Famous Ghosts in The White House

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Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, the White House was designed by Irish born, James Hoban under instruction of George Washington. Washington selected the site, oversaw construction, but never lived in the White House. Originally, the White house was known as The Presidential Palace.

After the 1812 burning, the White House was whitewashed to cover the smoke stains. In 1901 Theodore Roosevelt gave it the official name as ‘The White House’. John Adams was the first president to live in White House. In 1814, the British tried to burn it during the war but the house survived. It also survived another fire in 1829. According to president Truman said the house was haunted as sure as ‘Shooting’.

Kennedy’s press secretary James Haggerty sensed presence of Lincoln’s Ghost in it. Clinton’s press secretary Mike McCurry believed in its being haunted. The White House is on the list of Time Magazine’s Top Ten Haunted Places, and also on the NY Daily News List of the Most Haunted Places on Earth. All the American presidents live in white house during their term or terms in office. The people who died in the White House include;  First Lady Letitia Tyler, President Taylor, President Lincoln’s young son Willie Lincoln, First Lady Caroline Harrison, First Lady Ellen Wilson and President Grant’s father-in-law, Frederick Dent.

1. Lincoln and Willie Lincoln

William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln
William “Willie” Wallace Lincoln

Partnered with is wife during his term in office, Abraham Lincoln conducted many séances in the Green Room. He did so in order to contact the spirit of his son Willie, who died there. A medium of Daniel Webster, during such a meeting, advised Lincoln to make efforts to free the slaves. In 1863 a ghost Charles Shockle visited the White House and performed levitation. A medium S.Gram reportedly conversed with the ghost of young Willie Lincoln. Lincoln was the mystic leader of Americans. He was gifted with some extraordinary spiritual powers. He dreamed about his assassination on the day of his assassination. Queen Wilhelmina of Netherlands was staying at the White House as guest when she heard a knock at the door, and on opening saw the ghost of Lincoln and fainted. Nobody was there when she came to her senses.

2. Anne Surratt

Mary Surratt
Mary Surratt

Mary Surratt was a boarding house owner. She was born to Archibald and Elizabeth Anne Jenkins in Waterloo, Maryland on May 1820. Mary Surratt was executed by hanging, on July 7, 1865 on charges of treason, conspiracy and plotting murder of President Abram Lincoln. She has been seen stamping the floor of the White House. Her daughter is seen there on July 7th, the day of her mother’s execution. Residents of H. Street Apartments (where her mother lived) have reported moaning sounds for many years.

3. Dorothea Paine ‘Dolley’ Madison

Dorothea Paine 'Dolley' Madison
Dorothea Paine ‘Dolley’ Madison

The Rose Garden is one of the most salient and attractive features of the White House. Bordering the Oval Office and the West Wing of the White House, the rose Garden measures 38 meters x 18 meters. Dorothea Paine – ‘Dolly’- wife of President James Madison planted the original Rose Garden, but First Lady Ellen Louis Wilson ordered the garden dug up. Workmen reported that Dolly’s ghost appeared in the garden and asked them to refrain from any such activity, whereupon nobody dared to dig up.

4. William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison

William Harrison was born on February 9, 1773. He was the last president born before the United States Declaration of Independence, and the first president to die in his shortest term- being only 30 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes. Just three weeks after inauguration Harrison caught a common cold which developed into Pneumonia and then pleurisy. His doctors tried opium, castor oil, Virginia Snake wood oil, and other medicines, but his condition worsened and he died on April4, 1841 at 12:30 AM. His last words, spoken to doctor ( and assumed to be directed to John Tyler) were, ‘Sir, I wish you to understand the true principles of the government. I wish them carried out. I ask nothing more.’ The ghost of Henry Harrison is seen, searching out things in disorderly fashion and the motive behind it is not known.

5. Demon Cat

White House

Demon Cat is the ghost of an all black cat of average domestic cat size, but on being seen, chased or challenged enlarges to the size of a fully grown adult tiger. It appears in the White House basement before various tragic events. It appeared before the assassinations of John F.Kennedy and President Abraham Lincoln. It is said that the cat was brought to control the rats and while many other cats left the basement Crypt of the Capitol, originally the intended site for burial of President George Washington, the Demon Cat remained there. The last official sighting of the Demon Cat was in 1940.

6. Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the Unites States. She was born in Weymouth, Province of Massachusetts Bay on November 22, 1744. She died in Quincy, Massachusetts on October 28, 1818 at the age of 73. She is known for her intellectual letters written to the President John Adams, at times extending advice on political matters, while he was in office. Construction of White House was not yet complete in her time and Abigail Adams was constrained to spread her laundry on the line in comparatively warmer and drier East Room for drying. Abigail’s ghost is the oldest ghost which visits the White House. Her ghost is seen drying the laundry in the East Room.

7. Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States. He was born in Waxhaw’s, British America on March 15, 1767 and died in Nashville, Tennessee on June 8, 1845 at the age of 78. On account of his tough and aggressive personality, he was nicknamed ‘Old Hickory’. Andrew Jackson’s ghost is said to haunt the White House. Mary Todd Lincoln encountered the ghost swearing up a storm in 1865. The ghost was heard laughing in his former bed room in 1930. Lillian Park, the seamstress of White House reported his presence leaning over her while she was hemming a bed sheet in 1950. Lyndon Johnson’s aide heard the ghost of Andrew Jackson in his room in 1964.

8. The unknown Ghost

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama

In the Los Angeles Times of April 23, 2009 an observation by the current occupants of the presidential residence, First Lady Michelle Obama has been quoted to have told something interesting to the visiting school children. Under the caption’, ‘Is the white House haunted? Michelle Obama reports strange things’, Los Angeles Times  wrote, ‘The president’s wife told the youngsters a strange story. It seems that in the last 10 days or so she and her husband, President Barack Obama, have been awakened from a sound sleep in the middle of the night. It happened just last night.’

9. A British Soldier

British burn the White House
British burn the White House

It is said that a British soldier in a red coat and with a torch is seen walking mysteriously in the lawns of the White House in night. When the British soldiers tried to put the While House on fire in 1812, many of them were shot dead. It is considered that the observed presence is the ghost of a British soldier from the lot who is still trying to accomplish the mission. The British not only tried to burn the White House, but also burned the library of congress.

10.  David Burns

Ghosts of the White House
Ghosts of the White House

David Burns was the owner of the property the White House is located. It was donated by him for this purpose. A distinguishing feature of David Burn’s ghost is that he is one of the oldest ghosts of the White House. At least two incidents about the presence of his ghost are on record. Ceasar Carrera heard the ghost in the Yellow Room saying, ‘I’m Mr. Burns’. A guard in the Truman Presidency similarly heard the ghost saying’ ‘I’m Mr. Burns’.


‘Seeing is believing’ but much depends also upon who saw or reported the occurrence. Credibility of a report is directly influenced by the credibility of the reporter. Most famous people lived and live in the White House and the credibility of the white house being a haunted place, is from them as they verified the presence of ghosts in it. Truman said the house was haunted as sure as ‘Shooting’. Kennedy’s press secretary James Haggerty sensed presence of Lincoln’s Ghost in it. Clinton’s press secretary Mike McCurry believed in its being haunted. The White House is on the list of Time Magazine’s Top Ten Haunted Places and also on the NY Daily News List of the Most Haunted Places on Earth.


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