The US government has been keeping a secret for the last few hundred years...a demon lives in the sublevels of the US Capitol Building and in the basement of the White House. This demon has spooked security, baffled witnesses, and said to be an omen of terrible tragedy for the United States or a change in office.
The demon comes in the form of a black cat. When sighted, the animal appears to be a normal stray cat but when it approaches, it's said to have glowing eyes and grows larger to the size of a lion or bear. The caterwauling of the demon cat, said to walk the hallways in the basement near the Catafalque Storage Room, can sometimes be hear echoing through the damp corridors. In 1862 and again in 1898, guards shot a black cat that had swollen to the size of an elephant.
The story of the demon cat, nicknamed "DC" by Capitol employees, begins shortly after the capitol building was completed. Washington DC had something of a rat problem and cats were brought into the building to get rid of them. As the rat problem was taken care of, the cats either wandered off or were adopted by people who worked there. It seems that one cat was left behind in order to roam the recesses of the capitol building for a longer period.
“One guard who saw it wants to remain anonymous. It happened on a January night in the 1970s. As he was walking through a passage way, he saw the black cat approach. The phantom appeared to get larger as it walked toward him. Its eyes had a reddish glow. The guard was afraid to move. Finally, the phantom reached the size of a tiger and its meowings changed to roars. It crouched and sprang and all the guard could do was to pray and close his eyes. Nothing happened. When the guard opened his eyes, the cat had vanished.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune of 11/1/1992 stated: "The demon cat would usually meet someone alone in a dark corridor. It had large yellow eyes that seemed to hypnotize, and it would snarl. It would seem to grow larger and larger until it would make a final lunge toward its victim and then either explode or disappear over the victim's head. Historians recorded stories of guards firing guns toward the hissing cat as it disappeared only to find they were shooting into an empty hall. It was said to appear only on the eve of a national tragedy or the change of administrations."
DC has been seen periodically throughout the last 200 years. Reportedly, he was spotted before the assassination of Lincoln and Garfield, before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the death of Roosevelt, the assassination of Kennedy, the attempted assassination of Reagan, and there was even an account of the cat being spotted the night of September 10th, 2001. At the White House, it is usually seen during times when the presidency is moving to a new person.
DC's predicting ability isn't the only thing it is known for. It's said to live in a room originally intended to house the body of George Washington after death, a place that would remain empty as Washington was buried at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. This empty room is one of the many places witnesses have spotted the mysterious creature.
When the subject of ghosts and the paranormal on Capitol Hill is approached, a few incidents are brought to light. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is a firm believer. “In my old hideaway we had ghosts,” Leahy said. “We had a 300-pound table that we’d come in and find in different parts of the room that we hadn’t left it in...it had moved around by itself about every two or three months.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she hadn’t seen any ghosts in her more than 20 years in Congress, but added that “sometimes it feels haunted.”
Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) agreed, saying that when he presided over the House floor, he sometimes felt another presence in the room. “When I sat in the [House] chair at times, I knew that there were members around me that were not just not in the chamber to vote on something,” he said.
Anthony Wallis, a research analyst with the House historian’s office states, “One soldier is known to have undergone excruciating pain one night during surgery and he died on the operating table. So Capitol Police swear that they hear moaning and see figures walking across the Capitol Rotunda, because it was used as a makeshift hospital during the Civil War.”
Whether real or the result of years of paranoia I cannot say, but if you ever find yourself in the Capitol Rotunda during a tour, take a look at the floor near the old entrance to the Senate Hall. One thing that you cannot deny is the set of cat prints across the stone floor said to be made by the US Capitol's demon cat.
NOTE: Personally, I don't care for the word 'demon'... malevolent is a more suitable description for an evil being or entity in my opinion. Similar to the Mothman, these supposed 'harbingers of death' or 'omens' usually have the 'demon' tag attached to it, even though there doesn't seem to be any malevolent intent. The Capitol Building, built by slaves and with a nucleus of strife and bloodshed over its more than 200-year history, has a rich history of ghosts and mystical folklore. But while some lawmakers embrace, and almost relish, this eerie presence, others deny the existence of ghosts...or, at the very least, have serious doubts of the stories people tell...Lon
"Ghosts: Washington Revisited" (The Ghostlore of the Nation's Capital)
Washington, D.C., Ghosts, Legends, and Lore
The Ghost in the White House
Alexander, John - 'Washington's Most Famous Ghost Stories' - 1988
Send us an email
Go to Phantoms and Monsters - NetworkBlogs and sign up
Click here for this week's entertaining podcast
Add 'Beyond The Edge' Radio to your playlist!