The Ghost That Haunted The White House During William Howard Taft's Presidency

The more old and historically significant a building, the more likely a series of ghost stories will prop up around it. The White House, which has housed American presidents and their families for over a century, has no shortage of stories concerning spooky spirits and ghoulish ghosts, with one of the stranger tales coming out of the presidency of William Howard Taft (via Mental Floss).

The ghost was written about by Major Archie Butt, a military aide and attaché to President Taft, who scribed a letter to his sister-in-law Clara describing the White House's paranormal activity. The ghost was only referred to as the "Thing," and Butt was utterly convinced that the White House was haunted. It was reportedly felt rather than seen, like a small bit of pressure on the arm or shoulder that felt like a child pressing down. The major dismissed the reports from the servants of the Thing, but soon became a believer himself. Most strange about Taft's apparition was that, unlike most White House "ghosts," which are attributed to a president or first lady of ages past, the Thing was supposedly an anonymous adolescent.

Taft was angered by the rumors

According to White House History, Butt reported that the ghost was likely a boy around the age of 15, who would first introduce himself to his hauntees with a bit of pressure on the shoulder, as if he was leaning over them to get a better look at whatever they were doing. Butt thought the ghost a serious enough concern to bring it up to President Taft. Taft did not take to the concerns kindly. He ordered everyone to never speak of the Thing again, under threat of termination, as he did not want the press to learn that White House officials were scared of a ghost boy.

Butt claimed that Taft was still interested in learning about the ghost, according to Mental Floss. A maid had described seeing the Thing, describing the apparition as an unkempt blond boy. Butt wrote in his letter that he was going to dive deep into White House history to see who the ghost was when he walked among the living, but never wrote of the Thing again, leaving nothing more than an odd blip on White House history.