The White House

Posted on October 4, 2019

The White House is one of the most iconic locations in the United States. It is recognized world-wide. Most people associate the White House with the running of the country. However, it can be a frightening place. And that is not even counting the politicians.

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The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States. He uses it for both his home and his work space. The current design of the White House consists of several different wings.  The parts of the White House are the Executive Residence, East Wing, West Wing, and the Eisenhower Executive Office building. There is also the Blair House which is used as a guest residence.

It is interesting to note that only 44 out of 45 presidents actually lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. George Washington did not live at the house he commissioned to be built. The site for the White House was chosen by George Washington in 1791 and the cornerstone was laid by 1792.The design for the White House was chosen in a competition and the winner was James Hoban, an Irish born architect. After eight long years for construction at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, President John Adams and his wife, Abigail became the first to occupy the White House. The couple moved into the house in 1800 even though it still was not completed. The British set fire to the White House during the War of 1812. Once again, James Hoban was selected to rebuild the house. President James Monroe was able to move into the White House in 1817. It was during Monroe’s tenure that the South Portico was constructed in 1824. President Andrew Jackson over saw the addition of the North Portico in 1829.Although during the 19th century several proposals were made to add on to the White House, none of those plans were ever selected.

Would you believe the 1600 Pennsylvania is actually home to a haunted house? There are many who believe that the White House is haunted. There are many theories as to who’s spirit is floating around. Many people believe that Dolly Madison is a spirit that haunts this famous address, although she died almost 200 years ago. And there are thoughts as to other souls that linger at the White House.

What Spirits Are Said to Linger at the White House?

Over the years many visitors and dignitaries have reported paranormal activity at the White House. There is a list of sightings that people have claimed to experience.

It has been said that Abraham Lincoln appears in both the Lincoln Bedroom and the Yellow Oval Room. This sighting has been reported by First Lady Grace Coolidge, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

Willie Lincoln, the son of President Lincoln, sadly died in the White House. Staff of President Grant reported seeing his spirit in the 1870’s.

Another reported ghost sighting is that of President Andrew Jackson. He is usually in his bed at the time, which was in the Rose Room. He can be heard having deep laughs. Mary Todd Lincoln actually claimed that she heard him stomping his feet and swearing. President Jackson’s antics have been happening since the 1860’s.

Other Reported Paranormal Activity at the White House

From 1862-1863 Mary Todd Lincoln began to have seances in the Red Room. She did this because she was distraught over her son’s death. This activity was popular at the time since it was the height of the Civil War. People used seances as a way to grieve for their loved ones.

Jeremiah Jerry Smith worked at the White House under President Grant starting in the late 1860’s. He worked as a footman. He was also a butler, cook, doorman, and official duster. He kept these jobs until his retirement in the early 1900’s. Smith was an avid storyteller and he is reported to have seen the ghosts of Presidents Lincoln, Grant, McKinley, as well as several first ladies.

A less commonly talked about spirit is an unidentified 15-year old boy called the Thing. The Thing caused great terror among the staff during President Taft’s time in office.  In fact, the military aide to Taft, wrote a letter to his sister telling her about the ghost. He said “The ghost, it seems, is a young boy about fourteen or fifteen years old . . . They say that the first knowledge one has of the presence of the Thing is a slight pressure on the shoulder, as if someone were leaning over your shoulder to see what you might be doing.” At one point President Taft told his staff that the first one to repeat stories about the Thing would be fired.

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More Paranormal Activity at the White House

President Thomas Jefferson is said to haunt the White House. His spirit is said to be playing the violin in the Yellow Oval Room. The spirit of Dolly Madison is reported to protect the Rose Garden. And the Blue Room is apparently haunted by President Tyler, proposing to his second wife Julia Gardner.

The attic of the White House is apparently haunted by President Harrison. Harrison was the first president to pass away in the White House. Abigail Adams liked to hang her laundry to dry in the East Room. Staff today say that they can smell wet laundry and lavender.

One of the more famous spirits to take up residence in the White House is the ghost of Anna Surratt. She is there banging on doors and asking to see President Jackson. It is said that she is begging for pardon for her mother Mary. Mary Surratt was one of the Lincoln assassination conspirators.

Other Notable Spirits That Reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

History notes that the spirit of David Burnes can be seen on the grounds of the White House. David Burnes was the original owner of the land that the white House was built on. His spirit is typically seen and heard in the Yellow Oval Room.

Another poor soul that roams the grounds of the White House is an unnamed British soldier. He died during the War of 1812 and still walks the grounds today carrying a torch.


The White House is arguably one of the most iconic buildings in the world. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is an address that is known around the globe. This structure has an enduring history and legacy attached to it. In fact, sometimes the history is so emotional that spirits cannot bear to leave.

Visiting Washington DC is a must see tourist spot. There are countless museums and building to see. These places tell the story of American history. In fact, all US citizens should visit Washington DC. Today, DC is a vibrant and thriving city. It is home to the arts and entertainment, great shops and restaurants and many colleges.

And of course, Washington DC continues to be the hub of American politics. And that can be a scary sight too! It is worthwhile to visit the Lincoln Memorial and visit the Rotunda.

If you are really up for a fright, you can also check out some of the other haunted walking trails throughout the city. Washington, DC is home to many different neighborhoods and they all have their own ghost stories and hauntings.

There are walking tours of the haunted areas of DC and the White House. You will start out in Lafayette Square, which is also known as Tragedy Square. It is a great chance to learn about the violent deaths that have left spirits in their wake. These tours are also a great opportunity to learn about the many affairs, duels and scandals that have taken place in this historic city over the years.