Call them rooms with a boo -- three hotels either in or near D.C. with a reputation for things that go bump in the night. Here's a little history on each, details on what the specters are usually up to, and tips on where you can find more spooky fun nearby.
-- Renee Schettler
Historic Farnsworth House Inn
* History: During the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the Farnsworth House witnessed some 51,000 casualties. The brick residence was occupied by Confederate sharpshooters during the battle; afterward, it housed Union headquarters.
* Hauntings: The inn boasts several permanent residents -- two disgruntled soldiers arguing over whose turn it is to take the bed; a deceased housekeeper who still dotes upon guests by patting a weary shoulder or soothing a worried mind with her calming presence; and a mischievous boy who likes to play pranks, such as things going missing for a few hours or sheets being rumpled from someone jumping on a bed.
* The Hotel: Built in 1810, the former residence is littered with bullet holes on the outside and crammed with period antiques inside, from clawfoot tubs to pull-chain commodes. Five rooms are in the original house; six rooms are in an adjacent building.
* Staying There: The Historic Farnsworth House Inn is at 401 Baltimore St. in Gettysburg. Rates are $135 to $175 per night double. Info: 717-334-8838, www.farnsworthhousedining.com.
* Other Spooky Stuff: Candlelit ghost walks through the Gettysburg area are offered nightly. For a list of tour operators, contact the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, 717-334-6274, www.gettysburgcvb.org.
* History: In the late 1800s, Henry Adams and his wife, Marian "Clover" Adams, planned to build a town house across the street from Lafayette Park next to the home of their friends, the Hays. Marian never saw the home; she took her own life in December 1885. Adams owned the house until the adjoining lots were razed to make way for the Hay-Adams.
* Hauntings: The official word from the Hay-Adams: "There is no ghost." But how to explain the rumors of eerie happenings on the hotel's fourth floor each year near the anniversary of Marian's death? Locked doors that open and close on their own? Clock radios that turn on and off unassisted? Even before the hotel was built, guests overnighting in Adams's home complained of feeling despondant, hearing a woman cry and seeing a woman in a rocking chair.
* The Hotel: The Hay-Adams counts 20 suites among its 145 rooms, several of which overlook the White House. The ultra-luxe hotel recently spent $120,000 per room on renovations.
* Staying There: The Hay-Adams is at One Lafayette Square in downtown D.C. Rates are $275 to $4,250 per night double. Info: 800-853-6807, www.hayadams.com.
* Other Spooky Stuff: The White House area is rife with restless spirits -- or so says the guide of the weekly Capital Hauntings walking tour. Tours around Lafayette Park are $10 and held Fridays at 7:30 p.m. from April 1 to Oct. 31; there's also a 10 p.m. tour on Halloween. Info: 202-484-1565, www.washingtonwalks.com.
CAPE MAY, N.J.
* History: When it was built around 1900, the Macomber was the largest frame structure east of the Mississippi. In a town well-known for its supernatural side, the hotel is a standout.
* Hauntings: In Room 10, there are occasionally loud noises -- sometimes heard a floor away -- with no explicable cause, as well as dresser drawers that open and close and lights that turn on and off. The suspect is an old lady who regularly summered in that room. The Union Park dining room on the second floor is sometimes visited by a former waitress who died choking on a chicken bone. In recent months, activity in rooms 41 and 51 has increased, with reports of bed shaking and rocking.
* The Hotel: The five-story mansion has 36 rooms, six with oceanfront views and 19 with side views of the sea. There's a solarium with rocking chairs, a bagel shop and the Boo-tique, which sells Halloween goodies.
* Staying There: The Hotel Macomber is at 727 Beach Ave. in Cape May. Rates are $45 to $115 per night double (winter) or $135 to 250 (summer). Info: 609-884-3020, www.hotelmacomber.com.
* Other Spooky Stuff: Tales of other Cape May hauntings are available from Diane Bixley and professional paranormal investigator Al Rauber, who run the Original Haunted Cape May Tour. Tours are $10, April through November. Info: 609-463-8984, www.hauntedcapemay.com.