My Paranormal Bucket List - The White House

Think of the United States of America, and what images come to mind? The American Flag. The Statue of Liberty. And of course, the White House.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. The beautiful, magnificent home of the President of the United States.

The land for the White House was donated by David Burns in 1790, and the first cornerstone was laid in 1792. It was eight years before its first tenants, President John Adams and his wife Abigail, took up residence. Since then it has served as home and office for our nation’s presidents. It has hosted royalty and dignitaries from all over the world. Countless meetings have been held within those prestigious walls, meetings where decisions of unimaginable magnitude have been made. If only those walls could talk…..

While we probably won’t learn the White House’s secrets from talking walls, perhaps we could learn a little something from those who live there. Not from the living, mind you, but from the spirits of those who have experienced those historical moments firsthand. For, it seems, the current president is not the only one calling the White House home.

Judging by reports, Abraham Lincoln is by far the most active ghost in the White House. Lincoln’s apparition has been regularly seen throughout the years, from First Lady Grace Coolidge to numerous staff members and visitors.  He is most often seen in or near the Lincoln Bedroom, his former office. In fact, Ronald Reagan told CNN that his dog, Rex, would run, barking, down the hallway as if chasing something until he came to a stop at Lincoln’s door. President Lincoln died a tragic death, his life and presidency cut short by John Wilkes Booth’s successful assassination attempt. Did Lincoln return to the White House to serve out his presidency – and his afterlife?

Another common reported haunting is that of a little boy. The little boy is believed to be Willie Lincoln, the young son of Abraham Lincoln who died in the house from an incurable disease in 1862. Has Willie returned to his childhood home, perhaps in search of his family?

While security prevents those without the highest security clearance from seeing the White House, visitors and tourists have reported seeing ghostly figures walking the grounds. One such figure is that of a British soldier carrying a torch. Could this be the spirit of a “Redcoat” who participated in the 1814 attack that burned much of Washington, including the White House?

Many other sightings have been reported as well. President John Tyler’s apparition was allegedly seen by Mary Todd Lincoln during her time in the White House. President Andrew Jackson’s ghost has been seen and heard laughing (and swearing). First Lady Abigail Adams has been seen in the East Room, and First Lady Dolley Madison has been seen on the grounds, most often near the gardens. Unexplained noises and disembodied vocals reportedly abound. No wonder President Harry S. Truman noted in a 1946 diary entry, “Damn place is haunted sure as shootin’.”

Well said, Mr. Truman, well said.

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