Shadows in The White House: The Ghost of Abe Lincoln

Shadows in The White House: The Ghost of Abe Lincoln

So far, The White House has housed 43 presidents beginning with John Adams in 1801. Along with dignitaries from around the world, the House has hosted its share of notable individuals. However, throughout the years, there have always been those who refuse to leave. 


Lincoln family by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, 1865

Of all White House sightings, none is more plentiful or detailed than that of former President Abraham Lincoln. Assassinated in 1865, Lincoln passed away at the age of 56. His untimely death has placed him somewhere between two worlds. Lincoln was not a very religious man, though he was well versed in the Christian bible. Many speculate that his views shifted towards religion following the death of his young son, Willie Lincoln, who was only eleven years old before succumbing to typhoid fever. Lincoln began searching for answers to the larger questions in life.


With its history spanning back to 1800, it is no surprise that this nation’s most notable home has not been excluded from paranormal happenings.


His wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was interested

Victorian era seance. 

in spiritualism and was known to have at least one seance while residing in The White House. Dabbling with the spirit world via psychics and card readings (among other things) was a fashionable pastime for many during the Victorian era. Thus, some wonder if exposure of such things led Lincoln to become more perceptible to the paranormal. Lincoln was noted to have a dream of his own funeral being held in the East Room. In another instance, he saw his own deathly apparition staring back at him in the reflection of a mirror.  And on the night before his death he again had a dream, this time that he was “sailing toward a dark and indefinite shore”. One of the more surprising accounts came from Lincoln’s own bodyguard, who stated that the night of the assassination just before Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln left for the theater it “was the first time that he [Lincoln] neglected to say ‘Good Night’ to me and it was the only time that he ever said ‘Good-bye’. I thought of it at that moment and, a few hours later, when the news flashed over Washington that he had been shot, his last words were so burned into my being that they can never be forgotten.”

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Lincoln’s Bedroom.


Those who have claimed to see or feel the presence of the former President include Grace Coolidge (first lady from 1923-1929), Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (who during a 1942 visit who fainted after seeing the apparition of Lincoln), Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, Jacquire Kennedy, Ladybird Johnson, Susan Ford, Eleanor Roosevelt’s maid Mary Eban, Winston Churchill (who refused to sleep in Lincoln’s old bedroom after the sighting), and both President Reagan’s daughter and son-in-law.  


The death of Lincoln left a hole in the nation’s heart. It is without a doubt that his life’s legacy and purpose of goodwill forever changed history. One can’t help but wonder what the future could have held if Lincoln had lived til old age, and whether his soul would still be wandering the halls of The White House.


– By Christina Persaud


The Story of Lincoln’s Ghost – Killing Lincoln Article – National Geographic Channel. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Ghosts in the White House – Halloween – (n.d.). Retrieved from
Top 10 haunted Areas of the Whitehouse – Listverse. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Peterson, Merrill D. (1995). Lincoln in American Memory. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-509645-3.
White House – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2016, from
“History of the White House”. Retrieved September 19, 2016.


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