Cloture Club wants to wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Below are some of the ghoulish stories that have been catalogued throughout the history of the US Capitol. We hope you enjoy them and remember to keep your eyes open as you walk around the Capitol grounds to see if you have any ghostly sightings of your own…
10 Ghost Stories of the US Capitol
The Deadly Clash of Press and PoliticsOn 10 December 1887, Charles Kincaid, a reporter for the Louisville Times wrote an article describing the shameful actions Representative Preston Taulbee (D-KY) engaged in with a young female clerk and their frequent “trips” to the Patent Office. Congressman Taulbee grew frustrated as Kincaid exaggerated the story over the years, resulting in Taulbee’s character in constant question. On 28 February 1890, Taulbee spotted Kincaid standing near the southeastern stairway in front of the House Restaurant and lunged at him and pulled his ear. In retaliation, Kincaid pulled a pistol from his coat and shot the Congressman, wounding him severely. Taulbee died from the wound eleven days later at Providence Hospital, Washington, D.C. on 11 March 1890. During Kincaid’s trial, he claimed self-defense and was acquitted. Dark stains remain on the steps of the southeastern stairway where Taulbee’s blood dripped from the fatal wound. Staffers and guards have reported sightings of Taulbee ascending and descending the staircase where he was shot, searching for Kincaid in order to enact his revenge.
Construction MishapVery few people know that the Capitol was built mostly out of slave labor. Construction took place under rigorous and overwhelming conditions such as heat and snow. It has been rumored that, when the foundation was being constructed from 1794-1800, a slave or regular construction worker had taken shelter within the partially constructed foundation to take a quick nap. Unbeknownst to him, the foundations of the Capitol were laid around him as he slept, encasing him in a tomb of stone. His poor soul has been sealed up within the walls of the Capitol Building. At times staffers and visitors can hear pounding and scratching from within walls as the poor worker’s spirit frantically struggles to break free.
The Demon Cat/Ghost Cat of the Crypt
Sightings of the creature have mysteriously been followed by tragic occurrences throughout the United States. One such account tells of a Capitol Police officer who noticed a quick black dash across the floor. As he moved closer to catch a glimpse of the animal, its shadow grew bigger and more menacing. Then, quickly, it disappeared. The next day, 1 November 1918, a story in the newspaper described the worst rapid transit system accident in New York City with over 90 deaths.
The ghost cat or ‘Demon Cat’ is a popular story. This creature haunts the basement of the Capitol building at night, usually spotted around the hall between the Crypt of the Capitol and the Old Supreme Court Chamber. Tourists can even see little paw prints on the floors of this hallway if they look close enough. The story goes that Capitol Hill, then Jenkins Hill, was once the home of a den of black cats, but once construction of the Capitol began (in 1794) the cat’s den was destroyed along with the family of cats. The mother cat now roams the halls of the basement of the Capitol building where presumably the den was located, searching for her young. Even though there are no unattended pets allowed in the Capitol, late night staffers and visitors have noticed an animal making quick dashes around this area of the building.