' Tis The Season! Lincoln's Top Hatted Ghost Makes His Rounds

JPK Huson 1863

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#1
haunted crowd.jpg

'Tis the season. If a good ghost story floats your bones, The Civil War spawned a plethora of hauntings. One of our most famous players in the conflict seems equally famous, undead.

It's hard to keep a good man down.

Our most famous ghost ( with his own Wiki page ), whose death dates from those awful years was arguably the last and most famous casualty of the war. President Abraham Lincoln, shot in the back ( by a coward ), seems to not have taken his death very seriously. Despite his official status as deceased, Lincoln makes regular appearances in a few of his residences as well as riding a phantom train through an Ohio town.

Grant's staff claimed to have seen Lincoln's ghost as early as his administration and we've heard of Churchill's encounter, taken at a disadvantage without his clothing while visiting the Executive Mansion- which Churchill pointed out to him. Fresh from a bath, Winston came face to face with the former resident. You couldn't flap old Winnie. Lincoln apparently liked the witticism, smiling before fading back into legend.

In case anyone feels Churchill may have been pickled at the time or dreaming, Grace Coolidge got a good eyeful of Lincoln in the Oval Office, looking out a window. And there's Harry Truman's ( archived ) letter to his wife... 1946. Someone knocked on his bedroom door.

I jumped up and put on my bathrobe, opened the door, and no one there,” he wrote. “Went out and looked up and down the hall, looked in your room and Margie’s. Still no one. Went back to bed after locking the doors and there were footsteps in your room whose door I’d left open. Jumped and looked and no one there! The ****ed place is haunted sure as shootin’. Secret Service said not even a watchman was up here at that hour.”


You and Margie had better come back and protect me before some of these ghosts carry me off
.”

Ronald Reagan's dog refused to go into Lincoln's bedroom. He'd bark at the door but nope- you couldn't bribe Rex to go in there.

Jerry Smith was a 25 year employee of the White House who claimed renovations scared Lincoln's ghost away- he said Lincoln was a regular visitor, saw him frequently and bemoaned the changes seeming to prevent him from coming back.


Mary Eban, of Eleanor Roosevelt's staff, screamed until the Secret Service arrived on the scene. She'd just encountered Abraham Lincoln on his bed, pulling on boots. Mrs. Roosevelt, in 1932 said “I get a distinct feeling that there is somebody in the room,” her chosen office being

On a White House visit, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands answered a knock on her bedroom door , saw Lincoln’s top hatted ghost, and fainted. Lincoln was nothing if not fond of a joke.


The Lincolns escaped the summer heat of 1862, 1863 and 1864 by moving to what is now The Armed Forces Retirement Home, built in 1842, established as Soldier's Rest, in the 1850's. Visitors strolling the grounds report seeing a tall man ( and that hat ) conversing with a bearded man, exchanging bows. They'll fade ( like any self respecting ghosts ) when approached. The thing is, poet and Civil War nurse Walt Whitman was a very frequent visitor- in 1876 Whitman left us this, from his time spent nursing wounded there.

haunted soldiers rest.JPG

Grounds of Soldier's Rest during the war, Washington, DC

Mr. Lincoln generally rides a good-sized easy-going gray horse, is dressed in plain black, somewhat rusty and dusty; wears a black stiff hat, and looks about as ordinary in attire, &c., as the commonest man…I saw very plainly the President’s dark brown face, with the deep cut lines, the eyes, &c., always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression. We have got so that we always exchange bows, and very cordial ones. "

1865, April 29, Lincoln's funeral train arrived in Columbus, Ohio. Lincoln’s body was displayed in the state rotunda for twelve hours, fifty thousand people paid their respects.

ghost linoln train nashville.JPG

Engine ' Nashville ', at the head of Lincoln's funeral train.

Stories of a ghostly train began appearing along the path of the funeral train, almost immediately. Said to be crewed by skeletons with a skeleton honor guard standing over the casket, the sound of the train’s whistle could be heard, the stack appearing through mists. One station reports sighting the train stationary, at the siding where the funeral stopped- and for minutes at a time, not just the usual ghostly flash. Crossing guards at one junction mysteriously drop, no malfunction to be found, nothing on the tracks.

Yes, yes, scoffers please note- it's not necessary to throw cold water all over the topic- we know you're out there with a bucket. It's Halloween.
 

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Dom71

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It would appear that Mr. Lincoln's train also makes annual stops in Albany here in the Empire State. And I thought we only had ol' Ichabod Crain!

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S GHOST TRAIN

by EDITOR on NOVEMBER 9, 2014
LincolnFuneralTrain-photo.jpg

The Train That Carried Lincoln’s Coffin. The Train Itself Became a Ghost.

Every April The Train Ghosts Through Albany
Following Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 assassination, two coffins—one containing the president’s body and the other bearing the exhumed remains of his young son, Willie, who had died in the White House—were placed on a train pulled by a steam locomotive for transport back to the Lincolns’ home state of Illinois, where they would be buried. All along the route from Washington to Illinois, people lined the tracks to bid farewell to the president who had fought and won the Civil War.

The funeral train was made up of nine cars. The ninth car, which had been built to take the living president and his family on rail trips, was the one in which Lincoln and Willie were carried.

The train’s route passed through Albany, New York, and for a number of years afterward, around the anniversary of Lincoln’s final journey, Albany-area railroad men reported seeing a phantom version of the funeral train traveling on the rails. After a time, on the evening of each April 27, people began making their way to the railroad line in hopes of seeing the ghost train as it passed.

Some paranormal enthusiasts believe Lincoln’s ghost train still rolls through Albany—perhaps even making the entire journey from Washington to Illinois. An additional bit of folklore concerning the train is that as it goes by, it stops clocks and watches in the surrounding area.

Ghost trains in general are a paranormal phenomenon experienced in several other places, including in Europe and Canada. In some ways they are similar to tales of ghost ships on the high seas
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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Some paranormal enthusiasts believe Lincoln’s ghost train still rolls through Albany—perhaps even making the entire journey from Washington to Illinois. An additional bit of folklore concerning the train is that as it goes by, it stops clocks and watches in the surrounding area.

No way! Hadn't heard that one, must look it up, thank you!

Somewhere are stories of poor Willie being seen by a member of a President's family- someone's daughter, who spoke with him?
 

ErnieMac

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There are many ghost stories in Kentucky. I know the Old Talbot Tavern in Bardstown has event at Halloween. They say some famous people haunt it. I will see what I can find.
The next door Nelson County Jail (now a B&B) is also said to be haunted though they didn't show up for me when I stayed a dozen or so years ago.
 

donna

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Even though not necessarily Civil War, this site has 8 most haunted places in Ky. One named is the Talbot Tavern.

http://www.kyforky.com/haunted-places/

Probably most haunted Civil War site is Battle of Perryville, Perryville, Ky. There have been several sightings of soldiers there. It was a horrible battle where many died.
 
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#14
Ha! You're the best, Donna! You know what would be great threads? CW ghost stories by states- you're It for Kentucky! ( PA has Gettysburg and luckily we have around a gajillion members from this place ).
Not Civil War, but this Connecticut ghost story is too good to pass up....
he-witch-_hannah-cranna_-likes-to-cause-accidents-photo-u2?w=650&q=50&fm=jpg&fit=crop&crop=faces.jpg

Known as ‘The Wicked Witch of Monroe, Connecticut’ Hanna Cranna became quite the local legend. Her real name was Hannah Hovey, wife of Captain Joseph Hovey, whose death sparked rumors that Hannah killed him using witchcraft. On an early morning stroll, Hovey allegedly became disoriented and flung himself off a cliff. Already a bit of an outsider, Hannah grew more isolated from the townspeople. According to local lore, the witch terrorized her neighbors, threatening to curse those who refused to give her food and promising good luck to those who appeased her. One woman supposedly denied her a pie, and Hannah's subsequent "curse" prevented the woman from ever baking again.

Hannah also predicted her own death and told locals she wanted her casket carried on foot, not by wagon, all the way to the cemetery. While the townspeople ignored her request, Hannah's casket repeatedly rolled off the wagon, forcing the men to carry it the rest of the way. After leaving the cemetery, the townspeople discovered that Hannah’s house inexplicably burned down. She took all her secrets with her and still haunts the area. As the legend goes, every year at least one person swerves to miss a mysterious woman in the road and crashes into her tombstone.
 

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Patrick H

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#15
I like a good ghost story as much as anyone else. I'm sure there are many about Mr. Lincoln. I especially liked reading about Churchill's encounter with him.

But I'd like to comment on the photos of the funeral train. Has anyone else noticed that we see two different locomotives in the two photos? Note the difference in the smoke stacks and the absence of a name plate on the second locomotive. I'm sure sharp eyed railroad buffs will spot more differences. I don't know that this is anything too remarkable. Perhaps several locomotives were used as the train progressed to Illinois.
 

Northern Light

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Not Civil War, but this Connecticut ghost story is too good to pass up....
he-witch-_hannah-cranna_-likes-to-cause-accidents-photo-u2?w=650&q=50&fm=jpg&fit=crop&crop=faces.jpg

Known as ‘The Wicked Witch of Monroe, Connecticut’ Hanna Cranna became quite the local legend. Her real name was Hannah Hovey, wife of Captain Joseph Hovey, whose death sparked rumors that Hannah killed him using witchcraft. On an early morning stroll, Hovey allegedly became disoriented and flung himself off a cliff. Already a bit of an outsider, Hannah grew more isolated from the townspeople. According to local lore, the witch terrorized her neighbors, threatening to curse those who refused to give her food and promising good luck to those who appeased her. One woman supposedly denied her a pie, and Hannah's subsequent "curse" prevented the woman from ever baking again.

Hannah also predicted her own death and told locals she wanted her casket carried on foot, not by wagon, all the way to the cemetery. While the townspeople ignored her request, Hannah's casket repeatedly rolled off the wagon, forcing the men to carry it the rest of the way. After leaving the cemetery, the townspeople discovered that Hannah’s house inexplicably burned down. She took all her secrets with her and still haunts the area. As the legend goes, every year at least one person swerves to miss a mysterious woman in the road and crashes into her tombstone.
Why does she have two death dates?
 

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#17
I like a good ghost story as much as anyone else. I'm sure there are many about Mr. Lincoln. I especially liked reading about Churchill's encounter with him.

But I'd like to comment on the photos of the funeral train. Has anyone else noticed that we see two different locomotives in the two photos? Note the difference in the smoke stacks and the absence of a name plate on the second locomotive. I'm sure sharp eyed railroad buffs will spot more differences. I don't know that this is anything too remarkable. Perhaps several locomotives were used as the train progressed to Illinois.
The Library of Congress website in describing the train engine "Nashville" photo states:

"Photo shows a Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad engine, with a portrait of Abraham Lincoln mounted on the front. The engine was one of several used to carry Lincoln's body from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ill."

By the way, there are several accounts of a Lincoln ghost train that to this day still rides the rails. The best known of these tales comes from Albany, New York. In 1865, the train passed over the Hudson River Railroad, later a part of the Hudson Division of the NY Central railroad, and later still part of the Conrail system. An account from an Albany newspaper, first cited in Lloyd Lewis’s 1929 book MYTHS AFTER LINCOLN, begins: “Regularly in the month of April, about midnight the air on the tracks becomes very keen and cutting. . .”

The account goes on to say that clouds obscure the moon, a black carpet seems to roll down the track, and all sounds are silenced. The engines–two; one for an escort train, draped in black crepe and crewless save for one flatcar carrying a band of skeletons playing black, noiseless instruments, the second bearing Lincoln’s coffin on a single flatcar–are oldtime woodburners, puffing out great clouds of smoke from huge smokestacks, covered in polished brass as many of the old engines were.

To add to this fantastic appearance, it is said that when real trains are on the track, the ghost train runs right through them, and that clocks and watches, all along the line where the phantom runs, will be five to eight minutes slow once it passes.

A very Gothic sort of tale, but what is interesting is the date when these appearances are said to happen. The ghost train has been reported without exception on the night of April 26-27. There would seem to be no particular reason why it should appear outside Albany on that night.
 

donna

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JPK asked for some Kentucky Ghost stories. As I mentioned there are many concerning the site of the Battle of Perryville.

One of most famous there is tale of Patrick Cleburne's horse. The General was charging the enemy when his horse was shot and killed. After the battle locals reported they could hear a horse galloping right at spot Cleburne's horse died. The horse was never spotted but heard by many on the battlefield.

See:
http://americashauntedroadtrip.com/perryville-battlefield/
 



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