D.C. September 21, 2016
The Story Behind This Haunted Statue In Washington DC Is Truly Creepy
Washington DC is full of ghosts. It’s a city with a rich history rife with pain and mystery and yet, of all the ghosts who wander the District streets, there is one that is the most terrifying, most disturbing and most distraught and she has a favorite haunting ground. The story of the haunted statue is truly creepy and the story of Marion Clover Adams is a tragic and mysterious one that gives chills to everyone who hears it.
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The ghost of Clover Adams is said to haunt a few different areas in the city but is she most felt at the Adams Memorial in Rock Creek Cemetery. In 1872, Clover Adams was married to Henry Adams, who was a descendant of John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The two lived in Washington DC where Henry was an author and philosopher and Clover was an amateur photographer.
Clover was known as a troubled woman and in 1885, at the age for 42 she killed herself at her home but swallowing potassium cyanide, a chemical she used in her photography work. There are varying ideas for why Clover killed herself. Some say she killed herself because of anguish over her father’s death while other’s say it was because her husband, Henry, was interested in another woman.
Following Clover’s suicide, Henry Adams was never the same and much of his ways of grief remain a mystery. Henry destroyed almost all of Clover’s photos and letters and it was said he never spoke her name ever again. In fact, there is no reference to her in his autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams.
In 1886, after traveling in Japan, Henry committed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to sculpt a memorial to Clover as a bronze statue and to use the Buddhist philosophy’s ideas on grief as inspiration. Because of this, the sculpture is not actually a sculpture of Clover. It is an androgynous and anonymous figure that represents Henry’s emotions around her death.
The six foot statue is of a human who sits surrounded by a shroud, staring down almost calmly at whoever is below it. Adams insisted that no name be carved into the statue and he placed in Section E of Rock Creek Cemetery where is encircle by a small perimeter of holly trees and marble benches. There have been many legends about the Adams Memorial and the fact that Clover’s presence is so often felt there. There are even ghost sightings and similar feelings of despair at a replica of the statue called Black Aggie that was once located in Druid Ridge cemetery.
Many visitors say that after a few minutes of gazing at the statue, they are overwhelmed with a tremendous feeling of grief, sadness and despair. Some legends say that Clover Adams continues to haunt the cemetery late at night. Other legends say that it is Henry Adams you feel at the Adams Memorial and his pain and suffering over his wife’s death and that he is the ghost who wanders the cemetery.
The mystery of the Adams Memorial will always remain. Why did Clover Adams take her own life? Did Henry Adams feel guilt or despair over his wife’s death? If he never spoke her name or mentioned her again, then why would he commission a statue in her honor? And the Adams Memorial will always be a tribute to one of the most mysterious figures in DC history.
Find out about all of the ghosts in Washington DC at
these 10 most haunted places in Washington DC.