Illustration for article titled This Clothing Store Features an 18th Century Haunted Well

A New York City outpost of clothing store COS has a 200-year-old well tucked into its men's department. The structure is a remnant of the building's 18th-century past ... and it's where a woman's strangled body was discovered in 1799.

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Scouting NY (a fascinating, wonderfully detailed blog written by location scout and hidden history enthusiast Nick Carr), weaves the sinister tale:

The well-documented story has it that a young woman named Gulielma Elmore Sands left her Greenwich Street boarding home on the evening of Dec. 22, 1799, to meet Levi Weeks, a fellow boarder. The two had a secret romance and were planning to elope that night. Eleven days later, her body was found in a well in Lispenard's Meadow (today's Spring Street). Marks on her neck suggested death by strangulation.

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For even more context (the "Manhattan Well Murder" led to a sensational trial and a controversial verdict; defense attorneys included future dueling duo Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and it was also "the first murder trial in American history to be fully documented by a court stenographer"), check out Carr's 2011 Wall Street Journal article. He penned it when the infamous SoHo building housed a restaurant. Back then, the well was tucked into a basement that was primarily used for storage, and one had to obtain special permission to view it.

Illustration for article titled This Clothing Store Features an 18th Century Haunted Well

Now, though, the well — long believed to be haunted — is just hangin' out in the men's department, providing an awesome staging zone for what look to be otherwise rather minimalist pants and jackets. Carr notes, wryly:

While the only spirit-like entities I saw on my recent visit were a few ghostly mannequins decked out in the latest Swedish fashions, it's still pretty amazing to be able to check out such a unique piece of New York history, an artifact dating to a time when Soho was a meadow and Spring Street actually had a spring running through it.

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Top image via Por Homme; lower image via Scouting NY.

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