‘Elephant-sized demon cat’ appears before national emergencies strike

The mysterious story of a demon cat has haunted the grounds of the US Capitol for more than 150 years.

With some saying the creature is as large as an elephant, the demon cat is said to appear on the grounds of the Capitol before national emergencies and has remained part of US folklore for over a century.

Steve Livengood, the chief tour guide of the US Capitol Historical Society said: "It's probably the most common of all the ghost stories in the Capitol".

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Following the Capitol Building being damaged by a gas explosion in 1898, a set of paw prints and the initials "DC" – wildly rumoured to suggest "demon cat" – appeared in the concrete poured to repair the Small Senate Rotunda.

Colleen Shogan, Senior Vice President and Director of the David M. Rubenstein Centre for White House History at the White House Historical Association said: "The Demon Cat is one of the most persistent and creative ghost stories in our nation's capital.

"Known sometimes as D.C., the ghostly cat has appeared at both the White House and the United States Capitol.

"This foreboding feline has more than nine lives and its appearance portends of an impending disaster, so watch your step this Halloween!"

Sightings of the all-black cat has been reported before the assassination of JFK and just before the stock market crash in 1929, according to the White House Historical Association.

The first reported sighting of the demon cat was in the United States Capitol in 1862, during the Civil War, with a guard said to have fired a shot at the cat, causing it to vanish.

The animal was said to "swell up to the size of an elephant before the eyes of the terrified observer," according to an 1898 Washington Post report.

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Livengood put forth a theory on how the legend of the demon cat first transpired.

"I can put enough pieces together to know where the legend came from," he said.

"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.

"Then the other guards realize that if they see the cat and get attacked, then they get a day off."

Despite the legend of the cat, its last notable sighting was in 1963, just before the assassination of JFK.


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