5 Most Haunted Places in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is best known for being the centre of politics in the United States, but it is also becoming more and more renowned for being something of a hub for paranormal activity. There are all manner of hauntings happening in our nation’s capitol including a demon cat that is the harbinger of trouble ahead and more than a few former presidents who don’t seem ready to exit The White House just yet!

Let’s take a closer look at the most haunted places in Washington D.C.:

5. The Octagon House

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The Octagon House which stands at 1799 New York Avenue NW is said to be one of the most haunted places in the District of Columbia. It was built in 1801 by Colonel John Tayloe III who was a close personal friend of George Washington. The house became an important part of the city. When The White House burned in 1812 President James and Dolley Madison lived there for around a year and it was there that Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent that ultimately ended the war in February of 1815.

There have been reports of otherworldly presences in various parts of The Octagon House including the spiral staircase, the second and third floor landings, the gardens and one of the third floor bedrooms. Members of the public and staff members alike hake witnessed some of the strange activity. It is believed that two of the spirits said to be haunting the building are the daughters of Colonel Tayloe. One of the girls died when she fell down the stairs during an argument with her father over her choice of suitor and now haunts the second floor landing. The other died in similar circumstances and haunts the third floor landing. It has also been claimed that there are spirits of African American slaves haunting the building and there is some evidence to suggest that the walled garden may have served as a slave market at one time.

4. Old Stone House

Exterior view of Old Stone House, Georgetown district, Washington, DC. Dating from 1766, the house is the only surviving building in the capital before the Revolution.
Exterior view of Old Stone House, Georgetown district, Washington, DC. Dating from 1766, the house is the only surviving building in the capital before the Revolution.

The Old Stone House (3051 M Street NW) was built in 1765 by Christopher and Rachel Layman. However, it was sold to a wealthy window named Cassandra Chew in 1767 who carried out some major renovations adding a kitchen extension to the rear in 1767, then a second floor sometime between 1767 and 1775 and a third floor in the 1790s. The property stayed in private hands for two centuries used as both a private residence and as a business location. The federal government purchased the house in 1953.

It is claimed that a large number  of spirits inhabit the Old stone House including a lady dressed in brown who is seen standing by the fireplace, a heavier woman who appears both in the kitchen and on the staircase, a man in short pants and long stockings  and a man with long blond hair wearing a new jacket. There have also been reports of a lady in a rocking chair, a little boy running down the third floor hall way, a German craftsman, an African American boy, two different men in Colonial style clothing and a little girl with curly hair who runs up and down the stairs! With so many spirits in such a small building it is easy to see why it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Washington D.C.

Most of these spirits are pretty harmless, but there is one spirit who is said to be very malevolent. He is known simply as ‘George’ and he has been blamed for choking visitors and even pushing them . His presence is usually indicated by cold spots and people are said to have a strong feeling of dread whenever he draws near!

3. Marine Corp Commandant’s House

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There are several places on Capitol Hill that are said to be haunted by military personnel and one of them is The Marine Corp Commandant’s house. The very first Marine Corps Commandant was Samuel Nicholas and it is believed that he never left his former home! Samuel Nicholas served from 1775 to 1783 and then passed away on 27 August 1790. Although he is buried in Philadelphia, many believe that his spirit has remained in his former home in Washington DC.

2. The White House

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The White House is actually the oldest building on President’s Park so it is hardly surprising that is is also considered to be one of the most haunted places in the District of Columbia. Construction first began in 1792 and it was opened for occupancy on November 1, 1800 even although construction was not yet complete. The first occupants were President John Adams and his wife Abigail. In fact, Abigail Adams is said to be one of the many ghosts that haunt the building. Since there was no running water in The White House until 1834, when she lived there she would have to have water brought in and heated to do the laundry. She is said to have hung the laundry up to dry in the drafty East Room. Following her death in 1818, her spirit was seen walking into the East Room with her arms extended although carrying a load of laundry. Her apparition was accompanied by the scent of soap and damp clothing! She has been spotted several times and some of the household staff during President Taft’s administration claimed to have seen her walking through walls!

Abigail Adams is by no means the only ghost haunting The White House, and she is certainly not the most famous! Abraham Lincoln is said to haunt the building as well. Although she never admitted to seeing him, Eleanor Roosevelt often said that she could feel Abraham Lincoln’s presence in The White House! Several others have said the same over the years. In addition to this, people who spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom, including President Truman, have often said they are awoken by something knocking on the door, but there is nobody there! The first person to actually see Lincoln’s apparition was First Lady Grace Coolidge who claimed to have seen him standing at the window of the Yellow Oval Room looking out over Potomac. Others who have seen the apparition include some pretty credible witnesses including Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Maureen Reagan and Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands!

Other ghosts that are said to have been seen in The White House include Abraham Lincoln’s 11 year old son Willie Lincoln, President Thomas Jefferson, President Andrew Jackson, President William Henry Harrison, President John Tyler and First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland along with multiple non-residents including David Burns who once owned the land on which The White House stands and a British soldier dressed in a 1812 style uniform.

1. Capitol Building

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The United States Capitol Building is said to be haunted by the spirits of a number of past representatives and government officials along with the departed spirits of officers who served in the American Revolutionary War and even some construction workers who died during the construction of the Capitol Building. However, one of the most interesting paranormal occurrences is the appearance of a creature that is described as a ‘demon black cat’. The creature is said to make an appearance just before national tragedies and before changes in Presidential administration.

The demon cat is usually only seen at night and usually people are alone when it appears. Witnesses have described seeing the cat as a small black kitten, but as they get closer it grows larger and becomes and angry cat with red glowing eyes. Some of the occasions that it has been seen include right before the 1929 stock market crash and prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The demon cat is also said to appear in the basement of The White House whenever the presidency is moving to a new person.

Some say that the origins of the demon cat can be traced back to a time when the Capitol Building had a rat infestation. Several large cats were turned loose in the building in order to control the rat population. Some say that it is one of these cats who became the demon cat. Guards at the building are afraid to speak of the demon cat in case they lose their security clearance. However, plenty of retired federal employees have been only to happy to share their stories of this mysterious black cat.

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