The White House

White House / CC BY-ND 2.0

Construction for the White House began in October 1792 and was overseen by President George Washington. The first president to live there was John Adams. It has survived two fires, one in 1814 when the British attempted to burn it down during the War of 1812, and another in 1929. It was given the official name as the "White House" by Theodore Roosevelt in 1901. It is also one of the most famous haunted houses in the world.

What makes the White House's hauntings so notorious is not only the famous people believed to haunt it, but the famous people who have reported having experienced the ghosts. It is their reputations, and not the result of paranormal investigations, that lend credibility to the haunting. Despite never having been investigated by a single paranormal group, it still makes most people's lists of the most haunted spots in the United States including Time magazine's Top 10 Haunted Places and NY Daily News's list of the Most Haunted Places on Earth.

Summary of the Haunting

Lincoln Sightings

Lincoln's spirit remains in Washington in the policies he enacted while in office, the beliefs he held or the hearts and memories of the politicians who still serve there. His spirit also seems to reside at the White House, most commonly in the room that bears his name, the Lincoln Bedroom. Lincoln used this room as a office (as did most presidents before the West Wing and Oval Office was constructed in 1902). The room is now a bedroom and features a bed purchased by Mary Todd Lincoln in 1861.

The room has housed many dignitaries, including Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who visited the White House during World War II. During the night, she was awoken by the sound of someone knocking on her door. She arose and opened the door, only to see the ghostly figure of Abraham Lincoln. The queen fell into a faint on the floor. When she awoke, Lincoln was gone. Several presidents also reported hearing rapping on their doors including Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman only to be confronted with empty space when they responded.

Winston Churchill is also rumored to have seen Lincoln's ghost. One night he returned to the Lincoln Bedroom to see Lincoln leaning against the mantle above the fireplace. Churchill, who had not bothered to redress after taking a bath, stated, "Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage." Lincoln simply smiled and vanished. After that, Churchill refused to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom whenever he visited.

A housekeeper who worked at the White House for Franklin Roosevelt named Mary Evan claims to have seen Lincoln pulling on his boots in one of the rooms. She responded by running screaming down the stairs. Other people who have claimed to have seen Lincoln's ghost include First Lady Grace Coolidge, Maureen Reagan, daughter of President Ronald Reagan along with many of the people who work at the White House. According to Capricia Marshall, President Bill Clinton's White House social secretary, "A high percentage of people who work here won't go in the Lincoln Bedroom." Eleanor Roosevelt and Carl Sandburg both reported feeling Lincoln's presence in the White House, although they never admitted to see his ghost."

Paranormal Investigations

I have yet to discover any paranormal investigations that have been done at the White House.

Books and Articles


Ghost Tours

The White House is closed to the public, but requests for private self-guided tours can be submitted through one's Member of Congress.

For More Information

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1414