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Even at the end of a socially distanced spooky season, you can still keep the spirts of the holidy alive!

This month, our editors’ highlighted some of the most haunted places in the country so you can experience Halloween all year. 

The White House 

While it is clear that the current occupant of the White House revels in his graveyard of American rights and civil liberties, the White House has a strange history of haunted stories. 

Trump is clearly not haunted by the 200,000 American deaths from COVID-19 but he might just be afraid of ghosts. Whether he embraces or mocks the paranormal, the many accounts that have spilled out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue over two centuries give ghosts an undeniable place in the country’s history (maybe we shouldn’t have men in office anymore- just a thought). 

The sightings, which have been documented in eerie detail, involve a former president who appears when the nation needs a leader most, a daughter who pleads in vain to help her doomed mother and a first lady stuck doing laundry forever. 

Lincoln’s ghost seems to be a popular ghost story from White House guests. First Lady Grace Coolidge spoke in magazine accounts of seeing him look out a window in what had been in his office. Additionally, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom in 1942 when she reportedly heard a knock on her bedroom door, opened it to see the bearded president and fainted. 

Another popular White House ghost is that of Andrew Jackson. He was seen supposedly lying in his bed in the Rose Room, laughing uncontrollably, stomping, and swearing. His presence has been felt in the White House since the 1860’s. Hopefully, he’s stuck in a ghost like purgatory and is haunted by mass genocide he committed. 

Overall, the White House is haunted by political failings, actual ghosts, and the death of universal healthcare under the Trump administration. While the current occupant may not seem to be bothered by the consequences of his life-altering actions, maybe the White House ghosts can give him a little spook this Halloween. 

–Hannah Andress

Point Pleasant, West Virginia 

If you are an avid follower of Buzzfeed Unsolved: Supernatural like I am, then you have probably heard of and seen the hilarious investigation of the mysterious creature that is Mothman.

In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, this phenomenon of Mothman began in 1966 when the Point Pleasant Register reported “Couples See Man-Sized Bird…Creature…Something”. Soon after this local newspaper published this story, the national press picked up reports of Mothman and helped spread the story of this obscure creature across the country. 

The two young couples who first reported on the sighting of Mothman said they saw a large grey creature whose eyes glowed red when their car’s headlights picked it up. These couples described Mothman as a “large flying man with ten-foot wings.” According to two volunteer firemen who saw it, they also claimed that Mothman was a large bird with red eyes. 

Since 2002, Point Pleasant has held an Annual Mothman Festival as a way to celebrate the uniqueness of this local legacy. In a typical year, an average of 10,000 to 12,000 people attend this Mothman festival. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the town has postponed their annual festival until 2021. 

If you are in the area, though, the town of Point Pleasant still has their Mothman museum open to the public. Masks and social distancing is required, but if you are in the mood for something spooky, but not too scary, visit the world’s only Mothman museum. The museum claims that “a flying red-eyed creature called Mothman changed this small West Virginia town…forever” which I think is indeed true and something worth visiting this spooky season. 

–Christina McAlister

 

Winchester Mystery House

Never-ending hallways, staircases that go nowhere, doors that open to sudden drop-offs, creaky floorboards and a grand total of 24,000 square feet– you must be talking about the Winchester Mystery House.

A staple in San Jose, CA, the Winchester Mystery House was under constant construction from 1886 to 1922 and belonged to Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, heiress to much of the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune.

widow of William Wirt Winchester. An heiress to most of the Winchester Reaping Arms fortune, Sarah Winchester lost her infant daughter and husband only a few years apart, prompting her move from New Haven, CT to California. 

What started as an eight-room farmhouse suddenly became the Mystery House known today with 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 160 rooms, 47 stairways and fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, 17 chimneys and 6 kitchens. And the only reason it stopped was because Ms. Winchester died in 1922. 

What makes this house such a bizarre mystery? No one knows exactly why this rich, socialite suddenly locked herself into a house that she demanded to be continuously expanded on.

Of course, there are many theories.

One theory says she grew to believe her family fortune was haunted by the ghosts of people killed with the Winchester rifle, the product that gave her family their fortune. In order to ward off these spirits, a psychic told Winchester to move west, buy a home and never stop building. 

Some suspected that, once construction was finished, Winchester would die while others thought that her reason for creating such a complex maze of a house was to confuse any spirits coming to haught her. 

Winchester was always suspicious of events such as earthquakes and blamed them on the spirits. 

The Winchester house is open for visits, just be careful not to take a wrong turn and get lost among the paranormal spirits.

–Peyton Bigora

 

Eastern State Penitentiary

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a Halloween staple in Philadelphia. Formerly one of the biggest and most infamous prisons in the world, ESP was known for not only holding criminals like Al Capone, but also for being “the world’s first true penitentiary” because of its unique design intended to make its prisoners feel true penitence.

While ESP’s operations ended in 1971, the horrors that took place during the 142 years it was open live on inside of its walls. From its gothic architecture to its major emphasis on solitary confinement and abusive correctional methods, the building’s remains give off an eerie aura that instills trepidation and anxiety even in its day-time visitors. 

Reports of voices, strange sounds, shadowy figures and dark energy in the penitentiary have been corroborated by hundreds of people. Certain cellblocks are known for their haunted attributes, particularly blocks twelve, six and four.

Multiple people have reported seeing and hearing the ghost of a banshee chasing after them in cellblock twelve. Amy Hollaman, a creative director for ESP’s annual “Terror Behind the Walls” exhibit, has had multiple staff members over the years report hearing screaming in cellblock twelve while working on the second floor.

Hollaman also spoke about the time a visitor stole a bolt from ESP but mailed it back, asking her to put it back exactly where it belonged.

“They say they regretted taking it because they’ve had the worst luck ever since,” she revealed. “For them to think that their lives took a turn for the worse since taking this object says something.”

Whether you’re a sceptic who doesn’t believe in the supernatural or a hardcore believer in haunted spaces, Eastern State Penitentiary is a must-visit for anyone who wants to experience the remains of one of the world’s most notorious prisons. Just make sure you don’t take anything home with you…

–Nicole Scallan

See, Halloween never has to end! If you are able to visit these places, we definitely reccomend you do so (with a mask on, of course). From HCAU, we hope you had a happy, haunting spooky season. 

 

Peyton is a student at American University in Washington DC and is HCAU's Editor in Chief. Majoring in journalism and double minoring in political science and creative writing, Peyton intends on graduating in May 2022. Peyton's goal is to write for a major news organization as a print or online journalist. She also wants to continue traveling, exploring and writing about her experiences. To learn more about her and her work, visit https://peytonbigora.wixsite.com/website.
Hannah Andress

American '21

Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus American. Currently an undergraduate student at American University involved in the Global Scholars program studying International Studies and Arabic. Preferred gender pronouns are she/her/hers. Her interests include national security, women in politics, international human and civil rights, and creating an impact that is long-lasting and sustainable.
Nicole (she/they) is a political science major at American University. She has been a writer for Her Campus since 2018 and an editor since 2019. She loves to write about politics, social activism and pop culture.
Christina studies Journalism and Political Science at American University in Washington, D.C. She has a deep passion for human interest stories, traveling, and politics. Christina enjoys writing for Her Campus because it brings the stories of young college womxn all together like no other platform or news outlet does.
Emma Semaan

American '22

Emma (she/her) is a student at American University studying Public Policy and Economics. A member of the Politics, Policy and Law Scholars program, she is very interested in a lot of boring subjects; currently her not-boring focus is effective political discourse on college campuses. When she's not in class, she's likely typing away at her latest big project or paper, and on the weekends she is most likely to be spotted at any of the numerous coffee shops in DC. Her interests include too-hot coffee and too-long books and dogs that she doesn't own but wishes she did.
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