Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The ghostly visitor has startled workers working late at night. They have seen the ghostly woman float in front of them in their offices. One woman went to report the sighting to her supervisor. She was leaving her office as the woman approached: She had sensed that someone had looked in the door; she heard the ruffling sound of a dress, and she was trying to follow the sound. She had apparently sensed the apparition.
A 20th-century Greek-born artist sculptor, Constantine Seferlis, spent 20 years carving the stone of the National Cathedral. The Cathedral has more than 200 stained-glass windows, including a "Space Window," an abstract tribute to the Apollo 11 mission which actually contains a small moon rock.
The Washington National Cathedral also features Darth Vader. The National Geographic World Magazine held a contest where children were asked to help complete the Cathedral. They were asked to draw designs and submit them for the Contest. The third-place winner was named Christopher Rader and he drew the fearful villain, Darth Vader. His drawing was selected. Jay Hall Carpenter and Patrick J. Plunkett sculpted the fierce looking head. The sculpture was placed high up on the northwest tower of the Cathedral.
To view Darth Vader, you need to leave the building through the ramp entranceway. Go through the double wooden door of Lincoln Bay. Go down the ramp, and step into the parking lot. Then turn and look up at the tower closet to you. Darth Vader sits up high so bring binoculars. Darth Vader is almost at the top of the tower. Located between the two huge louvered arches and at the bottom of the slop of the gable is a cared grotesque Darth Vader. He located on the right and side.
There is also a carved skull closer to the ground and people sometime mistake it for Darth Vader.
Woodrow Wilson is the only president buried in Washington, DC and he is buried at the National Cathedral.
The cathedral offers tours. FMI http://cathedral.org/
Some people believe that the Cathedral is haunted. Some people believe the artist who sculpted the building is still there watching over his work.
The house was designed by Dr. William Thornton, the first architect of the Capitol. Many items owned by George and Martha Washington (his chest and camp stool, her tea table), Francis Scott Key's personal desk, and other items reside now in Tudor Place.
A Trust established by the last Mr. Peter (who died in 1983) manages the house and its surrounding five acres of beautiful gardens. All rooms remain complete with their original furniture, carpets, pictures and other items. Also present are the bed where Robert R. Lee spent his night in Washington (on his return to settle affairs after the Civil War), and the portrait presented to the family by General Lafayette when he visited America in 1824, many years after the revolution.
It was said in decades past, while the house was still inhabited, that unusual sounds would sometimes awaken family members and visitors. There are also unconfirmed reports of partial apparitions. Possible reasons for the reported hauntings remain unknown as of 2006.
Tudor Place, open to the public every day except Monday, is located at 31st Street and Q Street in Georgetown.
Over two centuries ago, the Peter family of crop farmers also built a house near Riley's Lock on the C&O Canal (#24) in the Seneca region of Maryland. Family members are buried there with clearly marked graves. The Peter boys and their cousins had fought in the Civil War, sometimes on different sides, as was common in Maryland, a pivotal border state throughout the conflict.
People who live near the shore where the accident happened have reportedly heard the moans of the ghostly women. This is an area that many accidents happen, much more so than at any other spot on the river. Numerous boats have wrecked and many swimmers have drowned. Moaning is often reported above the sound of wind and rushing water.
Some of the few survivors report that the last thing seen is the dark form of the "sisters rocks."
Back in 1889 the sound of the moaning awoke some people living near the rocks. The sound started at midnight, and the people woke up and prayed for the inevitable next victims. Just twelve-hours later a boat came down the Potomac river with a young man pulling the oars. Unpexected current pulled it off course and, in the tumult, bashed it against one fht rocks, shattering the wooden boat and pummeling the man, who ultimately drowned. (Reportedly, his body was not reclaimed from the river for over one week.)
People not experienced with the particularly insidious nature of the Potomac River's strong, capricious flows and often wildly erratic currents with large stone outcroppings often simply do not understand how treacherous it really is. It is a dangerous and merciless killer.
Brief: Center of Military History
Ghosts/Haunt: Opening window; Moving objects
Abstract: The building is located next to where Lincoln's assassination conspirators were hung and is very haunted. They kept John Wilkes Booth's body in the basement. People have trouble with the window in this room. The window opens all by itself; even when objects are placed in front of the window it will swing open all by itself. The building has been converted to apartments for mid-level Army officers and their families. The children report seeing a ghost of woman and child.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
During World War II, on October 12, 1942, Commandant of the Marine Corps Major General Thomas Holcomb hosted a party here to wish good luck to several marines shipping out, among them his son, Lieutenant Franklin Holcomb. At the party, the Commandant was asked what he thought about women serving in the Corps. Before he could reply, the portrait of Gen. Henderson dropped from the wall to the buffet.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Used as hospital for British troops in War of 1812.
Briefly owned by Francis Scott Key.
The brick portion you see was built by Sen. John M. Clayton (Whig from DE) after his purchase in 1856. He added on a ballroom decorated by his neighbor, Constantino Brumidi, the painter of the Capitol interiors.
After the Civil War, the house was purchased by a pioneering woman journalist by the name of Emily Edson Briggs in 1871. She journeyed to Washington, DC when her husband's acquaintance, Abraham Lincoln was elected President. Her fierce defense of the efficiency of the many young ladies who were engaged for the first time in office work led to her career in the press. In addition to being the first women to deliver spot reports via telegraph, she became well known for her weekly columns under the pseudonym "Olivia".
Five months later after moving in, her husband passed away. At about that time, she realized that the master bedroom was also the "abode of a most gentle and benign female ghost". The ghost would wander the house and ground weeping softly. Periodically, the sounds of an unfamiliar instrument would fill the house as well.
Olivia being a formidable, tough female journalist in an era when that was an odity, was not fazed by a mere ghost. She lived quite happily with the ghost for several years until one morning she felt drawn to a spare bedroom. There she was amazed to discover that the pillow had an indentation as if it had been slept in. In the indentation was a single, white pearl. Ever since, the ghost has not been felt at the Maples.
Olivia lived here for several more decades, acquiring a reputation as a leading figure in the city's literary and social figures.
Backstory: In the 1840s, Major A.A. Nicholson and his wife moved into the Maples. Mrs. Nicholson later committed suicide, much to the shock of the Capitol Hill society, because of suspicions that her husband was having an affair with Daniel Carroll's daughter Sallie. Her suspicions were proven right when Nicholson later married Sallie Carroll.
While Latrobe was living here, he supervised the construction of the new U.S. Capitol building. Originally designed by Dr. William Thornton, Latrobe was called in to provide more professional supervision. In September of 1908, he got into an argument with the Clerk of the Works (construction superintendent) John Lenthall about the relative stability of the vaulted ceiling of the Old Supreme Court chamber. Latrobe, being a professionally trained architect in a time when that was quite rare, felt that it was premature to remove the struts. Lenthall disagreed, and so sure of his position was he, that he knocked the supports out while underneath them.
Inevitably perhaps, he was crushed to death by the falling debris, and in his dying breath he muttered a curse upon the building, which remains to this day.
Some interesting cases:
Private John James, a 51 year old Marine Private, was admitted on July 10th, 1868 after swallowing two ounces of xxxx with the "intent at self destruction". He died three days later, after spending much of the three days vomiting and hiccuping any attempts at an antidote.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Obviously, this posed a problem. How were they to guard this gold against the might of the British Army, especially when they would have to join the rest of their unit in the fight? Unwilling to simply abandon it to the British of looters, the carefully hid it on the grounds of the Marine Barracks.
Unfortunately, in the stout defense put up by the Marines and sailors at the Battle of Bladensburg, both Sergeants were killed and the location was lost to history. However, they remain on guard to this day. Folks have seen the ghostly figures of the two Marines wandering the grounds, looking for the treasure. Some say they are searching for it, unable to remember where it was last seen. Others insist that they are luring treasure seekers away from the real hiding spot, standing their post in death as they did in life.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Perhaps this is why.
Also known as the mouse house, located in the heart of Washington's Embassy Row, is an integral part of the historic Argyle House, a Beaux-Arts mansion designed by associate architect of the Library of Congress Paul Pelz and built in 1900 for a wealthy, retired Navy captain named Frederick A. Miller. Following a devastating fire in 1984, only a portion of the walls remained; the entire structure was reconstructed with designs by the architect Richard Ridley to replicate the building's original grandeur. Olga's Mouse House was not named for its mouse-like scale, but because it sat in the shadow of a stone cat statue perched on the second-story ledge of the Argyle House.
Before the fire the building had been used as a rooming house for many years. At the time of the fire there was one hold out, an indian gentleman living on the top floor where those windows are. There were lots of rumors about why the fire happened. Some said it was by the hold out who didn't want to give in to the new owner. Others said it was set by the new owner in order to force out the tennant. At any rate, the fellow died. Since then many have seen the face gazing down on them even at times when the house has been vacant. Often the police were called because people thought that someone had broken in and was squatting. No one was ever found in the house, but if any of you live in the neighborhood, you might always glance upward as you're walking past to see if someone is staring back at you.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Edison execute Topsy the elephant
Edison coins the phrase "to Westinghouse" for electric chair execution
Congressman Robert R. Hitt 1834-1906
Hand picked by Lincoln to take short hand notes during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois in 1858.
He died in 1906. His house which once stood on New Hampshire Ave. was destroyed the Medalions were salvaged and lost for some time.
This house was not built- with the medallions until 1908....
George and Selina Renchard moved one of the medallions to their manse on S. St. They were killed in an automobile accident in Saudi Arabia in 1982( a sandstorm was the decided cause) in a car their son Ronald was driving; he was actually charged with something from it and served a very brief time in the brig there.
Since the placements of the medallions over the pool in the back people who have spent time in the pool area have often decided it was nearly as enjoyable as they had hoped. There's often a eerie feeling of being watched while in this area below the medallion. And often one has a feeling of emptiness and depression the more time they spend in the pool area.
Supposedly another spirit that walks the area of the Spanish Steps is that of a near death Woodrow Wilson. His home is around the corner on S Street and the sounds that became associated with him after his stroke, the shuffling of feet and the thump of his cane as he doddled about have been said to have been heard walking about the spanish steps and the sidewalk between here and his home.
It wasn't until our friend Clift who often gives this tour told of a personal event that happened here at the O Street Mansion. He said about three years ago that a good friend of his saw her dead husband standing on the staircase as if he were still alive.
In 2005 Joe, a reserve police officer was working the intersection of M and Wisconsin Avenue when he was struck and killed by an SUV. He and his wife Ella were the managers of Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown. They had attended many events here at the O Street Mansion. But in 2007 was the first time that Ella had visited the mansion since her husband's death. When she walked in she hung her coat and turned toward the stairs and there stood Joe plain as day staring back at her.
Ella is a very sensible woman so it was a bit of a shock to hear her tell such a tale. But I guess it's one more account that very possibly spirits of the dead remain with us unable to leave those places they frequented in life.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Ghost sighting account from an intern
The story we told is like this:
This home was once the home of a master brewer named Christian Heurich. He was quite successful in spite of some bad luck with fires. Over the years, the Christian Heurich Brewery suffered three fires. An 1875 fire was caused by a spark from a chimney. A worker's careless smoking caused an 1883 blaze. Finally, in 1892, a devastating fire was the result of a malt mill explosion. (A spark can ignite the malt dust in a flash. According to Gary Heurich, modern malt mills incorporate magnets to keep steel fragments from causing sparks.) Mr. Heurich decided to build the first fireproof brewery in the United States. The brewery was built in 1894-95 in Foggy Bottom, at the future site of the Kennedy Center.
The Heurich's lived happily in this home for many years. It was the first fireproof private residence in Washington DC.
Christian Heurich married the widow of George Schnell, whose brewery he and his partner had taken over in 1872. She passed away childless in 1884, leaving Mr. Heurich the plot where the mansion would be built. In February 1887, he married Mathilde Daetz, who had come to Washington a year earlier from a town near Bremen, Germany. Young Mathilde was thrown from her carriage in 1893. She suffered a serious decline in health and passed away in January 1895 at age 33, leaving no children. On January 11, 1899, Mr. Heurich took his third bride, Amelia Louise Keyser, niece of his first wife. This marriage produced four children: Christian, Jr. on December 11, 1901; Anna Marguerite on December 19, 1903; Anita Augusta on June 28, 1905; and Karla Louise on October 20, 1907. Anna Marguerite passed away on September 7, 1904, before her first birthday. A memorial to her appears in the Heurich Mansion’s conservatory. Karla is the sole survivor today.
It's Anna Marguerite that may be the link to some of the events that have happened here. For a time in the early days of the Columbia Historical Society there were bed room facilities on the top floor. But often those who were offered to stay the night didn't follow through on the offer. Those who did often spoke of hearing strange sounds coming from the main floor and the music room. The sounds of piano music or an infant's screams or the sounds of lullabies being sung by a young woman's voice.
If you look in the window here of the back sun room you can see stone work above a fountain in that room and in the center is the face of an infant. This is a stone sculpture of the face of Anna Marguerite. She was the daughter that died before her first birthday.
Give the enemy no rest ... Do all the damage to railroads and crops you can. Carry off stock of all descriptions, and negroes, so as to prevent further planting. If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste.
Sheridan's men did their work relentlessly and thoroughly, rendering over 400 mi.² uninhabitable. The residents referred to this widespread destruction as "The Burning."
General Sheridan’s famous claim that “a crow flying across this valley would have to carry his own rations.”
Sculpture is by Gutzon Borglum, Sculptor and very active KKK Member
If even half the accounts that have trickled out of this place are true, at times it almost seems that spectral wanderers of the Everett home must be just about tripping over one another, playing out their ancient, eerie pursuits in the aetherial background behind the bustling activity of the living.
This was originally the estate of Edward Hamlin Everett, who had it built in 1910. Everett lived in Bennington VT for most of his youth, leaving in 1869 to pursue wealth farther west. He was not disappointed. He gradually purchased up all of the American Bottle Co. - and in the process of trying to cut costs on the glass fires, prospected and became the first person to strike oil in Ohio. In 1886 he married Amy King, the daughter of a Newark aristocrat whose glassworks factory Everett had just acquired.
Along with homes in Newark and Washington (not to forget the chateau in Vevy, Switzerland - times were good for Edward).
Legend has it that, not long after, Amy died, quite unexpectedly - some say freak accident, some suicide, some murder. According to her obituary, however, Amy King Everett died at their Washington home, in March of 1917. She had suffered from a prolonged, unnamed illness and died following a "severe operation."
In 1920, Edward remarried, this time to Grace Burnap, originally from Hopkinton, Mass. Tradition has it that the three daughters he had with Amy never cared for their father's second wife. Two of them had already married and moved before their mother's death, the third not long after - and it's believed they resented the way Everett went on to sire two more children with this new, much younger wife. When Edward died in 1929, the stage was set for a venomous and quite public legal battle.
When the will was unveiled, it bequeathed the bulk of his fortune to Grace, leaving only about one tenth of the family's enormous wealth to his three daughters from his first marriage. The daughters sued, arguing that their father had not been in his right mind when the will was signed and that his second wife, who after all was not much older than the oldest of them, had exercised undue influence on him.
It was at this point that the eldest daughter witnesses a horrific vision while staying in the house. Unsure of how her mother died, one night late, while staying at the house she heard a sound of weeping coming from the sitting room outside her deceased father's bedroom. She thought perhaps it was her step mother and walked the corrider to see what was wrong. When she approached, the turned on a small lamp and in the dim light she saw her mother lying on the floor with the clear indication that she was murdered. She screamed and ran out of the room.
What became dubbed "The Battle of Bennington Millions," or "The Second Battle of Bennington," began. It was the largest and most talked about court case of it's time, launching to fame the lawyer Warren Austin, who went on to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (and they didn't give that job to just any old nut with a moustache, back then). Witnesses included Sen. Arthur Capper of Kansas and Laura Harlan, daughter of former Chief Justice John Harlan. Grace Everett herself was subjected to three continuous days of relentless grilling on the witness stand. As Joseph Citro, the esteemed gothic author, put it, the proceedings "left the magnificent Glass and Bottle Baron of the American Industrial Revolution looking like a pitiable weakling, utterly dominated by his Lady Macbeth of a wife." The court sided with Everett's first daughters, awarding them each about a third of the fortune, with the remaining amount going to Grace and her two daughters.
Some say that great dramas and great sorrows of this sort leave a mark behind in certain places - perhaps a kind of shadow radiating in the poorly understood fabric of the physical universe, a wisp of smoke: In short, they are haunted.
Since then, a steady stream of unexplained disturbances and mysterious figures have been sighted. Security guards whisper about doorknobs turning in empty rooms and doors that close by themselves. On one occasion in 1982, a security guard called him when he could not identify the source of some strange noises. When they finally tracked the sounds to an office on the third floor, they found that the door, which was locked from the outside and had no other entrance, had somehow been blocked from the inside by a heavy desk. In what was once the old carriage house, there've been numerous reports of doors and windows locking and unlocking by themselves and computers that snap on and off suddenly.
One of the most frequently reported phenomena is the appearance of a woman in white, roaming the main house and grounds, thought by some to be the ghost of Edward's first wife.
All in all, the estate is ensconced in history and mystery, a great combination for a full-flavored haunted experiences or a gripping horror novel.
Many people claim to have seen 6 white horses processing down P Street and crossing the bridge over the past 100 years and most of these claims seem to fall around the date of July 13th.
Perhaps this is the reason why
After the war for American independence the city of Washington began to take shape. George Washington himself convinced many land owners to sell their property to create the new Federal city. There was one land owner, David Burnes, that was reluctant to sell. He thought poorly of Washington and held out for as much money as possible. Once he sold, he made a quite a bit. His daughter and heiress to the fortune married John Peter Van Ness, a congressman from New York who eventually became the city's mayor and a Major in the war of 1812. Once married, he liberally spent the Burnes fortune and constructed a large mansion where the OAS building now stands. Van Ness was instrumental in founding the Orphans Asylum which was located near his property on H Street. It is here that the family's Mausoleum was built and stood for nearly forty years.
In July of 1872 the Mausoleum and all those interred there was deconstructed and brought by horse through the streets of Washington, crossing the Long bridge and continuing up the streets to Oak Hill Cemetery where the Van Ness family lays in rest to this day. You can imagine the stately parade as the coffin's of the Van Ness family, for whom so many areas of our city are named made it's journey to it's Georgetown destination. Ironically, the only remaining structures left where the old mansion stood are the Horse Stables which are now small offices behind the OAS. Folks who have been on the grounds late at night have seen these 6 white horses that run wildly around the grounds before grouping together to reenact their eery walk to transport their cold delivery to it's new resting place.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Previously, the house was a private residence, built by Curtis Hilyer in the 1873. In 1901 it was purchased by railroad magnate Richard Townsend and his wife Mary Scott. While the location was particularly fashionable, the house was in the dated Victorian style instead of the more popular Beaux Arts that was trendy at the time. Rather than demolish and build a new one, Mary Scott Townsend insisted that the previous house remain intact. When she was young, a gypsy had told her she would die under a new roof. The prominent New York architectural firm Carreere and Hasting was hired to remodel the previous structure into what you see today.
Ironically, while Mary Scott Townsend lived to a ripe old age, her husband dies two years later.
Moving forward a few years, during the War of 1812, the British burned Washington, DC. American troops attempted a defense of Washington but were routed at the Battle of Bladensburg, just outside Washington, DC boundary on US 1. Following this defeat, the American troops scampered back through the City of Washington and regrouped on the high ground above Georgetown, just across Rock Creek from where we are today. British forces followed them as far as Capitol Hill before halting. Having fulfilled there primary objective of embarrassing the Americans, the British decided to burn public buildings in Washington, including the unfinished Capitol and, of course, the White House. Fortunately for the Americans, a fierce storm rose up that evening, extinguishing the fire at the Capitol and preserving at least some of it.
However, in that same storm, a drummer boy helping to rally American troops evacuating Washington was either blown or pushed (accounts differ) over the edge of the wooded bridge that stood here. Since then, residents have reported hearing muffled drumbeats when the creek is quiet. Sadly, since Rock Creek Parkway was built in the twenties, there have been few quiet nights here, and hence no modern reports of drumbeats.
The wooden bridge met it's end in an equally tumultuous fashion. It had been falling apart for many years when a wagon attempted to cross on a foggy night. As he crossed, he felt the bridge start to come apart. Since it can be a bit difficult to back a team of horses up, he whipped them to a frenzy trying to make the side upon which we are now standing. Despite his frantic efforts, the bridge collapsed just before the teamster could make the opposite side. Occasionally, on foggy days, it is said that if you stand in the right spot, you can see the teamster whipping his horses and trying to make it across before they all plunge to their death.
Evelyn grew to adulthood in this house and enjoyed all the privileges of Gilded Age high society (especially the morphine!!!). She married Ned McLean, of the real estate and publishing McLean family, and they embarked on a six month grand tour of Europe for a honeymoon. While there they noticed an incredible blue diamond around the neck of the Sultan Abdul-Hamid's favorite concubine. They thought little of it until three years later when the were in Paris and being shown jewelry by Pierre Cartier. In the intervening three years the Sultan's favorite had been stabbed to death and the Sultan had drowned.
Bad luck was nothing new to the diamond and even Cartier warned Mrs. McLean of the diamond's history. It had been stolen from a Hindu temple by a man named Jean Tavernier, who brought it back to him to France, only to be torn apart by wild dogs. It ended up in the court of Louis XVIII and Marie Antoinette and we all know how they ended up. It had been a favorite of Marie's close friend and rumored lover, the Princesse de Lambelle, who was brutally murdered during the French Revolution while the Queen was forced to watch.
Following the chaos of the Revolution, the diamond disappeared, It wasn't until 1824 that it reappeared in the collection of Henry Hope, a British merchant who gave the diamond it's name. Naturally he died shortly after and remained in the Hope family for several ill-fated generations. Eventually it ended up in Paris with the Cartier's.
When warned of this history, Evelyn responded "Bad luck objects for me are lucky"
Sadly this proved not to be true. Her husband Ned became an alcoholic and eventually divorced her. Her nine year old son died in a tragic car accident. Evelyn herself became addicted to morphine and through a series of poor decisions died deeply in debt of pneumonia at age 60.
After her death, the diamond was sold to pay off her debts to jeweler Harry Winston who, unable to find a buyer, ended up donating it to the Smithsonian. Winston mailed it to the Smithsonian via the U.S. Postal Service, which cost him $145.29 in shipping costs. The postman who carried the daimond, James T. Todd, soon had his leg run over by a truck, had his dog strangled by it's own leash, his wife die of a heart attack, and had his house burn down.