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Abraham Lincoln may have never set out to be the Great Emancipator, and he certainly never set out to become the Johnny Appleseed of ghosts. But he turned out to be both. He and John Wilkes Booth, his assassin, sure seem to be haunting a lot of places these days.
Indeed, perhaps no event in American history brought death—and the paranormal—to the forefront of people's minds quite like the Civil War. Somewhere between half a million and a million people died in the war. A single battle claimed more American soldiers than all previous American wars combined. All over the country, men left home to fight for their country and never returned.
And Lincoln and Booth were, in their ways, among those men. Lincoln left Illinois to save the Union and never returned. Booth confidently expected to be considered a hero throughout the South when he came back from killing Lincoln.
With the rise of spiritualism and interest in the paranormal neatly coinciding with it, there came to be rumors that Lincoln was consulting with spiritualists at the White House. Whether Lincoln himself took seances seriously or not is a subject of debate today, but stories that he did made for considerable press at the time. And Lincoln does seem to have spoken about having dreams of his own assassination.
And then there are the ghosts. Lincoln is reported in locations all over. Booth is, as well. And with the rise of spiritualism after the Civil War, Booth and Lincoln both become popular spirits to "contact."