Was Abraham Lincoln a Apiritualist? by Nettie Colburn Maynard 1917



Omitting the preliminary description of my surroundings of my early childhood and the conditions of birth and similar matters, it will interest the reader to enter without delay upon the story, which leads up to the events to which all interest in this volume must attach.

One evening in the winter of 1845, in the town of Bolton, Conn., where my father’s family resided, we were sitting about the large old-fashioned kitchen-table, which was lighted by means of oil lamps, in common use by all country people in those days. The room was a large square one, having in one corner a door, which led to the rooms above, its only fastening an iron latch, which held it in place.

While the murmur of conversation was going on, we were suddenly startled by a sound which resembled the noise produced by hurling a heavy log down the stairway against the door here mentioned. There was no mistaking the locality, as the sound was sufficiently loud to shatter the door, which it would have done had it been caused by means which the noise indicated, and by any object capable of making so crashing a sound.

Not one of the half-dozen persons seated at the table moved for some few seconds following; their startled, white faces testifying to their consternation. Before anyone had spoken the sound was repeated with equal force, and seemed to jar the entire room. This time, my mother, who was a fearless woman under ordinary circumstances, pale and trembling, took up a lamp to investigate the matter. She had scarcely risen, with face towards the door, when the noise was repeated for the third time. Not hesitating, but with blanched face, holding the light aloft, she threw open the stairway; not a sound, not an object answered her look and voice. Utter silence reigned in the chambers above.

Father was absent at the time, and our nearest neighbour was more than a quarter of a mile away. However, my sisters, who were grown to womanhood, followed by myself, went with my mother throughout the entire building, to find no intruder of any sort, nor could we find any evidence of the cause of the peculiar noises. As we returned to the kitchen the large clock on the high mantelpiece struck eight.

Three days later, while the matter was the subject of constant conversation, we received news of the death of my father’s mother, who died at Stafford Springs, at eight o’clock of the day of our strange experiences.

The time elapsing between the stairway noises and the striking of the hour, we afterwards ascertained, was the exact difference between grandfather’s watch and our clock; we, therefore, knew that at the time of the stairway noises grandmother had passed to the great beyond, and that period of departure was precisely ten minutes before eight o’clock. My grandfather, from this time forward to that of his death, was a member of our household.

In the early fall of 1849, while residing near the Coventry line, I was lying ill with typhus fever, close to death. On this evening, which I am about to mention, my condition was better. Father and an older sister were seated in the room playing a game of checkers, while near them looking on sat mother.


Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist?

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They were very quiet lest I might be disturbed. Directly fronting me stood the clock, which was of the old Bristol pattern, with iron weights. It had not been wound for more than a year, and the cord which up-held the ‘strike-weight’ was broken. At once, amid the stillness, the clock struck one.

The effect was electrical. Father, more astonished than frightened, sprang to his feet, and opened the clock door to find the wire still vibrating. In the face of the presence of the long broken cord, there was no method to account for the striking. The game of checkers was never finished, and I was wearied with questions as to my welfare-my family believing that this was but a strange herald of my departure.

Three weeks later, and after I had recovered, my grandfather received a slight paralytic attack while descending the stairs; mother helped him to bed, administering some medicine, which quieted him for a time. She soon after was called to his bedside, when he told her that ‘Millie [his deceased wife] has just been here; to which mother replied, ‘You have been dreaming.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘she bent over me, calling me by name, and put her cold hand upon my side; I felt it.’

Finding that he could not be dissuaded from this thought she changed the subject. A few days after this incident, my father arose very early for the purpose of cleaning the elevated oven belonging to an old stove, and while in the yard vigorously shaking it, was startled by the noise of three strokes upon the corner of the house below the eaves - so distinct that the sound could be exactly located. He at once went into the house to the room where my grandfather lay, directly within the spot where the noise occurred, only to find grandfather peacefully sleeping.

Finding no one about, it occurred to him that the noises were surprising. On going to mother’s room he informed her, but she induced him to believe he was mistaken and to return to his work, which he did. Whereupon, taking up the oven, he heard an exact repetition of the noises in the same place. He sought in vain for a solution of the mystery; when again, for the third time, the noise was repeated. He afterwards confessed that he was unnerved for the day.

For a week or more following this occurrence, grandfather appeared saying he did not feel well and wished mother to serve him a cup of tea. I went with mother to his room, and found him sitting up in bed breathing heavily; he desired me to send for Amasa (my father, who had left him an hour previous), saying,’ I am going to die, for Millie has called me again.’ Mother sent for father and comforted grandfather. Within half an hour, and before father returned, grandfather had joined the voice that called him, and was with her in the great beyond, without the shadow of death.

As will be seen by the date (1845), I was a mere child, and Spiritualism was comparatively unknown to the world and entirely unknown, I am quite sure, in our little old-fashioned village; but in after years, when we heard of spirit manifestations, we came to know that these results were the attempts at communication on the part of our spirit friends.

The Mystery Deepens