Jenna Bush Hager: The White House is haunted, I heard creepy 20s music

Somehow, I missed this story when it started but I’m here now, so let’s do this. Jenna Bush Hager appeared on the Kelly Clarkson show a while back, and told Kelly that she thinks the White House is haunted. The other day, during the Hoda & Jenna UNscripted segment, Hoda asked Jenna to defend these claims. The original story Jena told Kelly was this:

Barbara and I were going to sleep, our rooms were right next to each other, and it was in college when people would call late. So our phone rang and I woke up and all of a sudden, we heard, like, 1920s piano music coming out of our fireplace.

[From Today via YouTube]

Following the clip of Jenna telling this story, Hoda said that Jenna’s best friends and other sources claim she’s exaggerating. Jenna said absolutely not. So, Hoda brought out the big guns, Jenna’s mom, Laura Bush. Laura had recently called in to Kelly’s show and Kelly asked her about Jenna’s piano-playing presences. Laura threw Jenna right under the bus and said nu-uh, no way. Not only did Laura say her daughters “pretended,” she blamed the poor Secret Service gossiping next door for the bad ivory tinkling.

Kelly Clarkson: (Jenna) mentioned the White House was haunted. Did you ever experience that?

Laura Bush: No, we never did. I think Barbra and Jenna were the ones that felt like it was haunted and pretended like the heard voices. It’s probably just a Secret Service talking down the hall in another room that the heard. But we didn’t think it was haunted. We loved living there. It’s a magnificent house.

Uhm…. Of course The White House is haunted! You could bring back all the First Ladies who ever lived there to tell me there were no ghosts at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and I wouldn’t believe them. I would, however, follow them back to their big spectral First Lady Bridge game in the Blue Room. If you believe in haunted places, and I desperately want them to exist, a place such as The White House with its tortured 230-year past, having been destroyed by fire in 1814, and all of the back-handed dealings, lies, deception, lives destroyed and saved, affairs – all the history, would attract a whole host of souls (none of whom will allow #45 in when it’s his turn to find immortal stomping grounds). Plus, it sounds like Laura’s proof of a clean supernatural slate is that they loved living there and the house is magnificent. Fantastic homes and haunted homes are not mutually exclusive. I’d argue one makes the other more fantastic, but I get that I have a unique perspective on this.

Jenna repeatedly told Hoda to call Barbara and put her on speaker, which did not happen in the clip. I would like to hear Barbara’s side, just to see if the two stories match. 1920’s piano music does not sound like people talking in a hall in another room, so that theory is ruled out, Mo-ohm! Two young ladies embellishing a story is certainly an option. Somebody messing with them is another (I honestly wouldn’t put it past their father). Maybe the Bush daughters’ story is not the most credible, even though I absolutely believe it, 100%.

But…

It’s not like they are the first people to ever suggest the Presidential residence is ghosted up! Google Is The White House Haunted and you will fall very far down a rabbit hole of Washington Post and WhiteHouseHistory.Org pages of past presidents and their families telling similar stories. So do not sit there on some daytime chat show and tell me there aren’t a whole host of haunts weaving in and out of that place. Oh my gawd, I have 703 websites about White House ghost stories open and the rest of my day is just shot. It’s like Christmas at Halloween… in The White House.

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Photo credit: Instagram and Avalon Red

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38 Responses to “Jenna Bush Hager: The White House is haunted, I heard creepy 20s music”

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  1. mindy_dopple says:

    I’ve never had my own experience but I also think ghosts exist AND totally believe this story. Now I’m off to read all the links you provided! You just made my morning.

  2. Insomniac says:

    I absolutely believe Jenna. How could the WH *not* be haunted?

  3. Case says:

    Of course the White House is haunted! I believe her. I love ghost stuff.

  4. Debra Horn says:

    My cousin owned a 300 year old house on a lake in Connecticut. He told me once that he came home from work, and the lights and the TV were on…but no one was home. I never forgot that story. I think the White House must be uber-haunted.

    • Mac says:

      We used to live in a haunted house. Lights were always turning on and off. Candles would be lit and lots of running up and down the stairs at night.

  5. Willow says:

    The ghosts are probably haunting someplace interesting, like the Oval Office or the Press Room (where all the good gossip is).

  6. Dandun says:

    i used to work in a castle in Ireland and the stationary was kept in the basement. it was a room where Irish soldiers were kept and tortured by the British. I don’t believe in ghosts but going into that room was creepy and would make me feel so uncomfortable and like i had to leave it immediately. it was a very strange experience

  7. Katyy says:

    Why would you desperately want hunted houses to be true? That would mean wanting people to be stuck in misery for eternity after death just for your entertainment.
    It would also mean that anyone alive now could live that horrible existence. I would prefer the option of just disappearing completely

    • Golly Gee says:

      Good point In this case and in some haunted houses. It is awful to think that souls are trapped and suffering. But there are also spirits that are not human souls trapped after death. They roam around all over the place.

    • chimes@midnight says:

      I don’t think ghosts are actual conscious beings but more like photographs or movies, an impression left behind.

    • Amy Too says:

      I’m wondering if our souls and spirits are more complicated than we think they are. Like rather than having it be that every alive person has one, intact soul, and when you die it either goes to Heaven or whatever afterlife, or it just rests in peace in the cemetery, or it sticks around on the earth as a ghost, maybe what we call our “soul” is really an amalgamation of a bunch of different soul parts. An undying soul part that is spiritual: the part that connects us with our God(s) and that would eventually go to Heaven or Afterlife and/or be reborn into another body; and then a part that is more like our this-life consciousness: it would be very tied to this particular life, the places we lived, the family members and friends we had in this life, and it might be the part that sticks around to either scary-haunt a place or be the nice, reassuring presence that watched over loved ones. But even then, if that this-life-specific part is hanging around to haunt, the spiritual part of the soul could be resting in peace somewhere or hanging out in Heaven. I also have some kind of theory about our souls maybe containing soul-parts from our ancestors that get passed down through the family line and that might be why someone can have great-grandma’s sense of humor or grandpa’s interest in WW1, or even walk just like Aunt Celia or have Cousin Mary’s mannerisms. And maybe bits of those stick around after death so that even if I was a 20 year old girl when I died, maybe the part of my soul that came from 80 year old grandma’s sense of humor sticks around and a sarcastic and silly vaguely female presence of undetermined age can be felt in the house I lived in. And then maybe there are the energy echoes that people have spoken about. The memory or energy imprint of a high-emotion experience that can be felt or maybe even seen in the place where it happens. The actual people who had that experience and then died aren’t there haunting the spot, but the overall feelings of sadness due to the death of child, or anger due to marital fight, or even hope and joy due to an expected but longed for marriage proposal is there.

      • Kristin says:

        I’m with you, on our spirits being complicated. It’s probably so far beyond our comprehension. I really like all your speculation here!

      • Golly Gee says:

        I love your theory! And if physical genetics can be passed down through the generations, perhaps there are also more ethereal aspects of genetics — that of the mind, emotions and spirit ( although personality traits do have roots in one’s physical genes as well).

      • Gah says:

        @ Amy Too that’s the most cogent hypothesis I’ve read. I like it. A little something for everyone too. (I personally believe in reincarnation and apparently have my Aunt Hazel’s hands and sewing skills tho she died before I was born.

  8. Susan says:

    I feel like momma Bush is the *exact* personality type to poo poo anything of the paranormal sort. she’s that old school generation of “put a bow on it and pretend everything is okay.” I’m not bashing her, I just feel…like she reminds me of many of my family members. And I’m the Bush twin that heard ghosts. Ha.

    • Betsy says:

      I’ve also heard it speculated that ghosts don’t show themselves to everyone.

    • Seraphina says:

      Don’t forget she is a teacher by profession. I can see her poo-pooing the school children for being mischievous (the girls in this case).

  9. Lucy2 says:

    I can’t imagine there’s NOT some weird energy in that place. Hearing old music is kind of cool.
    My house is an 1890s Victorian, and everyone asks if it’s haunted, but I’ve never experienced anything here, thankfully. Other places yes, here no.

  10. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    Damn work deadline this week. I want to go down the rabbit hole with you like now! Lol! I guess I know what my weekend reading will be.

    • Golly Gee says:

      “703 websites open…” Don’t do it, man. 😂
      At first the prospect is so exciting but by the end you’re nothing but a hollow shell haunting your own house.

  11. Susan says:

    I read one night on the internet—so you know it’s 100 percent true, lol—about how historians were studying clothing and artifacts of civil war soldiers that died in combat. They found that the due to the grisly, tumultuous death of the soldier—there would be residue on the uniforms of blood, stress, etc., and that there were some kind of scientific indicators of the emotions they were feeling, and that they could recreate that emotion with some kind of scientific microscopic transference. Stress hormones perhaps? It makes me wonder if we leave behind those remnants and that is what can lead to “haunted,” when it’s remainders of their trauma. Which is really upsetting now that i think about it, ugh….but too late to delete this comment. Anyhoo…

    • Golly Gee says:

      I have visited a few very old churches in Europe and burst into tears for no reason. It was like there was a very strong emotional resonance. My theory is just as you say — that over hundreds of years people have come to these churches and prayed over their intense sorrows and joys and that there is an energy imprint left from all of that.
      But I also think that there are ghosts and spirits whose presence would be experienced differently.

      • Lucy2 says:

        Energy imprint is what I always think many “hauntings” are too.
        I grew up in a pre-Revolutionary war town and there are a TON of places with stories (including several houses that friends lived in) but by far the worst place I ever went into was the old jail. The moment I stepped in there, it was the heaviest, darkest, saddest place I’ve ever been. Just decades of pain and anguish.

      • Marie says:

        That happened to me at Canterbury Cathedral in the UK. I’ve never experienced it anywhere else.

    • Sigmund says:

      Yeah, the thought of people’s trauma lasting after their deaths is quite sad. It’s one of the reasons I genuinely hope ghosts aren’t real. If there’s anything after death, I hope it’s peaceful.

  12. MoP says:

    Oooooh, spooky! Not that anyone asked, but my house has had some activity! Built from parts of an old mansion that was demolished in the early 1900s, we have heard the footsteps running up the stairs. Like fast and hard! All at different times. My kids and I used to stand at the top of the stairs with a pipe (depending on which one of us heard it first) waiting for the intruder(s) to show itself. Eventually if you hear something often enough you kind of put it in the background. Rarely happens now. And that’s my story! Never seen any sort of apparition tho. Only other weird thing was finding a Tiffany dog tag in the middle of my living room, and Tiffany has no record of it.

  13. nicegirl says:

    Just moved onto a pre 1920s house. We’ll see!

    I’m with Angie, wishing I could do the deep dive! Loco fun

  14. Gab says:

    My house is haunted. I’ve never seen the ghosts but my kids have. One night I was drifting off while rocking my toddler to sleep and he tapped me and woke me up and said “mama, who is that lady there?” and he pointed to an empty corner. He repeatedly talked about an old woman looking at him in his crib. The previous owners were the only owners before us. They raised their family in the house and grew old there and eventually passed away in their 90s. They left behind so much mid-century charm in the house that we are in love with and have tried to preserve and play up. I strongly think they’re still in the house.

  15. Ann says:

    I believe this stuff. I grew up in a very old house and never experienced it there but I have in other places. Actually I was once on a boat trip, not a vacation but helping to move a boat from Florida to New York. I had no skills but I was invited along and got paid a little bit. We all experienced something on that boat, a woman in a long dress who stood at the stern, kind of like Rose in “Titanic,” lol. She didn’t do anything else, just stood there. I’m with Jenna, she totally heard 1920s music.

  16. Amelie says:

    This reminds me of my friend who stayed at a haunted Airbnb in Paris, or so she claims. But she isn’t the kind of person to make stuff up like that. She could hear old timey music and people talking, like some kind of fancy dinner party. It freaked her out so much, she got no sleep. The next night, she tried to stick it out but she just gave up and checked into a hotel. She got a refund for the Airbnb and actually told the host what happened lol! The host was obviously like WTF and told her she was the first guest to ever report activity like that. I’m guessing plenty of guests had but just didn’t report it because they knew they would be laughed at.

    And the White House is totally haunted, I 100% believe that.

  17. deering24 says:

    I would love to hear the Obamas’ take on White House hauntings. One suspects they have plenty of stories they are too discreet to tell. :)

  18. deering24 says:

    And there are so many stories about Dolley Madison’s ghost objecting to anyone messing with her garden that it’s hard to believe the place isn’t haunted.

    • Marie says:

      I hope that Dolley doesn’t let tacky Melania ever forget how she destroyed the rose garden.

  19. meatloaf&gravy says:

    I honestly never believed in ghosts or anything until two separate situations.

    1) My ex-boyfriend’s mother was dabbling in witchcraft, I never knew it until I saw some bizarre books on her bookshelf. She would always talk about using a key and some string and ask questions and whomever it stopped at, she would have the answer. You would have thought that would have scared the *hit out of me to never step foot in that house, but to be nineteen and foolishly in love. She never liked me and wanted her son to date another woman, I remember one night I was sleeping at my mothers house, I knew I was awake, turned to the left, looked at the wall and saw a very red image with fiery eyes, I couldn’t move nor scream, I was paralyzed, but somehow Psalm 91 came to me, I said it and eventually it went away, I decided around that time to stop dating him.

    2) I moved to a new apartment and inquired as to why there was a dark spot in the ceiling? The landlord told me the previous tenants would be speaking to spirits, I was like *what* but had already signed the one year lease. The previous tenants did not fill in a change of address and their mail kept coming to my apartment. They came back and I let them know to take care of their business because I wasn’t the post office.

    Shortly thereafter each night I closed my young son’s bedroom door and over time found out during the night the door was ajar, first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me and then I said something is going on. I had him start sleeping in my room, woke in the middle of the night and my bedroom door was now ajar. I confirmed there was a spirit in our home. I called a pastor over, he prayed and all hell broke loose at that point. One night I was having a severe nightmare, as I woke, and I kid you not, my bedroom door opened so fast and harsh. I literaly saw it open and so fast but it stopped before it hit the doorstopper, I screamed and was shaking uncontrollably and also had goosebumps. It was 4:00am in the morning, I called the superintendent and told him the apartment is haunted and that I had to break the lease and get the hell out, which I did.

    I’ve had no further situations since then, but whenever I move into a new home I burn sage, put rosewater in each corner and pray.

  20. Marie says:

    I used to work in a colonial era tavern museum circa 1760s, and that sh*t was completely haunted. The ghost upstairs from my office would walk or knock things off of tables late at night – I wasn’t afraid – they would keep me company if I was working super late. We also had an artifact locked in a glass case that would turn 180 degrees to face the back of the case every single overnight. Had to be turned around every morning. I never felt that any presence there was bad – I had it explained to me by paranormal researchers that it’s just residual energy of deceased people who were there before.
    I believe that Jenna and Barbara heard something and their parents did not – some people are more sensitive to this stuff than others.

  21. The Recluse says:

    That’s funny that Jenna’s mother denied it because if I remember correctly Grandma Barbara Bush reported some funky stuff, like their dog Millie barking at the Lincoln bedroom. The White House is haunted. I hope the ghosts gave Drumpf a hard time or then again, perhaps they preferred to avoid him too.

  22. Leah says:

    My dad was part of the WH press corps for 30 years, and spent a lot of time there. He said that the WH was haunted, and that there were times he was working and heard footsteps, and there was no one there.

    Husband and I live in St. Augustine, FL., and while Florida is crazy in general, the town has multiple haunted buildings. I know people who work at the Castillo, Light House, and Old Jail, and they all say they are haunted. A friend who worked at Ripley’s said that there are haunted objects there.