“As long as they don’t come home with us,” he said.
Beginning on the fourth floor beside the Senate staircase, Mr. Lehman described a man with long gray hair spied along this corridor. In 1890, a State Street fruit vendor, bereft over his failing business, leapt to his death from the stairs, his billowing gray hair shocking the Victorian women who witnessed the fall.
Donna Lynch, 53, nodded as Mr. Lehman spoke. She had brought her teenage son and her boyfriend to officially hear the mysteries that had filled water cooler talk throughout the decade she worked in the Capitol’s security office: creaking doors, shadows, glimmering lights.
“Everyone knows there’s something here,” Ms. Lynch, from East Greenbush, N.Y., said. “We had a guy who would never go on the fifth floor for the fire inspections because he swore there was a ghost up there. He called him George.”
The Capitol’s most oft-seen ghost, according to Mr. Lehman, is Samuel Abbott, a Civil War veteran and 78-year-old night watchman who died during the 1911 fire.
“His body was found right where this gentleman is standing,” Mr. Lehman said, smiling as a tourist took two quick steps to the right.
Throughout the tour, Mr. Lehman linked the Capitol’s history, which stretches back more than a century, to the mysteries haunting its modern-day occupants. In the Assembly chamber, he pointed to walls beyond the Spanish tile where giant murals painted by William Morris Hunt once stood. After the vaulted ceiling began to crack and fall, it was replaced in 1888 with a flat ceiling that forever hid the artwork painted on the arches above.
Some, he said, have mused that cold spots in the room reflect the ghostly presence of the aggrieved artist.