Wherever there are people telling stories about historical buildings or occurrences to large groups of curious, slightly clueless tourists, there will be hand-me-down tales of ghosts involved. I’ve traveled to many a historic city in both the United States and around the world, and that seems to be a universal truth.

What is also true is that there is often no way to prove that the colloquial tales are true…or that they’re not.

Which is kind of why we’re left to decipher the facts on our own when it comes to the stories told on Capitol Hill about the all-black house cat that pads around buildings as a harbinger of terrible things to come.

Photo Credit: City Segway Tours

The cat is said to have been around since the days when they were kept underground as working mousers, and it has showed up to “warn” us of the assassinations of both Lincoln and Kennedy. The last official sighting was in the 1940s.

In a slightly stranger turn of events, there have been tales of the cat growing to a huge size and charging at the people who dared glimpse his ghostly form, though those stories have been largely attributed to a time when security guards were hired as favors, and would often show up for work three sheets to the wind.

There are pawprints (they say), on the floor outside the Old Supreme Court Chamber. So, I guess you’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

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h/t: aoc.gov

h/t: NPR