An elephant-sized demon cat is said to appear at the US Capitol before national emergencies, according to reports as far back as 1862

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UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s: Tabby kitten with mouth wide open, yawning. (Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Retrofile/Getty Images)
Tabby kitten yawning.

  • A demon cat is said to appear close to the grounds of the US Capitol, the White House Historical Association says.
  • The cat, generally described as a tabby and different occasions black, seems before national emergencies.
  • Sightings had been reported before the assassination of JFK and simply before the inventory market crash in 1929.

For greater than 150 years a demon cat — some say the measurement of an elephant — is said to appear close to the grounds of the US Capitol before national emergencies, according to the White House Historical Association.

“It’s probably the most common of all the ghost stories in the Capitol,” Steve Livengood, the chief tour information of the US Capitol Historical Society told Atlas Obscura about the apparition. “Partly because of the physical evidence.” 

In 1898, after the Capitol Building was broken by a gasoline explosion, paw prints and the initials “DC” — speculated to imply “demon cat” — appeared in the concrete poured to restore the Small Senate Rotunda. While Livengood advised Atlas Obscura it was “quite possible” a cat merely walked throughout the moist concrete, guests to the Capitol have seen the prints, and information reports of sightings, as proof of the legend’s veracity. 

The ghostly cat, described at occasions as all black and generally with tabby stripes, is said to appear most frequently to guards of the US Capitol, with sightings reported before the assassination of JFK and simply before the inventory market crash in 1929, according to the White House Historical Association.

An 1898 Washington Post report about the cat said the creature “swells up to the size of an elephant before the eyes of the terrified observer,” whereas in 1935 the Post reported after one other sighting that the cat’s eyes “glow with the all the hue and ferocity of the headlights of a fire engine.”

Long thought of a prophecy of coming tragedy, the first reported sighting of the demon cat was in the United States Capitol in 1862, throughout the Civil War. A guard was said to have fired his gun at the cat, inflicting it to disappear. From then on, it was seen in the Capitol constructing basement before national emergencies, according to the White House Historical Association.

“I can put enough pieces together to know where the legend came from,” Livengood told Atlas Obscura. “The night watchmen were not professionals. They would often be some senator’s ne’er-do-well brother-in-law that had a drinking problem.”

The evening watchmen who reported recognizing the demonic creature, Livengood said, would usually leverage their political connections to keep away from bother for ingesting on the job, making up tales of being attacked by the fearsome creature.

“Then the other guards realize that if they see the cat and get attacked, then they get a day off,” Livengood told Atlas Obscura. “And that’s how history gets written.”

The Capitol area has lengthy been rumored to be dwelling to many mythic creatures and ghostly happenings, although the demon cat stays considered one of the longest-standing legends of the grounds.

Its final notable sighting was in 1963, simply before the assassination of JFK — there have been no reports of it being seen prior to more moderen national crises like the  January 6 assault on the Capitol. 

The White House Historical Association didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark.

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