Published October 27, 2020
Ghost Stories from The Octagon
The best (and maybe true) ghost stories from The Octagon
By Jen Levisen
Mysterious footprints. The sound of silver and the clink of glass. Ringing call bells. Lilac scent so strong you can't breathe. The Octagon, one of the oldest homes in Washington, D.C., and currentheadquarters of the Architects Foundation, is widely considered to be the most haunted home in Washington, after the White House.
"Now this is most likely because of it's age," says Architects Foundation Executive Director, Marci Reed. "Ghost stories as we know them today began to gain popularity after the Civil War, when a lot of people were killed far from home and the mourning practices of the time had to adjust to account for the fact that you might never see your loved one's body. Prior to the Civil War, most people died at home and it fell to the women of the family to lay out their loved ones and prepare them for burial. The rise of funeral homes post-Civil War created a disconnect in the mourning process.
"The idea of ghosts and ghost stories about the house existed before the war, but they aren't widely reported on/picked up until after the 1860s," continues Marci. "It is after the Tayloes moved out, when the house begins to be rented to various groups and begins to fall into disrepair that the stories start picking up."
Marci toured us through some of The Octagon's more spirited spaces this week in the inaugural episode of The Forum LIVE on Instagram. Take a peek.