Being fortunate enough to stay in New York over the winter, I have been visiting some of your ordinary NY tourist destinations, and some not so ordinary. A few weeks ago, after learning the there was a free ferry between lower Manhattan and Staten Island, I decided to hitch a ride. Not only would it offer me the chance to get that money shot of the Statue of Liberty, but it would also enable me to check out Staten Island and say that I've been there.
Unsure of what to do when arriving at Staten Island, I pulled out my phone while waiting at the ferry terminal, and started researching potential attractions. One which was easily accessible on foot was the Staten Island museum. As I happened to discover though, there are actually two buildings called the Staten Island Museum, each run by the same organisation. One is only a couple of blocks from the St George ferry terminal, and the other is at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanic Gardens, around a 20 minute walk along the terrace. Unaware of this fact at the time, I was being directed by the map on my phone to the latter of these two. It didn't bother me though; upon arriving at Snug Harbor, I found that there was far more to see and do than I would have had the chance to experience staying within a small radius of the ferry terminal.
Inside the museum, I was alone within the exhibit rooms for the most part. The only exceptions to this were in the first two rooms, where there were some professional photographers taking shots of the items on display. As I made my way around the exhibits, I consistently experienced the eerie feeling that I was being watched. I tried to chalk this down to paranoia, and softly hummed some hymns to myself to calm my nerves. At one point, I was freaked out by the sound of footsteps behind me, but was relieved to learn that they were just coming from a security guard patrolling the hall between exhibits.
Throughout my wanderings around the rest of Snug Harbor's grounds and gardens, the same eerie feeling continued to plague me. Despite this, I still had a fantastic time. As I walked the grounds I ran into a museum staff member who I had met earlier and we had a brief discussion; she was returning to the museum after going out to buy herself a cup of tea. "Beautiful yet haunting" was how I described the center's grounds to her. I couldn't have known at the time how apt my description was.
A few days later, I was transferring all of my photos from my stay in New York up until that point onto my computer. Friends back home had encouraged me to take lots of pictures and upload them to Facebook so that I could share my adventures with them. While sifting through the photos to decide which ones to upload, one particular shot caught my eye. It was a photo which I had taken at the entrance to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center upon first arriving at the site. What I must have initially brushed off as lens flare or mist began to strike me as having much more of a defined shape - that of a hooded robe or cloak, to be more precise. I messaged my best friend (who is in New York with me, and staying in the same apartment building). "I think I've caught an apparition on camera", I told him.
My friend and I took a closer look at the photo in his room, and soon we both began to also spot a face in the "mist" of the apparition. I have uploaded the original photo, taken with an iPhone camera. The face is positioned from the first pillar on the left of the building to the second pillar. It may be difficult to spot at first. I have some friends who have seen it who have spotted the figure and face instantly, some who have had to look at the photo for a while before seeing it, and some who cannot see it at all and conclude it to be pareidolia. I have also uploaded two other versions of the same photo - the first zooms in on the apparition in the original photo, while the second is the same zoomed in shot, but with one red circle showing where I see the face and an inner red circle encompassing what I see to be a perfectly formed eye which contrasts with the building behind (which is the feature which I personally feel rules out pareidolia on my part).
Further research on the Snug Harbor site since spotting the figure in my photo has revealed to me that the location is famously haunted by a number of spirits (which was a nice find for me, as it backed up what I had experienced there)! The crew of Ghost Hunters have even been to the site and recorded EVPs.