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10 Spooky Facts about Georgetown

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Long before the 1971 Exorcist movie put Georgetown on the map for horror fans, tales of ghosts and the otherworldly was a deep part of the town.  It may be a combination of ambiance, architecture, and landscaping... but Georgetown is seriously haunted.  Below are some, not so well known, spooky facts about this old port town.

 

 

1. There is a fence made of gun barrels 

Some of the black iron gates that adorn the houses are made from old gun barrels from long forgotten wars. 

Indeed, check out the fence at 2803-11 P Street NW to see the Mexican War muskets that owner Ruben Daws purchased from a pawnshop.

2. There are century old railcar tracks

On O Street you will see the remains of old railcar tracks.  For more than a hundred years these charming railcars were a part of city life. 

The last ones ran until 1960... but even today, late at night, you may hear their bells and the conductors call to attention.

3. There is an old church where you can join a seance

On Q Street you will find the Church of Two Worlds inside an old Methodist gothic church. The members here practise spiritualism, whose aim it is to prove the continuity of life by contacting and communing with the dead.

Join the seance every Wednesday and Sunday from 2pm.

4. Albert Clemons slept in a crypt at Halcyon House

Albert Clemons, onetime owner of the Halcyon House, had built a crypt on-site and may have slept in it. 

Indeed, his last will and testament begins, "First, I direct that upon my death... the attending physician shall thereafter pierce or puncture my heart sufficiently for the purpose of absolute certainty of death."

5. The K Street Bridge is haunted by a headless man

In the 1800s Georgetown's children lived in mortal fear of the "headless man of K Street bridge".  Apparently the victim of some heinous crime, his documented apparitions in this dark wooded area kept locals away after dark.

6. Oak Hill Cemetery was the site of a satanic ritual 

>Georgetown's Oak Hill Cemetery is straight out of a Victorian novel.  Visit during the winter to experience it in all of its creepy splendor and glory. In the early 1980s, a crypt was broken into and some kind of a satanic seance was held, complete with a spike through the heart of the body of a long-dead Navy Commodore.

View of Oak Hill Cemetery Graves

7. There was a Civil War Hospital that is now Apartment Buildings

The Colonial Apartment building was once Seminary Hospital during the American Civil War. Amputations and surgeries with no anesthesia happened in what is now living rooms. And the bodies of poor and unidentified dead soldiers would be stacked outside waiting to carried to nearby cemeteries.

8. Healy Hall has a portal to the underworld... 

Georgetown's Healy Hall, with its dark and dramatic spires, is most certainly haunted.  It is well known that long ago a young Jesuit student accidently opened the gates to the underworld when reading forbidden chants in a book about exorcism. 

Unable to close these gates, the fifth floor has remained sealed ever since.

Self Guided Tour of Georgetown University Healy Hall

9. Samuel Davidson was not a friendly neighbor!

In 1810, Georgetown resident Samuel Davidson took out an advertisement in the local paper warning his neighbors not to trespass on his estate.

He ended his warning like this; "Therefore, I beg and pray all of my neighbors to avoid Evermay as they would a den of evils, or rattlesnakes, and thereby save themselves and me much vexation and trouble."

10. Mary Todd Lincoln contacted her son Willie after he died

During and after the Civil War, 3226 N Street was the home of Cranstoun and Margaret Laurie. 

Spiritualists and seance conductors, they were said to have entertained Mrs. Mary Lincoln who was seeking contact with her beloved son Willie who had died of typhoid in the White House.

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 28 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 4) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.
Updated: October 6th, 2021
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