Linger

The earliest photo taken of the White House
The White House, photographed for the first time in 1846 by John Plumbe during the Polk administration.

It seems to me, that if any place in America would be haunted, it would most certainly be the White House, with all of the tension and stress and decisions made within those walls. 

There must be some sort of supernatural residue still lingering there.  A former resident certainly believes it to be so.

Fright House: Jenna Bush on the ghostly music playing in the presidential home already ‘haunted’ by Abraham Lincoln
by Sara Nelson
for the Daily Mail

The daughter of former President George W Bush has claimed she saw ghosts during her time in the White House.

Jenna Bush Hager told chat show host Jay Leno she had been terrified by spooky events near the fireplace in her bedroom.

The 27-year-old teacher, who now works as an education correspondent for the Today Show said: ‘I heard a ghost. I was asleep, there was a fireplace in my room and all of a sudden I heard 1920s music coming out. 

‘I could feel it, I freaked out and ran into my sister’s room. She was like “Please go back to sleep this is ridiculous”.

‘The next week we were both asleep in my room, the phone had rang and woke us up.

‘We were talking and going back to bed when all of a sudden we heard this opera, coming out of the fireplace.

‘We couldn’t believe it, we both jumped in bed and were asking the people that worked there the next morning “Are we crazy?”

‘We tried to rationalise it, but they said they heard it there all the time.’

Jenna and her family lived at the Washington DC presidential home from 2001 to 2009.

She told how her parents were settling in well back at home in Texas, and that the former president has even been offered a job at a hardware store – but turned it down, feeling he was overqualified.

The former first daughter confessed she had never seen Abraham Lincoln’s ghost – which is said to regularly haunt the White House – but wished she had.

Lincoln’s ghost is widely reported to walk up and down the second floor hallway, knock at doors and stand at certain windows with his hands clasped behind his back.

Indeed Winston Churchill refused to sleep in the former president’s bedroom after reportedly spotting his ghost lurking there.

The British Prime Minister had stepped into the room after a relaxing bath with a cigar and a glass of scotch.

Still naked, the premier is reported to have spied an apparition of Lincoln standing by the fireplace. The pair are said to have started at each other for some time before the ghost faded away.

Former first lady Hilary Clinton has also spoken about the spooky atmosphere in the White House.

The US Secretary of State said: ‘There is something about the house at night that you just feel like you are summoning up the spirits of all the people who have lived there and worked there and walked through the halls there.’

She told the Rosie O’Donnell Show: ‘It’s neat, it can be a little creepy.

‘You know, they think there’s a ghost there. It is a big old house and when the lights are out it is dark and quiet and any movement at all catches your attention.’

Indeed Harry Truman once wrote to his wife: ‘I sit here in this old house, all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway.

‘At 4 o’clock I was awakened by three distinct knocks on my bedroom door. No one there.  [The] place is haunted, sure as shootin’!’

As well as human hauntings, the have been tales of a demon cat prowling the building’s basement.

According to legend, years go by without a sighting of the animal, but when it does appear, national disaster is said to be imminent.

Some witnesses claim the demon cat first appears as a helpless-looking kitten, which grows in size and menace the closer one gets to it.

A White House guard claimed to have seen it a week before the great stock market crash of the 1920s and it was also reportedly seen days before the assassination of JFK.

I’m not sure if Lincoln’s ghost is more frightening, though, than the thought of Churchill fresh from a bath.

Anyway, ghosts are most definitely real.  And while they may not be the unattached spirits or souls of the dead, they are real in the sense that after any great tragedy, or crisis, we allow some sort of residual effect to linger.

A fight.  A death.  Turmoil.  Job loss.  Rebellious kids.  Conversations with harsh words.  Wrecking decisions.   All of these give us remorse, guilt, and we are haunted with the sheer regret of the crisis.  And that residue, sometimes, just won’t leave.

May we have better discernment about the words we say and the actions we choose, or, maybe more importantly, about the words we keep, and the actions we disregard.

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