I was thinking of what to write today when I remembered something creepy I saw last night. It got me to thinking that there are tons of strange and spooky things in DC, some which we see every day.
But then I thought to myself, "Pumpernickel, wait until a creepy day to post about something creepy." Since I'm too impatient to wait for Halloween, I looked up the date of Lincoln's death. And what did I find? Abraham Lincoln died in 1865 on April 15th. Today is the anniversary of his death! I kid you not, this was not planned. Talk about a creepy coincidence.
And so, in memory of our 16th president, I present to you the Top 10 Creepy Things in Washington, DC:
10. Passenger-less, Out of Service Metro Trains
There is nothing creepier than watching the blackened windows of an out of service metro train barreling through a station. They look like ghost trains, and I half expect to see grotesque, phantom faces smiling at me from inside. I saw one last night at Metro Center, prompting me to compile the list you're reading right now.
9. The Exorcist Stairs in Georgetown
Even though I didn't actually watch the Exorcist until college, I always pointed out the stairs to visitors as a child. They creeped me out then, but now that I've seen the movie...they creep me out even more.
8. Dimly Lit, Long Hallways in Old Apartment Buildings
Like so many other apartment buildings, the one in which I live is old. It was built in 1929 and has a decidedly creepy quality that pervades the whole building. The hallways are dizzying in length, outfitted with faded pepto-pink carpet and bathed in a sometimes flickering yellow light. When I walk to my apartment, I almost expect to see two girls holding hands at the end of the hallway a la The Shining. "I'm sorry to differ with you, sir. But you are the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker. I should know, sir. I've always been here."
7. Walking in the National Zoo After Hours
The buildings at the zoo close at 6 pm, but you can walk the grounds until 8 pm before the guards kick you out. While it's not that scary right now (the sun doesn't completely set until 8:13 pm tonight), walking around a deserted zoo in the winter (when it's dark by 5 pm) can be pretty creepy. With most visitors gone, it's not unlikely you'll find yourself the only living soul in sight. So if you fall into the tiger enclosure, there will be no one to hear you scream.
6. Seeing Plays at Ford's Theater
This one is a no brainer. Visiting the theater where Lincoln was shot is a classic Washington spookfest. The balcony with the actual seat in which Lincoln was sitting has even been preserved to spook future generations of Americans.
5. Driving on Wootton Parkway
Though it's technically not in DC, the road that runs in front of my old high school in Maryland gives me the willies. It's been a school crossing since 1970, but cars zipped along the road at breakneck speeds until cameras were installed about 5 years ago. The reason? Several children have been struck by speeding cars. A memorial to Howard Philip Van Horn, who was killed by a hit-and-run in 1999, still stands in front of my school. Fresh flowers are placed at the spot every week.
4. Crossing Through Lafayette Square
Considered by ghost enthusiasts to be the most haunted place in DC, Lafayette Square was once the site of several graveyards. Supposedly, graves were located in the southwest corner of the square around 1800. Also, skulls and bones were unearthed around 1840 in the northwest corner. They were alledgedly remnants of unmarked slave graves from the 1700s. I can't help but think about what might be buried beneath me as I walk through the square. Several haunted houses also line the park, including the Octagon House and the Decatur House.
3. The Dupont Underground
Did you know that there's an abandoned trolley station under Dupont Circle? Well, now you do. It's been unused since 1962, but you can still see evidence of it above ground. You've probably seen the boarded up entrances before, and just not realized what they were.
2. Walking Through Rock Creek Park
I really only have one piece of advice to young, single girls moving to DC. Never walk through Rock Creek Park alone at night. Ever. I don't care if it cuts the time of your journey home in half. Just don't do it. Between the murder of Chandra Levy and countless others over the years (including this disturbing murder of 8-year-old Harrison McKinley Walker in 1949), you're better off just taking a cab.
1. The Capitol Building
I've always been creeped out by sheer number of statues which decorate the Capitol. It's like they're a golem army waiting to be brought to life in the event of World War III. Others are spooked by the Capitol, but for different reasons. According to legend, a worker was sealed alive in a wall during construction after arguing with another carpenter, who struck him with a brick and did the deed. The man's ghost supposedly can be seen wandering the Senate chamber.
Do these things creep you out? Let me know of any other creeptastic destinations I've left off the list.