Tricks and Treats of D.C.'s Architecture cont.d

The Octagon House Museum

The Octagon House was designed for John Tayloe III by architect William Thornton, the first architect of the United States Capitol. Built between 1799 and 1801, this was the first house to be completed "in the neighborhood" of the White House.
  • One of Tayloe's fifteen children either fell to her death through the center of the grand staircase. Stories include a strange candle-shaped shadow on the staircase and the faint sound of a falling scream.
  • A second daughter, while pregnant, died in the house by throwing herself from the top banister upon finding out her father had done away with her soldier lover, whom he disapproved of. Her ghost is said to roam the halls.
  • Occasionally visitors have claimed to seen John himself walking the halls of the home along with slaves performing their daily routines.
  • A somewhat more pleasant ghost, reported to have been seen dancing and enjoying the lilacs, is assumed to be Dolley Madison who adored her stay in the house.
The Octagon House Museum Web Site

Healy Hall-Georgetown University

Officially, the fifth floor of Healy Hall does not, and never did, exist. The high Victorian design of the building, which was constructed in the late 1870's during the presidency of Patrick Healy, lends itself to speculation about secret sealed-off floors and ghostly inhabitants.
  • One story of how this floor came to be haunted dates back to when Georgetown was a liberal arts college. A young Jesuit student accidentally opened the Gates of the Underworld when reading forbidden chants in a book about exorcism within a secret room in Healey Hall that is now sealed off.
  • A second tale involves another Jesuit, who was crushed to death by the hands of the clock while working in the clock tower and now wanders the floor moaning in pain.
  • Other Georgetown ghost stories tell of trapped spirits in the University's underground tunnel system.

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