The Ghost of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln has turned out to be one of the most famous and beloved presidents in the history of the United States. Lately, mainstream media and Hollywood have been exploiting the memory of good ol' Honest Abe. They've even made him into a vampire hunter. What they have failed to exploit is the fact that President Abraham Lincoln's ghost has been seen on more than one occasion in more than one place.
Let's find out more about Honest Abe's ghost, where his spirit has been seen, and we'll explore some theories as to why his ghost is still lingering about. Abe Lincoln wasn't a vampire hunter, but he could very well be a spirit roaming this earth even to this day.
Abe's Death & Premonition
Abraham Lincoln served as President of the United States from 1861 to 1865. He was the sixteenth President, famous for his role in the American Civil War, and for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. He served as President for a fairly short time but left a lasting impression on history's pages.
On April 14th, 1865, at Ford's Theater in Washington DC, President Abraham Lincoln was shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth. What's interesting to note about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is that Abe is believed to have had a premonition about his death, three days prior to the Ford's Theater incident.
Abe had a dream and had said, "About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw a light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I was met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a crowd of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.' Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."
After Lincoln was shot in the back of the head by Booth, several doctors attended to him...trying everything they thought was possible to save him. The bullet had lodged behind his eye socket and had gone through the left part of his brain. The shot was mortal, and so Lincoln died the following morning in a boarding house across the street from Ford's Theatre. It was 7:22 am, April 15th, 1865. Abraham Lincoln was only fifty-six years old.
Did God give Abraham Lincoln a warning about his death or was this an ongoing, underlying fear of his that just happened to coincide with his actual assassination? Coincidence or a sign?
Abe's Literal Deathbed
Abe's Ghost at the White House
Dying in such a tragic and almost-expected way, it is no wonder that Abe Lincoln's ghost or presence is still seen and felt at The White House to this day. The interesting thing to note is that much of the sightings are experienced by the First Ladies living in The White House. The most recent was that of Michelle Obama's. She has claimed to feel the presence of spirits, of ghosts...she has even heard odd noises underneath the beds at night. Could she be feeling the presence of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln or something else entirely?
Eleanor Roosevelt felt the presence of Abe Lincoln's ghost at The White House on numerous occasions. Some people believe this is because FDR was dealing with WWII and that Abe Lincoln comes back from the spirit world to help guide other presidents in times of turmoil. Eleanor claimed that her "study" was the room in which she felt his presence the strongest. Perhaps this is because this same room used to be Abraham Lincoln's bedroom while he was still alive.
My grandfather worked at The White House in the 60's and 70's for quite a few years. He got to hear all kinds of fascinating ghostly tales of demon cats and ghostly presidents. One of his favorite stories (perhaps one of the most famous ghost stories) is the story that was told by Winston Churchill. Winston stayed in The White House one time and was said to have gotten out of the bathtub and saw the ghost of Abraham Lincoln staring at him. Supposedly he ran out of the room with nothing but a towel on and a cigar hanging out of his mouth...though this story varies from source to source.
Other visitors and tourists claim to see Abraham Lincoln's ghost staring out various windows of The White House. Perhaps he is waiting for his children and wife to return to him. Or maybe he is there still watching over The White House and our country.
I find it interesting to note that Abe Lincoln did not actually die in The White House, but this is where his ghost is seen the most.
The Ghost of Abe Lincoln...Elsewhere
The ghost of Abraham Lincoln has been seen in other places besides The White House. Ford's Theatre is one prominent example, as it is the place where tragedy struck.
Visitors and employees at Ford's Theater experience strange sounds regularly, some even sounding like gunshots and loud thumps (as if John Wilkes Booth is shooting Lincoln again and then jumping, just as he did that day). Cold spots are felt, and other disembodied voices can be heard. Some even say that they've seen President Lincoln's ghost, as well as his wife's ghost haunting Ford's Theater...on the very same balcony as the one in which they sat that fateful day. It is as if they have returned to Ford's Theatre to enjoy a drama performance, hoping that the outcome would be different...hoping that it wouldn't involve Lincoln's untimely death.
One person even claims that the apparition of Mrs. Lincoln can be seen from the balcony, pointing downwards as if looking at John Wilkes Booth and saying "he shot the President." Do President Lincoln and his wife haunt the old Ford's Theatre? Or is it merely a traumatic imprint of time that will continually play out as long as the Ford Theater is in existence?
In addition to Abe Lincoln's ghost haunting these two infamous places, where else has his spirit been seen? He has been seen at the property on which Lincoln's remains are buried in Springfield, Illinois. His ghostly presence has been felt in other places in the nation's capital, as well. I wouldn't doubt for a moment that his ghost has been felt or seen at the site where he passed away (the building directly across from Ford's Theatre).
Mary Todd Lincoln's Obsession with the Dead
Before Abe Lincoln's untimely death, it was a well-known fact that Mary Todd Lincoln (Abe's wife and the First Lady) was a person who invited seances and mediums into her life and into The White House itself. By any other standards of those times, she might have been considered a Victorian Spiritualist. Her obsession with making contact with the dead began when she and Abe's son Willie died in 1862. Sources state that Mary Todd Lincoln invited mediums to The White House, and could have held as many as eight total seances in The White House during Lincoln's presidency. She was also known to have visited mediums in Georgetown on numerous occasions.
Mary Todd Lincoln's obsession with the dead turned into an all-out addiction, some might say, after her husband's brutal assassination in 1865. Spirit photography was a huge trend with the Spiritualist community, and so Mary Todd Lincoln visited a well-known spirit photographer known by the name of Mumler. He snapped the picture of Mary posted above, with the apparent misty form of the ghost of Abraham Lincoln standing behind her, with his hands on her shoulders. Was this a hoax or a real picture?
Theories circulate as to whether Mary Todd Lincoln perhaps called Abraham Lincoln's spirit back to earth with one of her many seances. Did she open a door for souls to come through the veil? Is this why there are so many known spirits still haunting The White House? Or was it merely an innocent and useless attempt to comfort herself in times of great mourning?
It was also thought that because Abraham Lincoln allowed Mary to be involved in such Spiritualist things, that perhaps he was a bit of a Spiritualist himself. Did Abe Lincoln's spiritual beliefs contribute to the fact that he had a premonition of his death? Does his ghost still visit us on this side of the veil because he knows he can?
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© 2013 Nicole Canfield