Connect with us

Ghosts & Hauntings

New York’s Most Tragic Ghost Loves Minimalist Swedish Fashion

New York’s Most Tragic Ghost Loves Minimalist Swedish Fashion 86

Nina Strochlic

The victim of a brutal 18th century murder still allegedly haunts the murder scene, now a cool clothes store. Unsurprisingly, the clerks don’t like the lights dimmed.

The SoHo branch of Swedish clothing store COS in Lower Manhattan is the picture of modernity—there’s nothing vintage or nostalgic about the stark white walls, simple furniture, and rows of color-coordinated sweaters and overcoats lining the walls. Which makes the massive brick well protruding from next to the cash register on the store’s lower level all the more incongruous. In front of this strange structure are two blank-faced, well-dressed models showing off the latest in European minimalism.

But the muted atmosphere is misleading. Since opening last month, employees of the high-end clothing store that’s sister to H&M have blamed all strange occurrences—stuck elevators, electricity problems, misplaced merchandise—on a ghost named Erma.

She resides in the store’s basement floor, in an ancient well that was once a crime scene so ghastly it inspired two centuries of rumor and speculation.

In 1799, a brutal murder rocked a young Manhattan. It would became one of the first great mysteries in the United States of America, as it was only then 23 years old. Thanks to the sensationalism of the crime and the collaboration of otherwise political enemies Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in the legal proceedings that followed, it became simply known as the Manhattan Well Murder.
“Young men and maidens who pass the spot late at night testify they can hear her scream as she vainly implores her lover for her life.”

The victim was Gulielma “Elma” Elmore Sands (the employees have the ghost’s name slightly wrong), a 22-year-old living at her family’s boarding house on Greenwich Street. On Dec. 22, 1799, Sands told her cousins that she would be leaving to elope with a fellow boarder named Levi Weeks that night.

Sands was involved in a scandalous-for-the-time romance with the carpenter and there were rumors she was pregnant with his child. After getting dressed, she departed the house around 8 p.m. and was never heard from again.

A few days later a young boy spotted a fur muff floating in the well, and on January 2, an investigation found the body of Sands, strangled and drowned in the well, which was then in a section of Manhattan called Lispenard’s Meadow, a marshy area popular with couples taking sleigh rides in the frozen winter.

“Strange suspicions have been entertained that she has been willfully murdered,” an editorial in two of New York’s largest newspapers noted.

Weeks was widely considered the culprit, and to encourage vitriol against him Sands’ family actually displayed her corpse inside the boarding house for gawkers to get a better look at her bruises and cuts. When it became too crowded, they moved her into an open casket on the street. Manhattanites were outraged by what they saw, and a few months later, when the trial began in March, a crowd chanted “Hang him! Crucify him!” outside the courthouse.

“The concourse of people was so great as never before witnessed on a similar occasion in New-York,” an observer wrote of the trial.

Weeks retained an unparalleled legal team, which included bitter political rivals Hamilton and Burr. It may have been a bizarre pairing, but both had ties to the case: Weeks’ older brother, Ezra, was a well-known builder who had built Hamilton’s estate called The Grange, and the well belonged to Burr, who owned Manhattan Water Company and had also hired Ezra to fit it with wooden piping. They’re both thought to have owed money to Weeks’ brother.

Throughout the two-day long trial (an unheard-of-length in those days of instantaneous judgment), they argued that Sands was a woman with low moral standing and implied that the true murderer was an older resident of the boarding house.

According to the testimony of Sands’ cousin, she confronted Weeks multiple times about the whereabouts of his to-be bride, but he claimed not to know. “He turned pale, trembled to a great degree, was much agitated, and began to cry,” she told the court.

Luckily for history, the proceedings were the first ever to be transcribed in their entirely (by not one, but three recorders) and some believe also set a precedent for using reasonable doubt as a defense.

With a heavy hand from the judge, the court acquitted Weeks of all charges, though the mysteries didn’t stop. There was speculation that a curse had been cast upon those involved: after the decision was announced, Sands’ cousin apparently screamed at Hamilton: “I call upon the Almighty to curse you all, and He will do it!”

Four years later, he was killed by Burr. Though Burr himself was acquitted twice on murder charges, he ended up dying disgraced by a series of failures. Meanwhile, almost exactly 30 years after the trial, the judge left his home to board a steamboat and was never heard from again. Saved from the public gallows, Weeks was virtually exiled from the city, and wound up in Mississippi, where he raised a family.

After the trial, Manhattan continued to grow steadily and the meadows became sprinkled with buildings, including one that was built over the well 18 years after the murder. In the following centuries the building on top of the well has seen a rotating cast of businesses—from a tobacco addiction “curist,” to a German beer hall to a carpenter shop—but regardless of the current resident, speculation and haunting stories were never far behind.

There were rumors of shrieks and flashes emanating from the well, and reports of a figure in white. “Young men and maidens who pass the spot late at night testify they can hear her scream as she vainly implores her lover for her life,” an 1895 edition of American Magazine wrote.

SoHo has morphed from meadow to artists’ lofts to world-class shopping, but throughout all these incarnations, this well—a small piece of original Manhattan construction—has survived, and so have the stories of ghostly hauntings.

Until now, the well has never been publicly displaced. In the 1980s, the owners of the building, which then hosted a restaurant called Manhattan Bistro, decided to investigate rumors that there was a well underneath the ground level.

It was found off the basement, but kept out of sight of customers. Now, after a complete building renovation, it’s shown off among the stark fashions with prominence, and two-centuries of speculation can be dredged up from the old marshland once again.

Wahkeem Kelly, a men’s sales associate at COS, spends most of his day ringing up customers next to the well. “Personally, I deal with manners of righteousness and God,” he says. “I’m not into ghosts and stuff.”

But then he addresses Erma’s presence directly. “She must be pretty cool because she ain’t give me any issues,” he says with a laugh. His coworkers, on the other hand, have been known to freak out a bit when the building’s timed lights dim in the evening.

Manning the women’s dressing room upstairs, Emily Sena says she first heard the tale during employee orientation—everyone else already seemed to know. Now, she says, her coworkers are actively pranking each other and blaming it on the ghost. But she nods fervently when asked if she believes there could be hauntings, and says downstairs can be spooky during the store’s closing and opening times. “If she was murdered, she’d be here,” Sena says.

The well, ghost or no ghost, is certainly a piece of history with a bold presence. “It is safe to say that up to that period no crime had ever produced in New York such an excitement as the murder of Miss Sands,” an article in an 1872 edition of Harper’s read, offering a truly timeless observation. “For many years afterward it was a never-ending topic of conversation, and is more or less talked of even to this day.” And, 216 years after Elma Sands’ murder, even to ours.


Ghosts & Hauntings

The ghost of a deceased guy walked on the water: an eyewitness filmed him

The ghost of a deceased guy walked on the water: an eyewitness filmed him 99

The incident took place in the province of Davao del Norte (Philippines), where a resident, seeing a drowning dog, rushed to save him. The dog was pulled out to a safe place, but the man himself was pulled into the depths. Everything that happened was recorded on camera by a woman named Chanel.

When Dondon (that was the guy’s name) went to the bottom, one eyewitness immediately called for rescuers. While the brigade was doing their job, it became clear that the man was already dead. They searched for his body for several hours. What is surprising in the story is that suddenly a silhouette of a man came to the camera, he appeared right above the water. Chanel, who records the video, believed it was the spirit of Dondon.

During the video recording, the eyewitness did not expect to see anything like this, because she does not really believe in ghosts. The entity had obvious human features, so it definitely had a spirit. For several hours they searched for the body of the drowned man and pulled it out with an excavator.

It’s pretty creepy to look at the tape. According to an eyewitness, goosebumps ran over her, especially after seeing the spirit. It should be noted that not all users believe in the authenticity of the video. Some people think that the footage may well have special effects. Chanel refutes any such claims: the video is original. She understands the doubts of people, because the shots are really ‘out of this world’.

Special skills and abilities are required to distinguish the edited video from the original. Of course, hardly anyone will devote time to study the presented video. We can only hope that the woman did not actually use editing software.

The footage confirms the existence of the human soul and gives hope that life after death does not end.

Continue Reading

Ghosts & Hauntings

Reality show to be filmed in medieval “haunted castle” in Wales

Reality show to be filmed in medieval "haunted castle" in Wales 100

British celebrities will take part in a reality show at the medieval castle of Grich in the city-county of Conwy (Wales), which, according to legend, is full of ghosts. It is reported by The Sun.

According to data from open sources, the castle was built in 1283-1289 by order of Edward I of England. For four years one and a half thousand people erected the fortress and walls. The castle is surrounded by a stone wall with round towers and loopholes. 

According to local residents, the ghost of the previous owner, Countess Dandonald, who died in 1924, wanders around the castle. According to legend, the woman’s spirit is angry because her husband took the valuables out of here. 

About ten years ago, a mysterious silhouette appeared in the photo, which was noticed on the first floor of the castle in the former banquet hall. In addition, it is rumored that objects are moving mysteriously in the castle. Also, fans of everything mystical believe that there you can meet the ghosts of gamekeepers and a maid who died after falling from a horse.

The creators of the reality survival show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! Became interested in the legends of the ancient castle, in which celebrities perform creepy tasks. 

The producers are delighted with Greich Castle. It is planned to spend almost 1 million pounds and six weeks to prepare the location for filming.

Continue Reading

Ghosts & Hauntings

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house

Loftus Hall is the most famous haunted house 101

Almost any house built 150 years ago is tempting to think of ghosts. Of course, if it was not restored beyond recognition. But a special pleasure is to visit, or at least look at photographs of a house in which ghosts are definitely found. Well, exactly: in the opinion of its owners and those who live nearby.

Loftus Hall is one of those. Even if, in the opinion of the locals, ghosts were not found in it, they would be worth inventing again – this is how the atmosphere of this gloomy house located on the windswept and washed by waves of the Hook Peninsula in the Irish County of Wexford has to do this.

But, before we tell you what is so paranormal in this Loftus Hall, we suggest that you familiarize yourself with real historical events related to the house. Moreover, they are worthy of attention without any devilry.

Photo # 2 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

We can say that the history of the house began in 1135, when the Norman knight, Raymond Le Gros, landed on the peninsula. To assimilate faster, the knight renamed himself the more familiar to the Irish ear by the name Redmond.

The castle, built by the knight, stood for two centuries, until in 1350 the descendants of Redmond built a new house in its place. It is interesting that they were building right during the Black Death – a plague pandemic that arrived in Ireland by ship from Bristol a year earlier. The new house, Redmond Hall, was named.

Photo # 3 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House
Photo: Shutterstock

Three centuries later, in 1650, the house became the site of one of the fiercest sieges of the Irish Uprising. The owner of the house, 68-year-old Alexander Redmond, with his two sons, a couple of local activists and a tailor who happened to be in the house at an unfortunate time, barricaded himself and bravely repulsed the attack of almost 90 British for several days. 

In all fairness, most of these Englishmen have crawled into neighboring villages, indulging in robbery and violence, instead of laying siege to an impregnable home.

The attack was repulsed with the help of the Irish forces arrived in time, which attacked the British under the cover of a thick fog, which in time fell on the Hoek Peninsula.

According to local chronicles, Alexander repelled several more attacks. When the British nevertheless conquered Ireland in general, and Redmond Hall in particular, Cromwell even let Alexander die in peace in his own house – for his courage.

Photo # 4 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

Well, after the death of Redmond, his relatives were evicted from the house and soon the house was sold to a family of Englishmen named Loftus, who live nearby. 

Subsequently, the Redmond repeatedly tried to sue Loftus Hall back, but to no avail. But as compensation, they were given land in the neighborhood.

The Loftuses moved rapidly up the court stairs. If in the 18th century the head of the family was called Baron Loftus of Loftus Hall, then already in 1800 the title of Marquis of Eli was created especially for the Loftus.

Actually, the 4th Marquess of Ely gave the modern look to Loftus Hall. A major renovation was undertaken by the Marquis in the second half of the 19th century: he very much hoped that Queen Victoria would come to visit. After all, the Marquis’s mother was her maid of honor!

Photo # 5 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

The Queen never came. But the 4th Marquis of Ely became the owner of a luxurious house with such unprecedented conveniences as flush toilets at that time. And, alas, the owner of huge debts. Soon the house had to be sold and its wanderings began among different owners.

In 1917, the house was sold to the monastery order of the Sisters of Providence. In 1983, the house was converted into a hotel. Well, in the early 2000s, it was acquired by the Quickly family. In 2020, it became known that the house was again put up for sale. Moreover, Quickly emphasize that they will not choose a new owner, but “the house will choose him.” And that’s why…

The story of how the devil sailed to Loftus Hall and what happened after his visit dates back to the 19th century. It sounds like this.

On a cold rainy night, a dark-robed rider rode up to Loftus Hall on a dark horse. He said that his ship was caught in a storm and had to dock in a nearby bay. The Loftuses were away, the family of their distant relatives, the Tottenham, lived in the house. They sheltered the rider and offered him shelter and bread.

Photo # 6 - Loftus Hall: Ireland's Most Famous Haunted House

Tottenham’s daughter, young Anna, immediately fell in love with a mysterious stranger. A couple of days later, in the evening, everyone sat down to play cards. During the game, Anna dropped the map and, bending down to pick it up, saw that the stranger had cloven hooves instead of legs.

The stranger realized that he had been discovered. He immediately soared up, surrounded by devilish flames – and, as expected, made a huge hole in the roof.

It would seem that the devil is expelled, you can live on. But Anna, after the disappearance of the stranger, became not herself. She went crazy by leaps and bounds. The family, frightened by this development of affairs, locked the girl in her favorite sewing room.

There Anna sat, almost motionless, clasping her knees with her hands and soon died. 

According to another version of the legend, before her death, she managed to give birth to a child – that is, the devil did not lose time during two days in the house. 

Anna was not buried in an ordinary coffin: they could not straighten her and buried her in a sitting position, in which she spent the last months of her life.

Since then, according to numerous testimonies of guests and owners of the house, ghosts of a girl have been walking around the house. And the house itself has become a place of attraction for lovers of everything paranormal and creepy – excursions, especially popular on Halloween, are regularly conducted in Loftus Hall.

If you consider yourself a mystic, but do not have the opportunity to visit Loftus Hall yet, we recommend watching the gothic horror film The Lodgers 2017. It is filmed entirely in the luxe and eerie interiors of Loftus Hall, and has received excellent critical reviews. Here’s the trailer:

Continue Reading