'I neither believe nor disbelieve in ghosts. I believe in the power of the stories,' Tim Krepp says. (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
The tour starts at Hill Center, originally the
Old Naval Hospital. The building dates back to
1864 and was created to serve injured Civil War
Despite its long history filled with "tales
woe," tour guide and local historian Tim Krepp
says there are no ghosts here. He just likes
starting the haunted Capitol Hill tour at the
former hospital because it looks spooky.
"I just can't find a ghost in here and I find
that just cruel," he says. "I'm still to this
day looking. I'm convinced its haunted."
Standing on the corner of 10th and G streets,
Krepp points to an unassuming green house. The
street is quiet and idyllic, with mothers
pushing strollers down the sidewalk. But this is
also the home of Old Howard, one of Krepp's
He first appeared in 1871 to the Bonehart
family, which started feeling a menacing
presence late at night. Candles would suddenly
blow out and window shutters would open by
themselves. After inquiring about the house's
history, the Boneharts learned that a
curmudgeonly Marine once lived there. He cursed
his family as he died, driving them out of the
home. His spirit lingered, however, and
terrorized the Boneharts.
A servant reported hearing cackling as she
laying in bed moments before her sheets and
night clothes were ripped off. (WTOP/Alicia
The Boneharts eventually left the house at
10th and G streets, and all was quiet until the
1920s when Old Howard struck again. This time it
was a couple "in bed but not sleeping,"
according to a newspaper article Krepp read.
Suddenly the lights were turned on, the
curtains thrown open and the bed thrust into the
middle of the room.
"The couple had to move out and leave in
shame," Krepp says. (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
Completed in 1806, the U.S. Marine Corps
Barracks and Commandant's House is pulsating
with ghostly presences, Krepp says. His favorite
tale is about Gen. Archibald Henderson, who
served as commandant of the Marine Corps for 38
years. He died "rather prosaically" one day just
before dinner while napping on the living room
sofa. Shortly after, the sightings started.
One Marine's widow reported seeing him next
her bed during a visit to the house. And during
World War II, as the new commandant was giving a
farewell speech for his son who was about to
deploy, Henderson appeared near the buffet
table. As the group was discussing the
possibility of women serving as Marines, the
general came crashing down off the wall.
"He was clearly not a fan of women in the
Marines," Krepp jokes. "He came from a different
time after all."
To learn about other ghost stories from the
commandant's house - and the buried treasure
behind it - check out Krepp's new book "Capitol
Hill Haunts." (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
The most common sighting at the District 1
police substation is of an officer from the
1910s dripping wet and entering through the side
entrance of the building. No one knows for
certain who this ghost is, but Krepp has a
A blizzard hit D.C. March 5, 1909 just as
city was preparing to host President William
Howard Taft's inauguration. The police
department was overworked that day with
preparations, so when Officer J.W. Collier tried
to call out sick the captain was furious. He
ordered the patrolman to come in immediately to
A struggle ensued and Collier
shot Capt. William H. Mathews fives times in
the head. He was arrested immediately, but
pleaded self-defense in court. Krepp suspects
the captain is still haunting his former
station. (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
The Maples, the oldest house in Capitol Hill,
has played host to senators and historical
figures alike, but it's the wife of Maj.
Augustus A. Nicholson that lingered.
Nicholson bought the home at 619 D Street,
1838 and the family lived there for almost 20
years. Despite their happy appearance, Nicholson
and wife had a troubled marriage. She accused
him of an affair, but he always denied it, Krepp
The house was later purchased by Emily Edson
Briggs, the first female journalist to receive
congressional press credentials. She hosted
grand parties, but reported hearing weeping at
night and music coming from the grand ballroom
when no one else was inside.
"She felt an overwhelming grief in this
but couldn't put her finger on it," Krepp says.
Briggs eventually became comfortable with
whatever, or whoever, was living in her home and
over time, the hauntings seemed to dissipate.
Then one morning she woke up and felt like
something was missing. Briggs looked around
trying to figure out what was wrong and found
herself in the room where she often heard
disembodied crying. The bed looked neatly made,
yet there was an indent like someone had been
using it. On top of the pillow sat a single
"That was the last she ever felt of the
spirit ... [which was] presumably at peace and
at rest with everything and left behind a thank
you to Emily," Krepp says. (WTOP/Alicia Lozano)
"Capitol Hill Haunts" is filled with local ghost
stories. (Courtesy of Tim Krepp)
Courtesy of Tim Krepp
Alicia Lozano, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – There is something haunting Capitol Hill, and it’s not just a partisan Congress with a terrible reputation. Ghosts are said to linger in the historic neighborhood, spooking residents and giving locals a glimpse of what life was like hundreds of years ago.
Tim Krepp, author of “Capitol Hill Haunts,” specializes in paranormal tours throughout the region. Georgetown and Alexandria, Va. get most of the supernatural tourism, but Krepp says Southeast D.C. can be just as spooky.
“You move here and you live … among a wealth of historic buildings and structures,” he says. “Not just the Capitol and the Library of Congress, but the row houses, the townhouses.”
Krepp used his skills as a historian to dig deeper into the neighborhood, looking for clues about how the area developed.
“You know there’s stories here,” he says. “You know there must be something behind this that’s beyond what you see.”
What the New York native found was chilling – beds moving on their own, disembodied cackles and a single white pearl.
Krepp’s new book gives a detailed account of Capitol Hill’s ghastly history, but ghost chasers can also check out his
haunted tour, which starts at Eastern Market Metro Station and winds through Barracks Row, District 1 police substation and the Maples, Capitol Hill’s oldest house.
For those brave enough to see what goes bump in the night, click through the image gallery.
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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)