HAUNTED HISTORY: Knock! Knock! Who’s there? A White House ghost story.

Did you know the original White House was burned down during the War of 1812? I know, crazy right!! The White House that stands today has been the home of every president since James Monroe in 1817. But one president has never really left. Here’s the story of a fearless queen and a dead president.


Knock! Knock! Who’s there?

1495747735031In the summer of 1942, the world was at war. Queen Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria (yeah, you read that right) of the Netherlands had been living in London since 1940, when her country was invaded by Germany. She hated being away from home. She was a fearless leader. So she  dedicated herself to building allies with countries like the United States.

On August 5, 1942, Queen Wilhelmina became the first queen EVER to give a speech to Congress as a show of support and friendship. During her trip, she stayed in the White House as a guest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor. She stayed in a bedroom at the time known as the ROSE ROOM. It was called this because everything in it was red and pink and flowery. Even fresh roses were brought in for her stay!

But after the queen settled into the bed that once belonged to President Andrew Jackson, something strange happened…

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KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

Queen Wilhelmina stirred from her sleep. She opened her eyes and vaguely made out the flowery sofa at the end of her bed. The moonlight gave the once pinkish room a blue hue, and made the shadows of the furniture look like strange alien creatures.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

The queen checked the clock on her nightstand. It was just after midnight. “Who could it be at this hour?” She whispered to herself, a bit annoyed. Her maid had gone to bed, so she was forced to answer the door herself.

“This better be important,” she said aloud. “Or I’ll give this person a piece of my mind!”

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

The knocks echoed around the bedroom. The queen didn’t particularly care for the Rose Room. The smell of the fresh flowers made her feel like she was sleeping in a funeral home. She also felt cold, much colder than she expected for an August night. Goosebumps tickled the back of her arms and neck.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

The queen quickly threw on her robe, slipped on her slippers, and marched to greet this disturber. “What is it?!” She declared, opening the door angrily. But when she looked out, she stepped back in terror.

Towering over her was a tall, lanky man wearing a dark three-piece suit with a long top hat. He stood under the pale yellow light of the White House corridor. His face was half-covered by darkness, but she noticed he had a thin beard that wrapped around the edges of his jaw, bushy eyebrows, strong cheekbones, and gentle eyes.

“Good evening ma’am,” the man said in a soft voice. “I’m sorry to disturb you. I’m afraid I’m a bit lost.”

The queen wanted to yell at the man for frightening her. But she couldn’t. She thought he seemed kind.

“I’m only a guest here sir,” she replied calmly.

“In a way we’re all guests here, aren’t we?” The man said with a snicker. “This place gets bigger and bigger every time I come back. I’m looking for my wife, Mary. And our bedroom. I don’t want to disturb everyone by knocking on all the doors.”

Only mine, the queen thought annoyingly. “I’m terribly sorry sir. I wish I could help.”

“Thank you ma’am,” the man said. He then took off his hat, pressed it against his chest, bowed his head to her and said, “sleep well.”

The queen nodded, and watched the strange tall man amble away. The lights in the corridor were dim, and somehow, she noticed, the man didn’t cast a shadow. She spied on him as he paced forward and inspected each door he passed.

Then suddenly, his face lit up with delight. He peered back at the queen and pointed to the shut door in front of him. She could see a thin smile stretch across his face. He then neatly placed his top hat back on his head, stood tall, took a deep breath, and walked right through the door! It was as if there was no door at all!

It took a moment for the queen to register what she just saw. Was it open already? She wondered. 

She left her doorway and wandered toward the door. It was closed! Her heart started racing, and her hands got warm and clammy.  “You’re getting old Wilhelmina,” she whispered to herself.

She raced back to her room. But before she closed the door, she spotted a portrait hanging above a small wooden table in the corridor. The man in the painting was sitting down. But she knew the stare of those gentle eyes.

That’s the man! She thought at once, sucking in a deep breath. The plaque on the frame read:

Abraham Lincoln; 1809 – 1865; 16th President of the United States of America

Queen Wilhelmina read it twice. Then her reaction was simple — she fainted.

She woke up later that morning, lying under the rose-colored canopy of her bed. The smell of the fresh roses made her feel sick. Her maid had found her and called a doctor. But the queen wasn’t spending another minute there. She packed her things and left the White House at once — never returning again.

Today, the Rose Room in the White House has been renamed The Queens’ Bedroom.

Thanks for dropping in! Come back next week for a brand new GADGET GUIDE article!

One thought on “HAUNTED HISTORY: Knock! Knock! Who’s there? A White House ghost story.

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