by Al Benson Jr.
Back during those ancient times when Ronald Reagan was president the news media worked itself up into a frenzy over the revelation that Nancy Reagan had consulted an astrologer. The "news" media picked up the story and ran with it because there were still some "useful idiots" in the media that really believed Reagan was a conservative instead of an actor and they saw this story as their chance to get their licks in at a "conservative." Christians and conservatives were, in the main, not really happy about the revelation. It was, after all, their lack of discernment that helped put Reagan in the White House, and they proceeded to compound their error with George (read my lips, no new taxes) Bush in the next election. They have since triply compounded their error with George 2 (twice now)!!!
We also had rumors of St. Hilary's "conversations" with Eleanor Roosevelt (two left-wing harridans conversing "in the spirit" as it were. At least in some spirit). But the media didn't jump on that nearly as much as they did on Mrs. Reagan's revelation. However, for those who take the trouble to read history, such goings-on are really nothing new in our political history.
Mary Todd Lincoln had problems in the same area, which most contemporary "historians" either feign ignorance about or will not mention. As more evidence comes to light, we are also becoming more aware that old "Honest Abe" himself was somewhat "challenged" in this area.
According to several sources, Mrs. Lincoln was emotionally unstable at times. When her son, Willie, died, she struggled with that loss for several years and got to the point where she started visiting spiritualists in a futile effort to "contact" her dead son.
In his book "Abraham Lincoln," Benjamin P. Thomas records a friend of the Lincolns writing the following: "Mrs. Lincoln told me that she had been, the night before... out to Georgetown to see a Mrs. Laury, a spirtualist and she had made wonderful revelations to her about her little son Willie...Among other things she revealed that the cabinet were all enemies of the president, working for themselves, and that they would have to be dismissed and other called to his aid before he had success." Subsequent historical events would tend to make you wonder where Mrs. Laury got some of her information! Another writer made brief reference when he wrote: "The loss of the idolized Willie deeply disturbed her and she refused to enter the rooms in which he had died and been embalmed. She even held at least one seance in the White House to try to make contact with his departed soul." There were alot more than one!
The "Civil War Times Illustrated" magazine published an article in August of 1976 by Peggy Robbins entitled "The Lincolns and Spiritualism." Robbins confirmed the fact that spiritualism began to gain a foothold in the United States in 1848--the same year that the socialist revolts swept Europe--revolts that Mr. Lincoln was strongly in favor of! That was also the year that the "Women's Rights" movement held its convention in Seneca Falls, New York. All coincidence?
Robbins reported that during 1862, Mrs. Lincoln was involved with a number of mediums, some of whom were just out and out fakes. Historians have disagreed as to whether Lincoln, himself, believed in spiritualism, because, pragmatic politician that he was, he never gave anyone that inquired into his beliefs on this matter any kind of a straight answer. However, some indications have begun to surface that indicate Lincoln may have believed in spiritualism more than he cared to admit.
Charles M. Robinson III in his book "Shark of the Confederacy" which is a narrative of the history of the CSS Alabama, noted the following: "According to Carl Sandburg, the president went so far as to host a seance, partly in jest, in which he asked the spirit world how to catch the Confederate raider. Welles, (Secretary of the Navy) was present, along with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and a reported for the 'Boston Gazette'..." According to Mr. Robinson, Lincoln really believed in spirtualism more than he cared to divulge openly. One can hardly picture political luminaries such as Gideon Welles and Edwin Stanton attending seances "in jest." Stanton, who was a master intriguer, doesn't seem to have had much time for fun and games unless they were at the expense of his political enemies.
In 1861 Mr. Lincoln did listen to a "lengthy dissertation on spiritualism" given by none other than Robert Dale Owen the socialist. This is the very same Robert Dale Owen that later gave the ultra-radical Thaddeus Stevens so much input into the drafting of the infamous 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Peggy Robbins listed Owen as a "distinguished author." In all that I've read about Mr. Owen, all that I can find to distinguish him is his committment to the promotion of socialism and other radical causes, many of which today are espoused by the political Left. Owen does seem to have had contact with the movers and shakers in Washington, and he had a strong committment to statist government control of the education process. One might be more than mildly curious as to how much influence Owen's socialism had on the administration in Washington.
Robbins noted that there is ample proof that Lincoln attended a number of seances but she says that: "...it may be he did so not as a beliver but as a detached observer, there to look after his emotionally distraught wife." Robbins noted that Lincoln did have a strong curiousity regarding the supernatural because he tended toward superstition and "...had long been subject to dreams, visions, and premonitions."
One spiritualist the Lincolns received at the White House was a Lord Colchester. It seems he was allowed to hold several seances on the premises. It was reported, though, that Colchester's reputation was somewhat suspect, and a friend of the Lincolns, Noah Brooks, suggested to his rather bluntly, that he pack up his dog and pony show and move on to less controversial pastures.
During the latter part of 1862, Mrs. Lincoln attended several seances held by a Nettie Colburn. In order to keep Miss Colburn close to Washington, Mrs. Lincoln managed to get her a position in the Interior Department. Ahh, the blessings of patronage! Colburn held a seance in the White House in December of 1862.
Robbins noted in her article that: "Famous psychic investigator A. Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, termed this, the first of a number of meetings between Nettie Colburn and President Lincoln, 'one of the most important events in the history of spiritualism'."
Robbins, along with Charles Robinson, also observed that one seance held in the White House in April of 1863, was attended by Secretary of War Stanton and Secretary of the Navy Welles. It seems that some of these sessions were reported in the newspapers, but, oddly enough, Lincoln was never criticized for them.
We need to reflect a bit at this point. If Abraham Lincoln were a Christian, as some, even in the home school movement, have alleged over the years, why would he have allowed either his wife or himself to be drawn into such activity? One can most certainly sympathize with Mrs. Lincoln over the loss of a son, as one can sympathize with any mother over such a horrendous loss. We must wonder, though, if Mr. Lincoln were the Bible-believing Christian some have tried to convice us he was, would he not have sought some sort of biblical counsel and comfort for his wife, rather than allowing her to indulge in Scripturally forbidden spiritualism, and then going along for the ride, or worse, himself?
This is being written to attempt to reinforce the truth that our problems in this country began a lot earlier than most people want to admit. It proves that this country, having abandoned its Reformation foundations, had widely turned to apostasy by the time of the War of Northern Aggression, which ended up being the real American Revolution--our French Revolution--if you will. Religious apostasy was rampant, mostly in the North, from the highest eschelons to the lowest stations in society. Many have questioned, and I think properly, whether we really ever turned from this apostasy, in spite of all the so-called "revivals" since the end of that war. In my humble opinion, we have not. In many instances we have taken that apostasy one step further and secularized it in the form of a plethora of federal programs in areas the feds have no business whatever being in. Federal centralization and collectivism is a result of that apostasy. Until we do turn from it and return to the Triune God of the Scriptures this country will continue its downward spiral.
Abraham Lincoln--A Biography
by Benjamin P. Thomas
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, copyright 1952
The Lincolns and Spiritualism
by Peggy Robbins
Civil War Times Illustrated
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, August 1976
Shark of the Confederacy
by Charles M. Robinson III
Leo Cooper, London, copyright 1995
Lincoln and The Emperors
by A. R. Tyrner-Tyraner
Harcort, Brace & World Inc. New York, copyright 1962
Lincoln's Herndon--A Biography
by David Herbert Donald
Alfred A. Knopf, copyright 1948
Mary Todd Lincoln--Her Life and Letters
by Justin Turner & Linda Levitt Turner
Fromm International Publishing Corp. New York, copyright 1972