Tuesday, 18 November 2008


It doesn't need a 'degree in deduction' to fathom out that Spring Street in Soho got its name from a spring - one in fact that was tapped by Aaron Burr's Manhattan Water Company, which was set up as a sort of late-eighteenth-century utility company that later became a banking company instead - The Chase Manhattan Bank no less. Aaron Burr, the New York lawyer who became Vice President of the United States, lived close by in a splendid white country mansion.

But here is a creepy twist of death and and supernaturalism: Local legend has it that in 1800, Juliana Elmore Sands was found floating in the well, that is now in the basement of a restaurant, The Manhattan Bistro (between Wooster and Greene Streets). One of the men who fished her out from the well reported her appearance ".....was horrid enough - her hat and cap off, her hair hanging all over her head, her comb was yet hanging in her hair, tied with a white ribbon; her shawl was off; her gown was torn open with great violence, and her shoes were off."

Her murder shocked New Yorkers. Sympathy for the ingenue poured out and her funeral was large, so much so that the crowds so determined to participate, resulted in her body being laid out in the street in front of the large boarding house where she lived and had been wooed by one of the boarders, a carpenter named Levi Weeks. Apparently earlier on the fateful night, Levi had secretly promised to marry Miss Sands and was soon the main and only suspected murderer. Levi Weeks was eventually acquitted of murder charges but Juliana returned as a ghost.

"unsuspecting customers in The Manhattan Bistro"

Many sightings have been reported of poor Juliana. In 1974, a nearby local resident, said a gray-haired apparition wearing mossy garments rose from his water bed and in The Manhattan Bistro, The Ghost of Spring Street, has supposedly caused plates and ashtrays to fly off the tables, and staffers once saw a spiraling mist ascend from the well itself.

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