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Ghosts of the White House

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Keira Kensington
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« on: March 16, 2009, 07:00:57 pm »

Ghosts of the White House
The Presidential Mansion is Haunted by Some Former Residents
© Jill Stefko

Jun 30, 2007

The Presidential Mansion, in Washington DC, has its specters including two ex-Presidents and two first ladies. They have been seen and heard. Who are the haunters?

Brief History of the White House
The building of the White House began on October 13, 1792. It was finally livable in November 1800 and President John Adams and his wife, Abigail moved in. By the time Thomas Jefferson moved there, in 1801, most of the exterior structures were complete. The building was named the Presidential Palace.

James Madison was President during the War of 1812. British troops stormed the mansion. As they closed in, Dolley Madison requested a carriage to take her to safety. She wouldnít leave until the portrait of George Washington could be taken with her.

After the war, the mansion was repaired and white washed to conceal the smoke marks. Because of this, the building was referred to as the White House.

Ghosts Who Haunt 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Abraham Lincoln is the most frequent ghostly visitor. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was staying in the Lincoln Room on the second floor when she heard a knock on the door. She opened the door, saw his ghost and fainted. A secretary saw Lincoln donning his boots while he sat on the bed. Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Carl Sandburg and others sensed his presence.

One source states that, according to her biography, Lillian Rogers Parks was getting the Lincoln Room in order after it had been painted. She repeatedly heard foot steps going toward the door. She couldnít see anyone. Finally, she went out and found another employee. She asked him why he was stomping in the corridor. He replied he just started work that day and had not been on the second floor. Then, he added she must have heard Lincolnís ghost.

Another source has a different version. Mrs. Parks was a sewing a bedspread in the Rose Room in anticipation of Queen Elizabethís visit. She felt a presence behind her which caused her to feel uneasy. She rushed out of the room without looking back. Was this presence that of Lincoln or Andrew Jackson whose ghost also haunts the Presidential Mansion?

Abigail Adams is another haunter. John Adams was the first President to live in the White House. It was drafty and damp, with the exception of the East Room where his wife hung the wash. Her phantom has been sighted, scurrying to the East Room, arms full of laundry.

Dolley Madisonís specter has been seen. She planted the original Rose Garden. Itís been said that, when Mrs. Wilson decided to remove the garden, Dolley appeared to the workmen dismantling it and upbraided them. They fled and the Rose Garden remains.

Andrew Jackson is another remnant. Mary Todd Lincoln and others have heard Old Hickory swearing and stomping about in his boots in the Rose Room, which he used as his bedroom, and in the halls.

David Burns donated the land the White House was built on. FDRís valet heard a voice calling him and said it was Mr. Burns. A guard at the Presidential Mansion heard a voice declare it was Mr. Burns. He thought it was Secretary of State, James Byrnes, and looked for him. He later found out that Byrnes was not in the building that day.

Willie Lincoln was one of Abraham Lincolnís children. He died while his father was President. During Grantís administration, his ghost was seen.
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2009, 07:02:42 pm »

Haunted Historic Octagon
Washington DC Building Features Many Ghostly Phenomena
© Jill Stefko

May 10, 2007

The Octagon has a rich history, several legends, is home to multiple ghosts and has poltergeist activity. It was the scene of tragedy which some of the haunters repeat.

History
Colonel John Tayloe III built the Octagon in the 1800s. President Madison and wife Dolley temporarily lived there after the White House was destroyed by British fire during the War of 1812.

It was the scene of tragedies. One of the daughters wanted to marry an Englishman which enraged Tayloe. They argued on a staircase. She fell to her death. A second daughter eloped and returned to the house to ask Tayloe’s forgiveness. She fell to her death from a staircase. It is not known if these were accidents, suicides or murders. A gambler was, allegedly, killed when he was caught cheating.

The building was a residence, girl’s school and the US Hydrographic Office. Now the American Institute of Architects owns it. The Octagon houses an architectural museum open to the public.

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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2009, 07:02:57 pm »

Hauntings and Legends
The ghosts of Tayloe’s daughters haunt the staircase from which they fell. People have seen a candle’s flame flicker, ascending the staircase, heard a shriek and the sound of something thud at the bottom of the stairwell.

Dolley Madison’s ghost has been seen, accompanied by the smell of lilacs, her favorite perfume.

People have heard bells ringing. One account, written by Tayloe’s granddaughter, states that this started after the man died and continued after their wires were cut. Another is that the gambler, while he was being killed, pulled the bell chain to steady himself. A legend is that dead slaves who were whipped or starved by a former owner visit the Octagon and ring bell as announcing their presence.

There are varying legends about a British soldier killing his female slave-lover and interring her body in a wall. It has been alleged that the slave was one of Tayloe’s favorites and he killed the officer or the officer killed the woman or the officer or the slave committed suicide.

Other legends are that the Octagon housed dying and wounded Union Army soldiers and was part of the Underground Railway.

Other supernatural phenomena include moans, thumps inside walls, screams, swords clanking, smells of food cooking, sighs and human footprints in otherwise disturbed dust. People have seen revenants going through the door to the garden and on the stairways. A doctor saw a man dressed in an 1800-style military uniform.

The phenomena happen during daylight and in darkness.



Read more: "Haunted Historic Octagon: Washington DC Building Features Many Ghostly Phenomena" - http://ghosts-hauntings.suite101.com/article.cfm/haunted_historic_octagon#ixzz09xrb5laZ
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Keira Kensington
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2009, 07:03:27 pm »

The Phenomena, History and Legends: Summary
The sightings, smells and some of the sounds can be explained by parapsychological theory. These are hauntings, energy imprinted in time and space without intelligence. There have been no reports of any of the ghosts having intelligence.

Some of the sounds are likely to be poltergeist activity. This phenomenon operates by psychokinesis, the ability of the mind to affect matter. The entity poltergeist is based on the theory that part of the mind exists after physical death, thus able to affect matter.

Historical facts: John Tayloe built the house. He and his family and the Madisons lived there. Undoubtedly, the daughters’ deaths were documented.

There are two types of legends. One may be fact that has is no documented proof. The other is a figment of imagination, repeated to others. Commonly, there are different versions of these legends. There are also facts that have been embellished to the point that legends are born.

What remains is that the ghostly happenings in the Octagon have been reported by many witnesses.

Related reading:

Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost: Lincoln’s Phantom Funeral Train

Poltergeists! The Reality, Not the Movie

Sources:

Guiley, Rosemary Ellen, The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits (Facts on File, Inc., 1992)

Meyers, Arthur, The Ghostly Register (Contemporary Books, Inc., 1986)



The copyright of the article Haunted Historic Octagon in Ghosts & Hauntings is owned by Jill Stefko . Permission to republish Haunted Historic Octagon in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Read more: "Haunted Historic Octagon: Washington DC Building Features Many Ghostly Phenomena" - http://ghosts-hauntings.suite101.com/article.cfm/haunted_historic_octagon#ixzz09xrfygOU
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