One night in the 1940s, according to a well-known story, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was kicking back at the White House. He had just emerged from a hot bath to stroll into the adjoining bedroom, naked and smoking a cigar. But it turned out he had a surprise visitor, leaning against the fireplace mantel: Abraham Lincoln, or rather his ghost. Churchill didn’t miss a beat. Tapping the ash off his cigar, he said, “Good evening, Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
Lincoln smiled, then disappeared. Churchill—who didn’t rattle easily—nonetheless refused to sleep in that bedroom ever again.
The White House? Haunted? If all the ghost sightings from White House staff, first families, and other famous leaders who’ve been spooked here are to be believed, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is packed with apparitions.