5 Unbelievably Creepy Haunted Locations in Washington, D.C. (2024)

The heart of our nation is bustling with unsettled spirits.

By

Kelsey Christine McConnell | Published Jul 3, 2024

The nation's capitol needs very little introduction. Home to the President of the United States and every major legislative decision, Washington, D.C. has long since been a place of bustling activity.

For nearly as long, it has also been a place of heavy spiritual activity. This is hardly surprising—emotions run high when you're molding the country.

From sites of well-known tragedy to a haunted hotel, this hub of government will keep you on your toes. Here are five of the most haunted places in Washington, D.C.!

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The Capitol Building

5 Unbelievably Creepy Haunted Locations in Washington, D.C. (1)

If you think congressional meetings are scary, wait until you hear about the spirits haunting the halls of the Capitol Building.

Perhaps the most famous ghost rumored to remain within these prominent walls is that of John Quincy Adams. After serving as the sixth president, Adams took a place in Congress representing Massachusetts.

In 1848, Adams opposed a bill so vehemently that after shouting “no” with all his might, he paled and collapsed. Two days later Adams was dead.

It's said that employees lingering in the building late at night can still hear a lone and haunting voice shouting “no.”

And if you're really looking to be terrified in a government building, keep an eye out for the “demon Cat” of D.C. One guard claims that one night a cat bolted straight for him, only to grow to the size of an elephant while howling like an oncoming train.

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Hay-Adams Hotel

5 Unbelievably Creepy Haunted Locations in Washington, D.C. (3)

If you're looking to spend the night with ghosts without calling in some pretty big favors from some pretty prominent people, then you'll want to head over to the Hay-Adams Hotel.

Now a place of luxury lodging, the hotel was once two separate houses: that of John Hay and that of Henry Adams. Hay and Adams were both active statesmen in Washington, D.C.

At the Adams house in 1885, Mrs. Marian “Clover” Hooper Adams committed suicide. Clover was a photographer who used the tools of her trade to end her life, swallowing a lethal dose of potassium cyanide—a chemical important for developing photos—during a deep depression.

Clover can be seen drifting through the halls of the hotel, wafting the strong almond scent of the chemical that killed her. She is especially active near the anniversary of her death in December.

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The Mary Surratt Boarding House

The Mary Surratt Boarding House was a place of ill-repute where many malicious travelers would stop into scheme kidnappings, murders, and insurrections. The most notable frequenter of this establishment was none other than John Wilkes Booth.

Mary Surratt was a Confederate activist herself, and following the Lincoln assassination, she was charged with conspiracy in his death. On July 7th, 1865, Surratt was the first woman to be executed by the federal government as she was sentenced to hang.

Reports say before the trap door of the gallows swung open, Surratt cried out, “Please don't let me fall.” It's said that her whispers and muffled sobs can still be heard where her house once stood, which is now a Chinese restaurant named Wok N' Roll.

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Ford’s Theatre

5 Unbelievably Creepy Haunted Locations in Washington, D.C. (5)

Ford's Theatre was the scene of the first assassination of an American president. Now it's said that not only Abraham Lincoln haunts the theatre, but his killer as well, John Wilkes Booth.

The first sightings of Lincoln's ghost were reported back in 1869. Even to this day, actors claim that the stage seems to be housing a peaceful spiritual presence.

Some visitors, however, claim a less peaceful haunting. They claim that in the notorious box where Lincoln was killed cold spots can be felt, partial apparitions can be seen, and footsteps, gunshots, and faint screams can be heard.

While some say they've spotted the specter of John Wilkes Booth sprinting across the stage, others say that they've seen Mary Todd Lincoln trying to warn her husband of his impending doom.

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Lafayette Square Park

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Just north of the White House is the beautiful Lafayette Square Park. But this landmark has quite a dark history that lingers still behind.

This locale happens to be the site of the murder of Philip Barton Key II. Congressman Daniel Sickles accused Barton of having an affair with his wife before mortally shooting him.

Two days later Barton died. Following the altercation, Sickles was the first to successfully use the defense of temporary insanity.

Though Sickles faced no legal consequences, karma seemed to catch up with him when he lost one of his legs to a cannonball during the Civil War.

Now it's said that Key's spirit still lingers behind in the place where he was murdered, and Sickles' ghost limps behind him, forever in pursuit.

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Want even more Washington, D.C. hauntings? Check out the book below!

5 Unbelievably Creepy Haunted Locations in Washington, D.C. (9)

Capitol Hill Haunts

By Tim Krepp

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5 Unbelievably Creepy Haunted Locations in Washington, D.C. (2024)

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