John Lennon’s Ghost Haunts New York’s Dakota Building

John Lennon’s Ghost Haunts New York’s Dakota Building

The Dakota Building, New York

Although it appears foreboding, the Dakota Building is an iconic landmark that has become one of the most sought after private residences in New York City. The Dakota Apartments were constructed between 1880 and 1884. Having strikingly beautiful architecture and a prime Manhattan location, the building holds a prestigious position and has attracted many notable residents from musicians, actors, sports stars and countless other individuals who are not strangers to the spotlight.

Haunted Dakota Building, New York City.
Looking up at the notorious Dakota Building, said to be one of the most haunted places in New York City.

Perhaps the most famous person to reside within the notorious Dakota is one of The Beatles! John Lennon lived within one of the Dakota’s apartments, along with Yoko Ono, before his untimely death.

John Lennon’s Ghost

On the 8th of December 1980 John Lennon was shot in an entry archway of the Dakota Building where he had been living. Lennon would die from these wounds, despite efforts to resuscitate him. Since his death, it is said that Lennon has joined the ranks of many other spirits who haunt the notorious New York City apartment complex.

John Lennon haunts the Dakota Building.
Standing across the street from the Dakota Building, said to be haunted by John Lennon.

Many people passing by the residence have claimed to spot John Lennon’s ghost standing in the entranceway to the building, the very place where he was shot and died. Those who have sighted him describe him as being surrounded by a bright, white light as if he is shrouded in a protective aura. More touchingly, Lennon has also been spotted within his former apartment. Here, his ghost has been seen calmly playing melodies on a piano.

Other Hauntings of the Dakota Building

The ghost of John Lennon is without a doubt the best-known spirit to haunt the Dakota Building, but he is definitely not alone in the building. A number of other ghosts are said to dwell within the apartment complex. One of the most frequently sighted spirits here is a woman seen walking the hallways, crying. It is said that this woman is Elise Vesley. She was the property manager of the Dakota from the ’30s to the ’50s. Elise suffered a tremendous amount of pain while at the Dakota after her young son was killed, being hit by a passing truck right outside of the Dakota. The strong emotional pain Elise endured here is thought to have imprinted on the building and caused her spirit to make an unfortunate attachment to its walls.

Haunted building New York City.
Iron details on the exterior of one of the most haunted buildings in New York City.

The Dakota Building is also haunted by a young girl. She has been described as having blonde hair and sporting a bright yellow dress while playing innocently with a red ball. Additionally, the spirit of Edward Cabot Clark has also been seen within the Dakota since his death. He is the man responsible for this magnificent structure’s construction. He is supposedly still looking over the residence and described as a strange-looking man wearing a wig.

Dakota Apartments are haunted.
Several ghosts are rumored to exist within the haunted Dakota Apartments.

Poltergeist activity in the basement of the Dakota is another commonly reported phenomena in the haunted building. Some say the spirit responsible for this behavior is Jo Mielziner. Interestingly, Jo did not die inside the building but was killed just outside of it, being hit by a car on the street. Another of the more sinister paranormal events to happen in the building centers on one of the elevators. This elevator had to endure continuous refurbishments as it was being relentlessly attacked by what appeared to be knife cuts, which would appear out of thin air. The spirit responsible for this property damage was so consistent, they earned two sinister nicknames. Often being referred to as ‘The Phantom of The Dakota’ or the ‘Mad Slasher.’ Just who was responsible for these strange attacks remains unknown to this day.

Visiting the Haunted Dakota Building in New York City

The Dakota Building is an iconic building to visit in New York and lies a short distance from one part of Central Park. Its interior can obviously not be accessed as it remains a private residence, but the exterior makes for some amazing photographs. You might even recognize its exterior as being used in some shots of the classic horror film, Rosemary’s Baby.

Rosemary's Baby horror filming location.
The exterior of this building was used in the filming of the horror film, Rosemary’s Baby.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to read about another place haunted by the celebrity ghost of Marilyn Monroe.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (6)

  • Chalermchai

    Posted by Chalermchai on May 28, 2020

    Is this where he was shot dead by Hinckly?


      Posted by Amy on June 3, 2020

      Hi Chalermchai. Thanks for reading, this is indeed where he was shot.

  • john Bentley

    Posted by john Bentley on May 29, 2020

    Hi Amy
    i didn’t know much about the Dakota Building other than john Lennon was shot there and found the history you have written about to be very interesting i also didn’t know a building could have so many Ghosts attached i was interested to know that the movie Rosemary baby’s Exterior shots where filmed there its amazing isn’t it how many times you watch a movie but pay very little attention to the location? or its backstory. Great blog Amy keep up the good work can’t wait for the next blog and video.

    John Bentley. .


      Posted by Amy on July 17, 2020

      Thanks John. Yes, the Dakota Building in New York certainly has an interesting history. Cheers.

  • John Raso

    Posted by John Raso on September 10, 2020

    Very interesting blog, thanks for sharing. One thing, by the police accounts of the officers who decided not to wait for the ambulance, Lennon lost consciousness in the police car on the way to the hospital. After trying to resuscitate him at the hospital, he was pronounced dead. Does this change the dynamics of this haunting? Just asking, thank you.
    John Raso


      Posted by Amy on September 10, 2020

      Thanks for this, John! It is difficult to say really. There are so many beliefs about ghosts and not all of them state that spirits must haunt where they died. For instance, sightings might be residual (like energy trapped). Also, some ghosts are thought to return to places they loved and enjoyed being in life. I hope this helps! Cheers again.

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