The Smithsonian Institution was founded on principles of reason and scientific inquiry. So why is the Smithsonian home to countless tales of unexplained phenomena and—dare we say—ghost sightings? Inspired by an apparition at the National Museum of American History, we creak across museum attic floorboards, sneak into an old house in the woods, and even travel back in time to bring you a collection of spooky stories that can only be found at the Smithsonian.
- Molly Horrocks, Collections Manager, Division of Political and Military History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
- Pamela Henson, Institutional Historian at the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives
- Cpl. Ronald Howlin, Security Officer at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
- Deborah Hull-Walski, Collections Manager, Education Collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
- Melissa Johnson, daughter of Deb Hull-Walski and former skeptical teenager
- Kim Dixon, former volunteer at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo
- Learn more about a few of the scenes of (alleged) spectral sightings from this episode:
- Stories of spirits have been whispered since the Smithsonian’s earliest days. The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives shares reports of mysterious happenings that were made to the Washington Post in 1900.
- Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, who spent his final years living in the Smithsonian Castle and has been the frequent subject of presumed ghost sightings.
- Did you know that the National Zoological Park is over a century old? Go back in time to when American Bison "roamed" the National Mall and see how the zoo continues to break new ground in research, conservation, and care.
- Can’t get enough spooky Smithsonian stories? Check out some of the scariest objects from across the collections.