The Roman Catholic Community of
Most Holy Trinity – St. Mary

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

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 Tales of a Haunted Most Holy Trinity Church

 


Most Holy Trinity Church has found its way onto several Internet sites that tell of haunted places in New York City.  As Roman Catholic Christians, we certainly do not believe that we are "haunted."   This page is therefore posted solely for entertainment purposes, and in order to respond to the many who have written to us inquiring about these legends of a haunted Trinity.  Enjoy!


The present building housing Most Holy Trinity Church (the third church) was built between 1882 and 1885; the school building, built in 1887, is located on a site that had been a cemetery from 1841 until 1853.  Legend has it that not all of the bodies were removed from the cemetery and that the souls of those who remain continue to inhabit the site. The lights in the school gym have been known to go on and off without any reasonable explanation. At night, it is said that voices, and the sounds of people walking back and forth, can be heard in the school building. 


The church's first two pastors, Fr. John Stephen Raffeiner and Msgr. Michael May, priests who had been Vicar Generals of the Brooklyn Diocese, are buried in a crypt under the narthex of the church.


 

There are mysterious passageways on the triforium level of the church where it is said that only priests are able to enter. The church property covers an entire city block; it is said that there are false closets leading to tunnels throughout the church and convent. Mysterious sub-basements and bricked-up doorways suggest concealed passageways. It is said that run-away slaves from the South used these areas to hide when escaping to the North in the "underground railroad."


The church’s second pastor, Monsignor Michael May, built the church’s rectory in 1872; he died in the building while sleeping in his second-floor room in 1895; the same room is used as a guest room by the priests who live in the building today. No-one wishes to take up permanent residence in the room in which the priest died. Guests have claimed to have heard strange noises and the sounds of someone walking back and forth while staying in the room. 


It is said that loud footsteps can be heard up and down the four floors of the rectory stairs at late hours of the night.  Allegedly, it always feels like other people are in the building, even when someone is alone there.  Dogs, who were once kept as pets in the rectory, had been known to stare, as if in trances, at the stairs leading to the basement and into the dining room when it was very cold in the house.


 

 

George Stelz, a parish sexton and bell ringer, was murdered in the vestibule of the church in August of 1897; while there was a prime suspect in the crime (a man who had been a parishioner of Trinity, and who was eventually executed for a different murder), no-one was ever convicted of the Stelz murder. The blood of Mr. Stelz, as well as the bloody hand-print of the murderer, are said to be still on the wall in a stairway leading to the bell tower. It is said that the spirit of Mr. Stelz roams the building and will do so until the crime is solved. The name of Mr. Stelz appears in a stained glass window he had donated to the church twelve years before his murder. The bells to the church are said to ring sometimes without explanation; it is believed that the ghost of Mr. Stelz rings the bells in order that people will not forget him, now after more than one-hundred years since his murder. 


Allegedly, a number of people have mysteriously died while praying in the church since its doors first opened in 1885. The souls of some of these people are said to roam throughout the church building.


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Last Updated: Friday September 07, 2007 04:09 PM

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