownstone, 14 West 10th Street, is allegedly haunted by upwards of 20 ghosts. It was built during the 1850s and was home to many of New York's most elite like the founder of the Metropolitan Underground Railroad. Why the high number of ghosts? According to some, it is because the house is cursed and it, in turn, curses those who live there.
Although the house began as a one-residence home, demand for the lovely area and gorgeous home rose and the building was soon split into apartments. Off-broadway actress Jan Bryant Bartell, documented her experiences of living in the top floor apartment. According to her she almost "immediately began feeling a presence she described as a monstrous moving shadow." From this, a wide array of occurrences took places - such as odors that she described as "rotting miasma." It got so intense that they ended up calling a medium who felt a presence of something dead under the floorboards saying, " three things maybe: a young girl with curly hair, blue eyes and a tiny nose, an aborted child and, of course, a small gray cat." All of Bartell's expereinces were captured in her book, Spindrift: Spray from a Psychic Sea.
One of the most famous ghosts said to haunt the house is that of Samuel Clemens, pen name: Mark Twain. Twain lived there for about a year in the earl 1900s. Although he did not die there, he must have had an affinity for his one-time residence as multiple inhabitants have claimed to see Clemens, in his classic white suit, walking along the hallways and passing through doorways - specifically on the first floor and near staircases. In fact, one encounter with Clemens by a mother and daughter paints quite a scene. The author's ghost was sitting near a window and said to them, "My name is Clemens and I has a problem here I gotta settle." Before the women could make heads or tails of what was happening, he disappeared. This was in the 1930s.
In the 1980s, though, the address suffered an undeniable horrifying moment: Joel Steinberg. Steinberg was a criminal defense attorney. Unfortunately for his wife and child, a call came in the early morning of November 1987 and officers responded to a call about a child not breathing and being in some kind of distress. After they entered the second floor, his wife, Lisa, was unconscious and a baby was covered in filth...tied to a playpen. Although the baby survived Lisa died a few days later.
Throughout the years, the experiences and notoriety of the home grew. It was visited by several paranormal investigators and experiences of some classic haunting stand-bys, like a lady in white, became the norm. Sightings have been documented in the 2000s, and it appears the building is still earning its notorious reputation. For example, a resident on the third floor of the connected building for over 20 years, going only as Dennis is a New York Post article from 2012 about the house, as seen "little clips and visions of women in long gowns going from room to room" and reported some flickering lights.
The house was originally one residence but has since been split up into 10 different apartment and according to the New York Post "at least nine of which [have] names on the buzzers and mailboxes."
Is this the most haunted house in New York City? Probably not - but it is chock full of interesting stories and tidbits.
The above image is unrelated to the story and is from Flickr User Jordi Carrasco, liscensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).