Many historical sites are said to be haunted, and the White House is no exception. A variety of prominent individuals have claimed to have seen an apparition resembling the first Republican President, and others claim to have felt or heard the ghost.
Among those who have admitted seeing Lincoln were Presidential daughter Maureen Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Presidential daughter Susan Ford, First Lady Grace Coolidge, Queen Wilhelmna of the Netherlands during a state visit in 1942, and a similarly visiting Winston Churchill. Of all of them, Churchill had the most sanguine response. After finishing a bath, he said, he walked into the adjacent bedroom before donning a robe or any other clothes. In the bedroom stood Abraham Lincoln’s ghost. “Good evening, Mr. President,” Churchill said. “You seem to have me at a disadvantage.”
But ghosts are ghosts. Even if they exist – a point of considerable debate – they can hardly be certain to manifest when desired. This led to a moment of simple humanity and mild public humiliation in the 1970s.
As mentioned above, Susan Ford had encountered the ghost during her father’s tenure, and the experience shook her badly. For the remainder of Ford’s term, Susan refused to enter the Lincoln bedroom, where she’d encountered the spirit. That lasted until the last day of Ford’s term. On that final night, Susan and one of her best friends stayed the entire night in the Lincoln bedroom on a dare.
Everything was perfect. It was a room that was famously haunted, and the two girls had researched enough to know what to expect. They also had each other for support, and Secret Service standing by for emergency aid should something untoward happen.
They stayed up into the wee hours, but had no luck… the ghost did not appear. Eventually both girls drifted off. Hours later, they simultaneously were awakened by a figure at the base of the bed. Light-colored and indistinct, it was reciting portions of the Gettysburg Address in low tones.
Unfortunately for Elizabeth “Betty” Ford, both girls immediately recognized the First Lady despite the sheet she had over her head. The sleepover prank had failed; there is no word on whether any invisibly-watching Presidential ghosts might have found humor in the attempt.
Question of the night: have you been to any places which are rumored to be haunted?