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Lincoln, the Clairvoyant: Representations of Spiritualism During the Civil War, 1861-Present

Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 12:15pm

404 Morrill Hall

American Studies Fall Colloquium. A light lunch will be served.

Lore has it that Lincoln prophesied his own death in several precognitive dreams and visions. In "Lincoln, the Clairvoyant: Representations of Spiritualism During the Civil War, 1861-Present," Dr. Cheryl Spinner explores the question of Lincoln's mysticism, a question that has endured and continues to fascinate the American imagination.  She further explores pieces that explicitly render Lincoln an occult figure, ranging from accounts that claim Lincoln sought the military counsel of spirit mediums during the Civil War, records that claim Lincoln's spirit returned to archivist Harriet M. Shelton in 1955, and to mystical depictions of the 16th President in contemporary fiction (ie: Abraham Lincoln the Vampire Slayer, Lincoln in the Bardo.) Spinner returns to the President that seemingly cannot help but return, in order to understand why his ghost continually erupts both literally and figuratively in the American consciousness.

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American Studies Program


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Adrienne Clay

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Cheryl Spinner

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University of Maryland - College Park

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