anne mikolay 2012 120

anne mikolay 2012 120Do you know which house in our great country is said to be the most haunted? Is it the Amityville House on Long Island, the scene of the 1974 DeFeo murders? Is it the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California ,with its twisted stairs and doors to nowhere? Perhaps it’s Louisiana’s Myrtles Plantation, where a vengeful slave supposedly murdered her master’s wife and daughters.

The answer is: none of the above.

Allegedly, the most haunted house in America is, not surprisingly, the White House. Apparently, our forefathers are quite possessive of their former abode and refuse to leave. The list of witnesses to ghostly visitors at the White House lends credence to the tales and includes, among others: Presidents Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Dwight Eisenhower; First Ladies Grace Coolidge, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Lady Bird Johnson; Winston Churchill, President Reagan’s daughter, Maureen, and President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan. They can’t all be imagining things, so exactly who is haunting the White House?

Anna Surratt, daughter of Mary Surratt, who was hanged in July, 1865 for her part in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, has been sited sitting on the White House steps or pounding on the door, begging for a stay of execution for her mother, as she reportedly did in 1865. Anna is not the only historical figure repeating the actions performed in life. First Lady Abigail Adams has been seen with outstretched arms, as if carrying a laundry basket, which she commonly did in her day. First Lady Dolley Madison allegedly appeared to White House gardeners, refusing to allow them to tear up the beautiful rose garden she planted during her time in Washington. President Andrew Jackson has been seen and heard laughing and swearing. The most commonly seen White House apparition, however, is that of Abraham Lincoln, who apparently doesn’t realize the room in which he conducted meetings during his administration, the same room he favors post-life, is now a bedroom appropriately called the “Lincoln Bedroom.” Of all the White House spirits, old Abe has the best sense of humor, according to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. While staying at the White House, Churchill took a long bath and walked naked into the adjoining bedroom where he reportedly found Abraham Lincoln standing at the fireplace. The Prime Minister was not flustered and said, “Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage.” Lincoln allegedly smiled before disappearing.

Where can the White House spirits be found? Apparently, everywhere. The attic and basement are said to be the most haunted locations in the house, as well as the Rose Garden and Rose Room, the second floor hallways and bedrooms, the Yellow Oval Room, the North Portico, the East Room, and the Lincoln Bedroom. Little wonder President Harry Truman once wrote these words to his wife: “the damned place is haunted, sure as shootin’.”


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Until Ghost Hunters or Ghostbusters confirm the White House other-worldly shenanigans, we’ll just have to take Harry’s word for it.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...