The Morbidly Fascinating Page

This Month: Ghosts in America's White House

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Whether one embraces or mocks the paranormal, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history. They also make that address arguably the nation’s most famous haunted house.

The sightings, which have been documented in eerie detail by scholars and newspapers, involve a former president who appears when the nation needs a leader most, a daughter who pleads in vain to help her doomed mother and a first lady who is, sadly, perpetually stuck doing laundry.

Abraham Lincoln reportedly received regular visits from his son Willie, who died in the White House in 1862 at age 11 of what was probably typhoid fever. Mary Todd Lincoln, who was so grief-stricken by the loss that she remained in her room for weeks, spoke of seeing her son’s ghost once at the foot of her bed. There are also reports of her hearing Thomas Jefferson playing the violin and Andrew Jackson swearing.

After his assassination in 1865, Lincoln apparently joined his son in his phantasmal roaming. First lady Grace Coolidge spoke in magazine accounts of seeing him look out a window in what had been in his office.

Many more sightings would come in the decades and presidential administrations that followed. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom in 1942 when she reportedly heard a knock on her bedroom door, opened it to see the bearded president and fainted.

Two years earlier, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, according to accounts, had just stepped out of a hot bath in that same room and was wearing nothing but a cigar when he encountered Lincoln by the fireplace.

“Good evening, Mr. President,” Churchill reportedly said. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage.”

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From the White House Historical Association:

Abraham Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln appears in the Lincoln Bedroom and Yellow Oval Room First Lady Grace Coolidge, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands claim to have seen Lincoln.

Willie Lincoln: Willie Lincoln, who died in the White House, was seen in the White House by staff members of the Grant administration in the 1870s.

Andrew Jackson: Andrew Jackson supposedly lying in his bed in the Queens Bedroom (Rose Room) lets out a guttural laugh that has been heard in the White House since the 1860s. Mary Todd Lincoln claimed to have heard Jackson stomping and swearing.

Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson plays his violin in the Yellow Oval Room.

Dolley Madison: Dolley Madison protects the Rose Garden.

John Tyler: John Tyler haunts the Blue Room proposing to Julia Gardner, his second wife.

William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison haunts the attic. He was the first president to die in the White House.

Abigail Adams: Abigail Adams hung laundry in the East Room and contemporary staff can smell wet laundry and the scent of lavender.

Unnamed British Soldier: An unnamed British Soldier who perished during the War of 1812 roams the White House grounds holding a torch.

David Burnes: David Burnes owned the land on which the White House now stands; seen or heard in the Yellow Oval Room.

Anna Surratt: Anna Surratt bangs on the doors of White House, pleading to see President Andrew Johnson. She was there to beg for a pardon for her mother, Lincoln assassination conspirator Mary Surratt.

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The Most Haunted Rooms in the White House









Two eye-witnesses below



TODAY’S SHOW Jenna Bush Hager paid a virtual visit to "The Kelly Clarkson Show" and said there are ghosts in the historic residence.

"True or false: There are ghosts in the White House?" the talk show host asked.

"True!" Jenna replied. "And listen, Kelly, you would've liked these ghosts because they were very musical."

Jenna added that the spirits were "friendly" and "compassionate" to her and twin sister Barbara Bush.

Jenna recalled the time she and Barbara may have encountered the undead while living in the White House during their dad's, former President George W. Bush’s time in office.

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