On a cold December night in 1980 I was in my bedroom. It was early evening and I was listening to the old CBS Radio Mystery Theater that used to rerun on KIRO Radio from Seattle. For some reason, at night and over 1000 miles away in northern Alberta, I could tune this station in as clear as if it were broadcasting from across the street, and I spent many nights listening to that show and getting the daylights scared out of me. Incidentally, many of those old shows are on YouTube now if you want to have a listen, they seem hokey to me now, but when I was twelve years old, I went through more than my share of light bulbs because of it. Not to stray too far from the talking points here, just wanted to set the tone.
On this particular night, it was a Monday and we always had to be in bed early as it was a school night. I was settling in when breaking news came over the radio. John Lennon, formerly of and most famous for being in the Beatles, had been shot to death in front of his apartment building in NYC. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced DOA. His assassin, who shall remain nameless (as well as soulless) was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
Over the years I thought a lot about that death and how it affected people. I watched on TV the vigil that happened outside the Dakota building where the tragedy took place. I knew that someday, I would get the opportunity to go there, in a pilgrimage kind of way, to pay respects to the person who had helped change the world through his music.
Also, over the years, I became all to familiar with the ensuing reports that the famous New York landmark building was haunted by the ghost of it’s famous former tenant.
Walk down any street in Midtown and you won’t get very far before coming across some famous place that you saw a thousand times on TV. So much heritage and history surrounds this city and it’s family of architecture that it’s almost mind boggling. Paranormal folklore and NYC go almost hand in hand. Such as the case with the Dakota.
When I first walked up to the spot where his murder happened, I felt like I was in some kind of suspended animation, partly because I could not believe I was actually there, but because the place had such a strong energy coming off of it, which I had to concede was at least partially due to some sort of psychological matrixing that was 36 years in the making.
The doorman to the building was really nice, I got his permission to let fly with the camera, something he was probably very used to, but I didn’t want to start snapping pics unless he gave me the nod. I rattled off over 100 pictures of that spot from every possible angle save for scaling up the building for a drop down shot. I had my go-pro going the entire time (goes without saying).
As a paranormal investigator, we self train to keep both an open mind and to question everything. When I got home and uploaded my content, I really wanted to drop the “question everything” part and look for any abnormality, shadow, reflection, or lens flare to use as proof that I had the first ever ghostly capture of John Lennon. Obviously I could not do that.
I did feel a little bit intrusive (despite the tour bus that had stopped behind me at one point with 400 cameras going off at once) So I quietly slinked away. I did have my family with me and I also wanted my kids to understand why it was important for me to visit this spot (not entirely for ghostie stuff, like I said..but to pay my respects)
John Lennon himself had spoken very openly with friends about sightings he encountered in the building. The place was alleged to be haunted long before he even lived there, and the subject fascinated him. In Particular, a seemingly residual apparition of a young woman he dubbed the crying woman, would wander the halls of the Dakota. This sighting was reported by many other people over the years.
Lennon’s ghost has been spotted also by many, at the entrance to the building where he was shot and Yoko Ono herself has said that he has visited her several times to offer reassurance. I like to think his spirit lives there to this day, calmly watching the southerly panoramic view of Midtown Manhattan from his 7th floor apartment, staying close to the ones he loved most, and humming up a few new songs.
The Dakota is an amazing New York Landmark, just standing there and looking up at it from the corner of 72nd and Central Park West was an absolute pleasure. It would be a great place to hold a paranormal investigation. Hell, it would be a great place to live. Chances of either of those actually happening of course, would be about as slim as the odds could possibly get.