The Legend Of Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost In The White House Explained

Saying that you’ve seen or experienced a ghost can subject you to ridicule. So it may come as a surprise to hear that there are many important people who say they witnessed a ghost in the White House. Much ink has been spilled over the accomplishments of former President Abraham Lincoln, who sadly became the first president to be assassinated. But he might have never left the White House — subsequent residents and guests have claimed to have seen him roaming the walls of the building he called home from 1861 to 1865 (via History). 

Grace Coolidge, the wife of President Calvin Coolidge — who served as president from 1923 until 1929 — was the first to claim that Lincoln’s ghostly presence occupied the White House. She said she saw him gazing out of a window in the Oval Office with his hands around his back. Speaking of first ladies, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson also claimed to feel Lincoln’s presence. One evening, she watched a program on a White House television about the death of Lincoln. Afterward, she said she felt a coldness and a deep sense of tensity.

President Lincoln returns for World War II

During the Ronald Reagan years, Nancy Reagan said she experienced the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. Even their daughter claimed to be awakened some nights by a wispy figure at the foot of her bed, whom she believed to be Lincoln (via Boundary Stones). However, the ghost of Lincoln seemed to make his presence most felt during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt — especially during the years of World War II. 

None other than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill claimed to see Lincoln’s ghost after bathing one night while a guest at the White House. Late one night, another European guest of the Roosevelt’s, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, heard a knock at her door. After answering the knock, she was dumbfounded to find the purported ghost of President Lincoln on the other side of the door. Elsewhere, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt used the Lincoln bedroom as a study and claimed to feel Lincoln’s presence late at night. 

Perhaps there is something to the claim that President Lincoln haunts the White House. After all, some people with some pretty lofty credentials have all claimed to either seen him or experienced his presence.

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