Next time you're in the SoHo District of Manhattan New York, Keep your eyes open. Not of the hustle or bustle of N.Y. but
for the Ghostly Presence of Elma Sands.
Elma lived with her cousin Catherine Ring who ran a respectable boarding house and a millinery business. Elma was one
of 20 women that were employed by her.
On December 22, 1799 Elma was to leave her house that night to be secretly married as promised to her by one of the boarders
Elma was upstairs getting ready for Levi to come for her at 8 p.m. that Sunday night Although it was supposed to be a
sworn secret, Elma had told both of her cousins that she was to be married. She said the reason they were going so late was
that Levi wanted to go by sleigh when the streets would be iced over.
But Catherine was concerned for Elma going out into the cold night. She told her to go to a neighbors house to borrow
a muff for her hands.
Levi Got there just before 8 p.m. Levi looked at Elma as if a giving her a signal. Elma stood up and went upstairs. After
a minute, Catherine followed her. When she got there she found Elma ready to leave.
As Catherine returned to the parlor where Levi was sitting Levi took his hat and left the room, stepping into the hall.
She heard Elma come down the stairs and heard whispering from the hall. Then she heard them leave through the front door
That was the last anyone was to see Elma alive again.
When Levi returned to the house later that night he was asked where Elma was, he claimed he didnt know and that she never
left with him.
3 days later on Christmas Eve some boys playing saw Elmas muff floating on the water in the Well. One of the boys fished
the muff from the well and took it home. His father went the next day and looked in but could see nothing because of the murky
water. What he did see was a one-horse sleigh track and large footprints in the frozen snow.
On Thursday, January 02. Catherines Husband Elias Ring and his neighbor went to the mans house that discovered the tracks
and asked to borrow hooks and poles to sound the well. He was then accompanied by him and two more men to help look for Elma.
One of the men found Elma, her gown torn open just above the waist and her handkerchief and shoes were gone.
Her murder shocked New York.
Her funeral was so large, that her body was laid out in the street in front of the boarding house where she had lived.
To the prosecution, public and the press the murderer was obviously Levi Weeks.
But Levi had himself a Dream Team of lawyers so to speak comprised of Aaron Burr (Later to be Vice President of the US)
and his political nemesis Alexander Hamilton (The first secretary of Treasury)
After the defense rested its case, Judge Lansing essentially instructed the jury to acquit Levi Weeks. The public was
extremely outraged over the verdict and it is said that Catherine Ring, pointed toward the defense team and cried, "If
thee dies a natural death, I shall think there is no justice in heaven!"
Alexander Hamilton died in 1804 in a duel with Aaron Burr
In 1829 Judge Lansing left his room at the City Hotel and disappeared without a trace.
And Aaron Burr lived out his life in disgrace and poverty.
Levi Weeks was followed in the street and was soon run out of town.
In the 1800s they leveled the hilly area around the meadow and used the soil to fill in the marshy land around the well.
In 1817 the well were Elma was murdered at was walled up when they built the building which is now the Manhattan Bristo. The
well remained behind the wall until the 1980s when they were doing renovations of the place and tore the wall down.
Did they unleash Elma Sands spirit when the wall came down?
Elma has been seen wandering the restaurant of the Bristo, but seems to spend most of her time in the basement by the