I've been fighting off a cold, and right now the cold is winning hands down because I was out 3 hours past my bedtime in the cold last night. But it was worth it, because I was with the SherlockDC group taking part in the Washington Ghost Tour.
There are all kinds of walking tours, naturally, and plenty of ghost tours of different parts of the city. This one was focused in the heart of downtown; SherlockDC picked it because the guide dresses in Victorian clothing, and without anything specifically Sherlockian around here, that was as close to canon as we could get.
The walking part of the proceedings is very slight - we essentially circled Lafayette Park and then crossed the street to end in front of the White House. (Actually, we polygonned the park, as our tour had to dodge all the other tours. "It's like Grand Central around here near Halloween," the guide explained.) But that area is FULL to the brim of tragic stories, murders, and death, and the guide milked every story at every stop, from Dolly Madison still happily waving from her perch on her porch through Decatur showing up in his window even though the window was closed, bricked, and covered with shutters.
Our guide was a historian who teaches 4th grade ("I do this to buy pencils and stuff for class") but it meant that he 1) really knew the settings, 2) had a booming voice when he wanted to be heard, and 3) could wrangle 30 people without batting an eyelash.
There were stops to take photos; he tread a fine line between saying "if you believe in that sort of thing" and "last week we got a good shot of a human figure right here..." Lacey of SherlockDC got an unexplained something showing up in one of her photos; there were also lots of orb photos (which I'm inclined to consider something to do with all the headlights around us.) One guy had an ipad with him and was filming the whole thing in infrared - who knew there was an app for that?
I learned a lot. I hadn't known that there were so many burials at Lafayette, much less that some of the bodies were still there. I knew about the President's church, but not of the death knell it rings for ex-Presidents, nor of the 6 ghostly figures who come to pay their respects. ("You won't find anything about that on the church website, of course. They were last seen in the 1920s, but when Reagan died, there were about 150 people on the portcullis with cameras, infrared cameras, EMP meters, etc. Didn't get anything.")
We wound up in front of the White House because that is, of course, *THE* most haunted house in DC. The guide told us of the 4 Presidents, 2 First Ladies, and 2 children who died there, and a little bit about how they died. (Although he said Todd Lincoln died of typhoid, then described cholera. In graphic detail.) He talked about the hauntings in the various rooms. ("Women don't go to the Andrew Jackson room because they get their bottoms pinched. Especially when Bill Clinton's in there.") He talked about the many, many sightings of Lincoln by famous individuals ("Churchill was in the bath. I want you to think hard about a wet, naked, Winston Churchill. Never gonna get that image out of your brain, are you?") The last story he told was of "the most famous person to see Lincoln's ghost" - Lincoln himself. The tour ends with him reading the verbatim account of the dream Lincoln had of a dead man in the East Room and being told "the President's dead."
It was a fun tour, and I recommend it. Afterwards, parts of the SherlockDC gang went out for drinks and elevens-at-nightses; Old Ebbitt Grill was packed to the gills, so we struck out north, ending up at Georgia Brown's for dessert and beer.
As for the Little Free Library, it was a weird week. Only 7 things went out all week -- a very poor tally -- but the ones that went were things I wasn't sure would go, and a LOT showed up.
Left: Bollywood Cookbook, Catching Fire (actually waiting for shawan_7
to pick up), The Forgotten Garden (I'm going to learn to read stuff I'm interested in before it goes), Podcasting Hacks, Practical Magic, and the Sherlock Holmes radio collection on 6 cassette tapes.
Left and returned: Grisham's The Firm.
Returned: Under the Banner of Heaven, Da Vinci Code (audio)
Appeared: 6 children's books, 2 books in Spanish, Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban, Eagle's Cry, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures (which I snapped right up myself), and an academic conference study with a title like "Evolution of Western Thought Regarding Islam and Arabs."
I also discovered, as I noted before, that there are two little free libraries near my local yarn store. So there's going to be some cross pollination going on next Knit Night.