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Constructed in 1818 for naval hero Stephen Decatur and his wife, the Decatur House is one of the oldest homes left in Washington, D.C. Today it is a museum, showcasing African American history in an effort to distract tourists from the true nature of this house’s grim past.
Many visitors to the Decatur House often complain of severe stomach pain during and after their tour. Their abdominal muscles will cramp up, causing sharp jolts that have been so traumatic that the person will need to grab hold of nearby furniture so they do not collapse on to the floor. In the most extreme cases, these unfortunate tourists must rush to the bathroom.
The unexplainable stomach pain experienced is the result of the ghostly influence that the late Stephen Decatur holds over the property. He died in his bedroom after suffering two days of excruciating agony from being shot in the abdomen during a duel with Commodore James Barron.
Decatur’s ghost appeared almost immediately following his death. He is often seen gazing out the upstairs window, watching the street as if anticipating the arrival of Barron. The apparition appears so often, in fact, that the window was eventually walled up. Others catch a glimpse of him in the early hours leaving through the back door with pistols in hand.
Perhaps Decatur must relive that fateful duel over and over. Perhaps he hopes he’ll prevail and restore his honor. One can hope that, at least in death, the excruciating pain he felt has dissipated.