Lincoln’s Ghost: Former President, Permanent Resident

posted on 7/10/13

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most celebrated presidents in the history of the United States. Children in the classroom learn how Lincoln freed the slaves and then met an untimely demise when he was assassinated in a theater. What they don’t teach kids in school is the legend of Lincoln’s paranormal presence in the White House and his interest in the spirit world during his lifetime. Not only did he attend seances with his wife Mary, but he was also known to have premonitory dreams.


Abraham Lincoln supposedly predicted his own death in a dream. According to his longtime friend and bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, the President told him of a dream he had a few days prior to his death. In the dream, Lincoln walked into the East Room of the White House to see a covered corpse and wailing mourners. When he asked one of the soldiers guarding the corpse who had died, the man responded, “The President. He was killed by an assassin.” On the morning of April 14, 1865, Lincoln awoke from another dream that he shared with members of his cabinet. In this last vision, the President said he was in a vessel sailing across some strange body of water toward a “dark and indefinite shore”. That night he was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater.


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In the time since his tragic death, there have been several documented sightings of Abraham Lincoln’s ghost in the White House by both residents and visitors. In the 1920’s, First Lady Grace Coolidge, became the first person to report that she had seen Lincoln’s ghost. By her account, the former president was standing in the Oval Office looking out of a window onto the Potomac.


Frequent sightings of Lincoln’s ghost were reported during the Roosevelt administration between 1933-and 1945. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said she felt Lincoln’s presence late at night when she used the Lincoln Bedroom as her study. Eleanor’s maid, Mary Eban, claimed to have run out of the Lincoln Bedroom in terror after seeing Lincoln’s ghost sitting on the bed and putting on his boots.


Lady Bird Johnson, a First Lady who lived in the White House during the 1960’s, also felt that Lincoln’s ghost was present in the mansion. In the 1980’s, President Reagan’s daughter Maureen and her husband reported that Lincoln would appear to them while staying in the White House.


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Lincoln’s ghost has not only been observed by family members and staff of the residing Presidents, but also by some world-renowned house guests. During a 1942 visit to the White House, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was disturbed by a knock on her door during the night. Upon opening the door, she said she saw Lincoln’s ghost and promptly fainted. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, also stayed at the White House during World War II. One night after taking a bath and smoking a cigar, Churchill claims that he was caught naked and off guard by an apparition of Lincoln’s ghost standing by the fireplace in the next room.


While these reports could be dismissed as the hallucinations of fatigued people living in a home known for its rich history, the sheer volume of sightings cannot be denied. Abraham Lincoln’s ghost will remain as an unsolved mystery that adds a bit of intrigue to the most famous private residence in the United States.


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