Washington DC has been the center of United States political activity for generations - and as such, it has bore witness to many of the country's greatest struggles and triumphs alike. So, it’s not surprising that a city with such a rich history of world shattering events and legendary figures, would also be home to various paranormal phenomenon.
Along with the innumerable political events that have occurred throughout Washington DC's history, there have also been lurid accounts of murder and tragedy both in the city's center and in its surrounding areas. Some of these notorious spectacles have made headlines around the country, while others flew under the radar. Many of these horrific dealings have been erased from the public consciousness entirely; however, the thing about dark history is that while it may be forgotten, it seldom fades away completely. And ghosts rarely rest easy, so it’s no surprise that Washington DC has a haunted history all its own. Read on for the creepiest ghost stories to ever come out of Washington DC.
The Octagon House, located at 18th and New York Avenue, is purportedly one of the most haunted locations in all of Washington DC. Known for its striking, yet odd architecture, rumors of paranormal activity there have persisted throughout the last two hundred years.
Many have reported hearing the violent ringing of the bells that were once used to summon African slaves - even though the bell cords have been cut. There have also been sightings of the ghosts of the several people who were killed in the house - such as John Tayloe II's eldest granddaughter, who fell in love with a British army officer during the war of 1812. Apparently, Colonel John Tayloe II forbade their union and during their ensuing argument, she fell two stories down the stairs to her death. Since then, there have been sightings of the disembodied light of a candle ascending the curved staircase before a bloodcurdling shriek and the sound of something heavy hitting the ground is heard. There have also been sightings of a ghostly figure crumpled at the foot of the stairs. One of the Colonel’s daughters is said to have suffered the same fate and now they both haunt the staircase.
Located at 3051 M Street in Georgetown and built in 1765, the Old Stone House is said to be inhabited by a rather large contingent of ghosts. Among them is a woman in a brown dress who can be seen standing near a large fireplace, a man dressed in colonial garb in the master bedroom, a second man in colonial attire, and several children who run about. People have also reported hearing laughter and seeing spectral women hard at work in the kitchens.
Part of what makes the Old Stone House interesting is that there have been accounts of an especially malevolent ghost who doesn’t just haunt the place, but attacks visitors. Nicknamed “George,” this particular ghost has been known to choke and shove patrons, and those who have been accosted claim his presence elicits a feeling of extreme terror.
Located at 401 F Street, the building formerly known as the Pension Building was built in 1887, and housed federal offices up until the 1960s when its dilapidated state earmarked it for demolition. While the building was considered an eyesore, conservationists battled to save the architectural wonder and it was dubbed a National Historic Landmark in 1985.
The building is famous not only for its spectacular design elements, but for its spectral inhabitants. In addition to frequent sightings of an apparition astride a horse on the upper floors, there have also been reports of the ghost of James Tanner, a court stenographer who recorded the testimonies of those who witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Additionally, in the fifteen brick and plaster Corinthian columns that line the interior of the building, painted to simulate black onyx, people have claimed to see the marbled colors take the shape of deceased individuals. Throughout the years there have even been tales of odd noises, unexplainably misplaced objects, and the specter of a lady in white who haunts the main hall.
The White House estate at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the most well-known addresses in the world. The seat of political power in North America, the White House has been the home of every president of the United States of America since John Adams. It also boasts a large collection of paranormal phenomena, gathered during its two hundred year bloody history.
For example, Adams’s wife, Abigail, has been seen walking toward the East Room of the White House, her arms outstretched. And, according to Harry Truman, he was greeted by odd noises and drapes that moved by themselves upon his arrival. There is also evidence that the ghosts of Andrew Jackson, Dolley Madison, and even Abraham Lincoln have been spotted roaming the halls of the White House.