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!
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
under the narthex of the church.
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
The church’s second pastor,
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
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