You may be shocked to discover that, in addition to having led the effort to save the Union and free the slaves, Abraham Lincoln apparently had another, less-known but equally important role as the American equivalent of Abraham Van Helsing, the fictional stalker of vampires in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula. What’s that, you say? Ludicrous? Well, how else do you explain the eerie symmetry of our Lincoln, Van Helsing and the author himself all sharing the same unusual first name? Okay, we’re just kidding. Lincoln’s secret struggle against the undead is actually just the premise of Seth Graheme Smith’s new satirical novel, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which follows up his previous best-selling mashup of Jane Austen and George Romero, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Smith’s choice of Lincoln as his protagonist is intriguing, however, because paranormal enthusiasts have long been fascinated with what they suspect were the 16th President’s psi powers, and with the reports of ghostly Lincoln apparitions that have surfaced periodically in the 145 years since his assassination. Here’s a 1999 article by the Skeptical Inquirer’s Joe Nickell on Lincoln’s supposed paranormal side.
Some, for example, believe that Lincoln had flashes of precognition. The most famous incident — described in Ward Hill Lamon’s Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1865 was one in which Lincoln, while lying on his bed in Springfield, IL just after being elected, looked in a mirror and saw a double image of himself.
According to Lamon, Lincoln took the illusion as a sign that he would die before the close of his second term. Nickels, however, offers a non-paranormal explanation.
It’s more difficult to explain, however, a conversation that Lamon recounts with Lincoln and the First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, shortly before the assassination. Lincoln shocked them by describing his own “supernatural visitations, dreams, visions, etc.” In particular, he described a dream in which he awoke to discover the sounds of mourning in the White House.
There’s also the creepy matter of all the people over the years who’ve claimed to see apparitions of Old Abe in the Lincoln bedroom, ranging from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to Maureen Reagan, daughter of President Ronald Reagan. For more details, check out Dennis William Hauck’s Haunted places: the national directory.