Presidential Portrait Restorer Loses Soul Staring Into Eyes Of William McKinley

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By: Jack Ritchey

WASHINGTON D.C. Since 1910 the ghastly visage of former President William McKinley has loomed ominously over the third floor of the Library of Congress in Washington DC. While he was alive, McKinley was so feared for his tyrannical and unholy leadership, like maintaining the gold standard and supporting the “Dingley Tariff”, that he had to be murdered by an anarchist, and his tortured spector was forever entombed inside his official portrait as a means of protecting humanity from his unyielding terror. Tour groups are forbidden from passing by and employees of the Library are under strict guidelines not to glance at his face, nor listen to any whispered incantations they may think they hear McKinley utter. However, while accidentally making eye contact with the demonic gaze of the 25th President, sources have confirmed that new employee Charlie Van Hough temporarily lost his soul during a scheduled cleaning of McKinley’s portrait.

Van Hough, a 22-year old intern and native of Soiux City Iowa, began speaking ancient Zulu and writhing uncontrollably on the floor of the stacks while his co-workers looked on in paralyzed fear. “Normally Charlie is a fun-loving dude and in a good mood. But after he met the dead white eyes of The Napoleon of Protection, Charlie ripped his shirt open and vomited all over the place. So now we gotta clean that up too,” complained coworker Steve Letts, adding that after a tribalistic dislocation of various limbs, Van Hough screamed in forgotten language and attempted to throw himself over the balcony. It was only after being manhandled by eight secret service agents and an explanation that the Spanish-American war was over that Van Hough finally subdued and slowly began to remember his own consciousness. Added Letts, “It was worse than the time Grover Cleveland got into my basset hound and we had to put him down. Poor Baxter.”

Now fully recovered, Van Hough has regrets about being so careless with his own mortal spirit while maintaining the official portrait of William McKinley. “I should have known better. McKinley is the most notoriously possessed President in American history. He didn’t even have a Vice President from 1899 to 1901. So you know that guy was into some fucked up shit.” However when pressed about possibly removing the portrait, Van Hough and Letts agree there is not much they can do, and that the Library maintains portraits of every President despite their politics, accomplishments, or the fate of their unresting phantoms yearning for an agent to complete their work on earth. “I know it’s not really safe, but what are ya gonna do, ya know? Who ya gonna call?”