If you believe in the occult and happen to be staying at the Hay-Adams Hotel in D.C. during the first week of December, keep your eyes peeled for the ghost of Marian “Clover” Adams, which is said to appear each year at that time; it was on December 6, 1885, you see, that Mrs. Adams killed herself, and part of the site currently occupied by the hotel once held the home of her widowed husband, Henry. I myself have never seen the ghost, and I’m not prepared to fork over some $400 for a room in the hope of catching a glimpse. Yet I was unsurprised to stumble on the legend while poking around the Web. For even if Clover Adams doesn’t drift through the Hay-Adams, she’s certainly done her share of haunting—the emotional kind, that is. The vibrancy of her character and the circumstances of her last days guaranteed that not just her family and friends but le tout Washington was taken aback by her suicide. And when, six years...


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