I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports and work on speeches—all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth—I can just imagine old Andy [Jackson] and Teddy [Roosevelt] having an argument over Franklin [Roosevelt].
– President Harry S. Truman
Having only 132 rooms, the White House may seem to be smaller compared to the Winchester House and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. But the 55,000-square feet sprawling mansion that stands in an 18-acre land area is actually the biggest and most famous structure among the three. And yes, they said it’s also haunted—by past American presidents, no less.
THE WHITE HOUSE
President Obama is not the only President looking stay in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just a little longer.Before the White House was known as the elegant mansion with its sandstone exterior walls lined with the graceful porticoes, it was actually grey. More than 200 years ago, James Hoban, an Irish-born architect, was chosen by then-president George Washington to build the austere Georgian house that was to be the seat of power of the United States. Eight years after the first cornerstone was laid, John Adams and his wife Abigail moved into the Palladian style mansion. Back then, Abigail used the East Room to hang the laundry because it was the warmest and driest room in the house. It is said that her ghost still can be seen heading towards the East Room, with arms extended as if carrying the laundry.
In 1812, just 13 years after it was built, British armies attacked the White House and set it on fire. Hoban was then asked to rebuild it according to the original blueprint; but this time, he painted it white; hence, the name.
. As other disasters, destruction and rebuilding happened over the years, the many renovations and additions that were made throughout the centuries transformed the Georgian home little by little into the neoclassical mansion we know today.
It may be because the White House had been the setting of many adversities, conflicts and tragedies in American history that it has inevitably become haunted. It was said that Andrew Jackson, who used the Rose Room as his bedroom, still stomps and angrily curses through the hallways near the room.
Abraham Lincoln, (a note about his impact on history) by far, is said to be the most seen ghost in the White House. Former first lady Grace Coolidge said she saw Lincoln’s ghost by the window in the Oval Office, looking out as if lost in deep thought. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands even admitted that she fainted after seeing Lincoln’s ghost when she opened the door. Many presidents and their wives would tell of feeling Lincoln’s presence in the White House.
Maybe it was because the turning point in their lives was spent there that these first ladies and presidents have returned to the White House after death. Whatever the case, the mansion on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had been certified to be haunted by none other than Harry S. Truman, who said in a letter to his wife Bess that: “I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports and work on speeches—all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth—I can just imagine old Andy [Jackson] and Teddy [Roosevelt] having an argument over Franklin [Roosevelt].”