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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Are There Really Ghosts Lurking In The White House?

Spooky?  The White House in pink.  (BCAM photo/L. Jackson)
With Halloween beckoning around the corner, the thought of ghosts and goblins permeate the season.

But are there really ghosts at the White House?

A web site purporting to have the inside scoop on such things reveals there could be at least ten.  We'll reveal at least three that  even include former presidents.

Ghost #1: President Lincoln.  Lincoln might as well still be collecting a salary based on how often he seems to be at the White House. Winston Churchill had a famous encounter with Lincoln in the Lincoln bedroom. After a hot bath with a Scotch and a cigar, Churchill climbed out of the bath naked (obviously) and went back into the bedroom to get ready for bed. To his surprise, the room was already occupied by our 16th president. Churchill managed to quip, “”Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage,” before Abe disappeared. Sounds a bit too perfect to me, but it sure makes for a good story. Other people who have seen Lincoln include his biographer, Carl Sandburg; Grace Coolidge; Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands who fainted when she saw him; Teddy Roosevelt; Herbert Hoover; Nancy Reagan; Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jackie Kennedy. It’s rumored that Lincoln’s ghost appears the night before a national tragedy.

Ghost #2: Andrew Jackson.  White House guests who hear a man unabashedly cursing but can’t find a body to accompany the swearing may very well be hearing Andrew Jackson. His old canopy bed is used in the Rose Bedroom, so he must feel at ease occupying the room. Mary Todd Lincoln thought she encountered him in 1865; he was cursing about something. One of LBJ’s aides heard the exact same thing in the Rose Bedroom in 1964. And a White House seamstress once felt Jackson lean over her as she was hemming the bedspread on his bed.

Ghost #3: Thomas Jefferson.  Mary Todd also thought she saw Thomas Jefferson in the Yellow Oval Room on multiple occasions. Although we may want to take Mary Todd’s sightings with a grain of salt, other visitors have reported hearing phantom violin music from this room – a sign that Jefferson may still be practicing his favorite instrument even in the great beyond.

To learn more about of these and other ghostly White House sightings and stories, click here.

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