Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who's Haunting the White House?

Belanger, Jeff. 2008. Who's Haunting the White House? The President's Mansion and the Ghosts Who Live There. New York: Sterling.

In spite of it's attention-grabbing title, this book is a bit of a disappointment. The book chronicles the history of White House hauntings, from its most famous, the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, to the unnamed British soldier from the War of 1812, and all the ghostly inhabitants in between.

Who's Haunting the White House? walks the reader through a quasi-scientific look at the supernatural. Unfortunately, it does not offer a balanced perspective. The author is steadfast in the belief that ghosts do exist, even offering testimony as to what ghosts do and do not like,

"Sometimes spirits don't like to see their homes changed around too much, and they may let us know this in rather frightening ways."

Apart from Mary Lincoln's testimony (which some may discount because of her well-known peculiar behaviors), the book offers little proof in the supernatural other than passages in President Truman's letters, "the place is haunted, sure as shootin'," second-hand accounts, and several witnesses' accounts of a "cold presence" or "eerie chill."

Who's Haunting the White House? does contain some interesting White House history, as well as drawings, and photographs. A bibliography, index, photo credits, references and acknowledgments follow the rather text-heavy body of the book.

This is a book for would-be ghost hunters or those interested in White House history.

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