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Abraham Lincoln’s Prophetic Dream

Today is President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Out of all the United States presidents, I’d have to say Lincoln is my all time favorite. He served two terms during the bloodiest conflict on American soil and managed to preserve the Union. If not for his dedication, our country wouldn’t be the major power it is today.

But what most fascinates me about Lincoln are his stories of personal tragedy, his bouts of major depression and his belief in paranormal occurrences, like dreams of his own future. Shortly before his assassination, he dreamed of his own death.

Details are recorded in “Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1885” (Ward Hill Lamon, 1911):

“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break?

“I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered.

“There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers ‘The President’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin!’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream.”

The paranormal has always fascinated me and I’ve used devices like reincarnation and dreams in two of my published historical romance stories. It’s fun to think about, and Lincoln’s dream, being so detailed, gives me pause to think that the fiction I write could very well be based on fact.

To see what paranormal stories I have out, visit my website: www.susanmacatee.com

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18 Comments

  1. Chilling. And the part of me that has long been fascinated by dreams and that sort of thing says “wow!!”

    But the skeptic in me says hmmm, considering the stress he was under, it’s probably a pretty normal thing to have a nightmare like this. And if he hadn’t been assassinated, no one would be calling that dream prophetic, we’d just say Poor President Lincoln was so stressed that he had this terrible dream, LOL.

    Great blog, Susan, very thought (and goosebump!) provoking!

  2. Cate Masters says:

    I’ve always had a special affinity for Lincoln too. I was born on his birthday! But he truly fascinates me too. His intelligence, drive, integrity, faithfulness to a mentally ill wife – everything about him. Thanks for this great post!

  3. Hi, Nicole and Cate! Thanks for stopping in!

    I have to admit, this man truly fascinates me!

  4. […] Abraham Lincoln's Prophetic Dream « Slip Into Something VictorianToday is President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Out of all the United States presidents, I’d have to say Lincoln is my all time favorite. He served two terms during the bloodiest co… Abraham Lincoln Birthday from FriendFeed […]

  5. WOW Susan, I’d never heard about that dream. That would definitely be a scary experience to have.

  6. Yeah, Paisley! I wouldn’t want to have a dream like that. And to have it come true… very scary!

  7. Mary Ricksen says:

    Darn amazing if you ask me!

  8. Tanya Hanson says:

    Fantastic blog, Susan. I didn’t know this and I love learning about Lincoln. Wow!

  9. carolyndee says:

    Susan, your blog gave me goosebumps, too. I had heard Lincoln dreamed of his death, but had never read the exact reference. Of course, my belief in precognition makes his deream more powerful for me. Lincoln is the favorite President of many of us.

    Caroline Clemmons

  10. Hi, Mary, Tanya and Caroline!

    There’s so much more to Lincoln. They’ve done several programs on him on The History Channel, highlighting different aspects of his life. The one about his bouts of depression were amazing. How could a man that depressed have led the country to victory in a civil war?

    It’s no wonder he had disturbing dreams!

  11. I had heard of Lincoln’s dream. It definitely would be chilling to dream about your own death.

    My grandmother would have a dreams about relatives when they were about to die. We never wanted her to dream about us. lol You can imagine why.

  12. Abraham Lincoln definitely was a fascinating man. One of my favorite places to visit is Springfield, IL, which is filled with Lincoln lore. I’d never heard this particular tale before.

  13. bethtrissel says:

    Amazing, Susan and utterly fascinating, I agree.

  14. Hi, Karen! That would sure scare me!

    Hi, Debra and Beth! I’ve never been to Springfield, but always love to see Lincoln reenactors strolling around in Gettysburg.

  15. Hi Susan,
    I’d read that recounting of Lincoln’s dream…it always gives me chills. I think it’s particularly profound that he dreamed of the reference to an assassin, even though no other US President had been assassinated at that time, and by the end of the war, most would have assumed the danger to the President would have passed.
    I don’t doubt the prophetic nature of the dream. With Lincoln’s sensitive nature, I imagine he was in touch with his subconscious without realizing it.
    Engrossing post. Thanks for this look at Lincoln.

  16. Hi, Victoria!

    It really is eerie that the person he spoke to said the president was assassinated. If he’d just dreamed he was dead, it would still be chilling, but this dream does seem prophetic to me.

  17. Kathleen Bittner Roth says:

    I teach workshops on dream recall and interpretation so have done a lot of research. According to researchers at places like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, etc., dreams may be our least used resource. They also say that everyone has precognitive dreams, but don’t know how to recognize them (three circles appearing in a dream is one symbol) and that whenever someone experiences deja vu, it is probably that they dreamed the event first. I could go on. Obviously, this is a fascinating study for me. I dream a lot of my stories.

  18. How cool, Kathleen! I usually don’t remember my dreams, but when I do, they make no sense.

    A lot of times, I think I’m trying to work out problems in my dreams.

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