Friday, May 3, 2013

Capitol Hauntings

I recently went on a haunted D.C. tour and was amazed to learn about the numerous ghost stories associated with the U.S. Capitol.  I guess it's not that surprising if you think about it - a city crawling with politicians and lawyers deserves to be haunted by their ghosts!

Rep. William P. Taulbee, a congressmen from Kentucky was shot and killed by a disgruntled journalist on the House chamber steps in 1890.   Journalist Charles Kincaid had accused Taulbee of adultery and other scandals and allegedly, after being assaulted by Taulbee, shot the congressmen in the face.  There is still a bloodstain on those very steps and legend has it that journalists trip and fall at that very spot, often provoking the appearance of Taulbee's ghost.

John Quincy Adams suffered a stroke at his desk in February 1848 and died in the Capitol. Legend has it that if you stand at the spot where his desk once stood, you will hear the former president's ghostly whispers.

James Garfield, barely 4 months into his presidency was fatally shot by a disgruntled office seeker in July 1881.  Many claimed to have seen the solemn ghost of Garfield floating through the halls of Congress.  Some have also reported sightings of the ghost of his assassin on the stairs of the Capitol building.

During the Civil War wounded Union soldiers were often treated in the Capitol Building.  One poor solider died on the operating table in the front of the Capitol Rotunda while undergoing surgery to remove a bullet from his chest. Legend has it that his wailing is still heard in the echos of the halls.  Staffers have also reported sightings of a man in navy blue military uniform wandering in the Rotunda.

Not all D.C. ghosts are famous, though.  The Capitol is known to be haunted by the ghosts of many poor workers who suffered tragic deaths during the construction of the U.S. Capitol.  One construction worker fell to his death from the top of the Rotunda. Legend has it that he is often seen floating beneath the dome with his tools still in hand.     

And not all D.C. ghosts are people...
One of the most famous spooky D.C. tales is that of the Demon Cat.  The creature is known to haunt the basement of the Capitol, often around the room known as the Crypt.  Legend has it that it first appears as a kitten but as you get closer to it, it grows into a monstrous size.  Some believe that the Demon Cat  appears right before major national tragedies (witnessed claimed to have seen it before JFK's assassination).