H&M brand COS recently opened the doors to its new Soho store, but the clothes may be overshadowed by another feature in the space – a 200-year-old “haunted” well! Uncovered by Scouting NY’s Nick Carr, the historic brick structure is displayed rather prominently in the shop, and is actually located right next to the cashier. The well got its nefarious reputation after a young woman’s strangled body was found inside of it in over 200 years ago.
The so-called “murder well” sits unassumingly amidst sharply dressed mannequins, sticking out only as an architectural feature to those who don’t know of its part. As Scouting NY explains, back in 1800 , the body of a young woman named Gulielma Elmore Sands was found in the well, seemingly strangled to death. During the time, the well sat quietly on what was known as Lispenard’s Meadow (which is Spring Street today), but quickly became known as the location of the Manhattan Well Murder.
The murder investigation pointed to Sands’ lover, Levi Weeks, who was also a tenant at the boarding house where Sands lived, as the main suspect. Sands and Weeks supposedly had met up eleven days before, with plans to elope as Sands was rumored to be pregnant. No one knows what exactly happened that night, but Weeks was tried for murder and acquitted, enraging Sands’ family (who went so far as to display her corpse outside of the boarding house to sway public opinion of Weeks).
Long after the heavily sensationalized case disappeared from the headlines, the well was uncovered again in the 1980s by former tenant, Manhattan Bistro. The restaurant’s employees made claims of strange happenings in the space, and some believed that Sands haunted the grounds. No word yet on if the ghost now walks among COS’s Swedish fashions.
Via Scouting NY