The world-famous office (and residence) of the President of the United States – a site of numerous landmark political events and home to some of history’s most important and interesting figures.
But did you know that the White House is perhaps one of the most haunted places in the United States?
In this article we will be covering a handful of haunted White House stories recorded over the years – specific areas that supposedly attract powerful paranormal reactions…
The White House Attic
The White House attic is thought to be haunted by the shortest-serving president in history – William Henry Harrison.
The unfortunate president actually died in the famous building not more than a month after his inauguration (pneumonia).
Apparently, several modern-day presidents have experienced sounds of an individual rummaging through the attic contents – looking for something unknown. Guards have also been sent up to check the area out on various occasions.
These subsequent residents all believe that this is the ghost of William Henry Harrison.
But Harrison is apparently not alone up there – in Truman’s era, a close protection guard reported a ghostly voice stating “I am David Burns”.
Historic research tells us that David Burns was the man that owned the land that the White House was originally built on. He didn’t want to sell it – but was forced to by the government at the time!
The White House Rose Garden Location
A lot of famous presidential announcements have taken place in the White House rose garden location. It was originally planted by First Lady Dolley Madison in the early 1800’s.
When First Lady Ellen Wilson moved into the residence, more than a century later, she didn’t particularly take to this area of the garden, and requested that it be dug up and changed.
The workers and gardeners were brought in…but stopped working within hours of starting!
They all claimed that Madison’s angry ghost had appeared to them as soon as they cut into the earth – she was there to stop them from damaging her beloved rose garden.
The White House Basement Ghost
The White House basement ghost seems to be a much more sinister entity – a reported demon cat!
There have been numerous paranormal reports over the years that claim the cat first appears as a cute little kitten, but as you get closer to it…it becomes a larger and larger phantom beast.
The cat has been linked to many events over time – people now believe that the appearance of the demon cat serves as a warning of a great national disaster.
The White House Yellow Oval Room
When president Lincoln was in office, the White House Yellow Oval Room acted as his own personal library – he spent A LOT of time in there.
Over the years, numerous White House employees have reported glimpsing the ghost of Lincoln, gazing out the windows of this room. First Lady Grace Coolidge also came forward and admitted she had encountered the former president’s spirit in the room.
It has also been noted that the ghosts of both Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Tyler have appeared in this former library.
The White House North Portico
The spirit of a lady named Anne Surratt is said to haunt the White House North Portico. Surrat’s mother, Mary, was executed in 1865 for her role in the Lincoln assassination.
Surrat’s specter is often seen banging on the North Portico doors, pleading for her mother’s release and pardon. Some witnesses have even seen her ghost on the front steps every July the 7th – the anniversary of her mother’s execution.
The Lincoln Bedroom Ghost
Often referred to as ‘the most haunted room in the White House’. Winston Churchill famously encountered the Lincoln Bedroom ghost after he had emerged from the bath – it was standing beside the fireplace.
Churchill was so shaken up the following morning, he refused to ever go in the room again.
The presidential children, Susan Ford and Maureen Reagan, also reported seeing the ghost of Lincoln standing in the exact spot that Churchill described.
Stretching 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail covers some of the most rugged and stunningly beautiful country in the United States.
Winding its way over mountains and valleys, it is beloved by hikers keen to experience the peace and solitude of the wilderness.
Leaving the hurly-burly of everyday life behind them, thousands travel here each year keen to immerse themselves in the stunning scenery and be at one with nature.
Steeped in supernatural mythology and history, this wild untamed territory is also rich in paranormal events.
Camping beneath a canopy of stars or bunking down in the isolated cabins dotted along the trail, visitors to the area have lately taken up an old tradition.
Like the generations of pioneers that came to tame this land, on ink black evenings with only the light of a fire to illuminate their campsite, they recount the terrifying tales of the ghosts of the Appalachian Trail.
In a land once inhabited by Native American Indians and later the pioneering Scotch Irish, story-telling is woven into the very soul of the Appalachian Mountains.
Isolated, forbidding and harsh beyond belief, to sit around a warm crackling fire on a cold winter’s evening and tell tales from the past must have been deeply comforting.
For the pioneers 3,000 miles from a homeland they would never see again, stirring up the ghosts of their old lives must have been a way of preserving their proud history.
Tales were shared between family members and neighbors, tales of spirits past, phantoms and specters.
In time new ghosts replaced the old, the tales of the American Indians and the Scotch Irish became entwined and a thousand new ghost stories were born.
The Great Smoky Mountains: North Carolina
The tale of Spearfinger has been used to terrify the children of North Carolina for centuries. With her origins in the stories of the Cherokee Indians, you would not want to meet this old hag on your travels.
Spearfinger is reported to be a witch-like character who can take on the gentle persona of a kindly grandmother.
Roaming the highest peaks of the Smoky Mountains, she is on the lookout for unsuspecting children who have wandered away from their parents.
Lost, alone and terrified she lures children to her by promising to return them to her parents. Once she has caught her unsuspecting victims, Spearfinger rocks and sings them to sleep.
When they are unconscious, the wicked Spearfinger uses a finger as sharp as stone to gouge out the livers of her poor victims, before greedily devouring her prize.
Fortunately, Spearfinger is not the only ghost roaming the area, hikers who have found themselves lost near Norton Creek have reported a kindly ghost who helps and guides them on their way.
Big Ridge State Park: Tennessee
Deep in the forest of Big Ridge State Park, the crumbling ruins of an old homestead can still be seen. Once the home of the Hutchinson family, visitors to the area report disturbing paranormal activity around the decaying building.
During the latter part of the nineteenth century, the daughter of the household, Mary, became gravely ill. One evening a group of neighbors decided to visit the sick girl, concerned for her welfare.
As they walked the trail to the isolated homestead they heard a dog running towards them. Lifting up their lanterns in the fading evening light they were bewildered when they could see no sign of the animal.
Eventually, the group continued to the house and arrived some time later. Sadly, they were not in time to say goodbye to the dying child.
Mary had passed away at the precise time that the visitors had heard the dog in the forest. To this day, the sound of a dog crying and running frantically through the trees can be heard in the area around the ruined house.
Crampton’s Gap, Fox’s Gap and Spook Hill: Maryland
Like many sites across North America, Maryland saw many battles during the American Civil War. In 1862 three battles were fought over the strategic passes of Compton’s and Fox’s Gap on the Appalachian Trail.
After many lives were lost the confederates retreated, leaving behind a scene of bloodshed and carnage.
Visitors to the area have since reported ghost soldiers, camp fires and the sound of canon fire. Travel a few miles away to Spook Hill and you may experience another strange paranormal phenomenon.
After suffering their heavy defeat, the confederates decided to destroy their canons so they would not fall into enemy hands.
Pushing them up Spook Hill, the canons were dismantled and destroyed at the top. Visitors to the area report that if you turn off the engine of your car on Spook Hill, ghostly hands will push your car uphill.
Sprinkle the trunk of your car with a little flour and you may even discover the hand prints of a long dead confederate soldier impressed upon it.
The battle at Fox’s Gap took place partly on the farm of a man called Daniel Wise. Returning to his house after the battle was over, he discovered his property littered with the decaying bodies of hundreds of soldiers.
The union army keen to move on paid wise $5 for each body he buried on his land. Unfortunately 58 bodies were not given a proper burial, but tossed down an old well.
Whether or not it was the decision of Daniel Wise or an act committed by the army immediately after the battle, it is not known.
Rumor has it that the sound of the 58 bodies being thrown down the well can still be heard on Daniel Wise’s property to this day.
Bluff Mountain and the Punchbowl Shelter: Virginia
The saddest of all spirits haunts the area around the Punchbowl Shelter on Bluff Mountain, the ghost of a four year old boy.
Commemorated on a plaque in the area, the story of Ottie Cline Powell is a tragic one.
In the winter of 1891 four year old Ottie was gathering kindling in the yard of his tiny school, when he followed his older brothers deep into the dark woods that surrounded the building.
Chided by his older brothers and told to return to the safety of the schoolyard, the tiny child wandered in the wrong direction and was lost.
Despite a frantic search of the forest, no trace of Ottie was found until the following April when his little body was discovered by hunters. It is thought he died of exposure on the night he was lost.
Hikers who take advantage of the Punchbowl Shelter often report seeing or hearing a little boy in the area who disappears as suddenly as he appears.
Dudleytown, Connecticut is often called the Village of the Damned because of its unfortunate history.
Founded by the descendants of Edmund Dudley who was beheaded for treason by Henry VIII, the land and the family are said to be cursed.
Built in the eighteenth century and abandoned in the nineteenth century little remains of the settlement. Past residents are reported to have gone insane whilst others committed suicide after believing they were possessed by demons.
Visitors to the area have reported seeing strange lights and orbs as well as an eerie absence of birds and other wildlife.
Tyrone Forge: Pennsylvania
Many years ago, two young men went out hunting on the ridge above an old railroad at Tyrone Forge. After a day’s hunting the two men tired and hungry followed the tracks as they made their way home.
One man carried a small lantern to light the way while the other walked behind carrying his rifle in the crook of his arm. As they made their way along the track the second man tripped on a sleeper and discharged his weapon.
Shockingly, the power of the shot decapitated the first young man. On dark nights a faint but unexplained light can be seen bobbing on the mountain above Tyrone Forge.
Locals to the area swear it is the spirit of the poor unfortunate young man who lost his head and cannot rest in peace until he discovers it again.
The Sarver Cabin: Virginia
Remote and inaccessible, only the most determined of hikers make their way up to The Sarver Cabin in Virginia. Built by Henry Sarver in the 1850’s, his family lived here until they eventually abandoned the property in the 1930’s.
Until recently the little house where the family lived remained largely intact. However, in the 1990’s it collapsed.
Now all that remains is the shell of the building, the old stone fireplace and the little cemetery where the bodies of the family were laid to rest.
Those who make the long trek up to the old property to camp overnight have reported being awoken from their sleep by a ghost called George.
It is not known whether George is a member of the Sarver family or not.
Whoever George is he clearly doesn’t mind guests staying over but be sure to be up and on your way early or you may get a nasty awakening.
Mammoth Cave: Kentucky
Described as the largest haunted place in the world, the spectacular Mammoth Cave lies deep within the forests of Kentucky.
Inside, thousands of passages lead to caverns and grottos many of which have never been investigated.
For 12,000 years humans have sought shelter in the cave or used it as a burial place for the dead. Mined for saltpetre in the eighteenth century, it later became an attraction for visitors keen to investigate the Haunted Chambers and the Bottomless Pit.
Dark and spooky, those that have entered the cave have reported strange lights, orbs, disembodied voices, unexplained footsteps and ghostly encounters.
In the strange cavernous depths of this natural phenomenon it would be easy to explain paranormal events as the imaginings of an over active imagination.
There is just one problem with this theory though, many of the experiences reported in the cave have been made by geologists, scientists and park rangers, not people easily deceived or fooled.
The Appalachian Trail must surely have a ghost story for each of its two thousand miles. Along its route you will discover abandoned homesteads, battlefields, cemeteries, sites of murder and strange geological formations.
Woven into these and the natural but often desolate beauty of the land are tales of death, loss and sadness.
Inspired by the rich story telling culture of those who made their homes here, the ghosts of the Appalachian Trail are more than a work of fiction or a tale to be told on a dark stormy night.
They are a testament to the American Indians and Scotch Irish pioneers who came and made their lives in this unconquerable wilderness, their history recorded forever in the stories and tales passed on from person to person to person, hiker to hiker.
From Gettysburg to New Orleans, there are many mysterious tales of ghosts of the American Civil War. The battles of the American Civil War caused an enormous loss of life and it was the bloodiest war in the country’s history.
It is no wonder that there are so many stories of ghosts who have stuck around the battlefields and farmhouses long after the war has finished…
Devil’s Den at Gettysburg
Gettysburg is known as one of the most haunted places in the United States. The battle was the bloodiest of the Civil War, and was the first of many important wins for the Union.
There are numerous stories of ghost sightings on the battlefield itself and throughout the town, where many of the homes were used as makeshift hospitals throughout the battle.
The most famous haunted spot on the battlefield is Devil’s Den. No one is quite sure how the spot got it’s name and there are rumors of it being haunted even long before the battle of Gettysburg.
During the battle Devil’s Den was the site of some of the most intense skirmishes. The tall rocks and large crevices provided many hiding spots for soldiers.
At one point the Confederates took it from the Union soldiers, but eventually lost it when they were ultimately defeated in battle.
After the battle was finished, soldiers described the rocks as being covered in spilled blood and broken bodies. Since that day, visitors have reported all kinds of strange sightings and sounds.
While Devil’s Den is the most famous haunted spot in Gettysburg, there are many more. If you were to visit Gettysburg today, you could take any one of the numerous ‘after dark’ ghost hunting tours that are offered.
Some visitors have even reported seeing reenactments at the battlefield only to later be informed there were no reenactments that day.
Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park
Chickamauga Battlefield, located near Chattanooga, is said to be haunted by “Ol’ Green Eyes,” a Confederate soldier who had his head taken off by a cannonball during the battle.
Old Green Eyes has reportedly been seen in ghostly form wandering the battlefield in search of his body. In other stories, visitors have reported seeing him in the form of a half man, half beast with glowing green eyes.
Edward Tinney, a longtime Chickamauga park ranger, spoke of visitors seeing a mysterious “Lady in White” who had been spotted on the battlefield in frantic search for her husband.
It may be no coincidence that Chickamuaga is an old Cherokee word meaning “River of Death.”
Antietam Battlefield, located outside Sharpsburg, Maryland, is the site of the battle which holds the morbid distinction of having the most casualties and deaths in one day.
A country road became the centerpiece for a skirmish between Confederate rifle men and a small group of soldiers known as the “Irish Brigade.”
The road is now known as “Bloody Lane” and phantom gunfire and battle shouts have been heard near the road.
Many soldiers were reportedly buried in the area near Burnside Bridge, and afterward visitors reported seeing blue balls of light moving around the area and hearing a fading drumbeat.
Down in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans sits the Beauregard-Keyes House. The residence once belonged to Confederate General Pierre Gustave Touting Beauregard and his second wife Caroline Deslonde.
There are stories of an entire regiment of soldiers along with the ghost of Beauregard himself reenacting the Battle of Shiloh, where they were defeated.
Although the battle took place in Tennessee, there are tales of seeing injured and bloody soldiers engaged in battle.
Kolb’s Farm was a small area of houses outside of Marietta, Georgia. In 1864, the area experienced a small skirmish between Confederate and Union soldiers.
Eventually much of the housing was torn down and replaced. One of the couples living in these homes, James and Katherine Tatum were often visited by the ghosts of the battle.
The Tatums stated that they repeatedly saw a man dressed in the garb of a Civil War soldier walking around the house.
These are just a few of the most famous stories of ghosts of the American Civil War, there are many more. If you plan to visit any Civil War battlefield, there’s a good chance you’ll hear rumors of a ghost who has remained behind.
Gettysberg, a name forever carved in American history. An ordinary run of the mill American town in Pennsylvania until the events of 1st to the 3rd July 1863.
During this fateful period Union and Confederate forces collided in what was one of the pivotal moments of the civil war. At the end of the three days 7,500 men were dead and the blood soaked battlefields of Gettysberg enshrined in history.
Visited by thousands each year, Gettysberg has become famous for another reason. The area has become rich in paranormal activity with many reporting ghostly experiences.
Is this area haunted by the souls of those who lost their lives in that terrible battle? Here are just a few true Gettysberg ghost stories…
The ghost of George Washington is possibly one of the first recorded hauntings at Gettysberg. Many years before in 1777 he is said to have reported a terrible premonition of the future to his aides.
The premonition was so vivid it was recorded in writing. Some believe that at least part of this premonition was a vision of the Battle of Gettysberg.
The story becomes even stranger. On approaching the Gettysberg area on the first day of battle, the 20th Maine Division of the Union Army came to a fork in the road. Unsure which path to take, the division led by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, hesitated.
At that moment a rider wearing old fashioned clothes, a tricorn hat and riding a magnificent white horse approached. He guided the soldiers along the path to a strategically advantageous area, known as Little Round Top.
The rider stayed with the Union soldiers throughout the ensuing battle. Both Union and Confederate soldiers reported that the rider emanated an eerie glow and seemed impervious to gunfire or cannon shot.
So many soldiers were convinced that the ghost of George Washington himself had been present during the fateful battle, that a formal investigation was undertaken by the Secretary of War.
Little Round Top
Little Round Top became one of the strategic areas during the Battle of Gettysberg. A small rocky hill, the site was successfully defended from the attack of confederate soldiers.
Visitors to the area report hearing gun and cannon fire. One of the most bizarre and unexplained incidents though took place during the filming of the movie Gettysberg.
During a break in filming a group of extras dressed in army uniforms, took a break. Whilst they were resting they were approached by an elderly gentleman smelling strongly of sulfur and dressed in Union garb.
The gentleman talked about the progress of the battle and pressed what turned out to be authentic musket rounds into their hands before disappearing.
His role was clearly to replenish the ammunition of the Union soldiers. A ghostly apparition, a slip in time? He certainly wasn’t connected to the movie.
The name of this barren area would be enough to strike terror into the heart. A large rocky outcrop with deep fissures and crevices, it is a place where many people have sighted ghostly forms.
These sightings include a man who approaches tourists directing them to some invisible scene, before disappearing into thin air.
Another strange feature of this area is the effect that it has on cameras. Hundreds of people have reported the same phenomenon. Cameras suddenly become inoperable or are struck from the hands of their owners.
One theory is that a photographer at the time of battle, disrespectfully posed the corpses of the dead soldiers for dramatic effect. Are the spirits of those who passed exacting their revenge?
Sachs Covered Bridge
Sachs Covered Bridge is a 100 foot long covered bridge that spans Marsh Creek. The bridge was originally captured by Confederate soldiers and used as a makeshift hospital.
As the soldiers retreated on the third day, the dead and the dying were laid out on the bridge. Visitors to the bridge have reported a feeling of overwhelming sadness and despair as well as witnessing strange lights, orbs, mists and shadowy figures.
One of the most disturbing events that took place at the bridge during the battle was the hanging of three men. Thought to be either spies or deserters, they were hung from the rafters of the bridge.
Is it their cries that can still be heard?
Gettysberg College was used as a field hospital during the battle. Many strange events have been reported in the building since, including wailing and footsteps.
One of the strangest was reported by two officials from the college. Taking the elevator one day, they were stunned when the doors opened to reveal a bloody scene laid out before their eyes.
According to the two witnesses they swore that they saw dying soldiers being tended by frantic medics. They quickly closed the elevator doors, when they opened again, the scene had returned to normal.
Historic Farnsworth House displays over 100 bullet holes, like a badge of honor. Promoting itself as one of the most haunted inns in America, it claims that 16 ghosts occupy the property.
Footsteps, the sound of a Jew’s harp, a tap on the shoulder, all have been experienced by visitors.
One room, the garret, is kept locked. Said to be the station taken up by three sharpshooters during the battle, strange stains are said to appear on the bathroom floor and the sound of sobbing can be heard from the locked room.
Jennie Wade House
The unfortunate Jennie Wade was a civilian shot by one of the sharpshooters occupying Farnsworth House.
An innocent lady, she was killed whilst baking in her kitchen. To this day the aroma of freshly baked bread is sensed in her home.
A sense of sadness, the acrid smell of sulfur in the air, a cold hand on a shoulder, the sound of battle. Who is to say which of the many paranormal events experienced at Gettysberg are the product of over active imaginations and which are true Gettysberg ghost stories?
What is certain is that those that do experience these events have a profound belief in their veracity. The Gettysberg battlefields and nearby town have been the scene of one of American history’s most bloody events.
Over 7,500 young men gave up their lives, American fought American. It is no surprise then, that hundreds if not thousands of people have reported paranormal experiences when visiting the area.
Whether these people are experiencing the strange replay of historical events or the hauntings of unquiet souls, it is hard to know.
What is known, is that during these three dreadful days, days that brought a maelstrom of horror, fear and violence, many died a terrible death. Do these poor unfortunates, these phantom battalions still walk the bloodied battlefields of Gettysberg? You decide.