I've always been fascinated with unusual stories connected to important events in our history, so I wanted to open the floor for members to present strange, historical oddities and tales. This thread might be considered by some to be better suited in "Open Discussion" forum, but I felt that presenting it in "Archeology" forum would keep the subjects grounded in history. So that you'll understand what direction I'm taking here, I'll pass along a truly chilling article from the book, "Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War" by Christopher K. Coleman: "...Throughout the first of July, Federal forces on the field (of Gettysburg)...Pushed back to Cemetery Ridge and its adjacent hills, the Union line held. On July 2nd, it was the left flank's turn in hell. Heavy Rebel assaults pounded advanced Federal positions...forcing them back toward the high ground...The Twentieth Maine was posted to the extreme left of the Union line; Col. Chamberlain's down-east regiment became the anchor on which the entire Federal line rested... As the Confederates closed on their position, it was clear they were in large numbers... Chamberlain admitted that "it did not seem possible to withstand another shock like this now coming on."... Defeat was imminent and with it, the collapse of the whole Union line- perhaps of the very Union itself... Something happened that turned certain defeat into utter and complete victory... According to the official version... Col. Chamberlain ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge... The fresh, well-armed Confederate force simply threw down their arms and surrendered!... Soon after the battle, reports filtered out that during the crisis point... an apparition appeared. The (Federal) troops, it was said, beheld a pale rider... dressed in antique costume. It rode along the thin, blue line of the Federals, and everywhere it passed, men picked up hope... The Rebels seemed to have seen the appartition as well. A number of them were seen to fire on it... bullets had no effect on it. Soon, the phantom rider, with its tricorner hat and turned-back coattails, had spread dismay and panic among the Rebel ranks... Inspired by the apparition, the Twentieth Maine moved forward behind him (the apparition), and despite their lack of numbers (and no ammo) their counter-attack proved irresistable... In discussing the incident afterwards, soldiers reported that the phantom rider closely resembled portraits they had seen of George Washington... there are a number of alternatives for explaining the unofficial reports of the ghostly leader... More than four score years before there had been another crisis point in American history... The winter of 1777 was a bad one, particularly for the troops at Valley Forge. The army nearly fell apart save for the leadership of one man- George Washington. And by all accounts, an apparition appeared to him, too. Anthony Sherman had been with Washington at Valley Forge that terrible winter and was at headquarters one day when the general emerged from his quarters procalining he had had the strangest encounter. Washington was alone in his quarters when the room around him grew luminous. By all account Washington witnessed "dark manifestations"- black clouds, lightning, and the light of a thousand suns. The vision (if that is what it was) then began to become more specific. Washington witnessed the "thundering of cannon, clashing of swords, and the shouts and cries of hundreds of thousands in mortal combat." Researchers... have interpreted at least part of his vision as a remarkable premonition of the American Civil War..." Pretty spooky, huh? So, Raven members, are you ready to share some of history's eeriest tales?
Last edited by foreverwingnut : 08-06-2012 at 08:57 PM.
Great tale Foreverwingut, well worth the read.
Well here's mine, forgive me, this story is mostly quotation but it has always intrigued me.
A little over a week before President Abraham Lincoln's Assassination, The President shared a nightmare he had recently experienced with his Cabinet and personal biographer Ward Hill Lamon:
"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. I saw 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, 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 woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."
Days later he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth who was trying to revive the Confederacy so near the end of the Civil War.
Was it a premonition, or a painfully coincidental nightmare?
I felt this thread would be exciting because Indiana Jones, too, sought out history's answers through the paranormal. My thanks to HenryJunior who was kind enough to add some chilling details about Lincoln. With the recent popularity of Lincoln fictitiously chasing vampires and zombies in entertainment, it seems only appropriate that this thread should shine a spotlight on the tragic and beloved president. Here are a few details about Lincoln from my aformentioned book: "The election returns had been coming in all day... Lincoln was both mentally and physically exhausted, and he left his campaign headquarters in Springfield to rest awhile. Throwing himself down on a lounge in his chambers, he lay opposite a bureau with a hinged mirror attached. Glancing across at the oval mirror, he noticed something strange: Lincoln saw himself reflected at nearly full length in the mirror. But his face, Lincoln noted, had two seperate and distinct images- the tip of the nose of one being about three inches from the tip of the other. Lincoln was bothered- startled even- by this double image and got up to take a closer look, but it vanished. On lying down, Lincoln saw it a second time- "plainer, if possible, than before." This second time, he noticed that one of the faces was paler than the other. Lincoln got up, and again the double image disappeared... A few days later, he tried to repeat the experiment again. Once more the two faces appeared to him- one his normal healthy image, the other a pallid, ghostly parody of life... Lincoln tried to repeat the vision for the benefit of his wife, Mary, but to no avail. Nevertheless, it was Mary who seemed to grasp the full import of this vision- and grew quite worried as a result... It was clearly a sign, she told her husband, that he would be elected to a second term in office. But the upsetting part to her was the deathly pallor of the second face, which she said indicated that he would die before the end of his second term in office." I didn't know until I read this book that Lincoln was only one of several targets intended for assassination, another being U.S. Grant, who was saved under inexpicable circumstances. The book goes on to say, "... Julia Grant (the wife of U.S. Grant) had had her own presentment of sorts. No sooner had they awoken that morning, than Mrs. Grant urgently entreated her husband that they leave Washington that day... Because the cabinet meeting had been moved from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M., the general told his wife it would probably prevent their leaving that evening... Later that day, Mrs. Grant received an invitation for her and Ullyses to attend a play at Ford's Theater that night with the president and Mrs. Lincoln. Julia, rather than being flattered, in her own words, "took a freak" at the prospect... Julia immediately shot off a note to her husband, pleading with him to come home; that she did not want to go to the theater; that he must take her home to Burlington, New Jersey. Not only did she write her husband, but when three staff officers stopped by to pay their respects, she dragooned them into conveying her repeated entreaty to her husband! That afternoon, as the Grants rode their carriage to the railway station, a stranger on a black horse shadowed them... The general and his wife arrived at Philadeplphia without incident. It was there, however, that word reached them of Lincoln's assassination in Washington and the attempts made on the lives of several of the Cabinet members." I'm getting goose-bumps!
According to what I read Vice President Johnson and Seward (Secretary of war) were also on the "hit list". The man assigned to kill Johnson didn't go through with it but the one assigned to kill Seward DID try. Oddly he was saved by several coincidences; firstly the assassin was masquerading as a person delivering medicine to Seward who was in bed with a broken collarbone (which was held in a steel brace). The attacker was stopped by a suspicious male nurse outside Seward's room and he knocked the nurse unconcious with his pistol (a Whitney revolver). However this action damaged the revolver so that it wouldn't fire. He then attacked Seward with a knife, but couldn't get in a killing stroke before he was overpowered because the protective brace and Seward's arm were in the way.