true stories The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends  

Juliet Bennett Rylah
1k votes 374 voters 53.7k views 18 items

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 61 VOTES

The Unsolved Murder of a Jogger


The Unsolved Murder of a Jogge... is listed (or ranked) 1 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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2 83 VOTES

Central Park's Weirdest Tour Guide Comes Out at Night


Central Park's Weirdest To... is listed (or ranked) 2 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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3 78 VOTES

A Potty-Mouth Elmo with a Disturbing Past


A Potty-Mouth Elmo with a Dist... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends
Photo: Mike Mozart/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
It's not uncommon for folks to dress up like various characters and pose with tourists and kids in Central Park for cash. But in the summer of 2012, a man who identified himself as Adam Sandler (not to be confused with the comedian Adam Sandler) and was dressed up as Sesame Street's Elmo, was arrested when he was caught yelling anti-Semitic statements. Things only got stranger from there when Sandler was discovered to have been deported from Cambodia by local authorities for running an X-rated website called Welcome to Rape Camp.
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The Frankenfish Invaded the Waters (And Land) of Central Park


The Frankenfish Invaded the Wa... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Creepiest Central Park Stories and Legends
Photo: Wie146/Wikimedia Commons

The snakehead fish, better known for its ghastly visage as the Frankenfish, terrorized Central Park in 2013. Those who chose to fish at Harlem Meer were warned not to release a captured Frankenfish back into the wild, but rather "kill it immediately, freeze it and report your catch," according to New York magazine. While the species mainly eats frogs and crayfish—not people or pets—it is an extremely invasive species not native to New York. They can also breathe air, and are capable of surviving out of water for up to four days at a time.

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