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Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Some people just can’t escape fame, even in death. These eight famous people are now famous ghosts, and if you’re lucky — or not-so lucky — you might just encounter one of them yourself during your travels. Here’s where to look for their apparitions…

Abraham Lincoln: Grace Coolidge, the wife of Calvin Coolidge, was the first to spot the ghostly 16th president gazing out of a White House window. Since, his presence has been sensed by Lady Bird Johnson and Eleanor Roosevelt, and he was seen by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Winston Churchill during their White House stays.


Abigail Adams, Andrew Jackson, Dolley Madison, and Willie Lincoln, the president’s son, are also thought to haunt the White House. Recently, Ronald Reagan was allegedly seen by Barack Obama, and Richard Nixon by Hillary Clinton.



Al Capone mug shot
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections/FBI/Wikimedia Commons

Al Capone: The infamous gangster who was convicted of tax evasion spent several years in the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, where he learned to play the banjo. Mournful banjo tunes are now heard near the prison showers and coming from a cell once occupied by Capone. Ironically, while serving time at Alcatraz, Capone thought he was being tormented by the ghost of a rival Chicago gang leader.


Elvis Presley commemorative postage stamp USA 1993

Elvis Presley: Sightings of the King of Rock n’ Roll are not uncommon. He’s allegedly been seen in Las Vegas, at his Palm Springs home, and hanging around RCA Studio B in Nashville. But Memphis’s Graceland is his favorite haunt. He’s been spied peering from upstairs windows, eating cheeseburgers in the kitchen, and tour guides are often asked by visitors about music coming from inside the home, and sightings of “the man dressed like Elvis.”


Jesse James
Library of Congress

Jesse James: The James farmhouse in Kearney, Missouri has seen a lot of violence, including the death of James’ half-brother, Archie, and the outlaw’s own murder at the hands of Robert Ford. While no one claims to have actually seen an apparition, eerie lights move throughout the house and voices can be heard, along with sounds of restless horses coming from the nearby woods.


USA Lon Chaney Jr. Wolf Man postage stamp

Lon Chaney, Sr.: The horror film great is supposedly still sending chills up fans’ spines. He’s often spotted in a black cape by visitors and employees on Universal Studio’s Stage 28, where he portrayed the title character in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Some have even reported hearing voices and seeing someone on the catwalks above. Another haunting: Redd Foxx, the star of TV’s “Sanford & Son,” can be heard laughing at jokes (and sometimes seen) at Paramount Studios’ Stage 31, where he died of a heart attack.


robert e lee

Robert E. Lee: A small boy rings the doorbell, giggles upstairs, and drops snowflakes on guests at the home of the Confederate general. It’s speculated that the boy is Lee’s four-year-old brother who died here, but some believe the spirit is Lee himself, returning to a more carefree time. Although the Arlington, Virginia home is now a private residence, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the boy playing with a ghostly black dog in the backyard.


henry vii statue

Henry VIII: The English monarch can still be seen wandering the hallways of Windsor Castle, dragging his ulcerated leg. He’s also been spotted pacing furiously about and can be heard in the Cloisters. The most famous of his six wives, Anne Boleyn, also haunts the castle, making her presence known in the Dean’s Cloister and at the castle’s windows.


Postage stamp USA 1995 Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962), series Legend

Marilyn Monroe: Like many famous ghosts, Monroe appears at several locations, including the White House with John F. Kennedy. But the actress’ spirit is most closely tied to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where her image has been reflected in a mirror in room 229 and dancing in the hotel’s ballroom. She’s in good company — Montgomery Clift is said to play his trumpet in his room 928, and Carole Lombard frequents the 12th floor.

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