It’s almost time to dust off that tattered Warlock costume and head to your neighbor’s famed, yearly Halloween party! Or perhaps you are more the type to kick back with a bowl of popcorn and watch Freddy Krueger for the 124th time. While you anxiously wait for that ghoulish evening to arrive, here are a few popular stories from Washington DC’s was a very long, haunted history.
The Demon /Ghost Cat
The cat is usually spotted between the Crypt of the Capitol and the Old Supreme Court Chamber. Tourists have seen little paw prints on the floors in the halls of the basement even though unattended pets are not allowed in the Capitol. The story goes that before the Capitol was built, Capitol Hill, now Jenkins Hill, was the home of a den of black cats. Once construction began in 1794, the cat’s den was destroyed along with the family of cats. The mother cat now roams the basement of the Capitol building searching for her young where, presumably, the den was located. Some witnesses report that the cat swells to the size of a giant tiger when alerted. It then either explodes or pounces at the witness disappearing before it catches it’s victim. According to legend, the cat is seen before presidential elections and tragedies in Washington DC. It was supposedly spotted the nights before the assassinations of both President John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln and The White House
Although there have been a very high number of apparitions of deceased American presidents reported at The White House, Abraham Lincoln is by far the most frequently sighted. According to Grace Coolidge, she saw the apparition of the lanky former president looking out the window of the Oval Office gazing beyond the Potomac to the former Civil War battlefields. While living in The White House, Lady Bird Johnson reported feeling Lincoln’s presence one night while she watched a television show about his death. During one of Roosevelt’s terms, Eleanor Roosevelt used the Lincoln Bedroom as her study. She would feel his presence late at night when she worked. Winston Churchill, while visiting the White House during WW2, told a story of returning from his evening bath to find the former president sitting by the fireplace in his room. Another guest of the White House, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, heard a knock at her door during the night. When she opened the door, she fainted after reportedly seeing President Lincoln at her door wearing his top hat.
The Octagon House
This house is reported to be the most haunted home in DC. The house was built by Colonel John Tayloe, a close friend of George Washington. The house is believed to be haunted by the spirits of African American slaves who once lived there. There is evidence that the walled back yard of The Octagon itself may have served as a slave market. On separate occasions, 2 of Tayloe’s daughters fell down the staircase to their deaths. Both were quarreling with their father at the time of their falls. Other sightings of spirits include Dolly Madison who was seen near the fireplace in the main ballroom heading towards the garden and a slave girl that was allegedly thrown from the 3rd floor landing to the first floor by a British soldier during the War of 1812. Eyewitnesses have reported hearing her scream. A gambler shot to death in a 3rd floor bedroom in the late 19th century has sometimes been seen still in the bed he died in. Multiple witnesses have reported hearing assorted screams, moans and footsteps.