Lincoln's Ghost, aka The White House Ghost has haunted 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since his asassination in 1865. Not only at the white house has the ghost of honest abe been said to cavort but also at his gravesite in Illinois and on the haunted train that bore his body from Washington back to Illinois for burial.
The Ghost Train
One of the most unbelievable supernatural phenomenas in American history is 'Lincoln's Phantom Train,' the ghostly mechanical apparition is said to retrace its steps every year starting in Washington D.C. traveling through six states, with stops in 13 cities .. Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York through Ohio and Indianna to eventually arrive at its final destination and Lincolns purported final resting place in Springfield, Illinois.
For over 150 years, in mid April, people report that the ghost train passes by at a ghoulish pace sending a chill down the spine of all who see or sense it. Clocks and watches are said to stop and witnesses claim that a coffin draped by an American flag is surrounded by the spirits of Union soldiers. A blinding light coming from the empty engine guides the antiquated ghost train through a thick black fog that it rides out of. The air is said to become burly and chilling while all waiting in anticipation are rarely disappointed at experiencing an unforgettable supernatural spectacle.
Alas, however, what many but certainly not all folks are witnessing is only an annual reenactment. The Lincoln Funeral Train follows the same chronology from start to finish that the real funeral train rode from Washington, D.C. every April, ending in Springfield, Illinois on May 3, 1865. As per the executive director of the Lincoln Funeral Coalition, William Werst, the reenactment gives the public a hands-on experience.
The original funeral train was 'The Lincoln Special' and the engine that hauled it was known as the 'Nashville'. The actual Lincoln funeral car was destroyed by fire in 1911.
Hundreds have reported seeing the ghost train, not the reenactment, traverse the countryside with the President’s casket aboard. Sightings usually occur at remote rural locations along the original route of The Lincoln Special from 1865. The ghost train never actually arrives in Springfield but his spirit apparently does.
Multiple reports that Honest Abe himself, or some other spiritual entity is not resting peacefully. Lincolns coffin was eventually encased in a steel cage and buried 10 feet underground and tucked in with a hefty concrete encasement. That's where his Earthly remains lie to this day. Mary Todd and three of their his sons are also buried there. Robert Lincoln, his only son to survive to adulthood, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Tourists, staff members and scholars have had some disconcerting experiences at and around the tomb that aren't easily shrugged off. Anxious pacing, agitated tapping footsteps, weeping and hushed murmurs in the empty corridors. Lincolns ghost has also been said to have been seen lurking about Springfield‘s original courthouse, as well as at his former home. The ghost of Mary Lincoln has also been reported.
Are past events echoed here at Lincolns tomb, or does some other restless spirit or spirits lurk and linger at the grave site, perhaps Mary Todd ? And Honest Abe, he just keeps showing up back at the white house. . .
Ghost of Lincoln Roams the White House
The wife of Calvin Coolidge, First Lady Grace Coolidge did a series of articles for American Magazine. In one of those stories she told she had seen Lincoln standing by a window in the Lincoln Bedroom, his former office. She stated that he was gazing out the window across the Potomac, to a spot that had once been the Civil War battle site of Monocacy, which stopped Confederates from entering Washington and routed them towards Gettysburg.
Dutch Queen Wilhelmina from the Netherlands reported that she heard a knock on her bedroom door while a guest at the White House, when she answered it, she claims to have seen Lincoln’s ghost, top hat and all at which she fainted. .
Winston Churchill, on one of his stays at the White House told a story of emerging naked from a bath smoking a cigar, only to find a Lincoln sitting beside the fireplace in his room. 'Good evening Mr. President. You seem to have me at a disadvantage,' Churchill is said to have quipped. Lincoln's ghost smiled faintly, and faded away .
President Harry Truman states he was once awakened by raps at the door while spending a night in the Lincoln Bedroom and his daughter Margaret, said she heard a rapping at the door of the Lincoln Bedroom when she stayed there, and believed it was Lincoln.
Truman, in a letter to his wife Bess wrote: 'I sit here in this old house and work on foreign affairs, read reports, and work on speeches–all the while listening to the ghosts walk up and down the hallway and even right in here in the study. The floors pop and the drapes move back and forth, I can just imagine old Andy [Jackson] and Teddy [Roosevelt] having an argument over Franklin [Roosevelt].'
Ronald Reagan’s daughter Maureens husband Dennis woke up to see a shadowy figure standing by the fireplace. Maureen thought he was Joshing until she, also , saw a man in a red coat in their room in the middle of the night. At first she thought it was her father until she realized she could see right through him. When President Reagan heard the story, he said, 'Why don’t you send him down the hall? I've got a few questions I'd like to ask him.'
Multitudes of staffers, some vocal but many anonymous have tales of Lincolns Ghost. Tony Savoy, White House operations foreman in the 1980s, saw Lincoln sitting in a chair at the top of some stairs. He discussed his encounter with Lincolns ghost on the official White House Website:
“It was early one morning, and I was taking care of the plants up on the second floor. I used to come in early in the morning and turn the lights on and walk down the hall in the dark. When I turned the light on one morning, he was sitting there outside his office with his hands over top of each other, legs crossed, and was looking straight ahead. He had a gray, charcoal [colored] pin-striped suit on, and he had a pair of three-button spats turned over on the side with black shoes on. He was sitting there, and he startled me and I stopped. And when I blinked, he was gone. And I left there and went down the stairs and told assistant usher Nelson Pierce what I had seen. And he said I'm just one of the other ones that had seen him throughout the house over the past years.”
Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of George W. Bush believes the White House is haunted. She opened up about feeling a ghostly presence at the former residence of her parents, President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.
'My phone rang, it woke us up in the middle of the night. We had a fireplace in our room, and all of a sudden we started hearing, like, 1920s piano music, as clear as day, coming out of the fireplace. I jumped in Barbara’s bed, we were both awake.
The next week, we heard the same thing but opera. And we talked ourselves out of it, but then I said to a guy, Buddy, one of my favorite men in the world, who still works at the White House. I said, ‘Buddy, you wouldn’t believe what we heard last night.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, Jenna, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve heard.’ It’s haunted! It’s scary, but they came with all good intentions. They were friendly ghosts' Source
Mary Todd Lincoln
There's a picture taken circa 1869 of Mary Todd Lincoln with the 'ghost' of her husband. The photographer allegedly didn't know it was Mary Todd Lincoln he was photographing as she used a pseudonym. The image has been dismissed by some as being an accidental double exposure and by others as an outright hoax, personally I lean towards the latter.
Mrs Lincoln however was said to have contacted her dead husbands spirit through a medium, in a seance. She was rumored to be quite gullible and known to have displayed bizarre and erratic behaviour. Ten years after Abe Lincoln’s death, she was tried for insanity by her only surviving son, Robert, and forcibly institutionalized for several months.
She once wrote her sister Emilie about her deceased son Willie: 'He comes to me every night and stands at the foot of my bed with the same, sweet adorable smile he has always had, he does not always come alone. Little Eddie is sometimes with him.'
She joined a 'spiritualist commune' while in New England, and that is where the infamous Mumler photograph was taken by 'spirit photographer' William Mumler. Whether Mumler knew she was Mary Todd Lincoln and not the random pseudonym she is said to have deployed is debateable. Mrs. Lincoln believed it was authentic as did many people of her time.