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The Bridgeport times and evening farmer. (Bridgeport, Conn.) 1918-1924, October 16, 1919, Image 12

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The National Capital Has
Some Real Spooks, At
Least So the Talcs Run
White House and Capitol
Both Honored.
Copyngbt. lHiy, Tbe International Syndicate.
CHBRB has never been in this
country a dwelling so authentic
ally hauntad as the old Octagon
House, which still stands at the
corner of Seventeenth street and New
York ivenua. in the city of Washing
ton. This was the mansion, considered
rather magnificent in its day. which
was occupied by President Madison
and his wife. Dolly, as a temporary
residence after the White House was
burned by the British, in 1814. In
deed, as it turned out, the fair Dolly
was obliged to hold her court there
lip to the end of her husband's term.
Built by a man of wealth, one Col.
Tayloe, it Is very curiously planned.
lt shape being that of an octagon,
while in the middle is a circular hall
Into which all the rooms open. In
the rear Is a large garden, shadowed
by trees, with a brick building which
formerly served as quarters for slaves.
During the latter part ' of the last
century the house fell into wretched
disrepair, for the reason that nobody
could be persuaded to occupy it. on
account of the ghosts alleged to haunt
it. There were strange and alarming
noises, voices and even shrieks heard
in the night. Ghostly faces were seen
at the windows, by people passing by.
and lights moving from window
to window, though the dwelling
was empty of human occupants, as
ascertained time and ag-iin by bold
policemen who ventured in to make
search for supposed intruders.
According to the stories told by
Jenants who lived there for brief
periods, until frightened away, the
spectral phenomena seemed to have
a special connection with the stairs
winding around the circular hall.
Thence appeared to come the mysteri
es -.;r irt fVad nf nisrht: and there
& s J
itoVRtI h .
lESSS-a.-:--.-.-: :riiri.. :.-:-iSi -:-:- C 1
First and Largest Apartment House Builders Vo.i, Fa
mous Snake Dance Agricultural Fairs Popular.
Copyright. Hilt. The
tTR great Southwest, is a never
riding" fund
truCuon to
of interest and in- i
the traveler, who i
vjcks kuo.vledpre of th ways of
the early Aborigines of our country.
In many places these Indians have
advanced in the arts of our civiliza
tion so as to farm as we farm, using
the most improved agricultural imple
ments for that purpose, yet, in many
respects, they cling to the old customs
of certuries ago and tribal dances
and tribal ceremonies are maintained
with all the trappings and ornaments
of long ago. These dances are far
more interesting and attractive when
they depart from many of the harrow
ing details which must have char
acterized them in the olden days.
Undoubtedly the Indians of the
Southwest were the first apartment
house builders, for as far back as the
sixteenth century they lived in five
stor adobe houses, many of which
wel-e large enough to give apartments
to the entire tribe each family having
from one to five rooms.
At Taos and Zuni, where the largest
Pueblos exist, upwards of a thousand
Indians reside at Taos in two apart
ments and at Zuni in one.
In the Hopi country there are sev
eral; at Laguna there is one and at
Aeoma a huge Pueblo is built on the
top of a rock about four hundred feet
above the Painted Desert. They are
the most important of the many tribes
who have these adobe apartment
houses in Arizona and New Mexico.' .
Name Spanish
The Spanish name "Pueblo" was
applied by the conquistadores to the
native village communities, which they
V -v c-sr4 111
vwk 111 .
was particular mention of a cat. It
was a very remarkable cat, inasmuch
as nobody ever saw it, yet it had a
way of reposing itself on the stairs, so
that people tripped over it. Under
such circumstances it would squall,
but remained invisible.
One of the ghost tales connected
with the Octagon House had to do
with a slave who was said to have
been whipped to death in the attic, or
j tortured to death in the cellar. It
j was said that his groans and appeals
i for mercy could be heard on occasions.
in the night. But the main story was
more definitely circumstantial.
The Cat Tale
During the earlier half of the nin
teenth century (so the story went),
the house was occupied by an elderly
gentleman, who had a very pretty
daughter. He wished her to marry a
middle-aged friend of his own, a man
of means; but she refused, declaring
her intention to become the .wife of a
young lawyer with whom she was in
love. Bitter quarrels followed, and on
an occasion whnn th dispute was re.
Iuteruatiouai Syntik-ate.
found in the great Southwest, and 'he
name haa tenaciously clung1 to them
ever since. They are nominally Caih-
clics, but they still cling to their
ancient feasts and signs and our gov-
ernment has very wisely not in
terferred with these dances on cer
tain days, which do no harm whatever
and preserve the early tradition of the
Agricultural Fairs
For centuries they have made pot
tery and baskets, each tribe having
its own special style of pottery and
weaves of basketry. . The men are
great sheep raisers and are agricul
turists in general going out from the
Pueblos in: the early morning and re
turning at night. The women usually
make the pottery and baskets besides
keeping- house and preparing food for
the men. The Indian agents encour
age all kinds of work and there is
great rivalry among the tribes. For
the past three or four years they have
held agricultural fairs at the various
Pueblos where cattle, vegetables and
needle work, besides pottery and bas
kets, are on exhibition and prizes are
awarded. They are generally held at
a time' of the year during, which a
feast day occurs. This gives the In
dians an opportunity to do- some of
their special dances and is always
sure to draw large crowds. The In
dians come for many miles in the old
prairie schooner wagon and camp
along the way spending sometimes two
weeks in coming and going. Last
year pne was held at Laguna during
the feast of St.-Joseph and the dances
given on the plaza were unique and
kept up during the entire afternoon
newed, with violent language and
threats on the father's part, she left
the room and started upstairs.
He pursued her, continuing the
quarrel, and something that she said
so angered him that he struck or
pushed her, causing her to step on a
pet cat which was at her skirts, so
that she fell down the stairs and broke
her neck.
The house remained untenanted up
to a few years ago. when it was con
verted into office quarters for bur ness
purposes, and put into thorough re
pair throughout. This must have dis
couraged the ghosts, for nothing has
been heard of them since.
The White House Tenants
Where ghosts are concerned, the
most effective means of exorcism
seems to be substantial repairs. Thus
in former days the attic of the White
House was said to be haunted by the
phantom of President William Henry
Harrison, who died in the Executive
Mansion. It was then a lumber room,
used for the storage of discarded
pieces of furniture, trunks and mis
cellaneous junk consisting largely of
gifts contributed by patriotic but mis
guided citizens. All of this stuff was
f " " ' eerie- 'i'-aws . ,
aiT:v 1 1 .iiS
f two days. An altar was sei up m
honor of fat. Joseph and decorated wiih
greens. Certain men and women of
the tribe dressed in costumes, danced
up and down in front of the altar to
the music of a torn Tom. each of the
dances expressing thanks for a full
harvest. Over in a little house near
by were the displays of sewing, pot
tery and basketry with the Indian
agents as judges. Over at Taos St.
Geronimo Day is always celebrated
on September 30th with dances, races
and games. Crowds of both Indians
and whites come from far and near
and the day Is like a picnic.
Zuni Dances
In some of the other tribes, such
as the Zunis, there are rain dances
during which the dancers are sup
posed to pray for a cessation of the
drought. The dancers come on the
plaza groaning as If in great pain,
and are almost naked with their
bodies painted purple or blue. They
wear brilliantly colored silk trousers
and moccasins in which matrix tur
quoise are embedded. Their neck and
arms are covered with beads while
over their faces are hideous masks.
One is known as the Mud Head and
his mask Is most uncanny resembling
the head of a deformed wolf. He
walks at the side of the dancers and
beats a. rattle. Another man beats
continuously on a curious shaped drum
while the leader of the procession
carries a tiny basket of sacred meal
and sprinkles bits of it on each of the
plazas. At the first sign of rain the
dancing ceases. In the evening the
people of the Pueblo gather all kinds
of food together and the dancers throw
It to" the Indians who gather on the
housetops. Like the whites they are
always present when something is to
be given away and the entire Pitp-M
thrown out when the house was re
built In the reign of the Roosevelts.
the space being converted into serv
ants' quarters, and the specter has
ceased to prowl.
The White House, however, still lays
claim to two other ghosts one of
them that of a woman, wearing a cap
of antique pattern and a garment re
sembling a lace shawl. She is sup
posed to be Abigail Adams, the first
mistress of the mansion, who took up
her residence there in the autumn of
1800. Not at midnight Is she seen
(as is ordinarily customary with
spooks), but just before daybreak,
when she glides slowly along the wide
hallwayi which extends lengthwise
through the middle of the White
House. She always moves from west
to east. and. when she reaches the
closed double doors that give entrance
to the East Room, she passes through
them as if they offered no obstacle,
and vanishes.
There are always watchmen on
guard at night in the White House,
and it is they who tell of the ghosts.
The other one is the spectral simula
crum of Abraham Lincoln, which ap
pears to haunt the stairs that former
ly led from the first floor to the Execu
tive business offices over the East Room
quarters which have been recon
structed into bed rooms for guests.
The martyred President is never
seen elsewhere than on these stairs,
and invariably he is going up. It Is
impossible to mistake the tall, awk
ward figure and shambling gait. When
he reaches the top step, he looks
around, smiles sadly, and disappears,
ns if in a mist.
turn out. A larse number ot melon
rolls and corn boiled in the husk is
thrown- to the people, who gather
about the plaza. Zuni is by far the
most interesting of all the Puebios.
as these Indians have so many fra- I
ternities and each one has a special j
dance. It would take an entire oook
to describe these dances which are
interesting in many ways, but especial
ly to the student in Indian history.
The great Pueblo is surrounded by a
fence made of sticks held together
with hardened mud or adobe, but
there are a number of entrances and
the visitor is free to enter.
The Zuni pueblo is 40 miles from
Gallup and the trip can be made in
an auto, and the visitor may spend
the night with one of the white trad
ers who lives just outside the reserva
tion. There is a church on the plaza,
but It seems to be deserted for al
though there are missionaries nearby
and a fine Indian school only four
miles away one soon decides Fhat the
Zunis are confirmed ' pagans except
when it Is to their interests to appear
Christians. The streets are filled with
disreputable looking stray dogs who
bark and snap at one with their needle-like
teeth and give the visitor a
decidedly uncomfortable time. This
is not only true of Zuni but of all
pueblos of the Southwest, and no res
ervation is complete without its stray
razor backed hogs, scrawny chickens,
bob-eared donkeys and cross dogs. : A
stiff club is useful where the stray
dogs are concerned yid they will run
away yelping at the sight of it.
The entrance to the apartment is
made by ladders and the effect of
these from a distance is like a wilder
ness of masts. The ladder is the only
means of entering the home, and when
the residents do not want v'sttnr fhev
Van Ness Mansion
A few hundred yards to the south
west of the White House there stood
only a few years ago the historic Van
Ness mansion, formerly the home of
Marcia. daughter of old Davy Burns,
whose farm covered a large part of
the land on which the City of Wash
ington is now built.
Burns sold his farm to the Govern
ment, after a quarrel with Genera!
Washington that has become histor
ical. His daughter, a beautiful girl,
chose from many suitors John P. Van
Ness, a Congressman from New York;
and it was she who. in 1S26. built the
mansion. It cost $30,000. and was con
sidered a marvel of luxury, the furni
ture and even the mantlepieces being
brought from Europe.
Marcia died there six years later.
During the latter half of the nine
teenth century the house, unoccupied,
fell into decay. It was given over to
the bat. the owl. and the spider; and
behind and beneath the bare walls
and floors ran the iconoclastic rat.
whose tooth, like that of time, devours
all things soon or late. Naught re
mained except a naked ruin, which,
as one might guess, was reputed to be
haunted. The ghost of the fair Mar
cia. so people said, flitted about it at
night, carrying a spectral candle in
her hand.
Statuary Hall
The most famous of all haunted
places in Washington, however, is the
old chamber of the House of Repre
sentatives at the Capitol. It is familiar
enough to visiting strangers, being
known in these days as Statuary Hall,
because of the effigies of bygone states
r-- -: " - torn
simply pull up the ladder.
' Zuni Life
The interior of the houses is
enough to drive a sanitary expert in
sane, for when the-"wr4ter entered one
the family was at dinner, the food
being set out on the iloor. There was
a beef steak in the center and a half
grown cat was helping herself to one
end of it while the family looked on.
Over in the "corner in the fireplace a
woman was boiling bread in corn
husks while in another place a young
girl was grinding corn between stones.
Outside the door a woman was win
nowing meal and offering pottery for
sale. The Zunis make excellent pot
tery but as few visitors come to the
pueblo they are compelled to sell it
to the traders. They also make beads
with a peculiar drill using coral, sea
shells and matrix "turquoise. The in
strument is a curious wooden affair
with a sharp, nail at one end and is
whirled in the hand like a drill. Cer
tain of the Zunis are excellent silver
smiths and make much of the silver
jewelry, which . finds its way to the
tourists . at . the big hotels along the
Santa F
One of . the curious things noticed
are many eagles confined in odd look
ing plaited cottonwocd cages, passing
a miserable existence awaiting the
time when they shall be sacrificed
men there on permanent exhibition.
Guides point out the brass star set
in the floor to mark the location of
the seat of John Quincy Adams, who
(a member of Congress for ninefeen
years after he relinquished the Presi
dency) was suddenly taken ill there,
and died in one of the rooms adjoining
the chamber. But visitors are more
interested in the weird acoustic effects,
the slightest whisper uttered (for in
stance) by a person standing on a cer
tain stone being clearly audible to an
other person standing on another stone
clear across the hall.
Imagine the same place in the gloom
of night. The white marble statues
of great men, ranged around the walls,
seem to gesticulate with outstretched
arms and to point with ghostly fingers.
Strange echoes respond to the slight
est sound.
But this is by no means all. The
footsteps of a person walking across
the hall at night, when all about is
silence, seem to be closely followed
by other footfalls; and the latter, odd
ly enough, appear to move Just a lit
tle faster, as if on the point of over
taking. The individual thus pursued
instinctively looks around, but sees
nothing. It is a very curious phe
nomenon, and has never been satis
factorily explained.
One is at liberty to give credit or
not to the statement of a member of
the Capitol police, who made formal
affidavit that, on a certain occasion.
entering Statuary Hall at midnight, he
beheld the entire House of Represen-
tatives of 1S48 assembled as if for
law-making purposes a phantom leg -
with appropriate rites in order that
their feathers may be used in the dec
orations worn during the offering to
the Gods.
The Zunis have a number of secret
organizations and the ceremonies held
by these are rarely seen by the white
man, in fact, it is said that human
sacrifice and snake worship still exists.
Zuni is so dirty and unsanitary that
it is doubtful whether any visitors
would care to risk their health by re
maining among them long enough to
learn all of their strange rites.
The pueblos of Hopiland are fre
quently visited especially during the
famous Snake Dance, which is one of
the most sickening and horrible
dances known. Its date is settled by
the snake priests and the date given
out about two weeks before- It lasts
several days and begins with the hunt
for the snakes which are purified (?)
and put In a kiva until the great day.
Great crowds attend these dances and
are usually horrified when the dancers
appear on the plaza with wriggling
snakes In their mouths each followed
by a man who tickles the snake with
a feather to keep it from darting at
the man's face. Once in a while a
snake will wriggle from a dancer's
mouth and a shiver runs through the
crowd, but the snake gatherer is there
islative crew, presumably including
Air- Adams and many OLher person
ages familiarly known in history, but
long dead. All, to a man, turned and
looked at him as he came in a mys
terious and ghostly light illuminating
the scene but not one of them said
a word.
Perhaps the watchman had been
drinking. But other members of the
force on guard at the Capitol, when
asked to speak about such matters,
shake their heads and admit that they
could tell of strange happenings if
they were not afraid of dismissal.
Mysterious footfalls are heard at
night in other parts of the great build
ing. On one occasion a watchman be
came convinced that somebody was
lurking on the premises for an un
lawful purpose; he put on a pair of
rubber overshoes, and. without a light,
stole softly through the corridors.
Time and again he got the footsteps
cornered, but invariably they escaped
him, and were presently heard in an
other direction.
The Senate Has Two Ghosts
The Senate wing of the Capitol has
two well-authenticated ghosts. One of
them is that of an old white-haired
negro named Osborne, who during his
life time was employed to scrub the
floors of the corridors, his work being
done at night. He haunts the base
ment, where the sound of his brush
and pail, with "slosh" of spectral wa
ter, is heard from dark corners, his
phantom still pursuing apparently his
old-time occupation. So thoroughly
established is belief in this ghost that
colored wrork people have commonly
refused to undertake duty in the base
ment before daylight.
The other phantom is that of a tall,
military-looking gentleman, unidenti
fied, but dressed in a frock coat and
wearing a long moustache and goatee.
He is seen at night walking about the
corridors, his hands clasped behind
; him, and with an aspect of extreme
melancholy. Always he is pacing up
j and down, and when approached he
1 vanishes like a magic lantern picture.
ready to pick It up. The men grab
the snakes from a bag and do cot
know the kind they are getting. To
be sure there are purification rites in
the secret kivas the night before, and
the dance is preceded by the drinking
of an emetic by all of the Snake men
and by violent vomiting over the side
of the mesa after the dance is over.
The white visitor is rather glad to get
away, but he is always curious to
know why the Hopis are never bitten.
So far as known there has never been
a man to suffer, consequently it is sup
posed that they have an antidote, for
there is positively no attempt to ex
tricate the fangs or in any way to
render the reptiles harmless.
The United States Government some
time aern refused to allow a tnnvin
picture of this dance to be shown, but T
this seems to have whetted the ap- f
petite of the average traveler to view t
the ceremony and the crowds became 1
larger, so it may be that this order will ft
be rescinded this year.
The Hopis are splendid basket mak
ers and Nampeyo, the most famous
maker of pottery, is of the Hopi tribe.
Her pottery is by far the best burned
and the most dainty in decoration and
naturally brings the best prices.
The Hopis also do excellent weaving,
but their blankets do not compare . .
with those of the Navajo, who are
classed as a tribe of non-pueblo people
There are any number of pueblo tribes
scattered through the Southwest, and
each and every one is worth a visit- The
only difficulty is that they live many .
miles from the railroad and one must
travel over highways that could hard- .
ly be called roads, according to the -Eastern
standard as to what consti-'-.
tutes a road. In almost any month
of the year one may find ceremonies
given in honor of the patron saint of
the pueblo, and therefore glossed over
with Christianity, but about as un
christian as it is possible to make
them. However, many of them may '
be looked upon as dramatic weird
pageants with gorgeous coloring.
These pueblo people are unlike any -others
in the world and their manners
and customs should interest the pexple
of our land for it must be remem- I
bered that these old tribes of the .. 1.
Southwest are "the . original Ameri-
cans." i!

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