Historic US cemetery now a hip social playground

(REUTERS) - These are not typical sights at a graveyard, but these are exactly what's drawing crowds at Washington, DC's historic Congressional Cemetery

Paul Williams, President of the Historical Congressional Cemetery says: "You can't do that just from site sales and some of our other major donors, so we had to get creative to come up with ways to make that money."  

It all started with dog walkers who raised funds to spruce up the place more than a decade ago. Today, tour attendees say they came to support the cemetery, and hopefully to get a little spooked.  

One of those 'ghosts' lurking around is Dolley Madison, widow of former US President James Madison. Claire Palace, an actress playing Dolley Madison, says: "I died in Washington and I was penniless. Can you believe it? So, I was left here in the public vault for two whole years."  

While some critics say the kitschy events disrespect the dead, Yoga student Alex Ashton says he reckons the cemetery's residents like having them there. "I think the dead would appreciate the living, living life around them."  And with Halloween just around the corner, there's no shortage of visitors.