Ghosts, Scandals and Murder

Airing out DC's dirty laundry is quite the endeavor

Quick Details

  • Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours
  • Distance: Approximately 1 mile

About Our DC Ghost Tour

When the word “naughty” is used in a sentence with “Washington, DC,” most people tend to think of scandals, from sexual deviance to dirty money. But Washington’s dirty laundry doesn’t just come by the pile, it comes by the truckload.  DC Insider Tours’ Ghosts, Scandals and Murder™ tour specializes in ripping the skeletons from the closet and pulling back the shiny, neoclassical façade of the city to reveal layers and layers of decades worth of debauchery.

The Ghosts, Scandals and Murder™ tour begins near the National Archives at Temperance Fountain, a prohibition-era symbol for teetotalers to proudly harrumph over. The DC ghost tour then proceeds through Federal Triangle, where any semblance of model behavior fades away as we take you through the neighborhood’s wicked past of saloons, murders, and brothels (naturally, government workers and officials provided most of the business for these illicit establishments). Once called “Murder Bay,” or better yet, the “plague spot of the city,” the multi-million dollar government buildings you see in Federal Triangle today are an excellent cover for DC’s oldest seedy underbelly.

But DC’s dark and sinful side does not begin and end in Federal Triangle. To the contrary, the most notable scandals in DC history took place near or in the White House. For example, you will stand on the very corner in front of the White House where a U.S. Congressman murdered the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia (who also happened to be the son of the man who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner). The criminal trial that ensued was front-page news, and the very first “not guilty by reason of temporary insanity” verdict in American history. Discover DC’s dark side on this scandalous ghost tour!

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  • Among all this depravity, though, there are some lighter moments.  We take you to what is known as the “Hotel for Presidents,” a very storied place where, among other historic happenings, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his legendary ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, and the term “lobbying” originated. We also fill you in on the story behind DC’s official cocktail, “The Rickey,” and how one of Congress’s biggest fails in American history, Prohibition, affected Washington during the roaring 1920’s.

    We wrap up the tour at the White House, home to more ghost stories than a Stephen King novel.  White House guests and residents alike have experienced all sorts of spooky encounters over the years, from hearing the laughter of dead presidents to seeing Abraham Lincoln’s ghost walking the halls.  We’ll also explain how John F. Kennedy was known to blow off steam in the White House’s former indoor pool (and it wasn’t just doing laps!).

    By the end, you will want to pop over to one of DC’s famous bars or restaurants so you can thumb your nose at Prohibition yourself, and share some of your new knowledge of Ghosts, Scandals and Murder™.

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