Monday, November 26, 2012

Haunted U.S. Capitol

This building located in Washington D.C. holds the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives. It was first built in 1800, and ever since several non-famous and famous ghosts haunt it. 

In another post entitled Harbinger Spirits I wrote about the Demon Cat who scares people in the basement of this building, a variety of other activity that has been observed occurs in and around this same area. 

Many of the witnesses to this strange activity are Capitol guards, who patrol this massive building’s rooms and corridors on the nightshift.

These guards report that late at night as they cross Statuary Hall they hear footsteps following closely behind them. 

This disturbed one guard so much he decided to investigate further. For several nights in a row, he wore soft-soled boots that he knew would not make noise, but he still heard the footsteps follow him. 

Ruling out the possibility that what he heard was his own steps echoing, he then tried to pinpoint the footsteps he did hear. At one point, he felt he had cornered them, but then to his surprise he heard them in another part of the hall.

Lifesize statues of famous statesmen from American history line Statuary Hall. Originally this area was the chamber for the House of Representatives. 

A brass tablet set in stone marks the spot where the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams desk was located. 

It was at this desk that Adams suffered a stroke in 1848 while giving an impassioned speech against honoring the generals who won the Mexican War. He was removed to his office where he died. Adams’ ghost has been seen doing what he loved most—giving speeches. *

Yet another phenomenon that has been witnessed in Statuary Hall is not true for the guard that reported it was fired later for drinking on the job. I place it here because it is amusing and it is a well-known legend that has been past down for many years. 

This guard stated that at midnight he would see the statues in Statuary Hall leave their pedestals and float around. He said that they seemed to enjoy doing this particularly on New Year’s Eve.

One ghost that is seen often roaming the Capitol corridors is that of a French engineer and architect, Charles L’Enfant who was commissioned by President George Washington to design the then Washington City. L’Enfant bucked heads often with Congress over his plans. Not willing to compromise he was eventually fired. 

Sadly, in 1825 he died a pauper his work mostly unpaid for and under appreciated. Ironically, in 1889 Congress changed their minds. They took his work from the archives and used them. 

Witnesses that have seen L’Enfant’s ghost state he appears depressed. He is described as small in statue and is seen carrying a roll of parchment under one arm. He is observed in the Capitol's basement pacing the floor and shaking his head.

Another well-known ghost is that of President Ulysses S. Grant’s vice president Henry Wilson. 

Spas or baths were imported from Italy and installed in the Capitol’s basement for the congressmen to use. It is said that Wilson was overly fond of these tubs. 

In November of 1875 Wilson caught a respiratory infection after bathing. His ghost is heard coughing and sneezing in the corridor that heads to the vice president’s office. He is also seen returning from the basement spa wrapped in towels.

One guard reported that one night as he guarded the coffin of a Tennessee Senator that was laying in state that he was shocked to see Vice President Wilson approach him and then just vanish. 

Yet another ghost that vanishes is a man that several guards have seen late at night beneath the hall of the House of Representatives. This figure stands erect, has a large mustache and always has his hands clasped behind its back. Guards have even approached this figure thinking he was an intruder only to see him quickly fade away.

The list continues. 

Another ghost that is seen is of a man who while working on top of a scaffolding in 1860 fell off and was killed. He is seen walking the corridor near where he died. 

In 1881 President James Garfield was shot and killed. His assassin, Charles Guiteau is seen on a stairway leading to the basement. 

One more late night ghost that is observed on a regular basis at 12:30 P. M. is General Logan. The guards recognize his long hair, military stance, and the hat he always wore while alive. He is seen silently opening the door to the room that once housed the Committee on Military and Militia on the senate side of the building.

On the marble stairs that lead to the House Gallery there is a stain that will not come out—even though it has been cleaned countless times. 

This stain is the blood of William Taulbee, a former congressman from Kentucky who in 1890 got in a fight with a newspaper reporter, Charles Kincaid. It is said the two argued over some negative articles that Kincaid had published about Taulbee. Kincaid pulled out a gun and shot and killed Taulbee. 

Legend states that whenever a reporter trips on these stairs it is the ghost of William Taulbee taking revenge.

*  John Quincy Adams is unique in that he served eight terms in the U.S. House of Representatives after he was president.

No comments: