It’s no secret that some great literary minds lived or congregated in Greenwich Village over the years. What most people don’t know is of the 3 famous writers who haunt Greenwich Village because they just couldn’t seem to leave their beloved neighborhood. Even after their earthly departure, they have on occasion revisited it in their ghostly form.
1. Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas is a Welsh poet who became familiar with New York in the 1950s when he first came to America for a tour of local art centers. Thomas is known for poems such as “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Light breaks where no sun shines”.
Dylan Thomas was well-known before his U.S. visit but became even more so after. Thomas made repeat visits to New York and quickly gained the reputation for being a brilliant poet who was doomed by drinking. On his last trip in 1953, Thomas made multiple appearances at the White Horse Tavern, one of his favorite drinking establishments, even canceling a business appointment to return with a pal to the tavern.
After a two-day binge of heavy drinking, he died the following day in St. Vincent’s hospital. Reports of beer and shot glasses mysteriously appearing on his favorite table have been reported by The White Horse Tavern staff, who are convinced Thomas is still hanging around hoping to enjoy another drink with fellow bar-goers.
2. Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his short stories, which fittingly enough, usually entail a dark setting. Poe resided at 85 West 3rd Street back when Washington Square Park was much darker than it is today (when it was a potter’s field). Mystery and macabre surrounded Poe and his writings. During his time at 85 West 3rd, he completed one of his best-known works “The Raven”.
The original home Poe resided in from 1844 – 1845 was demolished by New York University for the building of Furman Hall, however, they kept the façade of Poe’s home and an original banister. Students of the hall have reported seeing a mysterious figure near the banister resembling Poe. Poe also used to live on the second floor at 47 Bond Street and was known to enjoy spending time at the bar below, which happens to be a wine cellar now. Restaurant staff knows it’s Poe’s ghost enjoying some fine wine when they find unopened bottles that have some missing.
3. Mark Twain
Samuel Clemens, more famously known as Mark Twain, is one of America’s most celebrated authors. He is known for spending long amounts of time traveling by steamboat and traveling abroad, but few people know that he lived at 14 West 10th Street in Greenwich Village for a year between 1900-1901. His ghost has reportedly been making appearances in his old residence since the 1930s.
He’s usually seen in a white suit, and on the first floor or by the staircase inquiring about some business he must tend to. However, this particular brownstone is apparently haunted by 22 other ghosts, so if you don’t see Twain, there is a chance you might see someone else. Twain is the only published ghost in the house.
Not all ghosts have to be scary, some, as it turns out, are very well read and are simply looking to enjoy a good drink or tend to business in their homes. What can we say though, Greenwich Village has always been known to attract writers and the creative sort, of course, we’d have a hard time getting rid of them!
Photo Credit: 'White Horse' by Eden, Janine and Jim under CC BY 2.0