Monday, February 25, 2013

Lincoln Buffs--Why and How?

What Makes a Lincoln Buff?

Abraham Lincoln has fascinated me since I was eight years old. I don’t know what got me started, but it might’ve been a book which I still have, titled The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 1, written in 1895. When I was in 3rd grade, in the mid-60s (which shows how long I’ve been a Lincoln nut), my teacher asked us to bring a book from home. My mother suggested I bring this Lincoln book, which even in 1966 was in bad shape—strips of Scotch tape barely held the covers to the spine. In the wisdom of an 8-year-old, I demurred, saying, “This old book? She’ll think we’re poor!” My mother corrected me: “No, she’ll think we’re rich. Books like this are rare.” The teacher was duly impressed.

I still treasure that book to this day, and it’s one of many on my “Lincoln shelf” which holds books about our murdered president, his wife Mary, his assassin John Wilkes Booth and his family, and the conspirators who faced the gallows or years of hard labor because Booth, their charismatic leader, sucked them into his insane plot.In 2002, I began research on A Necessary End, which combines two genres I’m passionate about—history and paranormal. I joined The Surratt Society, based in Maryland, and attended their conferences and tours. Trips to Lincoln's home and tomb in Springfield, Illinois, Gettysburg, Ford’s Theater, and the house he died in, Petersen House, brought me close to Mr. Lincoln’s spirit. My travels also acquainted me with Booth’s brother Edwin, the most famous actor of his time, and his unconventional family. A recording of Edwin’s voice reciting Shakespeare on one of Edison’s wax cylinders still exists at paranormal experience includes investigations at several haunted homes, restaurants and graveyards. I’ve never seen a ghost, but I’ve gotten responses with my dowsing rods and I made a ghost laugh at the Jumel Mansion in New York (see the story and photos on my blog,, we’ll never hear Abraham Lincoln’s voice. But his spirit lives on. In my book, which is fiction--but we all know that novels are fictionalized truths--I gave Booth what was coming to him. He got his justice in real life, but in A Necessary End, he also got the paranormal twist he deserves.And I enjoyed sticking it to him!

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