Hey everyone! Those of us in the USA are celebrating President’s Day. Formed by the Uniform Federal Holidays Act in 1971, the day was created to celebrate the birthdays of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Today, I’m going to talk about Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was our sixteenth president and served from 1861-1865 during one of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history. The country was divided, the north fought against the south, and in some cases, brother against brother.
Lincoln was probably best known for abolishing slavery, the Gettysburg Address, and his untimely death at the hands of the assassin, John Wilkes Booth. But did you know Lincoln’s ghost is said to inhabit the White House? Or that he had premonitions of his death?
In early 1865, Lincoln told his close friend, Ward Hill Lamon, about a dream he had.
“About ten days ago I retired very late … I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a deathlike 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… I arrived at the East Room. 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 throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face 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.’”
Eerie, isn’t it? But this wasn’t the first time he saw a foreshadowing of his death. After the 1860 election, he saw a double image of himself in a mirror while still in his Springfield, Illinois home. One was a ghostly shadow of his actual reflection.
His wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was known to have a strong belief in the supernatural and spiritualism. She didn’t see the double image but supposedly prophesied the reflection meant he would not live long enough to complete his first term in office.
After Lincoln’s death in April 1865, several have claimed to have seen his ghost or felt his presence. The press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson believes the first lady felt Lincoln’s presence one evening while watching a program about his death.
First Lady Grace Coolidge reported having seen the ghost of Lincoln in the Oval Office gazing out over the Potomac.
During Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, the ghost was seen frequently. Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands reported being awakened by a knock on her bedroom door when she was a guest. Thinking someone might have an important message, she got out of bed and opened the door to see Lincoln standing in the hallway.
Eleanor Roosevelt used Lincoln’s bedroom as a study. She denied ever seeing his ghost but often said she felt his presence.
Others who claim to have seen the late president were Maureen Reagan, Margaret Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
President Lyndon Johnson supposedly encountered Lincoln’s apparition during a time of “great distress.” It’s said Johnson “conversed” with the former president and asked him how he handled an unpopular war. Johnson, of course, was president during the Vietnam conflict.
The last sighting of Lincoln’s ghost was in the early 1980s when White House operations foreman Tony Savoy saw Lincoln sitting in a chair at the top of some stairs.
I don’t know if any or all these claims are valid, but it sure leaves one to wonder.