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Word on the Hill: #HOHhalloween

Spooky legends from the halls of the Capitol

In 2001, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel dressed up as Arizona Sen. John McCain for Halloween. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call file photo)
In 2001, Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel dressed up as Arizona Sen. John McCain for Halloween. (Tom Williams/ CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy #HOHhalloween

With only eight days to go before Election Day, how are you dressing up this Halloween? As Hillary? Bill? Donald? Barack? Ken Bone?

If you, your boss or your kid dresses up as any politician — past or present — tweet a photo with the hashtag #HOHhalloween and we’ll share it in Heard on the Hill.

Let’s see your best costumes, and our thanks to everyone who has already participated!

Spooky Capitol legends

The Architect of the Capitol has a list of the five creepiest Capitol stories this Halloween. Read at your own risk!

  1. Demon cat terrorizes Capitol employees in the building at night.

A ghost cat that supposedly haunts the Capitol Building, appears before historic or tragic national events and has even left a set of paw prints outside the Old Supreme Court Chamber. While the paw prints are indeed in the floor near the entrance of the chamber, they are more likely from cats once used to kill vermin at the Capitol rather than a demon.

  1. Wounded Civil War soldier wanders through Statuary Hall.

In 1862, the military briefly converted the U.S. Capitol into a hospital for wounded Union soldiers. More than 1,000 cots were placed in Statuary Hall before the patients were removed later that year. According to legend, at least one soldier never left the building. Over the years, staffers have claimed they have seen the shadow of a soldier among the statues.

  1. John Lenthall, clerk to architect Benjamin Latrobe, cursed the building with his dying breath.

Lenthall was working on what is today referred to as the Old Supreme Court when he mistakenly removed wooden supports during construction of the space. An arch in the room collapsed and killed him. Folklore proclaims that as Lenthall lay dying he cursed the building before ultimately expiring.

  1. The voice of John Quincy Adams can be heard shouting “No!” near the Speaker’s Lobby.

During a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives, Adams loudly voted “no” on a resolution, then promptly collapsed at his desk. He was moved to the Speaker’s Lobby where he fell into a coma and died two days later. Some Capitol employees claim to hear someone shouting “no” late at night.

  1. A moaning William Preston Taulbee, who was shot by a reporter for The Louisville Times, is occasionally heard mumbling in a Capitol stairwell.

In 1887, Taulbee’s congressional career ended after a correspondent for The Louisville Times wrote an article alleging an affair. Over the next two years the former member, who now worked as a lobbyist, and the reporter bumped into each other. Often, Taulbee would tease the reporter, a much smaller man. By 1890, the reporter had enough of the harassment and shot Taulbee on the stairs. He died 11 days later. A stain on the stairs in the Capitol building is often attributed to the former congressman’s blood.Courtesy of

Staffer shuffle

Sarah Minkel, communications director (majority) for the House Committee on Rules, is leaving for The District Communications Group.

Happy Birthday to…

The only Halloween-born member of Congress is Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., 44.

What’s going on?

Have any tips, announcements or Hill happenings? Send them to

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