WASHINGTON (AP) — Murder, curses and demon cats. Statues descending from pedestals for midnight minuets. There are scarier things than lawmaking going on inside the U.S. Capitol.
There was plenty of noise yesterday, as authorities closed down the House after guards saw what they thought was a firearm on a security camera at a Capitol office building across the street. It turned out to be a toy, part of a costume of an employee.
Halloween or not, the 200-year-old Capitol is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Washington, says Jim Berard, Democratic communications director for the House Transportation Committee. Berard compiled some of the more famous ghost stories in his recently published “The Capitol Inside & Out,” a history of the nation’s legislative center.
The building got off to a bad start in 1808 when construction superintendent John Lenthall disagreed with the architect over the vaulting in the room now known as the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
When Lenthall tried to remove braces from the vaults, the ceiling collapsed and crushed him. In his last breath, legend goes, the architect put a curse on the building.
Tragedy struck again in 1848 when John Quincy Adams, had a stroke on the House floor while giving a speech, and died two days. Capitol workers have since reported hearing Adams’ footsteps, or the specter of the old man trying to finish his speech.