Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Does The Demon Cat Still Haunt Washington's Capitol Hill?

I tripped over this story on Wikipedia this morning. It concerns a completely black cat of average cat size that came to be known as Washington's Demon Cat. This name was given to the ghost of (a) cat, one that is supposed to haunt the DC government buildings. 

Washington, DC Capitol Hill
Washington, DC Capitol Hill
Seems that back in the 1800's cats were being brought into the underground tunnels of the Capitol buildings where they lived in the basement killing rats. So far, so good, until... 

Library of Congress
Tunnel connecting the US Senate to the LOC. What?  You were expecting something cave-like!
It started in the 1890's when a cat apparently and inexplicably vanished before the startled eyes of some Capitol Hill guards as they, presumably in fun, took a potshot at it. One guard, being so terrified by the sight of a disappearing cat, allegedly keeled over from a heart attack after witnessing this event. 

Tunnel connecting House of Reps to the Capitol
Tunnel that connects the House of Representatives to the Capitol

Hall of the Capitol
The Hall of the Capitol
What is now a accepted as a story from the past, states that this 'Demon Cat' is the one cat that decided never to leave and it now inhabits the basement crypt of the Hill, once intended for the burial chamber of President George Washington.... calling it home. Also in accordance with tradition, its said to often be seen just prior to presidential elections and disasters that transpire in Washington, such as being purportedly observed by White House security guards in the late dark hours before the assassinations of Abe Lincoln and John Kennedy. 
If it can be believed, these spectators tell a tale of a cat that 'swells' from pint cat-size to a whopping giant tiger-size ~ 10 by 10 feet when startled!!  Even more incredibly, it will either explode or pounce at the unfortunate that sees it, thankfully dissolving right before it reaches its victim! Personally, I wouldn't be waiting around to watch this transformation.

Demon Cat
OK, so it is possible to have an enormously huge and possibly exploding cat!
The last 'official' sighting was in the 1940's when Capitol Police force officials were rather notorious for adding inexperienced relatives and friends of Congressmen to the payroll as a gift. According to one version told by the US Capitol Historical Society, a security guard was once 'licked' by a cat when he was in a drunken stouper on the floor; he thought he was still standing and was to all appearances very scared of the huge cat. 

This was enough to spawn tails of the Demon Cat legend and it wasn't long before other guards took up the story and learned they could achieve a day off (with pay??) if they saw the demon cat up close and personal. 
What do you think?


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