That Girl Away

manhattan well murder site in nyc

In October 2016, I was binging the Halloween episodes of the New York City history podcast The Bowery Boys. I highly encourage you to do the same if you like both New York City history and ghosts.  The week before Halloween, I convinced the guy I was dating at the time to walk around the Village and go to a bunch of the supposedly haunted sites that they talked about in their episodes. (He was a good sport.)

One of the locations was at a store named COS on Spring Street in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, and it was the site of a supposed double murder in the 18th century. The store sadly was closed by the time we got there but a couple of weeks ago I was walking around SoHo, looked up, and where was I? Right in front of COS on Spring Street.

The TL;DR: On the night of December 22nd, 1799, a young woman named Gulielma Elmore Sands left the Greenwich Village boarding house in which she lived to meet her beloved, a fellow boarder named Levi Weeks. They had planned to elope that night but 11 days later, Gulielma was found at the bottom of this well in what was once known as Lispenard’s Meadow. It was dubbed the Manhattan Well Murder and it was the crime of the century. Gulielma had strangulation marks on her neck and everyone suspected it was Weeks. (He was arrested but later acquitted.) The remains of the well were found during an excavation of the site in the 1980’s when it was being turned into a restaurant and the restaurant’s staff would report strange happenings. It’s believed that Sands’ ghost has never left the spot where she was found.

So, I walked into COS, went straight down the stairs, and was face to face with this allegedly haunted well. I didn’t see or feel anything weird, but I did get some weird looks from shoppers for taking a picture of the large and out of place well. Oh well. (Pun intended.)

It’s little pieces of history like this that is one of the many reasons that I love New York City so much. If you want to hear more about this story, click over here to listen to the podcast episode.

And if you know of any other haunted spots in New York City, let me know in the comments!




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