We Uncovered and Ranked the Five Spookiest Places in the District of Columbia
Put on your ghoul masks and gorge on that 3-lb candy bag you probably shouldn’t have purchased from Walgreens, because Halloween is here! With the arrival of this Fall holiday, we’re exploring the top 5 most haunted places in D.C. These are the most famous places that have brought historians, tourists, and insane asylum patients all together to agree that something wicked frequents these homes.
Top 5 Haunted Places in D.C.
5. Old Stone House
Considered Washington’s oldest structure and still located on its original foundation, this 254-year old home houses an “exceptionally large number of spirits, residents and visitors claim.” While we can delve into the laughter from invisible children running the halls or the half-dozen colonial-era ghosts hanging near the staircase, the malevolent spirit that brings the horror is the one they call George. Known for his knack for choking and the “intense feeling of dread” he posits on his victims, George has become one of the more famous ghosts of D.C. His hauntings have even become so popular, a short crime story called “The Blonde in Black” tells of his torment.
But how good is he at massages, we wonder.
4. Woodrow Wilson House
For those who were hanging in the back parking lot instead of attending American History class, Woodrow Wilson was the United States’ 28th President. On September 26th, 1919, during his second term while travelling in Wichita, Kansas, Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke and was immediately rushed to Washington D.C. His condition worsened to the point that he needed special accommodations. This led to him and his wife purchasing 2340 S. Street NW.
When he died, his wife willed the home to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. However, while the Wilsons may have departed this home, Woodrow’s spirit continues to haunt it. Many staff and visitors have claimed to have seen President Wilson sobbing in the corner while sitting in his famed rocking chair. Poor dude, if you ask us.
3. Walsh Mansion
The Walsh Mansion, located in Dupont Circle, was built by immigrant Thomas F. Walsh in 1903. His daughter, Evalyn Walsh, took ownership with her husband after her father’s death. She would go on to incur significant debt, leaving her almost penniless at her death.
To cover her debts after her death, the Walsh Mansion was sold to the Indonesian Government to be used as their embassy. However, while the Indonesian government took over, Evalyn did not leave. Her ghost has been seen countless times gliding down the grand central staircase, and another naked-bodied spectral has been seen within the mansion as well.
These spirits have sparked debate surrounding the cursed Hope Diamond she received as a gift from her husband back in 1910. People believe the curse may be what held her in this ethereal form, forcing all the good Indonesian Ambassadors to fear for their safety until the end of days.
2. The Octagon House
The Octagon House is considered one of the most haunted places in all the U.S. There have been unworldly sightings throughout the household that have been supported by countless eyewitnesses, both employees and visitors. However, the eeriest and most consistent spirit dweller has been none other than John Tayloe III.
His granddaughter recorded in an unpublished manuscript that "The bells rang for a long time after my Grandfather Tayloe's death, and everyone said that the house was haunted; the wires were cut and still they rang… Our dining room servant would come upstairs to ask if anyone rang the bell, and no one had."
Even furthermore, Mary Clemmer Ames has also confirmed "It is an authenticated fact, that every night at the same hour, all the bells would ring at once. One gentleman, dining with Colonel Tayloe, when this mysterious ringing began, being an unbeliever in mysteries, and a very powerful man, jumped up and caught the bell wires in his hand, but only to be lifted bodily from the floor, while he was unsuccessful in stopping the ringing. Some declare...that rats were the ghosts who rung the bells. Among other remedies, had been previously tried that of exorcism, but the prayers of the priest who had been summoned availed nought."
Fortunately, the owners of the Octagon House took a hint and destroyed the bells, and since then have not heard a peep from Old Man Tayloe. However, it hasn’t stopped his offspring or the hostess with the mostess Dolley Madison from haunting the place.
1. The White House
There is no haunted place more well known in the District of Columbia than the White House. The amount of paranormal activity would send Jason Hawes into a tissy fit. Here is a list of famous ghosts residing inside the President’s Palace.
- Abraham Lincoln: The alleged apparition of our 16th President has been seen for over 100 years. A multitude of presidents, First Ladies, and foreign ambassadors have spotted Lincoln or heard his “rappings” on doors. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands even heard a knock on the door. When she went to answer it, she was greeted by the President. She promptly fainted.
- Willie Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son died of Typhoid in the White House. Witnesses have sighted the boy throughout the years, most notably Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter’s famed conversation with the ghost.
- Thomas Jefferson: Since his death, people have reported Jefferson playing his violin in the Yellow Oval Room.
- Andrew Jackson: Last seen lying in his old bed. Apparently, his “guttural laugh” has been haunting the White House since the 1860s. Mary Todd Lincoln was none too pleased.
- William Henry Harrison: He likes to linger in the attic for reasons unbeknownst to us.
- John Tyler: President Tyler was last seen in the Blue Room doing who knows what. Maybe he’s been hanging out with Grover Cleveland’s wife, but we’re not into that 19th-century gossip.
Have a spooky story of an open house or listing that turned out to be a terror? Share it with us! We'd love to hear your scary tales of haunted homes.
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