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WASHINGTON (CAP) - The White House is usually a pretty busy place, with hundreds of people coming and going from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on a daily basis and leaving little time for solitude. But sometimes late at night after the staff has departed and the First Family has retreated to their living quarters, there's still someone roaming the hallways like a lost child.
Someone - or something. Even now, during just the first term of President Barack Obama's tenure as Commander-in-Chief, many swear they've seen the ghost of George W Bush deep in the bowels of the White House.
"Oh, it's him alright, which is odd, because he's not dead," one aide told CAP News as he wiped the sweat from the palm of his hands. "I know it because of that time we saw red rum scrawled in blood on a wall in the West Wing - but it was misspelled."
Paranormal experts say that since George W Bush isn't dead, what folks in the White House are seeing probably isn't a ghost, but more likely that the former president is having an out of Bush experience. Typically spirits will return to a previous residence because there's something they've left behind that they want to retrieve and they won't rest until that item is found.
Subsequent investigation revealed a 2005 issue of Mad Magazine wedged between the drawers of Obama's desk in the Oval Office. Removing it didn't stop the hauntings, so staff members believe there must be other editions hidden elsewhere throughout the house.
"We tried holding a seance to tell the spirit that his mission is accomplished and he can go to his final resting place," said Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle. "Or at least go bother Dick Cheney. Something. So far, no luck. He's still here."
For his part, President Obama has at times told aides that occasionally when he's alone, he feels like there's a white man there, following him around from room to room, whispering heh heh. Not necessarily a believer in the supernatural, Obama reportedly just chalked it up to "being black in America."
From Obama right on down to the newest crop of interns, there are dozens who claim to have caught a fleeting glimpse of the shadowy figure, blending in with visitors during White House tours, standing off in the corner during staff meetings, or just looking generally confused.
"Sometimes someone will say or do something really dumb, and you'll know you've had a visit from the Ghost Of Dubya," said one staffer. "It's become almost like a rite of passage for everyone who works here, so nobody minds the ghostly visits.
"But I have to say, it's been a while since we've seen him," the staffer added, "so we figure he must be spending a lot of time with Joe Biden."
Or he's just having difficulty figuring out how to get out of purgamatory.
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