The Dakota is a famous apartment building where the rich and famous reside. The facade of the Dakota is a blend of German Gothic, French Renaissance, and English Victorian architectural styles.
It was the perfect backdrop of Roman Polanski’s 1968 thriller Rosemary’s Baby. Only the outside shots were filmed on location. No filming is allowed inside as the Dakota has a strict policy protecting tenants’ privacy.
Over the years the little girl ghost has appeared to people in the building at various times. Usually people describe her as wearing a yellow taffeta dress and say that she stops bouncing her red ball long enough to tearfully say, “Today is my birthday.” Supposedly, seeing this sad little ghost is a bad omen, usually foreshadowing the impending death of the witness.
The ghost of the building’s original owner and builder, Edward Clark, shows up occasionally. One time he reportedly shook his toupee violently at workmen in the basement of the building. Another time, he appeared ever so briefly to an electrician working in the basement. Later, when the electrician saw a picture of Edward Clark, he realized he had seen Clark’s ghost.
John and Yoko Ono Lennon move into haunted Dakota
In 1975, John and Yoko Ono Lennon moved into the Dakota, purchasing an apartment formerly owned by actor Robert Ryan. Ryan’s wife Jessie, had died in the apartment, but was not about to relinquish her stay just because she was dead.
The Lennon’s knew early on that their apartment was haunted, and in 1979, they called in a psychic to conduct a seance. Mrs. Ryan came through and politely informed John and Yoko that she was not leaving the apartment. John was open to spirituality and otherworldly topics, so he was comfortable coexisting with the spirit of Mrs. Ryan.
The most shocking and devastating event in the Dakota’s history happened on December 8th, 1980, when Mark David Chapman gunned down John Lennon. The debate rages on as to whether or not John Lennon haunts the Dakota.
In 1983, Joe Harrow, a musician, and Amanda Moores, a writer, both saw the ghost of John Lennon standing at the entrance of the Dakota. Over the years people have reported seeing John’s ghost around the Strawberry Fields memorial to John, located in Central Park.
Surely the most reliable and believable sighting of John Lennon’s ghost comes from his wife Yoko. She saw him seated at his piano in their apartment. He looked at her and said, “Don’t be afraid, I am still with you.”
Poltergeist activity at the Dakota includes elevators that start and stop for no apparent reason, and lights that turn themselves on or off. Trash bags have levitated, and several small fires have mysteriously started.
If you want to know more about the haunted Dakota
For more details about the haunted Dakota, Strawberry Fields and ghosts in Central Park read Ghosthunting New York by L’Aura Hladik, one of America’s most respected paranormal investigator.