The Lincoln Funeral Train in Chicago

For many years, people across the country reported seeing the ghost of the Lincoln funeral train at points where it passed by. This is a good way to illustrate some of the theories that seek to explain ghosts as a scientific phenomenon – in theory, the extreme mental energy exerted by the people watching the funeral go by was so intense as to create a “residual” ghost (a term Troy coined back in the early 90s). So in some cases, people who claim to see ghosts may be seeing a sort of video recording created by intense mental energy. One thing that seems to work in favor of this is that these “residual” ghosts don’t seem to last forever; the Lincoln train sightings seemed to stop around the 1970s.

Similarly, people used to say that a mental “imprint” was left behind by Highball the Dog, the dog who witnessed the St. Valentines Day Massacre, that caused dogs to go crazy when they walked by the site. I’ve heard enough people talk about seeing this that I’m willing to believe it may have been true at one point, but whatever energy dogs were reacting to has dissipated into the environment by now. Ken, Troy and I have seen hundreds of dogs go by that site without incident over the years.

Anyway, the Lincoln funeral train did pass through Chicago on its way to Springfield. After a stop in Michigan City, IN, the train brough it around the lake and to a depot near Michigan and 12th (now Michigan and Roosevelt – incidentally, the Democratic convention had nominated McClennan to run against Lincoln on that spot in 1864). From there, the casket was loaded onto a horse-drawn hearse that led it up Michigan Avenue to Lake street, then down Lake to Clark, and from there to the court house (which was on Clark and Washington at the time) where it lay in state overnight for public viewing. This would have put Lincoln about two blocks from the Tremont House, the hotel where he stayed while in Chicago, and barely a block from the McVicker’s Theatre where John Wilkes Booth was the theatrical hit of 1862. A couple of blocks in the opposite direction was the Republican Wigwam where Lincoln won his party’s nomination in the wild, crazy convention of 1860.

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