Sitting just off the Staten Island’s poetically named Arthur Kill Road is Kreischer Mansion, a lovely Victorian home that is said to be one of the most haunted places in all of New York, which may actually be true if one is referring to being haunted by memories of murder and death.
It was one of two mansions built by German immigrant Balthasar Kreischer for two of his three sons. The surviving house belonged to son Edward Kreischer, the other to his brother Charles.
When the brickmaker Balthasar Kreischer came to Staten Island in the mid-1800s he brought with him terrifically successful brickworks that led to an economic boom in the area which soon became known as Kreischerville. As part of the wealth the elder Kreischer was accumulating he had twin mansions built atop the hill, but unfortunately Balthasar died just a year after they were completed, but given the successive events, it was perhaps for the best. After the elder Kreischer’s death, the brick factory his children inherited burnt to the ground. The family tried to rebuild, but the blow was too great and their fortunes soon fell. His son Edward died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1895 in the mansion that stands today.
Of the two Kreischer mansions, one was destroyed during the Great Depression, but the other, where Edward Kreischer committed suicide, managed to survive despite the family’s poor fortune. However the ornate gothic house soon became the target of local superstition and all manner of ghost stories involving strange voices and lights began to surround the abode. Despite its reputation, it was never completely abandoned but no business or resident has managed to stay there for long either.
Adding credence to the creepiness of the house is the very real crime that occurred there. In 2008, then caretaker Joseph “Joe Black” Young was revealed to be a hitman for the Bonnano crime family, one of the family that dominated organized crime activities in New York City and in the United States, as part of the criminal phenomenon known as the American Mafia. On the order of a mafia boss, the caretaker of the empty mansion was paid thousands of dollars to carry out a hit at the site, which he did. He was convicted of stabbing a man, the rival mob associate Robert McKelvey, drowning him in the pool, dismembering the body and and burning it in the basement furnace at the mansion. Robert McKelvey owed money to Bonnano patriarch, Gino Galestro.
Today it seems that the Kreischer Mansion, that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, is back on the market, It has not had permanent residents for several years, and the ghost stories continue. And maybe, with any luck, the next tenants will have better fate than the last century’s worth of ill-fated inhabitants….
Images from web – Google research.