This Week in the Civil War - 552

Apr 19, 2013

Much has been made of Abraham Lincoln’s belief in the spirit world.  After the death of young Willie Lincoln in 1862, both Lincolns—but especially Mary—grieved and sought comfort through Spiritualists, such as Nettie Colburn Maynard, who was often invited to the White House. 

At one such séance, a grand piano being played by Ms. Maynard reputedly rose from the floor, and President Lincoln and Union Colonel Simon Kase allegedly climbed upon the piano to hold it in place. 

In April 1863 at another séance, after Lincoln left the “spirits” allegedly pinched Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s nose and pulled the beard of Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. Whether Abraham Lincoln actually participated in these séances is a question whose answer is today known only to history.