The Ghost of Abraham Lincoln

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Honest Abe

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 ghost 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.

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Abe's Death & Premonition

Abraham Lincoln served as President of the United States from 1861 to 1865. He was the sixteenth President, and one that is 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 with 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 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 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 throng 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 in order 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.

Was Abraham Lincoln given a warning by God about his own 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

Bed Where Abe Lincoln Breathed His Last Breath
Bed Where Abe Lincoln Breathed His Last Breath | Source
Inside of The White House
Inside of The White House | Source
Interior of The White House
Interior of The White House | Source

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 in 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, and 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 perhaps 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 obvious example, as it is the place where tragedy struck.

Visitors and employees at Ford's Theater experience strange sounds constantly, some even sounding like gun shots 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 pointing to John Wilkes Booth and saying "he shot the President". Does 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 ghost 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 place where he passed away (the building directly across from Ford's Theatre).

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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 particularly popular 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 cruel 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 to the right, with the obvious 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 spirits 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 own death? Does his ghost still visit us on this side of the veil because he knows he can?

Written and copyright © KittytheDreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 21 comments

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 10 months ago from the Ether Author

Jodah - What I meant was Abe and Mary Todd's son. Possessive. I'll re-word to make it sound better. :) Thanks so much!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 10 months ago from Queensland Australia

An intriguing hub Kitty. I Enjoy reading everything about Abe Lincoln, and the possibility of his ghost is of extra interest. Under "Mary Todd Lincoln's Obsession with the Dead" however you say...." when she and Abe's son Willie died in 1862...." I don't think she could have died then.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

@ Larry--I would like nothing better than to go on a ghost hunt with a professional paranormal investigation team; unfortunately, there never seem to be any within budget-friendly travel distance for me, and the tours on which they invite members of the public, they usually charge a substantial fee. :(


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

DzyMsLizzy - All very good points, friend. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Larry - No, thanks! I don't plan on doing that anytime soon. LOL. Thanks for reading! :)


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

Love ghost stories. They link us all. Most everyone, even skeptics like myself, have had seemingly unexplainable experiences. Want to see ghosts? Spend a night in an old TB sanitarium.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

Most interesting, indeed! I have heard of this before. You have done a very thorough examination of the topic. I am very interested in the paranormal and the spirit world, though I have never gone to a séance; I am a student of the phenomenon.

I would suggest that his ghost is not seen at his deathbed site, as it was not a place with which he was familiar. It is thought that spirits re-visit those places that were familiar and comfortable to them in life. The White House, then, is one obvious site; Springfield, IL, is another, since he took his advanced education there. Presumably, he and Mrs. Lincoln often took in plays at Ford's Theater, so it stands to reason that he would be seen there as well.

That last may or may not be simply a residual haunt from the traumatic energy. If so, it may well be imprinted upon the land, and it is likely that the activity will continue, even if the theater is torn down at some point.

As far as the photograph goes: photography was still in its infancy then, and hoaxes and trick photography would have been most unlikely, as they would not yet have discovered the tricks to pull off such a thing. An actual accidental double-exposure would have a very different look.

Voted up +++


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 years ago from london

Yes. This is a much better assumption. Perhaps I misunderstood you, initially. Those who have the capacity, certainly do come and serve others, not as 'trapped' souls though. 'Trapped' souls do exists, but they do not have this freedom of which we speak.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

manatita44 - That's a good point; however, I believe that the spiritually advanced can become ascended masters and reappear on Earth in times of great need and as spiritual guides to those who need them. It is possible that Lincoln could be returning only to send a message and not necessarily to "haunt" buildings as other trapped souls might do. Thanks for reading.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 years ago from london

Lincoln was a good man. Spirits of good people are not known to be in limbo. Even if they cannot free themselves, many saints and Spiritual Masters certainly can and do help them. I do not know that Lincoln needed this. History suggests that he was spiritually advanced. Thanks for sharing.


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Yes, Miss Kitty. I am indeed speaking of Arthur of Camelot.


lucybell21 profile image

lucybell21 3 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

Wow I really enjoyed reading your hub, and it made me feel like I was there, even a chill up my spine. Thanks for choosing to write about Abe. We tend to forget about the great men that have shaped our country!


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

I went to Lincoln's home and tomb in Springfield as a kid. Maybe I should go back and see if he's wandering around there, too. That would be wild. Interesting hub!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

Dahoglund - So glad you found it interesting! Thanks. :)

Nell - Yes, how amazing is that! In fact, he had quite a few premonitions before the one that told him of his death.

Cyndi10 - I did do a lot of research...I've been fascinated with this time period as of late. Thanks so much for reading!


Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 3 years ago from Georgia

Very interesting facts about Lincoln's possible ghostly wanderings. You obviously did a lot of research. Voted up and interesting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi kitty, I never knew that he had a premonition, fascinating stuff, and his wife was really interesting I never knew that she was so into the spiritualist movement, great hub! voted and shared, nell


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Interesting facts about Lincoln's ghost. Great hub.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

onegreenparachute - Thanks for reading! :)

CroftRoan - Yes, it very well could be. Thanks for reading.


CroftRoan profile image

CroftRoan 3 years ago

I honestly believe that Lincoln was with his wife in that photo. I have a copy of the same one in a book of Civil War ghost stories.


onegreenparachute profile image

onegreenparachute 3 years ago from Greenwood, B.C., Canada

Very interesting Kitty. Lots of spooky information here.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

phoenix - Are you talking about King Arthur of Camelot?


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

This hub reminds me of Arthur, the once and future king of England. It is said that Arthur will once again sit on the throne during England's darkest hour. Perhaps Lincoln feels the same way.

An absorbing hub.

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,897 Followers
    428 Articles

    Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.



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