Ghost in Grand Central

We paid to be a part of a ghost tour at the Grand Central terminal on 42nd street, almost a decade ago.
The tour host welcomed us, maintaining an eerie voice, as he not only briefed us about the haunted areas in New York City but cautioned us; this appeared more gimmicky to market his tours than the possibility that a ghost would reveal itself.
But, every time he said many places in Manhattan, including Wall Street and Canal Street, remained haunted and that people had heard native Indian death chants, about twenty of us thrill-seeking strangers peeked at one another, ticking each one off, ensuring there was no zombie in disguise. Worse, when he blurted that the Grand Central itself was haunted, we braved a quick 360-degree whirl. It didn’t help that it was raining outside in the month of December and we were at the terminal in an off-peak hour. It helped though that in the first fifteen minutes of the tour, we didn’t experience any paranormal kicks or slaps.
The host informed us that the terminal had been constructed for the wealthy; that Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built and owned the station, had once ferried people from Staten Island to Manhattan, charging 18 cents per person; that his ambitious vision had driven him to build railroads.
If one noticed the sloping ramps in the terminal, the system was built to provide an efficient flow of passengers to and from trains.
Twisted yet beautiful

The mural painting in the vaulted ceilings was based on the designs of constellations. History: after the layout image was designed, it was projected onto the ceiling for painting. But it was erroneously projected upwards, reversing the image. Responding to critics, Vanderbilt suggested that the design be looked at as a new concept. Then, at one point, the whole ceiling was black from cigarette smoke; and though it was cleaned, a black spot in a corner was left untouched for souvenir-sake, if you will.

Archaic and haunted

John Campbell, another rich man, and Vanderbilt’s friend, had requested the latter to rent him a room. Hence, there is a Campbell apartment within the complex where you’d see a locker. Legend has it that Campbell’s ghost lives there. Besides, there’s an oyster bar in the terminal where customers have reported hearing strange voices and sounds of breaking plates.

There’s a safe passage from under Grand Central station to the Astoria hotel, which VVIPs like the President of the USA take in case of emergency.


Any beautiful city in the world has a mysterious past, or present, to it. How’s New York City an exception?

26 thoughts on “Ghost in Grand Central

  1. Mahesh, this post gives an eerie feeling, which has been created in a subtle manner, with the choice of words and images that could reach my heart though I don’t believe in ghosts or stories that scare. The only ghost story I have ever liked was the one written by Oscar Wilde ‘The Canterville Ghost’ and in that story the ghost appears to be friendly.
    But wait, this post reminds me of another story, the one which is interesting as well as relevant to present era of stress, which we choose! Here is the link:
    Happy reading and have a wonderful long weekend.

  2. A fascinating article about one of my favourite stations! Arriving on the train into New York I was gobsmacked by the station, just fell for it and couldn’t stop gawking in awe! I loved learning so much about it from your post – now I long to return!

    • Thanks a lot, Annika, for your kind words. Appreciate your insight very much. When someone says, NYC is America’s melting pot, I think of Grand Central Terminal 🙂

  3. So my question to you Mahesh is if you every felt that there was a paranormal presence on your tour? It sounds like an intriguing way to learn more about the history of a city. I have only been to NYC once and would love to return to explore more. It sounds like this tour would be one to consider for sure.

    • There was an eerie feeling throughout; the city’s past ghost tales – who’d thought. Imagine this: Rains outside, 8 or 8.30 pm, the tour host’s effective storytelling; we wanted to believe what he was saying. What the tour did was, we began to look at the city differently: our respect for the native Americans. Do consider this tour; if nothing else you’ll learn more about GC/NYC 🙂 Really appreciate your comment, Sue 🙂

  4. How fun this is. It’s great that you took the time to discover some history of your current choice of place. I’ll bet not many Manhattanites know what you have learned! On another note, I do not doubt there are ghosts in these structures, but they would likely not come out for a showing with so many in attendance! The ghosts I have witnessed (and I can’t ‘see’ them all the time in all places or I’d be insane) have been a) shocked to Be seen, b) fairly attached to wherever it is that they ‘reside’ whether it be in a certain corridor or room and c) unlikely to show themselves just because people want them to. Anyhow, great fun to read, and thanks for the photo journey! 😉 xoxo

    • Missed this comment, my friend. I’m sorry. I love the a, b, and c, and it tells me how informed you’re on the subject. Did a) really happen? Goosebumps. Have a beautiful week! 😊❤️

      • Ohgosh, yes. Infrequently. But here’s a story for you: I remember being asked to evict a ghost at the local YWCA in Bangor, Maine (there’s a reason Stephen King finds his inspiration living there). I went upstairs and immediately saw a little girl in the distance, clad in a white Victorian dress. When she saw me, she kept distancing herself further and further. I reached out to her psychically to ask if she needed help passing over. She had no interest in that idea whatsoever(!) So I told the people who invited me to let her be. Clearly her attachment to that old Victorian structure was too strong to be dislodged easily. Many years have passed since that time – not sure if she’s still in residence. Perhaps they got a priest instead of an intuitive(!) Who knows. ❤

      • Love this, dear. Those who’re scared of ghosts must read what you’ve written here. You’re right, there’s a reason why they wait around, not necessarily to scare. Thanks for sharing this❤️❤️

  5. This is fascinating. I have never been to Grand Central Station but now I want to go. I totally believe in other world communications (dishes smashing mysteriously etc.) and where better than GCS in NY City, to have ghosts linger. It makes perfect sense. Loved your photos, Mahesh. Thanks for sharing this spooky story.

  6. I’ve never been on a ghost tour, and this one that you’ve been on a decade ago sounds like it’s still haunting you to this day 🙂 Interesting to hear that the oyster bar might be haunted as claimed by some…maybe them oyster shells do come alive at night. I’ve never been on a ghost tour before but if the right time and opportunity ever arises, why not. I do believe there is something out there, around us and watching over us…and some of them just want to be friends 🙂

    • “oyster shells do come alive at night” – ha ha – that’s an interesting take and there’s a sense of believability there. As long as they want to be friends I’m cool – which is mostly the case (perhaps) – although watching horror movies late at night might make one think otherwise. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mabel. Lovely to hear from you. Regards.

      • Think of it this way…sometimes if you are lucky you might find a pearl in an oyster. All those horror movies can’t be all that bad 😉

  7. 👻What an adventure! You made me homesick with those gorgeous images of Grand Central. Never did manage to meet a ghost while living in NYC. Something to look forward to when I return home

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