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Nyack, New York

The Ghost of Nyack

Haunted Victorian house that inspired a legendary "Ghostbusters" court ruling. 

There are entire websites devoted to the many supposedly haunted buildings in and around Nyack, New York, but the most famous site is the large Victorian house at 1 LaVeta Place, at a dead end on the Hudson River.

During the 1960s, the 7,000 residents of the tiny village knew that the 5,000 square foot house was haunted, but nobody bothered to tell the Ackley couple before they decided to move in.

Helen and George Ackley, who lived in the home for more than 20 years, reported that they had seen a ghost in the house on at least one occasion and that they would be awoken every morning by a shaking bed, but otherwise lived in peace with whatever spirits resided in their home. When they decided to move and sold the house in 1990, they didn’t bother to tell the new buyers about the ghost problem.

With $32,500 in escrow, Jeffrey and Patrice Stambovsky backed out of the contract when they learned that the house was haunted. When the Ackleys refused to refund the deposit, the Stambovskys sued, leading to what would come to be known as the “Ghostbusters” ruling. The New York Appellate court ruled that, because a routine home inspection would never uncover it, sellers must disclose that a house is haunted to potential buyers.

While it isn’t often cited in other rulings, the Stambovsky vs. Ackley decision has been widely taught in law school classes because of its unique holding.