Famous names that go bump in the night

| 25 Oct 2012 | 12:56

What are the manifestations of a haunting? Traditionally it would include strange lights, disembodied footsteps, screams, knocking and laughter. And then there are the ghostly apparitions. It is believed that these disembodied souls inhabit an unseen world and appear in places that have strong emotional ties. So it would come as no surprise that Al Capone has been known to show up at Alcatraz and Clark Gable and Carole Lombard have visited their honeymoon hotel in Arizona. Here are a few other famous names that reportedly make spectral appearances from time to time.

Abigail Adams

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly washed linens. That is if it’s not accompanied by a ghostly washerwoman floating through the room.

In 1800, President John Adams and his first lady, Abigail, were the first inhabitants of the White House in the “City of Washington.” Still under construction, the first couple had to make do with less than desirable living arrangements. To maintain decorum and the privacy of the president’s laundry, Abigail set up an indoor clothes line in the East Room.

As if to prove a woman’s work is never done, it is reported that a ghostly figure of a woman with her arms outstretched as if carrying laundry, has been seen coming out of the East Room. The apparition is often eerily accentuated by the smell of fresh linen.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln appears to have had one foot in the paranormal world before his demise. Shortly before he died in 1865, he told his friend of a dream he had in which he saw himself wandering through the White House, following the sounds of mournful cries. Alarmed, he kept walking until he came to the East Room where he came upon a catafalque on which lay a body wrapped in funeral vestments and surrounded by soldiers and weeping bystanders. Addressing the soldiers, he asked who had died. “The President,” they said. “He was killed by an assassin.”

Since his death Lincoln has reportedly been seen in different parts of the White House, quite often in his former bedroom. The sightings were not reported by hysterical chambermaids but by some well-known world leaders; Netherland’s Queen Wilhelmina, for one. While staying in a White House bedroom she responded to a knock on the door only to open it and find Abraham Lincoln in the hallway.

Winston Churchill had a startling but cordial run in with Lincoln when he stepped from a relaxing hot bath. Wearing only his trademark cigar he walked into the bedroom and found Lincoln leaning of the mantle.

“Good evening, Mr. President,” he said. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage.” Quite a cool statement from someone in his birthday suit staring down a ghost. Mr. Lincoln just smiled, then vanished.

Anne Boleyn

Boleyn is one restless ghost. She not only haunts the Tower of London, where she was detained before her beheading in 1536, but shows up regularly at her former homes, Windsor Castle, several churches and Maxwell Hall’s Yew Tree Walk where Henry VIII courted her successor, Jane Seymour, while Boleyn was restrained in the Tower. It was rumored that the king married Seymour on the day of Boleyn’s execution. Now that could get a ghost a little miffed.

Boleyn was accused of treason, incest, adultery and witchcraft and sentenced to die. In fact she was probably doomed because she had not produced a son and heir for the king. She did have a daughter who, despite her father’s hatred, eventually became England’s Queen Elizabeth I.

Haunted places

Battlefields lend themselves to spectral visions; entire ghostly armies have reportedly been seen at Gettysburg and World War II sites. The HMS Queen Mary, a luxury cruise ship that served the British Royal Navy in World War II and was eventually retired to Long Beach, Ca., has had over 50 spectral sightings.

New York seems to have a wide variety of well-known ghosts. An unusual duo of spirits has been seen in the East Village: Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch colonial governor, and author Mark Twain. The West Village’s White Horse Tavern occasionally has as its guest poet Dylan Thomas. Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson’s vice president, tends to show up at the One if By Land, Two if By Sea restaurant, situated on a site that once was Burr’s carriage house.

The friendly ghost

No famous ghost story would be complete without mentioning that sweet little ghost, Casper. Originated in the late 1930s, Casper’s background was a bit different from how he was later viewed. In his early days, he was shown as living beside a gravestone and it was believed that he was the ghost of a dead child. Eventually the image was softened when he was given ghostly parents. The explanation for his spiritual state was that he was born a ghost since his parents were ghosts when they married.

Given a choice, if one was to have a supernatural experience, Casper would seem to be the ghost of choice – much better for your heart than finding Anne Boleyn, holding her severed head, sitting on your living room sofa.

What do you think of ghosts, scary and friendly? Go to westmilfordmessenger.com and tell us.

Sources: www.legendsofamerica.com, meriam-webster.com, en.wikipedia.org, www.washingtonpost.com, paranormal.about.com, www.history.com, www.unexplained-mysteris.com.