This week seemed an apt time to ponder our nation's political ghosts. We all know Abraham Lincoln haunts the White House along with Andrew Jackson and a host of first ladies, Woodrow Wilson is seen in a rocking chair at Blair House.
A great many ghosts are associated with the other federal government buildings in Washington. But one ghost is known to be seen in at least two places always heralding disaster for the nation.
It is the Phantom black cat. Seen in the basements of the White House, the mall and the Capitol, DC as it is called (short for Demon Cat) is reported to appear just before national disasters. When seen, it is sometimes reported to appear as a kitten, but as you get closer it grows into a menacing and angry tiger-like animal with red glowing eyes. It is only seen at night, and normally only by people that are alone. It made an appearance before the stock market crash of 1929, and again before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. At the White House, it is usually seen during times - such as now - when the presidency is moving to a new person.
The origin of the story may lie with the fact that the capitol was once infested with rats. The problem became so severe, that caretakers released a large number of cats in the building to control the rat population. Ever since, the black cat has made his appearance. Guards fear even talking about seeing the animal, mainly as it might cause them to lose their security clearance, but stories abound from retired federal employees.
Personally I wish they'd tell us whenever it is seen. Whether a concocted urban legend or a legitimate paranormal phenomena, DC remains a fascinating and little-known phantom that remains unique in its ability to appear in multiple different places, always before a disaster. If it really does exist, more information would be quite welcome.