Washington is already one scary place, but the recently-released “Capitol Hill Haunts” reveals there are plenty of ghosts, too.
Veteran tour guide Tim Krepp lives on Capitol Hill and reveals “100 percent true ghosts stories” around town. From a Demon Cat to Phantom Wheelman, Krepp’s short stories are a perfect Halloween read. You can order Capitol Hill Haunts (The History Press, $19.99) at Amazon.com
1. Who knew there were so many spirits around town? Did learning all of this freak you out and make you afraid to go out at night?
Quite the contrary! Now that I have a better understanding of who’s stuck around all these years, I’d hope to run into one! I’ve got some questions for them! But alas, no spirits have chosen to show themselves to me.
2. What’s the most haunted part of town?
Capitol Hill (duh!). Seriously, I think two factors influence the numbers of ghosts: history and density. The more time (and therefore tragic events) that have occurred coupled with more people in a given area to stick around, the more of a chance for ghosts to appear. Tragically, from my perspective at least, so much of Washington’s history, be it downtown, around the Capitol, along the Mall and elsewhere, has been torn down. And I think no one wants to come back and haunt a parking lot.
3. You write of $6,000 in government bonds secreted away in books in the Old Capitol Library. What happens if someone finds them? Are they haunted by the late owner?
That’s a great question. I don’t really know. I’ve seen a couple of versions of the missing money at the Library of Congress story, and it varies subtly each time. And heck, the bonds may even be worth more as a collectors item now than their original value!
4. As a journalist, I’m intrigued by the bloody steps in the Capitol. I often joke I really died in 2002 when suffering a heart attack at Redskins Park and am forever haunting the team so a journalist killing a former Congressman whose ghost still bedevils the media seems appropriate.
Indeed. The nexus of congressmen, lobbyists, and reporters is a quintessential Congressional tale, and I’m glad there’s a ghostly twist. If think it illustrates nicely a bit of the behind the scenes drama of the Capitol, where there’s so many actors besides just sitting Reps and Senators. Also, I’ve been tempted to get some marble and try staining it with blood, just to see what it would look like.
5. There was a gallows and prison within sight of the Capitol? That somehow seems wrong. No wonder there are ghosts around the lawmakers.
Not just within sight of the Capitol, but on the site of the Supreme Court! Today, we’ve buffered the Capitol from the City of Washington by concentric rows of grand buildings, verdant spaces, and even parking lots. But once any number of more mundane uses, like a Civil War prison, were right across the street!
5+. What should someone do if they see a ghost?
Take notes. Please! Always looking for more material . . .
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