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Local playwright Natalie Zanin spends her vacations sniffing out the obscure ghostlore that litters the trail of American history—festering morsels of legend that grow more delectable with time. She often asks about the ghost problems behind historic doors. “Sometimes a person will look at their supervisor and say, ‘Nothing like that here,’” she laments. “And you just know that some guy with no feet floated by them this morning.” Anyone who’s walked D.C.’s empty night streets knows that the District is a ghost town, but Zanin points to lesser-known manifestations: A German-speaking apparition that makes its home at the Heurich House, inexplicably flickering lights and opening doors that drew police to the Octagon in the ’70s. Zanin’s interactive, self-guided Ghost Story Tour of Washington takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Decatur House, 748 Jackson Place NW, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, the Octagon, 1799 New York Ave. NW, and the Sewall-Belmont House, 144 Constitution Ave. NE. $16. For reservations call (202) 785-2068. (Dan Gilgoff)