New York’s Haunted Chelsea Hotel!

Built in 1884, the Chelsea Hotel was originally an apartment complex. The owners of the complex filed bankruptcy in 1905 and then the building was sold and soon afterward it became the Hotel that it is today.
In the early nineteenth century, the Chelsea had a tendency to attract low income clientele, as well as, those who conducted illegal businesses within its sound proof walls.

By the 1950’s, the Chelsea started attracting artistic types and over the years since, it has given creativity to such names as Jack Kerouac, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix and Dylan Thomas. Dylan Thomas actually died in room 206 in 1953 after going on a bender that led to alcohol poisoning. Dylan’s last words are said to have been, “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskeys, and I think that’s a record!”

Another death to take place in the building was in 1978. Former musician for the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious, and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, were living at the hotel after Sid’s career took a plunge. One morning Sid called the police, requesting that they come to his apartment right away. When officers arrived, they found Nancy lying in a pool of her own blood with a knife protruding from her side. Sid was arrested for murder but died of a heroin overdose before he ever served jail time.

Over the last century, the Chelsea has seen its share of drugs, alcohol, immoral behavior, death and despair. All of these events have seemed to leave their mark on the hotels very walls, causing many to claim that the hotel is haunted.

Many who have stayed in the hotel have claimed to see the apparition of Sid Vicious near the elevator. The apparitions of Dylan Thomas, Eugene O’Neil and Thomas Wolfe have also been seen in their transparent forms in various parts of the building.

Some of the other reports here consist of cold spots or gust of cold air that come out of nowhere. Many have claimed that they were followed by phantom footsteps, touched, tapped or pushed while in their rooms or walking in the hallways. Others have stated that their personal items were thrown across the rooms or moved during the night. Lights and televisions are said to turn on and off at will. Water from the showers and sinks come on for no plausible reason. And, many have also claimed to hear whispers or muted conversations right in the room with them when no one present could have been responsible.

Today, the Chelsea Hotel continues to thrive and still seems to magically attract famous writers, actors, poets and musicians. Patrons still report paranormal activity. Apparitions still walk the hallow hallways. And many unsuspecting guests are still known to experience the hair on the back of their necks standing on end. The Chelsea is and may always be a safe haven for, not only the living, but also the dead.

Mary’s Story is Here
Michael Imperioli from “The Sopranos” witnessed Her Ghost
There is a story at the Chelsea Hotel, if you stay there long enough, you will see Mary. She is not known to have a last name, but is known to have come from Buffalo New York to meet her husband in 1912. Being newly married, and much in love, she was anxious to be reunited with her Husband, and was there to ensure his greeting back home to the States.

Mary’s husband was on the RMS Titanic. When the day came to meet the ship, the news was presented to Mary, and she was told of the ship’s tragic end, and was told her husband was gone. She came back to the Chelsea Hotel and hung herself in her room on the eight floor. She has been seen in the hallway on the eight and the fifth floors, and the vision is either of her face in a mirror, or her hunched over body sobbing on the floor.

Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher on the HBO series the Sopranos, did stay at the Hotel Chelsea after he broke up with his girlfriend in 1996. He was staying in a room on the 8th floor, and was hearing Mary being mentioned in conversation with the other guests, as just Mary. He figured it must be a character of the hotel, as the hotel is a spot where many artists and musicians live and work. It has been since the days of Andy Warhol and the early days of Punk Rock. So, Michael was not too worried about Mary, did not know they considered her a ghost, and went about thinking she was a unique individual he would be meeting soon.

Returning to his room late one night, he encountered a sobbing woman at the end of the hall, and he tried to comfort her with a “Are you OK?”, and just then he heard a light pop dead behind him, turned to look at the light, and she was gone. He described the hallway lights as being very dim, the sobbing as permeating the hallway, and the visual of Mary being dressed in a very old, long dress. He felt her pain, and sadness.

The presence of Mary is common in the hotel, and visiting the Hotel’s blog, you can hear stories of her visits.

“A lot of funky things happen in the Chelsea.”
~Janis Joplin
There are many famous ghosts associated with the Hotel Chelsea located in the State of New York. While this hotel is officially referred to as the “Hotel Chelsea”, there are many that refer to it as the “Chelsea Hotel” or simply “the Chelsea”. According to locals, this hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in New York. This hotel is considered to be one of the most historic landmarks within the City of New York City and has received a great deal of its overall popularity due to the fact that many famous individuals have resided within the structure. Throughout this article, you will learn about the history of the hotel as well as the famous ghosts that are rumored to be a part of the structure.

In order to appreciate the famous ghosts that are said to be a part of the Hotel Chelsea, it is important to understand a bit about the history of the location. It has been established that the structure was constructed between the years of 1883 and 1884. In the year of 1884, guests were permitted to occupy the rooms of the new establishment. The building consisted of twelve stories and was created using beautiful red bricks. The architecture was a collaboration of the style referred to as “Queen Anne Revival” as well as “Victorian Gothic”. The firm that designed the building was one called “Hubert, Pirsson & Company”. There are many aspects of the New York City hotel that make it quite distinctive. Examples include iron balconies and a magnificent grand staircase that goes all the way up to the twelfth floor.

When the Hotel Chelsea was constructed, it gained popularity as being the single tallest structure in the entire State of New York. Despite this level of popularity, it did not take long for the hotel to experience financial complications and close its doors to guests due to bankruptcy. These financial issues were a direct result of the economic problems of the time and the fact that the local theaters moved to other areas away from the hotel. However, it was reopened for business in the year of 1905 under new ownership. Just a little over a couple of decades later, the hotel experienced bankruptcy a second time. Three individuals elected to purchase the establishment in the year of 1939. Their names were Julius Krauss, David Bard, and Joseph Gross. The new owners retained authority over the building until the early part of the 1970s when all three died and the building was then officially left to a man by the name of Stanley Bard, who was the son of deceased owner, David Bard. This ownership became interrupted in the year 2007 when the other previous owner’s relatives took over and allowed a management firm to take over. However, according to sources, this firm no longer has responsibility over the supposed haunted hotel.

While it is true that there have been many owners that have come and gone throughout the lifetime of the structure, there seems to be a reason for the deceased to stay – even though it is time for them to pass from the physical world to the spiritual world. Many individuals have resided within the popular hotel throughout history – several of them have been quite notable. This type of popularity could be why there are rumored to be so many famous ghosts. It could also be why the hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in New York. There are many different famous people that have resided at the Hotel Chelsea. Examples of these individuals include Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Madonna, and several others. The following lists others that have lived at or at least visited this haunted hotel throughout history:
• Janis Joplin
• Alice Cooper
• Patti Smith
• Jimi Hendrix
• Peter Walker
• Sid Vicious
• Robert Crumb
• Jasper Johns
• Charles James
• Ruth Harkness
Hotel Chelsea Deaths and Hauntings

When evaluating the haunted places in New York and several other states, you will find that there is nearly always some type of death that occurs at what paranormal investigators consider to be a “Hot Spot”. The same holds true for the Hotel Chelsea. Many believe that the famous ghosts that haunt the location have a lot to do with the deaths that have occurred in and/or around the establishment. While none of the deaths seem to be related, there definitely seems to be a black cloud lingering above this particular New York City hotel. The individuals that have been gripped by this dark cloud seem to portray it best. At one point, Sid Vicious told the Associated Press that the Chelsea Hotel “…is a vortex – an artistic tornado of death and destruction and love and broken dreams”.

One of the most popular deaths involved a woman by the name of Nancy Spungen. In life, she was the girlfriend of the bassist of the group known as the “Sex Pistols”, Sid Vicious. Nancy left home when she was seventeen years old. She immediately moved to New York City and acquired a job as a stripper. It is said that she enjoyed following certain bands around such as Aerosmith and The Ramones. In the year of 1977, she relocated to London and met the lead singer of the Sex Pistols. Despite the fact that she showed an interest in the lead singer of the band named Johnny Rotten, he did not return the affection. When she realized that he was not interested, she began showing an interest in Sid Vicious. Soon, they developed a relationship and even moved into the same home.

During the relationship, both she and Sid experimented with many different drugs. It was during this time that the press dubbed her as “Nauseating Nancy” because she would often show signs of verbal and physical abuse in public, without regard for others. The Sex Pistols officially broke apart in the year of 1978 and she and Sid moved to the Hotel Chelsea. It is said that the couple resided in room 100 under different names than they were known for in public. It has been said that the couple continued to delve deeper into drugs and that there were many heated arguments between the two. On the 12th day of October in the year of 1978, Nancy was discovered dead in the bathroom floor of the room at the Hotel Chelsea and Sid was arrested for the murder. He got released and was awaiting trial when he took his last hit of heroin and died. Many believe that some of the famous ghosts at this hotel are that of Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious.

The next death that is considered to be quite popular when it comes to the Hotel Chelsea is that of the poet and writer named Dylan Marlais Thomas that occurred many years earlier than Nancy’s on the 9th day of November in the year of 1953. In October of 1953, Mr. Thomas arrived in the State of New York and according to those around him; he had a wealth of medical problems. Many claim that he had suffered from regular blackouts and even suffered from medical conditions associated with his heart. In addition to these issues, he also had to carry an inhaler because of the fact that he suffered from respiratory conditions. In addition to the medical complications that he suffered from, it was said that he also suffered from alcoholism.

Many individuals claim that Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning, but there was a doctor that visited him several times right before his death. Based on reports from doctors, it was established that he was suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, and a relatively high white blood cell count. Since his death, he has apparently joined the ranks of the famous ghosts that are said to haunt the Hotel Chelsea. Many people claim that they have seen his face on numerous occasions – especially around the room identified as “206”, where he passed away. There are many famous ghosts associated with this hotel. This is one reason it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in New York. If you have an interest in the paranormal, perhaps you should consider investigating the famous ghosts of the Hotel Chelsea for yourself. You may just find that it is – in fact – a vortex of spirits.


About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).