Is Grand Central Station Haunted?

Grand Central Station

Ghosts of train riders and presidential pups may just linger the platforms of Grand Central Station

Paranormal Reports at
Grand Central Station

  • The ghost of FDR’s dog, Fala, has been seen in the terminal
  • Fala has also been heard barking in quiet areas of the building 
  • Strange feelings have been reported in certain spaces
  • A gray apparition has been seen boarding a ghost train in the terminal 
  • Cold spots have been encountered in a bar attached to the terminal
  • Disembodied voices have been heard in quiet areas
  • The figures of a ghostly couple have been seen in the bar

History of New York City’s
Famous Train Station

Arguably the most well-known train station in the United States, New York City’s Grand Central Station has a history as distinctive as its stony facade. Perched in the shadow of the MetLife Building, Grand Central Station’s pillared exterior and its wide, arching windows have graced 42nd Street for over a century.

Millions of people, from workers to presidents, have traveled through Grand Central. And lore has it that some souls are waiting in the station for their train to the afterlife.

But it seems that some of the train station’s spirits aren’t in much of a hurry to leave. That’s left some to wonder if the ghosts in Grand Central Station are there forever.

Timeline of Grand Central Station's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Grand Central Station through the years


In the mid to late-1800s, rapid expansions hit New York City. Railroads were vital to that expansion, though laws at the time stopped steam trains at 42nd Street, making the boundary an ideal place for a train depot. Commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1869, a large station for three New York railroad companies soon took shape.

This first station, called Grand Central Depot, opened to the public in 1871. While new in many respects, Grand Central Depot quickly had trouble keeping up with the times.


Grand Central Depot served dutifully for the rest of the 1800s, but New York City rapidly expanded around it. When it first opened, the depot on 42nd Street was still somewhat removed from the bustle of the city. But by the early 1900s, the heart of New York City surrounded it.

Increasing rail traffic in the city and a 1903 law banning steam trains in Manhattan within five years spelled doom for the depot. So, that same year, work began on a modern train station to serve electric rail traffic.


In February of 1913, Grand Central Station opened to the public for the first time. Together with Penn Station, Grand Central Station became an icon of New York for locals and tourists alike. As the 20th century progressed, traffic continued to increase, and Grand Central Station deftly handled it all.

In 1947, the station set a passenger record, seeing 65 million travelers. Unfortunately, just a few years later, the train stations of NYC would be in trouble.

Grand Central Station of New York is one of the most famous train stations to ever exist


In 1963, NYC station operators demolished Penn Station to make room for Madison Square Garden. This still controversial choice left Grand Central as the last iconic train terminal in the city. However, decades of age and lacking refurbishments left Grand Central a shadow of its former self.

In 1967, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee tried to save it by giving it landmark status. The committee, formed just two years prior in response to Penn Station’s loss, hoped to drum up enough support to save Grand Central.

Grand Central Terminal in New York City


This didn’t prove easy, as years of fighting to save the station followed. All the while, developers drew up plans to replace the station with a skyscraper. The dispute went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which, in 1978, ruled in favor of the efforts to save Grand Central as a landmark.

The historic station had been saved from the wrecking ball, but it was still a far cry from its grand title. The station still had decades of wear and tear to address, or it wouldn’t be long before it was lost to time.

The beautiful and haunted Grand Central Terminal


In the 1980s, city leaders set plans to revitalize Grand Central Station after years of neglect. The nine-figure project took over a decade, but proved well worth the effort. Ceiling murals, long covered by smoke and grime, were redone. Billboards were removed to reveal historic structures beneath.

By 1998, Grand Central had become its old self all over again. And through the terminal’s modern hustle and bustle, some say travelers from the past still appear in spirit at Grand Central.

The station has numerous tracks and areas to be lost within

Ghost Stories of Grand Central

While you might expect a ghost train or two, or perhaps the specter of a weary traveler, the haunts of Grand Central Station might surprise you. One of the station’s most famous ghost stories isn’t about a human ghost at all. Rather, Grand Central Station is reportedly haunted by a dog.

But, this is not just any ghost dog. The story goes that this little black Scottish Terrier ghost is Fala, beloved pet of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Grand Central Station's gorgeous facade

The Phantom of Fala

During his presidency, Roosevelt had a private train track in Grand Central Station for his presidential railcar. The line ran right under the nearby Waldorf-Astoria, allowing him private access to the hotel from the station.

As Roosevelt often brought Fala when he traveled, people now figure these trips through Grand Central left Fala’s phantom on the platforms.

Over the past century, Grand Central station has been a common terminal for thousands of people, and seemingly ghosts

Listen for Barking at Grand Central

Visitors to the busy terminal often report spotting a black Scottish Terrier frolicking through the building, only to disappear before their eyes.

Due to regularly high foot traffic, Fala’s apparition is most often seen at night, or in areas closed for cleaning. At especially quiet times, some say you can hear the echo of Fala’s bark through the station.

Gray Men & Ghost Trains

Though a presidential pet is likely the most well-known ghost at Grand Central, it’s not the only one. One ghostly tale tells of an apparent train to Hell.

One night, near midnight, a man in gray approached a station attendant on the platform. He told the attendant he was expecting a midnight train to Hell any minute. Just as the attendant explained to him Grand Central had no such line, a smokey steam engine roared into the station.

The spirit of a man in grey has been seen boarding a train by visitors of the old station

With the sound of a steam whistle and a puff of hot air, the train and its gray-clad passenger disappeared from view.

While this tale is a simple urban legend, you may want to keep an ear out for an old train whistle next time you’re on Grand Central’s platform.

The Favorite Grand Central Haunt

Platforms aren’t the only places with phantoms at Grand Central. In one corner of the expansive terminal lies The Campbell Bar, an upscale jazz bar catering to locals and travelers alike.

Visitors to the Campbell have often reported having eerie, creepy, and otherwise strange feelings in certain areas of the barroom.

Ghost stories abound in the century old Grand Central Station

Past workers have also reported unexplainable cold spots and sudden gusts of chilled air, often on the steps leading to the bar’s mezzanine.

Strangely, some said these gusts felt like chilled hands. Other people have heard footsteps in the bar late at night when no one is there. Others still have claimed to hear ghostly voices call their names.

Grand Central Station lives in the heart of New York City, servicing thousands of travelers and ghosts alike

Ghostly Guests on
The Campbell Mezzanine

Perhaps the most striking story from within The Campbell is that of a spectral couple enjoying a drink after hours. The tale goes that late one night, a worker spotted an older couple sitting in the bar’s mezzanine.

When the worker went upstairs to tell them to leave, they found the mezzanine completely empty.

Grand Central Station:
Haunted Hotspot?

Understandably, you won’t find many chances for a private ghost hunt at Grand Central Station. The amount of foot traffic through the terminal precludes many organized paranormal events.

But, this hasn’t stopped the ghostly lore of Grand Central from spreading far and wide. Some figure it to be one of the most, if not the most haunted train station in the country.

The elegant facade of Grand Central station hides mystery and some say ghosts

As thousands more people pass through the station every day, the possibility for new ghost encounters continues.

So, if you’re ever traversing the crowds of Grand Central Station one day, keep a look out for ghosts trying to catch a train. Or, at least watch out for Fala, and see where his playful frolicking might lead you.