Presidential Poltergeists

Imagine: Something scarier than Bush in the White House.

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No, I dont want to see the scary thing in your pants.
No, I dont want to see the scary thing in your pants.
British hard-ass Winston Churchill didn’t fear air raids, international negotiations, or even English cooking. But the White House scared the crap out of him. “He basically freaked out and refused to sleep there ever again,” says Mary Luoma, an organizer of tonight’s Ghosts of the White House lecture and tour at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. The program includes stories about presidential poltergeists, superstitions, and the haunted abode itself. Plus, there’s a Victorian-era press conference, staged by local actors who’ll field your questions about the Ohio-born Garfield. Guests can also take a tour of Garfield’s home, where they’ll see creepy things made out of items left over from the 20th president’s funeral (the Moreland Hills native spent less than four months in office before he was assassinated). Experts like Luoma will talk about the numerous séances that were performed at the White House back in the day. “They had to deal with a lot of death, due to wars and disease,” she says. “With the invention of the telegraph, they thought they could use something similar to reach out to the spirit world.” Still, Luoma cautions Halloween thrill-seekers: “This isn’t about Garfield haunting his home . . . though I did hear stories about how his ghost and his assassin walk the halls of the U.S. Capitol.”
Sat., Oct. 27, 6 p.m., 2007
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