Graveyard Shift The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends  

Juliet Bennett Rylah
737 votes 298 voters 50.5k views 18 items Embed

List Rules Vote up the creepiest tales about New York City's Central Park.

As with any famous landmark, there are certainly a number of creepy stories about Central Park. Coming in at 834 acres, Central Park is one of Manhattan's most iconic and bucolic attractions. It first opened in 1857, and was later reopened in 1873, after improvements designed by landscapers and architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Of the 42 million visitors the park is estimated to receive each year, not all of them can be good apples—and some of them might even be monsters.

Compiled here are the strangest true crime tales, urban legends, and lore surrounding The People's Park, including a monstrous fish, an unsolved murder, a mysterious cave, and a pair of sibling ghosts who prefer the chilliest months. If you're feeling brave, try reading this list in The Ramble after dark.

1 68 VOTES

A Brutal Crime and Five Wrongful Convictions

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One of the nation's most horrifying and notorious crimes occurred in Central Park on April 19, 1989. Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old investment banker, was jogging through the park when she was brutally raped, beaten, and left for dead. In a bizarre twist, five young black and Hispanic men were convicted of the crime in 1990, each spending a number of years in prison.

However, in 2002, Matias Reyes confessed, saying he had acted alone when he attacked Meili. New York City settled with the five wrongfully convicted men in 2015 for $40 million, the New York Times reported. The case was explored in the documentary The Central Park Five, directed by filmmaker Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns, and her husband David McMahon.

Meili now works as an inspirational speaker and wrote a book titled I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility.

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2 33 VOTES

The Unsolved Murder of a Jogger

The Unsolved Murder of a Jogge... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends
Photo: AlexVan/Pixabay

In September 1995, a 44-year-old jogger named Maria Alves was found dead in Central Park. Investigators believed that she was attacked as she ran on East Drive near Lasker Rink, then pulled down a nearby embankment. Her attacker sexually assaulted and killed her, and her body was discovered hours later under a bridge near East Drive, facedown in a stream. Her killer was never caught.

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3 46 VOTES

Central Park's Weirdest Tour Guide Comes Out at Night

Central Park's Weirdest To... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends
Photo: Christopher Porter/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

On the right night, at the right time, you might get the chance to go on a night-time tour with Bernard Herman. He is actually musician Barkev Gulesserian, but becomes the bizarre Herman character when leading his Haunted New York tours, according to the Village Voice. These one-on-one jaunts through Central Park may or may not involve handcuffs and being blindfolded. And they're cheap: the last one, held around Halloween, apparently cost "$9 or 9 pennies and a piece of bedding."

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4 75 VOTES

Ghostly Siblings on Ice

Ghostly Siblings on Ice is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends
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Janet and Rosetta Van Der Voort are two sisters who supposedly haunt Central Park. So the story goes, their father was so protective of his daughters that the only place he let them go alone was to the Central Park Pond for ice skating. The women never married and died months apart of old age in 1880. Legend has it you can sometimes catch a glimpse of their ghosts, still wearing the same red and purple ensembles they wore decades before, skating around the pond.

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