A series of ghost stories is more likely to be told around an old building that is historically significant. There are many stories about ghosts and spirits in the White House. It has been home to American presidents for more than a century. One of the strangest tales comes from the presidency of William Howard Taft.
Major Archie Butt was a military attaché and aide to President Taft. He wrote a letter to Clara, his sister-in-law, about the ghost, which described paranormal activity at the White House. Butt was convinced that the White House was haunted, and the ghost was simply called the “Thing.” The ghost was felt, rather than seen. It felt more like a slight pressure on one’s arm or shoulder.
Although the major dismissed initial reports of the Thing, he soon began to believe in them. The most bizarre thing about Taft’s visiting presence was that unlike other White House ghosts, which are usually attributed to presidents or first ladies of the past, the Thing was allegedly an anonymous adolescent.
Butt said that the ghost was most likely a 15-year-old boy who introduced himself to his hauntees by applying pressure to the shoulder. Butt felt the ghost was serious enough to raise it with President Taft.
However, Taft didn’t want the ghost talked about. Under threat of termination, he ordered that everyone stop speaking of the Thing ever again. He did this to avoid the possibility of the media learning that White House officials were afraid of spirits.
Butt said that Taft was still curious about the ghost. One maid had told of seeing the Thing and described the apparition as a disheveled, blond boy. Butt wrote that he would dig deep into White House history in order to find the ghost. Yet, Butt never wrote again about the Thing, leaving only a strange mystery in White House history.