October 30th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

Is that you, coffin?

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Long before Washington became the killing ground for health care’s public option, it was a popular place for young doctors to get their start tending to the ailments of the influential; and a busy town for grave robbers who supplied…well, let’s call them lab assistants…to the aspiring medicos. Prowling cemeteries in the DC darkness, they looked for freshly turned earth to turn a profit. And each year around Halloween the story-telling crowd here digs up tales of the undead who still supposedly haunt the seat of government. And no, Ralph Nader does not count.

Abraham Lincoln has generated the most stories of paranormal activity. He, quite famously, dreamed of his own assassination. In the almost century-and-a-half since it came to pass, a great many White House visitors have reported his spectral form roaming the halls. Winston Churchill allegedly shared a bowl of soup with Honest Abe, who kept saying, “Is this cold, or is it just me?” Something like that.

President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, was widely reported to have dragged sleepover friends and a Ouija Board into the Lincoln bedroom to try a little inter-realm instant-messaging with him. And people have for decades claimed that they’ve seen Lincoln’s funeral train, blue, silent and glowing along the tracks outside of DC.

A couple of long gone First Ladies have been spied still roaming the White House; Abigail Adams and Dolley Madison among them; presumably arguing over what the latter did with the former’s curtains.

The Library of Congress has heard reports of a phantom guard wandering the stacks, although I suspect that is just a disgruntled ghost writer. The Capitol building, for years, had tales of a see-through British soldier carrying a torch, no doubt looking for an honest man. And some people report doors that close mysteriously, but I’ll assure you that has nothing to do with ghosts.

It’s all good fun, but nothing to be trifled with. After all, it was only about a year ago that a very popular President Elect, named Barack Obama, made a crack about a former First Lady holding séances. He apologized. But you know his approval ratings now are a ghost of what they were back then.

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Filed under: Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
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