Rituals - E7 • Seances in the White House


Seances are one of those areas of spiritualism that can be polarizing, but spiritualism is also personal and seances can be very personal.

I cannot wait to hear about this topic.

I don’t even know what else to say except tell me more.

Well, I think today’s topic is super interesting because we have seances taking place in the white house.


But again for very personal reasons, okay?



I’m in the House, I’m so ready for this.


Hi everyone, and welcome to rituals a Spotify original from par cast.

I’m M Schultz and I’m Christine Schieffer.

Every week.

We’ll explore the evolution of spiritualism and the Occult through stories practices and the impact on Modern culture.

Christine today.

We are talking about First Lady Mary Todd, Lincoln wife of Honest Abe and the Seance is that she held in the White House during her husband’s presidency.


I simply cannot wait to hear about this II.

Don’t, I’ll be honest.

I don’t know much about Sam’s is that all?

And so I’m excited to hear about séances in general and more specifically presidential seances.

The best of them.

All, I would say if you had to like, buy a package, a sounds package, you want the presidential the presidential package always.


So if you’re an old-school fan of and that’s why we drink, then you might remember us covering the ghosts of the White House all the way back in episode 25, you might remember I But you might, you might actually because it was the episode where I talked about.

Well, sorry Spotify my raging UTI.


I was like, what can you possibly say after?

Sorry if you’re in and that’s why we drink fan.

That was a very pivotal episode for us because it was all the flirting episodes that everyone still talks about with me and Allison and everyone found out on that episode.

Our first date ended with me in the ER the hospital.



So if you didn’t like it, that’s why I drink.

But anything I just said, was remotely, interesting, please go check out episode 25.

Well, it’s all coming back to me now.

So I’m I’m pleased to remember some of the episode.

Unfortunately that it’s that part that I remember.


But that’s okay.

Well, lucky for you.

This is basically going to be that episode again - that part it.

Because now we’re just talking about the presidential seances and without knowing anything about any of the other first ladies.

I can probably guarantee.

She’s already my favorite.

I don’t know about you.




Well, I can’t wait.

She’s the one throwing seances left and right.

So it’s true.

Like the bars already so high with her.

Yeah, so let’s crack into it.


I know you just mentioned that you don’t know too much about seances.

Have you ever been to one?

Have you ever tried doing one?

Like a sleepover and like, it was in hindsight, like, probably not the smartest thing to do.

Honestly, if I had, I probably wouldn’t admit it to you because I think you’d be very mad at me.


But Now, I don’t think I’ve ever done a seance and I feel like a little surprised by that because that sounds like something I would force my friends to do at a sleepover.

I’ve also never been to one, have you I have which is amazing because you said that I might get Maddie today.


I feel like I would because I am personally always against like don’t do something if you don’t know all the ins and outs and you don’t know how to respond.

So let’s just say classical E&M is usually pretty mad about my opinion.

My attitude toward we Keyboards, which is who fun and her students very Pro Ouija board at any moment.


And I am very I don’t know enough about it and therefore, it scares me.

And as a big believer in ghosts, I’m afraid to accidentally open portals or something like that.

I don’t know.

I’m more on the side of om seems to have hidden my Ouija board.

Why don’t I draw one on the back of our tour poster and make em play with a wine glass planchette.


And I think that is a fun little which is happened.

Well, that would be a wild.

If that didn’t happen.

Okay Fair.

Anyway, but you, you have done a seance.

Are you serious?

To be fair?

The reason I say me today would be nervous to do one.


And yet I have done one as because I did one, when I was 10 because I was dragged into my mom’s wacky, Antics, your mother had a son.


So alright, for those who don’t know, my first paranormal experience was when I was 7, I saw my grandpa.


A week after he had passed.

So he has been kind of the constant ghosts in my life.

If I had to pick one.

I feel like he’s always kind of floating around and has been probably for the longest amount of time.

So when he passed away my mom and her sister his daughters, they were like, oh, well, you know, maybe, oh no, it’s all do a seance because all of us had had some sort of spooky experience.


Like I saw him sitting on the foot of my bed.

My mom was having dreams about him.

My aunt like saw him standing behind her in a mirror one time.

My cousin was getting pictures of him.

It was really like, it was, he was very present.


Everyone was getting a, an original experience, every single person.


I like to think I got like the Crown Jewel experience of seeing him with my eyes, but honestly, the worst to me would be in the mirror.

Just out of like sheer fright.

Like those horror.

Yeah, scenes, where you close the oh, yeah, medicine cabinet.


No, no.

If my mom was hiding like and I saw her in a mirror.

I wouldn’t think that’s my mom.

I think there’s a Range woman in my house and I’m going to die.

So, wait, your mom.

You mean if she had passed it, even if she wasn’t, if all of a sudden, she just showed up behind me in a mirror.

If anyone showed up, I had me in a mirror.


I think I was in danger at first.

You probably would be to be fair.

But no, so, I, we all had, like, very original individual experiences with him.

So I think we were all probably swapping our stories.

And my mom was like, oh, well, let’s have a seance, and I will say, for a time, when there wasn’t like internet in your pocket.


She did as thorough of research as she could, with within 48 hours and was able, without again, the internet in your pocket, where you could just order things and they show up two days later.

She like went to every single store.

I became like a whole family experience of like trying to find this type of thing and this type of thing and you define like candles it was something like at the time.


I don’t know how accurate this was, but it was like a white tablecloth purple, candles something, something.

It was like a felt like sounds like a scavenger hunt, it felt like like a hot.

And yeah, so as she did, as thoroughly as she could for the time and we ended up having a seance, which it did feel spooky and we did I guess the I don’t know, ask Jeeves article.


She read said, like, wow, give her some more credit than that, Ask Jeeves.

How do I have a sound?

But so, whatever article she was looking at said, if you have a tape recorder, make sure you 1000 case, you hear anything.

Basically, it was to get EVPs and the only thing that happened was, I didn’t see it because my back was facing the sliding glass door, but everybody else swears to this day that they saw his face reflecting in the door.


Oh, well, he does like to do those Reflections.

He loves these same heel as do I and he he also somewhere out there.

There’s still a tape recorder.

I think I have the tape recorder it.

It needs new batteries or something, that we, they apparently got his breathing on the recorder because he was really sick by the end and I guess the breathing sounded exactly as he did and a raspy.



And none of us sounded like that.

So anyway, that was my experience with a seance and also, by the way, my aunt’s husband, I guess because he wasn’t taking it seriously and was not very respectful what was going on.

He threw a sheet over his himself and pretended to be a ghost and ran through the whole place and like scared us thinking he was being silly.


But in hindsight, we never closed out of that say on.

So to this day that portals technically open or whatever is going on great.

Ask Jesus how to close it because I am not loving that anyway.

All that to say I have been to a seance.

It was not.

I just I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into, you know, my aunt went to my aunt from Austria went to a lot of seances and she has been to a lot and I don’t know much about it except that my dad told me she’s been to many seances and Is very spiritual.


And she’s the one who I’m sure.

I’ve told you his head, like Fair, like really strange dream.

Like, she has very bad of dreams and like an X with a lot of family members and does Reiki and all that business.

But anyway, so she’s gone to several seances and the only one, my dad likes to tell me about is the one where she was pregnant and they told her, she was having a boy and then she proceeded to have five daughters.


And he’s like, that’s all a bunch of baloney.

That’s nice.

My mom.

Also swore that she was having a Girl, when she was pregnant with me and joke’s on you.

I’m neither.

That’s exactly right.

That’s why, I something like that.

Joke’s on you.

Mama, who knows?


By the way side note.

My favorite thing to do when I, if I know someone who’s pregnant, if I hear people being like Oh, is it a boy or a girl?

Or if they say, oh, it’s going to be a boy.

I always go for now.

And then.


And then you know who the real class acts are because some people are like, and I’m like, okay.


Well, good luck with your baby.

But like a hex you’re like Like that.

I asked Jeeves how to open a portal around.

The baby is like you actually never closed your last one.

Yeah, you have a bunch of tabs open and portals.


Do you want to keep going?

It sounds like clippy.

Do you have a healthy skepticism of seances?

I feel like you probably do.

I do, I really do and it’s not just because a medium told my aunt, she was having a boy or whatever.


I’d sure they’re relevant.

I don’t know.

But I do just because Has of all the stories you’ve told me about those kind of old-timey seances where people would be knocking on.

And I think so much of it was Showmanship and or show woman show Person ship.


I don’t know.


And I think a lot of that kind of has influenced the way I look at it as I think I imagine as you know, and I keep saying and is probably very annoying.

I am a big believer in energy and I feel like if you were to get together and really try to focus your energy on say, Like your grandfather or somebody specific?


I fully think that could work.

I’m a full believer in that especially if you have people skilled at that kind of thing or Jeeves has told you how to do it.

Or you know, what have you medium Jeeves?


Well, for someone who is such a big believer, I’m certainly, open minded to seances, but I think I think depending on what happened at the Seance would determine how much I believe in its power.


I feel like four things.

I’m quick to believe, Santa’s is not one of them just because have to trust the people.

In the room to like I’d have to be like, I know.

Yeah, I know you’re not out to trick me out of my money or what-have-you.

Yeah, I think if you let a seance or someone else in our circle, now we’re talking I don’t want to find out.


I feel like I just gave you a bad idea.

Hear that, folks.

I’m had a great idea.

What if your mom and I had a séance, honestly, you have a better chance of that happening.

Then me doing it, but then I would have to go in like, Watch How I will have to go, you know, you would end up there.


Are so I’m cry.

Don’t fight it.

Well anyway, getting back to Mary Todd Lincoln before I give you too many ideas.


This is not about me.

I’m sorry.

She did hold some seances, but do you know anything about Mary, Todd Lincoln or even maybe her health know?

So I remember from your episode 25, you said I do remember that.


She had a really hard time.

I remember she had a lot of loss in her life if I recall and that was part of the reason that she kind of became very spiritual spiritually oriented at This is what I remember, but I don’t remember the details of that.

That’s your pretty on par there.


So Mary Todd Lincoln, she did have a lot of physical illnesses and I think eventually they also were nervous about her, maybe having a series of mental illnesses.

Oh, no, but we, I got the scoop so we will get into that.

Okay, great.

So again, Mary Todd Lincoln is obviously, our former first lady and wiped Abraham Lincoln and a lot of history lessons will teach you about Mary Todd, Lincoln.


Is grief and alleged mental health issues, but she’s also leaned into spiritualism because of that grief during a time when spiritualism started to become important to a lot of people.

So not long after a, but was elected as the 16th president of the United States.


That was November 1860.


In April, 1861, the American Civil War began, and if you’ve heard me rant and Rave about this a million times, it’s that this was the beginning of the first way.

Of spiritualism.


So Mary Todd, Lincoln was not very well-liked when she got into the White House because not only was she very outspoken, but she spent a lot of money during a time of War, when budgets were tight and people were celebrating.


So not reading the room.

That was, no, that one’s odd on what like white tablecloths and /.


Handles and on harassed use account probably presidential account.

Ain’t going to gender, reveal parties, and going until further notice.


You know, I don’t know.

So a lot of death came with the Civil War and Americans were trying to work their way through the stages of grief.

And if they lost someone in the war, it was usually far from home.

So family members had to find ways to deal with not being there for their loved ones at the end of their life.


In comes, the idea of seances to reach out to those lost.

Loved ones and find peace and closure with the help of a medium, make sense closure.

Wouldn’t have any closure, how many people died at that time and you just got, you just got nothing.

You just never got to say goodbye.


So it wouldn’t make sense.

So absolutely.

So, Mary Todd and Abe.

Lincoln began to cope with loss long before the war, actually.

And before his presidency, when their second eldest son died young, they would have gone on.


So have two more Sons, but it was one of these boys deaths while they live in the White House that led married.

Had to really lean the seances.

Okay, okay.

Trying to contact her son or get some sort of closure.

Yeah, so she she had two sons at the time and one of them is gone and that was kind of the beginning of what a lot of people consider her spiral.


Oh no.

Coming up.

We’re going to look at how the death of the Lincoln Sun sparc Sciences within the White House and the belief that Lincoln’s ghost.

Still roams atolls.


Oh boy.


This is getting heavy.

The Lincoln’s really went through it in 1850.

So their second son, Edward died at Just 4 years old and then months later, their third son.


Willie was born so.

Edward, was the first of the sons to Die Young, which is interesting because we don’t always focus on Edward, especially, when we’re talking about the ghosts of the White House Edwards never mentioned, which is so interesting to me.


Okay, so he died first.

He died first and months later their third.


Son, technically another second living son.

Willie was born and Willie was allegedly, the Lincoln’s favorite child, but like, yikes.

He was probably if there was a favorite, he was probably the quote favor because he came as such a dark vulnerable time.


He was the joy and a time of tragedy.

Absolutely feel bad for the other son who like idea was to lose.

I mean, he lost his little brother and now there’s like a new kid that’s getting all the attention like I can’t imagine the trauma of that.

So Willie was allegedly the Lincoln’s favorite child, but then the Lincoln’s also had a fourth son named Tad.


Three years later and 1853.



So now they have three sons.

Three, living, Sons three Livingston’s in 1862 Willie, and Tad the two.

Youngest they contracted typhoid fever, possibly from contaminated water in the White House.


Oh, no.

And Willie’s health.

And really fast and he died that same year or like within only a like a week, I think.

And he was only 11.

Oh, no, that’s terrible.



So once Willie died, Mary obviously was a wreck because now she’s lost two sons on the both before they were even 12x.

And even though Tad eventually recovered from typhoid.


Which is the good part of that, at least one of them survived.

But she still lost one of them.

Yeah, and this is a clear moment in history, where many including Abe, Lincoln were worried about Mary Todd may be needing some mental health support, which duh like anyone would at this point, absolutely here.


Imagine if you looked at her, when she’s fine, like what?


I know, two of her children are done.

So, Mary, Todd found support for her grief when she was introduced to a group of mediums and Georgetown and she began to host seances.

The Red Room of the White House.




I love at the White House.

I’ve probably mentioned this in an r and that’s why I drink up, said I love at the White House.

Every room is just a different color.

Like I didn’t know that there’s a yellow room.

There’s a green room.

There’s a Red Room.

There’s an oval office.

So I love what everything sound of colors and shapes Sesame Street or something.


Yeah, it feels a little Sesame Street, e, which is simple.

We don’t have time.

We got this is what the room looks like.

Let’s go.

Yeah, it’s easier.

That way.

Even the house, the white House, okay.

Prince another color.

Do you imagine being the house?

That’s also white right next to the White House.


And so I feel like it’s the White House on that on Pennsylvania, Avenue.

Not that White House, the other white house looks like we share a lawn basically.


So anyway, I digress, there’s evidence to suggest that Mary Todd hosted as many as eight séances in the White House and the president even attended a few.


Oh, which by the way, like, I feel like it’s interesting to me that Abe Lincoln.

Came to some of the seances but then also I’m like, that’s really what a supportive partner would be doing is going with you and your process.


I do think it’s of all things.


At least interesting interesting.

Trivia to know that a president has done séances in the white house that I enjoy.


And again, I’m sure we are suppose happened at the White House that we don’t know about.

So for all I know, like aliens have shown up there to shake hands or something.

I don’t know.

They have the bump bows at a dinner pump.


Both boy.

Can you imagine this happening at the White House?

In modern times of like absolutely not.

It would be a doozy to say the least a doozy.

It sounds like something on a tabloid.

That’s everyone’s like.

Yeah, right, you know, it looked like an onion article.


So Seance.

Yeah, it looks like an onion article.

Yeah, I don’t I can’t imagine any of the recent presidents despite their many extreme differences.

I cannot imagine any of them just casually hosting a seance.

At the White House, but I think about Trump or Biden hosting a seance first off.


I think it would immediately be used against them in any way possible, of course, but also people would be like, there’s so many other things going on right now.

Like so what?


Yeah, I imagine.

I wonder what it was like.

Then when he was going to Seance has been, they were like, oh, there’s a whole War happening.


But then again, if that’s what they need is a grave.

I’d be cool with it.

But keep in mind, it was again.

It was much more acceptable, the time to her.

Words different.

So when I think about it, let’s say like by it and were you know did a seance can you imagine if Obama did a seance?


Oh my God, the it would have blown always never hear the end of it.

Never I remember the time you rode a bicycle with a helmet.

I think about that a lot.

I imagine if he did a seance, oh my God.

And so in a bicycle helmet, no less.

I think the, the main difference is spiritualism at the time that Abe Lincoln did, it was very common commonplace practice.


So yes.

That’s the main difference.

But also while the world has changed a lot, some absolutely.

However, it did bother some people.

So in April of 1863 President Lincoln hosted a seance of his own and called on the spirits for political guidance.


Oh God, that’s I would be like, hey, hey, I voted for you, but I don’t know that I love the direction.

We’re taking like one button for you to team spiritualist, 100% 3.

Love a good stance.

For I like I feel like having a seance over your son’s death, makes like, emotional sense and maybe you’re unpacking something.


But doing this for the country’s political gain, seems wary, because whatever answer you get is the one that determines our country’s fate.

Like, how seriously are you going to take this answer?

Yeah, we could tell you what to do.

Probably before you listen to a random ghost.


I don’t know.

So, apparently Mary Todd was Are there were two cabinet members there and a journalist from the Boston Gazette who reported on it, but the validity of that Seance where he was asking political questions or even the belief that it happened was questioned.


So, oh no one knew for sure if it happened a lot of people thought it was a publicity stunt to make a blink and look like the everyday man because everyone was doing it.

It’s just like, he’s out golfing.

He’s out Samson.

Yeah, but I was also like, didn’t he already look like the everyday Man by grieving over a loss through a seance.


No, but have you seen that Big Top Hat?

Oh, it’s full of secrets.

I do.

I feel like it didn’t have to be a publicity stunt.

If everyone already knew that they were having actual seances for their actual dead son versus like here’s the president doing a political move.


Well, but I wonder if it was more like Mary Todd was doing them and he was like, okay.

I need to look like I’m mmm, actively participating in this.

Do you know what I mean?

Like, it’s not like Although the woman of the house is like, off doing this crate, like sure, me too.


I also am.

I don’t know.

I could see it being more like he had to act like he was more an active participant than he maybe was.

I don’t care enough for enough.

I don’t know.

Well, in December of 1862 Mary, Todd hired.

A medium named Nettie Colburn Maynard to talk to the president and the president asked through this medium, ask the spirits, whether or not, he should assign an enact the Emancipation Proclamation own.


So that that that’s a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure on that poor medium.

And also, it’s interesting that he had help figuring out if he should sign that.

Although, unfortunately, not surprising.

Because in fact, it actually makes sense that he would be on the fence about that little history, 101 for those who might not know, but Lincoln was not the big, anti-slavery a lie.


A lot of people like to give him credit for.

Yeah, if anything he was very meth about slavery.

This is just some anti-racism 1014, everybody.

Sorry, but he only signed the Emancipation Proclamation because he saw it as a military strategy during the Civil War and because it goes told him to apparently apparently.


Yeah, get rid of slavery.

The south is something to fight for the war becomes a moot point, the u.s.

Goes back to normal.

So anyway, he signed the proclamation as a tool of War, not because he thought slavery should be illegal.

Just doing my part to know that know it’s important because that is not how we learn it in school.


Not at all.

Everyone’s like well he is not racist.

It’s like He’s okay.

Okay, he talked to a medium first.

Let’s put it that way, you know.

Yeah, so let’s jump into a few years later, April, 14th 1865.


When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

Yeah, at Ford’s Theater in Washington.


Mary was sitting right next to him when he was shot.

She cannot catch a break this woman.


So now she’s got two of her, four Sons dead.


Has now also witnessed within inches of her, her husband being murdered.

Oh my God, a really sad fun fact, is that I mentioned this in the White House episode, but I think I did at least, but Lincoln allegedly knew that he was going to die that night.


Oh, yes.

And he told his bodyguard before going into the theater that he knew he was going to die.

You know what you did?

You did talk about that on the episode 25 that was that was a jarring fact, so I don’t know if he just like had a feeling or do you had a dream the day before something bad dream or she had a dream or somebody had to bring someone had something but he had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it out of the theater God.


So also just like the guilt she probably had for not being there with her son the whole time because he was only sick for a few days.

She’s probably experiencing that again this time because when Abe got shot, she apparently was so hysterical that they made her leave the room while he was dying.


So like from a gunshot wound that she witnessed as she sat next to him, by the way, the love of her life, so I can’t imagine.

So now you’ve you’ve missed out on the only time you have left with your son, when he was dying of typhoid.

And now you didn’t get to be with your husband when he actually died because you were crying so hard.


Can you imagine already being in such a fragile state and then sitting next to your husband while he gets murder, know, watching a play?

Well, things here at a play Ike and then also like Then think of the turmoil that she must have been in handling everything through either the press or like having to make a statement or people running around or even just being a parent or even just being a person and like now you have to deal with like a death and all the stuff that comes after that like and being a parent to.


Yes, but I mean, wow.

Like my brain would have snapped in half a long time ago and somehow she was still going.

So yeah, at this point she’s inconsolable, but it feels rumors of her Mental Health.

And stories of her within the white house, right after.


So one of Mary Todd servants, when the White House was quoted in a tell-all saying, but instead of her behavior being appropriate for what, she just went through.

She got painted as a woman.

Craving attention.

Can you my God?

Imagine God forbid, you know, God forbid.


You’ve already gone through enough.

And now also, your, first of all, totally goes against her like weird guilt about any vanity at this point.


So anyway, So now many people believe that the ghosts of Willie and Abe Lincoln hot the White House with sightings in both the Lincoln bedroom and the yellow oval room.


Oh, that one’s got a color and shape fun.

Oh, wow.

This is getting complicated.

It’s like second grade level.

So, okay.

Also again interesting to know where is the first son, who died Edward?

Why isn’t he haunting the place?

Very good point.

Did they have to live in the White House for the ghosts to be invited to haunt their?

You know, I wonder maybe he died before they ever lived there, you know, part of me wonders, and this is just another Either, you know, ghostly theory that has no evidence whatsoever.


But I just sometimes I wonder like maybe the more turmoil surrounding a death.

The more likely, the spirit is going to remain.

The energy is going to remain on Earth and I wonder if I know obviously, it was tragic when Edward died, but maybe the death of Willy and a were just so much more just adding on top of each other.


It just became.

Yeah, or they are more labor, right?

Had such an impact that maybe More.

Why they hung around?

I don’t know.

Mary Todd.

Lincoln was even asked to be photographed with her late husband in what is now Spirit photography?

What Mary Todd?


Lincoln secretly visited a self-proclaimed Spirit photographer in 1870, and this man later was accused of being a fraud, but that did not stop her.

And the picture does creepily show Abe, Lincoln standing over his wife.


But as I’ve mentioned many times, when that’s why we drink just like, how I And with the Arthur Conan Doyle episode for rituals.

There were a lot of medium and spear photographer scandals around this time.


It was a very easy kind of fraud to get into and I guess also, with Spirit photography.


That’s one of the things that bothers me the most because it’s sort of like early Photoshop.

Like they’re just exactly lately lying.

Like, it’s not even like if you were a medium who thought you had or self-proclaimed medium, who thought maybe you could access.

Side, and you were convincing yourself like as a spear photographer.


You are blatantly lying, like, you are.


Oh, yeah sure.

We’ll get a picture of you and your husband, and then like taking negatives and like us in the dark room.

Just double exposure.

That’s all it is.

Yeah, exactly.

It really, you know, what?


Ticks me off him.

Oh, I found something that really grinds your gears, guys.

It’s a dang years.

But yeah, so a lot of the fraudulent cases back in the day where either mediums or spear.

Furs and spirit photography was one of the things that Arthur Conan Doyle was like a huge fan of and like really dug as deep was a dug.


His heels in on that.


But anyway, Mary Todd Lincoln also really, apparently dug her heels in or at least was grieving enough to be open-minded to any potential.

Her husband might be around, which I understand.

I mean, I feel do I put all the blame, by the way, on the actual for toxin.


Yeah, exactly.

Exactly, but she wasn’t alone because the country also wanted to believe in Lincoln’s.

Go still.

Being there because it made them feel made them believe that their loved ones were also there.

So this was almost like because it was the president in a Double Exposure, but the president as a ghost watching over his wife.


It was a real Spotlight moment on maybe spiritualism does work up.

Next, our spiritual conclusions tragedy.

Sadly, followed Mary Todd up until her death, but the thing she found solace in seances continues to come for people today.


Day, wow.

Good for her to at least find some Solace and I can’t wait to hear more modern take on this whole topic.


Mary Todd, Lincoln’s Behavior, didn’t improve much after the deaths of her sons and husband.

If it did improve, I’d be like, how did you do it?

Shocked at how to do it.

Yeah, if you like write a book, but then again, it gets worse because on top of her two sons, and her husband.

Her son Tad died in 1871.


So he was a young Team, which added to the pile of grief, making it her third of four Sons to die.

By the time they were 18 along with her husband’s.

Now, she’s dealt with that’s for intimate dance.

I would say four out of five because the only one standing is their oldest son.


Who like at this point.

I would wrap it in bubble wrap or something and tell him to never leave a room really it’s tragic and she allegedly began to suffer from paranoid delusions so much so that her son, Robert had to commit her to a mental.

Mental institution in 1875.


Oh, no.

So Mary Todd’s mental health being in the headlines around the country didn’t sit well with her obviously.

Yeah, so she got out of Dodge.

She left the hospital moved out of the country.

Oh, she said in Europe for a while.

She was like everyone just F this.

Like she deserved to be out of that big white house and that dumb oval room and like, just somewhere else.


I would’ve been out there.

A long time ago.

I would have agreed.

Even if my husband were president, I would Have left the country for a while and then like our son just died.

And then our other son just died.

Like let me have give me a break.


So anyway, Mary Todd’s mental health caused her to eventually up and leave and in 1881.


She returned from living in Europe and moved in with her sister and Springfield, Illinois.

And Mary Todd later died of a stroke in 1882 at the age of 63.

Oh, she was pretty young.

She was pretty young to, I think, maybe after enough Broken Heart.


I mean, just how can you?

Yeah, I would also like not to be like so dark, but I imagine if I went through that much tragedy, I’d be like everyone.

I would want to be here for is already gone.

You know, he’s like, yeah, just saying her body was probably just tired.

Yeah, she was haunted by tragedy rumors and the press and public until her last days.


And today, we still have Santa’s taking place all over the world.

And in pop culture.

There’s like ghost hunting shows, and you know how Ouija boards flying off the racks?

Jackson tarot cards now having a 30% uptick.

So, you know, I did watch a an episode of my new favorite show, kindred spirits.


And they did a seance and they had a Tarot reader there.

Who was, it was very cool because she was reading cards as part of the Seance and it just kind of added this cool element of, like she had an expertise in this field and somebody else, there was a psychic medium and could connect on that level.


And so it was kind of cool.

They all had different kind of angles and got together and did a seance in.


It was just very cool to watch Vice any opportunity.

You have to give a shout out to Kindred Spirits will always find a way, love it.

You know, I just love it.

I can’t help myself.


There’s also always some skepticism with it.

Also experts say that it’s all in the psychology of suggestion.

That makes a seance feel real, which I can totally understand.

Especially when you look back at seances.

At that time.

I would put money on at least One of those eight seances.


That Mary Todd.

Lincoln got ripped off in some way.

Absolute, didn’t we?

It wasn’t there, even a whole story you covered in that presidential Ghosts episode.

Where this was it?

Her who was getting ripped off by a psychic medium for a long time.

Oh, I don’t know.


A lot of people were, I don’t remember which first lady it was, but one of the first lady’s got really ripped off by a psychic medium.

It might have been Mary Todd Lincoln.

I’m not too sure, but I do know she got ripped off by a spear photographer because That’s true.


It happened at least once, but yeah, I could be the psychology of suggestion, even among healthy skepticism.


Some people find, even the possibility of it really scary.

That’s me.

Because I have some healthy skepticism about it, but I’m also open-minded enough to be terrified.

Anyway, you and I would probably participate in want to go.

Oh shit.

This is real and I’m terrified.

I would be like oh and it’s too late.


We can’t get out of here.

And I think in San says you’re not supposed to like break hands.

Like you have to hold hands all the time.

So when you lock in and commit, you’ll have to leave and It’s time to go.

I’m pretty sure that’s how it works is, you can’t break the circle.

Let me out.

That’s what I would say immediately, like never mind.

There are also socio cultural differences in how death is handled.


So we should also be wary of that.

So the concept of a Sands as part of the grieving process can vary in terms of acceptance or avoidance of in participating in one.

So makes a lot of sense also very good to note.

The like seances may work for you but not someone who has a different belief system than you do.



So That’s Mary Todd.

Lincoln, based on what you found out today.

Did your, do you have in a particular take away from this?

I mean, I just find it.

I find it sad that obviously understatement of century, but it’s just so sad that she went through all that.


And I mean, part of me is happy.

She found some Solace through sansa’s but it is a little bit sad to know that at least one person was taking advantage of that sadness and that grief, you know, part of me wants to say, well, as long as it Her feel better.

But at the same time, you know, there was just so much of that shady snake oil stuff going on with spiritualism at the time that it just makes me feel a little icky.


Yeah, but you know, I hope she at least got some sort of peace from it and also at that time, I think again everyone Grieves differently, but if I lost my child in the 1860s, you better believe I’d be having seances.


So I would have probably been ripped off.

By people all the same, so solutely.

I think it’s terrible that she had so much grieving to do in the spotlight.

And not only did everyone criticize her for being fragile, that she lost her children and her husband, but like, she had to flee the country.


I mean, I would have also, I totally get why she did, but the fact that that had to happen at all.


I also think it’s interesting.

We’ve touched on this before on, and that’s why we drink, but it’s interesting to see how much of it could have been a valid mental illness versus a valid.


Little experience.

I’m not trying to say that.

If you sure don’t have mental health issues, that should be addressed.

Please go get them checked out, but was it just grieving or was she having an actual urgent mental breakdown?

Because I think there was a time period where she said she saw Willie standing by the foot of her bed every night.


Oh, wow.

Okay, so it’s one of those weird balancing acts of like it could have been a ghost.

But now everyone’s reading it as mental illness, or maybe she really was having a breakdown and there was no ghost you.

Or no, you never know.

And, you know, the, the depression that I assume would accompany that if I experienced, it might have hallucinations, might be right, you never know, or, you know, lack of sleep or what have you, but yikes, I will say I’ve seen from a few sources that Willie does still haunt the White House and times, but like I said earlier, Abe Lincoln is seen much more often in the white house.


He’s actually the most common Spirit witness there.

Is he wearing the hat?

I don’t know if he’s wearing the hat or not is I wasn’t.

I’d be so afraid of that.

And I think it’s because of the lure of the Hat, Man.

Ghost, you know, man, and I think in my mind, it’s a similar concept.


And so I think that would really frightened me because he was very tall.

He had that big old hat.

I would be very afraid if I saw the ghost of a blink, and I think I’d almost later on.

I would feel very honored that I was one of the only people to accuracy the real Abe.

Lincoln Top Hat, I’d be like, whoa, like imagine if you just got of only the Hat, haunted, you and not the person that happens.


It’s everywhere.


That’s a different story.

That’s that I could get get on board with, but he’s seen everywhere and I do wonder if it’s because his wife was the one that interested seances and he participated allegedly.

So maybe, yeah, maybe they were just so active in that that he’s the one that’s now, the most popular goes there, and she didn’t talk to ask Jeeves and figure out how to close her portal either, but it’s not her fault.


There was no asked to you, do you just wasn’t there yet.

Is it too late to?

Close it.

Should we close it?

It’s I think we should.

Let’s talk to ask you is afterwards.

I’m gonna call your mom and be like, there’s multiple portals.

You’ve got to go close now.

It’s like, it’s like, you opened one, but now there’s another one from the 1860s.


It’s your presidential duty to go close that your Civic, dude.

Before we close.


Is there anything that you think people should know who may want to experience a seance?

I wish I had the expertise to make that claim, but I don’t think I do.


I mean, I would really like to participate well in one and I know I was, you know, we were we’ve been joking and stuff but I really would like to participate in one in a very respectful way, you know, and I’m also with you, I’m that I’m quite fortunate to, you know, I’ve lost relatives and grandparents, but I haven’t lost anyone.


Extremely close to me, knock on wood, you know, and I think I’m very fortunate in that.

So I haven’t felt the draw to to participate in that.

But I think, you know, when I do, if I do lose someone close, I would be much.

I would absolutely probably be on board with, you know, either seeing a psychic medium going to a seance that kind of thing.


I wonder if that’s like a stereotype and like the broader spiritualist Community were like, it’s known that when people have really deep grieving, process has all of a sudden they spiral into like really Reckless spiritualists practices.

I know without thinking, if I were to act on impulse if something were to happen to someone truly close to me and I Couldn’t process it.


I would almost immediately be whipping at Ouija boards.

Having seances doing all these things, and not doing them responsibly.

So I wonder what what that looks like to spiritualists when they hear that one of their friends just lost.

Somebody, I wonder if they think like, oh boy, now they’re going to spiral and I’ve got to close a bunch of portals when they mess up or something, you know, right?


I mean, I know what you’re saying, like, I feel like there’s a way to do it safely though, to, to be able to go find someone trusted, like a psychic medium or someone who Host a seance that you don’t have to do the yes nitty-gritty of closing any portals.

Like hopefully you can find someone to do that in a more responsible way.


Yeah, certainly if you want I would say me with my one-time ten-year-old experience.

I would say, you know, certainly go into it being open-minded.

No one wants to be like the ass at the Seance.

No one wants to be your uncle or whatever, right, but also do it respectfully and responsibly as responsibly.


As possible.

Don’t just do it with nobody without any experienced.

A seance people, you know.


Say on safely.

Thanks so much for listening.


We’ll be back next week with another great episode information on today’s episode came from history, President Lincoln’s cottage, the White House, historical Association Ripley’s Washington, Post and NBC News.

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Rituals is executive produced by Max Cutler and is a Spotify original from par cast.


It was created by Max color, sound design by Kristen Acevedo with associate.

Sound design by Jamie Ryan.

Fact-checking by Cheyenne Lopez research by Chelsea would it’s produced by Kristen off.

They do and Jonathan Ratliff with production assistance by Ron Shapiro.


We are your host, Christine, Schieffer, and M Schultz.

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