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The collective unconscious has a specific place in it for haunted houses. For whatever reason, there have always been specific locations, or hubs, where people have long recounted strange and frequently startling occurrences. There is something about static places where the passage of time is halted and where certain memories recur repeatedly — memories of events that were so intense, so shocking, and so traumatic that the emotions they evoked were imprinted on the very fabric of space, imprisoned in looping vortices and limbos where the solace of temporal change cannot reach. What if such a location existed in the center of a busy city, in complete obscurity? If visitors are interested in peeking through the great veil that separates the material world from something other, they can do it at New York’s very own ‘House of Death’.

New York's Most Haunted House

Landmark: ‘House of Death’
Address: 14 West 10th Street, New York, NY, 10011, USA
Known for: Horrors beyond scientific comprehension
Accessibility: Not open to the public

Famous Residents Of The House Of Death

14 W10th St. is a recognized historical landmark and located directly across from Washington Square Park. It was built in the 1850s, when the nation was torn apart and disfigured by violence, during the Civil War. Since then, no fewer than 22 individuals have died in the house. One of the most prolific American writers of all time, Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, lived in home number 14, along with other people.

Even though Mark Twain didn’t actually pass away there, his ghost is thought to have returned. When a mother and daughter who lived in the house and had no reason to be questioned claimed to have seen Mark Twain’s spirit on the first floor close to the staircase in the 1930s, it caused a public uproar. He told them bluntly that he had unfinished business to take care of in the house while reportedly wearing a white suit.

A lone witness may be accused of hallucinating, but it can hardly be chance that two persons should see and hear the exact same thing. The story was much enjoyed because of its unique features. It is challenging to challenge the sober testimonials of hundreds of residents spanning more than a century inasmuch as shared reality accounts for truth.

More and more important people began to call the House of Death their home as time went on. The James Boorman Johnson family, who is credited with starting the Metropolitan Underground Railroad, was one of them. Grounded in practical materialism, the family is said to have told family and friends about unsolvable mysteries rather than risking their image by publicly sobbing about ghosts. Perhaps this is why most families left quickly out of terror for what they could not understand.

Attempts To Put An End To The Haunting

The house was converted into a ten-unit apartment building during the Great Depression in order to maintain its value in the face of inflation. The owners reasoned that a single-family home that was the size of ten apartments may inadvertently foster anxiety among its occupants as they internalize their shame and fear in the voids. It’s also plausible that an apartment building’s tenants would typically be less conspicuous, protecting against the spread of haunting rumors and their negative effects on property values.

Unfortunately, the hauntings persisted, and more well-known people would move into the eerie building. Jan Bryant Bartell, an actress, and her husband moved into the top level in 1957. Bartell claimed that as soon as she stepped inside her new home, she sensed “a gigantic moving shadow that loomed up behind her.” Later, she revealed in her memoir that she experienced multiple instances of what appeared to be ghost targeting while residing at Number 14 Washington Square Park.

It was unclear whether the purpose of the foul odor coming from the walls and the rubs against the back of her neck was to frighten her and feed off her fear or to capture her attention for desperate reasons. The paranormal investigator she engaged was able to perceive the presence of numerous spirits, accurately echoing the very true accounts of loss that had previously taken place in the building. Bartell and her husband departed before their lease expired following a fruitless exorcism.

The House Of Death Claims More Victims

Soon later, in 1987, a horrifying murder occurred, and it’s possible that the suspect was possessed by a malicious spirit that was sentenced to keep repeating its crimes as a distorted sort of confession and remorse. The specifics of many of these hauntings will not be discussed in this article because they are simply too offensive to be repeated on a reputable website. However, readers may discover more at the website that is linked.

This Greenwich Village brownstone has a long history of odd occurrences being reported by temporary occupants. Inexplicable footsteps during the stillest hours of the night, desperate cries in the middle of the night, strange gurgling noises when there shouldn’t be any, and, strangest of all, pale apparitions that vanish as quickly as they emerge. It was the kind of house that nearby parents would sternly urge their children to avoid back when the media made a tidy sum sensationalizing reports from renowned people claiming to have seen ghosts.

The “House of Death” is now relatively unknown, reflecting the progressive secularization of contemporary New Yorkers’ thoughts. Unfortunately, as history has often demonstrated, no amount of justification or denial can stop genuine terror.