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The White House: 8 Bizarre Truths You Never Knew

The White House is the world's most surreal hotel. As President, you don't know if you're going to be kicked out after four ye...

The White House is the world's most surreal hotel. As President, you don't know if you're going to be kicked out after four years or eight.

You also have absolutely no privacy or escape from work, and there's a constant stream of strangers coming to check out your historical digs. 

It might be the President's very own temporary mansion, but he never gets to really enjoy it. Here are some of the weirder things about the most famous house in the world, which Truman once called a "glamorous prison."

Lincoln supposedly haunts its halls

If ghosts are powered by residual energy, there's no better place than the White House to haunt after you die, because that place is saturated with year after year of Presidential stress.

Abraham Lincoln's young son died of typhoid while living in the White House. Shortly after, Honest Abe was having recurring dreams about his own assassination in the days leading up to the actual event; add those together and you have the recipe for one persistent ghost.

Many prominent people have claimed to see or feel the presence of Lincoln, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman (and his daughter), Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill, as well as many other White House guests and staff.

It's an Animal House

Over the years, the White House has seen an bizarre number of animals run through its doors, extending far beyond the usual collection of house pets. Thomas Jefferson kept two young bears on site during his term.

Benjamin Harrison kept two possums, named Mr. Protection and Mr. Reciprocity—neither of which were very capable of protecting or reciprocating.
The White House

 Never one to be outdone, Teddy Roosevelt brought 27 pets to the White House, including another bear and a snake named Emily Spinach.

The sour-faced Calvin Coolidge kept a pygmy hippo and a wallaby, whereas Herbert Hoover kept two alligators. The list is practically endless, and probably very difficult to clean up after.

It's not a free ride

When you're President, you're not treated like royalty. Sure, you're given a place to live while you do your job, but that's pretty standard for any important job.

Unless they're consumed during an official business function, the President and his family have to pay for all of their meals. In addition to that, they also have to pay for their own laundry and general amenities.

While Congress and taxpayers pay for certain White House maintenance duties and staffing, anything that doesn't directly relate to the governance of the United States comes out of the Presidential salary, which is about $450,000 a year.

No, taxpayers do not pay for the First Lady's dresses, so chill.

Tom Hanks bought the White House a coffee maker, twice

The White House has a dedicated press room in which reporters from various news outlets basically camp out whenever a news story breaks. By most accounts, it's kind of a filthy, poorly-maintained hovel, because camping is gross.

Tom Hanks stopped by the room in 2004 and noticed that they didn't have a proper coffee maker, so he bought them one in an effort to make the experience a little more pleasant.

When Hanks checked in six years later, the same machine was still in use, but in terrible condition from a lack of care by all the filthy reporters. So, he bought them a deluxe model, and included a note telling them to take care of it this time.

Outgoing Presidential aides prank their replacements

Allegedly, Bill Clinton's aides did $40,000 worth of damage to their offices before evacuating the White House for George W. Bush, including pulling the W key off of 62 keyboards, leaving obscene phone messages, gluing desk drawers shut, and stealing a historical Presidential seal.

While the investigation was only able to provide one photograph of a Hoarders-looking hallway—and somehow placed the approximate price of a standard computer keyboard at $80. White House workers admitted that it was fairly typical for the outgoing Presidential staff to prank their replacements in various ways.

No one can find the cornerstone

Laid on October 13, 1792 by a bunch of important Freemasons, the historical cornerstone of the White House should be a pretty big deal, and it would certainly be a prominent point of any tour—if anyone could find it.

All we know today is that it has a brass plate, which may or may not have been inscribed by the founding fathers. It might also be a time capsule containing important historical documents, as was the tradition of the day.

Both Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Truman have searched for the stone to no avail. It's not the first time the government was unable to find something right under their noses.

Someone committed suicide there

While conspiracy theorists believe that Vince Foster, friend and Deputy White House Counsel to the Clintons, killed himself within the White House and had his body relocated elsewhere to be discovered, people often ignore the actual suicide that took place on the White House lawn.

On September 12, 1994, ex-Army mechanic Frank Corder stole a Cessna airplane and steered it towards the White House. Corder only made it to the South Lawn before crashing and killing himself.

Corder was allegedly drunk, unemployed, depressed, and recently arrested from dealing drugs. Supposedly, Corder had no political motivations for his final actions and just wanted the publicity.

It has its own beer

While Thomas Jefferson was known to be a beer brewer himself after his retirement from politics, it wasn't until Barack Obama that brewing actually happened inside the White House, and with the help of the resident honeybees, no less.

Obama used part of his salary to purchase a brewing kit and handed it over to the White House chefs, who brewed a few hundred bottles of honey ale for special occasions.

Home brewers, eager to try the rare delicacy, filed a Freedom of Information Act to get the recipe. But the White House released the formula on its website before anyone. - Grunge

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