More attention is paid to the idea of ghosts and hauntings this time of year than any other time as people prepare to celebrate Halloween, so is there any substance to the claim that the White House is haunted by the ghost of Abraham Lincoln? Several former occupants of the White House claimed to have seen or felt President Lincoln's presence. First Lady Grace Coolidge claimed that she saw Lincoln's ghost gazing out the window. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt used the Lincoln Bedroom
as a study (Lincoln used it as an office) and Mrs. Roosevelt claimed she felt his presence when she worked there late in the evening. Guests at the White House through the years have reported ghostly images of Lincoln. One guest, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, reported that he emerged from a bath only to find the ghostly image of Lincoln sitting by the fireplace in his room. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands reported hearing a knock at her door while a guest at the White House. Upon opening the door she reported seeing Lincoln's ghost and she promptly fainted. Several of President Clinton's staff would not go anywhere near the Lincoln Bedroom, which is located on the second floor of the White House. White House seamstress Lillian Rogers related an incident where she investigated a pounding sound coming from an upper level of the White House, but the room in question was not occupied. While he did not get into specifics, President Harry Truman wrote to First Lady Bess Truman: "I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, and read reports ...all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right here in this study." Former White House Chief Usher Gary Walters, in an interview he gave in 2003, talked about experiences he could not explain where he and others felt a cool rush of air and saw doors that opened and closed by themselves. So, you be the judge. Is the White House haunted? NOTE: a powerful and emotionally charged movie,Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg, will be coming to theaters November 9.
The lottery opens today to obtain tickets for the 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony taking place in Washington, D.C. on December 6, 2012. This is the 90th year in which the President is invited to light the National Christmas tree on the Ellipse south of the White House. The ceremony features celebrity performers and this year will include a Santa's workshop and model trains running at the base of the Christmas tree. Go to htttp://www.recreation.gov to enter. Photo: The Obama family at last year's lighting ceremony.
Just two weeks before election day on October 25,1892, President Benjamin Harrison mourned the death of his wife Caroline, who died in the White House from tuberculosis. Caroline Harrison's accomplishments as First Lady included bringing the White House into the modern age with the installation of electricity although she was so afraid of touching the switches that the lights in the White House burned throughout the night until the White House staff distinguished them in the morning. Mrs. Harrison also organized the various lots of
White House china into a cohesive collection that is visible today in the White House China Room.
Test your knowledge about the United States and its government by taking a sampling here of the civics test required of people who want to become U.S. citizens or go online @ USCIS - Naturalization Self Test. An applicant for U.S. citizenship must answer six out of ten questions randomly selected from a list of 100 possible questions. While the questions posed here and online are multiple choice the actual test is an oral one. (A survey released earlier this year revealed that one-third of Americans could not pass the test.)
1. What are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? a. Articles of Confederation b. Bill of Rights c. Declaration or Independence 2. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence? a Liberty and justice b. Life and the pursuit of happiness c. Freedom of speech 3. How long is the term for a United States Senator? a. 2 years b. 4 years c. 6 years 4. If both the president and vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president? a. President Pro Tempore b. Speaker of the House c. Secretary of State 5. The House of Representatives has how many voting members? a. 345 b. 405 c. 435 6. When was the Constitution written? a. 1776 b. 1787 c. 1789 7. What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance? a. The United States b. The flag c. The President 8. Name one U.S. territory a. Cayman Islands b. Guam c. Haiti 9. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers. a. James Madison b. Thomas Jefferson c. George Washington 10. Name one of the states that borders Mexico a. Florida b. Louisiana c. California
The Lincoln Bedroom is the cover page this week for My Year with the First Ladies. The Lincoln Bedroom is on the second floor of the White House and not accessible to the public. At the time of his administration, President Abraham Lincoln used the room for his office and reportedly never slept in the Lincoln Bed. The bed is made of rosewood and is almost 8 ft by 6 ft. The room is known for alleged ghost sightings (more about that in a later post).
Today, October 19, and Saturday, October 20, the public is invited to spend time strolling the White House grounds and gardens while tweeting (hashtag #WHGARDEN), photographing and listening to the "President's Own" Marine Band. Some of the sights a visitor is likely to see include First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden, the Rose Garden, Jacqueline Kennedy's garden, the children's playground, and
the White House putting green. All visitors who enter the White House grounds must have a free ticket which is available at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion located at 15th and E Streets, adjacent to the White House, beginning at 8:00 a.m. each day of the tour.
President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will meet again tonight in New York at the 67th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The President will speak at the white-tie dinner which is a fundraiser for needy children and in the past has been attended by presidents and candidates in an election year. An interesting twist to this year's dinner: the host, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York is the head of the U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops, which is one of the organizations that sued the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act. According to a spokesperson for the Foundation, the President was invited because the dinner "is not a partisan event."
On this day in 1792, a ceremony took place in the future capital of the United States, the District of Columbia, to lay down the cornerstone of the White House. At the time the cornerstone was laid, Philadelphia was the nation's capital and President George Washington did not travel to attend the cornerstone ceremony. Why he did not attend is not clear, but George Washington had already put his stamp on the White House as he had worked closely with the architect of the White House, James Hoban. It was George Washington who increased the size of the building by 20 percent and insisted that certain carvings and architectural details be added. These extras added to the cost so Washington agreed to eliminate the first story to the size that is visible today. To further reduce costs Aquia Creek freestone was used. Since it is a porous rock, it needs to be sealed with lime wash or paint which is still being done periodically done today.
White House public tours of First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden, the Rose Garden, and Jacqueline Kennedy's garden will happen this weekend, Saturday, October 13, from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and Sunday, October 14, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Tours will also take place the following week on Friday, October 19, from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. and Saturday, October 20, from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. The tours are free, but a ticket is required for all attending. The National Park Service will distribute timed tickets on a first come, first-served basis, (one ticket per person) starting at 8:00 A.M, each day of the tour. (Photo: President Obama in Kitchen Garden- photo taken by White House official photographer Pete Souza).
Certain items will not be allowed on White House grounds (see list below) so be prepared. In case the weather does not cooperate the tours may be cancelled. The 24-hour information line at 202-456-7041 will be open to check the status of the tours.
Please note the following items are not allowed on the White House grounds:
Aerosols of any kind
Animals (except guide dogs)
Food or beverages of any kind
Any pointed object
Electric stun guns
Insulated metal containers
Knives of any kind
The U.S. Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other
personal items. However, strollers, wheelchairs, umbrellas and cameras
All items needed for medical purposes will be permitted on the tour
(e.g. wheelchairs, electric scooters, glucose tablets, EpiPens, etc.).
Please identify and explain all items needed for medical purposes to
U.S. Secret Service upon arrival.