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The Cursed Dakota Building In NYC Has A Long, Tragic, And Macabre History

Updated July 28, 2017 19.8k views12 items

The Dakota apartment building is one of the most architecturally significant places in New York City. It's also intriguing for a few darker reasons, most notably as the backdrop to John Lennon's murder. Some Dakota building stories indicate that this New York City landmark is haunted as well as cursed. Whether or not that's true, there are many fascinating things that have happened in relation to this building. 

If there is a Dakota building curse, it may have become most prominent with Lennon's death. Of course, any large and regal building that was constructed in the 1880s is likely to have been the scene of at least a few disturbing incidents. However, what makes the Dakota building history more fascinating than most is the close ties that it has to many notable people.

Aside from Lennon, countless well-known individuals such as Lauren Bacall, Boris Karloff, and Joe Namath have lived there. The Dakota was also a prominent filming location for one of the most cursed movies in history. Are the ghosts of the Dakota building responsible for the curse, and why do so many residents die young?

  • 'Rosemary's Baby' Was Filmed, And Perhaps Cursed, At The Dakota

    'Rosemary's Baby' Was Filmed, And Perhaps Cursed, At The Dakota
    Photo: radballen / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Rosemary's Baby used the exterior of the Dakota building to depict The Bramford, which was home to some of the film's central characters. This choice may have led to many unintended consequences, though. After filming wrapped, several people involved in the production company started experiencing very odd events. For example, composer Krzysztof Komeda fell into a coma in an eerie coincidence that mirrored the book. 

    Producer William Castle's misfortune came next with a severe case of kidney stones. While he was in the hospital, he had vivid hallucinations about the movie. Director Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, became increasingly interested in the occult as a result of the movie. She was infamously killed by members of the Manson family.

  • John Lennon May Haunt His Death Place

    John Lennon May Haunt His Death Place
    Photo: Joelstuff V4 / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, has publicly stated that her husband's ghost is at the Dakota building. Ono even claims to have heard Lennon's ghost speak. She's not the only one to have had a paranormal encounter with Lennon, either. Joey Harrow, a fellow musician, told people that he saw Lennon standing surrounded by light in the building's archway. Numerous fans of The Beatles have gone to the Dakota to pay their respects to Lennon, some of whom walked away with ghost stories to tell.

  • John Lennon Saw A Ghost, The Crying Lady, While He Lived There

    John Lennon Saw A Ghost, The Crying Lady, While He Lived There
    Photo: NeilFraudstrong / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Before Lennon was shot to death outside of the Dakota, he reported seeing a ghost in the halls. He described her as the "crying lady ghost." Additionally, Lennon stated that he saw a UFO from one of his apartment windows. While living in the Dakota Apartments, Lennon also gave an interview that included him reading a letter that predicted his untimely death. It's impossible to verify what Lennon said he saw, but if the building holds a curse, there could be a connection.

  • Marilyn Monroe Did A Photo Shoot Inside A Dakota Apartment

    Marilyn Monroe Did A Photo Shoot Inside A Dakota Apartment
    Photo: Antonio Marín Segovia / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    There aren't many Hollywood stories more tragic than Marilyn Monroe's. Six years before she died in an apparent suicide, she spent a few hours doing a photo shoot inside actress Judy Holliday's apartment at the Dakota. There are, of course, numerous conspiracy theories around Monroe's death. However, one thing that doesn't seem to get much attention is her link to the Dakota building and the curse that many believe exists.

    Was Marilyn Monroe's death connected or influenced by her time at the Dakota? We'll probably never know, but contractors who worked on Holliday's old apartment reported that it's haunted.