The most famous address in America–1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–is also perhaps the country’s most famous haunted house. Presidents, first ladies, White House staff members and guests have reported feeling ghostly presences, hearing unexplained noises and even running into actual apparitions–even on the way out of the bathtub, in one particularly famous case.
There have been several stories about ghosts of former Presidents revisiting the White House. However, the most common and popular is that of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln’s Ghost, or to others as The White House Ghost, is said to have haunted the White House since his death. It is widely believed that when he was president, Lincoln might have known of his assassination before he died.
According to Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and biographer, three days before his assassination Lincoln discussed with Lamon and others a dream he had, saying:
Lincoln had a dream in April 1865, the month that he was assassinated. As he recounted to friends the day he died:
“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers, ‘The President,’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin.’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.”
The White House’s most famous alleged apparition is that of Abraham Lincoln. Eleanor Roosevelt never admitted to having seen Lincoln’s ghost, but did say that she felt his presence repeatedly throughout the White House. Mrs. Roosevelt also said that the family dog, Fala, would sometimes bark for no reason at what she felt was Lincoln’s ghost. President Dwight Eisenhower’s press secretary, James Hagerty, and Liz Carpenter, press secretary to First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, both said they felt Lincoln’s presence many times. The former president’s footsteps are also said to be heard in the hall outside the Lincoln Bedroom. As reputable an eyewitness as Lillian Rogers Parks admitted in her autobiography My Thirty Years Backstairs at the White House that she had heard them. Margaret Truman, daughter of President Harry S. Truman, said she heard a specter rapping at the door of the Lincoln Bedroom when she stayed there, and believed it was Lincoln.
President Truman himself was once wakened by raps at the door while spending a night in the Lincoln Bedroom. Others have actually seen an apparition of the former president. The first person reported to have actually seen Lincoln’s spirit was First Lady Grace Coolidge, who said she saw the ghost of Lincoln standing at a window in the Yellow Oval Room staring out at the Potomac. Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Maureen Reagan and her husband have all claimed to have seen a spectral Lincoln in the White House. A number of staff members of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration claimed to have seen Lincoln’s spirit, and on one occasion Roosevelt’s personal valet ran screaming from the White House claiming he had seen Lincoln’s ghost. Perhaps the most famous incident was in 1942 when Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands heard footsteps outside her White House bedroom and answered a knock on the door, only to see Lincoln in frock coat and top hat standing in front of her (she promptly fainted).
One of the most recent sightings came in the early 1980s, when Tony Savoy, White House operations foreman, came into the White House and saw Lincoln sitting in a chair at the top of some stairs. Several unnamed eyewitnesses have claimed to have seen the shade of Abraham Lincoln actually lying down on the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom (which was used as a meeting room at the time of his administration), and while others have seen Lincoln sit on the edge of the bed and put his boots on.
The most famous eyewitness to the latter was Mary Eben, Eleanor Roosevelt’s secretary, who saw Lincoln pulling on his boots (after which she ran screaming from the room). Abraham Lincoln is not the only Lincoln ghost witnesses claim to have seen in the White House. Willie Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son, died in the White House of typhoid on February 20, 1862. Willie Lincoln’s ghost was first seen in the White House by staff members of the Grant administration in the 1870s, but has appeared as recently as the 1960s (President Lyndon B. Johnson’s college-age daughter, Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, saw the ghost and claims to have talked to him).
By far the most frequently reported sighting in the White House over the years has been the ghost–or at least the presence–of the celebrated 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, whose life was cut tragically short by an assassin’s bullet in April 1865. Grace Coolidge, wife of President Calvin Coolidge (1923-29), was the first person to say she had actually seen Lincoln’s ghost. According to her, the lanky former president was standing looking out a window of the Oval Office, across the Potomac to the former Civil War battlefields beyond. Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson (1963-69), reportedly felt Lincoln’s presence one night while watching a television program about his death.
Most notably, sightings of Lincoln’s ghost were frequently reported during the long administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45), who also presided over his country during a time of great upheaval. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt used the Lincoln Bedroom as her study, and said she would feel his presence when she worked there late at night. During her visit to the White House, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands heard a knock on her bedroom door in the night; when she answered it, she reportedly saw Lincoln’s ghost, wearing his top hat, and fainted dead away. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who visited the White House more than once during World War II, told a story of emerging naked from his evening bath smoking his customary cigar, only to find a ghostly Lincoln sitting by the fireplace in his room.
When Lillian Rogers Parks, the seamstress, once investigated the sound of someone pacing an upper level of the White House, another staff member told her the room in question had been unoccupied, and “that was old Abe pacing the floor.” Psychics have speculated that Lincoln’s spirit remains in the White House to be on hand in times of crisis, as well as to complete the difficult work that his untimely death left unfinished.
2. Jacksons ghost
Another famous president who still could be seeking a longer term in the White House is Andrew Jackson. The reported encounters with Old Hickory are not sightings but hearings. And what people reportedly hear from Jackson is a lot cursing from the 19th-century president. One person who believed Jacksons spirit remained in the White House was Mary Todd Lincoln, who held regular séances there after her son, Willie, died. There was also a reported Jackson encounter during the administration of President Dwight Eisenhower.
n 1824, Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson was defeated by John Quincy Adams in one of the most contentious presidential elections in history. Elected president four years later, the surly Jackson continued to hold grudges against those who had supported his opponent. In the early 1860s, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln–who believed strongly in the occult, and reportedly held séances in the White House to commune with the spirits of her dead sons–told friends she had heard Jackson stomping and swearing through the halls of the presidential residence. The Rose Room, Jackson’s bedchamber while he was president, is believed by some to be one of the most haunted rooms in the White House.
Jackson’s ghostly presence also showed up in the White House correspondence of Harry Truman, America’s 33rd president. In June 1945, just two months into his first term, Truman wrote to his wife Bess of the spooky quality of his new residence: “I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports, and work on speeches–all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth–I can just imagine old Andy [Jackson] and Teddy [Roosevelt] having an argument over Franklin [Roosevelt].”
3. Abigail Adams
John Adams wife only stayed at the White House for a few months as its first occupant, along with her husband. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to spend a full term at the residence. But some people believe Abigail Adams returns for an occasional visit to supervise the laundry. Mrs. Adams used the East Room to hang out her laundry in 1800. A sighting of her was reported there during the Taft administration about 112 years later, when an apparition was seen carrying clothes in its arms.
Abigail Adams and her husband John, the second president of the United States (1797-1801), moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from the former U.S. capital in Philadelphia. At the time, Washington, D.C. was still just a town, built mostly on swampy land on the banks of the Potomac River. Because the East Room of the new White House was the warmest and driest, Abigail used it to hang the wash. Her ghost, clad in a cap and lace shawl, has reportedly been seen heading towards the East Room, arms outstretched as if carrying laundry.
A lesser-known early White House personality who has been said to haunt its halls was David Burns, who sold the government most of the land on which the city of Washington–including the presidential residence–was built. Lillian Rogers Parks, a seamstress who chronicled her 30-year career working at the White House in a 1961 memoir, told the story of a valet to President Franklin D. Roosevelt who reportedly heard a disembodied voice coming from a distance in the Yellow Oval Room, saying “I’m Mr. Burns.” During Harry S. Truman’s administration, a guard heard a similar voice; thinking it was then-Secretary of State James Byrnes, he went looking for him, only to learn that the secretary hadn’t been at the White House that day.
4. Dolley Madison
The irrepressible Dolley Madison is best known today for rescuing the Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington from the White House before the British burned it down during the War of 1812. But in ghost lore, shes best known for reportedly encountering two gardeners during the Wilson administration a century later. First Lady Edith Wilson asked the two to move the fabled Rose Garden, which Madison had created and nurtured. The gardeners were reportedly met by an angry Dolley. Today, the Rose Garden remains where Dolley Madison wanted it.
5. The British fire starter
The most traumatic incident in White House history was its destruction by British troops in 1814. A royal soldier apparently died in the attack after he helped set fire to the White House, and there are reports he occasionally returns to finish the job. One incident was reported a few years after the Truman-era restoration, where the spirit was seen trying to set a bed on fire. Also, there was a major fire in the West Wing during the Hoover administration on Christmas Eve in 1929.
Officially, it was a clogged fireplace flue that stared the blaze. Even today, recent White House staffers reported hearing strange noises late at night in the White House. But theres one president who probably hasnt come back for a guest appearance. James Buchanan openly tired of being president as the Civil War grew near. If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man indeed, Buchanan said just before leaving office in 1861.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln%27s_Ghost