Abraham Lincoln may have believed in a supernatural world. Accounts by Lincoln tell us about strange visions and foreboding dreams that he had throughout his life, and one dream in particular may have predicted his own death! Now, nearly 150 years after Lincoln’s assassination, people still speak of ghostly encounters with the martyred president today. The book Lincoln’s Ghost: Legends & Lore is based on the award winning historical walking tour Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore in Springfield, Illinois. Moffett has gathered the ghostly legends and lore surrounding Lincoln’s life and death and packed them all together in this short book. These are the stories not typically told about Lincoln until now. Stories of Lincoln’s ghost wandering are known all over the world. His troubled soul is said to haunt the White House, his tomb, and the very streets of Springfield where local folklore claims Lincoln walks the streets after midnight. Moffett covers a variety of fascinating topics including Lincoln’s spiritual beliefs, and his prophetic visions and dreams. There’s tales of Mary’s séances in the White House, the death of her children, and her insanity trial. Moffett brings it together with Lincoln’s funeral train and his final funeral in Springfield. The text closes with macabre tales of the tomb site, the attempted theft of Lincoln’s body, and the last viewing of Lincoln in 1901. The book is packed with tons of factual history, plenty of lore, and historical photos. Moffett’s closing memorializes Lincoln and his family and hopes his readers finish the book with a better understanding of what the family of Lincoln endured just to save a nation. Moffett's unique style of story telling is now put into print and combines factual Lincoln history with the ghostly legends and lore to tell the story of a haunted president.
On the night that Lincoln learned he won the election for the Presidency of the United States, Springfield celebrated in grand style. Fireworks, cannon fire, and celebrations went late into the night. No doubt it wasn’t until the early hours of the morning that a tired and exhausted president elect broke from the celebrations and retired to his home. Lincoln no doubt tiredly climbed the stairs to his bedroom and lay back on a couch that was in his room. He could see a little round mirror sitting atop a dresser across the room, and suddenly saw a strange vision in the mirror. Not sure as to what he was seeing, Lincoln no doubt tried to explain it away, perhaps thinking, My eyes are playing tricks on me, I’m exhausted, it’s late, and it’s been an exciting day. But moments later, tempted again, Lincoln looked back into the mirror, the vision re-appeared, and this time it was quite clear what he was seeing. He could clearly see a silhouette image of two faces, his face in fact, and they were opposing each other, nose to nose. But what struck Lincoln as odd was that one of the faces seemed to have a healthy skin color, yet the other face was notably pale and quite gray. The color of death may have come to Lincoln’s mind. Again, Lincoln no doubt tried to dismiss this very odd occurrence, and perhaps it was some time before he could doze off. But the next day, he told Mary about this bizarre image he had seen in the mirror, and she believed she knew what the vision had meant! She believed that the two faces represented Lincoln being elected a first and second term as president. But the pale and gray image meant he would not survive his second term. Over his White House years, Lincoln had commented about this vision in the mirror several times, and this dark omen would overshadow and haunt Lincoln his entire presidency. Lincoln was fascinated by his dreams and visions, and he felt there was a hidden knowledge within his dreams. He spent considerable time trying to decipher and interpret his dreams, seeking that hidden knowledge. He also believed in superstition and fate as well. Since boyhood, the young farm boy even sensed there was a greater task for him, a divine providence that he had a real destiny to do something great. His greatness would be realized as the president of the United States and his accomplishments therein. There is at least one official account of Lincoln’s prophetic visions. Lincoln had burst in through the doors of the telegraph office in Washington and anxiously dispatched a message to reinforce troops. He claimed he had a vision of Confederates breaking through Union lines. The telegraph operator asked, “How do you know this?” Lincoln exclaimed, “Good God, man, I saw it!” But Lincoln may have not been the only one in the Lincoln saga with precognitive abilities. In 1838, John Wilkes Booth was only six months old when his mother wrote a poem she titled “The Mother’s Vision,” in response to a recurring dream she had throughout her life. It was a foreshadowing dream perhaps of her son’s own fate. Tiny, innocent white baby hand, What force, what power is at your command, For evil, or good? Be slow or be sure, Firm to resist, to pure to endure — My God, let me see what this hand shall do In the silent years we are attending to; In my hungering Love, I implore to know on this ghostly night Whether ‘ twill labour for wrong, or right, For — or against Thee? Perhaps the fate of John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln had been written well before 1865.
Garret L. Moffett is the owner and creator of Springfield Walks in Springfield, Illinois. The Lincoln's Ghost Walk is the most popular tour offered by Springfield Walks. No other walking tour in the country is dedicated to the strange history and ghostly tales surrounding Lincoln's life and death. Moffett's book, Lincoln's Ghost:Legends & Lore is based on that tour which won a 2006 award for the Best Heritage Tourism Promotion in Springfield. The tour has subsequently received numerous acelades in magazines and news articles across the country including the New York Times which rated the Lincoln's Ghost Walk as Springfield's third best activity behind vists to the Lincoln home and Presidential Museum. In Moffett's hometown of Macomb, Illinois he served the community as a steward of local history by working with various organizations to preserve local history. Moffett served as vice-president of the Western Illinois Regional Museum and served as president of the Community Quality of Life Historical Task Force for two years each. He's also contributed to numerous news articles and publications. Moffett’s historical walking tours in Macomb received several local awards and in 2004 Moffett took the top honor in the State of Illinois winning the prestigise Illinois Main Street for Downtown Historical Revitalization. Moffett became known for his dramatic style of storytelling that captivates and holds the attention of his listeners by combining his knowledge of history, bizarre facts, and ghostly tales to draw his listeners into his stories. With the opening of the Lincoln Presidential Museum Moffett left Macomb for Springfield, Illinois to create Springfield Walks and the Lincoln's Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore. Moffett has since created other walking tours in Springfield, but the Lincoln’s Ghost Walk continues today to create a buzz amongst the tourists every summer.