New York’s Chelsea Hotel has a history stretching back nearly to the Civil War. It has hosted numerous celebrities and has been involved in many mysterious and tragic deaths – and some believe it is the most haunted place in the Big Apple.
Since it officially opened in 1884 (per Vanity Fair), the hotel has played host to all kinds of notable artists, including writers like Mark Twain and Arthur Miller, artists like Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, and musicians like Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, among many, many others. According to eyewitness accounts, spirits of deceased residents – famous and otherwise – still roam the hotel’s halls to this day.
Perhaps the most tragic and disturbing event in the hotel’s history was the 1978 murder of Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. She was found dead in the bathroom of Room 100. Spungen had been stabbed in the stomach, and police quickly arrested Vicious and charged him with the murder. However, Vicious died of a heroin overdose before going to trial.
Spungen’s is one of several ghosts said to haunt the Chelsea’s hallways.
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas died at the Chelsea Hotel in 1953 at just 38 years old, allegedly of alcohol overdose. His ghost is said to still frequent the lobby bar at the Chelsea.
Another ghost — this one of a woman named Mary — ties the history of the Chelsea Hotel to one of the worst maritime disasters in history, the sinking of the Titanic. Mary was supposedly a woman whose husband died aboard the vessel while she was staying at the Chelsea to greet her husband as the ill-fated ship came into port in New York. As the story goes, when Mary heard of the sinking of the ship and the death of her husband, she hanged herself in her room at the Chelsea.
Mary’s ghost has been seen numerous times over the years, but perhaps most famously by actor Michael Imperioli, one of the stars of the Sopranos.
Then there is Nadia — the severed hand ghost. Ten years after Mary made her fate, in 1922 the New York Times reported on a young woman in her twenties who flung herself out of the window facing 23rd Street and meeting her death on the sidewalk. Before her fatal plunge, Nadia had placed her right hand in the middle of huge industrial scissors used to cut bolts of cloth, closed the scissors and cut off her right hand. The pain was more than she expected – therefore, she threw herself out of the window.
Its been said that on moonless nights, Nadia can be seen flitting outside the windows of the upper floors of the Chelsea Hotel.
The Chelsea was bought a few years back and it was closed for renovations for a number of years. It had a partial reopening earlier this year and expects to soon fully reopen.
No word yet if the ghosts have stuck around since the reno.
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