Go Ghosthunting in New York City!
On this leg of your ghosthunting journey, readers explore the scariest spots in the Big Apple. Author L'Aura Hladik visits more than 30 legendary haunted places, all of which are open to the public so visitors can test their own ghosthunting skills, if they dare. Join L'Aura as she visits each site, snooping around eerie rooms and dark corners, talking to people who swear to their paranormal experiences, and providing a firsthand account. Readers may enjoy Ghosthunting New York City from the safety of an armchair or by hitting the road and using the maps to find 50 more spooky sites and "ghostly resources." Take the A(HRT) Train to the spookiest subway ride of your life.
About the Author
L’Aura Hladik’s interest in the paranormal started in childhood and culminated with living in an actual haunted rental house when she was in the eighth grade. In 1993, she officially began hunting for ghosts, and in 1998 she founded the New Jersey Ghost Hunters Society (www.njghs.net), currently the largest paranormal investigating organization in the state with over 700 members. L’Aura is also the author of Ghosthunting New Jersey, another book in the America’s Haunted Road Trip series. She enjoys presenting her findings in multimedia presentations to libraries and civic organizations. L’Aura has appeared on the nationally syndicated talk show Montel Williams as well as local cable television shows and various AM and FM radio stations. Although L’Aura’s ghost research takes her beyond New Jersey and New York City to other states (and even other countries, such as Ireland), the “Jersey Girl” always comes home to her favorite haunt.
Read an Excerpt
You wouldn’t know it to look at the place today, but the bank of the Hudson River used to be about five feet from the Ear Inn. This Federal-style townhouse was built in 1817 for James Brown, a wealthy tobacco merchant and former aide to General George Washington. Brown sold his house in 1833. Around that time, fill dirt was brought in to expand the bank out to West Street, and new, larger piers were constructed. Thomas Cloke bought the Brown House in 1890.
Seeing all the thirsty sailors and longshoremen arriving daily at the piers, Cloke and his brother started their own brewery in the basement of the house. They sold their home-brewed beer and whiskey at the docks. However, Cloke saw the writing on the wall with the Eighteenth Amendment coming, and he sold the business in 1919.
The Brown House operated as a speakeasy during Prohibition. The upstairs rooms serving as boarding flops, a brothel, and a smuggler’s den. After Prohibition, the home was known as “the Green Door Saloon” to seafaring gents who came ashore for a drink. No women were allowed. In 1969, the Landmarks Preservation Commission deemed the Brown House a historic landmark, but by then the SoHo area was in a state of decline. Around 1973, two students who were renting rooms in the house decided to buy the building. They fixed it up as best they could with their meager funds. Using spray paint, they changed the old neon sign from “BAR” to “EAR,” thus renaming the place The Ear Inn.
Business picked up for the two young men; among its notable guests were John Lennon and Salvador Dali. In 1977, Martin Sheridan bought the Ear Inn, and he has been running it ever since.
Martin is well aware of the ghosts in his bar and is quite comfortable with them. The “headliner” is Mickey, a sailor who once lived upstairs and was hit and killed by a car in front of the bar. While I couldn’t find any obituaries to substantiate this story, I did find several ghost books that place the accident in the 1940s or 1950s. Mickey makes his presence known by giving people seated at the bar a little nudge, occasionally pinching the derrières of lady patrons. When they turn around to see who’s there, no one is. Mickey has also been blamed for disappearing pints, but Martin suspects that the absentmindedness of the customer is the more likely culprit.
Martin told me that about fifteen years ago the BBC sent over a television crew to do a documentary on the Ear Inn. They investigated and stayed in the Inn for three solid days. Their psychic concluded that three or four spirits reside at the Ear Inn. She assured Martin that they were all friendly and that he is not in any danger. However, that didn’t ease the minds of the family who were renting the rooms at the time. They were fearful, as well as extremely tired, due to being awakened frequently by a violent shaking of their beds. The family moved out, and Martin didn’t bother to rent the space again. Now he uses the rooms for storage, and whenever waitresses go up there for supplies, they always declare that they will not go up there again. Something up there terrifies them.
The ghost of Mickey has nudged Martin on occasion. Martin is not frightened by it; most times, he simply tells the ghost, “I’m busy. Don’t bother me.” As for the patrons of the bar, newcomers who “sense a presence” sometimes ask if they can go upstairs and look around, but the regulars are not fazed by the activity at all. I asked Martin if he’s ever seen a full-body apparition. “No,” he said, “but customers, not bar staff, have reported seeing shapes or shadows, never a complete ghost.”
I asked Martin if there are any peak times for activity. Martin says he has never noticed any cyclical patterns. “It’s sporadic, probably happening more than I notice. When it’s quiet in the bar, between crowds, is when I’m more apt to feel something or experience something. When the bar is busy, I’m too distracted to notice,” he explained.
So, is Martin ready for a team of full-blown paranormal investigators to come in and conduct a formal investigation? No. He told me: “I live in a very old house, and I came from a very old house. The spirits there were not always nice. When the psychic from the BBC told me that these spirits were friendly, I was happy with that. I don’t want a team coming in here and telling me otherwise.”
I admit, I wouldn’t want a team of paranormal investigators to tell me that my business is infested with negative ghosts. Who would? But I think Martin is misunderstanding the paranormal investigator. Psychics are interested in ghosts’ emotional state of being. Paranormal investigators are more about simply proving that a ghost is or isn’t there.
As I was leaving the Ear Inn, I chatted with a customer who was waiting outside for a friend. I asked the young man if he’d ever been to the Ear Inn before. He confirmed he had, many times, and that the burgers are “awesome.” I then asked him if he had ever experienced anything paranormal. Looking shocked, he said, “You mean like ghosts?” I said, “Yesin particular, the ghost of Mickey, who was killed out front here by a car and haunts this bar now.” He told me he’d never heard the ghost story before, but that now he was totally intrigued and would pay closer attention.
I agree with his plan and advise you to pay close attention when you visit the Ear Inn. Take pictures, and have a digital recorder running in your breast pocket or in an outer pocket of your purse. You might capture something. Enjoy a burger, and be ready for a nudge or a pinch from Mickey.
Table of Contents
Welcome to America’s Haunted Road Trip
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
- Chapter 1: Bridge Café
- Chapter 2: Brooklyn Inn
- Chapter 3: Ear Inn
- Chapter 4: Manhattan Bistro
- Chapter 5: McSorley’s Old Ale House
- Chapter 6: Old Bermuda Inn
- Chapter 7: One If By Land, Two If By Sea
- Chapter 8: White Horse Tavern
- Chapter 9: St. Mark’s in-the-Bowery
- Chapter 10: St. Paul’s Chapel
- Chapter 11: Trinity Episcopal Church and Graveyard
- Chapter 12: Conference House
- Chapter 13: Ellis and Liberty Islands
- Chapter 14: Richmond Town
- Chapter 15: Snug Harbor
- Chapter 16: Van Cortlandt House
- Chapter 17: Alice Austen House
- Chapter 18: Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
- Chapter 19: Merchant’s House Museum
- Chapter 20: Morris-Jumel Mansion
- Chapter 21: Fort Wadsworth
- Chapter 22: Washington Square Park
- Chapter 23: Woodlawn Cemetery
- Spotlight: Hart Island
- Spotlight: How to Investigate a Cemetery
- Chapter 24: Belasco Theater
- Spotlight: Theater Myths and Traditions
- Chapter 25: Cherry Lane Theater
- Chapter 26: New Amsterdam Theater
- Chapter 27: Palace Theater
- Spotlight: Times Square
- Chapter 28: Paradise Theater
- Chapter 29: Public Theater
- Spotlight: Radio City Music Hall
HOTELS AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS
- Chapter 30: Chelsea and Algonquin Hotels
- Chapter 31: The Dakota
- Chapter 32: Fordham University
- Spotlight: Various New York City Ghosts
Visiting Haunted Sites
About the Author