OH the Seat of Power! Looking over our nation's capitol, citizens liked to imagine all these marble and granite tributes to power were represented by men of solid thought and wise counsel. Word had spread of Mrs. President's inclination towards the faddish Spiritualism, popular in a day when so many lost loved ones. Then a reporter was bafflingly permitted entre, at this 1863 session.
April, 1863 and once again papers were abuzz, all about ' Behind the doors ', at Lincoln's White House. Not, mind you, over a story reported by Boston Saturday Evening Gazette's, Prior Melton, on Mrs. President's séance, attended by Melton. Spiritualism, more fad than ' religion ' swept the country. Men and women, self proclaimed Spiritualists, channeled voices of those departed for the benefit, and entertainment of those living.
Objection to this one seemed centered on which spirits and was Lincoln's cabinet, and Lincoln himself communicating with a lot of very bad, un-Heavenly types? How funny was that? Well, and if Mrs. President Lincoln had anything to do with it, would it pull the entire country down into- well, the dark place?
A Charles E. Shockle arrived at the White House, bringing Melton for his front row seat. You can find various accounts in today's blogs and books. Really cannot beat what was originally written in papers.
Different papers slightly altered the story. Snipped from several.
The following is interesting. Scoffed also before remembering whose ship pulled Semmes to safety.... and freedom. Deer Hound was not registered in France.
Seemed a little weird!
I cannot find Charles E. but haven't given up. There are a few ' Shockles ', in Washington territory later and different spellings but of Charles E., nothing. Well, Spiritualists my have combined a certain showmanship with their gift, and chose stage names. ' Shockle ' seems scarcely memorable.
You're unclear why there is no record of Charles E. returning or Stanton and Welles attending another séance. I can see Lincoln drawn to it, and his quick silver mind enjoying the whole thing hugely- but Stanton? Welles, well, not as likely to stand on his dignity but you just cannot imagine him happily seated in the Crimson Saloon that evening.
But I'll be that Alabama thing bugged him for the rest of his life.