You don’t have to believe in the supernatural to find Brooklyn haunting. The borough has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years and was settled by Europeans 350 years ago. It has been the site of a major Revolutionary War battle. That adds up to a lot of potential ghosts. So there is no shortage of spectral stories. Below are some ghost stories for this spooky season.
The Brooklyn Public Library (Prospect Heights) Central Branch took 29 years to build. It occupies 2.8 acres of land, has a 189-seat auditorium, houses over a million cataloged books, magazines, and multimedia material, and welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year. Librarians there tell a spooky story about a six-year-old girl who disappeared within its walls more than 40 years ago. (The story has since been exposed as a playful Halloween hoax, but for those of you who want to believe, you can learn more about Agatha Cunningham here.)
Library photo courtesy of Whatever Happened to Agatha Cunningham? via Facebook.
Villa Litchfield | Kristina D’Amico via Facebook
Litchfield Villa (Park Slope)
The Litchfield Villa is an Italianate mansion built at Prospect Park West and 5th Street in 1857 that is now part of Prospect Park. It is also a reputed site of demonic possession. L.V. Salazar, author of The Ghosts of Brooklyn, excerpted on the Website Casa Frederick Catherton, tells the story of a widow and friend of Edwin Clark Litchfield, who, in 1864, arranged a séance in the villa to communicate with a son killed in the Civil War.
Days after the apparently disturbing séance, demons resembling gargoyles began to appear in the top floors of the mansion—within a year, four of the five participants had died or disappeared. It is said that to this day, the demons appear as gargoyles peering out the windows, their eyes glowing green and their tongues a luminescent red.
Brooklyn Bridge | Rose H. via Yelp
Brooklyn Bridge (Dumbo)
One of the world’s great engineering marvels is also the site of more than a few ghost stories as well as an alien abduction depot. Thomas Byers, writing on his blog Crazy Horse’s Ghost, tells about the many tragedies surrounding the building of the bridge, as well as the story of the girl in the white dress, and alien abductions.
Lefferts-Laidlaw House | Photo by Onorland via Wikipedia
Lefferts-Laidlaw House (Clinton Hill)
This 1840 Greek Revival house has been a huge attraction for fans of the supernatural since 1878. It was then that the home’s resident, Edwin Smith, went to answer a knocking at the door to find no one there. The knocking persisted, and eventually grew to include rattling of doors and windows, a disturbance for which no explanation was ever found. It’s one of the sites included in the interactive Haunted Places map for Brooklyn.
McCarren Pool via Facebook
McCarren Pool (Williamsburg)
A number of ghosts have been reported in Williamsburg’s public pool since it opened in 1936. Most of the stories center around a little girl said to have died in the park before the pool was built, as well as a three men who died in the pool itself. The pool is also documented on the Haunted Places map.
Photo of Brooklyn Daily Eagle office via Wikipedia
Brooklyn Eagle (East New York)
On June 2, 1898, the Brooklyn Eagle reported that a figure clad in a white sheet and carrying a bag and hook was scaring residents of the then-largely Italian neighborhood as they returned to their homes after a day of picnicking. Residents believed that it was the spirit of Catalino Curillo, a rag picker who been run over in front of his house by a street car two weeks earlier.
A police welcoming committee waited for the ghost to re-appear, but he apparently did not. This, and any number of other stories—ghost or otherwise—are available for free from the New York Public Library’s Brooklyn Eagle archives.
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